My youngest son just turned four not too long ago. And let me be the first to say that I find that hard to believe! It seems like only yesterday he was born. Or perhaps just taking his first step or saying his first word. How can he be four!?!? That’s just not possible.

However, it’s true. He’s four. I have come to terms with that. And my oh my how he has grown. This past year alone he’s learned so much, and more and more he wants to be like his big brother. (Although there are plenty of times he can’t stand him, too).

Now that my children are old enough to make choices on how they want to party (and birthdays are something to throw a party for!), we let Asher make some decisions. This, my friends, is how a four-year-old thinks (at least mine anyway):

    1. He wanted to do nothing but play, play, play. And it was fun. There are two churches in town that have indoor play areas, and seeing as it was raining, that’s where we went. The one was our first visit and it was HUGE! We’ll definitely be going back. We also went to an indoor McDonald’s play place. I mean, we were eating there so why not play there!?!
    2. He wanted to eat out for each of his meals. This was okay as long as it was nothing too expensive. And really, at his age, he only knows fast food. Although he’s been to some sit-down restaurants, he’s still far too young (and active and loud) to frequent them. Therefore, he got a cinnamon roll for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch, and the aforementioned McDonald’s for supper.
    3. He wanted his favorite comfort foods for his birthday party meal, which took place a few days later. That consisted of cheese pizza, cheese puffs, red grapes, and chocolate milk. Simple, and yet, somewhat, sort of, a little healthy. LOL!
    4. He wanted a Paw Patrol cake, which I’m thinking most four-year-olds do. We went to a new bakery, which I wasn’t crazy for after having eaten the cake, but they did a great job on the design! It looks big, but it’s actually only a 9×13″ size cut into a bone ūüôā
    5. He also wanted to go pick out his own stuff to put on his birthday list. I was actually kind of glad because that takes a lot of guesswork out of it. I basically took him to a local store, went up and down the aisles, and then he picked out what he really found interesting. Then I wrote it down, and shared it with all those who buy him something. He was a happy camper when he opened those gifts! My oldest got something out of it, too! When I took our birthday boy shopping, our oldest did a miniature golf date with his dad. This is something that worked out well, and we’ll continue to do this.

Overall, I think he did okay with his choices. I know not all things may be the easiest or healthiest or smartest or cheapest or whatever, but you only get one day a year to celebrate. Why not live it up? It’s safe to say our boy did. And I believe it’s a good thing to let our children make decisions, I mean, as long as they’re not harmful/destructive in any way. Of course, with more important decisions, we’d be more involved, lol!

Anyway, it has been a blessing for our youngest to be in our lives! One of the best things about him is that he gets actively involved with church and can memorize scripture easily. I can’t wait to see where God takes him and how He’ll use him for His kingdom.

For Christmas last year I asked for wind chimes. We had just recently moved into a new house, one we consider to be our permanent (forever) home. I’ve always liked wind chimes, especially the ones that are bigger and deeper sounding. So when it came time to make a Christmas list for my in laws (the only people I have to make a list for), I knew this is what I’d put on it. Which I finally had to breathe a sigh of relief because I never know what to have on my Christmas list!

As Christmas came last year, it was my turn to open one of my gifts. It was a box. But it wasn’t a heavy box so I was a little clueless as to what was inside. When it was opened, there was a note. The note talked about how my in laws wanted to get me a wind chime, but instead of picking out something they thought I’d like, they wanted me to pick out my own. Now, as if that wasn’t cool enough, what made it sweeter was that they wanted to make a trip out of getting a wind chime. They wanted to treat me and the family to Shipshewana (a heavily Amish town) for the day. Shipshewana and the Amish are well known for great, handmade products so I knew that a wind chime from there would be perfect!

I share all of this because we finally got our trip to Shipshewana done! Actually we got it done back in June, but since then I’ve been super busy that I didn’t have time to create a post.

The day was fun! It started out a little crazy because my husband decided to follow his GPS from his iPhone. Most of the time GPS’ work well. This time, we made it to our destination, but we were taken way out in the boonies first! It made for quite the interesting experience!

While there we visited some unique shops, got some Amish goodies, did a buggy ride, and ate a healthy lunch. What is so cool about the place is that I feel like I’m back in time, although cars are still heavily present. I also find it fascinating how many flowers there are. It’s so beautiful. The place is truly magical, and if you ever get the chance to visit, I’d recommend it.

This is the wind chime that I came home with!

It is called Song of Solomon. I never knew¬†wind chimes had their names, but apparently they do. And this name holds a special place in my heart. At our wedding, the passage read was from Song of Solomon. ¬†So I just think that’s cool that the one I ended up liking the most had that name.

It’s deep reds and blacks, colors that match our new home perfectly. And the sound is so beautiful. I wish that pictures had sound with them so that I could share with you all the melodic noise they make. One bonus is that this beauty comes with a lifetime guarantee! Can’t get better than that.

Every time I look out my window and see my wind chimes dangling in the breeze or each time I hear the chimes ringing, I don’t just see/hear wind chimes. My in laws gave me something more than that. They gave me memories of the day that we went to get the wind chimes. I won’t forget about petting the huge Clydesdale, or meandering through specialty stores, or feeling like I’m in the middle of nowhere as we traveled south, or the many other things I got to experience that day like¬†riding in an Amish buggy for the first time!!!! In fact, here’s a pic of our horse and driver!

It’ll also serve as a reminder of my marriage ceremony! It’s neat how God orchestrates certain events and things to bring up pleasant memories of things long ago. I can actually see it being sort of like a wedding ring…a visual to symbolize a vow that was made.

Have you ever had an experience like this? Has something ever reiterated something from your past? Or how has God done something really cool in your life?

 

In Western Michigan, springtime brings a lot of things. Mostly rain and thunderstorms, but if it wasn’t for them, it would never bring out the beautiful flowers and green grass. Springtime is a time of¬†hope and things coming back to life. It’s also a time for the birds to grace us with their presence. Anyone¬†who knows me knows that I love birds!

Well, one very early morning (I’m talking about before the sun rises) not too long ago, it was storming. I have a very tough time sleeping in storms so it came¬†as a¬†surprise to me¬†that I was able to sleep through most of it.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER, the storms won when I was rudely awakened by this massive noise that sounded like it was literally right in my room. Of course the house shook a little bit, and I remember my first thought being, “Great. Now the boys will be up and will want to come lay by me.” I have no problem with them being scared and coming to me for comfort, but I also know that it means they aren’t getting a good night’s rest and that they might be a handful come time to get up. A few moments passed and nothing. More time passed and still nothing. Hallelujah! The boys slept through it. I’m not sure how they did, though. Like I said, it was loud!

Anyway, as I lay there, trying hopelessly to fall back asleep, I got a beautiful gift. In the midst of the rain and now lower rumbles of thunder, a bird was chirping! The song was gorgeous! It calmed me, and believe it or not, I fell back to sleep smiling!

This experience just reminds me of God in so many ways. Not just His character (being strong and mighty like the thunder, yet also sweet, comforting, and beautiful like the bird), but also His presents. It was a gift for me to hear that bird chirping away in the midst of a storm. It was a gift I got to sleep some more. It was a gift that we were all kept safe!

I am just so thankful for the springtime. I may not always like the rougher weather, but I see God in it. Same way with life. Storms will come and go; there’s no doubt about that. But I can still see God in them. Like that bird, He is there!

Let’s get right down to business and announce what is being given away today! Our spotlight authors are Brenda Anderson and Lea Doue!

Brenda Anderson is giving away an autographed copy of Chain of Mercy. In this novel there’s a lesson both the hero and heroine need to learn. Both are broken, both have made terrible choices and both struggle to find hope with the mess they‚Äôve made of their lives. Through Christ, they eventually find that hope. For your chance at winning this giveaway, please visit: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/2015/12/20/a-season-of-hope/ Continue reading “12 Days of Giveaways DAY SEVEN!”