Friday, September 14, 2012

Tomie dePaola Day

My kids and I love books.  We love to find an author who we all enjoy, and then we like to do an author's study.  We read about the author's life and career.  And, of course, we read several of the author's books.  Tomorrow is Tomie dePaola's birthday.  He is by far one of our favorite authors.  If you have kiddos (and even if you don't) I encourage you to check out some of his books from your local library.  Tomie uses his life experiences and turns them into whimsical stories that we all can relate with.  He also has a talent for taking old stories and giving them a timeless touch. 

Today, the kids and I read 14 Tomie dePaola books.  We watched a few YouTube videos of interview with him.  The kids have worked on comic strips, book reviews and some of their own dePaola-esque art.  We also had some Strega Nona Noodles for lunch...she's one of our favorite dePaola characters!  We hope you go out and find an author you and your kids enjoy and learn a little bit more about that person!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


As anyone who knows me knows, I am extremely intimidated by large groups of grown-ups.  This is why I prefer working with children and students.  A large group of women...nightmare city!  My friend, Shanna, and I are semi-hermits, creatures of habit.  We like our little routines.  We could easily just slip off and do our own thing.  But, this semester, we decided to team up and face the ladies' Bible study at church together.  At the Arden campus of BBC, there is an amazing women's ministry.  (We are are getting one rocking and rolling at East Campus, too...AWESOME!)  I was freaking out about going to the women's ministry Bible study, but I had some comfort in knowing my sweet Shanna would be there.

This past Wednesday, the Bible study started off with a bang.  The women's ministry is called Poiema (which translates to workmanship, masterpiece).  Shanna and I walked in together, signed in, and staked out a table a respectable distant between the stage and the back of the room.  Eventually our table filled up (with 2 ladies we knew, and 3 we didn't).  We were led in some wonderful praise and worship time, then Victoria Dunkle taught a fantastic lesson.  Afterwards, we broke had small group time, during which we were instructed to choose a table leader.  Shanna and Liz (another awesome East lady) kindly volunteered me...I tried to get out of it; I even nominated the perky lady across the table from me.  However, somehow (God's sense of humor at work, I think) I accepted the "table leader" position.  I am blessed and excited about spending time with and getting to know these ladies.  I'm doing my best to be an encouragement to the ladies in my group and am praying they will have patience with me as I learn along with them.  The subject of the Bible study is Privileged:  Living from You Status in Christ, a study in Ephesians.  I sent out an initial getting-to-know-you email, which I can't wait to read.  The following is the email I wrote today:

"I am really excited about this study...Privileged...what a powerful word when used to describe our status as daughter's of Christ.  Is there anything difficult for you to grasp about that concept?  There is for me!  When my family lived in Georgia, we attended a great church with that was traditional but learning to become a little more contemporary.  Whenever we had the Lord's Supper, the pastor would close the service by having us stand up and hold hands across the sanctuary.  Then, he would lead us in singing "Family of God."  Do you know that song...

"I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God,
I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood.
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod.
Yes, I'm part of the family, the family of God".

That simple song holds so much meaning.  The line that always boggles my finite mind is "Joint heirs with Jesus..."  What?  Me?  I'm a joint heir with Jesus?  I'm like...His sister?  Whatever Jesus inherits from God, the Father, so do I?  How is that even possible?  Who am I...who are deserve that amazing privilege?  Truly, we are nothing.  We are dirty, self-absorbed, whiny, petty, despicable creatures.  BUT, thanks to God's sacrifice of His precious, perfect, clean, selfless Son, we are redeemed.  All we need to do is ask.  THEN, we become those joint heirs!  The Bible says in Romans 8:17, "Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ..."  The Bible says, it so it must be true.  Even if we aren't capable of fully understanding what all that means.  We are daughters of God, sisters with Christ.  We will receive blessings on this earth and in heaven.  We are promised so very much.  We are indeed privileged."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cecely's 9th Birthday

The Cookie
The Birthday Girl!

Cecely turned 9 years old on August 20th.  Every year on her birthday, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have her.  She was born early and with many complications, and it would have been very possible for her to have had severe permanent injuries or to have not have made it at all.  Thankfully, when she was born, we were blessed to have an amazing medical team surrounding her, who worked immediately from her arrival where she was not breathing to delivering her back to Mark and me in our hospital room.  Cecely does have some developmental issues.  There are days when her limb tremors are so evident, and she struggles to complete simple tasks.  There are days when her mind and body are not on the same page.  There are days when her little body is just worn out.  But, she is here.  She is a miracle.  She is a blessing!
This year, I had initially planned a celebration at home, like we do most years.  But, Cecely had a different plan in mind.  The girl loves to shop, and that is what she wanted to do.  So, we gathered for lunch at Hickory Tavern at Biltmore Parke.  The set-up there is great.  The kids were able to play in the yard while the adults visited.  We had a great lunch and a big cookie to share, per Cecely's request.  For gifts, she made out with lots of gifts cards to Charming Charlie's, Barnes and Noble, and cash to supplement.  So, that little lady was ready to hit the stores.  After some shopping, we went to the movies to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green (which was great!).  I think it's safe to say that her majesty had an excellent day!

Dad's Birthday

Titus, Grandad, and Cecely
 Dad's birthday just passed a couple of weeks ago.  We had a great time celebrating with him and Mama at West First Wood-Fired Grill in Hendersonville followed by dessert at Marble Slab Creamery.

Dad is technically my step-dad, but I am not at all a fan of that word.  From the time I met Dave Dupree, I instantly liked him.  My parents had gone through a divorce, and not long after that my Daddy passed away.  I was extremely protective of my Mama, especially since she had dated a big wacko that none of us liked.  Dave asked me to meet him at Chick-Fil-A in Kinglsand, GA, where Mark and I lived at the time.  He was on his way back from a convention for worship pastors at Disney World.  I had friends staked out all over Chick-Fil-A...just to keep an eye on me so I didn't go crazy if I didn't like the man I was about to meet who was dating my Mama.  But, Dave won me over from the get-go.  He knew his audience.  He brought me a very rare pin from Disney World...yep, he knew how to win me over!  As Dave and my Mama dated, I got to know him better and better.  They lived in Columbia for the first part of their marriage, then they moved to Greer.  Once they moved, and we were able to spend more time together, I really felt that I was growing closer to him.  Dave made sure that I knew he was not trying to replace my Daddy.  He has always been kind enough to listen to stories about my childhood and my Daddy.  One day, I don't remember when, I called and left a message on their answering machine and said "Hey, Mama and Dad...".  He called me back later that day and thanked me for calling him Dad.  Since then, he has been my Dad.  He is an excellent listener and encourager.  He is a phenomenal Grandad to Cecely and Titus.  He cares about my siblings and me as if he has always known us.  He is overflowing with generosity.  And, he radiates with the love of Jesus.  It is an honor for me to call Dave Dad.  It is always a joy to be able to celebrate life with him.  I love you, Dad!
Opening birthday goodies...

A gift all the way from Canada!

A little something hand-made...

Me and my Dad

Friday, August 17, 2012

Back to the Daily Grind

Wow, it has been awhile since I have been on here.  When Titus and I got back from Canada, we hit the ground running.  Cecely had been away at camp for a week, and she had brought back a stomach bug with her.  It ran it's course through our family, save Titus, and put us out of commission for a few days.  Since we've been home, and gotten over the sickness, we have been busy with a yard sale and cleaning out the house.  We had decluttered aplenty!  I had a major project due for a class when I got home...this professor wanted a 15 minute power point, an 11 page paper, hand-outs to accompany the power point, and lots of graphs and charts.  The work was not hard, but it was extremely time consuming.  I am happy to report I received an A on the project and for the class!  I have just started my 3rd to last class towards my Master's!  WOOO HOOO!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pacific Perfection...

Today we thought Andrea and Matt would find out whether they are having a baby boy or baby girl.  Andrea went in for her ultrasound, but due to legal reasons, technicians are not allowed to share information about the ultrasound.  They send the information to the doctor's office, then those people will contact Andrea.  So, hopefully the doctor's office will call before I leave...if not, that's ok!  After Andrea and Matt returned from the doctor, we loaded up and headed to South Surrey/White Rock.  This is a very cool area with some retro and modern touches.  The sun was out, the breeze was gentle, and the ocean was serene.  It was a fabulous day to relax in the rays. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sunny Day in Surrey...

So far, we have had a beautiful, sunny, and warm day here in the Vancouver area.  This morning after breakfast, Andrea, Titus, and I went to the Langley Event Centre.  Andrea used to work there and now still works with the Event Centre as part of her job at Trinity Western.  The Langley Event Centre is AWESOME.  They have an amazing playground and fabulous splash park...for FREE!  Titus had so much fun, and Andrea and I didn't mind at all to sit back and soak up some rays.  After playing in the sun, we dried Titus up and headed to Olive Garden for lunch.  Yum!  Next, we went and did some window shopping and tried to burn off our Italian calories.