Saturday, November 29, 2008

"We Have a Good Life Mom"!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love tradition...I love being thankful...I love passing on traditions to my children. Again this year we were able to host Thanksgiving at our home. It was very special. My dear cousin Ilene and her husband Jim joined us, and it was one of the best I have ever had! I loved having my family for this very special holiday. Ilene is indeed very special to me. I have wonderful memories of my childhood when she and her mother (my Aunt Dottie) would take me out to eat, and treat me like a princess. I was like a daughter to them. I attribute much of my "lady like" manners learned from my early childhood experiences with these two ladies. A lot of my early childhood is better off not being remembered because of the tumultuousness that surrounded it, but there those in my family who cared very deeply for me and even though I was probably more like a pauper, it is etched in my heart those times when dressed and treated like a princess. So needless to say, it is a blessing to be able to grow close to my cousin again after many many years.

My fondest memory of Thanksgiving 2008 wasn't really the amazing meal that my husband cooked, or the delicious calorie ridden pies that I made, or even the very special time of going around the table and listening to everyone give thanks to the Lord for all that was on their heart. It actually was the night before Thanksgiving, when I was tucking my boys into bed. They were very excited about seeing Jim and Ilene and sharing our Thanksgiving with them. They talked about what they might say around the table....things like "I'm thankful for my family....I'm thankful for Jesus in my heart....I'm thankful that Pa gets to spend Christmas in Heaven it must be so exciting to have Jesus at his own birthday party!....I'm thankful for my Daddy getting a job...I'm thankful for my church, my friends,...." It went on and on. It was very precious. I turned off the lights, prayed with them and then my Brendan snuggles in his blankets and says "We have a good life Mom."

That was it for me. "We have a good life Mom." It hit me. All those things that we are trying to instill in our children that we don't think are actually sinking in...things like an attitude of gratitude, selflessness, priorities....if we listen close, we may actually find that it is sinking in after all. This year has been a very difficult year for us in many ways. My goal has been to walk in faith and trust the the Lord, that He would provide for our needs, that he would heal our sicknesses, our relationships, that He would help foster our friendships. My children have been witnesses to all of this and can say with all sincerity....."We have a good life!" Indeed we do! We have a great life. It is not about what we have, or what we are able to do, it is about who we have, a loving Savior and a very close loving family and amazing friends, and its about the love that we can share every single day no matter what our circumstances. THANK YOU FATHER! I always tell my children, I may not ever be wealthy, people may not remember me by my beautiful home or my classy look with expensive jewelry, I may not ever have enough money to travel the world, but one thing I am...I am very rich in friendships and relationships. In those things this family has great wealth! #128 on my gift list (of gratitude) Thankful for those friendships and relationships that I will be able to take with me someday when I go 'home'! #129 Thankful for the opportunity to give back a little blessing to my cousin Ilene who has blessed me beyond words. #130 Thankful that my children are learning what is really important.

Here are a few photos our my favorite day!

Here are my boys helping to peel potatoes!

Ilene, Kyle and Jim

Dinner! I feel full just looking at this picture. That would be my Kyle eating that giant Turkey leg!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Indeed Special

If you haven't read this book you MUST. Before my twins were born, our friend, and now a Medical Missionary (Ms. Nancy D.) gave each of my boys their own dedicated copy of this book. I have read this book a million times to children and adults. It reminds us that we are special because we were created by a God who loves every single detail of us. Below is my little "Wemmick" Shane, with dots all over his face. If you have read the book you will understand what the dots mean....if you haven't read the book....well, get over to that library and read it! You will not be sorry.

Next we have Daddy Wemmick too!
I had to put this in here little student...who must look cool!

Yea....too cool!
The truth is this...what is really special about Shane is that he is not ashamed of the Gospel. I know that someday, he will be a leader and he will be influential for Kingdom's sake. Every person that Shane meets will surely be asked two questions: "Do you know Jesus?" and "Did you vote for McCain or Obama?". He is very clear about certain topics, unwavering in his views and love for his Lord! Gifts List (graditude list) #127 Thank you Lord for a boy who is certain of who he is in You and knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is special because of YOU inside of him!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Is It With Boys & Bugs?

.....and frogs? UGH! Graditude List # 126--Thank you Lord for giving my boys a love for all things gross and creepy! I was so afraid to pass down my "fear of such things" to my little boys! Here are just a few that we've managed to capture on film. It is an ongoing event in this household (to catch them and to set them free)! Of course for Kyle, they seem to just fly right to him!

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's a Jungle Out There!

So we have to make time for friends & fun! Right?! That is just what I did last week. Last Thursday night my small group Bible Study girls (God's Girls) met me at Java Jungle in Port Orange, FL. If you have not been there, you MUST give it a try. Click here for more details--it is a beautiful place with much to offer! We had a blast. We brought games, snacks and ordered coffee/tea and smoothies as we sat and played games for a few hours. We met some great people and we just enjoyed our time together laughing and winning (well, I won)....(I warned them that I play hard...very competitive..I'm a good loser when I lose, but really, I like to win!). We played Apples to Apples and just had a great time! These women endured my leadership for 10 weeks as we studied Believing God by Beth Moore. (There were a few women missing.) I have enjoyed getting to know each of them so much! They have blessed my life more than you could ever imagine. We come from all walks of life, different parts of the country and span different generations, yet we are all on a similar journey....learning to trust in Him! Small groups and Bible studies are so great. You walk away with not only great knowledge and changed spirit, but everlasting relationships! Here are a few pictures of my wild and crazy bunch at Java Jungle! (I think I look sick....that is because I was really sick...I got home and had a temp and I've been fighting this nasty cold ever just thought I would throw that out there for whatever it is worth!) :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Want To Be Just Like You

I used to be afraid that my Baby "B" would be a Mama's boy. To some degree he is (He really loves me!)....but in all other ways, he wants to be like his Dad. Ever since Brendan was a toddler, he was dressing like his Dad and talking like his Dad. I love that "B" is like his Dad in so many ways. Like his Dad, he loves to read, he has a sensitive heart, is very loving and kind. He can eat large quantities of food and he is indeed a man of prayer! Here is all the proof you need to see that what I say is truth! Thank you Lord for an amazing model for my boys. I couldn't have asked you for a better Daddy for KB&S!

OK....but do NOT go growing up too fast!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Little Less Testosterone Today

Yum! Does it wet your appetite a little bit? Well, there is a story behind these beauties! (I know, another story...I can't help myself really!) Join me as I rewind and take it from the top!

The phone rings at friend Jamie had her baby today...its a girl...Julia...Dad sounded very tired, but very excited. Nice start to the morning right? It gets better.

10:30am....a knock at the is my date for the day (I sound like Joe Friday huh?). I could hardly stand the excitement. My friend Madeline and I planned this date for her to come and bake with me today! Madeline is in the 5th grade and she is such a smart, beautiful, loving, sweet girl and I am blessed to know her! Watch and remember this young lady, she will be the first woman on the moon! Madeline's Mom is one of my best friends here in Florida. I have found a sister in her and I am thankful to the Lord for her friendship. She is an amazing woman who, with her sweet husband, have raised 3 beautiful girls. Along with Madeline,there is Amelia, she is in the 4th grade and she proclaims to everyone at school that she indeed has 3 brothers --- Kyle, Brendan and Shane! This girl is full of love, generosity and kindness. Finally, there is Elinor. Elinor is in high school and my boys adore her. Almost worship really! LOL! We all love Elinor, she too has a sweet spirit, is kind and generous and full of love! These are three of the most beautiful girls I know, both inside and out! So, today was my day with Madeline! Here is a photo journey of our date!

Isn't it amazing how all of this seen below, mixed together brings about all of what you see in the above picture. Oh of course, there is my secret ingredient that you don't see here, but that goes into every one of my cookies and my husband swears he can taste it every single time!
Here we are getting ready, aprons on! I am sporting the Official Starbucks Apron, while my partner Madeline is wearing the ever so fashionable Elvis Apron. Does she have great taste or what!

Madeline so delicately yet confidently handles my prize KitchenAid mixer with such professionalism!

We made Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies!

We made Pumpkin Date Cookies. OH MY GOODNESS! YUM!

Finally we made Special Occasion--Sugar Cookies!

After 6 hours of baking and another 1.5 hours of decorating......this was the result!
Now is that a sweet picture in every single way or what? Seriously, we worked very hard today, but we laughed and talked and she just blessed my socks off today! Shhhh....don't say anything, but I heard it through the grapevine that my next treat might be for me to get to spend some time with ALL the girls and Mom too (again...without all the testosterone around). OH I just can't wait! I love you Maddy Moon!

Friday, November 14, 2008

That Mom

I love being that Mom who lets all the kids come over and hang at the house or in the backyard. That Mom who gives pitchers of ice cold water and homemade popcorn or cookies to a bunch of hungry boys who've been playing hard outside. On Wednesday my boys had some friends over (two are missing from this picture) and they were having the best time outside (even without a trampoline). I brought out some snacks only to find that they have taken their shirts off (well all but one modest friend). It was too cute. They also had taken it upon themselves to get the demolition of my banana trees underway. Every year we have to cut down all 21 banana trees, it is such a huge and messy task. I have decided that since they all loved knocking my trees down, that they can come over on some Saturday and help bring those trees to the front yard to be picked up. Hauling is the most exhausting task. Anyway, as I looked out on the 7 children playing in my backyard, I whispered a little prayer: "Lord, thank you for my little arrows, may they grow to be amazing men of God someday, may they continue to foster the friendships they have and enjoy the fellowship with their brothers in Christ." This was a God stop for me today. I remember asking the Lord to open my womb and grant me the blessing of having children. Ten years of trying and praying and crying and dreaming. I dreamt of the day that I would have a bunch of children playing in my backyard. I dreamt that I would be "That Mom!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

God's Ears & Arms

I've been asked now for a few updates. I have to say even as I begin to type, that I am humbled by the amount of people who not only read my blog, (I know many of you who are afraid to leave comments because you don't want to join, but you are out there and you are faithful readers.) It blesses me when someone asks me a question about something I have written. Someone recently asked about my husband's job, and today I got a phone call from a relative asking about my meeting with Kyle's school. Well, I am just so touched that so many people care. Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers. Now about God's ears and arms....

I can say this....He hears everything and His arms are not too short! Let me start by saying, my husband's job is going well. He has been in intense training for the past 3 weeks, he hasn't made it "on the road" yet, but he feels like he is being trained properly and very well! He is getting itchy to make his first "sale", but the company requires him to make something like 35 appointments before he actually goes out on his own. Once again, it's baby steps, but good training. All that to say that he is really enjoying himself. Thank you for praying for him!

The car situation has not really changed. Mike's new boss gave him his car to ride around until we can get a van for me. I now drive in Mike's old car. However, now someone else needs the car at his job, is how God worked that out. We live with our 90 year old grandfather. He has just surrendered the keys to his car (that was a long and heart wrenching process let me tell you)! Pop has been lost one too many times and his mind is very forgetful, this needed to be done, but it was not without a fight! Needless to say, I believe Mike will now be able to drive Pop's old car, while I drive Mike's old car and we have wheels once again. Mind you, it is not easy to have 2 seven year olds and a 5 year old in the back seat. We will not be taking any long (45 minute plus) drives in the very near future....unless I can borrow someone's Ipod for the trip. One can only take so much of this: "Stop touching me! OUCH! OH you stink, you forgot your 'oderant'" all the while playing with the windows!!!! Mom, are we there yet? ::crying:: He hit me in the head! That was my foot OUCH! Your magna doodle is touching mine.....OH NO NOW I HAVE GERMS........." Stop breathing!!!" I could go on and on! Yea, I miss my van! But thank you Lord for transportation!!!

We were trusting the Lord to stand by his word and you have read that he miraculously provided for us. Well, he did that 3 more times. In the form of friends who just picked some stuff up at the store, or who provided a gift card for me to get my hair cut and colored, or treated us to dairy queen, or gave us a gift card just because I introduced her to Jesus! HELLO! When we are faithful, friends, God is even more so! He has heard our prayers and every morning I dedicate my tithe to Him and I praise Him for all that he has done. I'm trying very hard in my prayers to be very specific in my praise! Gratitude! (I need to update that too!)

Finally what happened with Kyle. This was amazing. I stood in the shower that morning of October 31st, my meeting with Kyle's child study team. I had laid my fleece before the Lord and was confident it was out of my hands and into the Hands of my Father! As the water hit my face, I reminded the Lord that I was a little nervous, that I needed his strength especially because I didn't have Mike with me. If you've not ever been to an IEP meeting, it can be intimidating. Now, I taught public high school for 9 years and have been in the seats those team members are in...we have an is what we as the staff feel is best for the child. That is all well and good, but what do the parents feel is the best? That doesn't always carry the weight it should. With that said, I must say the staff I met with really do love my boy. They had to read their reports about Kyle, each who dealt with Kyle in a different scenario. Speech therapy, school psychologist, occupational therapy, regular ed teacher, resource/special teacher, guidance counselor, child advocate (who wasn't there this time), principal and a special guest, the special education teacher (who hadn't worked with Kyle before)...I think that covers it.

Hearing what they all had to say was very difficult for me. I lost it a few times. It is one thing to know your child has issues, and know that your doing the best you know how, but then a whole other thing to hear some of those issues come out of someone else's mouth. "Kyle is extremely learning disabled, Kyle says things like "I want to die, I hate myself, I am so stupid". Ouch....that make me cringe even typing that out. He doesn't say these things a lot, but the fact that my sweet 7 year old boy says things like that breaks my heart into a million pieces. He says those things because he feels so trapped in his little body and brain. Anyway, then you hear things that make you feel like you are too coddling as a parent. He is much more independent at school than he is at home. Tsk tsk Mom (no finger shaking, but definite eyes rolling at each other) YUCK....didn't like that feeling. Again, they forget that I sat in their seats for many years. I shed a few more tears, and we moved on.

So you don't fall asleep reading all of this, in a nutshell, this is what I felt was needed in order for me to allow Kyle to stay in the school: Special education teacher teaching him reading and writing and math, regular ed teacher teaching him social studies, science, art, music etc. I did not want my boy in a special education class exclusively. It is not for Kyle. Here are the results: Special education teacher teaching him reading and writing, math being taught by a resource teacher, regular ed teacher everything else. It really couldn't have gone any better. They seemed to be on my side. I didn't get a curbside bus for Kyle, but that is ok...we will drive him to school. I felt a tremendous weight lifted and I was confident that the Lord heard my prayer and He feels Kyle should be where he is for now. Kyle loves his new teacher too! So all is well in Engeland!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This Old Tent

The words of a dear "blog" friend have been weighing on my heart for a week now, and I remember her in prayer. The Lord truly uses her as a beacon of encouragement to so many others. Check out her latest blog at Everyday Simple Abundance.

So after reading her blog and listening to my pastor's sermon, I was moved to write. We live in this tent, this body, but remember it is only temporary. I thought about how I am never pleased with the way I look, or sometimes I get frustrated with the fact that I have to struggle with some physical ailments. 2 Corinthians says this:

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. "

My husband said after reading this again on Sunday he felt justified in his moaning and groaning. LOL! Truth be told, God made us this way and has given us a deposit, the Spirit, and with that deposit He planted a seed of eternity in us. Because of this, we long for our permanent home. (hence the groaning)! Friends, this is our tent, (not meant to be a permanent dwelling place) we are not supposed to love it! Does that set you free or what!?!

Let me show you what the rest of that section in 2 Corinthians says: "Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."

In my opinion, we have so much to look forward to. Do you remember what it was like looking forward to Christmas (before you were responsible for buying the presents)! I am in that same place today. Some of my family/friends are coming to visit in March. I can hardly contain the excitement. That is how we should feel about moving into our permanent home. That same sense of excitement and anticipation! We live by faith, not by sight. I love that God has purposed us to be just uncomfortable enough so that we long for eternity! You see that makes rejoicing in our sufferings that much more palatable.

You know, now that I think about it, it applies to all of our struggles, not just physical, but financial and emotional issues too, whatever we struggle with this side of heaven. None of this is permanent, it is all temporary. What is permanent is our relationship with the Lord and with His body. That is why the verse says to make it our goal to please Him!

I'm encouraged today, how about you?

Let me end with the verse from Revelations 21:1-8.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Blessed Mother Indeed

Here is the photo of my boys in their Fall Festival costume. The Three Kings, bearing gifts.....I was dressed as Mary, the Mother of Jesus. As the true story goes, the Kings were looking for the baby Jesus and of course the Mary as well. In my story, I was looking for the three Kings all night! I was working a booth at the Fall Festival so my children were left to enjoy themselves without my supervision...(we have an awesome church and my boys are well known, so they were not in any danger) as I tried to keep an eye on them all night long. Dad had to work! So, picture Mary running around every 1/2 hour saying...."Have you seen the three kings?" It was a hoot! We had a blast!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Redneck Entertainment

Oh my goodness, I don't believe I just typed that in the title line. We have lived in Florida for 5 years. Grant it, it is really the only place knows as home (my twins too for that matter). My boys have been very blessed to have such great friends (oddly enough, as hard as it is to find a Florida native around, they have 2 or 3 friends who were born right here!). A few days ago, I was in the kitchen cooking (don't laugh, I'm getting good at it!) and I peeked out the window.....this is what I saw!

That would be my boys and their friend yelling at the picnic table as if they were watching some sport on TV. Actually, they were watching their three bugs race up the side of the table. OH! Who will win?! Oh my goodness. It gets worse. I thought, at least Kyle is not partaking in this oddity! Well, yesterday I go outside to check my three sons and this is what I found...(to my friend in South Africa....I hope this makes you smile!)

Oh the joys of having boys!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Family October Memories

We will go to great lengths to get my son Kyle to try new foods! This is my husband....he rocks!!
Welcome October!
Ok, so the above pictures makes me laugh. This is what Floridians consider a pumpkin patch. OH HELP ME! My children may never know what it is like to go pumpkin picking in a real pumpkin patch, like the one in Hillsdale NJ where Mike and I would go every year. They not only had pumpkins, hay rides, and apple orchards, but one year we found the perfect peach! We worked hard to get that peach and since then (16 years ago) we have not had a peach worthy of comparison. (Sorry for the digression there....just a memory). You can check out Demarest Farms by clicking here.

Choosing the perfect pumpkin can still take a long time! I think I have 3 happy hunters!

Every year it seems we have an unusual moth that comes to our home. Right outside our front door, waiting all day for Kyle to return home from school. I haven't researched yet. We will learn what it is!

This is my family before getting lost in the swamp!
This is an hour into our hike, off the beaten path, somewhat lost! What good snacks, no water, sweating hot, lots of flying bugs and hermit crabs. We learned a lot on this walk!

Ah, getting lost has its perks!

Day of more least for now! What will my boys do? Oh you'll see soon enough. That is a whole other blog!

It is carving time at the Engel home! I love this picture! Three, four years ago, Kyle would never get his hands dirty like that! By the way, if your going to roast your seeds, a great way to get all that pumpkin pulp off the seeds is to soak them in water. I always roast them up and we eat them up very quickly! A little salt, a little pepper, a lot of garlic! OH YUM!

My first attempt at a 3-dimensional cake. I couldn't get the icing as dark as I wanted, but since this cake, I have learned a few more secrets! I had a blast doing this. The cake and goodie bags were for our Pumpkin Day Celebration for our Homeschool group.

Finally, here is our pumpkin. He looks just like an Engel. Seriously, we all agree that he has some family resemblance. We think it is the smile, or maybe just the little light inside that shines Jesus. The Engel family had a great October. My personal favorite holiday however is coming up this month! November here we come!