Friday, December 28, 2012

Playroom Make-over

The current playroom was not a bad one.  Lots of closet space, room to play and a door! YaY! for doors that I can shut if it is out-of-control mess.  But thanks to pinterest, and other blogs I follow I desired a prettier, more organized playroom.  So over Christmas break, with the hubby off and since we were staying home we I decided we would paint the playroom!

I did not take any "real" before pictures on my "real" camera.  So my cell phone pictures will have to do.  These were taken weeks ago, but it will give you the idea.

(while playing zoo/safari)


I am loving the color green!  This is Behr paint: Sparkling Apple.  It was a fun, but a tiring 24 hours! Yes, we did the whole thing in just under 24 hours.

Wondering what I want to paint next?? Either the burgundy wall in the kitchen or our bedroom...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! 

For your viewing pleasure 
The Christmas Story! It is amazing, and hilarious, and adorable.  
The sweet curly-haired girl is my niece.  
And yes, she does believe baby Jesus' is Santa's baby!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Elf Yourself

Thanks Aunt Bo for making this hilarious video!!


"How-to" on Luke 9:17

A few weeks ago I got to share at my Bible study, to a group of about 200 women.  I was very blessed by the time, and wanted to record it here so I can remember it for years to come! This is mostly verbatim, but changed things to “read” better since it was “talked.” Hope you are blessed by it as much as I am to share it:

 I am excited to share what God has been doing in my life.  My life is busy - not busy go here go there, but busy because I have three children 5, 3 & 6 months.  

They are true gifts, and five years ago God began teaching me the meaning of His Word in Luke 9:23 - 

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
There is nothing like caring for children that demonstrates what ‘deny thyself’ really means!

These three are so fun! and I treasure them very much. So when I read 

“...anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 9:17

I asked God what do You mean by this?? I have three children here. What can I learn from them?

Let me also say, even if you do not have children, I am sure you all have been around them to know what they are like.  God answered my question through my children’s behavior. This has helped me understand what He meant when we had to receive the kingdom of God like a little child.

First, Children just believe!  Whether children are in a Christian home getting taught from Deuteronomy 11:18-21:

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord”
Or in a secular homes teaching them about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny - Children believe what you tell them.  So for the moms, teachers, aunts and grandmas out there let us continue to point their young minds to the One True God, because guess what??  They’ll believe ya!

So because of this God is asking me to be less cynical, to be less skeptical, less negative and MORE FAITHFUL!  

Jesus says in Matthew 17:20:

“...if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Let us BELIEVE like children, in Him and His true words so we can see His miracles in the smallest of things.

The smallest of things leads me to my second point - my children LOVE God’s creation like no adult i’ve met. I believe this is because many things they are seeing for the first time. 

I can’t forget Christopher being 18 months old, and we were walking along side the road, trying to get somewhere. It was either a playground or home, but he kept stopping and looking down at something on the ground.  I nudged him a little further on our walk, and again down to stare.  Annoyed, I looked to see what He was inspecting, and it was ANTS.  God told me to stop, and ponder through Christopher’s eyes what he was fascinated with. 

I won’t go into the details of Ant’s life, but this little creature is amazing. An ant is able to carry 100x its body weight.  Think about that - times your current weight by 100!  Its a MIRACLE!! God created the ant, a nuisance to us, but a joy-filled discovery to an 18 month old. 

I would never have appreciated that had Christopher not been slowing our walk by staring at these little moving things along the street!  God’s creation is perfect, and my kids value it more so than anyone else I know!

God tells us in Genesis 2:15 to take care of this earth. 

I love  how the Psalmist in 104:24-25 puts it:

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.”

Let us appreciates God’s creation like a child who experiencing it for the first time!

My third point that my children have taught me is about forgiving & forgetting.  My middle child is three and VERY independent.  We have our battles, and I sometimes believe I am just as immature as she is. 

After our battles, I am in our highest of emotions, but once we are through it she can switch and be happy. Just. Like. That.  Where I tend to hold onto my anger and frustration - she barely remembers that it has happened. She looks at me with a happy smile, while I am steaming, and says, “mommy may I have some juice?” And I want to SCREAM: "JUICE?? JUICE?? You want juice after what just happened??"

I am once again reminded of verses on anger like the one in Eccelisastes 7:9”

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”

Or this great one from James 1:19

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...”

Moments after “battle” i am still heated, while McKinley doesn’t even remember it has happened.  She is my example to forgive, forget and have more patience that I am certainly not capable of on my own.  Thank-you Jesus for living inside of me, and continuing that good work you began in me! (Philippians 1:6)

I could keep going on how I receive the Kingdom like a child, but I will just mention one more.

Lastly, my children just love.  Because of their lack of experience they don’t see people in the same lens I do.  In the beginning of the summer we invited a homeless woman to live with us.  Ms. Sandra is a very large woman, and is African American.  She couldn’t look more different than anyone else in our house. 

Our first day she was with us, I agonized over what they children would think of her.  How would they react to her.  What would they say.  And after the initial warming up, they acted as they should, and as if she was supposed to be there!  Within an hour my daughter asked if she could sit in her lap.  

It was a proud moment for a mama, and I realized they love with out strings, with out conditions, and with out stereotypes.  This is how God loves.  I pray everyday that God would enlarge my heart like my children's. 

Psalm 103:11-12

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us”

I hope these four quick points helped you understand what Jesus meant when He said to receive the kingdom of heaven like a child. I pray we can all: believe Him better without reservation, appreciate His creation more like the first time seeing snow or a rainbow or leaves fall from a tree, forgive quickly as if we have never been hurt, and love with others with out abandon! 

All pictures taken by the lovely Amanda Puryear.  Website here.  Facebook here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Big Helper

This kid is such a gift! I know i've said that before, and I shall say it again! A GIFT!! 

Last weekend we had good friends from Maryland come for a visit, and the day before they were to arrive I told Christopher at bed time I had to get downstairs to do chores to prepare for the Johnson's arrival.  Christopher says, "Save me a chore."  I said, "OK, tomorrow you can help me with the playroom." He nodded no, and said, "the dishes."  I said OK.

 Reader you should know you we have no dishwasher, wait scratch that, I AM THE DISH WASHER. Before you gasp, this doesn't bother me.  We have found a great routine, and I actually do not miss the machine that is the dishwasher!  

Ok, back to my sweet boy.  We didn't have many dishes this night because we ate leftovers, so I thought I would leave the dishes to see what he would do.  Sure enough, without prompting, first thing in the morning he went downstairs and turned on the water (no soap), and began washing - gloves and all! I added soap to his sponge and off he went.  He was very focused, and didn't stop until the last dish! I was so proud!

 Looks like Ive got a new dishwasher after all ;)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

World Hunger, Christmas and a Funny Story

This year's Christmas will look different than years past.  We were not sure how, but we knew we didn't want the focus to be set on ourselves, but on Jesus' birthday.  We thought perhaps a gift-less Christmas, but the idea of having no gifts under the tree made me sad.  We thought to volunteer on Christmas day, but I know God wants our volunteerism everyday, not just as something we can cross off as our "good deed for the year" CHECK-list.

It all began with the statistic a pastor friend gave us.  The average American spend $749 at Christmas. Source fact here, and there are 313 Million people in America.  I am no mathematician, but I do know that is an exorbitant amount of money.  Our pastor friend said that if the US used just 5% of what we spent in just the Christmas season it could end world hunger for that year, another 5% the water crisis.  This was an exhausting realization.  Jeremy and I could not change this on a large scale, or for our block for that matter.  We could, however, change it for this family.

We decided to not spend much on Christmas.  "Much" such a relative term, no?  Well, each child will receive one gift and stocking-stuffers. This is a start of us as a family.  Who knows, next year maybe we wont use slave labor from India or China (another post for another day) and buy all our gifts hand-made in the US, or make them ourselves!

Now enough of all the boring rhetoric, I promised a funny story, and here goes it:  Jeremy has taken it upon himself to share this tidbit of knowledge with anyone that will listen.  The other night while shopping for the stocking-stuffers we were in JCPenny, and Jeremy thought it'd be appropriate to share this with our check-out gal.  He begins with, "What percentage do you think - ms.JCPenny sales lady - of what Americans spend on Christmas to end world hunger?" Being the intelligent Ms. JCPenny sales lady she is, she responded with, "by the tone of your voice I imagine it is a low percentage."  To which Jeremy replied, "why yes it is.  Say a number."  Ms.JCP says, "I don't know, 1%?" Jeremy responds, "good job going low!  You are probably the first to say a really low percentage.  It is actually 5%." She responds with, "I believe it.  Your purchase today comes to 54.60.  Would you like to round your purchase up to $55.00 and donate to the Salvation Army?" Jeremy matter of factly replies, "no."  To which I burst into laughter.  Oh the irony of that whole exchange! Jeremy is a sharer of all things knowledge of world hunger, but wont donate!  HAHAHA!! Talk is cheap!

We all walk away with a good laugh, even ms. JCP herself, and she also has a fact she may - or may not- do anything about.

Merry Christmas All!!

And because I hate posting without pictures, here are some festive shots:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jeremy turns 35

December 2nd is a special day in the Franks' household, we can start celebrating Christmas.  While most American begin on black Friday, we must wait another week until after December 1st which is the date of my lovely husband's birthday.  And since this is his birthday post I will focus on him now.

He woke up to the traditional breakfast in bed.

 This year's menu: sausage, egg & cheese on a croissant with hot coffee and grapes on the side.
 After breakfast he received a few gifts:
Guitar re-strung
 and we received a concert :)
 He got to play golf and get a massage, and after dinner came home to cake and ice cream.

*Other gifts not pictured are RGIII T-shirt, One year of car detailing, and a new watch.  
Not a bad 35th birthday celebration.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We're Back

It has been over a year since my last post, and lately I have missed writing here.  I have a fresh approach to what I want to share here.  I desire a journalistic approach, and I want to be able to look back and see what we did in years past.  So to start this first journal entry off here is what we have done in the year i've been absent (all of 2012.)

We began sharing a room (January 2012):
 We celebrated L<3ve (Feb 14th)

Purchased our first home (March 15)

 Each turned another year older (Nicole 32)
 McKinley 3
 Christopher 5

Jeremy 35 

Had another baby (April 26th)
 Enjoyed the beach
 McKinley got her nails painted for the first time (summer)
 Jeremy got his "head-pro/prodigal son" car (Aug)
 We started school (September 5th)

And currently are enjoying the Christmas season! I am also excited to get better at this here bloggy-blog! More to come, God willing.