This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'Nuff Said...

Allon: Book 2-Insurrection

Allon: Book 2-Insurrection

by Shawn Lamb

Back in April I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Allon. Recently the author, Shawn Lamb asked me if I was interested in the latest edition to the Allon series, Insurrection. How could I refuse?

Insurrection picks up four years after Book 1 ends. Ellis is king, Shannan is queen. An heir to the throne is on the way. Allon is at peace. But the Dark Way does not give up easily. Whisperings of conflict and discontent give way to danger.



Without giving the story away, I will say Allon is a wonderful novel that offers strong characters who give examples of honor, faith, devotion, heroism, gentle mercy and wisdom. These characters are at odds enemies exhibiting greed, pride, sin, and destruction. Ms. Lamb manages to combine action and adventure with a focus on faith and serving the Lord. I know my both my boys will enjoy this book and gain some good lessons along the way.

Allon: Book 2-Insurrection would be a great last minute Christmas gift for a young adult or an advanced young reader who loves fantasy and action. Or, since I am tardy in getting my review out if there are any young readers out there with a few holiday dollars they want to spend on a new book they would find an exciting read in this second book of the Allon series.

There is a website featuring a blog, an interactive map, photos and more that many will also enjoy.

My thanks to Ms. Lamb for the delightful read.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Daybook...September 27, 2010

FOR TODAY ...May , 2009...

Outside my window...it's 45 degrees and fair. Looks like a lovely day.

I am thinking..."Where did this year go???"

I am thankful for...my husband and the nearly eighteen years we have been married.

From the learning rooms...trying for a routine this week. We've had so many doctor's and dentist and other appointments lately. I want to have a routine!!

From the kitchen...it depends on my wonderful husband who has taken over a lot of the cooking at night since I am gone so much this (ballet school) year. His options are grilled fish or "Daddy's chicken fingers."

I am wearing...comfortable layers that can quickly be removed or added back depending on the state of my hot flashes.

I am creating...in progress, on needles: three scarves, three afghans, one shawl and hopefully some hair bows and some jewelry if I can see my way clear to my workspace.

I am going...to PSR with son #2 and ballet with son #1.

I am reading...I just finished The Godmother by Carrie Adams. I was looking for something light and quick. Quick it was, definitely British (which I love) but not the fast and funny chick lit I had imagined by the cover art or the synopsis on the back. A bit edgy and sad, with a moral to the story (but questionable character morals--so if you would be offended, avoid reading). Truly a book that pulled me in and demanded to be finished immediately.

I am hoping...I really don't have a cold.

I am hearing...the computer, the clock and some cars off the highway.

Around the house...trying to find: the floor, my bed, a plan that works, a clone to do the boring stuff.

One of my favorite things...walking with my husband.

A few plans for the rest of the week:box up homeschool work and records that can be filed. Organize some things that can be sold.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...This was the house I spent five weeks in during the summer. With nineteen kids. With NO INTERNET working on MY computer--everyone else's computer worked! I really had no business on the internet, anyway. That turned out to be a blessing.


Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook to find more daybookers.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Life Means So Much

Teach us to count the days
Teach us to make the days count
Lead us in better ways
That somehow our souls forgot
Life means so much
~Chris Rice~





Psalm 90

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn men back to dust,
saying, "Return to dust, O sons of men."

For a thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

You sweep men away in the sleep of death;
they are like the new grass of the morning-

though in the morning it springs up new,
by evening it is dry and withered.

We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.

You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.

All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.

The length of our days is seventy years—
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Who knows the power of your anger?
For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Relent, O LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.

May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Away...

I will be without internet for the most part for the next four weeks. All is well, just away from connectivity and going at warp speed.

Count it all joy,

Julie

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Your Ways...Not Mine

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;
then I will keep them to the end.

Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.

Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.

Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.

Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.

Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.

Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.

How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Psalm 119: 33-40

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finding Joy

Tuesday I closed my post, "Trying to count it all joy," which is not very like me.

I am in the middle of things. I am getting ready to help a family member make a large move, leaving my husband and boys behind. My boys and I have never been apart for more than a few days. Then I am going to take the boys across country and leave my husband for one of the longest stretches that we've ever been apart. My son and I are learning to deal with his asthma. I am trying to put the house in order for my two absences.

Truly I wasn't finding the joy in much.

Last Christmas I could not find my favorite ornaments. Not fancy expensive ornaments--just little cross-stitched ornaments that said, "JOY." These ornaments are the reason I named my blog "Joyful Days." I looked and looked and could not find them. I talk about them in the second post I ever wrote.

I missed my little ornaments last year.

Yesterday I was cleaning a closet and in a bag of dinosaur bones--okay wooden and plastic dinosaur bones (we homeschool...what can I say?) I found my ornaments.



I told you they weren't very fancy.

But they were just the little nudge from God that I needed to remember the joy.

He moves in mysterious ways.

Counting it all joy again,

Julie

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Dementor














I have met the dementor and I know his name.

It is Asthma.

His friends are known as Fear, Panic and Anxiety. Too bad this is not Hogwarts, there is no Patronus charm and all the chocolate in the world will not make it go away.

We are dealing with asthma at my house. Both of my boys were diagnosed with "exercise induced asthma" in early March. My oldest seems to be dealing with it quite well. My younger however...not so much.

When the asthma journey began with the "exercise induced" label, I thought, "Okay. Not great, but we can deal with this. We can work around it."

It seems everyone has heard of Olympic athletes with asthma. In fact somewhere between 10-20% of Olympic athletes apparently have asthma. Well who doesn't want to be compared to an Olympic athlete?? We could DO this.

As I said, my oldest set off, Albuterol in hand and his breathing during dancing improved. But the youngest...well, it seemed to work for a short time. And then the coughing and the poor coloring returned; sometimes while dancing, sometimes just randomly.

He's been through allergy testing, pulmonary function testing, doctors' visits and even an emergency room visit. At one point he had ten medications going into his small body. I've held him as he's struggled to breathe. He's cried (which seems to exacerbate the situation, but he can't stop) because his chest hurts so badly.

We've been up at all hours, missed anticipated events, struggled with bedtime, struggled with leaving the house, going back to ballet, and worst of all for me--struggled with attending church.

The learning curve for this mommy has been steep. Everyone thinks they know something about asthma--many think it is just about allergies. And sometimes for some people it is. I've had a health care professional (who we know personally) insist it is all "in his head." Really???? That was meant to be helpful?

What I have learned is that asthma is a disease. It may appear to "go away" for awhile, but it is always there lurking. Symptoms are treated, not cured, although there are some things that appear to help improve breathing and stretch out the time between episodes. Some parents have told me that at a certain age their child "outgrew" it. Although I have a friend in his 60s who never did.

Each parent I've talked to (and it's amazing how many are there that I've known for a long time but never knew their child dealt with asthma), read their blogs, or heard anecdotal stories from a "friend of a friend"--each story is different. Triggers are different, flares last different amounts of time, medications are different, intensity is different, timing is different. I'm sure there are a lot of people with similar stories, I just keep running into people with different stories.

We are piecing things together slowly for Boo. What is going to work for him. What is going to get him back to "normal." Whatever normal is. He's been very frustrated because he's been unable to participate in some things that he really wants to because of his asthma. He is working toward "ownership" of his condition and knowledge that will make him more independent.

I am trying to balance my "hovering" personality (I've often been accused of being overprotective) and being too laissez-faire with him. EVERYONE has an opinion of how I should be parenting Boo and what health care choices I should be making for him. So far, only a handful of people are okay with my choices. My doctors seem to be okay with them, so I will go with that.

As we sat together during a particularly bad time, nebulizer going, me holding on to him, wishing it was me and not him, the Harry Potter-dementor image came to me--hence the title. If you are a Harry fan and know about the dementors this video will mean something to you. Sorry I can't put in in the post, maybe it's better I couldn't--it's intense and if you don't allow Harry Potter, please don't watch. As I watched it today, it chilled me.

Sometimes it does seem there won't ever be joy again. But better than charms and chocolate, we have a Savior, who has felt every one of our pains before we did. He will get Boo through this, me through this, our family will come out on the other side. While it would be nice to have a quick fix, my faith tells me God knows best and He will not abandon us.

There have been some awful times in this little family's history. I've cried out to God many times, "Why?!" Often it is not until years later; five, ten, twenty years later that I can see a reason. So we stand in faith until that time.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Trying to count it all joy,

Julie

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Blog Book Tour--It Had to Be You

by Janice Thompson

I have several complaints to lodge with Janice Thompson!

1) Reading her books make me want to dance! While I'm reading! I've wanted to boot scoot, do a courtly dance and now...NOW...I'm swingin'! It's hard to read when you're dancing. Seriously!!

2) Reading her books make me hungry!! I want pizza! I want Alfredo! I want Tiramisu!! These books are not good for a gal trying to lose more weight. You'd think with all the dancing I might shed a few pounds, but the food's just too good. I can smell Aunt Rosa's cooking coming off the pages.

3)And my biggest complaint...Is that It Had to Be You is the last installment in the Weddings by Bella series. (Insert a pout and a stomped foot here.) I was really not ready to be done. Sigh...

I fell for Bella Rossi's quirky Italian family a few books back. Specifically when I read Fools Rush In. The food was good, the conversation was loud, and my dearest Dean Martin was always singing in the background. Well...unless Frank Sinatra got in the way. And everyone loved the LORD.

When I read Swinging On a Star I almost hopped on a plane to Galveston to go visit Bella and her clan.

And Ms. Thompson's finale It Had to Be You just made me all the more sure that I had long-lost family somewhere down in Texas.

Bella may have been busy in the first two books, but is she in over her head this time? Aunt Rosa and Uncle Laz have buried the hatchet for good. They are getting married!! Family and friends are coming in for the wedding from as far as Italia! Everyone is thrilled for them. Or is there someone who could ruin this match made in culinary heaven? Will the bride and groom swing off into the sunset?

And what about D.J. Neeley? The hunky carpenter-deejay who swept Bella off her boots. Can he get Bella down their own aisle and into a happily-ever-after of their own?

The timing of this book was perfect for me. There were some life-lessons that almost all of the characters were in need of. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say I needed to be reminded of what Bella had to learn.

The music in It Had to Be You will take you swinging down the aisle, across the dance floor and off into the sunset. There were many great songs to keep my toes tapping. But I will always associate the Rossi clan with Dean Martin's songs most of all. Here's a favorite:



Thank you, Janice Thompson for such a fun series. I enjoyed Weddings by Bella so much! Thank you Revel/Baker Publishing Group for the copy to review. Thank you Bella and the whole Rossi clan for such a good time.

It Had to Be You is vailable May 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Friday, April 30, 2010

Blog Book Tour--Allon Book 1

Allon by Shawn Lamb

I am always looking for good books for my sons to read. There is a lot of fiction out there these days. There is a lot of "Christian" fiction out there. I cannot always say that the secular fiction is "good" and I cannot always say that the Christian fiction is "exciting." But when Glass Road Public Relations offered me a chance to read Allon by Shawn Lamb, I thought it would be worth taking a look.

I am so glad that I did.

Enter the world of Allon. Once a beautiful land, now a battle between good and evil rages on. The hope for Allon's future lies in a prophecy that a new king will come and defeat the powers of darkness that are at work dividing the people, causing pain and suffering. He will have a queen who will unite the people with the Guardians, the care takers of Allon who have been limited and bound for a long time.

There is a young man who the dark forces are trying to capture and destroy. There is a young woman who the Guardians are trying to protect. Are these these the promised heroes who will save Allon?

Ms. Lamb wrote Allon for her daughter, Briana, who wanted a fantasy story. She uses metaphor and allegory quite liberally and with a wonderful result. The layers aren't too deep for a young reader to comprehend. Allon is a reminiscent blend of King Arthur, Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Bible history. But at the same time it is a new story, thoroughly enjoyable--a good read for both boys and girls.

Read an excerpt of the book here.

Thank you to Glass Road Public Relations for offering me the opportunity to receive and read Allon. I enjoyed the journey!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blog Book Tour--How Do You Tuck in a Superhero?

How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? by Rachel Balducci

My son stole my copy of this book!

I had to hunt him down to get it back. It wasn't too hard to find him. All I had to do was follow the laughter. He snitched this a couple times from me and I found him either hiding behind a closed door or up on the top bunk under a mass of covers in hopes that I wouldn't want this back. Fat chance.

What book is so funny that it has a 46 year old woman and a 12 year old boy in a tug-of-war over it? Well...a book about boys. Five boys to be precise. Rachel Balducci of Testosterhome fame published this book chronicling the adventures of a mom of five. Five boys.

Now I only have two, and two with some unusual pursuits, it is true. But How Do You Tuck in a Superhero speaks to moms of sons, be it a single son to a tribe of ten. From discussing food--there is never enough, to discussing attire--there is rarely agreement between parent and child, to things you never thought you'd hear yourself say; Rachel's been there, done that and has a few t-shirts as souvenirs.

I love Rachel's matter-of-fact, conversational tone. She tells the tales, much like my friends and I swap "Can you believe______" stories of our children. I'd love for her to be my neighbor. I might send my boys down there for a bit...she might not notice!

This is a laugh-out-loud book that you might want to hide from your family if you want a chance to read it. Also checkout the blog that inspired it all. And recently the Testosterhome family welcomed a new addition--number 6!! to the family. And what do you know?? They need to get some pink paint!

As always, I am appreciative to Revell/Baker Publishing Group for the chance to read and review, yet another great book. How Do You Tuck in a Superhero? is available April 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog Book Tour--In Harm's Way

In Harm's Way by Irene Hannon

Last fall I had a chance to review An Eye for an Eye, the second book in Irene Hannon's romantic suspense Heroes of Quantico series and enjoyed it immensely. So when Revell/Baker Publishing offered the chance to review the third book in the series--In Harm's Way, how could I pass it up?

Once again Irene Hannon creates characters that made me care and drew me into the story quickly. Rachel Sutton, a music teacher, a child of the foster care system is lead, inexplicably, to a Raggedy Ann doll stuck in a pile of ice in a parking lot. Touching the doll evokes fear and terror from Rachel, emotions so deep that she cannot just toss the doll aside. She ends up taking Raggedy Ann to the FBI and risks looking like a fool or worse.

Fortunately she ends up in the office of Agent Nick Bradley. Nick, who also grew up an orphan, just can't seem to write Rachel off as crazy or worse. Is the child who the doll belongs to in danger? Why can't he do what his co-workers say and toss the doll in the trash and forget about Rachel? The story is fast-paced with several unexpected twists and turns that kept me up late turning the pages so I could finish.

I appreciate that once again Ms. Hannon intertwines faith in the LORD into her story. She allows her characters to be human and have real doubts and questions. Both Nick and Rachel have very different faith journeys.

Read an excerpt of the book here.

A hearty, "Thank you!" to Revell/Baker Publishing for furnishing me with a copy of this book for review. In Harm's Way is available April 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Daybook...April 12, 2010

FOR TODAY ...April 12, 2010...

Outside my window...all the birds are busy! The sun is working it's way up and the air is very cool.

I am thinking...I should be getting ready to go to my doctor's appointment. Could I be procrastinating? Hmmmm...

I am thankful for...very good friends. For prayers. To everyone who held us up in prayer, many thanks. Things seem to be settling down and improving.

From the learning rooms...I've settled on a rough plan for next year--very happy!

From the kitchen...this is a late night for the boys tonight, I need to get creative. But I don't have any good ideas.

I am wearing...still in my jammies.

I am creating...a knitted afghan.

I am going...to the doctor's, to retrieve my sunglasses from my friend's house, to the library, to ballet...too many places.

I am reading...Allon:Book 1 by Shawn Lamb. It is really a good book so far.

I am hoping...for some downtime one of these days.

I am hearing...my small fan, the birds and light traffic.

Around the house...the crabby old cat says I didn't feed him enough. He lies.

One of my favorite things...the canopy is up over the patio. I enjoy sitting out with my husband and talking.

A few plans for the rest of the week:my oldest has a show this weekend. Our week is full of rehearsals, driving and chaos. But next week...we will get a small reprieve.

Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook to find more daybookers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Prayer Request

If you are so inclined to scroll down a bit and on my sidebar view my Twitterings...

Or click. I would be most grateful.

The end of the world, it certainly is not, but I am ill prepared for growing children.

Monday, April 5, 2010

All Creatures of Our God and King



All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

Refrain

O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Thou rushing wind that art so strong
Ye clouds that sail in Heaven along,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou rising moon, in praise rejoice,
Ye lights of evening, find a voice!

Refrain

Thou flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for thy Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou fire so masterful and bright,
That givest man both warmth and light.

Refrain

Dear mother earth, who day by day
Unfoldest blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
The flowers and fruits that in thee grow,
Let them His glory also show.

Refrain

And all ye men of tender heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing ye! Alleluia!
Ye who long pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and on Him cast your care!

Refrain

And thou most kind and gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our latest breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Thou leadest home the child of God,
And Christ our Lord the way hath trod.

Refrain

Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

Refrain

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Alleluia! Alleluia!! He Is Risen, Indeed!

Arise My Love



May the joy of the Resurrection of Christ be yours today and every day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Each year goes rushing by faster and faster. As I plow through life and through the seasons and times of the Church, I find myself disappointed with myself.

Again and again.

Lent, to my dismay, was largely consumed by worldly things. Although I will say, I had quite a revelation as to how weak in "the flesh" I really am. How little it takes to get me to grumble and feel sorry for myself. Gracious. There is a lot of growing up I need to do.

It's not been a total desert. There have been some moments where the glass got cleared enough for me to get a glimpse of where I should be, what it is all about, but they've not been what my heart was telling me I needed.

As I came home late Wednesday night, quite weary from a long day and a with a tired and emotional pre-teen in tow, I finally got the chance to sit down and thought I would visit a few internet friends to "cheer me up." But God will use anything to get our attention and He used FaceBook (yes, really) and one of my friends there to point me to yesterday's post.

And all at once the enormity of Holy Week, and more to the point, the ENORMITY of the sacrifice that our LORD and Savior endured for us, hit me full in the face and I was undone.

So here I sit with the weight of Holy Week surrounding me. I'm sure I've not got it "right" but, Someone cleared the glass enough that I can see where I am going. And I need to look to Him, the perfect Lamb.

Again, I must suggest view discretion with a video. And part of me thinks I should apologize, but the truth is, this is only a part of what happened. And I am devastated to think we would be ashamed of that.

Watch the Lamb



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

Scenes from The Passion of the Christ.

Viewer discretion.




With gratitude to my friend Carrie for pointing me to this.

Monday, March 29, 2010

We Fall Down



Palm Sunday was yesterday...are you ready for Easter?


We Fall Down

We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of
Your Mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb
We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of
Mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

...and Another One

I found this when I visited Donna at JUST ME. Who knew?? I'm Shampoo...not sure that the results are so accurate. S'pose it's better than being deoderant!




You Are Shampoo



You are refreshing and cheerful. You don't hold on to a lot of baggage in life.

You are a true optimist. For you, every day is a fresh start.

You are confident and bold. You are proud of who you are, simple as that.

You are passionate about life and its possibilities. You don't hold back.

Just for Fun...

I'm on the road again with the boys, but took a few minutes to stop by Barbara's at Stray Thoughts. You know I always have fun with a good quiz. Barbara had three!! Books and communication, how fun!




You Are Fantasy / Sci Fi



You have an amazing imagination, and in your mind, all things are possible.

You are open minded, and you find the future exciting. You crave novelty and progress.

Compared to most people, you are quirky and even a bit eccentric. You have some wacky ideas.

And while you may be a bit off the wall, there's no denying how insightful and creative you are.






You are a Dreamer



You tend to have your head in the clouds. You love to be drawn in to a whole other world.

You are a rational person. You like to think through ideas, and you like the thoughts that books spark.

You are a person with a few deep interests. If you're drawn to something, you learn everything about it.

You are a person who values your possessions. You tend to have fewer things but of higher quality.







You Communicate Honestly



You don't mince words. You are to the point and all about the facts.

However, you are charming enough to tell people the truth yet still not offend them.
It's likely that you have a hilarious, no holds barred sense of humor. And you sure tell an entertaining story!

You're also quite open. People can ask you anything, and you don't shy away from controversial conversation topics.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wayfaring Stranger



I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger
trav'ling through this world of woe.
there's no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I'm going there to meet my father
I'm going there no more to roam;
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather o'er me
I know my pathway's rough and steep;
But golden fields lie out before me
Where weary eyes no more shall weep.
I'm going there to see my mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.

I'll soon be free from every trial
This form will rest beneath the sod
I'll drop the cross of self denial,
And enter in my home with God.
I'm going there to see my Saviour
Who shed for me His precious blood
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that bright land
I want to shout Salvation's story
In concert with that bloodwashed band.
I'm going there to meet my Saviour
To sing His praises forevermore
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home

Sunday, March 7, 2010

For Boo...



I wonder what his mother thought when he was growing up?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grains of Gratitude

There is ice all over everything outside, and as I sit inside, warm and content, I am grateful. I am grateful for all the blessings that are stuffed into this house. Most of all for the men (big and small) who I can hear rumbling around, just out sight, but not out of earshot. They bless me daily and I cannot imagine my life without them.

I've not been blogging very well, have I? Not keeping up with all my friends who live somewhere besides this little black piece of plastic, but I can only "see" them here. I am grateful for you if you are still reading this.
I am grateful to have been called to jury duty. "Really?" You might be asking. Yes, really. And here is why: over three years ago my name came up, I had two little boys, my husband worked outside the house, I didn't have a babysitter and we had limited transportation. Being excused due to circumstances wasn't an option. The timing was horrible. Thankfully I ended up being dismissed and we just experienced a little anxiety about logistics. I prayed that sometime I would be able to do my "civic duty" when it wasn't so traumatic. I couldn't have asked for a better time for this to happen, there is never a good time, but I know how important this is, so I am grateful. I am supposed to report mid-March. I think it will be interesting.

Thankfully, Boo's foot seems to be improved. We go to the orthopedic's office on Tuesday to see the nurse-practitioner. The handsome footwear is NOT exciting, but he's been a champ about wearing it faithfully. I am praying that it can come off. He's ready. I'm ready. I've been inclined to give him piggy-back rides from the van to the house when the ground is covered in snow so his foot stays dry.

I'm grateful I can give him piggy-back rides. I don't think I could do that this time last year, certainly not as far as from the vehicle to the house--involving steps. I'm really struggling in the dieting area. Not going up, but not going down, either. Time to move more and ponder the eating plan more carefully.

I don't like giving dieting advice, but I will tell everyone the thing I think is most important is WATER!! Drink, drink, drink your water. So often I think I am hungry and what I really am is thirsty. This was advice from the weight-loss group I joined and it has been the best. Seems so simple and yet, the first thing I forget or put off.

I am grateful the Holly Jolly Valentine's decorations are stowed away. It is Lent, and during Lent I don't want the distractions. I've been feeling the need for Lent lately. For the time to refocus, remove distractions, revise the habits and rearrange the priorities.

I have a couple people in my immediate relationships who think I am a bit..., well a bit off for getting all worked up about Lent. Lent leads me, like no other time of the Liturgical Year to the foot of the Cross. The desert experience is a time of reliance only on the LORD. It is hard to explain and oftentimes makes one feel very much an outsider.

Lent is so much more than what most people think they know about it. It does include fasing, but also, almsgiving, repentance, and self-denial. These are things I know a lot of people do randomly during the year, or maybe when they feel led, but there is something about coorporate worship, knowing you are joining with a body of believers to unite in a very historical form of worship.

Really? We should be doing these things all year long, but the urgent call of the world to hurry up and join in the bustle get to most of us and we fall into bad habits. If you don't have that problem, hats off to you...but I am soooooo flawed in this area that I need the seasonal reminders and Lent leads me as I said to the foot of the Cross, but more importantly to the joy that is the Resurrection. The holiday that is to me THE HOLIDAY.

I'm grateful for my church and my priest. I'm so often moved to tears while I'm there. God is so good and so merciful.

The readings for Saturday and Sunday were especially powerful and poignant:

Saturday
First Reading: Isaiah 58:9b-14
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Gospel: Luke 5:27-32

Reading I
Isaiah 58:9b-14

Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.
He will renew your strength,
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake,
and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up;
“Repairer of the breach,” they shall call you,
“Restorer of ruined homesteads.”

If you hold back your foot on the sabbath
from following your own pursuits on my holy day;
If you call the sabbath a delight,
and the LORD’s holy day honorable;
If you honor it by not following your ways,
seeking your own interests, or speaking with maliceB
Then you shall delight in the LORD,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.


Sunday
First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:4-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 91:1-2,10-15
Second Reading: Romans 10:8-13
Gospel: Luke 4:1-13

Second Reading
Romans 10:8-13

Brothers and sisters:
What does Scripture say?
The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart
—that is, the word of faith that we preach—,
for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
For one believes with the heart and so is justified,
and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
For the Scripture says,
No one who believes in him will be put to shame.
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek;
the same Lord is Lord of all,
enriching all who call upon him.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
I don't think there is anything that can top that.

Count it all joy,

Julie

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blog Book Tour--Swinging on a Star

Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson

Ever since I finished Fools Rush In by Ms. Thompson, I've been waiting to go back to Parma Johns to dine on themed pizza, listen to Mambo Italiano and catch up with Bella Rossi and her cowboy knight in shining armor, D.J. Neeley. I felt so at home and had so much fun with Italian wedding coordinator, Bella and her carpenter cum deejay, D.J. that I wanted to find out more about their opposites-attract relationship.

When I got a chance to review Swinging on a Star I didn't realize that D.J. would have a few more knights, also in shining armor, to contend with. Bella is working on a new themed wedding, even bigger than the last hoedown she engineered. The bride and groom to be want a med
ieval wedding complete with a castle, a moat, madrigal music and horse-drawn carriages.

Ms. Thompson fills her book with complications for a renaissance wedding from the very first chapter. Bella's life seems like it cannot get more complicated--oh, but it does!! With wayward actors, Food Network filming her aunt, complicated relationships, a night in jail (really!) and much hilarity, Swinging on a Star kept me turning the page, "Just one more!" until the wee hours of the night. I just had to finish.

The soundtrack to this guaranteed-to-make-you-smile novel is, once again, my favorite Dean Martin. Oh, and she lets Ole Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra sing a few too.


Swinging on A Star is available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. And if you enjoy it as much as I do, be on the lookout for It Had to Be You, Janice Thompson's third installment of herWeddings by Bella series. I can't wait!!

Until then I will just have to listen to Dean Martin and dream!




Many thanks to Revell/Baker Publishing from whom I received Swinging on a Star.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Strolling down memory lane with three that are favorites.

Hope your Valentine's Day is lovely.








Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

O Beauty Ever Ancient and So New

Late have I loved you,
O Beauty ever ancient and so new,
Too late have I loved you!

You were within me, but I was outside to seek you. Unlovely myself, I fell heedlessly upon all those lovely things which you created.

And always You were with me, but I was not with you.
Created things kept me from you;
yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.

You called, you cried,you broke through my deafness.
You blazed, you gleamed, and you drove away my blindness.
You breathed your fragrance on me;
I drew in breath and now I long for you.

I have tasted, now I hunger and thirst for more.
You touched me, and now I burn with desire for your peace.

Amen

~ St. Augustine, Confessions of St. Augustine

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More to Be Grateful For

Within a couple hours of my last post Boo decided to do what he usually does--run, jump and "explode." Well he exploded a little to much and landed wrong. Ouch!!

He's sporting a walking boot now to accessorize his buckle fracture on his left foot. He's received good and proper sympathy from our sweet friends Miss H & her daughter E. He got many well wishes, prayer and attention this evening while he audited (read: sat and took notes) his ballet class, because...I've already paid for it...and you just can't dance in that stylish footwear. Doctor's orders.

I've spent the last two days with him in doctors' offices, and radiology offices. We've met some awesome, incredible health care professionals. What could have been a miserable experience has been at least made bearable by kind and gentle people who have been very sweet to my youngest boy. I have been blown away by the quality of care. His teachers and the director of the dance school have been quite helpful, solicitous and encouraging. My friends K and C have listened to me vent, whine and boo-hoo. And offered priceless advice.

God is good--all the time. This could have been so much worse, he could have been hurt worse, the care could have been less. We could be without such a marvelous support system of good friends.

We've dragged our schoolwork with us for the waiting areas and Boo has been a trouper about getting it done!! But my other praise is that our wait times have really not been too bad. Roo has been able to stay home with my telecommuting husband and has been so good about staying on task by himself.

While I am praising for all this wonderful care we've received...I am praying to be bored silly tomorrow! I am behinder (it is too a word) than I was--and that was bad--on my blog visiting. Looking forward to calm...Okay, I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Grains of Gratitude

Why do we (or at least I) always fall out of the good habits and fall into the bad ones?

One of my best habits was Grains of Gratitude. Is it really possible that my last "Grains" post was in July??? Really? Shame on me. There is so much to be grateful for.

We are one month into 2010, I am grateful that my husband doesn't mention the Christmas decorations that are still up. Yes. Really. Usually I leave them up until the Feast of the Presentation of the LORD, but can I just be honest and say...ummm...likely it may be a holly, jolly Valentines Day. So there's some green with all the red...really who's going to notice? It has just been too cold to deal with the garage and opening it up--the way the decorations come in and go out. What this really means, is I am grateful for a husband who puts up with my faults and silliness.

I am grateful that Roo has had a good time auditioning. Boo was going to try an audition, but we decided where we are going and now are on the "actively saving for summer" program. Yes, this is all about ballet. Again. Ballet moms have two seasons. Nutcracker and Summer Intensive. Everything in between is a whirlwind of trying to catch up. Did I mention the Christmas decorations are still up?

A new van has found its home on my driveway. I am grateful we were able to swing that. I don't know if I mentioned, but on New Year's Day my car went kaput halfway between home and my father's house. I limped it back home to be met with two trips to the mechanic. It still is in the driveway, but will be limited to in-town driving. The new van will allow me to go visit my father and to head east for five weeks this summer. It's not fancy, but it will do nicely. I don't need "fancy." I just need "works."

Friends are always something to be grateful for. My mom friends who listen to my parenting concerns and my friends from way back who remind me of where I come from. Friends are certainly a gift. Always something to be grateful for.

I could go on and on, but I need to do some work and focus on getting ready for a new week. I am grateful for blogging friends who visit and share their time and joy with me. Getting back in the grove has been slow, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm grateful for this little blogging place. Christine at Brady's Bunch was the originator of Grains of Gratitude.

What are you grateful for?

Count it all joy!

Julie

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Notes From the Sofa






Well, January has been more difficult to accomplish school, or anything else for that matter, than I planned on. There has been flu, malaise, inertia, and much frustration (to be quite honest). There have been auditions for summer intensives and much angst over going to summer intensives. And there has been drama...Oh yes, most of it was me.

The Nutcracker that Ate Christmas consumed seven days a week from mid-October until the end of December--past Christmas. We had a car crisis New Years Day and are still trying to recover from that. As a result, the house is stacked and piled high. I am, as I said the other night, "overwhelmed and spinning in circles." I am living in the crisis of the urgent--everything being urgent. But it will sort itself out, I am sure...okay, I am praying.

But amidst all of that, some schooling did get done. Some decisions have been made. And some directions have been changed.

I am surrounded by organized homeschoolers. They are working vigorously on their lessons plans--for next year! When I am still scraping by on my duct tape and baling wire approach to this year (which I'm still pleased with the results of--amazed, but pleased).

It appears we have acquired a piano teacher for Roo. Roo has been so out-of-my-league and over-my-head for awhile we needed a teacher, but we were looking for someone who would not take a cookie cutter approach with him. The gentleman we've approached is not a piano teacher per se, but a a professional who is going to take some time and assess and direct Roo's progress. A quick five minute conversation last week to discuss some details gave Roo more direction than I've been able to for a long time. It really was time to let go of those reins. I hope and pray this is something that will work.

There was a complete math overhaul for Boo. The results have been astounding. As in, "Why did I not do this, sooner?" We switched from a more traditional format to Miquon. We are going to back up a little and refocus, regroup and then go into the Keys to...program. Hopefully this will be a good direction. It seems to be so far.

Roo finished his essay and I assisted him with writing a resume for a dance scholarship he is applying for. He has been creating a video audition tape with the help of two of his teachers who are graciously donating their time. Anyone with suggestions to say, "Thank you?" One teacher is a woman and the other a man. Advice welcome!

Boo is doing some piano of his own. Besides the traditional workbooks (Bastien is what we use here) I've assigned him the task of adding to a song we both like. I've heard him do some improv with it and I asked that he make his own variation. He seemed to think that might be a good piece of homework.

Most electronics have been banned this week for the boys from Monday morning until Friday at about three p.m. I'm allowing computers for necessary schoolwork, texting while we travel in the car, and MP3 players when schoolwork is done. Bedtimes have been earlier and amazingly they have seen just how tired they are. I know this is normal for a lot of families, but we are bad habit night-owl-ers and everyone was getting cranky.

On that note, I need to close up shop and get myself to bed. I'm trying to regroup with my exercising in the a.m. It is getting back up to speed, but a little more slowly than I would like.

Have a blessed rest of the week!

Count it all joy,

Julie
This is where I found that Tiger-sofa.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Not Enough Coffee Today

Up until 2:30, last peeked at the clock at 3 a.m. There is not enough coffee in the world, right now. But I am also not foolish enough to drink more than my usual morning jolt, lest I repeat the scenario again tonight; switching to tea, shortly.

In the absence of brain cells, but in trying to get back in the posting habit I give you the two big questions on my mind at the moment:

What Kind of Coffee am I???



You Are a Plain Ole Cup of Joe



But don't think plain - instead think, uncomplicated

You're a low maintenance kind of girl... who can hang with the guys

Down to earth, easy going, and fun! Yup, that's you: the friend everyone invites.

And your dependable too. Both for a laugh and a sympathetic ear.



Yeah, I am plain...my husband will attest to the fact I am much more low maintenance than my friends. Not that I don't offer my share of quirks and complications, but he says he'll keep me.

Question 2: Where is the perfect shade of green?

A few days ago I was on the knitting path trying to find the perfect shade of green for a scarf. What do you mean, "Did I bring a color swatch?" That takes the challenge out of it. How many shades of green could there be? Well...this and that take a stab at the answer...sigh...Yes, I am getting that swatch.



You Are Mint Green



Balanced and calm, you have mastered the philosophy of living well.

Your friends seek you out for support, and you are able to bring stability to chaotic situations.

You're very open and cheerful - and you feel like you have a lot of freedom in life.

Your future may hold any number of exciting things, and you're ready for all of them!




Mint? Really? I was thinking Basil or Sage, maybe Oregano...hmmmmmm...mint...This is like the Purple question.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Trouble with Tribbles...











Space: The final frontier
These are the voyages of the Starship, Enterprise
Its 5 year mission
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before...

Cue the Star Trek music...

The Trouble with Tribbles
Episode Summary


Kirk must defuse a Klingon scheme to destroy a grain shipment...and cope with a seemingly benign creature known as a tribble, which reproduces at amazing speed.

Well, space is the final frontier at my house. Making space, creating space, finding space...daily goals of mine.

When we moved into this tiny duplex, it was with the largest U-haul truck and our mini-van. Our living room furniture was a futon and when company came we set out lawn furniture. Yep, really.

So what does that have to do with Star Trek? And tribbles?

Well, there is a law, kind of like the law of gravity or Murphy's law, or the law that says if you only have one pair of pantyhose it will get a run in it before you leave the house...I digress...this law says people's possessions will increase to fit their available space. I tried to Google that one, but couldn't find it exactly. But I know it's a law. I am sure.

Anyhoo...we've exceeded our "five year mission" and stuff has accumulated. And I think I mentioned once or twice or maybe a few times..."I am a packrat A-hem...crafter. And 2009 was an especially good year because I learned to knit!!!

Ahhhh...and here is when we come to the point of the knitting needle...

I have accumulated a stash!!!!

And let me tell you Space IS the final frontier and my room has become the space where no man (read my husband) wants to boldly go.


My partner-in-crime knitting mentor and I went to the yarn store recently and I was petting stroking drooling on admiring some beautiful faux fur yarn and I announced to her at the top of my lungs (she was across the store and I admit I was a wee bit wound up) "TRIBBLES!!"

Being the good friend and having the same sad background of being a Star Trek junkie, she knew immediately what I meant and we were both rolling on the floor LOLOLOL...Okay...we did manage to not really roll on the floor, but you get the idea. The salesperson helping her really did not see the humor. Sigh...

After I wiped the yarn off, I realized the price was such that, if I bought it we would not be eating anytime soon. And while that might be okay for me, my husband and children do not survive well on a steady diet of yarn. So I put it back and bid a sad farewell to the lovely skein.

I swear it purred at me.

To my delight, Hobby Lobby (my husband calls it "Rob-me Lobby") had a sale on yarn this week. Low and behold I found a furry friend for the cost of a cappuccino or mocha latte (which I no longer consume).




The lovely, little creatures jumped obediently into my cart and snuggled in the sack all the way home. They are now purring contentedly amidst the more sedate non-furry yarn awaiting my inspiration to create something with them. Or they might just be objects d'art if I fall under their charming spell and name them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Laryngitis of the Blog

I lost my voice for a while.

No, I didn't really have laryngitis. At least not the vocal kind (although, perhaps my children wouldn't have minded a bit). I've experienced what some might call "writer's block" but it was that and more. It spilled over into a lot of daily living. The outcome was that I've not been visibly "around" much here. In all honesty, I have been on FaceBook and Twitter, but those are so different. They can consume a lot of time--but they are different.

A couple things happened. Around October I was continually getting a sense that the LORD was telling me that I needed to take a break from my blog. Really? I didn't want to hear that. And I didn't want to announce I was taking a break, because I kept thinking I would "get better" and/or I wouldn't really be able to take a break after saying I was.

One problem with naming your blog "Joyful Days" is that there is a perceived (and maybe only by me) notion that my post should/will be positive. Naming my blog "Joyful Days" however was a challenge to myself. I wanted to start finding "joy in all things" I wanted to see joy in the tiny blessings as well as in the huge miracles. I still believe joy is a choice. I've seen what happens to people who choose to be the antithesis of joy--grouchy, depressed, angry, obstinate...in a word--me.

I've been hesitant to talk about my health issues--certainly not large and devastating, more of the chronic and persistent type...just annoying really, and in the grand scheme of things, very manageable. I didn't want to talk about them much because I didn't want my blog to go that direction even though those things are very much a part of who I am. I didn't want to define myself that way then.

But I have found joy is easier when you are addressing your health issues. My diagnosis of hypothyroidism was a blessing. Depression comes in many forms. I was experiencing sometimes debilitating depression--the depression that took all the energy I had to get out of bed. That kind and other depressions that are caused by chemical imbalances are not depressions that involve choice. But after my blanket of gauze was lifted I saw patterns I had allowed to creep into my life..."Poor me, life is unfair, people are mean..." Well those things are true sometimes, but the better choice is to see the "blessed me." I know I don't deserve all of the blessings I have and I've seen most often people are so kind.

Pre-diabetes has become part of my vocabulary. And when it did I finally chose to lose weight however I could get it off without surgery or medication (other than my thyroid medication, I guess). I've been hesitant to talk about my weight loss, but last year I lost 50 lbs. I've been worried lest I say anything and every last ounce will jump back on my body. My choice of diets has been debated in "real life" and while it is a choice due to my health issues, most people don't like the idea. My choice of exercise has taken a few hits too. Those two things combined with a few others molded my health choices last year. In all likelihood, now that I am a little more comfortable with them, I can share a little more.

My blog found some new readership and I had to decide how much personal information I can allow out here--both my personal "stuff" and my children's and the stuff that belongs to others in my life. I've been hesitant to talk about anything controversial or potentially offending.

Apparently I can be controversial and offending without intending to.

I've been hesitant to post about the reality of my days lest I sound like I'm boasting or worse whining--that "joyful days" thing again.

So, what have I been up to?

Exercise and diet. The road to "healthy" has helped me choose joy.

I found myself slipping a lot in my witness. Asking myself the "What Would Jesus Do?" question more often; asking myself if my action is "Christian" helps in finding joy--it is oftentimes inconvenient and takes a little extra thought--but the reality is liberating.

One more joyful thing is that I've been sleeping more. Part of my research shows that as you age you should get a certain amount of sleep. For quite a few years I worked overnights and still came home to school the boys during the day. That kind of lifestyle catches up with one sooner or later. So four or five nights a week I am in bed before eleven, which for me is huge.

I've pushed my children in ways I said I would not. I've allowed my children things I thought I wouldn't--still surprised when I realize how culturally deficient we are--why do I feel the need to apologize for that?

Driving lots of driving

Sitting and waiting.

Knitting

School--although I daily feel inadequate, and humbled by the children God has given me.

Trying to keep clothes clean and food on the table.

Facebook, Farmville, Farm Town, and Twitter.

Hopefully hitting "Publish Post" will help me blog again. I miss my blog. I miss my bloggy friends. Maybe I can get back on track...

Count it all joy,

Julie