Thursday, December 20, 2007

So, I'm a little behind.

Okay folks, so I'm a holiday behind, but I do have pictures to prove we took a roadtrip up to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. Our dear friends, the Gerlts, are there for Chad's Chick-fil-A interim operator job and we had the pleasure of giving thanks alongside them... mainly in our PJ's.
We had a wonderful time. So, we didn't always wear PJ's, but we did stay comfy. We enjoyed Erin's AMAZING Thanksgiving meal (about 3 times) and lots of time playing with the kiddos.Oh, and for the record we not only played with the kids, although we did and it was a blast, but we had some grown-up fun, too. Wii is not just for fifth graders and we also had a much-anticipated round of Blokus with our sweet friends.

Well, I was a bum and didn't get nearly as many pictures to record Melodie's recent visit to Kentucky, but we had a great time. Guess I figured she had an awesome camera and I'd steal her pictures later. And that I did. I stole this picture from her facebook. It rained the entire time she was here, but she loves the rain, so she was a happy camper. And, she got to have a life dream of sorts fulfilled. We toured Churchill Downs and even got to stand in the Winner's Circle as well as see some horses practice. Mel is a big horse lover, so she was thrilled. We also enjoyed lots of soup, church on Sunday, Whassup, a breakfast with the K. Peeks, a rainy visit to Huber's Farm, and some sister time doing a little shopping. We watched a goofy Mr. Bean movie that cost a $1 at McDonald's. Dustin and Mel had lots of laughs... I got sidetracked by writing Christmas cards and Mr. Beans is soooo weird. =) And no offense, Chad Gerlt, but you sort of look like Mr. Beans in that Blokus picture up there, although you are way cooler. Anywho, we love having visitors and it was a blast to have Melodie come for a visit. Thanks, Mel!
Back to packing.
Tomorrow, we leave bright and early to fly to TX to see family (both sides) and maybe a few friends. We usually drive, so it's a nice change. I will also get to attend a dear friend's wedding shower, which is very exciting since I have to miss her wedding in May!
So, there is much to look forward to including... a break from school!! :)
Who is happier at breaks? Students or teachers?
We shared lots of smiles in 5A today!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Not What I Deserve

Last year, Girl Talk recommended an online story to read to your kids about Christmas. I read it to my kids at school and it led to some great discussion. The idea is that this family has a tradition of starting off Christmas morning getting coal in their stocking to remind them of what they really deserve. The presents then remind them that they are getting what they don't deserve and how Christ gives us what we don't deserve. It was very helpful for sparking Gospel conversation. Go have a look see:
Not What I Deserve
When we did a journal prompt to go with it, I was very encouraged by how the simple story really seemed to "touch" (for lack of better words) the kids. Many were really struck by the fact that they don't deserve anything except for coal and spiritually, death, which we talk about all of the time as we read through the New Testament. And then, many of them concluded praising God for His mercy and what He's given us in Christ. Now, I don't know where all of these kids are spiritually, but this book is a great seed-planter. Hope you find it as helpful as I did. It's really good for 5th graders anyway.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Stunning Quote

I'm listening to some Titus 2 Talks (see my sidebar) while I grade today.

Here's a quote that is sticking with me found in Noel Piper's 1st talk on fear.
"We think we need stillness around us, when really we need stillness in us."

For the fuller context, listen for yourself. I heartily recommend it.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Linkin' Up

I have updated some links in my little link/resource section of my sidebar.

Metro Moms is a site introduced on Carolyn McCulley's site awhile back. I love spending a few minutes browsing their archives from time to time. Very helpful stuff and currently it has some great Christmas ideas.

Christ and Pop Culture is presented by a few guys at my church and a friend of theirs.
Here's their blurb:
Pop Culture is everywhere. We just acknowledge it. Christ and Pop Culture is an attempt to discuss and think rightly about the common knowledge of our age.
They are currently featuring a helpful article about The Golden Compass, the movie that has everyone talking.

Finally, The Organized Home seems to provide a user-friendly resource for the home manager. It's pretty good from what I've seen so far.

Oh, and go here for some great background instrumental music. I think it rotates abuot 4 songs. It is the instrumental version of the cd, “Glory Revealed” which I learned is not for sale at this time. I don't necessarily endorse every thing on the website, but this music is really great! And there are a few items on there that are great, but it's Christmas, so I can't talk about it. =)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Perseverance. It's on my mind today. It's only natural, since I have 8 days of school left before the break. The kids yawn through everything in the morning and are hyper through all of the afternoon work. Can't blame them. There is work to be done, but in the evening, all you want to do is sip hot cocoa, wrap gifts, hang out, sing Christmas songs, bake, go to Christmas parties, etc. Or just non-Christmas pulls - reading a good book, sleeping, being lazy. In the mornings, you are so tired from the evening before, it is challenging to persevere. Or maybe it's just me. This time of the year is an important time for me to reflect on perseverance. So, here are my thoughts, for what they are worth.

Due to the very nature of the word, perseverance is a topic worth considering again and again and again.
What am I to persevere in?
Spiritual Disciplines
Belief in the Gospel
Love for God
Love for others
Excellence in responsibilities

And then, my mind shifts to things I'm not supposed to persevere in:
Sin (covers it all, huh?)

What are your lists?

The Blessing of Perseverance

James 1:25
But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 5:11
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Whassup Recipe and Whassup Melodie!

We've hosted 2 get-togethers lately that both included WASSAIL. I got 2 recipes from my friend Erin, tweaked them a little by combining some ingredients of each of the 2 and made it in my crockpot. It's super easy and apparently a big crowd-pleaser. And my concoction has its own name now. At David and Leslie's Baby Shower/Game Night, one guest had never heard of it and thought we were saying Whassup. It was funny. So, that's its name now. I hope we always call it that.

At the second party, "Christmas Guys' Night/Blokus Night II," (great guy friends of Dustin's he met when he was living in the dorm) one of our dear friends Jeremy was a HUGE fan of our newly-declared "Whassup" (more like "Wassuhhh") and asked if I could put the recipe on my blog.

This recipe is from Sweet Doneise Gerlt, plus an addition (OJ) gleaned from an online recipe and changed the name - ha! Thanks, Erin's Mom!
We make this in the crockpot for company, but you can cook it stovetop of course. I think it can be stored in the frig for up to a week and you can reheat individual servings in mugs in the microwave.

1 gallon apple cider (but depending on your crockpot, you may use a little less)
2-3 sticks cinnamon
12 whole cloves
2 tsp. allspice (whole)
1/2 (or more ;P) cup of brown sugar
about 1/3 of a can of frozen OJ concentrate

Stir often and heat thoroughly.
Serve with red hots in a little bowl next to it and you can put a spoonful in each cup before you put the hot cider in. (Good idea, Erin!) However, your guests may prefer to chomp on the red hots all by themselves. :)

**Note to Louisville people - I had to find some of these ingredients at Kroger. The Neighborhood Wal-Mart wasn't very wassail-friendly (on some of the spices), but the Wal-Mart does have cider by the organic fruit section.

OK, Jeremy. Hope it turns out great! Maybe your mom will make it for you over the break, huh?

And Melodie, my middle sister I always called Merdie, is headed here tomorrow evening! We look forward to a great weekend with plenty of Whassup.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I couldn't wait.

Our neighbor David, of David Blair Photography, kindly took our picture (on the right) for our Christmas cards. I couldn't wait to go ahead and put one on the blog. Thanks again, David! He's super good at what he does.