Kyle and I went out of town today and ended up stopping at one of the "new" McDonalds'. It's called a McCafe'. Have you seen one of these? There aren't very many out there yet. And yes I'm a huge geek and took some pictures....
McFancy! I would totally put this tile in my house...
Stone walls, leather booths....McImpressive! Same food tho...
This was pretty cool...
Of course there is a playland!
I can't believe I just posted pictures of McDonalds. I really need a vacation.
I know there will be a "part 2", so I might as well put the "part 1" on there righty now. I didn't mean to type "righty" but it's kinda cute, so I'm leaving it.
It's a half a snow day today! We are supposed to be getting this mongo blizzard today so school let out 2 hours early, which here means that elementary students were done by 12:10. So I got to leave early from ork (ok another typo that is kinda cute and made me think of Mork & Mindy, so again....leaving it in.) I have to admit that I love having to miss work to spend extra time at home with the kids! I'm not one of those working moms who wants to get away from my kids. I would be perfectly happy and content being a stay at home mom, but for now God has other plans for me so I'm going with it.
Anyhoo.....I'm taking the opportunity, while the boys are playing basketball downstairs and Hope is sitting at the table with me chattering away and coloring, to update my blog layout. I really want to do something cool like make it look like a scrapbook page with all kinds of cool fonts and embelishments....but I think those sites cost $$$ so I'll do the best I can with blogger. So don't be surprised if every time you visit in the next week or so, it looks different. My designing style follows my thought patterns which can be quite random and rambling. Like I told my friend Kari the other day...my brain is kind of like a bingo wheel. I just keep turning the crank and eventually a thought pops out and then I just go with it. And if I have enough thoughts and they all line up just right, I actually have an idea!
So my husband just made this *huge* pot of chili this afternoon. There is a chili cookoff tomorrow at church, and he's been looking forward to making his awesome, butt-kickin' chili for it for the past two weeks. His chili really is the best ever! I suggested that he make a double batch so that we could have some at home, so that's what he did. It smelled AWESOME!! I sat here savoring the aromas for the past couple of hours, and I was really looking forward to having a big bowl of it for supper...
However, apparently we speak different languages. Vince had given me a preview taste earlier, when I thought he was finished with it, and I said "Oh my gosh, yum! It's awesome! Perfect!" Apparently in Vinnish that translates into "add a crap-load more super-chili powder". Super-chili powder, is not your regular chili powder. It's my dad's secret creation that he makes by dehydrating all kinds of hot peppers and grinds them into a powder which he adds to absolutely everything, including pb&j sandwiches (I'm not kidding) and it's freakin' hot. So it was grilled cheese for me tonight. Oh joy. He did apologize, but I think he was secretly pleased with himself as I saw some beads of sweat on his temples...he loves chili that is so hot it makes you sweat! He SO owes me.
Anyway, we had a nice relaxing day today. Except for Vince getting called into work for a couple hours to deal with a computer network issue, we have been hanging out at home. Made pancakes this morning (which has become our Saturday morning tradition). Vinny & Hope helped and had fun measuring and stirring and chattering away. This afternoon while Vince was gone I got to take a nap...I LOVE taking a nap! And I don't get to very often so I was happy. Mix in some laundry, some bill paying, talking on the phone with my aunt, and the M&M's that Vince brought home for me and it has been a great day. Now I get to go play "Disney Scene It" with Vince and the kids :) After that, it's bedtime for them and a movie and cuddle with Mr. Wonderful :) I love today!
Vince and I have been reading it the past few nights ~ it is fascinating! Not as much details as Vince was expecting, but what is there is really amazing. It was written by a minister who was killed instantly in a head on collision with a semi...he was pronounced dead at the scene and paramedics covered his body with a tarp and he remained that way for 90 minutes, until another minister who was driving by stopped and prayed for him. He writes about entering Heaven...seeing his grandfather, friends, and others who he had known in life who had an impact on him spiritually to one degree or another. He writes about what he saw and heard and experienced. It all coincides with scripture, but what makes it so believable to me is that much of what he experienced was not what he had expected.
The whole idea about "near death experiences" is fascinating to me. Are they real? Are they imagined? Are these people just trying to sell books or get attention, or just plain MENTAL???? Here's what I think (hey, if you don't want to know what I think, why are you reading my blog?? :) I think all of the above are true...or could be true. There are some freaks for sure that make it all up. But I think some experiences are absolutely real tho. Even very young children have experienced them and have described their experience in very similar ways to adults...how can you argue with that? Anyway, I'm rambling off topic a bit (I woke up at 4am, so I am not responsible for my thoughts this early in the day).
The book.....it is actually giving me alot of peace, and I'm looking forward to Heaven more than I ever have!
"I've never, ever felt more alive than I did then. I was home; I was where I belonged. I wanted to be there more than I had ever wanted to be anywhere on earth....all worries, anxieties, and concerns vanished. I had no needs, and I felt perfect."Yes!! I'll take some of that!!
"The closer we got, the more intense, alive, and vivid everything became. Just as I reached the gate, my senses were even more heightened, and I felt deliriously happy.(I'll take some of that too!) I paused - I'm not sure why - just outside the gate. I was thrilled at the prospect and wanted to go inside. I knew everything would be even more thrilling than what I had experienced so far. At that very moment I was about to realize the yearning of every human heart."
Wow. That statement....the yearning of every human heart. The author doesn't explain it, but I think I know what it is. It is to be home. This is not our home. It's no wonder our hearts are always yearning for more, searching out something deeper. We won't find it here, not completely anyway. We weren't meant to. One of my most frequent prayers for my kids is that they would not be satisfied with the things of this world. I see them bombarded from all directions with things to entertain them, to distract them from life, and to fill the void in their hearts that was only meant for God to fill. The enemy of our souls doesn't have to work very hard at distracting our kids from real life...distraction is just a remote, a mouse click, an ipod, or a game controller away. And if he can distract them enough, then maybe he can convince them that there is no Heaven, that there is no God, and worse yet that there is no hell.
I feel like I'm waking up...after a long winter. The curtain is ever so slowly and gently being pushed aside to let a ray of sunlight enter my room. I have to say, it feels pretty good!
After finishing my last blog, I went and got my bible and my journal...it's a prayer journal, not a "dear diary, today I ate a whole bag of m&ms" kind of journal. I keep it with my bible and although I don't write in it every day, I do write in it when I feel inspired from something God has revealed to me through His word. Other times I just like to write out my prayers. God has spoken so much to me through doing that...many times I have started out writing about stresses and end up writing praises or songs or even thanking Him for the circumstances that had me stressed out! Anyway, I opened it to the last entry that I made....November 13th, 2008. Almost 3 months ago. No wonder why I haven't been able to think of anything to blog about lately. Empty cups don't have much to say.
I've been stumbling around in the dark, bumping into things for the past 3 months. I could look up a bunch of verses about why we need to read the bible, but I think instead I'll just explain why I do...because when I don't I get crabby. I get fearful. I worry. And I gain back all the weight I lost for my wedding (sigh). The other night I sat down at the piano and pulled out a song that I haven't played or even listened to in some time, "Thy Word". I sang & played it several times, and as I did I felt something in my spirit stir. That's what inspired me to start writing Monday, and as I did God reminded me of the words my friend spoke about loving her family out of an empty cup....one that could only be filled by the Word of God. So here I sit, as God takes these seemingly unrelated experiences - a song from 20 years ago and an empty cup - and I begin to see how they fit together. Did God know as I listened to that song 20 years ago that I would need it now? Yes, I believe He did! He planted it in my heart knowing that I will need it in the future, and at the just right time He brought it to the surface. I'm sure He will do it again, if not with this song then with something else. Looking back on my life, I can see where He has done this so many times. In preparation for something I would be going through, He revealed something to me in advance...a scripture, words from a friend, a song, a book...before I needed it so that when the time came that I did need it, it was right there in my hand and in my heart.
You know what I hope? I hope that when we are in Heaven, God will show us all the times in our lives where He acted and moved and we didn't even know it was Him. Maybe He will sit down with me and replay my life like a movie. And when we get to the parts where I didn't see Him working, where I was stumbling around in the dark, He will say "Look here, remember when that happened? That was Me...turning on the light."
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path....
When I feel afraid, And think I've lost my way Still, You're there right beside me. Nothing will I fear As long as You are near, Please be near me to the end.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path....
I will not forget Your love for me and yet, My heart forever is wandering. Jesus by my guide, And hold me to Your side, And I will love You to the end.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path... You're the light unto my path."
I love that song...it's one of my favorites, and it is timeless. It brings back memories of my early college days, when I first heard it on one of my favorite cd's "Amy Grant: The Collection".
I listened to it all the time back then...when my faith was new and fresh and seeking. I belonged to a bible study in highschool / college, where I first saw what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. It was then that I began to learn that faith in Christ was not just something you believed to be true, but it was something that was alive and growing. Something you walked out. It was not only something to sing about, but it was real, HE was real, and was interested in me and what was going on in my life. Through the years, while I have grown in my faith, God has time and time again brought me back to this place of realization. This place of beginnings, where even things of old that I learned long ago seem new. And I am in that place again.
A friend of mine spoke at church recently about the challenges of being a mom, and she said that she discovered that she has been serving her family out of an "empty cup". She had not been spending time daily in the Word of God, and therefore her cup was empty. When I heard her say those words, something resonated in my heart and 'bout made me cry! She was speaking out of her heart what I have been feeling in mine for some time now. I have not been in the Word lately like I need to be. I have fallen into the trap of being "busy" with life, and have gone to sleep way too many nights without even opening my bible. With an empty cup, I have not been giving my family Jesus, I have been giving them ME, and that's not enough. Not even close.
Psalm 119 is so awesome! It speaks about the benefits and necessity of reading the Word of God. It makes our hearts righteous, gives strength, hope, truth, freedom, peace, safety, comfort, promise, and delight! And my favorite verse in this Psalm is this:
"You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words." Psalm 119:57
I love the idea that Jesus is my portion. He is all that I need. He fills my cup to overflowing, and it is out of that overflow that I want to and am able to love my family...not out of the emptiness of my own heart. I won't find what I need, or what they need there. I need to go to the Source of love Himself if I ever hope to love my family the way God indends for me to love them.
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.......may I never let that light grow dim again.