Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

I 'Heart' Fridays...

One day after school this week, Jana jumped in the van excited about a picture she had drawn for me. The presentation went a little like this...
"Mama! Picture for you!"
"O how sweet, Jana. Thank you."
"You're welcome." (giggle giggle)
"Is that Titus? Is that his girlfriend?"
"Yes! Titus' girlfriend!"
"What's her name?"
"Kimberly!"
Friday morning I participated as a 'Guest Reader' at the Lower Elementary School. I had been asked to read one of my favorite children's books. I chose, "Love you Forever" by Robert Munsch. The kids seemed to enjoy it and I was grateful to pushing through with no tears. It was a miracle really... ha.
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Friends...

Tuesday held a few tears as we hugged a couple precious friends goodbye who will no longer be serving on our church support staff. We just want you to know, Jana and Amy, that you are loved and will be missed! Thank you for using your gifts and skills to serve our Gracious Lord and Savior at Temple! May our Gracious God bless you both and make His face to shine upon you that His saving power be made known upon the earth!
Victoria was especially sad since they were her Upward Cheerleading coaches...

Jana and Angela, not to forget Victoria, will miss their human jungle gyms... ha ha...




Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Joys of Juggling

Monday was a true test of my juggling skills as a mother... ha ha... We all survived so I think I passed... :) I won't bore you with all the details since I'm sure the majority of you can relate at the sheer mention of it... The most exciting part of the day (*insert sarcasm*) was hearing the doctor's report for James, "Yes, he has Strep throat". He was such a trooper despite obvious discomfort. In the midst of it all, we enjoyed some one on one time together, a rarity with three little sisters it seems...
When we were waiting to been seen by the doctor, James pulled this silly thing out of his pocket and said, "Mama. Pirate. Arggh..." Hilarious and sweet little boy. Have I mentioned that he has stolen my heart?
Thank you for your prayers as the juggling continues... Pray that the rest of the Merida household resists what I call, "the spreading of the love" (i.e. germs!).


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sunny Saturday Afternoon...

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day... We picked up one of James' friends and headed to run around the gym for awhile... played basketball, football, soccer and hide-in-seek... then grilled out hotdogs... swept up some leaves... baked some cookies... bird watched... and then took a nap... what a great day! Below is a brief link to a video from our afternoon... enjoy..

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cherished Little Book

My sister recently mailed this back to me... a cherished childhood book...
...inside my mother's handwriting to present as a birthday gift from my newborn sister...
As you open to the first page it reads,
"GOD IS GREAT."
And on to remind us that
"GOD IS GOOD... God gives us everything we need... God is LOVE... God is the love of our mother's kiss, the warm, strong hug of our daddy's arms... God whispers to us in our hearts:
'Do not fear, I am here
And I love you, my dear.
Close your eyes and sleep tight
For tomorrow will be bright -
All is well, dear child.
Good night.'"
(My Little Golden Book About GOD by Jane Werner Watson)

"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." 1 John 3:1

I needed that today. God is so good. :)

"For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things." Psalm 107:9

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mississippi Snowball Fight

There is nothing like the sound of children's laughter... what a treasure... I couldn't help but video a glimpse of the fun the kids were having with what was left of Mr. Snowman from our blizzard last friday... enjoy....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making Valentines & a Wintry Wonderland...

Wednesday after school the kids pulled out their class lists and went to work putting their valentines together. It was quite a project, but they had fun... ;)




Friday morning we woke up to snow... The kids were knocking on our door at 8 AM (we enjoying the rare opportunity to sleep in) bouncing up and down with excitement... Angela said (to the effect), "Jesus must have wanted us to share in some of the snow from Babushka & Dedushka's house!" Meanwhile, I'm sure my parents would gladly share more of their 2 1/2 feet of snow they're currently enjoying - ha ha... We geared up and hit the snow while it was still falling...
Titus ended up with ice chunks stuck to his fur on his paws, but loved it... The kids would throw snowballs and he would chase them and then try to eat them... entertaining...




Mr. Snowman...
The girls worked on a Mrs. Snowman...

Our little snow angels...








Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sisters are Special...

Sisters are a special gift... God has blessed me with three wonderful sisters... There is a seven year difference between myself (the oldest) and Jessica (the youngest)... We are close... It is fun to send and receive little notes or packages here and there to say hello across the miles... These pictures (as well as some sweets, children's book & Compassion Art CD) came from my dear sister, Priscilla, who is raising her three children practically by herself as her husband serves our country in Afghanistan... As you take a glimpse at some familiar images from our Christmas in Virginia together, please be in prayer for my sister and the hundred others like her who struggle and sacrifice daily for our safety while their spouses are away at war... a war on multiple fronts... physical and spiritual... As John Piper is famous for saying (my paraphrase), "Prayer is not a domestic intercom in which we phone the butler for more comforts in the den. Prayer is a walkie-talkie in times of war." Let's be prayer warriors for our military families... not to mention families in general!
Another gift of sisters... may my three girls grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and continue to grow together in unity for His glory...
Cousins... may James and David Isaac grow in the wisdom and stature of our Warrior King and consider how they may stir one another up for the kingdom in the days they have been given...
Heavenly Father, bless these three precious ones as they miss their father overseas... Guide and protect them as they grow... May You, O Lord, grant them peace and understanding at early ages of Your All-Sufficient Grace! Abba, may You make my sister's arms strong for her many tasks... fill her up each day to the measure of all the fullness of Christ Jesus as she not only tends her family, but as a chaplain's wife, loves the Body and her neighbors for Your Name sake...
When I began to put this blog together, this was not the direction I was initially planning. However, I believe God is revealing my own need to be more faithful in prayer... Oh how I fall short each day! I'm reminded,

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Please also be in prayer for my newlywed sister, Jessica, (husband, Rick) who are currently serving at two separate bases - one on each side of the country. They are pursuing joint assignment for obvious reasons. :) This is a complicated process, however... Speaking of the 'immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us', these beloved ones of mine met while concluding their 15 month tour in Iraq... A turbulent place where, in the midst of battle they were "lured in the wilderness by a Soft Tender Voice" and both began to return to the Lord... Now as they face a likely deployment to Afghanistan, an assignment they would selflessly and honorably accept, they would prefer to do it together - no longer apart... May our Gracious God make His face to shine upon them for the glory of His Name as they seek Him... May the God of peace fill them with His peace that surpasses all understanding as they wait upon Him... May we, the Body of Christ, faithfully lift up our soldiers standing in harms way...

My sisters are a special gift... they each challenge me in different ways, spur me on toward love and good deeds, lift me up in prayer, share laughter and tears... What a blessing to have three sisters who are seeking the Lord... My sister, Amanda, is preparing for her first overseas mission trip this summer... I'm so excited for her! She serves at a church in her community, as well as a wife and mother of a one year old absolutely adorable little girl... May our Glorious Savior continue to equip, protect and use her & her husband together to make His Name great!

Thank you for your prayers... May we believe this, pray this and walk in this,

"For the grace of God (Jesus) has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14)
Our little Titus... what can you say?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Trip to Logan's Roadhouse...

What a blessing it has been to make this Saturday a day of rest as a family... much needed... We decided to use a generous gift card we received for Christmas to go out to eat... As we made our way there the kids were excited saying, "Me want peanuts, potatoes and pickles!" I laughed and thought, "This lunch may be brought to you by the letter 'P'"... Three opted for chicken and the fourth for macaroni & cheese... Plus peanuts and potatoes... :)
Intermittently, James would lean back on his seat, rest his head and stare up at the lights... hmmm... :)
Angela took a lot of time to eat (or savor I should say) her chicken fingers...
Jana occasionally broke out into dance moves along with the restaurant music... After she was finished eating she said, "My stomach tired..." Too cute...
Victoria was proud of all the peanuts she put down her little body... :)
A blessed family outing. Hope you have a wonderful and warm weekend! Oh, and...
"Who Dat!".... Yes, we'll be watching... :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Ministry Opportunity for Orphans in Ukraine...

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27
I received an email invite from a missionary friend serving in Ukraine to participate in a wonderful project. I do not want to broadcast this worker's contact information over the internet, so pardon a little vagueness on details... Although this is a themed project, Valentine's Day is not widely celebrated in Ukraine. Therefore, you could send valentines throughout the whole year! *hint hint* Whether this is a family project or a small group project, it will be fun and minister to the needs of precious ones who go to bed each night without a mama or papa.


Hundreds of orphans in Ukraine are without warm shoes, clothes, and coats this winter. Here is how you can help:

1. Buy or make a Valentine's Day card, sign your name in English and write the above message in Russian (God is love. We love you.).

2. Put $5 with your card. Perhaps children can earn this $5 by helping out around the house.

3. Once the cards are collected (should you decide to make this a group project:), the cards will be mailed directly to Ukraine, while the money will be mailed to the mission organization here in the U.S. to wire the funds and ensure their deposit. For more information and mailing instructions please send me your email address and I will forward the appropriate information. Thank you.

4. When the cards arrive in Ukraine and the money goes through the particular mission sending agency, they will buy and deliver shoes, clothes, and coats along with your Valentine's Day cards to the orphanages who are most in need. They will be sure to then send pictures of the children with their clothes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Tony!

February 1st Tony celebrated another double digit birthday... We maximized upon our one hour of opportunity (between after school activities and Upward Basketball/Cheerleading festivities) with a family dinner with presents...
Thank you for your sweet cards...
After modeling this shirt, he demonstrated the John Wall dance...
Kids are excited about papa's new tent... looking forward to family camping trip...