Judith

Judith

Sunday, February 26, 2017

JOY!

Good Sunday evening!

TOTAL RANDOMNESS - If you've known me five or more minutes, you know my favorite Christmas word is "JOY!"

As you are getting over the fact I have a favorite Christmas word, allow me to share some joyful words with you this evening.

"Joy cannot be pursued. It comes from within. It is a state of being. It does not depend on circumstances, but triumphs over circumstances. It produces a gentleness of spirit and a magnetic personality." Billy Graham

I have to admit, there are many times I do not feel joyful...

At all.

And that is sad because being a child of God, I have access to the greatest joy ever, ever known.

All that being said, while I may not always feel joyful, I am really, really good at knowing it when I see it!


Remember this pic from a few posts ago?

Well, I was fortunate enough to see a little more joy this afternoon...











Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100:1-5


This little guy is just getting his bearings. He doesn't understand yet...

But one day in the not-so-far-off future, he will.

He will!

"Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” C. S. Lewis

Have a good Sunday night. I'll talk to you soon!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Tuesdays with Judith, A Little RT, Blog Linkage AND Pinterest Stuff (Five Ways to Guard Your Marriage)

Good Saturday evening!

RANDOMNESS #1 - It's only the end of February, and I've already chosen my word for 2017. I chose five words for 2016, and none of them lasted more than four to six weeks. Needless to say, last year was not my best year.

Word-wise.

However this year, I chose the word PRODUCTIVE, because for whatever reasons/excuses (and I have many), I have not been very productive these last few years/decade. It hurts to admit, but it is unfortunately true.

The word PRODUCTIVE kept coming to my mind (and it was in ALL CAPS in my brain), but I kept dismissing it because of matching scripture to the word.

And then it hit me.

The Proverbs 31 woman.

She is a lot of things, but most definitely she is PRODUCTIVE.

Although I declared this as my word for 2017, I am trying to make up for lost time, and so far (three days into having chosen the word), I am still working hard.

I have a feeling I may never have to choose another word again. This one should last at least a decade...

Or two.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Tuesdays with Judith - Last week, Judith spent the night on Tuesday and we had a Wednesday together. However, we are back on schedule now, and I hate to change the name of "Tuesdays with Judith" to "Wednesdays with Judith" because of one little week in February when things got turned around a little bit.

All that to say, since Judith was with me on a Wednesday, we were able to go to a Story Time for little kiddos at the local library. The librarian was wonderful, and she read three different stories, sang two songs AND we watched a little five-minute movie.

Judith was excellent. She sat with me throughout, but whenever there was music or singing she danced in my lap, clapped her hands and kept the beat with her entire little body.

I had a ball.

I'm assuming she did, too.

Afterwards, we spent some time with the other Story Time gang in the Kid Section.


She was playing with the dollhouse when she noticed this nice young man having fun with the garage...


And she decided that looked more interesting than the dollhouse.


She enjoyed the moving puzzle until she saw the nice young man playing dress up...


And she immediately headed to the Hat Box.


When the nice young man had to leave with his Mom, she finally settled down to do a little reading.

There's no way of knowing if she thought of him as a "big brother" or a potential "boyfriend."

Either way, I was kinda happy when he left because she paid some attention to me.

I'm a little needy that way.

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Little RT Does a Nana's Heart Good - RT is getting bigger and better and sweeter with each passing week. I didn't think it possible, but there you have it! He is an exceptional little boy.








Melia and Austin gave us this outfit the night they told us RT was coming. Nine months later, I had forgotten all about it. I found it in a drawer and laid it out to put on RT the next time he came for a visit.

The outfit still fits, but the hat was definitely made for a newborn.

I'm just going to put it up and wait for another little boy to join the family one day.

Blog Linkage - Go to www.kellehampton.com and click on the post entitled "Dash's 4 Year Trash Bash: A Garbage Truck Party." Oh... my... goodness! I may be borrowing someone's four year-old boy in the near future for just such a party.

Pinterest Stuff

Five Ways to Guard Your Marriage

1. Proudly wear your ring. You are DEFINITELY not a bad person if you don’t do this, but take a second to think about whether or not it’s important to your spouse. If it is important to either of you, you both need to be making it a priority. My ring is my way to stay accountable to my marriage. You wear a fitbit for your fitness goals, set an alarm to get you to work on time, etc. This is no different! I proudly wear my ring because I know it’s important to my spouse, but also because I want others to know I’m proud to be married to my husband. This may be different in your marriage, but I encourage you to have the conversation and find something that works for you.

2. Never speak badly of your spouse. This one can be a little tricky! Most of us don’t jump at the chance to put our spouse down or obviously talk bad about them, but what about the stories you tell to your friends? A seemingly harmless story about something funny your husband did might upset him or embarrass him. For example, if I told my friends about a time when Alex had trouble opening the pickle jar, that might make him feel silly for not being strong enough. A funny story can sometimes be hurtful and would be better kept in the home. This doesn’t mean that you can never tell a story again, though! Just think before you speak on this one.

3. Stay away from tempting situations. “And you shall not bring an abominable thing into your house and become utterly devoted to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest and abhor it, for it is devoted to destruction.” Deuteronomy 7:26

Does this verse sound familiar to you? Yeah, me too! First, I’ll be swearing off chocolate, but then I go to dinner. I’m surrounded by ice cream, and I cave. The example I gave is funny, but the same can be true for our marriages. If you don’t place yourself in tempting situations, you can’t be tempted by them. Alex and I are firm believers in setting ground rules in our marriage. They can be different for everyone, but doing so makes it easier for us to avoid the temptation altogether. Even if you don’t have actual rules set in place, it’s as simple as just asking yourself a few questions if you’re unsure. “How do I feel about this? How would my husband feel about me doing it?” It’s not about control, but respect for our spouse and God.

4. Take an interest in your spouse’s interests. Remember to take the time to stop and ask about your spouse’s work, hobbies, thoughts, feelings, etc. When we show we care about the things that are important to our husbands, it makes them feel AMAZING! Alex and I have very different interests, so I often forget to ask about his latest project at work or the video game he’s been obsessed with lately. But when I do, he lights up. Take the time to make our spouses feel special.

5. Be someone he can trust to be capable. Be someone your husband can trust to take care of things/situations. As women, we often are run by our emotions, and that can be draining for our husbands. When we call him for every little problem or cry 50 times a day, he then has to deal with all of his other responsibilities and feelings plus ours. It can be really hard on him, and that leaves room for frustration and worldly temptations. If you struggle with this, lean on God to offer the helping hand and the peace to handle those emotions that can sometimes bubble over.

NOTE FROM BELINDA - Please remember I didn't write this. I found the above on Pinterest...

And liked it a lot!

Have a fantastic weekend. I'll be back soon with MamMa and Austin's birthday pics, a report and pics from Just Keep Swimming, a little Judith, a little RT and maybe a little Mikie and me!

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

P.S. Just Keep Swimming was WONDERFUL! I'll be talking about it a lot next post, but here are a few pics from this morning's event.


Minnie Mouse is Judith's absolute favorite character right now...

And after the show, we got in the line to wait for a Meet and Greet AND a picture!


But waiting is really hard when you're two years-old...

And even a little blurry.


Then you get to a point in the line where you can see Minnie only a few feet ahead...

And you get all tingly and excited!


And then you're the next one to get your picture made with the two giant mice...

Which you thought was going to be the most amazing thing you had ever dreamed of doing your whole life!


Turns out, you're quite satisfied with Mom holding you and standing in between you and the ginormous rodents.

Yep.

Two year-olds are FUN!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tuesdays with Judith, A Little RT, Grandpa's 90th Birthday Celebration, Pinterest Stuff (Cornflake Sensory Bin, Fun Family Traditions for March AND Ten Christian Films on Netflix)

Good Thursday morn!

RANDOMNESS #1 - Cousins - Two or three weeks ago, Sawyer and RT met for the first time. Sawyer immediately looked much older than five months, and RT looked like a newborn once again.


Austin and Brad were born 13 months apart.

Sawyer and RT are five months apart.

It will take a little while, but they will be play buddies before too much longer.


Pretty mommas make pretty babies.

RANDOMNESS #2 - Tuesdays with Judith - After we eat supper with Pop on Monday nights, I take Judith upstairs for a nice, fun bath. She picks the water color, and for the past two weeks we've been playing with animals.


She loves bath time.


These animals were "dirty," so she scrubbed them all one by one...


And then she set them on the edge of the tub to dry.




It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.


And this is what Miss Sassy looks like when she wakes up the next morning.
Big curls...

Big eyes...

Cutest button nose in the history of the world.

When Nana B wakes up in the morning, she has flat hair, puffy eyes and...

Well, we'll just stop there.

It gets a little depressing.

RANDOMNESS #3 - A Little RT Does a Nana's Heart Good - RT and his parental units came over for a visit which made this Nana super happy.




He is a most precious little man.

RANDOMNESS #4 - Grandpa's 90th Birthday Celebration and NOT a Single Pic of the Man! - How sad is that? I felt really bad about not taking his photo, and it isn't even the first time it has happened. I choose to think it is because he has such beautiful great-grandchildren. I cannot be bothered to take adult photos. However, I do need to go to Oxford and have a Grandpa photo shoot.

Just the two of us!


If you have ever wondered what "joyous" looks like, wonder no more.


Same for the phrase, "worn out."

Wonder no more!


Four out of the six cousins were in this pic.


Lauren...


Mackenzie...


And Micah (who was missing from the cousin picture above because of the need to finish a little Sunday afternoon nap).


Happy to be outside...


And even happier to be carrying a big ol' stick.


It was a racing kind of day.

Roxie and Lauren were a team.


Courtney and Lauren raced Roxie and Judith at one point.


Judith talking with her Daddy about the judge's decision on the winner of the above race.

She was not pleased with the results.


Matthew and Roxie.




I'm not sure what they were watching...


But it didn't hold Lauren's attention the same way it held Roxie and Matthew's.

Pinterest Stuff

Cornflake Sensory Bin

I grabbed a few favorite items and turned them into an activity. I poured cornflakes into a large plastic tub. We have vehicle counters from Learning Resources, and I hid those in the cornflakes. The kids had so much fun looking for the different vehicles along with crushing and tasting the cornflakes.

NOTE FROM BELINDA - I am a huge fan of the sensory bin, and this one is just perfect for the two year-old crowd.

I'm planning on doing this bin with Judith next week.

Fun Family Traditions for MARCH

1. Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

2. Read Green Eggs and Ham.

3. Fly a kite.

4. Go fishing.

5. Eat green cuisine.

6. Cook a pot of Irish stew with the kids.

7. Cook in bulk and stock the freezer.

NOTE FROM BELINDA - Take a look at the above list and make it your own. Even if you pick just one or two things from the list for your family to do every March, you'll be surprised how quickly it becomes something everyone looks forward to each year.

Ten Christian Films on Netflix

NOTE FROM BELINDA - I haven't previewed these films. I would most definitely watch anything I wasn't familiar with before watching with young children.

That being said, I love having a list of ten already set up to preview.

1. In-Lawfully Yours – PG 2016 - This is a story of an ex-daughter-in-law, Jesse, who moves in with her mother-in-law to settle her estate after her father-in-law passes away. To cheer up her mother-in-law, Jesse, who has never set foot in the door of a church, says she’ll attend church if they can just get out of the house.

When they arrive at church, Jesse goes against all church traditions, because she has never been before, and questions the pastor in the middle of his sermon. Another twist in the story is that the pastor is the former brother-in-law of her ex-husband due to the death of his wife. Make any sense at all?

I enjoyed this movie because I loved seeing the transformation of Jesse after she was exposed to God’s Truth. There is healing in relationships, the awakening of the town and the revitalization of a dying church.

2. Christmas In The Smokies – TV-G 2015 - You can enjoy Christmas in the Smokies any time of year. When times get tough, a family and a town join forces to help save a family farm. Forgiveness and faith are themes that run through this story.

3. The One I Wrote For You – PG 2014 - This is an inspirational movie about a man with big talent and his struggle with seeking fame while keeping his integrity. When he gets a second chance at stardom, he must choose whether to go all out to win, or stay true to himself. If you enjoy music, you’ll love this film.

4. Hoovey – PG 2015 - Hoovey is the inspiring true story of a young basketball star who discovers a life-threatening tumor might end his basketball career and his life before either really get started. I love how this family pulls together to fight unbeatable odds. As Hoovey and his family walk through the dark times, faith in God carries them through.

5. Little Boy – PG-13 2015 - This is a quirky film about a height-challenged young boy with an extraordinary amount of faith. When his father is sent off to fight in the war, he will do whatever he can to get his father back. He befriends a Japanese man, overcoming prejudices in the town. His “faith the size of a mustard seed” is inspiring.

6. A Matter of Faith – PG 2014 - This movie follows an incoming freshman, Rachel, to her first experience with differing views from what she was raised to believe. Concerned with his daughter’s wavering faith, Rachel’s father confronts her biology teacher with the limited perspective he teaches his students. Seizing the opportunity, the biology teacher challenges the untrained father to a debate on Evolution vs. Creation.

This movie is a milder version of God’s Not Dead. However, it’s a great movie for families to watch together. It poses the idea everyone should look at both sides of an argument before coming to a conclusion. My family really enjoyed it.

7. The Prince of Egypt – PG 1998 - Although it has been around for a while, your kids may not have experienced this movie. Retelling the Biblical story of Moses, this animated classic is filled with beautiful music and inspiring themes.

As with any Bible story adapted for film, there are elements of the story that are embellished or missing, but it offers a great opportunity for going back to the original document, the Bible, to find the Truth.

8. Joseph - King of Dreams – TV-PG 2000 - If you enjoyed The Prince of Egypt, you’ll enjoy Joseph - King of Dreams. It acts as a prequel to the previous movie, and explains how the Israelites arrived in Egypt in the first place. My kids thoroughly enjoyed this one.

9. Veggie Tales In The House - There are some new veggies in town! While they’ve departed from their explicit retelling of Bible stories, they still hold to great stories that teach character and virtue. My daughter has been loving getting acquainted with these friends all over again.

10. When Calls the Heart - I’m pretty sure I read all of Janette Oak’s books when I was a teenager. I loved the sweet romances filled with the challenges of frontier living. When Hallmark came out with the When Calls the Heart series, my girls and I couldn’t wait to watch it. Our whole family enjoys them, and it’s excellent for those colder days when you want to snuggle up and rest the day away with a good show.

I hope you and yours have a great Thursday. I'll be back soon with more pics, more family things to share, etc., etc.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Crawlspace and Me - Part Deux (an Enchanting Belinda Story), Blog Linkage AND Pinterest Stuff (How to Keep God First in Your Home)

Good Thursday morning!

RANDOMNESS #1 - THE CRAWLSPACE AND ME - PART DEUX - When last we left off, I was twirling a stick in front of my face collecting cobwebs...

In the crawlspace...

Under my house...

In sub-freezing temperatures...

But I think I forgot to tell you what I was wearing.

You knew I had my snow day attire on (red plaid flannel pajamas), but did you know I was also wearing my Daddy's big ol' denim coat AND Mikie's big ol' tennis shoes?

Did you?

I put a toboggan on, but I didn't think I looked very good, so I just went out (and under) with my uncoiffed mop of hair because static electricity hair is SO much better than a smashed down toboggan head.

Am I right?

Here's a fun fact for you...

The toboggan is not my friend. I am not at all pleasing to the eye when wearing any and all kinds of toboggans.

Hard to believe, I know, since I am so pleasing to the eye at any other given time.

But I digress...

I had crawled approximately two or three feet into the belly of the crawlspace when I noticed two very disconcerting things.

There were quite a few metal pipes. Not just two big ones like I had thought before actually entering the dark, dank, cold, cobwebby space...

AND none of the pipes were labeled.

I yelled for Roxie to bring me a phone.

The Chick was very responsive to a point. While she had hurried to bring me the phone, and while she was sympathetic about the cobwebs and everything else going on, she was not willing to trade spaces.

Nope.

Not even for a second.

I called Mike hoping to get an idea of which pipe I was supposed to point the hair dryer toward, and he started to describe where I was supposed to be sitting...

And I was not even close.

I tush-scooted 50 feet (or maybe five feet) to the right and found myself under three pipes. This was good. This was doable.

Keep in mind during all of this time, I was still twirling the stick and collecting cobwebs. My stick was almost full, but I hadn't really made a dent in the Wall O Cobwebs. Not even a little one.

Mike kept trying to help me figure out which pipe was frozen, but I finally had to hang up and figure it out myself.

Roxie turned the non-working water on in the shower, and I began to blow. This went on for at least an hour (or maybe 11 minutes), until she started stomping on the floor above my head to let me know we had success.

I don't know when I've been happier. I had done it. I was now able to leave the cobweb-infested crawlspace, take a hot shower and sip hot chocolate for the remainder of the snow day.

I was almost back to the crawlspace door. I could see sunlight. Life was almost good again.

And that's when Roxie yelled, "The water in the sink isn't working yet."

WHAT?!?

I dropped everything (cobweb stick, flashlight, hair dryer, etc.) and called Mikie one more time.

"Why is the shower working, but not the sink?" I asked him with a wavering voice.

"Different pipes," he answered.

And that's about the time I almost started crying, but I pulled myself together and started toward the "different pipes," following Mike's directions perfectly.

I made a mental note to have TWO cobweb sticks with me the next time I crawled under our house, because one just didn't do the job. The one I had looked like a giant gray cotton candy ball. I've never said this before, nor did I ever think I would, but I don't think I want to eat cotton candy again.

And now I'm sad once again.

One hour later (or 11 or 12 minutes, more or less), Roxie started stomping and yelling the water was running. The ordeal was almost over. All I had to do was crawl out of the crawlspace.

I emerged dirty, cobweb-covered and sniffling...

But I did emerge.

I have to admit, I am a better woman for having spent those four hours and 32 minutes (or 46 minutes) in the crawlspace that bitterly cold January morning. I am stronger and wiser.

And now when Mikie gets out of bed around midnight to turn off all the dripping faucets in the house mumbling something sounding like, "It's 65 degrees outside. The pipes are not going to freeze," I do not hesitate to hop out of bed as soon as he settles back in...

To turn them all on again, just in case.

By the way, I have a new title now...

The Enchanting Belinda, Protector of the Pipes!

RANDOMNESS #2 - Judith can now stand on one leg.


Of course, she still needs a little help from large pieces of furniture or walls...


But she does it and does it very well.


As you can see, her whole body is an entire blur except for that sweet little smile.


Obviously, standing on one leg wears a girl out.

RANDOMNESS #3 - I'm sharing RT parts this week.


His hair.

Precious.


His right hand.


His left hand.


One ear, one fist, half a nose and one eye.

Blog Linkage - I have added a new blog to My Blog List (see Sidebar). I have been following this family on Instagram for about a year now, and her blog is just as pretty as her Instagram account. If you have a minute, go to www.mommasgonecity.com and take a gander!

Pinterest Stuff (NOTE - Remember, any items shared under "Pinterest Stuff" are from Pinterest. I like them, but they are not my ideas!)

How to Keep God First in Your Home

1. Start my day in God’s Word. There’s no mandate for this, but it stands to reason that the main thing just might deserve to come first in my day.

2. Read the Bible with my kids. There’s value in Christian books and devotionals written for children, but they really can’t replace the living, breathing, powerful Word of God. No, they might not understand every word, but I’ll be showing them the main thing in a way that will be memorable for the rest of their lives.

3. Pray, pray, pray. Our God isn’t restricted to the pages of a Book. He is alive. He is active. He is engaged. He is constantly working on your behalf and mine, and on behalf of our children. One of the best ways to show our children these important truths is by praying as though He’s really listening, because He is.

4. Work with my kids on Scripture memory. Our church has an AWANA program which provides the structure we need for Scripture memorization. If your church doesn’t have this program, seek the accountability of a small group of friends, or implement Scripture memory into your homeschool routine. It’s really as simple as picking a verse and then setting a time of day that is conducive to this task. My favorite place to work on Scripture memory is in the car as we run our errands. Why waste those valuable minutes when you can make them fruitful?

5. Talk about God often. Is God the main thing? The reason I live and move and have my being? (Acts 17:28) If He is, then it won’t be hard for me to talk about Him all day long, in a way that’s natural and pleasant. He has something to say about my kids’ sin. He has something to say about my discipline of them. He has something to say about our service. About our relationships. You and I might realize that our family's perspective comes from the Bible. Let’s take the extra step and explain it to them.

6. Make church attendance a priority. Above clubs. Above sports. Above work. Above all. Faithful church attendance is an important way to show my kids where our family’s true priorities lie.

7. Discuss world events in a Christian context. Terrorism. Racism. Abortion. Unrest in the Middle East. Ebola. Politics. Current events provide so much fodder for rich discussions with our kids. We certainly need to be cautious and responsible about dealing with these matters on their level. They don’t need to know all the details, but they can understand the general concepts, along with the root causes and what God has to say about them.

8. Serve together. The book of James makes it clear that “faith without works is dead” (2:14-26). One of the best ways to let your kids see that your faith is alive is by serving God together, allowing all that you know about God to be worked out in love for others. Serve at church. Serve in your community. Serve each other at home. Serve your church leadership. Serve your neighbors. Jesus’ life on earth was characterized by service. His life poured out constantly on behalf of others. We’re wise to follow His example in our homes!

I hope you and yours have a wonderful rest of the week. Me and mine will certainly try to do the same.

Sincerely,

The Enchanting Belinda, Protector of the Pipes

P.S. Here are a few more pics from the circus.















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