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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Homemade Stethoscope

We've been enjoying studying the human body this year.  We're loosely following Guest Hollow's Curriculum.  One of the fun kits we ordered was the Magic Schoolbus - Journey Into the Human Body.  Today we built our own stethoscope using some tubing, a funnel and a balloon.  The amazing thing is that it really worked!  I could not believe how loudly and clearly we could hear the heart beat. Then the kids jumped up and down for awhile to get their heart racing and listened to it slowly get back to a resting pace.  We're really enjoying this kit.

Reading the directions...

Putting the balloon on the funnel...

It works!

Final Product...our homemade stethoscope..

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Something happened at Jordon's

During the lull between two storms today, the peaceful sound of rainwater gently dripping off of the tree was drowned out by the roar of the police helicopter overhead.  Its rotors thunder as it circles a 3 block area.  Glasses on the counters vibrate and conversations must cease as it makes continual passes over our home.  Every 30 seconds it is on top of us again and our windows shake and the security doors rattle.  Our dog barks and growls and leaps at the sky trying to catch this enormous bird that continues to pass over his back yard territory.  When it is still circling after 10 minutes, I decide to check out front to see what is happening.

  Our street is full of cars and people because it is blocked off at the corner, 3 houses down from ours. At the end of the next block there are several police cars. "Something happened at the cafe, but nobody knows what," is all the news I can glean from the neighbors, so I go back in to report to the kids who are standing at the door waiting for me.  When I tell them something happened at Jordon's Cafe, they are very concerned.  "I hope Vette and Oscar are ok," my oldest daugher says.  We have eaten at Jordon's many times. Their specialty is soul food and my favorite is the fish coated with a special cornmeal breading. The kids love the wings.  Vette (the waitress) and Oscar (the owner) are very friendly and know the kids by name. One time when I couldn't attend a meeting with Todd at the cafe, Vette sent home some Banana Wafer dessert just for me.  I say a silent prayer for Vette and Oscar, and all our friends at the cafe, and start to fix lunch. 

About 40 minutes later Grace notices that the helicopter is gone. I check the street.  The police cars are gone and the crowds have dispersed.  The rain begins to fall again...hard.  Maybe tonight at Bible study I will hear what happened at our little cafe.  In the meantime I'm praying for Vette and Oscar, and everyone who was at Jordon's this morning.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Morning Bloom

After a very muddy and entertaining interaction with our dog this morning...just imagine a giant, ornery, slippery, muddy, yellow lab and hardwood floors...I decided to peruse our yard to see what the night of rain had produced. Lo and behold, the roses are blooming now. What a sweet treat to start the morning.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010


I've been humming Michael W. Smith's song, "Healing Rain" for the last 24 hours. The forecasters are calling for rain...lots of rain...this week. The kids and I are soooo excited! We really enjoy "sunny California," but the rain is such a beautiful change of pace. I love how everything begins to grow and sprout. I love to cuddle up under a blanket with the kids and read while the rain pours down. The forecasters are beginning to call it "El Nino." That means there's a warming trend in the ocean which brings us much more rain than usual. We've been here 5 years and I believe this is the first El Nino season since we moved. However, too much rain is not a good thing either...especially for all the areas that burned during the wildfires last year. That is definitely an advantage to living in the flat inner mudslides. The pouring rain makes our neighborhood seem tends to put a damper on suspicious least the ones that are carried out in the open. But that only lasts for a while...sometimes having everyone cooped up inside makes tempers flare. I have been very thankful that I haven't heard gunfire...or even low flying helicopters... for several days now. I'm praying that the rain will help this calm continue.

Praising God

Thank you Lord, that Dan was extricated from the elevator shaft safely. Thank you that the Kruls are safe. Thank you Lord that the Howerton family is reunited. Thank you Lord that the Livesay children made it to the states. I pray for these brothers and sisters bodies and spirits to heal. I pray for those who have remained in Haiti or will be returning there soon. Hold them all so closely to you Father.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Praying for our Brothers and Sisters

Sometimes in a crisis that is the magnitude of the one unfolding in Haiti, it is so difficult for me to wrap my mind around how to pray. Of course, some generalities immediately come to mind... provision of food and water, rescuing of the injured, and comfort for those who are grieving. But I think God calls us to intercede specifically as well. The Lord has directed me to two blogs of missionaries in Haiti who are communicating an accurate picture of what is taking place. (Thanks to Jeremiah and Beth!) These are the ones I'm praying specifically for. I'm also praying for Dan, the Compassion Intl. worker buried, but alive, in the rubble of Hotel Montana. If you don't have someone specific for whom you are praying, I encourage you to check out these blogs and storm heavens's gates on behalf of our brothers and sisters: The Kruls The Livesays

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I've been following the reports from a blog from a Mom who went there to meet with the son she is adopting... listened to the news describe how people sang through the dark night, and how you could hear their voices throughout the city from one location to another...watched people with their hands raised, praising God in the midst of utter devastation on the evening news. Praying for those who survived...praying for those who we haven't heard if they survived. Astonished at how closely knit our world is. Everyone seems to know someone who was there.

I will not complain about doing dishes...or laundry...or anything else. Tonight I am reminded to be grateful for this treasure this moment...and to kneel before the creator of Heaven and Earth.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We saw a beautiful yellow bird today at lunch. What a delight. He flew away before I could grab my camera...but hopefully he'll be back. I haven't seen one like that in our yard before. He must like the morning glories and geraniums that are blooming outside by the patio. It never ceases to amaze my mind that flowers bloom in January here! Flowers and pretty birds were definitely a treat after a bitter migraine for the past days. Thank you Lord for sweet touches of you.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Posted by PicasaThis is our last stop on my trip down memory lane of our Advent season. I thank God for what he taught us during this incredible time of the year. My words are not adequate enough to express my gratefulness for the gift of His Son. My heart kneels in awe at the manger...the Glory of Almighty God wrapped in a precious baby.

Christmas Morning!

One of the highlights of Christmas Day was that our youngest son has learned to read well enough to participate in our Christmas morning tradition of reading the story of Our Savior's birth. He had been talking about this since the beginning of Advent and was so excited to be able to do it!! (Of course, knowing that after we read the story we open presents probably had something to do with his excitement as well!)

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Christmas Eve

We worshipped with our church family at our Candlelight service on Christmas Eve. There is something quite amazing about watching your children mature in their walk with Christ. It is thrilling to my momma's heart to watch them rise up and assume their place in the body of Christ. On Christmas Eve each one of them had a role. Our girls worshipped through a dance they had choreographed themselves, our oldest son ran the sound system and power point for the service and handled the logistics of the lights and candles, and our youngest son quoted the scripture from memory. It was a precious time for all of us.

After the service we came home to light our Advent wreath and pray together and place Jesus in the manger scenes that we had set up at the beginning of Advent. Our tradition is that each child gets to open up one present on Christmas Eve...and they each got a new set of pajamas...very cozy!!

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Christmas Sunday

Christmas Sunday is such a special time. This year both our Girls' and our Women's Worship Dance teams participated in the service.

While we were singing Away in a Manger, "Mary," "Joseph" and "Baby Jesus" came forward to sit at the manger. Seeing precious little "Jesus" in his mother's arms moved me to tears...Emmanuel...God with us! It takes my breath away...and moves my heart to respond with cries of joy. He has come to save us...He takes away the sins of the world! Our Savior is born. My heart quivers and my mind staggers as I wrap my thoughts and emotions around this fact...God has become man to redeem redeem me!
After church we ate dinner together and then, thanks to the generosity of several churches and individuals, we were able to bless each child in attendance (over 70 kids!) with a back pack containing art supplies and a sports ball.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

Powerhouse Christmas Party

We hosted the church Christmas party at our house...lots of yummy snacks...and lots of fun. We played several games...but this is our favorite. My hubby broke the crowd into 4 groups and told them to create something...with one roll of wrapping paper. You can see they got a little creative with items they found around the the paper plate halo...and my tree ornaments...and I'm not sure where they got the scarf and belt for Santa. Anyway, from left to right we have Stylin' Santa Claus, A Christmas Tree with gifts under him, An Angel (Wouldn't you like him to be your guardian angel!?)....and a Camel carrying a Wiseman!
The Tree won by show of applause and his group was quite proud of their creation.

We had a great time until the wee hours of the morning! This last pictures shows part of the group...the part that could fit in our living room. It doesn't show the part of the group holding my tall chair steady so I could perch on it to take this picture.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bethlehem Brunch at PowerHouse

We have an annual tradition at our church called the Bethlehem Brunch. We used to call it the Bethlehem Breakfast, but since our service doesn't start until 12, we thought calling it breakfast might be a stretch.  We serve pancakes and fried chicken (don't knock it til you try's a good combo) and then give a gift bag to each table.  Inside the bag are all the props and instructions to dress up one person to be a character in the Christmas Pageant.  After everyone is finished accesorizing their character, we narrate the Christmas story from the Bible.  When their name is read (angel...shepherd...etc.)  they come forward and act out their part.  We have so much fun reenacting the events that rocked the world at the first Christmas. Each person or family also can take their picture at the manger to remember the real reason for the season. No late night long extravagant lines to memorize...just the story...and pancakes with chicken...and syrup...LOTS of syrup!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

We started off our Advent season by cutting down a Christmas tree to decorate. It was hot (in the 70's) was far (two hour drive) was eventful (flat tire)...but it was worth it! The kids did all of the cutting this year. I love the smell of a freshly cut Christmas tree. I also love that my sweet hubby cares that I love cutting down a real tree, and he makes it happen with a joyful heart...even when it's hot...and far... and eventful!

The End Result

Christmas 2009

While we took down our Christmas decorations yesterday, I was thinking back over the great memories we have of this year's Advent Season. I am so thankful for the great health we enjoyed, but I'm most thankful for the awe and wonder of Emmanuel...God with us! We're always sad to "put away" oldest daughter was even making up a "Christmas Blues" song about the whole event. And yet there is something exciting about a freshly cleaned, and seemingly bare house as we enter the new year. It's full of possiblity as we wait in anticipation to see what the baby Jesus, our Savior, will do in our lives in the coming year. The kids are over their sadness now, and I think they have caught the "New Year Spirit" because I just overheard them talking about cleaning up and "redecorating" the play house out back with some cardboard boxes they found. My next few posts will be a little trip down memory lane through our Advent season since I just got our blog up and running.

LA Snowman

We found this cute little guy hanging by the path on our walk by the beach. That's the only snowman we'll see in So. Cal. this year! As a midwestern girl, I do miss the snow...but only until Jan. 2...then I'm ready for Spring!
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Monday, January 4, 2010

Along the beach path...

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Winter in Southern California

This afternoon we went to the beach for our family time. One of the girls has a cold and didn't quite feel up to the family football game on the beach so she and I walked the path instead. The beach in the winter is completely different from summer, and we had a sweet time watching God paint his sunset.

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