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Christy Catherine Marshall

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March 31, 2006

Our Beth Moore cyber study group has grown again — Lauren says we’re maxed out at 29 30 people. She’s once again provided us with new HTML to update our chart and blogroll. Thanks, Lauren!

Wow — what an awesome, life-changing week of intense Bible reading for me. I can’t wait to go see what everyone else in the group says about it. I worked on my homework as much as I could — but I still have to finish Day 5. I’m trying to keep up! And I don’t even have an excuse like Patricia, who says she got busy preparing for her interview with Rebecca St. James!

The whole theme of Living Beyond Yourself is based on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. Beth Moore says some of us don’t have a lifetime to wait for these character traits to develop slowly and ripen. We need a change right NOW!

That’s me. Reading the Word keeps me connected to the Vine — the growing, living, overflowing Vine of Jesus Christ. If I’m cut off, I’ll die. I’ll get all brown and withery and crinkly, falling to the ground. Useless. Full of myself and not full of the Holy Spirit. Yes, Beth Moore is talking to me.

I could go through the homework verse by verse and tell you about 90 million things that leaped off the page into my heart — but that would take a week. Instead, I’ll give you a scenario of something that happened YESTERDAY in which the Holy Spirit got a hold of me and helped me to live beyond myself.

I’d scheduled a portrait sitting for my youngest daughter who turns one next week. This is supposed to be her six-month sitting. I had some trouble getting this done, can you tell? I decided to go to a chain portrait studio because my wonderful local photographer who I love very dearly has raised her prices, and I can’t go there very often unless she’s running a special.

I had to change this appointment three times because of various catastrophes, and I finally rescheduled it inadvertently during spring break — which meant I had to bring the whole crew with me. Now, this ordeal first involved my plowing through basement boxes to find the perfect-sized hand-me-down dress, washing and ironing it, bathing the baby and making sure she stayed clean, praying she wouldn’t get a bump or scratch before picture day — AND gathering all the other kids to load up and drive across town.

We showed up only five minutes late. ONLY!

When I walked into the studio “area,” the woman was sitting in front of the computer moniter on the phone. I waited for a minute or so, then she looked over at me and asked, “Are you here for something?”

“Yes, I’m here for a portrait sitting.” (Thinking: my baby! my baby girl is turning one! the last baby portrait!)

She sighed and said to someone in the phone, “I’ve got stuff to do. I’ll call you back.”

(So I guessed I was her “stuff to do.”)

My three older kids sat down quietly in the waiting area while we moved back to the portrait-taking area. I saw a beautiful child-sized white wicker chair, just like the one my other kids had their baby portraits made in. I asked her if we could use this for the picture.

“No, it’s the wrong size,” she snapped back.

“Well, I think it looks like a wonderful size. If you don’t mind, I’d love to use it for the picture,” I said.

“Not unless you want to get me fired for using the wrong size chair!”

“Oh no, I wouldn’t want to do that.” I began to feel a flicker of anger … seething. Why was she treating me this way? Did she have ANY idea how much effort it took to get me there? And how precious this last baby portrait sitting was to me?

She found a short, slippery wooden chair and plopped it on the white-carpeted stage. “This is the one we have to use,” she said.

Well, my daughter wasn’t happy about getting her picture made. Even though she looked like total Gerber Baby cuteness in her soft pink dress, she started crying. By now, my other wonderful favorite photographer would have been jumping up and down doing toe touches and waving feathers to get her to smile. But this lady was trying to use a talking stuffed animal that had a deep scary voice. And it wasn’t working.

So I reached over for another stuffed animal that had a jingle bell and started shaking it. Then the photographer glared at me, “M’am, you do your job, and let me do mine. Your job is safety. You watch to make sure she doesn’t fall. I’ll take care of getting her to smile for the camera.”

Can. You. Say. Angry.

I was angry. I clenched my teeth. I wanted to walk out and leave. I wanted to tell her that I’d done this dozens of times and not once have I had a crying baby!

But then something happened. As I felt those hot, smarting tears form in my eyes, the Holy Spirit took over and said, “Give her MY grace. There’s something behind the scenes going on in her life right now. She’s having problems with something or someone. Let it go, and give her grace.”

So I did. I let it go. I clapped whenever the camera flashed at the perfect moment of a brief between-tears almost smile. And I kept the atmosphere friendly by doing as I was told. Finally, when we sat down to look at the proofs, I told her what a great job she had done. Then I noticed up on the wall there were dozens of award certificates for photos.

“Did you take all those?” I asked her.

“I sure did,” she said.

“Well, you’re a wonderful photographer,” I said. “I can’t imagine all the work you put into getting those kids to smile.”

That was it. That was the connecting point. She SMILED and thanked me. I could visibly see her relaxing. I picked out my portraits and placed my order on the spot, even though my favorite studio would have given me weeks to look at actual proofs and decide. They weren’t perfect, but there were a couple of really good ones. And at least we got it done!

The lesson I learned here — it’s POSSIBLE to live beyond myself — to let God’s Spirit fill me and have me respond like He would. I’m still learning and growing, and I battle my impulses every day. (Hey, but we learned even Peter had a struggle every now and then.)

I’m not wearing a “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelet — but the more I study this Beth Moore homework, the more that question captures my every thought.

Addie Heather* Carol
M Rach Jeana
Jenn Amanda MamaB
GiBee Boomama Maria
Blair Heather Nancy
Janna Flipflop Robin
Sherry Patricia Tara
Lauren HolyMama! Faith
Christy Eph2810 Karin
Leann Rachel Janice

This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to
their blogs. New postings on the study will be published for the next
ten weeks, between Friday 8pm – Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit
each of us and comment. Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion
as we seek to live beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the
hearing of His word.

I haven’t blogged about FlyLady in a few weeks because to be honest my email inbox has been on overdrive, and I haven’t been reading the FlyLady digest email. Does anyone else have an issue with email? I’ve created a monstrosity of folders in Outlook Express, so I’m trying to at least file email that comes in. And deleting a lot. But I’m a packrat about email the same way I’m a packrat about everything else. What if I delete something I might need again someday?

I’ve actually created a folder titled “High school people” because emails are coming in every day from people I haven’t heard from in 19 years. I love these people! I sat next to them in homeroom, we learned the names of the planets together, hung out every weekend together for over a decade, and grew up laughing at the same sitcoms on TV. So it’s fun to get back in touch — BUT! I’m also starting to get a steady stream of Mom 2 Mom-related requests. I guess because I signed up to be in some blog directories, like this and this.

Yesterday, I got a very professionally written request from someone offering to write me a women’s health column. She’s written for dozens of top national magazines — so why is she contacting me? I don’t have money to pay anyone for a column. Although it would be a great idea. But right now, Mom 2 Mom is just my simple little blog written by me — when the mood strikes. The only way I’d ever turn it into a magazine is if I had paid advertising. But even then, the thought of receiving and editing submitted articles, finding good writers and columnists, and keeping a cash flow coming in so I could pay everyone seems like a huge stressful nightmare for someone like me.

So back to FlyLady. At the end of every email digest, I read these two sentences: “You are not behind! I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?” And then the FlyLady motto for this year: “Simple Routines Do the Trick in 2006!”

I need to stick to the very basics at this season of my life. It doesn’t take 20 minutes of having five kids home for spring break to let the Entropy Monster take over our home. I think in some homes dining rooms are used for dinner parties. In my home, my dining table is used for card tricks, origami, board games, coin sorting and admiring, stamp counting, art projects that involve popsicle sticks and hot glue guns, and LOTS of book-making that requires a steady flow of paper, crayons, and staples. Our kitchen is used for all food prep and consumption. The dining room is the only place my kids have a table to work somewhere together. It also happens to be the first thing you see when you walk in the door.

Along with the foyer. The hardwood floors here make the perfect spot for Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends to meet the Matchbox Car Friends and get into a pile-up together involving wooden blocks. Did I mention we don’t have a playroom? I know a friend who has a gorgeous basement playroom, and her rule is “No toys above ground level.” Her house is big and beautiful and always clean. She also said FlyLady changed her life. I wish FlyLady could come over and build me a basement playroom.

For now, I’m going to work on simplifying … today, we’re handing down the hand-me-downs. I told the girls about a family in our town whose house burned down, and the first grade little girl lost everything. A club I’m in is collecting clothes and toys for her. Suddenly, this very real sad situation has finally gotten them interested in passing along last year’s Christmas toys and outgrown clothes.

I think we should start the weekend a little bit lighter.

P.S. Here is why I’m afraid of Google Adsense! This is an actual ad I just read: “Christian Faith — Free to Join. 1000’s of pictures of Beautiful Christian Singles.” What if you came to my site and had to read THAT? I would quit blogging before I had that on my site!!!!!!!!!

March 30, 2006

How’s it going for those of you in the Beth Moore study? I hope you’re able to find a chance to dig into the homework. It’s not easy, is it? I’m loving every minute I can sit down and really pore through it. And my thoughts are with you today. I know I want to keep it up so I’ll be able to join in the discussion over the weekend.

Last night, my husband was showing our kids a video of a camping trip he and some friends took to a lake in Minnesota about 15 years ago. It was a beautiful spot — quiet and peaceful. At some point, one of his friends filmed him sitting beside the lake writing in his journal. I was so jealous just watching that! I said, “I can’t even imagine how much fun that would be — to sit beside a lake and do my Beth Moore homework!”

While I do mine, there’s a swirl of noise around me — and last night my 11-month-old daughter kept grabbing at my Bible — I have the NIV Life Application Bible — which I love! She was fascinated watching my pen scribble across the workbook pages. And you know how those onion-thin pages sound when you flip them back and forth — as we do in our homework. She loved that crinkly sound and wanted to flip pages with her little chubby hand.

I kept giving her other toys to play with or another book to read — but within a couple of minutes, she was right back where I was, wanting to know what FASCINATED me about that fun BOOK I was reading!

And I realized — this is the start for her! She’s only a baby now, but as she grows up, I want her to keep seeing me read my Bible. It’s the Book that matters most — full of relevant, life-changing words that will build her faith and give her life a purpose. Even just a few minutes ago, I was listening to James Dobson on the radio as he shared about abstinence education for teens. It’s in the Bible! It can give teens something to hold onto during those years as well.

One of my favorite bloggers is Carmen of Full-Contact, Christ-Centric Living. I remember a few months ago when Carmen just started her blog, and she said she wasn’t sure what exactly to focus on. We emailed back and forth about it. I told her something like, “Mentor people like me! Teach me how to raise godly kids! How do we do this in our culture today?”

Carmen (a mom of six) has some great advice in her blog for moms raising teenagers. Her recent post, To Hunt or Not to Hunt is inspiring for me. A mother asked her a question: “Christian guys are so timid today, and my daughters are asking if it’s OK for them to approach guys. How will they meet the right guy? Should they call guys or wait to be called?”

And here’s part of Carmen’s answer, though I encourage you to read all of it!

I’m raising a house full of boys. I’m in a position to tell you what the kind of boys I’d want to get hitched up with for the rest of my life are looking for in a girl, and it’s NOT a girl who’s chasing after guys. My sons are learning to prepare their fields first, then build a home. In other words, they aren’t looking for girls, and are hoping to avoid entanglement until they’re prepared to provide a home for a family. When they do begin to look for God’s will in a wife, the pursuers, hunters, chasers, flirts won’t be on their lists.

My advice for teenage girls? Learn to be beautiful in God’s eyes (I Peter 3:1-6). If you’re good at something, get better at it (sure wish I had been serious about art or writing when I was 17 or 18!) If you’re not good at anything, learn. Learn to write, learn to crochet, learn about hospitality, learn about horses, learn to sew and strive to excel at it—in other words, do it as unto the Lord. Enjoy being a single young woman in the Lord now. When you get married, you’re married for life. That’s a long time!

Can you see why I like “hanging around” Carmen? We live on opposite sides of the U.S., yet she’s mentoring me through her blog, and she’s also become a parenting columnist for The Dabbling Mum magazine.

Now, while you’re visiting her site, I hope you can take a few minutes and check out this survey she’s working on. You can cut and paste these questions into an email and send it to her. Do you visit your local public library? If you do, her survey and research may help make your public library a better, more wholesome place for your family. It took me less than five minutes to answer her questions.

P.S. These aren’t my hands here, in case you’re wondering.

By: Heather Ivester in: Books,Faith,Family | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

March 29, 2006

OK, y’all. This doesn’t happen too much around here, but a few minutes ago the phone rang, and the caller ID showed “New York, NY.” As you know, my kids are on spring break, so I was afraid to answer the phone. Lots of background noise!

It was a call from Cecilia Fang, who is a producer with the TODAY Show in New York. For real! Last week, she’d sent me an email asking if I’d be interested in helping her with a series on mothering. I thought this might be a joke from one of my brothers-in-law, but I went ahead and wrote back and said, “Sure.”

So, she called here, and we chatted. I found out that I’m NOT the person she needs for this show … but maybe one of you are!

— Are you a mom who stays home to care for one or more children?

— Does your husband work away from home?

— Would you like to see your husband switch jobs with you for the day?

— Here’s the catch … Are you pregnant? If so, are you showing enough to where you LOOK pregnant?

If you’ve answered yes to these questions, you could be on the TODAY Show! This is not a joke. I checked into it a bit, and Ms. Fang has a blog and mentioned this request to her readers here.

I also found this on a message board for moms:

Hi there,
I’m a producer with NBC’s Today Show. I’m doing a special story on understanding each other, specifically husbands and wives when the wife is pregnant. I’m looking to shoot a story where we give the wife and pregnant mom a day off and have Dad know how it feels to be pregnant and a mom for the day.
I’m specifically looking for a couple that already has at least one child with another on the way. I would love to chat with any of you that are interested. Please email me at if you are and I can explain more. This is a legitmate interview request from the Today Show.

Please spread this around to as many moms as possible because she needs somebody this week! And if one of you fits the role she needs and gets to be on TV, please let me know so I can say that I knew ya way back when, OK?

By: Heather Ivester in: Motherhood | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

I’ve got spring fever today! Our kids are out of school for spring break this week, so we’re trying to do some fun things.

Amanda has posted the Carnival of Beauty on her site today — I hope you enjoy her garden of stories on the topic of flowers.

CONGRATULATIONS to children’s author R.K. Mortenson! He’s writing the Landon Snow series, which is a Christian fantasy series for children published by Barbour Books. Mortenson and his wife have become parents again! They’ve just brought their adopted baby son home from the hospital.

I enjoyed reviewing Landon Snow and the Auctor’s Riddle last fall. His second book has just been released, Landon Snow and the Shadows of Malus Quidam. If you get a chance, you can visit him today over at Gina Holmes’ amazing blog, Novel Journey. And leave him a comment that you’ve stopped in. (If any of you love to read or write Christian fiction, you’ll also have to check out Gina’s archive of interviews.)

Sally of All About Children’s Books has already reviewed the second Landon Snow here, and she had an interesting chat with the author in her comments section — which will give you some insight into Mortenson’s good sense of humor (which of course shows up in his books for kids.)

Here’s my poem for the day:

I can type in red.

I can type in blue.

I can type in pickle color too!

And how, you might ask

Can I do this so well?

Because Sallie has shown me

The H-T-M-L!

P.S. I may even get brave and download the new WordPress upgrade — but every time I seriously consider it, they fix another bug. Those hi-tech smiley faces are starting to be hard to resist. Any advice from fellow WP bloggers?

March 28, 2006

Here’s an important article every parent should read from the Active Christian Media website. Actually, this is an article that grandparents should read as well — because when your grandchildren are in your care, you should also take steps to protect them from internet predators.

10 Things You Can Do Today To Protect Your Children from Online Predators Who Want Them

By: Heather Ivester in: Family,Parenting | Permalink | Comments Off on Protect Your Children

Amanda of following an unknown path is hosting the Carnival this week. Our topic is “The Beauty of Flowers.” Very timely, don’t you think? What are the flowers like in your part of the world?

In thinking back to the time I lived in Japan, I remember how passionate my Japanese friends were about the plum and cherry blossoms. Everyone went to the park together to celebrate the spring flowers! I lived with a Japanese family for a year, and I remember being in awe that my homestay mother received a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers every week — delivered right to her front door.

She arranged them in a special alcove in the entrance hall, the tokonoma. She taught me that in the Japanese art form of arranging flowers, ikebana, the space between the flowers was just as important as the flowers themselves. That advice has always stuck with me. It’s the same as in music — the pause between sound is what makes the melody. I once attended a national ikebana exhibition, and I was amazed — not only at the flowers but at the people — they seemed to be in no hurry and would stop to stare at an arrangement, seeming to admire the perfect placement of every delicate petal.

I’m not very good at arranging flowers. I wish I were. My mom and mother-in-law have that touch of being able to make anything look pretty in a vase. I keep piddling around and make things look worse. I do have the knack for putting a small tuft of freshly pulled wildflowers in a vase on the kitchen table — I give myself grace since they look childlike. Those are the bouquets I enjoy the most around here. And like my Japanese homestay mom, they’re always delivered fresh.

Our spring is just beginning here in the Southeast U.S. We’ll soon have bright bursts of azaleas all over our hometown. The dogwood trees are popular as well, and maybe I’ll remember in a few weeks to blog about the spiritual meaning of the dogwood blossom. It has a lot to do with Easter.

Here’s a picture of some native azaleas and dogwoods. This little chapel is on St. Simon’s Island, off the coast of Georgia. Wouldn’t his be a nice place to sit and ponder the beauty of flowers?

True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,
but our God’s Word stands firm and forever.
Isaiah 40:8
(The Message)

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith,Japan,Writing | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

I have a dear friend who has a heart for children with special needs. In fact, she’s hoping to start a blog soon to help connect parents who are raising exceptional children. She asked if I would share this website with you and see if there is ANYONE out there who might be able to offer some help.

There is a family with a precious 6-month-old daughter named Grace who was born last September. She has mysterious symptoms of turning a purplish color after she eats, and she has trouble breathing. She sleeps about 20 hours a day. Her parents have started a blog called Purple Baby with the hope that someone may recognize Grace’s symptoms and have suggestions for medical tests or point them in the direction of a diagnosis. When you see her sweet picture, you’ll be overwhelmed — please pray for them.


Here’s something I discovered yesterday that might be helpful for parents of babies or toddlers who aren’t sleeping all night on a regular basis. Do you have bags under your eyes from lack of sleep? Are you tired and irritable throughout the day because every night it’s the same old thing: as soon as you get to sleep, your baby wakes you up wanting to be fed or held?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how having a feeding schedule can bring order and peace to your day — but here’s a post written by a DAD who has been there, done that, and has some awesome advice for the weary.

His one secret tip will change your life if you’re still getting up several times a night to care for a fussy baby.


I got an email recently from a woman who would like tips on how to publish her first children’s book. Since this is something I’ve never done before, all I could do was encourage her and pass along some great websites. I told her publishing is a journey that is different for every writer. The more you read other people’s success stories, the more you realize it’s an art, not a science.

Although there are people who write one book that gets published right away and sells millions of copies, most people find it a gradual process of taking small steps toward their publishing goals.

Here are a few places where you can find good information:

The Institute of Children’s Literature offers a free weekly e-newsletter, which is very helpful. The editor, Jan Fields, has a thorough inside knowledge of the children’s publishing industry. The newsletter contains articles from published children’s writers, question/answer topics with Jan, and interviews with writers and editors.

I love reading interviews with editors because you can glean details that will really help you stand out if you contact them in the future. In your query letter, you can say something like, “I recently read in your interview with Jan Fields that your publication is looking for stories about ___.” Don’t you think the editor will be impressed if you’ve done your homework and are sending exactly what has been requested?

Another site that is helpful for any writer is Terry Whalin’s Right Writing website and The Writing Life blog. He has dozens of articles that will point you in the right direction. If you read his blog regularly, you’ll see over and over again his advice that you start out writing articles or stories for magazines, then move into writing books.

For one thing, your publisher will want to know that you’re a professional. Also, he tells his blog readers a lot about marketing. These days, you can’t expect your publisher to do your marketing for you. When you send them your book proposal, you must also include a marketing plan — how will you help promote your book? Are you a speaker? Will you do school visits? Can you do radio interviews? I’ve been shocked to learn in the past year that most writers must also be speakers if they want to publish books. (Especially if you choose to self-publish!)

Another helpful resource is Mary Demuth’s website, as well as her blog. She recently posted about 14 ways you can improve your writing and line your pocketbook. She has a free newsletter that is packed with awesome tips, and she is a true Christ follower. I love reading her newsletters.

March 27, 2006

Today’s the day — 27 of us are all beginning this journey of learning how to live beyond ourselves. On March 27th. How cool is that?

How am I going to wait until Friday to start writing about this amazing stuff I’m learning? WOW! Did anyone watch the video yet? I tried downloading the video, but just can’t on my slow dial-up. (One of the joys of country living — no high-speed internet out here yet. By the way, my neighbor came over this morning to tell me to be on the lookout for his ten cows that got out of his pasture.)

Well, I was able to listen to the audio quite easily, and now I’m wondering what in the world everyone laughed so hard about when Beth said, “What self-respecting Texas woman would have hair like this?” She apparently couldn’t use her hairdryer on her recent trip to Kenya!

I’m already stunned at what I’m learning. And I did my first day of homework too, with kids playing NOISILY all around me. It’s spring break this week! Is this what they say in Deuteronomy about teaching the scriptures to our kids when we sit and when we rise? Well, I just read my homework out loud to them.

My kindergartener asked me in a hushed voice of awe, “Mama, did that lady’s voice on the computer give you all that homework? What happens if you don’t do it?”

I’m testing this new chart. Welcome to Karin, who’s joined our group. YEA!

Heather HolyMama! Eph2810
Christy Jenn Karin

This is a list of the women participating in the study and the links to their
blogs. New postings on the study will be published weekly, between Friday
8pm – Saturday 8am. Please feel free to visit each of us and comment.
Everyone is welcome to participate in this discussion as we seek to live
beyond ourselves. May God bless you richly from the hearing of His word.

I know bloggers are supposed to wait until “Thankful Thursdays” to tell you what we’re thankful for, but I can’t wait until then. Today may read like a small-town society column, but I had a great weekend, and I don’t think I can function until I write about it! Plus, I found out my brother-in-law who’s married to my sister is a faithful Mom 2 Mom reader, and he said, “I like it when you write about personal stuff.”

So, the personal stuff is that my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary over the weekend. 40 years! My sister started emailing me right after Christmas about it. “What do you want to do for Mom and Dad’s anniversary this year?” We went back and forth, wondering if we should throw them some kind of big party. We finally decided to do a small, intimate dinner with just our family.

I can’t remember the last time we’ve shared a special meal together with only our immediate family invited. My mom can’t help but invite other people she knows to come eat with us — often it’s the lonely ones who don’t have anyone else to share a holiday with. She has a second dining table that sets up in the living room, so she can seat at least 16, and we usually have that many or more.

My sister ordered two dozen Tropicana roses — Mom’s favorite — and arranged them in vases around my parents’ house. We brought a two-tiered wedding cake, iced in buttercream frosting, with a bride and groom on top and tropicana-colored roses spilling down the side. (Thank you to our friends in the Publix Bakery!) My sister-in-law took over the heavy-duty cooking. She and my brother grilled shrimp and chicken on wooden skewers, as well as fresh vegetables, and potatoes. She also broiled the juiciest salmon ever, steamed asparagus, and prepared a cornbread casserole that was out of this world. My sister and I filled in with spinach salad, fruit salad, pasta and jello jigglers for the kids, and bread. (My sister also brought her special made-from-scratch, thrice-sifted pound cake, and her mother-in-law made us a million tiny chocote chip cookies!)

I have to say here how thankful I am for my sister — she was in charge of this whole deal, and it wouldn’t have happened without her, even though she lives the farthest away. She also brought a paper tablecloth and crayons which she put in little terra cotta pots for our kids to color while we ate. My girls and I put little chocolates in silver garden pitchers around the house like party favors. I forgot to say we’d been planning on hosting a “garden theme” party because my parents just added on a back screened-in porch with an outdoor fireplace — but it was TOO COLD to eat outside.

So, we all had a great time eating inside — and also the timing was perfect for me to give Mom the mother/daughter gift book I wrote. It was released last week from Nelson Books, From a Daughter’s Heart to Her Mom: 50 Reflections on Living Well. It’s like a huge-long Hallmark card celebrating how much a daughter is thankful for her mom. The photos, which I had nothing to do with, are absolutely stunning, highlighting moms and daughters around the world. What a joy it was to give to her — finally!

After our dinner, we of course had to get pictures of Mom and Dad cutting their wedding cake, and we also got a picture of Mom holding a bouquet of roses right next to her gorgeous wedding photo. Then we did something we always talk about doing, but never do — we set up the movie screen and watched my parents’ old home movies. Each reel lasts about four minutes, with no sound. It was so fun showing my kids how their grandparents looked when they were younger, bringing me home from the hospital, celebrating the milestones that make life rich — birthdays, vacations, Christmases, new pets, backyard picnics, etc.

We all spent the night, and the next day went to church together. We filled up the whole back pew in the church. During the service, our kids sat mysteriously still and looked cute — so this was another amazing feat for the weekend. Right before the sermon, we sang six stanzas of Amazing Grace, and I heard the words as I’d never heard them before. The fourth verse jumped out at me so much, I had to jot it down in my notebook!

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be,
as long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we first begun.

OK, if you’re still with me — to top off the weekend, my husband and I met with a group of my high school classmates who are starting to organize our 20th reunion for next summer. We walked into the restaurant, and I was thinking about how everyone looked in high school. Then when I saw them at the table I said, “Hey, how come this is a table full of old people?” (haha). Really — I hadn’t seen most of the guys in 20 years. Only a few came to the 10-year reunion. The girls I’ve kept up with, but wait a minute — there are a few gray hairs on the guys and a wrinkle here and there. Of course, we had to pass around pictures of everybody’s kids. Our senior class president lives in California now, and so she “led” the meeting from a speakerphone PDA. We’ve all got a list of 25 people we’re going to start trying to find — and we decided we want to have a weekend-long reunion with several options for different budgets.

So, there’s my personal stuff — my weekend. I have to also add that my sister brought more clothes for my kids. She’s an amazing shopper, and she finds my girls the most beautiful smocked and embroidered dresses and outfits. I absolutely can’t shop like she does — she finds them at traveling wholesale stores and resales, all with the tags on them. I don’t know how she does it, but now our kids have classic Easter and spring outfits because of her.

So, if you’re my family reading this — THANK YOU, and I LOVE YOU! And if you have hung with me reading this, thank you too! It just feels good to share the blessings God has given me — friends and family — all because of His grace and love.

By: Heather Ivester in: Faith,Family | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)