30 June 2011

Blog Hop #6

It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by All About Being Inspired, Happy Go Lucky, Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop.
This weeks guest host is
Jolly Jillys
Follow Jolly Jilly
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!
Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.

We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.

My House Rules

I hope after you read the following 12 rules that we uphold in our home that you get a better sense of who I am and what we stand for as a family.  Every house has rules, whether stated or not, there are unwritten rules and mottos we live by.  I just decided to really think about ours and lay them out here, so one day we can look back and smile and maybe my kids can tease me about a few of them (all in good fun of course).  Every home maker has a set of standards that she lives by to keep herself sane and she molds her children by the way she shows them how much she loves them by all the ways she serves and is willing to sacrifice for those she loves.  If you haven't ever thought about your house rules, take ten minutes today to jot some down and either share them with your spouse or ask your kids what they think they are.  It'll be for a good little discussion for sure!  And I bet some of them you say often and others are just understood.  Families and households are like that.  But aren't they just wonderful?

Rule 1. Many hands make light work!  Isn't this so true?  I found myself teaching chores to Julia even before Mark was born.  She was 17 months old and putting her clothes in the hamper and helping me with the laundry in the washer!  Kids love to help and they should be an intricate part of our daily chore life.  How else will they learn to respect the home they live in and responsibility?

2. Work hard at whatever you do!  Whether it's setting the table, writing a paper, your career, or your ministry.  Whatever task is before you give it all you got!  Always do your best!  When people see how much you give of yourself your enthusiasm and work ethic will be contagious, I promise!

3. Before leaving the house the beds are made and the kitchen sink is empty.  I don't know where this came from, but it's just how we function.  I can't leave the house without those things done!  And I can't prep a meal or cook a meal in a dirty kitchen.  Counters and sink must be cleared!  Thank goodness for a spouse who agrees!

4. Everyone, big and small can put dirty clothes in their hamper.  Case closed.  It makes life easier for mommy and it teaches everyone responsibility and neatness!

5. First words when you wake up should be SWEET!  For example, "Good Morning, Mommy!"  I constantly remind my children that our first words upon waking up should not be filled with demands, like, "I'm hungry! Or Where's my milk? Or Can I wear this skirt today?"  Our first words should be loving and respectful.

6. There's never a reason to be unkind.  Never.

7. Use your words, whining will get you nowhere!  Have you ever heard an adult whine, and you wondered, why didn't their parents teach them not to whine?  Yes, it's a part of home training.  Don't whine.

8. Brush your teeth before bed.  And don't forget to dental floss, or as Mark calls it: Foo Foss! 

9.  Everything has a place, so please put your toys, clothes, books, and what have you away.

10. We don't leave the table until EVERYONE is done eating.  And even when everyone is done eating, there should always be something to stick around to talk about.  Family time is really important to us.  Even if it is practicing what verse we learned for the day, or talking about what books we read or things we learned, sharing our day is important.  And staying at the table proves that each person is valuable.  This has to be taught young.  And sometimes you have to make it really fun to keep everyone willing to stick around, so mom and dad have to be FUN!!!

11. When you get something new, whether it be a trinket or a new dress, prepare to give something away to someone who needs it!  John used to make me do this when I would come home from shopping, and it really got me to thinking if I wasn't willing to part with anything in my closet perhaps I didn't even need to shop!  Generosity is taught!  Teach your little people to enjoy giving things away and sharing.  Make it special.  We choose toys that we are done playing with to bring to Good Will and we drop it off as a family.  It also helps me to keep our closet clutter to a minimum since I have to find things to donate or give away.  And I find the more you bless others, God continues to provide and bless you!

12. "What can I get you?"  These simple 5 words make other people feel loved and important.  It shows your family and your guests you are here to meet their needs and you want to make them happy!

"Is anybody happier because you passed his way?"

"Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?"

Spend your life doing things that will last FOREVER.

Invest in people, take time to enjoy the life God has blessed you with.  We sometimes forget that people won't remember what we wore, or how clean our house was, but they will remember if we are loving, kind, and available.  I love a neat home, but I'd much rather a home filled with lots of love!!!

Excuse me while I go hug my hubby!

29 June 2011

The plot thickens...

How can you not LOVE Mordecai with every chapter you read in Esther? 

First of all, he is a surrogate uncle to Esther...which shows his love and loyalty to his family. 
Second, you see his honor and loyalty to the King in chapter 2 v21 Mordecai finds out about a plot to kill the king (he just happened to be at the king's gate at just the right time to hear this bit of news, coincidence, I think not!  God's providence is woven throughout this tiny Old Testament book) the minute he hears this news he tells Queen Esther and she informs the king in Mordecais's name, both the men were hanged at the gallows and the information was recorded in the book of chronicles in the presence of the king. 
But the third reason why you literally fall in love with Mordecai's character is that Mordecai is not fake, or phony, and he stands up for what is right, no matter what!

In chapter 3 we meet Haman, and instantly we know he is the bad guy and his evil character, and prideful ways are just so apparent and unattractive.  Haman is promoted in Chapter 3 by the King in a seat above all the princes.  And everybody smoozed him!  Is that even a word?  You know what I mean though, right, I mean the minute he entered a room people bowed low to him and smoozed him to keep him on their good side.  In chapter 3 verse 2 it clearly states,

"But Mordecai would not bow or pay homage."  

Mordecai was not going to play games with Haman.  He could tell Haman was a wicked man, and he could tell he did not deserve respect or homage, and therefore Mordecai Would Not bow low when he came near by...and this made Haman FURIOUS.  Haman was a man full of pride, he liked his ego stroked, and enjoyed people bowing low in his presence and the fact that this Mordeicai, this Jew, would not do the same infuriated him.  In my opinion, I think it infuriated Haman because he knew that Mordecai was the better man and he was jealous...but that's just my opinion.  Let's stick to the facts!

In verse 5 we find that "When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath."  

When we see the word wrath what do we think of?  Anger, violent anger...who is the father of wrath?  Who is it clear that Haman belongs to?  Now remember in this book of Esther you will not see the words God or S*tan, but you will see plenty of characteristics of their behaviors.  And it is very interesting if you make a list of the qualities of a person you can see who they belong to.  Kay Arthur (the woman who designed the Bible Study I did..Precept upon precept makes you list all the qualities of each person...have you ever done that for yourself?  Have you ever listed your character or personality qualities...it's a good reminder of what we struggle with and may need to work on because we all have faults, sometimes they become really clear if we actually take the time to write them down.

In my Bible next to verse 6 in Esther chapter 3 I wrote S*tan's name because being filled with wrath is a quality that S*tan has.

In verse 6 it says "But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai.  Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus--the people of Mordecai."

Who else in the Bible is constantly seeking to destroy the people of the Lord?  We know that the Jewish people are God's chosen people, and that God has grafted the Gentiles in too as his people, and isn't it just like S*tan to try to wipe out God's chosen people.  Haman didn't want revenge on just Mordecai, he wanted to wait for an opportunity to destroy all the Jews.  Whoa!!!

Are we clear on the good vs the evil in this book or what?

It's in the rest of chapter 3 that Haman casts his wicked, vengeful plot, and runs it by the King so that a written decree can be made.

verse 9 "If it pleases the king, let a decree be written that they be destroyed, and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver into the hands of those who do the work, to bring it into the King's treasuries."
 Not only is Haman plotting to kill all the Jews, he's willing to pay for it to be done, talk about wickedness.  And get this, the King agrees, the King doesn't realize his new Queen is a Jew, remember, Mordecai told her to keep her family identity a secret.  The King has no idea what he is about to agree to, but he hands over his signet ring and agrees.

verse 13 says, "And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day..."

 The plot thickens...next Wednesday find out what Mordecai does, and what he tells Queen Esther...

28 June 2011

Our Garden

A few months ago Julia and I had a girl day, and John and Mark had a boy day.  John decided to rip out 4 huge bushes and plant an extensive garden on the side of our house where the sun light is perfect.

It is amazing now how much our garden has grown.  Last night for instance (and the rest of this week) our menu will change because I have red leaf lettuce and green leaf lettuce coming out of my ears!  Last night instead of making a minestrone soup and having to get groceries for this week I improvised and threw some tortellinis on the stove top to boil.  Rinsed off some yummy lettuce, cut up tomatoes, added craisins, and croutons and some balsamic dressing.  I grilled some chicken.  And we had a nice light and refresshing salad meal.

I can't tell you how proud I am to be able to walk over to our garden and cut off basil I need for a recipe, or lettuce, or broccoli rabe (we are still waiting for our melons to grow, but the plants are huge!)  I just didn't expect this much produce to come from our own two hands and some dirt.

A secret the farmers taught us was not to over water, but let the rain do it's trick (of course if you see your veggies wilting you water them).

I just can't believe we are able to eat for free, and healthy and right from our own garden at the side of the house!  Thank you babe for all your hard efforts, and thank you to Marky and Julia who love to check on the garden and help us "water" it!

27 June 2011

My FIRST Meatless Sauce Crock Pot Recipe

In this past post (click here) I wrote about how I plan my meals by the month.  I just finished planning out August.  If any of you would like a copy of my menu just email me and I will send the attachment to you.  It takes me about an hour and a half or two sittings and all I need are a few cooking magazines, my own recipe basket, and the pasts month's plan so that I don't repeat any meals that didn't work well, or I repeat meals that were delicious.  If you plan your meals this way you learn a lot about your family's eating habits, their favorites, their likes/dislikes, and you can plan ahead better when food shopping.

For example this month I learned that John loved Linguine with Clam Sauce (click here for the recipe).  I also learned that Suzette's Shepherd's Pie at Joy of Homemaking lasts about 3 nights in our home and John has a quick easy lunch meal for two days. So I might make a Shepherd's Pie on a Thursday or Friday to stretch to the weekend next time, and I'll make sure to add Linugine with Clam Sauce for August since this month it was such a hit with John and the kids.

This month (June) I had a new crock pot recipe from my Family Circle magazine (a great go to cooking magazine for my planning time) In the January 2011 issue on page 138 I got this Hearty Meatless Sauce recipe.  And I was so excited to try it out.

Crock Pot: Hearty Meatless Sauce

Makes 8 Servings
Prep 15 minutes (tops! so easy)
Slow cook 2 1/2 on High or 4 hours on Low

1 Large Green pepper, sedded and finely chopped
1 Large onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 package (12 ounces) soy crumbles
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

****** in a separate pot
 cook your spaghetti noodles as normal


1. Stir together pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes, soy crumbles, vinegar, dried basil, sugar and salt in slow cooker, breaking up tomatoes with a wooden spoon.  Cover and cook on High for 2 1/2 hours or Low for 4 hours.

2. Add your cooked spaghetti and top with fresh basil and parsley.

I served with fresh Parmesan cheese on top and warm Italian bread!  The soy crumbles were delicious!  I did find the green pepper flavor strong, next time I will use a half of a green pepper, but everything else was delicious and cooking the sauce in the crock pot made the whole house smell like an Italian restaurant!  It was a great night to have company over!  And my lovely guest enjoyed this new meal as well and she wasn't even a green pepper fan, and loved the sauce!

25 June 2011

100 Songs for Kids

I'm always on the lookout online for songs for kids.  We LOVE singing over here in the Mac household.  We pretty much have a song for everything we do.  Julia's Sunday School teacher pulled me aside a few weeks ago and said, "Julia sang to herself non stop while we were doing arts and crafts, she must love singing!"  It's so true...and there are so many great songs and nursery rhymes to teach kids and expand their little vocabularies and teach them rhyming words.  Click here for a great link of 100 songs.  See how many you know and how many you'd like to teach your kids!  We try new songs during our Circle Time or while we are driving in the car.  This website also allows you to click on the title and get all of the words just in case you need to refresh your memory.

Circle Time is a great time to sing songs because you can act out all the fun ones like: Twinkle, Twinkle, I'm a little tea pot, Pat a cake, pat a cake, Take me out to the ball game, etc.

Have a great weekend!!!!!!!! Don't forget to sing a little!

24 June 2011

Summer Time Fun!

We have such big plans for this summer!  We have two weekend beach trips with the kids...one weekend coming up we will be spending it in Long Beach Island with friends, and in August we will head to Cape May with just the four of us!  And now that I know how much both kids love the beach (we went to 7 Presidents in Long Branch this week with a group of friends from church...it's awesome!) I can't wait to go with them!  All we will need is flip flops, buckets, swim suits, sun hats, and lots of sun block!

Until all those beach weekends come it is business as usual around here...reading, circle time, library story time, and arts and crafts, and day trips to the park!  Wednesday is art class and usually I break out all the paints, the aprons, and newspaper, and we go to town.  I even bought a new crayola box set with bigger brushes so we can paint on our easel outside!  The kids did a great day with our hand print project for John's Father's Day gift.

We also will be doing some Macaroni Crafts this summer.  Next Wednesday, after nap time, we will be lacing macaroni on string and making necklaces.  I'm also going to have the kids paint the macaroni before we lace it (to stretch out the project but also to include painting because they love it so much).  While our macaroni dries we will be making shapes with macaroni on paper and using Elmer's Glue to make it stick.  A big pre-school goal is to have the kids know all their shapes and colors so this is a great project to reinforce that.  Also using fine motor skills with painting and gluing is very important too.  It keeps them so busy.  Mark's favorite part is washing his hands when he's all done.  Julia could paint for hours.  And lacing is a very important skill to master.  We have lacing boards here too to play with (I actually got a set from the dollar store!).  I also found some more arts and crafts ideas for macaroni.  Click here to see Macaroni Sheep.

Julia's last gymnastics class was Friday, June 17, but the last week of June she begins Gymnastics Camp!  She will go each Thursday for 3 hours!!! She is going to love it!  They will do gymnastics, crafts, snack time, and games!  I'm so excited for her!  I wanted her to have something special this summer to look forward to and to still be with her gymnastics friends and teachers.  We've been really blessed to be a part of such a great school, and watching Julia progress on the equipment really makes me so proud of her!


On that last class in June they did so many fun things.  Here they were on the trampoline pretending to be a train, and each time Miss Michele would jump the kids would bounce up it was too cute!

This is Julia's buddy Madison.  These two are inseparable.  They are very cute together!  Here they were giving each other a hug as they were eating their lollipops.  Madison's mom just had a baby, Alexa, and Julia asks Madison about the baby every week!

Currently we are working on our Graduation Ceremony for Daddy!  John is going to video tape as the kids get dressed up and perform/recite all the key things we have worked on this past year, from memorizing Bible verses, to counting, memorizing story books (The ABC Coconut Tree book, Brown Bear Brown Bear, Who is Coming to Our House?), singing songs (The B-I-B-L-E and He's Got the Whole World in His Hands) reciting our Presidents in order from George Washington to John Quincy Adams...we have a lot of fun things to showcase, and I know the kids will love looking back on the video to see how far they've come, and let's face it, how cute they were at ages 2 and 3.

Since we still go to the library at least once a week in the summer we are going to be doing a summer reading list of our own!  I love goals and so when we went to the Matawan/Aberdeen Public Library and they had a list of books for the kids to read as Pre-Schoolers (click on Pre-Schoolers to see an online list) I was so excited.  Many of the books we've already read, but there were surprisingly a lot we haven't read yet, I say surprisingly because we read A LOT and since I was a classroom teacher I had a lot of the classics already.  Click here to see a great summer reading list for ages 3-5 years old.  Here are some of the books we have yet to read:

1. I Did It, I'm Sorry by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner
2. I Knew You Could! by Craig Dorfman
3. Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner
4. Me and My Dad! By Alison Ritchie
5. Monday is One Day by Arthur A. Levine
6. Fun Dog, Sun Dog by Deborah Heiligman
7. If you Give a Moose a Muffin By Laura Numeroff

I always let the kids take out 2 books of their own choosing, and mommy always throws in a reading list book along with their choices.  It makes me feel good to be reading books that have met a standard.
I also came across a really good article about how to get your child ready for Kindergarten, not just academically but socially to.  Click here to read the article.

Congrats to my Katrina!

I can't fail to mention how much fun I had at TCS's High School Graduation!  I got to take pictures with students I had in third grade who are now off to college!  I am so proud!  Click here to read my Class of 2011 tribute to my little third graders all grown up!

Congrats to my Kia!
Congrats to my Ciarra!

Congrats to Erin who graduated from 8th grade!

Here's my Abbey, (a Freshman) I taught her in third and fourth grade the year I looped!
My Casey is going to be a Junior next year!  I taught her in third grade.
Here are my buddies who are now college students! I babysat the red heads when they were itty bitty!

It was great hugging all my teacher friends and catching up with them!
God has blessed me with so many great friends and mentors! ***Happy Birthday Jeanne (6/24)
It's been a busy week, but as always, I'm excited and ready for the weekend!!! I'm trying a new chocolate chip stuffed oreo cookie recipe this weekend, if it comes out yummylicious, I'll post it next week!

23 June 2011

Blog Hop #5

It's Time to Mingle!

Hosted by All About Being Inspired, Happy Go Lucky, Joy in the Jumble and Keeping Up With Kristi Each week we will choose one blog at random to spotlight at the next week's blog hop. This weeks guest host is
I Heart Craft Things
There are no rules to this blog hop.  Just link up your blog's main page.  Then have fun reading new blogs and making new blog friends.  We would love for you to follow the hostesses in the first four spots and our guest host in the fifth spot.   We always follow back!!
Grab our button if you want to share our blog hop with others.  There will be a new list every Thursday, so be sure to come back every week.

We hope you have fun and thanks for joining us!  We are so excited to find new blogs, share great ideas, and inspire each other.

Thankful Thursday-5

Thankful Thursday

I’m so thankful for summer time!

We are excited to have a mini-preschool Graduation for Daddy on Sunday to showcase some of our hard work this year, but then we will relax and just enjoy Circle Time a few times during the week!

I’m thankful for all our friend’s with pools and always inviting us over for a swim! We’ve already been invited to the Hech’s, Guevara’s, and Coyle’s house for pool play dates! Our church family is such a blessing.

I’m thankful for John. Let’s see…for his hard work, his self less spirit, his never ending ideas, his strong hands that are able to hold, “Two Babies!” as the kids cry out each night when he comes home early. I’m thankful for his love and the way he still texts me and calls me throughout the day to let me know he’s thinking of me and that he cares. This August we will celebrate 8 years of marriage!

I’m thankful for my extended family who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

I’m thankful for my friends who keep me grounded, laughing, and honest.

I’m thankful for God’s Word which is more fulfilling than any meal, it satisfies my deepest desires and hungers. “As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after thee.” God is my best friend. He’s the lover of my soul. And it may sound strange if you aren’t in a relationship with Him, but if you are you know just what I mean.

I’m always thankful for my children because without them I wouldn’t see how selfish I can be. They teach me constantly how to be patient, take deep breaths, enjoy the moment, and smile at the little things.

I’m thankful for Julia’s prayer tonight that was over 3 minutes long and included parts like, “Please help Marky to pee in the potty and not on the floor,” and “thank you for the beach.”
I’m thankful for Mark’s persistence in potty training (the poor kid has been ready, but mommy was dreading it) every time his sister goes potty he begins to take off everything and follow right behind her.

I’m thankful my mom arrived safe in Barbados on Monday morning. She is visiting our two aunts there. Lenore and Mavis are aunts of my grandfather. My mom will be in seventh heaven with them, enjoying vacation time and being near the ocean!

I’m thankful for the ability and time and brain power (sometimes) to write and blog because it has allowed me to make new friends, connect with old friends, and encourage people in a small and tangible way. I’m always amazed at your comments of how my words have helped you in some small way or caused you to think about something differently. Thank you to all of you who take the time to comment, I know it’s an extra commitment and it does brighten my day!

Lastly, I’m thankful for this tea cup. My mother in law gave it to me and in it holds the warmest and most flavorful Passion tea by Tazo. It’s a deep red color and it is so good. John and Julia are watching the Nature channel and drinking tea as well. Julia told him, “I want tea!!! Daddy, girls like tea!” when I asked who wanted some with me. We all laughed. I’m thankful for that too…

21 June 2011

Linguine with Clam Sauce

I love you Lizzy
This is my beautiful friend Liz, (me and Christy H. call her Jennifer Anistan because she is just so beautiful) she shared this yummy recipe with me!  She is Portuguese and her family loves seafood and John and I love seafood so this dish was perfect for us!

My kids loved it because to them it was just noodles and sauce (which is their favorite) and they just skipped the clams.  But John came home early after I texted him this was on tonight's menu!  And I made it a two night meal because we always have leftovers!

Liz, can you believe are kids were this little a year ago?
Linguine with Clam Sauce

6-8 Servings

Ingredients: 2 lbs of clams
1/2 cup evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup of white wine
3 garlic cloves
pinch of red pepper flakes
3 cups of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of parsley
2 tbsp oregano and basil
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lbs linguine
Parmesan cheese and fresh bread

1. Add oil and heat to pan.
2. Add garlic and fry for 2 minutes
3. Add crushed pepper flakes and clams and saute for 2 minutes.
4. Add wine and cook until wine reduces (about 3-5 minutes) Add sauce and cover and cook until clams open.
5. Add parsley and salt and pepper and all the spices.
6. Add pasta to clams and sauce and toss!
7. Serve with parmesan cheese on top and fresh bread to go with the meal!!!!!!!!!!


Beauty is Power

Hello friends!

If you are just joining my Esther study, click here, to get information on the plot of Chapter 1.  Click here to read about the promises and reminders found in this book.  Our two main character studies were on Queen Vashti and King Ahasuerus.  Today we are focusing on Esther because Chapter 2 is all about her but we are also introduced to her uncle Mordecai.

Queen Vashti was removed from her throne and new women were sought to become Queen.  But first they had to be ready to meet the King.  Check this out: they got pampered and perfumed for months!!! They had servants care for them, I'm sure they ate extremely well, and they got 6 months of oil and myrrh treatments for their skin, and six months with perfumes and other preparations for beautifying themselves!  Perhaps they got waxed, their hair styled, their nails painted.  We don't know for sure, but we do know that for a full year they were treated like royalty practically all to get them ready for that one visit with the King, because a first impression is the important one in this case.

Can you imagine what they must've did for that year besides getting beautiful, maybe they wrote letters back home to their families, maybe they got close with one another and became friends, maybe they took long walks around the palace?  Do you think their was a pool or a hot tub to soak or swim in?  Do you think their servants and care takers brought them whatever they wanted to eat or drink?  Or was their a strict diet?  We don't know for sure, but we do know they lived a very different life for that one year.

Hegai was the custodian of the women.  He was a eunuch.  Eunuchs were the King's servants but they were very special because they were c*strated so that the King could totally trust them to remain pure for his purposes.  Their main job was to be a loyal subject to the King or Queen.

It says in verse 9 that Esther pleased Hegai and she obtained his favor.  There was something about Esther that was likable and attractive.  Yes, we know she was in fact beautiful, but there was something beyond her physical appearance  that made everyone around her enjoy her company and she found favor in many people's eyes.  Her beauty was more than just skin deep.  Her character was worthy of praise.  In verse 2 we know that Esther is beautiful and a v*rgin because that is what was looked for in finding a new Queen.  But now we learn in verse 9 about her inner beauty and that their is something special about her.  Even though the name of God is never mentioned in this Book we see God's hand all along the way.  God made Esther beautiful on the outside, but he also instilled something about her personality that was attractive.  And she lived by a moral code since we know she was still a v*rgin.  But there's more....

In verse 7 it says she was lovely and beautiful...

In verse 9 it says she pleased Hegai and obtained his favor...

In verse 9 it also says Hegai gave her more beauty preparations besides her allowance (more than the other girls) and he moved her to the best place in the house of the women...

I see some favoritism here!  Did that happen by coincidence or did God have a special plan for all of this to honor and bless Esther and perhaps put her in a position to do more for her people? Hmmmm....

In verse 10 we find out Esther is Jewish BUT she withholds this information because her Uncle Mordecai tells her not to... she obeys authority

In verse 15 when it is finally her turn (after a year of pampering and beauty treatments) Esther is allowed to take anything she wants with her for her night with the King (each woman has a turn with the King, she meets him in the evening and leaves the next morning and is allowed to take whatever she wants from the women's quarters, they don't get to see the King again unless he asks for her by name)

Esther listens to what Hegai advises her to bring and it says, "she obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her."  So if everyone likes her there has to be something about her spirit that is sweet and humble and not proud or rude.  There has to be an air of comfort ability and peace around her and not an air of stress or tension.  There's something about Esther that everyone loves.

Finally in verse 17 it says,
"The King loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the v*rgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti."

Esther becomes Queen!  Wow, God has big plans for this woman of grace and favor.  Whenever we are promoted to a position of power we have a responsibility and we can believe without a shadow of a doubt that God had everything to do with that promotion.  Remember God always has a purpose.  He always has a plan.  He doesn't promote people to positions of power and honor so that they can abuse it or neglect to do what He has called them to do. 

Tune in next Tuesday as we learn more about this mysterious uncle Mordecai...because God has great plans for Mordecai as well!  Mordecai may seem unimportant or quiet at first, but as you dig in to read each chapter closely you see that this quiet humble man is right where God wants him to be at just the right time.  He may not be flashy or in a position of power, but never fear, because God can use anybody to do mighty things all He needs is a willing heart that is obedient and sensitive to His will and His call.

20 June 2011

The Perfect Day

We spent Father's Day in Princeton!  It was a beautiful Sunday morning.  John first went golfing with his dad.  They usually do something special together like fishing or eat out together.  Me and the kids headed to church because we had nursery duty first thing.

Then as the kids napped it was just a peaceful, relaxing day for me.  There was a calmness and a stillness because there was no place to rush off to.  My Dad and Sara were busy driving Mom to the airport.  She is going to be visiting our family in Barbados for a week.  My Dad will be coming over for a few meals this week, so I can spoil him then.

The kids woke up around 2:00 and we were packed and in the car by 2:30.  It took a good hour to get there, but the drive is always beautiful.  The trees are so tall, and the town is so pretty. 

We first got some yummy frappucinos at Starbucks and we got the kids frozen yogurts!

John made the day so special by just being the great, funny, helpful Dad that he normally is.  I tried to capture those special moments between him and the kids with the camera.  It was a blast.

Lately, Julia's been asking me if she can wear my rings.  (my engagement and wedding ring) I told her, "No honey Daddy gave me those."  "Why?"  "Because he loves me and he wanted to marry me."  "Can I marry Daddy?"  "No honey, he's my husband!"  And we laugh.  But it's funny because I used to ask my mom the same question about my Dad.

After ice cream time we headed to the campus and walked around.  The kids barely needed their strollers.  They just skipped and ran, we played soccer.  We posed for lots of pictures for Daddy.  It was the perfect day!

Daddy even did some cool stunts for Marky!

I LOVE days like this...these are the days as a family that will be burned on my brain for years to come.  Those perfect moments when you ask God, why am I so lucky?  Why are my kids so great, so healthy, so well behaved?  Thank you Lord, you bless me too much...my cup runneth over...

Happy Father's Day, John.  I know sometimes we long for the days when the house is quiet and we can nap during the day, and go for endless day trips or just drop everything and go on a date, but right now is just fine for me.  I'm so blessed to have such a hard working man, a confident, strong, independent daughter, a mellow, bright, happy son, a home, a garden, and food on the table.  What more could I ask for?

Thank you, God, for this perfect day!

17 June 2011

10 Years Ago

10 Years Ago I was 23 and it was my first year at Timothy Christian School teaching third grade.

10 years ago the twin towers fell, I can still remember Mary Martin stopping a reading session during snack time to pull me into the hall way and share the world events.

10 years ago I wondered what God had planned for me and John.

10 years ago John got saved and started his amazing journey with the Lord.

10 Years ago I put 100 percent into teaching and making life fun for my 25 wonderful students.  I remember reading novels to them, practicing our spelling words in chocolate pudding and shaving cream, doing scientific experiments and memorizing verses with my class.

We made projects in class and I enjoyed seeing each student's strengths and creativity.

10 Years ago I was so blessed to become a teacher at such an amazing school and I met some amazing forever friends that I can't imagine what my life would be like without them in it.  They know who they are.

10 Years ago instead of dressing up for Halloween we had the kids dress up as Christian Heros and share their stories.  I can still remember hearing each student share what they learned about Abraham Lincoln, Corrie Ten Boon,  Eric Liddell, etc.

10 Years ago we celebrated Spirit day and the kids got to dress down and where blue and gold and paint their faces.  School was a safe fun place to celebrate our achievements, share our dreams, make new friends, and establish our goals for the future.  Can't you feel the excitement in this picture?

10 years ago I used every bit of knowledge and creativity I learned in college to make school a safe and fun place to explore, create, and imagine, and practice!  And even if the only thing my third graders remember is that I was the brownie teacher (because I liked to bring in baked goods) or the project Queen (because I loved a good project) or the teacher that allowed them to get dirty with shaving cream or chocolate pudding in class (because it was fun), then I did a pretty good job!  Because school isn't always about worksheets and homework!

10 Years ago I realized that I was made to teach and that it brought joy and contentment to my soul!  Every year I spent in the classroom was a good one!  Each student was loved and prayed for, and you could bet I'd be one of the first to arrive and one to show up on weekends!

Class of 2011 you are my first group of third graders to graduate from Timothy Christian School.  And you can bet I will be cheering you on tonight as I watch you graduate!  I'll be the one in the front with the box of tissues!  I'm so proud of all of you.  God has great things in store for you!  Do me a favor, keep seeking God in all that you do, continue to strive for excellence, treat people with respect, and remember to laugh and have fun along the way!  Mrs. Mac loves you!  I can't wait to see what God has in store for all of you!
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