November 29, 2011

Growing Pains

Colin is going through another growth spurt. All the signs are there: constant eating, irritability, extra tired, and the worst - growing pains.  Last night, he was up until 10:30 - unable to sleep because his legs hurt "way down deep on the inside."

As a mom, I feel so helpless - there is really nothing you can do for growing pains except to try and make your child as comfortable as possible.  We rubbed Tiger Balm on his legs, cuddled on the couch and prayed...and waited for the pain to pass.  Two hours past his bedtime, he finally felt a little better and let us tuck him back in to his bed.

I do not take any sort of pleasure in knowing my children are in pain. But, I confess, I do get excited when I think about the fact that my boys are growing.  Growth is a sign that they are healthy; It is a sign that they are changing, maturing, and becoming who God created them to be.  So while I do not want them in pain, I am excited for the change that awaits them on the other side of this temporary discomfort.

Pain is not pleasant: but it can be rewarding.  An athlete knows that if he pushes through the burn, he will be stronger and healthier and he will be one step closer to meeting that goal that he has been working towards.  A woman knows that she must breathe, and then push, through the pain of contractions to finally hold and caress that precious life that she has been carrying deep within her belly for 9 long months. An accident victim knows that they must take a deep breath and force themselves to get through that next session of physical therapy so that they may reclaim the life that a drunk driver almost took away.

So much pain.  But so much reward.

I need to be reminded (often) of the adage "no pain, no gain."  I think, like many people, I want things the easy way. I want to learn to play the piano without having to practice.  I want to write a book without having to write a thousand worthless essays or blogs posts first.  I want to memorize scripture without having to study it. I want to be strong and healthy without having to put down my Pepsi and pick up a weight.

But there cannot be growth or true success or honest pride - without hard work, sacrifice, and, yes, sometimes even pain.  We cannot expect that we can sit on the couch watching reruns of "Home Improvement" and our life will just magically transform on its own in between commercial breaks.

We need to get up and run (or walk first); we need to remember what it means to sweat, to study, to think...

We need to feel the burn, push through those contractions, take a deep breath and remember that the pain is only temporary.

And what is on the other side is priceless.

Be encouraged.  Be brave. Find your voice.  And get up...and run!

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

November 25, 2011

So Furious: Fab Music Friday

1. Crank up volume.

2. Push play.

3. Listen to its message.

4. Then play it again - this time with your arms open wide.

     And sing loud.

          'Cuz God is listening.

               And He loves to hear you.

(Email subscribers, please go HERE.)

Now, be brave. 

Find your voice. 

And have a fantabulous weekend!

November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whatever you do today, whether it's watch the Macy's Parade, share a big meal with your family or just snuggle up with a good book and a turkey sandwich, I pray today brings you rest, peace and refreshment.

...we are thankful.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Much love,

November 22, 2011

Here, Little Monkey...

All I can say is, I appreciate their honesty...


Moving along...

November 18, 2011

Speak Louder: Fab Music Friday

  You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)
This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:14)

>Hear now this declaration  ~  From out across the nations  ~  We need to wake up and understand

Many hurting hearts are crying  ~  But our voices seem to be dying  ~  Can you see the battle raging on?

We are the light to reach this world  ~  We are the salt preserving these souls
Let's show them the love that we've received now

We are, we are in desperation  ~  We need to reach this generation
We are speaking louder than before

We are the hope that's been forgotten  ~  We have a love that will be brought and
We are speaking louder than before

Take every chance that you can  ~  Move together taking a stand
Never losing heart, we'll speak as one

We need to be the image of Christ
Show love and serve at all times
We can make a difference in these land

We are the light to reach this world  ~  We are the salt preserving these souls
Let's show them the love that we've received no

We are, we are in desperation  ~  We need to reach this generation
We are speaking louder than before

We are the hope that's been forgotten  ~  We have the love that will be brought
We are speaking louder than before

Everything's so surreal  ~  But this urgency I feel
We should be reaching out to all these desperate pleas

Oh, the need is real can't you feel
This call to revolution
My beating heart is breaking for them
That's why I'm speaking now
That's why I'm speaking now

We are, we are in desperation  ~  We need to reach this generation
We are speaking louder than before

We are the hope that's been forgotten  ~  We have a love that will be brought and
We are speaking louder than before

We are, we are, we're speaking louder
We are, we are, we're speaking louder
We are speaking louder than before
We are speaking louder than before
Oh, yeah

Oh, yeah...

Be Brave. Let your light shine. And have a great weekend.

November 16, 2011

A Little Refreshment Please

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
  (Hebrews 10:25)

I did nothing this weekend.

And I did it 2 hours away from home in a remote Minnesota lake cabin with three other beautiful women.  We talked, laughed, played games, ate lots of chocolate and drank lots of coffee, shared music and faith and struggles.  We stayed up late and slept in. We stayed in our jammies most of the day and didn't shower until the middle of the afternoon. We sat in silence and we shared God's Word.

We did all this...and, yet, we did nothing.

Because we did not chase kids, do laundry, or stress about our jobs or our churches or our homes. No one cleaned a toilet, or changed a diaper, or ran car pool for the 3rd time this week. Not one of us left to run errands, or pick up a sick kid, or attend a committee meeting.

We were four weary women sneaking away to do something other than the something that we normally do - and, in that, it felt deliciously like we were doing nothing.

And it felt good.

November 14, 2011

It's Monday & I've Got a (Meal) Plan


It's Monday and I've actually got my meal plan completed and most of my shopping done.

I rock.

Pass the chocolate.

So here's what's on the menu for this week:

Monday: Butternut Squash Soup & Homemade Butterhorns
Tuesday: Asian Chicken & Rice
Wednesday: Knephla Soup
Thursday: Italian Chicken
Friday: Subway
Saturday lunch: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Saturday supper:  Supper may very well be popcorn - see below...
Sunday lunch: BLT's & Raw Veggies (we like carrots and sugar snap peas)
Sunday supper: I do not cook on Sunday nights - we have what I like to call refrigerator 'buffet'

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights will all be new recipes, so wish me luck!  I will pick my most successful meal and share it with you on Friday.

Friday we are just doing Subway because that is the day that our Pack gets in all the popcorn that we sold - over $24,000 worth of popcorn-y goodness.  Keith is the popcorn chair so it is his job so sort and organize the distribution of all our Pack's popcorn; plus the popcorn for two Packs from neighboring communities.

On Saturday, we will begin delivery of the $3000 dollars worth of popcorn that Colin sold. It will be a long weekend and your prayers will be appreciated.  Egads.

Oh, well ... let's get cooking!
What's on your menu this week? Do have any new recipes planned? Do you have you tried some thing new lately that was a hit? Or a flop?

I am also linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm An Organizing Junkie!

Are You Really Here?

Last month, Colin got himself into a little bit of trouble. I won't go into the details other than to say he learned that you always need to tell you mother where you're going before you go there. Ahem.

This mis-step on Colin's part ended up in him being grounded for 4 days.  No TV, no iPod, no video games, no friends... for 4. whole. days.  His imprisonment grounding would have been long enough on its own but then add in the fact that he had 2 days off of school that week because of ND Teacher's Convention.  So because of one poor choice, Colin was grounded for all 4 days of his coveted and rare 4-day weekend.


I wasn't sure who this was going to be harder on: Colin...or Mom.

November 13, 2011

Quiet Waters

"I will refresh the weary 
                               and satisfy the faint..."
                           ~ Jeremiah 31:25

November 11, 2011

I Just Wanted to Say Thank You: Fab Music Friday

We have enjoyed so much freedom for so long
that we are perhaps in danger of forgetting how much blood it cost to establish the Bill of Rights.
~Felix Frankfurter

USMC Graduation, November 09

Today is Veteran's Day and I could attempt to wax eloquent about the importance of patriotism, our troops and our freedoms.

Or I could just get to the point and say what I came to say:

Thank you.

Freedom is never free: someone paid the price.  Make sure you tell that someone "Thank you."

(An extra "Thank you" to my son, Corporal Christopher M Samuels, of the USMC.  I think it's been a few days since we told you how proud we are of you!)

Don't forget to say "Thank You" to veterans today: There are a million ways to say it - just pick one and do it.

November 9, 2011

Understanding the Majesty of a Miracle

I once was lost - a hopeless sinner.

My sin was a stench, an offense to GodWholly and completely unacceptable.

I was doomed to die.  Separated from God, miserable and in agony, for eternity.

And there was nothing - absolutely nothing - that I could do about it.

And that grieved God deeply. 

November 8, 2011

Family Matters

The last couple of months have been ca-razy around here.  For those of you that are interested, here is just some of what has been keeping us so busy.

Twins Baseball:  Keith and Colin joined Uncle Kyle at the Target Center in Minneapolis for a Minnesota Twins game. It was the first time Colin had been at such a big stadium.  They arrived early so they could watch the players warm up - which worked out well for Colin who ended up with an autographed baseball and some awesome memories.  The Twins lost but they had a blast.  Thanks, Uncle Kyle!

November 7, 2011

I Want Your Stuff

People were created to be loved.Things were created to be used.
The reason why the world is in chaos, is because things are being loved and people are being used.

I do not know who said this but the words could not be truer.  What is going on in the world - in our own country - is crazy.  I makes me shake my head, turn off the TV, and pray a little harder.  And it makes me ask, "What is it all about?" And I think I've come up with an answer.

In a short word: stuff.

It's all about stuff.  Cool stuff, bigger stuff, more stuff...someone else's stuff.

November 4, 2011

Supercali-whatever: Fab Music Friday

Well, the weather is definitely turning colder.  And we all know the only way to stay warm is to keep moving!
So here's something to get stuck in your head and keep you motivated.

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Be blessed.  Be brave.  And have a great weekend!