Saturday, January 28, 2012

Open for Questions :)

For some time, I’ve thought I’d like to do this.

From time to time, I get questions through emails about various things covering many different topics that I blog about….whether it be our family, our faith, homeschooling, adoption, decorating etc… So my thoughts have been that I would like to just give my readers the opportunity to ask questions and I will try to answer them the best I can in a post this next week.

So, here goes…….if there’s something you’d like to ask me, leave your question in a comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!  :)

~ Tammy ~

Friday, January 27, 2012

Faithful Friday - "Leiney Grace is Coming Home!!!"

I’m sure you remember the Auction for Adoption here on my blog for Leiney Grace? Well, she’s coming home! Today, as you read this post, Jan and her aunt are on their way to China! They are supposed to meet Leiney Grace on Monday (China time).

I just wanted to ask my praying friends to lift up Jan and her aunt in prayer for safe travel and a safe journey in China. Please pray that the Lord prepares 9 year old Leiney Grace’s heart for her family. I know it has to be a scary thing for an older child to leave all that is familiar and embrace her new life. Please pray for a smooth adjustment for everyone involved, as well as a smooth paperwork process. And remember Jan’s husband and seven kids back at home. A couple of the kids were not feeling well.

And thank you to all who prayed before when they were mentioned here during the Auction for Adoption. And to those who participated in the auction, a very special thank you. Know that you are a very special part of helping to bring Leiney Grace to her forever home!

You can follow their journey in China to Leiney Grace here.


We'd love for you to join us for Faithful Fridays. If you have something to share from your Christian walk, please join us and let us know you participated by grabbing the button above and letting Joy know in a comment here on her blog that you are participating.

God bless you all! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's in a Name?

Almost four years ago now, after enjoying many of your blogs, I knew starting my own blog was something I really wanted to do.

Being the think-it-out (probably way too much) kind of person I am, I began thinking about what I would call my blog. To me, it had to be something that represented me, not only today, but a name that would still be a good fit for me ten years from today. In other words, things may change, but would the title of my blog still make me just as happy many years from now? Because I hoped this blogging thing would be long term.

So as I always do, I probably also bugged my family. Well okay, I know I bugged my family way too much with names to consider. I remember narrowing it down to just three or four. The one thing they all had in common was the word “country” because that’s me. It fit me like a glove. From the time I was a little girl, I’ve loved any and everything country, from the books I read, to the things I pretended as a little girl, loving my grandparents’ home on the lake, walking down the dirt roads and playing in the fields, country based TV shows, and just loving farmhouses and log cabins. And I’ve always liked things old that tell a story.

In the end, Country Girl at Home was the one that made me the happiest. I knew years from now, even if my decorating style wasn’t exactly the same, it would still have a country flare. It would still be some variation of country style.  I know that because I go in other homes that I think are beautiful and I really do enjoy looking at the different types of décor, but when I come home, I love what welcomes me. I love being enveloped by my country home and country things. It just makes me happy. So I knew that years down the road, I would still be a country girl at heart, no matter what.

I also knew that home is the place that makes me happiest. It’s the place I love to be the most. I wanted to open my home to blog land and share a little bit of what goes on in this country girl’s home and family and hopefully be an encouragement to others along the way.

Thus, Country Girl at Home was born. For my very first post, you can click here.

Early on during that first year of blogging, Mandie of Life in the Craft Lane, out of a random act of kindness, and as a complete surprise to me, created the banner graphic (that you see at the top of my blog) using a photo of our country home.  I love it then and I love it now.  :)

She also created an avatar for me as well.

Mandie is also the sweet lady that made the button for Joy’s Faithful Fridays.

As I was visiting blogs the other day, I was especially taking note of blog titles. I’ve often wondered this, so I decided I was just going to ask! Many times as I visit a blog, it is obvious to me why the blogger chose that name. I can see it fits. Others I know must have a story or special meaning behind it. Whatever the name, I know some thought has gone behind it. It says something about the blogger.  And many times the name of the blog catches my eye and makes me want to visit!

So today, I’m asking all you bloggers out there, how did you choose the name for your blog? What made you pick the title that you decided on and how does it represent you? Please leave me a comment and share your blogging title history!

And as always, thank you for stopping by!  Have a great day!  :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chinese New Year

To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Joy, Luke and I had lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant in town Monday. Luke wore one of his Chinese outfits. Good thing I bought it big… still fit him. Joy’s didn’t, however. Everyone that we came across while out and about just loved seeing him dressed up.

Joy made Chinese New Year cards (with a little bit of money inside) to give out to some of the employees at the restaurant, especially one particular sweet man that is dear to us there. He was in the back cooking and we had to send for him. He came out grinning from ear to ear as he always does and was surprised to see this American girl wishing him a Happy New Year complete with Chinese writing on the card. He motioned for us to wait a minute and he went in the back for awhile. He returned with a huge smile and a special dish he created just for us.

Then there was the new host/server. We instantly liked him. He reminded me of my Colt. Although he didn’t look it, he was 29. He was very interested in Luke and asked several questions about him. He told us about his time living here in the states (10 years now) and about his effort to make sure his two children learned Chinese as well as English. He gave us some tips and Joy tried out her Chinese on him from her Chinese class. This is her 2nd semester, so she has improved on her tones. He understood her. He was especially complimentary of her Chinese writing on the card that she gave him though. After a few minutes, he also returned with a red envelope for Joy and Luke. He said it was the first time he had ever been given a Chinese New Year card from a child. He had given them each $5! He even volunteered to be in China if we ever made it there so he could be our guide and help us out with the language.

Through all of this, Luke wasn’t that impressed. He seems to shy away from anything Chinese. He wasn’t even happy to really be wearing his Chinese outfit, but I promised him he could wear whatever he wanted when he came home. (He chose pajamas).

We then spent the next part of the afternoon visiting our friends at the nursing home. We just love our visits there. They especially loved seeing Luke in his outfit and they always love Joy. Luke gives “little hugs” and blows kisses. He’s come a long way with that. In the past, he chose to stay with grandmama while we went to the Nursing Home. There’s one Chinese resident there for whom Joy made a Chinese New Year card as well.

All in all it was a good day. We ended the day with Colt, Amber, and my mom and dad joining us for supper. I’d like to say it was a nice Chinese meal, but the truth is it was as American as ever – breakfast for supper.

Speaking of the Chinese New Year, did you know it’s the year of the dragon? Joy’s teacher says something BIG is supposed to happen in the year of the dragon. She is learning so much from her teacher who is very passionate about her teaching. Not only is she teaching them the language and how to write it, she also teaches about the culture and history of China. Joy is really enjoying it. We’re hoping to get Luke started in classes next fall.

Thank you for making my little corner of blogland part of your day! I appreciate you all!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Faithful Friday - "Fear or Faith?"

I’m not sure how Friday can possibly be here already. But it is, and you won’t hear me complaining.

Friday is the day we’ve set aside to share Faithful Friday – something from our Christian walk. I knew after receiving this email from a homeschooling friend what I would share for today. And if you’d like to participate in Faithful Friday, just hop over to Joy’s blog here and leave her a comment letting her know so we can stop by for a visit!

Here’s the email I received:

Pam's Story

More than 24 years ago, Pam and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child. Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink. She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant. Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn't think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue. While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, we'll name him Timothy and we'll make him a preacher. Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pam's youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits, and serves with his father's ministry in the Philippines. He also plays football. Pam's son is Tim Tebow. The University of Florida's star quarterback became the first sophomore in history to win college football's highest award, the Heisman Trophy. His current role as quarterback of the Denver Broncos has provided an incredible platform for Christian witness. As a result, he is being called The Mile-High Messiah. Tim's notoriety and the family's inspiring story have given Pam numerous opportunities to speak on behalf of women's centers across the country. Pam Tebow believes that every little baby you save matters.

Did you guess it was going to be Tim Tebow?  :)

Now I’d like to share a little snippet from my own life. If you’ve read my blog for very long, you probably remember what I’m about to tell you from a previous post, but I’m going to repeat it here today to bring out a point for today’s Faithful Friday post.

While expecting Joy, I turned 35, which meant taking a test (given to all expectant moms 35 and over). That test came back that our baby very likely could have Down’s Syndrome. The doctor strongly urged us to have an amniocentesis to know for sure, to which I strongly objected. Knowing the risk of causing a miscarriage through the amniocentesis, there was no way I was going to do that. Besides, if my baby was born with Down’s Syndrome, then that’s what God gave me. Period. An amniocentesis wouldn't solve anything.  We were having the baby, Down's Syndrome or not Down's Syndrome.  We prayed about it and after a couple of weeks from that point, I had peace about it. And honestly, I never even gave it much more thought. As a matter of fact when she was born, it never even occurred to me to even ask that question.

And so it was that our Joy was born. And as you can see, she does not have Down’s Syndrome, but even if she had, she would have been God’s perfect creation.  And she would still be a blessing.

God doesn’t make mistakes. He can take even the most horrible situation or worst case scenario and make something beautiful of it. He can make something beautiful of that life. It saddens me to think about all the babies that never make it to this world because their mother aborted them, either because they listened to their own fears, to the advice of a doctor, a friend, a boyfriend, or sometimes even a parent.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

As you can see from today’s story about Tim Tebow, God does have a plan. He knows what He’s doing. I wonder why it’s so hard to just trust God instead of listening to man? I guess it’s just one of those times when fear and faith collide and we all have to decide which one wins – fear or faith.

By the way, I haven’t read Tim Tebow’s book yet, but it’s definitely on my list! I can’t wait to read it. He is such an inspiration and a wonderful Christian witness.

Thanks for stopping by today!  Have a great weekend!

Be Blessed,
~ Tammy ~

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Most Fashionable Dog

Koda might just be the best dressed puppy around, thanks to Amber’s touch.  :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Royal Adventure

A Royal Adventure

Princess Maddie ran from her room up in the highest towers of the castle, down through the winding stone staircase to the second floor. She laughed when her brother, Noah the Brave Knight, caught up to her. "I won the race!! Let's go see what Mama's doing." So, joined by their six-year-old sister, Princess Sophie, from her room, they ran to the sitting room where their mother, who was the Queen of St. Johnland, sat at the desk, writing letters and signing papers.

Noah the Brave Knight picked up a picture of a little girl with pigtails from the desk. "Mama, this is my friend from China. Why do you have her picture?"

Princess Maddie looked at the papers, then at her mother. "I know her too, Mama. This is Tian Qing."

Their mother, Queen Marjorie, smiled. "You're right. That's the little girl you two knew in China. And this," she said, pointing to the scattered papers, "is the file of Tian Qing, who lives in China, but she will soon come here to be Princess Josie! She's five years old."

Noah the Brave Knight, Princess Maddie, and Princess Sophie stared, wide eyed. "So, Tian Qing is coming here, to be with us?"

"Well--" Just then a courier came in with a sealed note from China! Queen Marjorie tore open the letter and smiled broadly. "It says that we are approved to adopt Josie!" "Yay!" Their mother smiled. "So, to answer your question, yes, Tian Qing--Josie--is coming here to be with us!"

They followed their mother up the stairs, through the long hallway to her and King James's big bedroom, where she put the future Princess Josie's picture in a frame, and placed it on the nightstand. Then, they all piled up onto their mother and father's bed. "Mama, tell us our story again," begged Princess Maddie.

"PUH-LEEEEEEZZZ," added Noah the Brave Knight.

Queen Marjorie laughed. "Alright, alright." She sat on the edge of the bed, held Princess Sophie, and scooted over as Matthew the Great Knight strode into the room.

"Oooh, Matthew! Come sit. Mama's telling us our story,” said Princess Maddie excitedly.

Matthew smiled and sat down. “Good.”

“Once upon a time,” said their mother, “there was a king, a queen, and their son, a knighted prince.”

Matthew smiled and lifted Princess Maddie onto his lap. "And I, that knighted prince-son, dreamed and prayed for a sibling. And believe me, God heard."

Mother nodded and smiled thoughtfully. "Princess Sophie came first. Your daddy and I chose to adopt from another kingdom. So, in the year of two thousand and six, we traveled to China and 2-year-old precious Le Ke became Princess Sophie Saint. Princess Sophie had autism. "

"But we weren't over," exclaimed Princess Maddie. "You still have to get me and Noah!"

"Yes," said Matthew the Great Knight. "A year later, we went back to get beautiful 2-year-old Jun Ping, who became Princess Maddie Saint. Princess Maddie had cleft lip and palate, and heart surgery."

"Oooooh," Princess Maddie interrupted. "This is where it gets good." She smiled. "I started learning sign language, and English, and I told you about my 'brother' in China waiting on us!"

Princess Sophie, who had wiggled out of the Queen's lap, was ripping some paper. She smiled and ran back over to the bed and into her mama's lap as the story continued.

"Duo, as he was called, came from China escorted by a noble. He had three surgeries. We were his host family, which meant that he stayed in our home while he had his surgeries and was recovering from them. We were also in the process of adopting him. He had special needs, too. They were nasofrontal encephalocele, cleft nose, partial cleft lip, and hypertelorism. All those looooong words were just fancy for 'needs extra love'. Then, Daddy and Matthew the Great Knight went back to China and finished the adoption process for Duo. Soon, Duo was dubbed Noah the Brave Knight.

And now, Tian Qing, whom Princess Maddie and Noah the Brave Knight knew in China, will be coming home to stay with us as Princess Josie!"

Just then, someone walked in briskly. It was Sir Randolph, the kids' uncle, who was also King James's knight force captain. He had been appointed to lead all kinds of war with the king's troops of brave knights. "Hello, Queen Marjorie, your majesty. Hello, Matthew the Great Knight, Noah the Brave Knight, Princess Maddie, and Princess Sophie."

He bowed and continued. "There are urgent matters to be settled, and King James is out on a trip to visit a village in the kingdom and isn't due back until about a week."

Matthew the Great Knight stood presently and put his hand on his sword. "What's the matter?"

"Well," Sir Randolph explained, "In China, there is turmoil. Great, great turmoil. There is a little girl, a soon-to-be-princess, named Tian Qing, and--"

Princess Maddie sprang to her feet. "Josie! Oh Mama, it's Josie!"

Noah also jumped to his feet. "What is it? We can take it, can't we Matthew?" He pulled his wooden sword from its sheath, slicing the air. Maddie giggled.

Sir Randolph looked confused. "Josie? Who is Josie?"

Quickly, Queen Marjorie explained that they were in the process of adopting Princess Josie, formerly known as Tian Qing.

Sir Randolph's eyes widened to saucers as he explained. "Oh no, your majesty. Your daughter is in jeopardy of never meeting you! You see, she is actually a princess by birth. There was no royal place for her...she had too many siblings already! Oh, how they quarrelled about the throne, and who was the next heir, the one after that, the one after that, and so on. When little Tian Qing was born, her mother did not want her to be immersed into this constant arguement. So she......she hid the baby away in the countryside with a nice little family, called the Fosters. She grew up there, not knowing anything of her royal heritage. But she knew that the Fosters weren't her real family. She had two 'Foster brothers' and she loved them very much, but again, she knew they weren't her real brothers. She really wanted her real family. She had so many people in other countries hoping and praying that she would find her forever family, but, to no avail...until now."

When the Emperor and Empress (the Empress especially) recieved the notice of request for adoption, they quickly recognized this girl as their daughter that they had hidden away not so long ago. She has a special need; she's blind in her eyes--but oh, ma'am, she sees everything with her heart, just as little Sophie here, as well as all of us, can talk to God in her heart." At this, he patted Sophie's head. "So, it is believed that there will be a problem in adopting Tian Qing. The Emperor and Empress have decided that it is best if she goes to live with a permanent family, which will be her official family, not a temporary family like the Fosters. But, most members of the royal advisory tell them it is not best; that she might grow up to become Queen of St. Johnland and overpower China. The royal advisories of course, care nothing for the little child, just for their country." Sir Randolph sighed and shook his head, then looked at the Queen earnestly. "I want my little niece here with us. I can assist you in making secret contact with the Emperor and Empress, and you can work out the details."

"Details? What details?"

"Well, your Majesty, I suggest you and King James send my knights to China, to stop whom ever shall try to hinder you from getting your little Josie."

A week later, a message arrived in a red scroll case embellished with golden dragons and crosses, for the Emperor and Empress were Christians too, just like King James and Queen Marjorie.

"Mama, mama, it's a letter from Emperor Jiang and Empress Lin!" Princess Maddie ran through the grand ballroom and into the tea room where her mother sat with her father, King James of St. Johnland, who had just returned from his trip. She waved the scroll case in the air, then handed it to her father. He tore open the seal in a rush and pulled the rich parchment from the case. He unrolled the scroll quickly and read, letting out a relieved sigh. Then he read it out loud.

Emperor Jiang and Empress Lin of the land of China write to their dearest friends King James and Queen Marjorie of St. Johnland...

Bring your troops to the cottage of Tian Qing tomorrow at noon. We have enclosed the address. The Foster boys will be hiding in the spare building behind their cottage, and Tian Qing will be waiting with the Foster parents just inside the cottage. There will be resistance, because last night we overheard that some of the advisors have found out about our plan and are secretly sending two golden dragons of the Imperial Army to defend Tian Qing. Be prepared for the fire-breathers.


Emperor and Empress of China


Maddie was in awe. "Mama? Daddy? Are we really gonna fight dragons?"

King James looked at Queen Marjorie. She nodded. "Yes, sweetie, your brothers and I and your uncle, Sir Randolph," said King James.

Two and a half hours later, Matthew the Great, Noah the Brave, Princess Maddie, Princess Sophie along with their parents, loaded bundles of clothes and food onto a wooden wagon that was hitched to two pack horses. Sir Randolph, two knights, and two ladies-in-waiting were accompanying them. Straight sleek swords hung at their sides. The procession led through the country lanes, through the valleys, over the hills, and through the sunny woods. Princess Maddie and Princess Sophie played with their dolls, while Matthew the Great and Noah the Brave practiced their sword fighting with their father and Sir Randolph while journeying.

They were now walking through a forest valley where the tall oaks stood taller and happier, the Chinese cherry blossoms blooming brighter and more cheerfully, and the birches more beautiful than ever. And they found themselves suddenly emerged upon a hill that looked down on a small clearing; a valley clearing that held one little cottage with upturned roof corners, the ancient style architecture of China. Behind it, a beautiful little garden complete with bonsai trees in decorative red pots, baby cherry blossom trees, and each and every kind of flower: There were chrysanthemums, camellias, and peonies; bamboo grew in the left hand corner, and behind it farther back was a collection of birch trees. A small pond with water lilies and lotus flowers in it took the bottom right hand corner, with oaks behind it; and in the top right hand corner of the garden was a cross surrounded with beautiful camellias, because the Fosters were Christians too. Farther behind the cross, there were beautiful full-bloomed, full grown cherry blossom trees. There was also a little garden shed out behind the beautiful landscape, toward the east side. Queen Marjorie, Princess Maddie, and Princess Sophie's eyes widened at the beautiful sight.

"Mama, mama..." Princess Maddie whispered, "Oh, mama, can we go pick the flowers?"

"Not yet, dear. We have to fight the...."


Queen Marjorie sighed. "Yes...dragons." She shook her head. "Goodness. You have your slingshot and bow?"

"Yes ma'am. I love my bow, the wood is so smooth and pretty."

Queen Marjorie nodded. "You have your pouch of stones?"

"Yes ma'am."

"And it's open and ready?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Your bowstring is pulled tight?"

"Yes ma'am."

"Alright then, help me get Sophie into the wagon, she's a little too young to fight."

"Aww, mama, why can't she?"

"Sophie is six, she is not old enough to handle any weapon."

After lifting Princess Sophie into the wagon and handing her a few dolls to play with along with some stones to build a castle for them, Queen Marjorie walked over to King James, Sir Randolph, Matthew the Great, Noah the Brave, and Princess Maddie on the other side of the rather long and wide hill. King James and Sir Randolph were practicing their sword fighting intently with each other, quietly as they could of course; Matthew the Great and Noah the Brave were doing the same, and Princess Maddie was flinging rocks from her slingshot at an oak tree quite far away into the valley. Queen Marjorie picked up a bow and arrow and a short sword, put them in place in a weapon belt, and put it on. Then she prepared to begin practicing on another nearby tree with her bow by tightening her string and pulling an arrow.

"Marjorie, we need to hurry and practice. There's no sense in waiting around on the dragons if we can rescue Tian Qing before they get here, though I know that practicing is mandatory in case we do meet the them."

No sooner had Queen Marjorie begun practicing, than they heard great hissing noises, crackling, and men shouting. Everyone stopped what they were doing and listened, looking in surprised fright at each other. The sound of shouting men soon fainted away, but the hissing and crackling grew closer and along with it came a steady thump, thump, thump, thump......then, suddenly, it rushed its steady pace and came thundering nearer. THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP!!!

On the west side of the cottage and garden, in the woods encircling it, golden scales were exposed between the branches of the trees in the distance, coming closer and closer with terrible speed. Then, making giant oak, hickory, pine, and birch trees fall onto the soft forest grass, the two giant dragons burst onto the peaceful scene. Princes Maddie stared, mouth open.

"Princess Maddie! Princess Maddie! Hurry, collect your stones from around the tree and get ready," cried Queen Marjorie. "Matthew the Great Knight, check on Princess Sophie then prepare to battle!"

And so, with Princess Maddie scrambling to pick up the small smooth stones that were around her target tree, and Matthew the Great running to the wagon, and everyone else readying their weapons, the battle began.

The group split in half instinctively, for they had rehearsed this several times for other battles. One half to bombard one dragon; the second for the other. One group consisted of Queen Marjorie, King James, Princess Maddie, Lady Camryn, and Lady Hannah; the other group consisted of Sir Randolph, Matthew the Great (who had run back after seeing that Princess Sophie was alright), Noah the Brave, Knight Levi, and Knight Casey.

Princess Maddie began pelting the dragon nearest her--who had red decorations painted on his glistening gold skin--with stones and yelling at it (she seemed to be enjoying herself) things like, "YOU'LL NEVER OVERTAKE US," and "GET READY TO BE DEFEATED," and "FOR JESUS AND FOR JOSIE!"

Queen Marjorie lifted her bow and began showering the dragon with arrows. It began to strike back and started moving closer. King James and Lady Camryn had been edging their way down the hill and to the right, trying to get behind the dragon. Lady Camryn had been going to the left. This sudden move of anger from the dragon that brought him closer gave both King James and Lady Camryn the perfect opportunity to make their way around the dragon, and so they did. At a nod of their heads to each other, they raised their swords to stab the dragon, but it instantly turned around, hearing a twig snap under King James's heavy boot. King James and Lady Camryn ran back to their group on the hill, and so the battle continued.

Meanwhile, Sir Randolph had jumped down from his side of the hill instantly, along with Matthew the Great and Noah the Brave, and had started slashing at the dragon's back and sides while the other two knights threw spears. The dragon was an expert; he dodged every spear and blow of the sword, and managed to knock over Sir Randolph with his left foot and Matthew the Great with his right.

Princess Maddie, in the other half of this brave collection of heroes, had managed to make her way toward the dragon's belly because of her mom and dad's brave fighting, and she was now only about six paces away! She reached behind her and grabbed her bow that was strapped on her back, along with an arrow from the case beside her bow, and aimed carefully and swiftly; then, FWOOP! The arrow wizzed through the air and straight into the golden scales of the dragon's stomach. Princess Maddie was an expert! She quickly, half ran-half leaped, her way back to the hill where her parents were cheering and fighting at the same time, with the dragon throwing fireballs at her heels.

"That's my girl, Maddie," said her parents at the same time.

Noah the Brave, in his group, was now right behind the dragon. He raised his sword, and down it came on the dragon's tail.

Matthew the Great, from his spot beside Sir Randolph, Knight Levi, and Knight Casey, widened his eyes. "Woah! Ouch."

The dragon turned, snarling, and swiped at Noah the Brave Knight, missed, and turned back around after being hit by a spear in his back. He fell, finally defeated, to the ground.

"Well," Noah the Brave Knight panted (he was quite tired by now), "That was...easy."

Matthew the Great laughed. "Yeah!" He looked over toward his parents, sister, and the ladies-in-waiting. "But the battle's not over yet."

They all ran down the hill, then around it, and then came up the back side of the hill again, falling in right behind the King, Queen, Princess, and the two ladies-in-waiting. All, that is, except for Matthew the Great, who had offered to check on Princess Sophie. He found her playing happily, honestly unaware of the whole situation. He smiled and kissed her head. "You just wait here, alright? Be very quiet." Princess Sophie smiled at him, seeming to understand.

Matthew the Great Knight ran down the hill and back up to the rest of his family. Everyone was throwing rocks, spears, arrows, and even swords at the big dragon. He was dodging every single one.

"Noah!" Look out," cried Princess Maddie. Noah the Brave Knight had been picking rocks up from the hill they were on, and now looked up just in time to dodge a flying ball of fire which singed his hair a little bit.

"WOAH! That was clo--"

Everyone yelled in warning as the dragon threw not one, not two, not even three, but four balls of fire--two from each hand. Suddenly, a different, sharp yell of...was that glee? It came from the middle of the hill, and could it be? Yes, it was Princess Sophie! Those stones she was given to play with had come in very handy, because she had hurled one at the dragon! They could hardly believe it, but there she was, clapping her hands, smiling, laughing, and singing. As everyone turned to watch the angry reaction of the dragon, there was none, for Princess Sophie had hit him square between his eyes and now he lay on the ground, still and eyes closed.

First there was silence, then a big burst of laughter, more gleeful yelling, and shouts of "Hurray for Princess Sophie and thank You, Jesus!" Princess Sophie was lifted out of the wagon and hoisted onto the shoulders of King James, Sir Randolph, Matthew the Great, and Noah the Brave. The knights and ladies-in-waiting smiled and cheered everyone on.

"Praise the Lord," cried Queen Marjorie.

"Thank you, Jesus," yelled Princess Maddie.

"HALLELUJAH!" All the voices in the brave troop yelled this word of praise; the brave knights, the dainty ladies-in-waiting, the beautiful princesses, the gallant prince-knights, and the happy king and queen. Everyone suddenly smiled at each other nervously, and Princess Sophie was let down off the shoulders of the cheering people and into her mama's arms. A silence fell. It was that silence as if you were waiting to perform in front of a group of people, and you had gotten caught up in a fun game, then suddenly remembered what you were about to do. It was a silence of nervousness, excitement, and anticipation. The knights and ladies-in-waiting smiled broader and stayed back, knowing that this was a special moment for the royal family. Sir Randolph also stayed back a little bit, but watched happily as the they walked on.

As the Saint family walked forward, down the hill, and across the short patch of grass and wildflowers to the little path that led up to the door of the Chinese cottage, they prayed silently.

King James, holding Noah the Brave Knight who had suddenly become very shy, smiled at his family reassuringly. Dear God, I thank you for your many blessings. I thank you for leading us and keeping us safe in the battle. And I thank you for my sweet family. Please let Princess Josie accept us very well, make an easy transition, and come to know You very early in her life and be close to You all during her life. Please also help me to be a really great dad to all of my children. Amen.

Queen Marjorie patted the little hand of Princess Sophie, who she was holding. Sophie was quiet, too. Jesus, I thank you for protecting us and guiding us in the battle and for helping us to get our Josie! Please help Josie to understand that we love her and want to be her Forever Family. Please let her ask You to come into her heart as her God and Savior very, very early in her life. Please let her make an easy transition and be very close to us, and, more importantly, to You. Please help her to be a Godly, pure, loving, kind, and generous girl with a sweet disposition. Please help me to be a good mother to her. Amen.

Matthew the Great Knight smiled at his parents and siblings. He nodded reassuringly as he began to pray. Jesus, thank you for giving us Sophie to protect us. He smiled. Thank you for providing for us. Thank you for the brother and sisters you've blessed me with. Please help Josie to adjust to us and love us from the beginning, and help me to be a good son and big brother. Amen.

Noah the Brave Knight looked at his daddy and wondered how in the world he could be so calm. Dear God, thank you for helping us win. Please help me to be a good person. Please help me to be a good brother. Please help Princess Josie to be happy with us. Amen.

Princess Maddie, who was walking between her parents, holding their hands, and looking up at them and her brothers and sister, also prayed. Dear Jesus, thank you for protecting us! Thank you for helping us to defeat the dragons so we could get Princess Josie. Thank you for everything! Please let Princess Josie be really happy with us and know that we are her family. Please help her to be very, very, very, VERY close to You. Please help me to be a good sister and daughter. Amen.

And though Princess Sophie wasn't seeming to be, Queen Marjorie believed she was talking to God in her heart, in her own way.

As they knocked on the door, anticipating, hoping, smiling, and praying, a little girl opened it, her pigtails bobbing, and she let out a little shout of pure happiness and ran into the arms of her new family. She saw them not with her eyes, but with the light of her heart she knew them instantly.

And so it came to be that the Saint family had many, many more adventures together...

And they all lived blessedly ever after!

The End.

Written by Joy S*********
12 years old


Joy has loved to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She was so excited when she was old enough to know how to read and spell a few words. As a matter of fact, not too long ago I came across a “story” that her 4 year old self created in her handwriting. It read: “The fat cat sat on the rat at 3 p.m”. :) She took a note book and pen everywhere with her (and usually a book to read also). We never left the house without those two things in the car.

She’s come a little way since then. :) She still loves to write – notes, stories, blog posts, letters, just about anything. She’s often seen typing on her laptop or a pen in hand writing.

For Christmas 2010, Joy’s gift to her daddy and Colt was a sentimental story that she wrote for each of them. In her daddy’s story, he was a dragon slayer. In Colt’s, he was a ninja. She has fun weaving a few facts into fantasy or adventure. Her stories made a great sentimental gift and will be treasured. You can’t put a price on a gift like that.

She has also been trying to raise money toward a family mission trip for some time now. She’s hoping for China. Well, Colt gave her a great fundraising idea and encouraged her to write stories for other folks similar to what she wrote for him and her daddy. She announced it on an adoption forum last spring and got her first “writing job”.

Ms. Marjorie asked her to write a story for her five children (one of whom was still waiting in China). She told Joy that the kids would love an adventure involving castles and dragons. So Joy gathered information about the children (personalities – likes – dislikes – age) and read about their family (that they were a Christian family - gathered names of extended close family and friends to be used in the story, etc.) on Ms. Marjorie’s blog. Then she had fun creating their special personal adventure. Ms. Marjorie gave her permission for us to post the story here on my blog. She also told Joy that she’s going to have the story bound into a hardback book and is hiring an illustrator. Needless to say, Joy was thrilled!

So the story you read above was written by Joy and shared here today by Ms. Marjorie’s permission (and Joy’s). She took a few weeks to complete it last spring. She had just turned 12.

If you would like a sentimental story for your children or grandchildren, niece, nephew, etc., Joy would love to create one for you. If you are interested or would like more info, you can email me at the email address on my sidebar and I’ll pass it on to Joy. She would love to create a special sentimental story for the special child(ren) in your life, and it would also thrill her to watch her China fund grow. :)

Joy’s writing may have started with “The fat cat sat on the rat at 3 p.m.”, but she’s hoping that she might see her name in print one day. :) And as we know, with God all things are possible.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Goodies for The Cedar Loft

I always have mixed feelings when all the Christmas decorations come down. It’s sad to see it all go because I just love everything Christmas and the cozy feeling that it brings to our home. But then on the other hand, it’s always nice to get that open clean slate back again.

So, it was especially exciting to me when a package arrived last week from Fed-Ex. I knew it was coming but I just can’t help it. I still get so excited when it has my name on the package. Our friends, Kim and Chuck, who were with us in China getting their daughter, Shiloh, at the same time we were getting Luke (and who we spent a lot of time with) sent it. Actually, Chuck is the one into antiques and “junk” (as Kim calls it). :) And since they were our first guests in The Cedar Loft, he thought of us when he came across these. And I’m so glad he did. Look what I got!

The salt and pepper shakers will be perfect for the little kitchen. And I love this hanging matchbox holder. I remember my grandmother had one similar to this. Chuck was a little concerned because it had a dent in it. But that just gives it more character! I love it. Thanks so much Chuck (and Kim for being a good sport with the “junk”). :) I love everything! And we look forward to seeing you guys this spring!

So now with these new goodies, I have something to jump start decorating my clean slate in The Cedar Loft. Now, let the hunt for bargains begin.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Faithful Friday - "My Ministry"

I love (and actually crave) books, articles, stories, and accounts of missionaries to foreign countries. Even now, Joy and I are thoroughly engrossed in Kisses from Katie (more on that on another post when we finish it). And sometimes I even dream of doing great things for the Lord in a foreign land.

But as great, exciting, and adventurous as the thought of sharing Jesus in a foreign land is to me, I know God has me right where He wants me. Sometimes we don’t have to go far to find God’s calling for our life. We don’t have to travel across the ocean. It can be in our own country. In another state. In another city. It can be in our own town, as close as our local nursing home or homeless shelter, or even at church. And sometimes we never even have to leave our own home.

God has gently reminded me that I’m where He planted me. My ministry is my family. Loving my husband and children and providing them with the love and security of home, and teaching them to love, honor and serve the Lord is just as important as being a foreign missionary to another land.

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7 (NIV)

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Proverbs 31:10-31

Does God use me outside our home? Of course. My ministry does extend to children and elderly people. I believe God gave me a love, passion, and ability to relate to these people. This passion came to me even as a child and through my teenage years.

But, God has shown me my ministry right now is my family. Maybe that sounds unfulfilling or even boring by our society’s standards where life is about “having it all” including a successful career. And please know that I’m not putting down or judging anyone who does….I’m just speaking about my life….my calling. I know that even at an early age God gave me the desire and the insight to know that His plan for me included marriage and a family. And that He wanted me home with my family. So I prayed for a Christian husband (no need to date around…I was looking for that one God was going to give me and that God would send him my way and I would be wise enough to recognize him). And then to wait and pray for the children I knew He would give me. And a journey of faith it was. But bless He did with our three children each becoming part of our family in a different way. And it most definitely was not in my timing (I wanted it all right then, right away), but in His timing. God’s way is always better because He knows.

I’ve always known I’ve been blessed. But it’s even more than that. This life. My family. It’s my ministry. My calling. And although I may never know what it’s like to serve my God on foreign soil (though I would if He called my family there), this calling of mine is huge and just as important as that foreign missionary.

Who knows what God has in store for my children? I know He has plans for each of them. And who knows, God just might call one of them to a foreign land or to just do great things for the Lord here or within their own family one day. But then again, my children may be the ones to reach millions for Christ. Still I’m playing my part of God’s Big Picture.

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

So I’ll play the part I’m meant to play in God’s Big Picture, and that is right here at home, raising my family to His glory. That’s my ministry. And for that I’m grateful.


If you would like to participate in Faithful Friday, which is a day set aside to share a snippet of our Christian walk, please leave Joy a comment here letting her know you are participating, so we can visit. And speaking of Joy, she has a wonderful post on today for Faithful Friday regarding wholesome movies for the family! It's a post I've been wanting to get around to doing myself. Check out just a few of the movies our family has enjoyed! And have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Boys - Superheroes?

Give these guys a pair of 3D glasses and they become superheroes.

And Luke?

Evidently, adding a pair of mom’s old swimsuit bottoms completed his superhero ensemble.

Moral:  Colt + Luke = Mischief.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Additional Information on Movie Review "To Save a Life"

Since I received an anonymous comment concerning the movie that I mentioned in yesterday’s Faithful Friday post, To Save a Life, I wanted to share some additional information.

I did a little more research, on the internet, as well as reading through the leaflet in our DVD case. We do NOT have the church version. The DVD that we watched is the theatrical version, rated PG-13. The church version has been rated PG.

Since the comment left anonymously expressed concern about not showing a movie in the Lord’s House that had bad language, I wanted to clarify.

A PG-13 rating can mean many things. It can mean thematic elements, violence, and it can mean bad language. For instance, Courageous is rated PG-13 and my goodness, it was wonderful! I highly recommend it! Also The Passion of Christ was rated PG-13 (for obvious reasons of violence and intensity).

Here’s how I know we have the theatrical version. Church versions can only be purchased as a kit and require a license to show in a church setting. It states that, in the church version, only a little bit of bad language was left and other scenes shortened bringing it down to a PG rating. In my opinion, I believe there will still be what I consider a curse word used in one scene where a troubled teenager stands up at a youth group meeting at church and calls down (or speaks out) against the hypocrites in the youth group. Since this scene is an integral part of the story line concerning the youth group leader, I suspect that’s the bad language that is left. I can’t see why the other language wouldn’t be removed, especially for showing in a church setting. And as stated, they shortened the bedroom scene and the cutting scene. However, those were already fairly short, in my opinion, on the version we watched. Considering what is shown on regular TV these days, this is very mild, believe me.

So, what am I saying? Anonymous, I really do agree with you. I don’t like bad language in any movie and I wish they wouldn’t put it anywhere! I also think the best setting to watch this movie is with parent/teenager at home. However, knowing that not all teenagers have parents that would do this, I also realize that they may never see this movie if it isn’t shown to them in church. However, if I had to choose whether I would recommend teenagers see it or not see it (especially those not being brought up in Christian homes with Christian parents guiding them), I would have to say I think they should see it.

And it’s okay. I’m used to being in the minority too. I respect your opinion. I do agree with you about the bad language. And I would have personally been offended to hear this language in the Lord’s house too. I don’t like it at home either. Hollywood seems to include most language for the filth and tearing down of morals. However, I don’t think that was the intent in this movie. I think the church version probably strips it down to the cleanest level and still maintain the severity of issues that a lot of teens face.

There were a couple of movies mentioned through comments that sound wonderful: Seven Days in Utopia and The Way Home. I had heard of them both, but we haven’t seen them yet. We will make a point of seeing these! Thanks for those suggestions! If you know of anymore, we would love to hear them! Since we don’t have cable or regular TV and only use Netflix or DVDs, we are always seeking out wholesome movies for our family.

And to Anonymous, I also appreciate your comment that you enjoy my blog! Thank you for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Faithful Friday - "To Save a Life"

Thanks for stopping by for Faithful Friday! It’s a day set aside to share our faith – something from our Christian walk, whether that be a thought, devotion, experience, prayer request or a praise report. Although everyday is a day for sharing our faith in Christ, this is just one day set aside for this purpose. We would love to see this grow. Until we get our linky up and going, please just leave Joy a comment on her blog (Doodlebug), letting her know you’re participating, so we can stop by and visit!

To Save a Life. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to use that in my title, but after a little more thought, I decided to go ahead with it. It’s a strong phrase. It’s the name of a movie. Have you seen it? We first saw the preview for it on another inspirational DVD and decided we wanted to try to find it and watch it. It is a thought provoking movie. It is most appropriate for teenagers and adults, although at the rate kids are faced with certain issues today, I would also suggest it for some tweens, depending on that tween, and certainly with parental discretion. I would watch it with your child and most definitely follow it with discussion with your tween or teenager.

Here’s a little more information taken from the website:

Addressing the real-life challenges of teens and choices they face, To Save a Life dares to ask, “What’s your life going to be about?” Its powerful message speaks to those who desire to develop a life lived deliberately for Christ.

To Save a Life has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America "due to mature thematic elements involving teen suicide, teen drinking, some drug content, disturbing images, and sexuality." Unfortunately, teens today are hurting and facing challenges like never before—we see it in our own youth groups and local schools. (So does the film's writer, Jim Britts, who is an experienced youth worker.) Because of that, To Save a Life doesn't shy away from tough topics. It deals with social divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, teen pregnancy and divorce–not in a graphic way, but in a way authentic to too many teens' real lives. And it points to a way out of these problems through following God's path and reaching out to others. Ultimately, it asks the question "What's my life going to be about?" and dares teens to answer with boldness, honesty, and open-handedness.

To Save a Life is teens' story, told in their voice with their music. Unfortunately, teens today are hurting and facing challenges like never before. This movie takes a realistic view of teen life and addresses themes of acceptance, choices, consequences, hurt, and love. It also deals with critical issues such as social divisions, school violence, cutting, suicide, underage drinking, teen pregnancy and divorce. The movie shows in practical, authentic ways how every action has ripple-effect on others. That's why we're working to make To Save a Life more than just a movie. The movie demonstrates the power of reaching out to students who are hurting. We want to see every teen have the opportunity to address these issues in a safe environment like a group study and recognize that his or her choices and actions can bring hope and love into a world of pain.

From my understanding, there are two versions, the “theatrical” and the “church”. Here’s what it has to say about that:

A few pastors felt that some families may be concerned with seeing certain content in To Save a Life at a church. With a desire to keep the reality of the film without sacrificing the story, we've developed a version of the movie with a decreased amount of bad language, a shortened bedroom scene and removal of more than half of the cutting scene.

The party scenes have been left as is and some bad language remains, but only where it was absolutely necessary for the story line or where editing it out would have created a noticeable gap in the flow of the movie.

Synopsis: When his childhood friend’s life ends in tragedy, Jake Taylor decides to use his influence as big man on the campus to make sure that it never happens again. Crossing social barriers, he befriends a loner, Johnny Garcia. When Johnny’s life quickly spirals out of control, will Jake have what it takes to stop him from the same tragic fate?

I’m not really sure which version we had because I can’t find it anywhere on the DVD. Ours was purchased at Barnes & Noble, although it is for sale at the Christian book stores. (I had a Barnes & Noble gift card). It is shown on the Family Christian website, as Dove approved and for ages 12 and up. I will tell you that I remember four curse words and they weren’t severe and those that are there unfortunately serve the purpose for the “teenage scene" because that's reality in most high schools.  But I did want to warn you. The “bedroom” scene doesn’t reveal much except for what is about to take place. It does briefly show “the cutting scene”. It makes me wonder if we have the edited church version, because of how little was shown, but I’m not sure.

This may all sound like “too much” or “heavy”, but it really does a great job of impressing the difference one person makes in the lives of others and how it won’t be the popular thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do. It also shows the flip side of those pretending to be one thing (in the church) and living another. That is (unfortunately) true too. There were two parts that especially brought tears to my eyes because I could just feel the hurt! That’s what this does. It makes you feel things and think. And hopefully dare to be different, kind, and compassionate, and to think for yourself, and live the Christian life out-loud.

This also brings to mind another movie – It’s a Wonderful Life, which by now, you all know that I love. Besides it being “Christmasy”, I like it because George, thinking of taking his own life, receives a gift. He gets the chance to see just how many people his life has touched and the difference he made by the part he played in their life. Now I know that doesn’t necessarily pertain to the Christian walk, but in a way it does. I wonder what imprint we leave on each person whose path we cross?

And that brings me to a real life story from my own teenage years that I’d like to share with you. As I shared before in my testimony, I asked Jesus in my heart at the age of 10, so I entered my teenage years as a Christian. Now I never wanted to not-be-nice to anyone, but there was this one particular boy that lived near me named “James”. I think I was maybe in 10th grade. He liked coming to our house. I suspect he found it different from his home life. He liked visiting us. He liked my parents, and I suppose me a little. He wasn’t exactly quiet or neat in appearance. I’m ashamed to say that although I never said anything ugly to him, I didn’t want him around and I avoided him….alot. When he would knock on our door and I knew it was him, I would run to the bathroom and hide out there unti he was gone and it was safe to come out. He would visit with mama and daddy and he’d ask about me and they would tell him I went to the bathroom. I guess he thought I spent a lot of time in the bathroom.  :)   But when he would see me at school the next day, he would say, “Hey Tammy, when I was at your house last night……” And he would go on, but he always made a point about mentioning he was at my house. It sounded somewhat more intimate than I wanted. After all, I didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. And although I spoke to him at school, it was as little as I could get by with, and I hurried past (and cringed) because he had just announced (very loudly) that he had been at my house. And that was pretty much the regular routine. Every once in awhile, I’d stay out of the bathroom, just so as not to be “so rude” and make him suspicious. One particular weekend, I think it was the summer between 10th and 11th grade, my mom and dad went on a little weekend trip with our pastor and his wife. My best friend, Melissa, came to stay with me. We were pretty proud to be staying there by ourselves. Well, James came knocking at my front door. Melissa and I avoided him at all costs, even hiding inside, so he couldn’t see us and I know he knew we were there because he had seen us out earlier. I didn’t feel very good about myself.

Well I was discussing all of this, including all the times at school, with my mother some time later after her return. She asked me one question. “Do you think you acted like a Christian girl”? I knew the answer to that question. So, I went to James’ house the next afternoon and knocked on his door. He answered the door to my relief (I was so apprehensive that I might have backed out otherwise). I apologized to him. I told him I was a Christian girl and that I wasn’t behaving as a Christian should or treating him the way a Christian should. He said it was okay. It wasn’t okay, but at least I knew I had his forgiveness. Then I started worrying that he had taken my apology as “more than that”, but nevertheless, I felt better. :)  And after that, I didn't avoid him, although I didn't go out of my way to find him either.  He actually seem to take on a role of "protecting me".  :) 

I tell you this to make a point. It wasn’t about me doing something wonderful. I was just that I was convicted and listened to the Lord’s nudging as to do what He wanted of me. I can’t always say I did that. But that day, I did. I hope that made some kind of impression on James’ heart. I don’t know if I will ever know that in this lifetime because he moved away not long afterwards. This movie that I mentioned today brought this all back to me because James could have been that guy in the movie being excluded and bullied. I am so glad that I listened to the Lord at that time and chose to represent Him at that time. It was only by Him that I was able to do it though. I would have never done that of myself.

If we only could see how many lives we touch and leave an imprint. What kind of imprint are we leaving? It really does make a difference. It makes a difference for that one.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or similar experiences. Leave me a comment and share (please)!  Oh and be sure to stop by Joy's blog even if you aren't participating--she has a great post on today!

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great weekend and be blessed!

~ Tammy ~

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm Still Here! :)

For those of you still stopping by here for a visit, thank you! I know I’ve neglected my blog. Since returning from our trip to Alabama right after Christmas, Jason, the kids, and I have been sick. Jason and I are still battling it. You know the crud that just drains you of all energy? It’s that crud. Reality is that all my Christmas décor is still up. We did resume school Tuesday but it was a tough day getting back in the routine, especially dragging like I am. My voice is practically gone so it was interesting doing read-alouds (which is a big portion of our schooling and my favorite part). Joy took over with the read-alouds when my voice could take no more. I totally missed my Faithful Friday post as well. This wasn’t exactly the way I planned to begin 2012….


In spite of it all, I have so much for which to be thankful and I am! And as always after Christmas, I have family photos to share!

There's a weird shadow between us but there were few pics of just the two of us so I included it here anyway.

Colt & Amber

And Christmas morning...

Oh, and Jason surprised Joy and me with an iPad (and cover) to share between us.  :) Now my mom has always wrapped Jason's gifts to us, but since she was out of town when he came home with this, it was left up to him. We were teasing him about his wrapping skills. Well he had to go and show off.... :)  And he did it all with tissue paper!

I’m not the type to make “resolutions” for the New Year. However, Joy and I were reflecting over this past year and there were several goals last year that came to pass and it’s always good to see that happen. For me, a few of those were:

Become more active in visiting our friends at the nursing home.
Make the trip to KY to visit the Creation Museum.
Complete the Cedar Loft (that was a biggie - and we did it in 4 months).
Reunite with our friends, Kim and Chuck, from China.
Blog more.

And as I think about 2012, there are a few things that come to mind that I’d like to accomplish this year:

Learn to knit. (I can crochet so I'm hoping it won't be that hard).
Learn to sew. (Joy is getting a sewing machine for her birthday....).
Save more money.
Build, exercise, and share my faith. Share Jesus.
Take a trip to New England. (I would be thrilled if this happens).
Be consistent in visitng our friends at the nursing home.
Perform more random acts of kindness.

On a friend’s blog, she challenged her readers to think of one word that we would like to take with us into 2012. The first word that came into my mind was compassion. However, as I read on, every word mentioned in comments was wonderful: self-control, surrender, peace, contentment, release......

So what about you? Did you accomplish something for which you’re really proud of last year? Do you have anything in particular that you hope to accomplish this year? Or do you have that one word you would like to take with you, as Tiffany suggested, into 2012?

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and made lots of wonderful memories with your family and I wish you all a Happy, Prosperous and Blessed New Year! Thanks for stopping by for a visit and for sticking with me during my absence from blogland. :)