Friday, April 24, 2009

What You Do When You're Forty Something!

I have had a blast turning 40. I guess I am not turning 40 anymore, I am just 40 now! However, my wonderful friend and "Forty Fairy" Susan, just turned 40 "something", and she is my mentor when it comes to being in my 40s. Here is what we do now that we are in the 40 club! Enjoy!

video

We did celebrate Susan's birthday with some serious style and a little Thelma and Louise"ish" too!


We had FUN FUN FUN on Susan's Birthday!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Victory!

Why am I hesitating to type? Is it because I'm about to share some personal goals, issues, and fears....perhaps. However, I do know that it is when we are vulnerable that the Lord shows His mighty strength and I as well as others can be penetrated by His Word and His Spirit. So Holy Spirit penetrate me!

In January I made the decision to join Weight Watchers...it was my time...I could feel it! It has been 16 weeks so far, and I am loving every single day! I have lost a total of 25.8 lbs since joining. I have a about 60 more pounds to lose to reach my personal goal! In February I over did it when I rode my bike for 6 miles, played racket ball two days in a row and did some weight training (all without properly stretching...yikes)! I thought I pulled my back out or something...I was in intense pain in my lower back. I tried Tylenol, ice, heat, rest...nothing took away the pain. I began just to get used to the pain. It wasn't keeping me down! I was feeling great, except for the low back pain and a low grade temperature. By late March I made it to the doctor because I still had this temperature. After some tests the doctor thought I had a very serious/advanced kidney infection. Three weeks later, different doctor, more tests....my new MD. isn't so convinced it is kidney infection (still have a temperature) but my kidneys are definitely not working properly. I am headed for a CT Scan on Thursday of my abdomen and pelvic region.

Again, I feel like in many ways this is a new beginning in my life. I feel great, I'm getting stronger, but at the same time....my body is fighting something. I just started training for a 5K today. I did the plan....it was rough...but I am going to do it! (Unless Dr. says NO!) I am planning to run the race that benefits the Louis Argitis Jr. Foundation for Challenged Children in July. I'm very excited! So why the picture up above?

I have to admit, through all of my learning about trusting this year, I am struggling with fear. Fear of what they might find in this CT Scan. Several years back they found that I had pre-cancerous lining in my uterus. I have several benign fibroids resting in uterus now and Lord knows I was a fertility patient for 10 years. A long time and a lot of meds for one body to endure! I do not want fear to creep into my mind! I rebuke the enemy....but the reality of what might be is still there. Both of my parents died very young & I just turned 40!

Up at the top of this blog is a card that my friend gave me today! That little girl is me and that BIG dog is fear! Reminding me that I hold the leash in Christ Jesus! Ironically enough...I am in the midst of writing a book that centers around a scripture that someone else quoted to me today. After this friend read Joshua 1:9, I went a step further and wanted to read the whole chapter....because of the research for my book! I had to quote this here from the Message Bible:

Joshua 1:1-9:
After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses' assistant:
"Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I'm giving to the People of Israel. I'm giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It's all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."


I have been reading through the Bible chronologically this year and I'm just finishing up Judges, 1 Samuel...there have been so many battles! If there is one common theme in all of these battles, I know that when God is in charge...the battle is won! So, here I am...still facing fear...but I hold the leash....the victory is won...I can laugh at the site of fear because I am holding on to Jesus and His word and His promise! I declare today that I will not let the enemy of my soul try to use the very Word I find comfort in to cause me to doubt my Commander and Chief! Satan has tried to do this today! I am thankful for words of scripture quoted and cards "mysteriously" purchased for such a time as this...Praise God. I am not alone....when my arms get tired during battle, and I like Moses, have a hard time keeping them lifted...I have friends who will come beside me and lift up my arms.

Tonight, I sat at this very computer mad because I felt fear...now, I'm empowered..."Perfect love casts out all fear!" Fear may be a giant...but I've got the victory! Now let me go get my slingshot and stones!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ahhhh.....

Here I am holding a "Bad Hair Day" plant! :)

Sometimes there cannot be a title that would do justice to the emotion of the day. Yesterday's blog...clearly "Mercy", today....all I can say is ahhhh!

I reached my goal of losing 25 lbs. today (25.8 lbs actually). Celebrate!!! I feel great! I went shopping with my cousin Ilene in St. Augustine...she always makes me feel like a princess! Ahhhh!

I was able to get shirts and pants 2 sizes smaller than the last time we shopped! That feels great! Ahhhh....

Then I went on a bike ride up in Palm Coast with my girl friends....here are some pictures..even a 5 second video...I bet you can't say anything but Ahhhhh! Enjoy

Before viewing, please note....do not try this at home!
video

We rode approximately 2.5 miles to Washington Oak State Park from a Publix shopping center in Palm Coast.....
Margie and Karen with their bikes and my sweet ride!


Ahhhh....

Some Oak Tree Huh?

My sweet friends...what a great day we had! We laughed, talked, walked, and rode together for 4 hours, then we ended our evening with dinner! It couldn't have been a more perfect day!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mercy

I am so thankful that I have a teachable spirit. I didn't always want to be learning the lessons the hard way, but I'm just glad, really glad that I can learn them nonetheless.

It was a rough week here at the Engel homeschool. Brendan had testing this week. He absolutely LOVED it! (He is my child...I always loved standardized testing too)! I had the opportunity to proctor the exam for the 4-6th graders for three days and Brendan had a chance to take the exam for 2nd grade. He had never tested before....we are not obligated to do any testing of our children when we homeschool, but as I told Brendan...it is more for me to see if my curriculum is doing the job that needs to be done. (So in theory Brendan thought he was taking this test to see how Sonlight was doing in our home). ;) Well, after the first four hours of testing, he came running to find me..."Mom, I can't wait to come back tomorrow, this was SO much fun!" Ahhh...he loves to be tested! He finished his 3 day exam in 2 days and can't wait to do it again next year!

Well, needless to say, after testing and getting up very early, he probably deserved a break from reading, writing, history, math lessons this week....but NO, Brendan's Mom can be...ummm...a little inflexible sometimes when it comes to getting in the school time. I probably crammed too many things in the last two days of the week...he was just exhausted. If you were in close proximity to my home you might be able to hear someone humming the tune "So, I had a bad day..." and it would have been Brendan! OH my he was off today. A little talking back, a little whiny, a little disobedient...need I say more. So, at the end of the day, I had no choice but to stick to my guns and take away a few things and change his afternoon plans.

Each time I called him to the carpet he would say, "OH I am soooo sorry Mom!...I don't want to be this way!" "Please forgive me!" My first response was..."I do forgive you, but you cannot go on the computer today." That was just the first thing. By the end of the afternoon, I had to resort to changing his afternoon plans. "Sorry son, but you obviously don't understand how this behavior is just not acceptable." Mind you, Brendan is my most obedient child, rarely gets into any trouble, and is always very willing to repent and seek forgiveness. He is the pleaser of the bunch! So, he explained to me, through his tears that he just doesn't understand..."I really don't want to be this way...really! I'm trying to do what is right, but I just don't!" (Can you hear the apostle Paul in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.")

At this point I had no choice but to take him in my arms and tell him I thought we just needed to pray. This is his beautiful prayer, cried out to Jesus in the arms of his mother: "Dear Jesus, please forgive me. I am such a sinner! I don't want to sin and be disrespectful to my Mom, I know that breaks your heart Jesus. Please forgive me and wash my heart clean and help me not to be this way anymore...I really want a good attitude. In Jesus name, Amen." This is what I prayed, with tears streaming down my face, being held by my 7 year old son: "Heavenly Father, please forgive me. I am not a perfect parent, forgive me if I have been too hard on my boy today. If I in any way crushed his spirit, please mend it quickly. He is far too precious of a gift to me. Lord your word says that when we need wisdom we are to just ask for it, so I ask for your wisdom Lord. Help me, help my son. I thank you Lord that you are with us right now, in this moment holding both of us. Teach us both to be more like you in everything we say and do and in how we act. We want you Jesus, we just want you! Thank you Lord for my sweet Brendan and may he continue to grow in his faith in you! Such a gift you gave to me in this 7 year old boy! Now lift up our heads Father and restore a joyful heart in both of us! In Jesus name we pray...Amen!"

I just held him after that and we exchanged our love for each other. Shortly after this, we went to pick up Kyle. When Kyle got into the car, Brendan felt the need to tell Kyle that he had a bad day...he was disrespectful, talking back to Mommy, not listening....I pulled the car over and turned around and looked right into those blue eyes and said: "Brendan, you know that you don't have to go over all those things that you did right? You don't have to worry about those things anymore, because when we repent and ask Jesus to forgive us, he doesn't remember those things anymore! He doesn't keep of record of wrong doing!..You are forgiven!" He knew that he had been told that before, but he just couldn't really believe it...afterall...who "really" forgets? When we got home, I knew the Lord spoke to my heart about Brendan's afternoon plans. One word spoken very clearly in the quiet place of my heart....Mercy! Oh when we not only don't get what we deserve, but we get something even more special! MERCY!

I got Brendan to the side before we got into the house and whispered this to him: "I have called your friend's Mom and she is bringing him over today." He looked at me with huge eyes...questioning..but not verbalizing the question. I simply smiled at him and said...."Mercy sweet boy...mercy." He hugged me and thanked me! Isn't that exactly what Christ does for us! We see more Mercy than we do consequences. When we deserve to suffer the consequences of our wrong doing...He, more times that we know, shows up with one word..."Mercy"! Thank you Father for your Mercy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Break = Heavenly Bliss

I haven't been on my computer too much this week: this may explain why:

Monday 7:30am: Children all get up and Daddy brings them to church by 8:15ish to attend Spring Break Camp every day from 8:30 - 4:30! Oh thank you Lord for Dani and Jamie and all the other volunteers!

8:30am: Devotions...quiet...long...devotional/prayer time! Oh savor it!

10:30 - 4:30: Clean house...serious spring cleaning!!! Ahhh the smell! Visited with some friends on beach side...made a meal and delivered it to a friend and her family!

Tuesday: (all the mornings began the same as above) Laundry...lots of laundry...Pop's laundry too! Food shopping I think....rode my bike! Spent some time with friends that evening with my family.

...wait it gets more exciting!

Wednesday: 10:00 rode bike to library...read book for 3 hours uninterrupted....rode home...took a 1/2 hour nap...read book for.....4 more hours....ohhhh! LOVE IT!

Thursday: Did my lesson plans for the next 6 weeks and organized my children's portfolios! Ah the joys of homeschooling! Used my gift card to Khols...and my gift card to Starbucks...yup...on the same day...with a friend! Love this! Went home...read my book!

Friday: Had a friend over for some morning tea! In the quiet of my home...with candles burning at 10:30am! Did I mention it was quiet. Afternoon: mowed the lawn...finished reading my book!

OK so it may not sound all that glorious to you, but to me...the quietness and calmness and alone time was priceless. At first I was nervous because I wasn't really missing my boys...I was kind of liking this quiet time to myself. However, by Wednesday I realized that indeed I did need this time, and they needed it too! I love being with my boys...they go everywhere with me...I go to the doctor, they go to the doctor, I go shopping, they go shopping...you get the idea. I enjoy their company, but there is something to that time of refreshing...I just needed that so much, spiritually, mentally, and physically. So that is why I have no new pictures and not much to say, because I am just eternally grateful for my wonderful church who blessed me with the perfect gift of time this week.

Now next week: we are off to do some testing and back to schooling...Look out Ancient Rome here we come!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Toto, I Don't Think We're In Kansas Anymore!


I am starting to feel like I've entered some time warp. Well, it was almost like being over the rainbow! Since my 40th Birthday Party, and my Birthday at Disney World with my friends from NJ...and now yesterday, I feel like I have been having so much fun! Oh, there were issues that fell between all these fun and amazing things, like my son not wanting to come home from school, my severe/advanced kidney infection, along with others, but boy, I think that is what made these recent events in my life taste even sweeter! So thank you Lord for trials, it makes the victories even that much more rewarding.

My friend Carla, gave me a date with my husband for my birthday gift! Is there a Mom of young children out there that doesn't think that is an awesome gift! Mike and I went to Mount Dora Florida! It was simply and utterly wonderful! So close your eyes and pictures this...hmmm...hard to do when reading huh? Well, imagine the smell of orange blossoms, that is what welcomes you as you enter the little historic town of Mt. Dora. Then as you look through the trees you see lakes. This little town is situated in a county that has 1400 named lakes. Back it the height of its day, citrus was the major industry in the area with most of it coming from Mt. Dora. Well, today it is known for it antique shops and local food. It is a quaint little getaway that is only an hour drive from our little home by the beach! It is just what I needed this weekend and I won't be forgetting this trip for a long time. You want to join me as I walk down memory lane? Here we go:
Here we are getting ready to be "Dora Explorers!"

We started out by having a light lunch at the Garden Gate Tea Room, a little frilly for my husband, but he even admits the food was awesome! A great place to go with the girls!
We had a blast at the antique car show! So much fun! There was an old band playing traditional turn of the century music! Great time for history lovers like us!
Mike with Lake Dora behind him!

It was a Sailing Regatta at Lake Dora.


I stink when it comes to cars...I know it is a Ford!

Mike's grandparents had this same car a Corvair...theirs was not a convertible.We cannot go to any place without scoping out the Irish stores. It comes with be married to a decendent!

The original jail house and fire department. Cool huh?
Just cute and artsy! Something I'm not so I appreciate it!
We ended our day after walking around for 6 hours with tired feet and hungry bellies! Here we are at a brand new restaurant: Copacabana, you know....

the hottest spot north of Havana....well, it isn't the one that Barry sang about but, the food was authentic and delicious! The staff was definitely Cuban and we ended our night with a cup of cafe cubano. Just like the old days in NJ! OH what a wonderful time we had! I can't wait to go back again!