Saturday, March 28, 2015

Spring is here...and busy!

Spring is here, and with spring comes a busy schedule.  March has been a very rewarding month in our home.  Call me crazy, but at the beginning of the month I had many changes I wanted to make.  I wanted my time to be productive.

Why I didn't do this during a winter month when the regular schedule is a little less crazy, I have no idea.  Instead I waited for spring.

A few days before the end of February, I wrote down a project checklist in my planner.  I planned out my big picture, and then when I had free time, I would look at it, and decide which project I wanted to tackle.  Several of these items had been on my list forEVER!  I am happy to tell you I completed all of the items on my list.

The first project I accomplished was making a wall hanging for our dining room, involving a curtain rod, some shoe box lids, and scrapbook paper.

The next Saturday I created this wall decor for behind our bed in the master bedroom, using colored vinyl and my Cricut cutting machine. 

This saying is dear to our hearts because the congregational worship song at our wedding was "Be Thou My Vision", and will always be extra special to us.

For both of these projects, I had all of the supplies (I have had them for months in fact).  It took being intentional though to get them done.  My desire
 is to make my home a haven.

For the third Saturday of the month, I worked on reorganizing our paper filing system.  Let me tell you, I have been dreading this one.  I love to organize, but even to me this was a daunting task.  We still have several papers from before marriage, and several I have no clue what they are.  My mister helped explain a lot to me, and with his brains, and my organization, we reworked our filing system.  My favorite part- it is color coded.  

I primarily used the system over at Clean Mama, but we also went digital with several of our tedious papers (pay stubs, non paper-less bills, etc.).

I have had the extra time to do this crafting because my mister has been working extra- a lot extra!  While I struggle sometimes with missing him, we rejoice at this being an answer to prayer.  

For those of you who do not know, we are planning on going overseas to do missions work just as soon as we can.  Most missions agencies frown upon debt.  We do have some school debt, and praise the Lord for how He kept us from having to take out any more than we did.  If you read our Christmas letter, it is our prayer to be completely debt free by the end of 2016.

By our own strength, and regular scheduled hours, this goal is impossible for us.  We know that God is able though, and recognize that God provides in many ways.  One of those ways recently has been in giving the mister so many extra hours of work.  We praise the Lord also for some financial gifts we have received from a dear friend.

This past week we were able to pay off one of our loans.  I am overwhelmed by His goodness, and this was only possible because of His provisions.  All praise and glory goes to Him.

Because we work opposite schedules, and my mister has been working extra shifts on top of that, our time together has been limited.  I would be lying if I said I have had the right attitude through all of this.  I miss my husband.  

When we do get time together, we treasure it all the more.

The other night we had the entire afternoon/evening together and it. was. wonderful!  The weather was gorgeous, and so we packed a picnic and went to a local park we had not yet been to.  We had a blast sitting in the woods, relaxing in a hammock, walking around, and simply being together!

Notice the goose's tongue out in the picture where he is flying.


All this to say, while March has been extra busy, it has reaped some wonderful rewards--projects done in our home, a loan paid off, memories made together!

I trust you all have had a great March, and are looking forward to a new month.  We are looking forward to April because we have a beach trip planned this upcoming week!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ~John 15:13

If you are on facebook, you know this verse has been on my mind a lot lately.  Just think of it.  Jesus did not deserve to die.  In fact, He is the only one that doesn't deserve to die.  Yet, His Father loved us so much that He sent His only {let that sink in} Son to die {a miserable} death. For me. For you.

His death being the greatest act of love, He exemplified love in so many others ways as well.  I am convicted when I see how short I fall of the kind of love I should have- towards my husband, my family, my students.

While I am a firm believer that love should be shown 365 days a year, I do enjoy the extra excuse to be over-the-top intentional about doing special things to make others know how very much you love them.  Same as last year, I did the "14 Days of Valentines" for the mister.  I love doing it, yet am not very good at keeping up with it.  Some days, my mister had to wait for the note to be placed.  Oops.

Due to my mister having to work today, we decided to celebrate early.

It. Was. Wonderful.

Simply put, he has been working a lot lately, and my job has been increasingly stressful.  Our time together is largely spent either grading papers or sleeping.  So an afternoon and evening just us was welcomed with open arms.

I worked Thursday morning, and then came home to a bouquet of roses {that smell amazing}.  We ate a quick lunch and then enjoyed each other's company for a restful afternoon.  We then got all spiffed up for our Valentine's date.  The best part- we silenced {including vibrate} our phones.  

We enjoyed a leisurely dinner for two, and walked around one of our local malls.  It was just fun to be together.  We would do that a lot before we were married and life has simply become too busy.  We don't make the time as we should.

The evening was spectacular.

Friday was our day to celebrate Valentine's Day at school.  The teacher in me couldn't help making these cute pencils for my students.  My 2nd graders learned about homophones earlier this school year and L-O-V-E them.  They are finding them everywhere and asking me about it.  It was fun to see them catch on.

In addition to the roses from my thoughtful mister, one of my students also gave me flowers.  If you walked into our apartment and judged by the aromas that permeated our small home, you would almost think you were at a florist.  I love it!

All this to say, it has been a wonderful celebration these past few days.  I am thankful for the added excuse to be intentional about love.  I trust you have been able to enjoy celebrating those you love dearest, while marveling at the love given to us by our Savior.

From our family to yours, 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Happy New Year

One of my new year's resolutions is to take more pictures.  The mister and I have such fun living life together, yet I have so few pictures to show for it. One of our resolution's for 2014 was to be more intentional with our time.  We were.  We did a lot in the year and had a blast doing it.  Unfortunately, I have very little to show for it.

Our Christmas is no exception.

I had two weeks off from work, and so we did a lot of traveling.  We were able to visit with both sides of our family, as well as spend some time together--just the two of us.

It. Was. Wonderful.

 We celebrated our Christmas together before our travels.

Our travels began with driving to Vermont.  We were reminded several times to be thankful for our safety.  We drove many miles, and the Lord kept us, and our vehicle, safe.

We then drove from Vermont to North Carolina, where the mister's parents live.  Somehow my in-laws escaped any pictures.  It was a restful few days in their new home.
Like the slippers?

We came home for a night and then drove to Tennessee for a mini vacation.  We had a sweet date and enjoyed the scenic drive.

Reality struck again though on Monday morning.  I added a class this semester.  A dear teacher friend retired from teaching, and I took over one of his classes.  I am now teaching 6th grade Math.  My work load has grown exponentially, but I am learning so much from this experience.

I have also recently committed to teaching in the preschool again this summer.  I feel I have it made when I get to spend the summers with the little kiddos, and the school year with the bigger kiddos.  Again, I am so thankful the Lord has made it so clear to me what I enjoy doing.

In other news, we have been praying that God would provide ways for us to pay off our school loans quicker.  God provides.  The mister has been working a lot.  Sometimes it feels like non-stop.  He has had several days with overtime recently.  While I miss having him at home SO much, I am thankful for the answers to prayer we are watching first hand.

2015 is upon us and I have no idea what to expect.  Two things I know is that I want to continue being intentional with time, and want to take more pictures.

Happy 2015!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christmas already?

Let me share one way in which God has met the desires of our hearts in a small, yet so big at the same time, way.

The mister and I have been looking at nativities this year to add to our Christmas decorations.  We did not have one last year, and really wanted to help our focus be on using this season as an opportunity to worship our God in an extra way.  We had looked several different places, and had not yet found one that was *perfect* for our home and family.

On Tuesday, I mentioned to the mister that I wanted to research advent more, and possibly make that one of our Christmas traditions. I have been trying to find ways to add decorations and traditions to our home that are spiritually focused.  It was a quick and passing comment, and the day carried on.

We had some dear friends over for dinner on Tuesday.  While we are in rather different phases of life, we enjoy sweet fellowship with them, and they are quick to share wisdom and advice.

Before they left, she handed me a bag, and apologized that it "wasn't anything much, but just something small to express their appreciation" for our having them over for dinner. I am amazed with how, while very unnecessary, what a sweet gesture this is.  I have a goal to be more like this. I opened the bag, and what was the gift, you may ask... advent candle holder, that is also a nativity.

{excuse my lack of photography skills, and the fact that I have not yet picked up candles for it, so it has our poinsettias}

I wanted to cry when I opened this gift.  The Lord cares even for the small details of our wanting to get a nativity this year.  I love how this is a different nativity and not the traditional.  I enjoyed explaining to our friends that this was not "nothing much", but was instead huge, and an answer to prayer.

We are currently working on sending out our Christmas card.  Here a recent update on how we are, and our exciting goal for 2016!  

December 2014- Christmas.pdf

What are your Christmas traditions?  Do you send out a Christmas letter?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Fall!

Happy Fall!  Welcome to the most wonderful time of year. Cooler temperatures. Pumpkin everything. Long pants. Hooded Sweatshirts.  Fresh Apples. Campfires. Changing Colors. Crunchy Leaves, Hot apple Cider. Popcorn. Pumpkins as Decor.

I {love} Fall!

I don't know how else to say it.  The only thing I can think of right off that I do not like about fall is the seasonal allergies that come along for the ride.  So far they have not bothered me though, for which I am so thankful.

Fall began last Tuesday, and I couldn't welcome the season without making pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.  I love most everything pumpkin, but these muffins are the best.  They define fall in their tasty goodness.

The mister's schedule has changed and these hours have proven to be more difficult to adjust to.  We wait patiently though for strength as our sleeping hours are short.  Time and time again, I thank the Lord that we are young.  It is not the healthiest of lifestyles right now, but we are able to manage.  I am so thankful.  I struggle to go to bed, knowing I am in the apartment alone.  My imagination is creative, and I struggle with fear.  While this is something I am working on, it has an encouraging reminder of the beauty of marriage.

I feel safe with my mister.  When with him, I sleep easy.  I spend a lot of time thanking the Lord for providing me with a strong husband who provides strength and safety in our home.

One of the perks of this schedule is that we get to go to Sunday morning worship together!

This schedule is just for a time.  We are relying on the strength of the Lord, and enjoying the time we do get together.

Teaching is going very well for me.  I am continually learning lessons.  Sometimes it is a proactive lesson, and other times it is a reactive lesson.  I am privileged to have gracious and patient coworkers who help teach me.  I have several parents and grandparents of my students who have mentioned that they pray for me daily.  I take great encouragement from this.  I cannot do it alone.

I was able to go the Southeast Christian School Convention last week, and was greatly encouraged.  It was restful in no way, but the change of pace was a welcomed refreshment.

We were able to have a quick visit at the mister's parent's house, and then his grandparents came and stayed with us.  One of the many joys of being a homemaker is being able to play hostess.  If you didn't already know, cooking is a love language.  It is my love language.  Now, in a few weeks we get to have my parents come for a visit!  It may be dangerous though, with coming during the season I enjoy baking so much in.

I hope you are able to enjoy the fall months as much as we do {a lot!}.  If you think of us, pray for spiritual growth.  Pray for physical and emotional strength with this period of time while we have this work school.  Pray that our love towards each other would continue to grow.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Where did July go?

I can hardly believe that July is done, and that we are almost halfway through August.  One thing the mister and I keep saying is how incredibly fast this year has gone.  It is true that the older you get, the faster time goes by, but I used to measure time in smaller increments: a break from school, semesters, summer vacation, etc.  Now I simply measure it by months, and the year is over halfway gone.  We are thankful that the Lord has really impressed on our hearts this year to make the most of time.  The Lord knew this was going to be a fast year, and were we were to take time for granted, we would look back on 2014 with a lot of regrets.

July is my favorite month as it has both my birthday, and my favorite holiday {Independence Day}.  This year was no exception in it being a wonderful month.  Celebrating our country was one of my favorite weeks at preschool.  My mister absolutely spoiled me rotten on my birthday (and basically the week before, and week after). We went on our summer vacation.  The list could go on with other smaller things that when compiled together made for a big month in our little family.

My birthday was July 8th, and my husband had been planning in advance in order to make it the best one yet.  He asked me what I wanted for my birthday meal.  I asked him "how ambitious do you want to get?".  He replied with, "well, what do you want?".  I told him {Outback} Alice's Spring Chicken, and {The Pioneer Woman} Olive Bread.  It was not a particularly healthy meal, but my-oh-my was it delicious.  My husband knows his way around the kitchen [thanks, Mom Miller for teaching him].

The morning of my birthday (he was on his weekend, but I still had to work), he banned me from going into the kitchen.  He had bought me strawberries, and made homemade waffles with cool whip, strawberries, and chocolate.  This was no small task as I have to be at work before 7:00am.  It was so special.

He worked hard and long to make my requested dinner.  It was no disappointment.

He also made me homemade peanut butter cheesecake.  I have made one cheesecake in my life, and while it tasted good, the texture left more to be desired.  My husband absolutely mastered this cheesecake--it was absolutely ah-mazing!

I cannot brag on him enough [not to mention, I am sure you are already bored out of your mind] for how special he made my birthday.  I was not allowed in the kitchen all day, and he did all of the dishes.  I have known this for quite some time, but he's a keeper!

We had about a week of "normal" life before the insane schedule began.

On July 18th, we flew to Dallas, TX and drove to Austin to spend a few days with several of the mister's college friends.  There were seven of us total.  We did a lot of outdoor water activities, visiting, and catching up.
 Austin, TX capitol

Early Tuesday (July 22) morning, we flew north to spend a few days with my family in Vermont.  It was a very relaxing and restful time, and the weather was wonderful!  My parents live in the woods, with a large yard, in a small town.  The slow pace of life was a welcome change.  It was also good to spend time with family (my grandparents, parents, and all 3 siblings life here).  We rarely get to see our niece and nephew, so that was a fun time as well.

We got back late Friday night, and on Monday (July 28), my brother welcomed another daughter into their family.

We were bummed to have just missed her arrival, but are thankful that Nora Joy is healthy and doing well.

Along with our sweet niece arriving, Monday started our hectic week of Bible Adventure Week (aka: VBS) at our church.  Several months ago, not knowing what all would be happening this week, I agreed to be the 1st grade leader.  It was a challenge balancing the different hats I was wearing, but God's strength sustained me, and I was able to see that "when I am weak, He is strong".  Our theme was pirates, "Treasure God's Word".  One of my friends made this awesome ship for our classroom.

After three years without a job, my Lord provided my father-in-law with a new job.  He is now pastor at a church about two and a half hours from us.  We were able to go help them move into their new home on that Wednesday and Thursday.  It was a delight to be meet the people at their new church, and see where they are at now.  We cannot thank the Lord enough for how He provided.  It was a busy two days, but a lot was accomplished.

And now, as if life weren't crazy enough, I am preparing to start a new job tomorrow.  I was offered a position at our church's school to teach 2nd and 3rd grade math and English.  I chose to leave the preschool aspect of the school, and accepted this position.  In-service begins tomorrow, and I am eager to begin.  My heart is in teaching, and I cannot wait to teach academics.  There is still a lot I don't know, and need to learn, but the Lord has not failed me yet, and I know He will continue to keep me and teach me.

I ask that you pray for me and the lives I will be in contact with this year.  Thank you for your love and support.  Please keep in touch with us, and let us know what is going on with your life.

Until next time, enjoy each moment, knowing that the moments, hours, days, months, and years pass by ever so quickly.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

July Happenings!

I trust you all had a wonderful 4th of July!  The mister had to work, so I enjoyed a day off from work, and focused on enjoying life.  I was able to do just that.  I was able to catch up with my father-in-law on the phone for a while, go into town to take advantage of my free Starbucks birthday drink {even if they did mis-spell my name}, slowly meander through some stores, and have a lengthy phone conversation with my mom.

{May I just insert here how very much I love my Mom?!  It is true that when you grow up, a wonderful change happens in the relationship between a parent and child.  My mom has become one of my best friends.  I am constantly calling her asking for advice on how to handle a situation from school (goodness knows that with me and my siblings as her children, she has probably been through every scenario imaginable), and she offers such wisdom. She helps work through my kitchen fiascos and simply is a sounding board on a lot of things.  I am thankful to call her Mom, and one of my best friends. And now back to the post...}

It was a relaxing morning and afternoon.  I had never grilled portobello mushrooms before, so this was a first, and definitely not the last.  To celebrate Independence day, we went to town to watch the parade.  Much to our surprise, the parade consisted of a firetruck, followed by a few hundred people walking/riding/biking with decorated bikes, wagons, strollers, etc.  We were able to catch a few fireworks that people were setting off in the complex's parking lot {which I found a little scary, to say the least}.

On a school note, the summer is over halfway done and I can hardly believe it!  Where has the time gone?  Here a few [not so good...aka: cell phone] pictures from over the weeks!

For "Sea of Fun" week, we decorated the room to help us feel like we were at the beach!

On Friday, we had a beach party where we decorated cupcakes and then ate them outside on our beach towels before water day! So messy, yet so fun.

For "Start your Engines" week, we drew a "race track" out in the parking lot and then the munchkins had fun driving their cars around the track.  One child even tried to teach his mommy how to drive that afternoon after telling her "Mrs. Miller let me drive on the road this morning"!

For "Celebrate Summer" week, we packed it with fun summer activities.  One of those fun things was making sidewalk chalk paint.  Again, messy, but oh so fun!

This past week we celebrated our country, leading up to Independence Day.  I was so proud of the munchkins for how respectful they were when standing still, with their hand over their heart, for the national anthem, and pledge of allegiance.  It was a needed reminder that even children as young as three-years-old, can do way more then we give them credit for.

We made patriotic parfaits, and they really enjoyed them.  They kept exclaiming "this is just like ice cream".

We made soldiers on Monday, where I let them draw the soldier's face.  I am so pleased with how they turned out!

Monday will be the start of Week#7: Our Family and Home. Please pray for strength that I would finish strong, and continue to learn as we go.  Pray also as we seek God in what he has for us in the fall!

What did you do for Independence Day? Comment below.

Friday, July 4, 2014

A long list...

Happy 4th of July!  Today may very well be my favorite holiday of the whole year.  Picnics. Fireworks. Family. I love it all!   This past week at school, I would put on this movie during snack time to let the children hear patriotic music, with the fun visual of fireworks.  I don't know who enjoyed it more though, the munchkins, or their teacher!

My friend (as well as the youth pastor's wife at our church), Christa answered these on her blog over at Brown Sugar Toast.  I enjoyed reading her responses so much, I thought I would give it a try.  It was an added bonus that I love lists!

  • Cooking: Portobello Mushroom "Burgers" 
  • Drinking: a {free} Starbuck's Caramel Ribbon Crunch with an extra shot of espresso. So yummy! 
  • Reading: Love & Respect...I am such a slow reader.
  • Looking: for the perfect gift for my mister's birthday, which is next month!
  • Playing: "restaurant" during snack time with my preschoolers
  • Wasting: paper with the copy machine acting up
  • Sewing: nothing.  This is the area of domesticity that I greatly lack in.
  • Wishing: my mister were home celebrating the 4th with me
  • Enjoying: quiet {not because my mister is not home, but because I am not with my munchkins at school}
  • Waiting: for the three upcoming trips we have planned
  • Liking: God's is a sign of life and growth.
  • Wondering: where the Lord will have us a year from now
  • Loving: married life!
  • Hoping: to go camping sometime this summer with my mister
  • Marveling: at the fact that the year is already half over
  • Needing: to be more like Christ
  • Smelling: the freshly ground coffee beans my sister-in-law brought me this morning
  • Wearing: blue shorts. red top. white pearl necklace.
  • Following: East Coast Creative. Their blog and TV show.
  • Noticing: how un-decorated and un-creative my home is
  • Knowing: that I am forgiven
  • Thinking: about how I need to take more pictures
  • Feeling: refreshed
  • Bookmarking: this recipe organization idea. "organize recipes" is on my "summer to do"
  • Opening: a new box of graham crackers
  • Giggling: can't say as though I am giggling.
  • Feeling: accomplished for thinking of something for each one of these.
  • Making: Chocolate Eclair Cake for 4th of July!
  • Writing: a reply to my sister-in-law's email
  • Listening: to this song I am teaching my munchkins on the Fruits of the Spirit

Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Summer Classroom

I have had my first week of summer preschool.  It proved to be a little more choppy then anticipated.  I believe that was largely because of two reasons....(1) everyone is getting into a new schedule, it is expected, and (2) we had a lot of new subs this week, and not all of our regular workers.

We just finished up our space week, "Blast Off!", and are anticipating a week under water, "Sea of Fun".  Here are a few pictures of my classroom.