Saturday, April 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Clara!!

Here are some of pics of the birthday girl. She has had a full year. She went to camp for the first time. Made many new friends. Began to play competitve soocer. Went to Disney. Vacationed with her friend, Madison twice. We're very thankful Clara is a part of our family. God created a smart, funny, passionate girl who brings life to the world around her.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Birthday trumps Busyness!!

This year we are adapting to life with four active children. It seems like we are always behind and often one of us is acting like a behind (but we won't discuss our behind-like attitudes today). In the past we have done a great job with our children's birthdays..making them special and fun. This year we have not done such a great job because we are always behind. But, the fact of the matter is no matter how busy we are the birthdays still come.

Tomorrow is Clara's birthday...she turns nine. And here I sit frantically trying to come up with a plan. This will probably be our busiest weekend of the year. Tomorrow we have a T-ball game, two soccer games, and a service project. Sunday we have at least one, maybe two soccer games, Life Group and our girls are attending a musical.

On the positive side...I'm learning to work with what I have...Lemons to Lemonade kind of thing. Plus, today is unscheduled, so I can devote time to coming up with a good plan. What used to take me a month to do can now be done in twenty-four hours.

Clara's is precious and we will enjoy celebrating her life tomorrow!! She loves to play soccer!! She gets to play with her friends twice on her birthday. What more could she want? If she were here right now she would say...PRESENTS!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Plans Change

Recently we realized that our air conditioner in our van wasn't working, so we took it to our mechanic to get it fixed. Air conditioning is important in the South!! I figured it would cost a few hundred dollars. Well, the mechanic called today with an estimate which was substantially higher than what I thought it would be. His estimate took my breath away (and not in the good kind of way).

Our first response was there is no way we are going to pay that much money to get our really old, broken down van fixed. We will just purchase a different vehicle. So, for about four and a half hours I was in "gotta buy a new to us used car quick" mode. Then, the children went to bed and David and I had about five minutes of quiet where we regained our sanity. Tomorrow we will call the mechanic and nicely ask him to fix our van and grudgingly (I mean willingly) write a check for an obscene amount of money. And, yet, it will be the wise thing to do. Yes, it is risky, because our van is older than dirt. Oh, how we pray that God will honor our commitment to not incur debt by extending the life of our van until the end of this year!!

The hardest part is telling our children we are not getting a new to us car. We rented a Suburban (really large tank-like vehicle...I felt strong and mighty) today. Noah LOVES it. He thinks it's cool because it can seat nine people. Today on the way to school he was deciding who we could add to our family. His conclusion was Katie H., Jeremy D and Josiah D. He did point out that we also need to build them beds in our house so they can sleep. Poor Noah will be disappointed on so many levels. But, he will survive.

The bottom line is we can afford to fix our car. We cannot afford to purchase a new car.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Count the Cost!!

Yesterday at church we studied the passage from Luke 14 where Jesus said to be his disciple we must hate father, mother, wife and children, yes even our own life. We must carry our cross and follow him in order to be his disciple. We must consider the cost and realize what it will require. We must give up everything to be his disciple. Jesus was addressing a large crowd. He certainly wasn't trying to win friends and influence people. He wasn't trying to increase his fan base. He wanted and still wants followers.

We spent time talking with our Life Group (smaller group of friends) about this passage and what it really means. It seems like it is easy to say we want to follow Jesus and we are willing to give it all. But, when we are called to give up something that's when it gets harder. This morning I'm still pondering what this means in my life and I'm not really sure.

As one friend said last night this looks different for each person. I remember in the Bible when Jesus told Peter what was coming..."when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go". Then Jesus said to him, "Follow me". Peter's response was to ask what was going to happen to John. Jesus response..."what is that to you?" Basically...none of your business.

This is what is on my mind this morning!! My desire is to Follow Christ and I don't want that to be just lip service. I want it to be real. Following Christ means that my eyes must be fixed on Him...not looking around. Following Christ means walking where He leads. Following Christ means loving the people He puts in my life. Love God..Love Others. Four simple words that are so difficult.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What's Yours Is Mine!!

Elijah playing with his toys Easter morning, perfectly happy and content!!

Oohh, what does Noah have over there, it looks pretty cool. I think I'll wander over and check out what he has.

What he has looks better than what I have. I made my move, but he blocked me out.

This is a really dirty look. Maybe if I look mean enough, my brother will give me his toys. It doesn't seem to be working.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Four Children!!

Here are our Easter Morning shots. Getting four children to actually look at the impossible task.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Day Before Easter Fun!!

Some pics of the Smith's having a fun day.

Clara would be the girl in the peach shirt. She squeezed the life out of the day. This was about the only view we had of her all day. She had a good day with friends and participated FULLY in our church treasure hunt. By the end of the day she was helping paint faces.

Hannah had it made in the shade for her Easter Egg Hunt. They saved a ton of eggs for the 5th grade and there were about 15 participants. She had eggs in her hood, her pockets and her bag was FULL.

Noah wasn't too sure about the idea of having his face painted. Once he did gave in to the pressure he was quite proud of his Easter Egg on his face.

Elijah Had a Great Day!!!

Our family attended the Treasure Hunt at our church this year. It was fun albeit freezing!! Here's some pics of Elijah enjoying himself. I'm not so sure the bunny is his favorite. He did think hunting eggs was pretty cool though.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Boys Are Different Than Girls!!

I continue to learn that boys are different than girls!! Today Noah asked if he could go play in the garage for a bit and I said sure. Elijah was asleep. It was raining outside. I thought "Yeah a little peace and quiet". A bit later Noah came inside and said he wasn't feeling so well. After questioning him to make sure he wasn't sick, I sent him off to bed for rest time.
A little while later, David went out for his daily trip to Kroger. When he came home and brought the groceries in...He asked "Who has been in the garage?" As I followed David to the garage, I thought "Oh, no, what did Noah do?" The evidence loomed before me. My sweet innocent, little boy experienced his first bout with grafitti. He had taken the spray paint and painted several places. Luckily Smokey, the cat is still gray, not painted white and our van was not in the garage.
We sat down with our little hoodlum and began to discuss this. He said "It looked like fun when Daddy did it." (David and Clara had painted a frame the day before.) When we began to get to the nitty gritty of what the consequences would be. A bright smile came to his face and he said, "But, I found my fishing pole." Nice diversionary tactic. We again turned the conversation back to the consequences and he said, "But I found my buckets." Again, diversionary tactic.
At this point we are about to bust out laughing when Elijah, who was innocently hitting his golf ball, just happened to whack the snot out of it. It hit the wall behind where I was sitting, then zinged over to the other wall and landed in the kitchen. BOYS, BOYS, BOYS!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jump'in and Climb'in

Here's some pics of the kids spending their hard earned money for a few minutes of fun. Usually we say no to such excess, but we surprised the kids by saying yes. They did have a really good time!!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Clara in Action

Clara has been quite busy the last few weeks. She has played in two soccer tournaments. She has one more scheduled this spring which happens to fall the weekend of her birthday. This is a great shot of her in action taken by her daddy!!

Bartlett 98 at Stones River Shootout Tournament

Clara's soccer team played in a tournament in Nashville, TN last weekend. This is half-time from their first game. They normally play 8 vs 8 and for this tournament they played 6 vs 6. The first half was a little rough. It had been a while since they played 6v6 and a while since the coaches had coached 6v6. The team waits patiently during half time, while the coaches huddle to develop a strategy. The girls lost their first game. They won their second game. They made it to the semi-finals where they lost, but they fought hard!!! We're real proud of them.

Girls will be girls!!

This is the team in between games at the hotel while at the Stones River Tournament. They were in total girl mode...getting their nails done. Thanks to Molly's mom, India who coordinated this fun event. She ran an excellent nail salon with the perfect colors of red, white and colors, team spirit. This was a fabulous bonding experience for the players and for the families. This is their second season playing together and it is fun to see them developing into a sweet little team.

Marsha, Marsha, Marsha

Lest Hannah become like Jan Brady and say Marsha, Marsha, Marsha (Clara, Clara, Clara)..I thought I would post a cute picture of her. She had an EXCELLENT time at the tournament. She got a chance to spend time with two of her friends, Sophie and Katie. She is becoming such an amazing young woman. Last night we watched the movie "One Night With A King" and as soon as it was over she read the entire book of Esther. Next year Hannah will begin homeschooling. We gave her the first and contrast the movie with the biblical account. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with in her report.

Fun with the Fulks!!

Our friends the Fulks, from Ohio came over for a visit during their spring break. The kids had an absolute blast. I'm not sure what they are doing in this photo, but I think they look like the future top five on American Idol, minus the Sanjaya mohawk of course.
Clara and Sydney dressed in multiple outfits throughout the course of the evening. They were definite fashion divas!!

Noah and Dillon enjoyed being BOYS!! They had so much fun and the highlight of their evening was who could burp the loudest.

These sweet girls are growing up so fast!! We're glad the Fulks came for a visit and look forward to our next time together!!

Hot Springs View

Two weekends ago I went away with six ladies for some rest and relaxation. This is the view from my lounge chair beside the lake. It was such nourishment for my soul. I love being outside enjoying God's creation. Time alone was great. But more amazing was my time with these amazing women... we shared our hearts, our lives, our past and our present with one another. My favorite part was the laughter. We laughed until it hurt. We are all ready to do it again.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Vomit Viper Strikes!!

Yes, it is 2:17 am and I am blogging. The Vomit Viper has struck our home with a vengenance. Currently, David and Hannah have been struck, but I anticipate more. So, while I'm cleaning up vomit I'm asking myself this question. "Why does the Vomit Viper seem to strike when my life is already so out of control?" In the last six weeks we've had two weeks of illness (fever related), two soccer tournaments (one in town and one out of town), a ladies retreat for me, spring break. My laundry is piled high. My house needs a good cleaning. My brain is on overload. And, I'm cleaning up throw up at 2:00 in the am. On a positive note....this illness did not prevent either of our trips out of town. Wednesday is not one of my scheduled work days. I'm not sick, yet. We are not all in one hotel room on vacation (Two years ago in Colorado we were struck with "the plague" one right after the other. We were ALL sick with one bathroom within a twelve hour time frame. It was not pretty!!)

A verse that has been speaking volumes to me is "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way." The phrase "at all times in every way" trips me up a bit. That seems so out there. But, how I long for peace in the middle of the chaos, whatever the chaos of the day or moment might be. And, it is Jesus Himself that gives the peace. I can't manufacture it. I can't fake it. Instead I'm oftentimes the creator of chaos in my life.

So my preparations for Easter this year may look a little different. With a can of lysol and a vat of laundry detergent, I will fix my eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith. I will let the Prince of Peace invade my heart so that he may do His work in me.