Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blogger Malfunction?

Is anyone who uses blogspot having issues with their blog? All my right column contents is now at the bottom of my page. I've switched templates several times and it shows on the "dashboard" as being just fine but when I view it, it is NOT fine. Anyone besides me having problems?

Update!! My dear friend Candi fixed it for me!! Thank you SO much, Candi!!

Beware Future Boyfriends!!

See Byron's Blog for a hilarious post.

We can't give up!

I'm hearing alot of Conservative Holiness People saying things like, "the conservative talk show host ________ (you fill in the blank) says that Huckabee doesn't stand a chance." or "If you vote for Huckabee you are throwing away your vote." Well, one preacher told his church recently, that he believes that if anyone votes for a candidate who supports abortion, that the person who voted for him will also be held accountable for the abortions done while he's in office. That's something to think about.. It's an interesting thought. Not one that I've thought of before. You may agree with that or may not. However, at this point, I believe, conservative Christians have only one clear option. Here's yet another clip that again demonstrates why I will be voting for Huckabee.

Am I Beautiful?

This morning Alyssa staggered out of bed and found me in the kitchen. Her hair was sticking out every which way. She had 2 different colored socks on. Her bedclothes were wrinkled and twisted and her eyes were still 3/4 glazed shut. She was squinting to even see me. She came over to me and stretched out her arms. I picked her up and her first words to me were, "Am I beautiful, Mommy?" I told her that she was beyond beautiful to me. She was one of a kind. Then she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, do I look like you?"

After this was all said and done the spiritual application of that conversation hit me like a ton of bricks. In all our dissarray of humaness that must look to God like Alyssa looked to me this AM, he still finds us to be beautiful! The depth of love I felt for my little girl as she searched for affirmation from me is NOTHING compared to the love God feels for me as HIS daughter. I can come to Him just as I am and He loves ME! He sees "Julie" - not just the faults and the failures (which are many). Just as I found Alyssa to be beautiful inspite of the outter appearances, He finds me to be beautiful as well.

Then her last question really did me in. "Mommy, do I look like you?" Wow. Shouldn't our ultimate goal in life be to look like our Father? Lord help my daily prayer to be, "Abba, do I look like you?" When others see me, it is my deepest desire that they not see me, but that they see my Father.
Maybe I've totally spirituallized something that was not worth mentioning. However, God ministered to me through the experience. Oh to be a kid again!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Agora Skate Party

Kenton is homeschooled through Agora. Each month they sponsor an outing for the students and their families. Today we went to Erie and joined all the other area families for a 2 hour rollerskating session (for FREE!!!). Agora had rented the entire rink so we had it all to ourselves. We got to meet our teacher and many other great families who are also part of Agora. It was a GREAT day. Agora is a great school and we highly recommend it. The kids had never rollerskated before today. It was VERY interesting to say the least!! The girls did great from the very start. Kenton warmed up 1/2 way through and started taking off. Dear Vince fell a couple times adn said - enough of this!!! He spent most of the time out on the carpet. LOL

Kenton and his teacher

We hadn't eaten lunch so we grabbed a small snack. The food there was surprisingly very inexpensive.

Alyssa went up to this little girl all by herself and offered her hand.

She's Running Away

My 3 yr old just informed me that she is going to run away. What awful thing did I make her do to elicit such a response? I peeled an orange for her then told her she had to stay in the kitchen to eat it. She argued with me and I told her that if she left the kitchen with it she would be disciplined. She then said, "fine. I'll just run away." I told her I'd go pack her bag. She just looked at me like I was crazy. I explained that at night it would get cold and dark and she would be scared. She quickly although somewhat reluctantly changed her mind.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Secret Sister's 2008

Admittedly, this post is more for my sake than for anyone else's - especially since I didn't take even ONE pic!!! I want to have this as black and white reminders to me.

Anyways, tonight we (the ladies of the Keepville church) kicked off our first "Secret Sister" attempt. We had alot of fun eating, playing games and laughing tonight here at the parsonage. Plenty of perfect Kodak moments but I was so busy being hostess that I forgot to even get the camera out. We had 9 ladies here but there are 13 ladies actually participating this year. I am SO excited!!!

Weekend Fun!!

This past weekend, my sister and her family came to visit. It was the first time they've been here forever. Anyways... we LOVED having them (see Byron's blog for his perspective) and there were many tears from the children as they left. Here's some pictures of the fun we had together.

While she was here, Shandra did a couple sewing projects for me. I may take pics and show the final projects later today.


Mom had sent cookies for the kids to make for Valentines Day. She also sent a dozen sugar cookies from Eat n Park restaurant. Well, Shandra and I have a serious love for their cookies so we schemed together that we wouldn't tell the kids about the Eat n Park cookies and would eat them ourselves. So, I called mom and told her of our scheming and she told us to go ahead and eat them since she had sent the other cookies for the kids. So, here's the picture of us enjoying our cookies- for mom's benefit. The following pics are of the kids making their cookies from Mama & Papa Wallace.

Eating the finished product.

My Political Thoughts

I just read this letter that was a response to an article in the Birmingham paper (online version). This writer says it exactly how I feel.....

OFF THE FENCE. In the past few months my wife and I have struggled as to who we would support in the rapidly approaching presidential primary. We, like many, have been frustrated at the fact we have not found the "perfect" conservative candidate. After Hunter endorsed Huckabee, and Thompson dropped out, the decision became clear. While we have had some red flags, there was only one man left standing who has not waffled on the most crucial moral issues to conservatives. Mike Huckabee may not be Ronald Reagan but he has not wavered on the right to life, the sanctity of marriage, or on the first and second amendment.

In the past two weeks I have asked scores of like-minded friends what they thought about the upcoming election. I have never seen such a consistent, yet conflicted answer. Without exception every person, when asked "If you had to vote tomorrow, who would you vote for?" has said, "Huckabee, I guess."

We had all gone through the same frustrating thought processes. We all had the same legitimate questions, and had all heard every political pundit tell us that the one conservative candidate we could live with doesn't have a chance. Without exception, every person wanted to hear someone say, "Its all right to finally get off the fence and speak up for your candidate of choice."

Saturday Mike Huckabee was expected to draw a crowd of 400 people at Samford University. 2,200 showed up. There was much talk of Huckabee running out of money after the South Carolina primary. A goal was set to raise a million dollars in a week. The goal was met and surpassed in six days. A day after Huckabee decided to scale back his efforts in Florida, one poll had him within five points of the leader. (No wonder he got back into the Florida race).

As I write this, Mike Huckabee is tied for the lead in Alabama, leading in Missouri and leading by fifteen points in Georgia.

Once in a lifetime the perfect candidate appears. The rest of the time, voters have to find a candidate who best embraces the values they know to be right. I am but one of many who have decided the paralysis of analysis must come to an end quickly if conservatives are going to have a candidate in the general election. Looking around the country, it appears as if there are a lot of us getting off the fence and into the game.

I'm supporting Mike Huckabee because I believe he is the best candidate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vincent Raises $202.00!!

Today we took the money for St. Jude's to school for Vincent. We still have to collect $25.00 but he raised $202.00 total. We are SO proud of him. I have scanned 3 pages of the work he did so that you can see examples of the problems he had to do. He did all the problems COMPLETELY by himself. I was VERY proud of him. Thank you SO much to each of you who donated money and helped him out. We sure do appreciate it!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I finally fixed the pictures in this entry. Sorry about that!!!

Misc. pictures that make me smile

Here is a comglomeration of some of my favorite miscellaneous pictures from last week.

I am Married to the BEST man EVER!!

Several years ago my mother in law gave me her kitchen aid mixer. I use it - on average - 5 days a week. I LOVE the machine. Well, in September the beloved mixer died. Byron told me he'd look at it and see if it was fixable. Well, between then and now, Byron has not had a spare minute to work on it. I've been hobbling along without it. Thanks to a wonderful neighbor who so kindly has lended me her mixer multiple times. Somewhere along the way, I purchased a "cheap" handheld mixer and it promptly died a couple weeks later.

Fast forward to tonight.....

I got home from picking up a few groceries and my darling husband walked in the front door carrying my old faithful kitchen aid!!!! It's FIXED!!!! I am SOOOOO SOOOO happy!!!!!!!! We figure that this "old faithful" is approximately 50 years old and now... GOING STRONG!!!!

PS... the mixer pictured above is NOT my mixer. My mixer is QUITE old and looks its age. That mixer pictured above is my dream mixer. :-)

Fun In Pittsburgh (Part 2)

On Friday Stephen & Byron went skiing(see Byron's blog for pics). Shandra and I took the gang to the mall to play in their indoor playland. We even managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of shopping. Then we took them back home. When it became apparent that they were getting a bit of cabin fever we bundled them up and took them to the park. They had alot of fun even though it was inhuman temperatures!!! See Shandra's blog for more pics.

This is the apartment building where Shandra & Stephen live. They are on the 19th floor and have an awesome view!!!

The girls on the tire swing

The Cousins

My favorite Sister and nieces

The Frozen Mother and Children

Downtown Pittsburgh

Eating a treat after riding the subway

I thought we had trained her not to kiss scary men!!! (But then again, I thought my parents had taught my sister that too!!! (snicker... sorry Stephen, couldn't resist.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fun In Pittsburgh (Part 1)

We got to Pittsburgh - my sister's place on Thursday night late. Friday afternoon, my sister kept my kids and Byron and I went for a much needed - long overdue date. Thanks to my sister and brother in law for the restaurant gift certificate!!!

Anyways... after we got home from that we took the kids and rode the Pittsburgh subway. It was really neat - and FREE!!! :-) Anyways, we didn't have a working camera with us so Byron snapped a couple pictures with his cell phone. After the subway ride we took the kids for a ice cream cone at McDonalds. Pictures of that bit of fun to follow (after my sister gets them off her camera).

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

My mom's birthday was this past Thursday. Since the kids did not have school Friday, we made the trip "home" and met my parents for supper to celebrate. My mom had NO idea we were coming and I wish you all could have seen the look on her face as the kids rushed up to her car door and attacked her. It was priceless. I didn't get a picture (it was dark) but you'll have to just trust me.

My sister and I had spent most of the week planning and scheming. Mom did NOT make it easy for us!!! First, she told my dad that instead of going out to eat on Thurs (her actual birthday) that she wanted them to go out Tuesday night instead. Well, after that panic was over, then she decided to schedule a shopping trip with my sister for Thursday - 80 minutes from home. We were sure that after a day of shopping, she would would back out of going out to eat Thursday night. Sure enough, she told dad that she'd be shopping all day Thursday and wouldn't have enough energy to go out to eat that night. AUGH!!!!! So, my sister told her that she couldn't go because Stephen didn't go work until 1:00. Well, Mom decided they could just go AFTER that. AUGH!!!!!

Mom then decided that they could just go to a local restaurant rather than go into town to eat - at the place we had already decided on. AUGH!!!! So, dad convinced her that he had some items he needed to pick up in town so she agree. Before it was all said and done, my sister called our grandmother who is in Florida who then called mom and basically t old her that she was nuts for trying to get out of going out for her birthday. LOL It all worked out and she was enormously surprised - which made all the hard work worth it!!!

Kendra gets a hug

Time to try on Mama's glasses

The family - minus my sister's crew

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pittsburgh Here We Come!!!

Our church was so kind as to send us away this weekend. The last couple months have been very stressful for us so they decided we needed a break. Thanks so much church family!!! Anyways, we found out that the boys do not have school on Friday or Monday so it worked out fabulously. We decided to take the time to go visit my sister and her family. They used to live in Tennessee and we rarely got to see them so now that they live so close (2 hours away) we are enjoying getting to spend more time with them. HOWEVER! We have not been to see their "new" place now that they've moved to Pittsburgh. So... off we go!!!
I happen to love Pittsburgh. We lived right near the Pittsburgh airport for several years and I worked in Pittsburgh for 3+ years. I think it is an awesome city. I'm sure I will have many pics to post next week. But for now.... Pittsburgh! Here we come!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I just got home from a lovely lunch with Cindy Misch. It was just what I needed. Thanks so much Cindy for 2 hours of girl talk!!! I had such a wonderful time and you totally made my day. Thanks!!!!

Hilarious Skit

Thanks to a friend, we found this skit done by Chonda Pierce and Ken Davis.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Cup of Life - good lesson

A group of graduates, well established in their careers,
were talking at a reunion and decided to go visit
their old university professor, now retired.
During their visit, the conversation turned to
complaints about stress in their work and lives.

Offering his guests hot chocolate, the professor went
into the kitchen and returned with a large pot of
hot chocolate and an assortment of cups -
porcelain, glass, crystal, some plain looking,
some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help
themselves to the hot chocolate.

When they all had a cup of hot chocolate in hand, the professor said:

'Notice that all the nice looking, expensive cups were
taken, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.
While it is normal for you to want only the best for
yourselves, that is the source of your problems and
stress. The cup that you're drinking from adds nothing
to the quality of the hot chocolate. In most cases it is
just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we
drink. What all of you really wanted was hot chocolate,
not the cup; but you consciously went for the best
cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the hot chocolate;
your job, money and position in society are the cups.
They are just tools to hold and contain life.
The cup you have does not define, nor change the
quality of life you have. Sometimes, by concentrating
only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the hot chocolate
God has provided us. God makes the hot chocolate,
man chooses the cups.

The happiest people don't have the best of everything.
They just make the best of everything that they have.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate!

Day of Rest?

My thoughts for the day:
Somehow I think we've seriously messed up God's plan for Sunday. I am more exhausted on Monday than I am on any other day of the week. Sunday's are more than a little tiring in a parsonage. It has to be stress because other than fixing a huge meal for company (most Sundays - not all), I really don't do tons of manual labor. But usually by Sunday night I fall into bed thoroughly beyond exhausted and wake up Monday morning feeling like I spent the night running a marathon. My kids also seem to be messed up on Mondays. It's been that way since they were newborn. Mondays have just not been good. So, if Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, why is it so exhausting for me? Anyways..... off to try to keep my eyes propped open long enough to finish school and keep the house from falling apart.

I just learned today (probably is old news) that McCain supports gay marriage. If I had any doubts about him before (which I did) that was all I needed to clinch my opinion. Here is a supporter made video clip advertisement that I think is great.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

My Little Leader

Anyone who knows Vincent well, knows that this child is a leader. He is very strong minded and strong willed. He is very passionate about his feelings and his thoughts. This mommy prays daily that God will use these character traits and mold them and shape them into a powerhouse of potential for God's work. At any rate, at the last teacher conference Vincent's teacher told me that Vincent is well liked by his peers and that he is an obedient student. These are things that a mommy likes to hear! Friday Vincent brought this home from school. He can't seem to tell me what he did to deserve it but it sure made me pop a couple buttons!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gaining More and More of My Respect

The Perfect Church

I was reading my husbands blog this AM and he had posted this awesome poem. I wanted to share it with my readers also.

If you should find the perfect church without fault or smear,
Please, don't join that church, you'd spoil the atmosphere.
If you should find the perfect church where all anxieties cease,
Then pass it by lest joining it you mar the masterpiece.

If you should find the perfect church, then don't you ever dare
To tread upon such holy ground you'd be a misfit there.
But since no perfect church exists... made of imperfect men,
Then let's cease looking for that church, and love the one we're in.

Of course it's not a perfect church, that's simple to discern,
But you and I and all of us could cause the tide to turn.
So let's keep working in our church until the resurrection,
And then we each will join God's church without an imperfection.
Author Unknown

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Families Need Prayers

I ran across this blog just a few days ago thanks to a friend of mine (thanks Candi). The wife, Tricia, just delivered their first baby at just a littler over 24 weeks. She has cystic fibrosis and is on a transplant waiting list. The baby was a little over 1 lb and is stable. Tricia is still comatose due to meds. You need to visit their blog. It will change you forever. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.....

Here is link to a post where her husband, Nate, honors her.

Also, Logan Sankey is in need of our prayers. He is still battling a severe infection. I'm sure both he and his parents must be extrememly discouraged. Visit their blog at

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vincent and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

As a general rule, our children do not participate in the fundraisers from the school. We do not want anyone to ever feel obligated to buy from our kids - especially in the position we are in as Pastor family.

However, this past week, Vincent brought home a fund raiser that we feel is a worthy effort - AND Vincent will benefit as well. They are doing a Math-a-thon in which the money Vincent can raise by doing math problems will be donated to St. Jude's hospital.

The St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is the largest childhood cancer research center in the world in terms of patients enrolled in research protocols and successfully treated. Since opening in 1962, St. Jude has treated children from all 50 states and more than 70 countries. St. Jude sees about 230 patients, on average, each day. No family ever pays St. Jude for medical treatments.

So, Vincent will have approx. 200 math problems to solve. So far he has $102.00 pledged if he can do all 200 problems in the 7 days he is allotted. He is still gathering pledges and he is so excited. Ok, so I am excited to. I pray that none of my children will ever have cancer but it makes me feel good that we are doing what we can to help another family.

Would you be this "mean"?

I think if we had more mothers like this mother, our society would not be in the situation it is. See Byron's blog entry ( about cigarettes in school. Those kids needs mothers like this one.
Meanest Mom On Planet’ Sells Teen Son’s Car After Finding Booze Under Seat
Wednesday, January 08, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa — Jane Hambleton has dubbed herself the "meanest mom on the planet." After finding alcohol in her son's car, she decided to sell the car and share her 19-year-old's misdeed with everyone — by placing an ad in the local newspaper. The ad reads: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet." Hambleton has heard from people besides interested buyers since recently placing the ad in The Des Moines Register. The 48-year-old from Fort Dodge says she has fielded more than 70 telephone calls from emergency room technicians, nurses, school counselors and even a Georgia man who wanted to congratulate her. "The ad cost a fortune, but you know what? I'm telling people what happened here," Hambleton says. "I'm not just gonna put the car for resale when there's nothing wrong with it, except the driver made a dumb decision. "It's overwhelming the number of calls I've gotten from people saying 'Thank you, it's nice to see a responsible parent.' So far there are no calls from anyone saying, 'You're really strict. You're real overboard, lady."' The only critic is her son, who Hambleton says is "very, very unhappy" with the ad and claims the alcohol was left by a passenger. Hambleton believes her son but has decided mercy isn't the best policy in this case. She says she set two rules when she bought the car at Thanksgiving: No booze, and always keep it locked. The car has been sold, but Hambleton says she will continue the ad for another week — just for the feedback.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What is God to me?

I'm not one who is big into "new year's resolutions". Matter of fact, I tend to avoid them simply because when I fail to keep the resolution(s) that was too lofty to begin with, then I feel like a dismal failure. However, in the last few months, I've asked the Lord to help me have a deeper walk with Him and to give me an unquenchable desire for Him and His presence in my dull, everyday life.

I am thrilled that He has done that for me. I want so much to learn more about Him and to get to know Him as He wants me to. For so long, well, all my life I suppose, I have had this concept of God as a judge or a dictator. Someone who is just waiting for me to mess up. Someone who is virtually impossible to please. I have my ideas as to why I've felt this way. I've heard people say that how you view your earthly father will be how you view your Heavenly Father but, at least in my case, that couldn't be further from reality. My earthly father is everything I'd want my Heavenly Father to be like.

But, at any rate... in my quest to learn more about Him and make Him more personal to me, I've been trying so hard to have my devotions faithfully - the traditional way. Go into the room, shut the door (or at least try to get it shut past the pile of laundry that I'm going to try to NOT think about), try to block out the sounds of the kids killing each other, try to stop thinking about the gallon of cool aid they just spilled out there while I'm in here trying to have devtions, read the pre-assigned passages, try to gather my thoughts enough to pray and then spend time silently trying to listen past the banging on the door for His voice to speak to me.

Well..... its not been working. I simply can't do it like that. So, I prayed and told Him. Yesterday as I was working the thought very plainly came to me, "I will meet with you in the place where you can best express your thoughts and feelings." For me, that is the piano.

So, for 2 days now, I've been meeting my Heavenly Father at the piano.
Ever read some of the old hymns? I've been going through the song book. Playing. Singing. Praying. I've felt His presence in such a sweet way. Today the song was, "Day by Day". Wow. Just what I needed!! "Everyday the Lord Himself is near me...." "Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find to meet my trials here...."

1. Day by day, and with each passing moment,Strength I find to meet my trials here;Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,I've no cause for worry or for! fear.He, whose heart is kind beyond all measure,Gives unto each day what He deems best,Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure,Mingling toil with peace and rest.

2. Every day the Lord Himself is near me,With a special mercy for each hour;All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me,He whose name is Counsellor and Pow'r.The protection of His child and treasureIs a charge that on Himself He laid;"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"This the pledge to me He made.

3. Help me then, in every tribulation,So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,That I lose not faith's sweet consolation,Offered me within Thy holy Word.Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,E'er to take, as from a father's hand,One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,Till with Christ the Lord I stand.

Author: Lina Sandell
Composer: Oscar Ahnfeldt

It's so good to know that my Heavenly Father wants to meet me where I am. He loves me that much!! I know Bible reading is important and I am enjoying my reading so much more now that I don't visualize my heavenly Father as just waiting to punish me for not getting X amount of chapters read that day - or feeling guilty because I didn't feel a great rush of emotion or feeling while reading.

Nowadays, I'm reading for growth and knowledge and then I meet my Father at the piano and we make sweet music together. And my heart is full in the melody of it.

Midnight Musings

Please excuse the cheesy title.

Now that we have that out of the way....... here it is 11:32 PM and I am supposed to be sound asleep for over an hour now. Here's the deal: Byron is a morning person. Crazy, huh? Yeah. I agree. He loves to wake up while it is yet dark outside. That'd be OK if we lived in a large house made out of something sturdier than tin foil. Since, however, we do NOT live in a house - but rather a tin can - typically we all are awake at sinfully early morning hours. As you've likely figured out already, I am the normal one of our delightful duo - I am the night owl. I find that I can accomplish more from 9:00 PM - 1:00 AM than I can all day (Do ya think that would have anything to do with the fact that at that time of day I don't have 4 kids wildly seeking whom they may devour and husband seekign to get his money's worth from his "help mate"?). It is such an awesome feeling to climb into bed at 1:30 AM and know that the house is cleaned up, the clothes for the next day are laid out, lunches packed, etc. Well, anyways.....

Since it was obvious that something had to give, I decided that starting Jan 1, 2008, I was going to start going to bed at 9:30 with Byron and getting up willingly, on my own accord, when he gets up. Well, between holidays, sickness, etc - tonight is the first night this was actually going to take effect. Well....... I did make it to bed on time. But, after tossing and turning for 90 min. I decided to give up.

So, here I sit. I'm about to get off here and go sweep and make lunches. Guess "they" were right... you can't teach a mature dog new tricks.

Please Welcome My Sister!!

My sister just started her own blog!!!! Welcome Shandra!!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Special Evening

It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord knows just when we need a nudge of encouragement along "the journey". Tonight was one of those times of encouragement to us. Larry & Betty Miller, a dear couple who attend our church, invited us out to eat with them. Larry & Betty are both 81. They are so dear and so fun to be around. Larry is a farmer (and a hunter) so we were never lacking for things to discuss.
I am so very thankful for our dear parishioners. We are truly blessed. Thank you so much, Larry & Betty!

Here is a very informal, candid shot of Larry & Betty.