Saturday, November 1, 2014

You really should think about what others say... in a good way...

Today I attended a celebration service of one of our dear church friends' grandaddy.  James and Kasey Hawkins have become so very dear to me and close to my heart.  I don't know why.  We don't hang out a lot or anything like that but over the years God has brought their picture up in my mind MANY times.  When you pray for someone over time, they just become very dear to you.  Well, this week, his grandaddy went home to be with his Lord.  He KNEW Jesus.  I'm talking about to the extent that he even knew it was his time to go home.  It makes me so reflective when I am in those situations.  It poses many questions in my mind...

Do I do enough to tell others about how awesome my Jesus is?

Do I tell others how to be SURE they are going to heaven?

But as people spoke about this great man of God, it made me think... what will others SAY about me when I'm gone?  It makes you think, doesn't it?  Sure they will be nice and say nice things like...

Oh, she smiles a lot

she talks a lot

she sent me a card...

but will they KNOW that I knew Jesus?  Does my life reflect Him every day?  Do I get up each morning and put fear in the devil or does he not even know I'm here because I'm not really a threat?  Do my friends know that I love them?  Have I done enough to let Jesus love others through me?  I'll be pondering these things over the next several days for sure.  I think many times we get caught up being 'busy' for the Lord but are we really being effective?  Big difference.  

I'm always striving for simplicity because it makes sense to me.  It calms me.  I can be more effective if I'm headed in one direction than in 10 directions.  

Hmmm, makes you think, doesn't it?

Keep it Simple

April.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Little by Little... one bin at a time...

Just wanted to share quickly something that has worked for us lately.  I hear a lot of moms (especially of boys) battle with ALL. THE STUFF.  Short of taking it all out (which has crossed my mind more than once) this is ONE of the things we do that helps out so much.

We use My Job Chart for our boys.  It works great for us and it's simple.  There are tons of chore ideas and apps out there but this is just the one we use.

On Saturdays, one item on their job charts is SORT A BIN.  They know what this means.  They have been trained to:

1.  Dump the bin  (Kutter the cat is a big help)


2.  Sort the bin into three piles:

KEEP

GIVE AWAY

THROW AWAY

3.  Slide the bin back into it's spot


There are only 15 bins in this playroom and there are 52 weeks in the year so they get sorted a few times a year.  This way, when it's time to 'clean' the room, they can just pick up stuff and toss it in a bin and know that it will get sorted on Saturday.  

Hope this helps someone! 

Keep it Simple.

April  :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Just plain thankful...

I'm so overwhelmed with gratitude today.  I don't know why it's today.  There's nothing special about today but I'm finding myself just thanking God in my mind over and over.  Recently, I redid our travel/map wall.  It has gone through several transitions and finally it's done.  I've rigged it to display our family photo albums from years past.  That is what makes me the most happy about it because we can see them every day and they are not on a shelf.  I'm so thankful for nights like we had last night... no game, no meetings, no place to be.  We had a relaxing dinner.  The boys had enough time to get all their homework done and their few chores.  We had time to watch a little tv together.  We actually sat on the couch and watched an old episode of Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman.  David curled up beside me and threw his leg over me and we just sat.  Those moments don't happen very often anymore so when they do, I'm so keenly aware and thankful.  He's just shy of 40 pounds less than me now so he takes up almost as much space as I do!  John is really enjoying orchestra and starts Cotillion on Monday.  Here's our map wall now...


I put the books on the wall with 3M hooks... love those things!!!




I'm overjoyed today and my cup runneth over.  Thank You, Jesus for saving me and giving me a permanent place in your eternal Kingdom!!!

Keep it Simple,

April

Monday, August 4, 2014

"Let's pick up burgers and meet back at the house..." and then we didn't...

On July 12 this summer, my world got rocked a little... ok a lot.

My mom and I were coming home from errands in Augusta and we were in an accident that was ALMOST very serious.  My mom is slowly healing now.  She suffered a cracked sacrum (go ahead, I'll wait while you google that...) and lots of bruises and strains and bumps.  My legs looked like they were beat with a baseball bat but I didn't suffer nearly as badly as my momma.  Her pain those first few days was torturous to watch, much less endure, I'm sure.  My son, John, just kept saying all day... "Nana's tough, I saw her smile as she got into the ambulance, she's ok, she's going to be fine, she's good, I saw her..."  On and on he went.  My other son wouldn't leave my side all day while mom was in the ER with daddy and I was at their house with my boys.   What I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and fall apart and hide for a day... or five.  What I knew I had to do was to show my boys that their world was still ok and that we would be fine.  

I learned a lot that day.

I was reminded that God loves me more than I love my momma.  He loves me more than I love my boys.  And somehow, for some reason, He STILL let this happen.

Another 12 inches or so further, and the other driver would have smashed me right in my door.  The adjuster said that judging from the damage done, if she had hit my door, it very well could have been fatal.  Side impacts are usually not survivable like that.

I learned that because I'm not dead, I must not be done with stuff God has for me to do.

I learned that you'd better take care of yourself NOW because someday you may be called upon to deadlift your wife to get her into the house from the hospital.  If I thought my dad was awesome before this, well, he's super awesome now... 'cause he can do that!  

My boys have a friend that lost his dad in a car accident similar a few years back so this is real to them.  One of my kids flat out told me he couldn't do without a mom.  Ouch.  I quickly told him, though, that if that day would have been my day to be called HOME, that God would have provided for him here and God will always take care of him somehow.  

I'm learning that the devil uses nighttime to catch me at my weakest and torture me with flashbacks, whatifs, and shoulda coulda and woulda... that's dangerous to let him in.  I was not found at fault in the accident.  I have to keep telling myself that.  There really was nothing else I could have done.

I have a friend from college that lost his wife and young son due to an accident.  A couple at our church lost a son in an accident.  I know that this could have been so much worse but it was still allowed to happen.  That's hard to grasp.  I must be thankful. 

I don't know what my point is in writing any of this.  Maybe to just get it all out of my head.  Except that it's still there.  

I learned that my husband worries more than he lets on.  An older man in our church cornered me when I got back and just said, "your husband was so worried about you and it killed him not to come rushing to your side."  What sweet words for me to hear!

I'm learning that people who suffer from depression have real pain and real fears and real hurt.  Only God can touch them sometimes.  We are called simply to love one another.  Everyone has something they are battling.   I may wear a smile 99% of the time but there are days when my brain feels like mush.  God gets me through those days. 

He's my strength.  
He's my peace.
He's my strong tower.
He's my hug that I need.
He's my Word in my ear that says, "I got this."

I love this list... hope it helps someone too...


I'm so thankful that I know Jesus.  I know for sure Who I belong to.  I know for sure that if July 12 had been my day, I would most assuredly have opened my eyes to see my Jesus.  I've asked Him to come be the Lord of my life and I know I'm saved.  There are days when I can feel doubt creep in but then I'm reminded that He's my Daddy, Abba Father.  I asked Him to save me and He gladly said He would.  He's true to His Word.  Just believe.

Keep it Simple,

April

Saturday, May 17, 2014

We're gonna need a biopsy... just to make sure...

It was Monday, April 28 and as usual, our last few weeks of school is incredibly busy.  But God chose to slow me down.  He needed to speak with me.  I've been very vigilant with my breast care all my life.  My mom's mom died of breast cancer at the age of 47.  My mom was around 20, I think and she had three younger sisters.  I've always vowed that I'd never let it creep up on me.  There have been other maternal relatives with breast issues too.  So now, I'm about to be 45 in a few weeks.  The age of 47 is becoming more and more real to me.  I'm careful about what I eat, I know where my food comes from, I get a mammogram/ultrasound every year and I also get a breast MRI every year.  Those two events are staggered 6 months so that I'm actually seen more often than once a year.  

So, with all that said, how in the world could something come up?  Well, on April 28, it did.  Dr. Simpson said they saw something on the ultrasound that was different than a regular cyst I've had in the past and it was much more defined and solid.  She said she would like to take a biopsy and could I come back at 12:30 pm.  Of course, I said.  Glad to get it all done in one day, I alerted my family that I would be later than expected and then went to The Container Store to console myself for a little bit.  I didn't put it on facebook or tell a lot of people, just family.  I felt really at peace.  Even if this was cancer, I still knew God had allowed it for a reason in my life and I would do my best to deal with it with grace.  So during that next hour or so, I prayed for God's peace, which I got.  I prayed for direction, which I got.  And I prayed for it to be nothing... which ultimately, I got.  I didn't find out that it was normal until that Thursday though so it was more than a few days of prayer and a little worry.  Let's face it, these breasts I have now have never really done much for me except cause my worry and aggravation so frankly, I don't care if they stay or go.  

But walking through the Container Store, a very dear friend sent this to me on my cell phone...


You see, my friend knows me so well, she knows I love a list and I am a planner.  However, she had no idea what was going on and where I was!  But God did.  This is the first time she's sent me anything like this or shared her devotional!!!  Totally out of the blue, God said, "I know you are a planner but I need you to stop having to have everything just so, I need to bless you and I can't do that if you've got everything mapped out to a tee."

When I told her what was happening she prayed and was blown away at what the Lord had shared with us through this passage.   Little did either one of us know that in just one week, she would need these verses too for something she was going to go through!!  God is ALWAYS on time.  

So, I'll go back for a follow up ultrasound in three months and I still believe everything will be fine.  But if it's not, then I'm going to be ok with that too.  I am assured of this... everything that ever happens to me has been filtered through the hands of The Almighty and He will see me through it.  It's just that simple.

Keep it Simple,

April

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fifth Grade Party

Oh. My. Goodness... I know everyone says this but how did this happen?  I attended a meeting today to plan the fifth grade party for my eldest son.  Wasn't he just like this yesterday??
And now, in roughly 90 days, he'll be in middle school...


God is so merciful to us.  John was saved at the age of 9 and continues to amaze me every day.  He's smart, funny, kind, and most of all, loving.  He looks out for me and always opens my car door for me.  He hollers, "you ok?" from another room when he hears something that could have been me getting hurt or dropping something.  He's the one who made me a mom.  What an amazing job I have to be his mom and get the privilege of raising this young man.  He's Chuck's mini-me... their fifth grade pictures are almost interchangeable.  Freaky!

Enjoy the good days and try to ignore the bad ones.  I've been feeling very down lately and lots of feelings of inadequacy and failure and uselessness.  Cognitively, I know that is not true but alas, I'm a woman and we are prone to irrational feelings at times.  The fact they are irrational doesn't make them go away.

Keep it Simple,

April

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Thy word have I hid in mine heart...

It's often said that what comes out of your mouth is what is in your heart.  Probably why the Psalmist was directed to 'hide God's word in his heart'.  It keeps us grounded.  I admit, I don't read enough of God's Word.  I purposed to read it all the way through in August of 2012.  Right now, I'm 84.2% through it.  I didn't do it in a year but I will finish it soon.  I'm reading chronologically so I'm in the new testament now... piece. of. cake. compared to the last year of the old testament!!

Anyway, here's my thankful picture of the day...


My youngest, practicing his Awana verses on the fridge.  He writes them in dry erase marker then erases a word or two at a time til he gets it.  It's frustrating for him because his brother reads a verse once or twice and it's in his head.  I think God gave this one, though, a special gift for understanding what he's memorizing.  He gets it and is able to apply it.  Both my boys are so different but both are so affected by God's Word.  They know it's living inside them and someday, they will be able to pull verses out of their heads effortlessly when they need them most.   I'm so happy my kids are learning to dig into God's word at a young age.  I'm thankful for our ministry at church.  

Keep is Simple,

April

Monday, January 13, 2014

This is the job I wanted

Last night, I was allowing myself to get so down and self-deprecating, it was pathetic.  I was actually teary-eyed as I complained to my husband over the phone, "how did I let the kids get this far behind in their books?  I can't keep up with it all!  Other mothers have it all together.  I can't do it as good as they do it.  My kids are not doing well because of me."  Of course, because God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me a husband who is Godly and understands that I'm crazy, he just said, "Honey, I love you and that's not true at all.  I'll talk more with you when I get home."  


After I got off the phone one of my children asks me why I'm crying.  Not wanting him to feel like it's his fault, I just say that I'm having a hard time doing a good job.  He says, "who said you were doing a bad job?"  Instantly, before I could even have a rational thought, my Spirit said, "Satan."  David didn't even bat an eye and said, "but he lies."


Then, this morning right before I opened God's Word in my morning time, I got a notification from a friend and she posted this to her facebook page... click below...


Don't you just love it when the Holy Spirit reaches out and hugs you and says, "I know where you are, I know what you are doing and I'm proud of you."

Keep it Simple,

April




Saturday, January 11, 2014

New Year, New Goals, blah, blah, blah!!!

I started out this year thinking, "I'm really going to document more and keep a better record of stuff."  Yeah, right.  

Oh, look, it's already January 11!

We're starting a new finance class at church tomorrow and we are very excited about it.  It's called, "Navigating Your Finances God's Way."  They have a facebook page here:  https://www.facebook.com/CompassFinancesGodsWay

Awesome study and we highly recommend it.  Anything you can do to make your finances better is a good thing.

So here's my picture for the day:

The awesome folks at our church took advantage of the frigid temps the other day and made 'snow' down the back hill of our church and let the kids come sled!  My kids were happy and that makes me happy!!

That's what I'm thankful for today.  

Keep it Simple,

April

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Plan to EAT... sounds simple and it really is...

You've all heard the old addage...


 Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Well, guess what, they are right!!  I'm going to share with you the single greatest tool I have ever found for my meal planning.  And let me tell you, people, I've tried them all!!!  There are those that give you your menu for the week then give you your grocery list.  Well, guess what (now I sound like my nephew that says, 'guess what' every five seconds!), my family doesn't enjoy someone else's menu every week.  They love the stuff that makes them feel like home.  I have those same recipes that made me feel like home when I was growing up.  Super Duper Potatoes, Hoppin' John, Zucchini Quiche, Mom's vegetable soup, etc.  I have them all and I love them all!!  So does my family, ok, maybe not the quiche.  So here's what my friend Sarah showed me...


And, in keeping with my frugal spirit... they just emailed me that they are running a sale for black friday!!!  

Plan to Eat - Black Friday Weekend Sale

Remember my post about my menu on the fridge here?

Well that worked great until I decided to add a recipe or take one away or something.  I knew I wouldn't take the time to make a new magnet block and I knew it would bug me if something wasn't uniform.  Soooooo, we do this now...


So far, this new plan to eat website has really been a God send!!!  I can easily save my recipes there, drag them to a virtual calendar, then send a grocery list for the week to my phone and get the stuff I need for the week.  So very easy!!!  and Simple!!  ahhhhh, don't you feel better now?  It's almost as orderly as Tuesday was this week with the date of 11/12/13!!  Everything in its place as it should be.  :)

Anyway, I had been really falling down on the job of cooking meals lately because of my failure to plan.  We were eating out way too much and not getting time at the home table.  Love love love this!  Hopefully, you will too.

Enjoy!  I'm going to put up my Christmas tree now... Fa la la la la la la la la!!!!!

Keep it Simple,

April

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Let the little children come to Me...


The picture above is a pic I just took of my son's bible.

Well, the coolest thing happened tonight.  As most families will agree, my kids, although both from the same gene pool, are total opposites.  John will see the end goal (going to the pool) and immediately set out on a mission to get done the required tasks (job chart done) and lickety split, the kid is done.  David will spend much more time trying to get out of said jobs and still think it's ok after all the discussing, arguing, begging, and finally sometimes, disciplinary action, that we go to the pool.  ugh.  Well, tonight, Chuck was headed to work and he asked me what was wrong.  Instead of my standard "nothing", I answered him.  I said I was dreading getting David to do his job chart.  (we use www.myjobchart.com and it's wonderful!!)  He said he would talk to him on the way out.  Well, David came in and immediately asked to go to the pool.  I said I'd be happy to take him and John for a bit if he was caught up.  Well, of course, he's not.  So he set about the loooooooooooooooooooong, sloooooooooooooooooooow, job of getting it all done.  It's not much people.  So with each task, he would get sidetracked and get on something else and I had to keep pulling him back in.  Finally, he was down to his Awana verses.  They have to at least look in the book every day and be ready with something on wednesday nights.  Makes it easier when wednesday rolls around and they don't have to cram.  So he opens his book and goes in the other room.  Minutes later he comes running back in... he says, 'momma, you won't believe what God just showed me.'  Well, that doesn't come out of his mouth every day so I perked up... 'what?'  He said, 'my verse I'm supposed to illustrate is Proverbs 1:8-9.  I said 'ok, what is that?'... he looked up at me and then slowly read it...

My son, hear the instruction of your father,
And do not forsake the law of your mother;

then he slowly read the second line again... then he looked up at me.

He said, 'God is showing me that He knows exactly what we were talking about and He is telling me that I should do what you want so we can go ahead and go to the pool.'  

I said, 'David that is amazing.  He can show us stuff all sorts of ways.'

Mom, Mr. Jimmy says that the Bible is the living Word of God and that He uses that to speak to us.

David, you are so right.  You'll remember this verse and this day for a very long time.  I can remember each time God directly gave me a message or a lesson.  It's very special to get to recognize and hear directly from Him about a specific thing.

Mom, you wanna know how I know that He's talking just to me?

How, David?

Look at the example in the AWANA book... the stick figure mom has curly hair!!!

Then  he ran out of the room, got a pen and underlined the verse.  This is the first verse he's underlined as far as I know.  Then he asked me to write the date.  I can't tell you how thankful I am to my Jesus for touching my child in such a tangible way today.

The God of the Universe spoke to my son.

He reached out to Him like no other can and gently said, "listen to her, she's trying to help you."

God's got my back.

He loves me and my family.

I cannot express how full of joy I am right now.

Off to make some tea, put the boys to bed, and go to bed early.  Praising God all the way!!!


Keep it Simple

April.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bunk 'Em Up!!

Just wanted to share the boys' room after we moved them in together.  They love it, we love it and can't wait to have some awesome time together getting the other room ready for some fun!

Here's some before pictures of both rooms:

This was John's room.  We sold this bedroom set to someone at church.

This was David's room.  This is the infamous Brumm bed from the 1800's.  No one would let me get rid of it so now it's at Chuck's mommas house til one of our boys wants to get rid of it...errrrr... I mean use it in their house!  :)


Next starts the cleaning out process of the rooms!  Ugh.  This is my least favorite part...




Then we got some full over full bunk beds from a friend that was moving... they were unfinished so I stained them, then put a coat of poly on (in the garage, in the rain.. took almost a week to dry!  grrr)





The black duvet covers bugged them so back to Ikea they went!  This is John's closet in this picture so the next thing was to get David's clothes where he could get to them!!




I will be posting details of the closet redo soon.  Chuck did a great job and it took some doing but we got that Ikea PAX unit in there!  whew!

Keep it Simple...

April

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Woo hoo! First day of 4th and 5th grade!!!

Here I go... like every other mother just did yesterday, I'm going to say it...

Where did the years go???

Wasn't it just yesterday that they looked like this?


Now I'm waking up to this...


Today is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Feeling very thankful today.  Enjoy your day, no matter what, and find something to do for someone else.

Keep it Simple,

April


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Travel Wall Update!!

Just wanted to show y'all our travel wall update!  I've been wanting to add photos of our missionaries for a while and just kept getting sidetracked... *squirrel!*... anyway... here it is!!!  I'm so happy now our kids will be able to put faces with them and it reminds us every time we walk down the hall to pray for them!







Keep is Simple,

April
:)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Take Control of your Money!!!

I wanted to share a quick tip for managing your money that we have used for several months now and it's working great!!!  If you find yourself wondering where your cash went then this little app will be your fav thing!  It's called EEBA on your phone/tablet/etc.  It's available in the app store or the play store.  Here is the link to a video about it...


Just search for EEBA in either your app store from your i product or in your play store for your android device.  TRUST ME ON THIS... your life will be easier when you know where your cash goes.

Keep it Simple,

April