Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Story behind the Box


When I am afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust….  Psalm 56:3-4


I was engaged to Joshua and in college when my Mother gave me this box.  Inside the box was a pearl bracelet she bought me to wear at my wedding.  I have no recollection what I was afraid of back then.  I have no idea why God laid it on her heart to provide me with that verse and to write those words inside of the box. 

But I do know today that I am thankful beyond words my mother wrote that verse and those words. 

The past few weeks have had my mind in overload.  We are nearing the end of our licensing process for foster/adoption.  As we near the end my mind races on how things will be when we add two more children to our home.  My mind worries about how we will all adjust, what will happen if/when the children go back to their birth families?  And on and on the list of concerns/worries goes.

Then last week we found out about yet more paperwork that needed to be provided to our agency.

I have been reading and reading every night verses about God being in control and reminding myself that God has this and we are just walking along with Him.  No need to worry.

But late last week I got upset.  Real upset.  I was upset my Mother is not here with me to help out.  To give me not just a helping hand, but her words of wisdom.  My Mother had a way with children that was unexplainable and I know the days are coming where I will long to be able to sit and talk to her, and hear what she has to say about raising these new children in our lives.  The day I was most upset about it all one of my cousins let me know she had been thinking of me that day and praying for me.  I told her I knew exactly why God had laid me on her mind and I explained my frustration at Mother not being here.  I told her I knew God is who I need, but it is still hard.  She also reminded me that while there is certainly no one to replace my Mother, I do have so many family members and friends who I know are there to lend a hand, ear, wisdom, or whatever else we will need.  I thanked her for the reminder.  She is right.  I have my God, and I have others.

Yesterday afternoon I was looking for something in my dresser drawer and I saw this box.  I knew Mother had written a verse on it, but I did not remember which one.  I picked it up and read the verse and tears immediately began flowing down my face.  God was again reminding me not to be afraid.  I wondered why Mother would have written a verse, but not included where it was found.  I then noticed she had actually written it on the side of the box and I went and looked the verse up in my Bible.  I knew that bracelet was in the box so I opened it up to look at it.  I had forgotten she wrote something on the inside.

As I slowly read her words, running my finger over her words, I could hear her sweet voice saying them to me.  In that moment, I was reminded, yet again, God provides.  While I could not look my Mother in the eye and see her give me these words of wisdom, I was able to look at her handwriting, and hear her words. 

Again, I have no idea what was going on in my life over ten years ago when my Mother gave me that box.  I do however, think the gift of that verse and her words were more for me today than they were for me back then.  As I went to bed last night I told my Mother ‘thank you’.  Thank you for listening to God that day and providing me with that verse and wonderful words of wisdom.

I prayed that I too would be as tentative as she was to God’s words to me as a Mother and to provide my children with His words for their lives.

God goes before you, is with you, is all around you.  


Friday, July 13, 2012

A Ballpark Tour

Joshua decided it would be a great idea to get up on the morning of July 4th and go for a tour of the ballpark because he felt certain it would not be crowded.  And he was right!  We thought we would be the only ones in our group, but at the last minute another family showed up.  But, it was a nice small group!


We all had a great time on the tour and love hearing about the history and architecture of the ballpark.  I was surprised at how much Luke really enjoyed hearing all about the ballpark.  His favorite bit of information was that the yellow foul polls are from the old ballpark.  



Our first stop was the press box.

And then onto a suite.


We all saw a game in a suite a few years back, but Luke was too small to remember it.  It was of course, NOT the owner's suite that we were in. :)



Hey!  Look who is giving a talk after the game! 


 Luke loved going down to the hitting cages.  He even asked if he could hit a few balls. 





 Unfortunately, the answer was no.  But standing next to them was good enough for him.









And look......


A message from Josh Hamilton!



Luke was so excited to go into the dugout.










Luke, who are you looking at?


It was Mitch Moreland!  Since he was injured he was not on the road with the team, but here working with the trainer. 










Sitting in Washington's seat! (And STILL keeping an eye on Moreland)





And no trip to the dugout would be complete without making a call to the bullpen!  And since it was so quiet at the ballpark, we would hear the phone ring all the way on the other side of the field in the bullpen ring.








Thursday, July 12, 2012

Karate

When we signed Luke up for karate I had no idea how much he would love it.  He practices at home all the time. 


At the very least, he practices right before he goes to bed.  But most days, he is working on his moves two or three times a day at home in addition to his classes.


The hardest thing for Luke while doing karate is trying NOT to smile.  Mr. Mike is always telling the kids to put on their mean faces.  Watching those kids make mean faces is hilarious.  I asked Luke why he cannot keep his mean face on and he said it is really hard to look mean when you are having so much fun.  Understandable.  But, he is getting better.  

See?  






Mean.  


I would not mess with him.




Do not let the white belt fool you, he is a black belt in his mind and heart!

Last night Luke was tested on his karate and he earned a red stripe on his belt!  This means in two weeks he will be able to graduate to his gold belt!  Good job, Luke!



Hey Luke, what are yo going to do now that you have a red stripe?


KI -YA!!  Kick Grandpa!


Key Lime Cupcakes

I hate to be bossy, but you really must make these.  They are super easy to make and so, so, so good!  




Here is what you need.  Nothing fancy.



  

Ingredients: 


Cupcakes
1 box lemon cake mix
1 box (4-serving size) lime-flavored gelatin
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup Key lime juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons Key lime juice
Frosting
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2cups powdered sugar 
 
Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cupcake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each about two-thirds full. 



 

Bake 19 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cooling rack. With toothpick pierce tops of cupcakes in several places.

In small bowl, mix 1 cup powdered sugar and enough of the 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice until glaze is smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle and spread glaze over cupcakes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.



In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in vanilla and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed; beat on medium speed until fluffy. Frost cupcakes and garnish with lime peel.



YUMMY!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer is up and Running!!

Our summer is up and going and it has been busy, but fun!  Luke loves playing outside in the long days with his airplane, riding his bike, and of course playing baseball.




He also started karate and he goes three times a week.  He absolutely loves it and I love watching him.  H is current goal is to be able to test and receive his gold belt later this month.  And I have no doubt he will do it.


We have kept up with going to the Ranger games.  



Luke's collection of baseballs is continuing to grow!  He somehow manages to get at least one ball from a player per game!  We have gone as a family, Josh and Luke have gone during "boys night out", and this Saturday Josh and I will go for a date night.  Luke was excited for the Josh Hamilton Beach Towel giveaway and the Snow Monkey below.





As a Junior Texas Ranger, Luke will be in a parade before a Ranger Game later in August.  We are all super excited about that!

We also had a trip to the water park a couple of weekends ago.  As we were paying to get in we realized that Luke is now tall enough that we must pay full price for him.  The lady at the counter was so excited for Luke and said, "You are tall enough to ride everything!"  I would have been okay with him being a little shorter and thus his ticket a little cheaper.  But, that boy is fearless at the water park and for the first time ever he did the big water slides all by himself!  Sorry, no pictures of of the water park.....we were having too much fun to remember to take them!


Luke is also into arts and crafts this summer.  


That little lizard now lives on my desk.

I took Luke and his best buddy went to the aquarium on day.  The boys had so much fun feeding the sting rays and petting them.  We also saw a turtle that was over 75 years old! 

Luke has also decided to be a movie junkie this summer.  So far, he has watched, Ghostbusters 1 and 2, Back to the Future 1, 2, and 3, Gremlins,  Karate Kid, Goonies, Teen Wolf, and maybe a few others I've missed.  Do you see a theme here?  Yes, he is on an 80s movie kick and we love it!

Last weekend we took our first trip of the season to Ham Orchards and bought some peaches, strawberries, jams, cookies, and of course ice cream!  





Ham peach and strawberry ice cream makes everyone happy!




The summer heat makes me not want to turn the oven or stove on to cook.  So, not many pretty and yummy recipes to post.




I did manage to make the cake above for the fourth of July and it was delicious!  I also made the pops, which are made with blueberries, strawberries, and cheesecake.  Yummy!  (And as you can see...we saw fireworks too!  We went with my Dad and Step-Mom earlier in the week and had a great time.)


But mostly, dinners are looking like this.





I love all kinds of salads, but this yummy fruit salads is perfect for the hot evenings!  Lettuce, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, avocados, and feta.



My hardy hibiscus plants that Daddy gave me several years ago are looking wonderful.  Most mornings we have 10-30 blooms!!




We still have so many fun things planned for the remainder of the summer.  We will be taking some trips to museums, the circus, more trips to the water park, more Ranger games (of course), a zoo trip, and Josh and I will be taking a four day getaway!


Hope you are having a fantastic summer as well!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Bubble


The other night I went in the back yard to find Luke, with the help of his dog Hank, digging a hole in the middle of the backyard.  

Um, why are you two digging a hole in the yard?

It’s a grave for Bubble.

Bubble was our fish.  And he was not just any old fish.  Four years ago I decided to make a small fish pond on our patio using a half whiskey barrel and we bought four 15 cent fish at the pet store.  Within the first year, three of them died, but Bubble lived on.  That fish survived a huge snow storm and freezing weather for days and extreme heat, including the horrible 100 degree plus heat wave of last summer.  We really have no idea how he died, other than maybe he lived out the life span of a 15 cent goldfish.

So, I really could not tell Luke that we would not bury the fish in the back yard.  I let him continue to dig the grave and  I texted Josh to let him know that when he arrived home he would need to assist in the burial.

After a few more minutes passed by Luke came in and told me Hank was outside finishing up the digging of the grave and he was going to make the stone.

The stone?

Yeah, you know, with his name and date of birth and death.

After he finished with the stone, Luke grabbed a piece of paper and wrote out the order of the funeral service.  And just as he was finishing that up, Josh got home.



The burial service for Bubble started with Josh placing him in his grave and Luke covered him up with the dirt.  I then placed the headstone at the grave.  We all had a moment of silence for Bubble.  Then the three of us stood over Bubble and sang Amazing Grace.  Then we each took turns saying a prayer for Bubble.  Josh started, followed by me, and then Luke ended the prayer.  As I stood there, head bowed looking down at Luke I was so touched by his sweet spirit to plan all of this for his fish.  Tears formed in my eyes and a huge smile came over my face.  We are so blessed by such a sweet and caring boy.  After the prayer, we took a moment to reflect on Bubble and then we all said good-bye and touched the stone.



Bubble, you are truly a fish I will never ever forget.  And I will certainly never forget your burial service.