Read My Apple Tree Story here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Diapers -- Stock Up!

I ran into CVS today to pick up some diapers. I usually buy these at either Target or Wal-Mart because they are less expensive there, but as you all know, sometimes convenienve trumps savings!

I just have to share with you ... you MUST make a trip to CVS before this Saturday at 12 midnight. You can purchase a box of Pampers, either Swaddlers, Cruisers, or Baby Dry and not only save $2 instantly with your CVS ExtraCare Card, but you will get $10.00 EXTRA BUCKS back!!! This is like buying a whole box (our size 4 includes 64 diapers) for only $9.99!!!!

The original price for a Pampers box of diapers was $21.99.
Receive an instant $2.00 savings making your purchase price of $19.99.
When you check out, you will receive $10 Extra Bucks to use on your next purchase. Mine is good until 8/28/10. You can use your $10 toward any purchase. Just don't set it aside and forget to use it, like I often do!! If you forget your ExtraCare Card, they can usually look up your account by phone number.

Hope you have a wonderful, fun-filled weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rest Little One

My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Proverbs 3:21-24

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Divine Plan

I received this as an email over 3 years ago. There is a reason I saved it, and there is a reason I came across it today. I was wondering what to post about today. I have had such a good, positive day. A happiness that I can't quite describe. I really wanted to post something uplifting, something to help make your day a little brighter. I think this is it ... please read and be uplifted.

People always say how mean kids can be, never how nice they can be.

This story will put life into perspective!

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the school's students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all that attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question. "Everything God does is done with perfection. Yet, my son Shay cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is God's plan reflected in my son?" The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. "I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like Shay into the world, an opportunity to realize the Divine Plan presents itself and it comes in the way people treat that child."

Then, he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"

Shay's father knew that the boys would not want him on their team. But the father understood that if his son were allowed to play it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We are losing by six runs, and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. At the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield. Although no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base. Shay was scheduled to be the next at-bat. Would the team actually let Shay bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat.

Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first, run to first." Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, "run to second, run to second!" By the time Shay was rounding first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for a tag. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions had been, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Shay ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases towards home.

As Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "run to third!" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay! Run home!" Shay ran home, stepped on home plate and was cheered as the hero for hitting a "grand slam" and winning the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of the Divine Plan into this world."

We can all make a difference. We all have dozens of opportunities a day to help realize God's plan. So many seemingly trivial interactions between people present us with a choice; do we pass along a spark of the Divine-love that God gives to us every day? Or do we pass up that opportunity and leave the world a bit colder in the process?
Hug a child today, they make the world go 'round.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Joy, Friendship, Focus

I had a day that included a little unnecessary drama, and drama always affects me. I shouldn't let it, but I do. I let it consume me. I want everyone to just get along and the world to be a happy place. I let it consume my family -- my relationship with my husband and with my children. I think people twist and turn stories because they thrive on drama and gossip. Well, it's wrong. Now that I am a little older and a little wiser (I like to think), I now CHOOSE who to surround myself with. I CHOOSE to surround myself with people that only raise me up, not bring me down. I am so fortunate and blessed God has given me such an amazing husband and awesome girlfriends and even children that constantly raise me up, encourage me, support me, and love me for the person that I am. I wasn't always strong enough to weed out the people that brought me down, but I am now. Except for the few occasional ones that squeeze through the cracks unwanted.
In processing all this, I came across a website that I really liked. I wanted to share some of the content with you. Jesus is our friend and He wants us to turn to Him when in need, just as we do with our earthly relationships. Actually we should turn to Him always. Why is that, by the way, we only turn to Him sometimes? We should nurture our relationship with God just as we do with the rest of our relationships -- our friends, spouses, children.
This website put things back into perspective for me. I needed that. Here are some words that lifted me up today... Joy, Friendship, and Focus.
"Joy- Fullness of joy is found in the presence of the Lord. When we remain connected to him through prayer, worship, walking in obedience, reading the word and fellowshipping with other Christians, we can experience a level of joy that the world cannot give to us.

Friendship- I have a really close friend who prays for me a lot. Have you ever set aside an hour to pray? The most amazing things happen when we set our purpose to spend quality time with God through prayer. Something that I have noticed is that I begin to pray for many people.

Focus- Every day we have a choice to either focus on sinful things or to follow after the things of the spirit. What will you be focusing on today?"

Words taken from the following website:
How true? We do have the choice. We can choose to focus on God and the fruits of the spirit or on sinful things that push us closer to evil. Something to think about.

Sunday Family Fun ... Much Needed

We played tourist today ... at our local bowling alley! It might as well have been a Christmas morning to our dear Ella. Her excitement radiated lane after lane, frame after frame.

She was my biggest cheerleader, yelling with every ounce of enthusiasm, "Go Momma Go! I know you can do it!"

We all bowled two games. Wilson ate and watched in his stroller. He was so good and patient. I'll blink and he'll be out there with us bowling his own 6 pound ball!

Ella bowled each ball on her own and did well -- a 53, with the bumpers in of course.

She even got to wear the lovely shoes that we all love! She was proud of them. And yes, those are some tattoos on her arms. Not tacky at all, right?!

I smoked Jason first game, but apparently he was just warming up, because the rolls reversed second time around! We are usually pretty good at balancing one another out.

How many times do you think I squirted Ella with Sanitizer?!

It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon outing for our family of 4. Something simple and fun. That's all our children want from us ... time together making memories that will last a lifetime. And we made one Sunday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How Can You Look at a Child and Not Believe in God?

"Every good and perfect gift is from above."
James 1:17
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
2 Corinthians 9:15
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."
Ephesians 3:20
"Set your hearts on things above ..."
Colossians 3:1
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
Isaiah 40:31
"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:13
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crayola Crayons

To be perfectly honest, going to Wal-Mart with 2 young children isn't exactly fun for me. However, I find it a little easier and a tad less confusing if I park and pay at the garden center. I happened to walk by the area promoting school supplies. Hardly believing that it's that time of year again, I decided to stroll down the aisle. Shopping for brand new school supplies as a child was so exciting to me. I always got to pick out new pencils, notebooks, folders, sometimes even a new bookbag, and the good ol' Trapper Keeper. Remember those?! Then I would spend all evening organizing all my new supplies.

I suppose, because it is a fun memory for me, that I can't help but think of the innocent, under-priveledged children who don't get to share in this time that I, as a child, completely took for granted. What a simple thing ... buying crayons. But it, unfortunately, isn't so simple for all children.

It is overwhelming to me at how many homeless children we have in our area. Call one of your local schools and ask. I bet you'll be astonished. And to think of their innocence breaks my heart.

Now, just about everywhere, stores are offering great back-to-school deals. I was so excited to see Wal-Mart had a 24 pack of Crayola Crayons for ONLY 25 CENTS! I thought that was an incredible price, so I stocked up!

If you feel lead to help out in such a simple (and inexpensive) way, I'm sure the local schools would be thrilled to receive some new boxes. If you feel even more lead to help brighten a child's life, probably more than you'll ever know, get a list of school supplies from your school and fill a bookbag up.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another example of God's love for us

I see God at work in our lives constantly.

For the first 6 months of our son's life, his older sister, Ella, never showed signs of jealousy. As our son, Wilson, gets more active, all he does is grab and pulls at Ella. He adores her. I say, "Where's Ella?" and he starts kicking like crazy! All he wants is to play with her, as much as a 9 month old can play. Now all she wants is for him to not pull her hair and eat her things.

I tried to be understanding of Ella's frustrations, but anything I said or did to make their relationship better seemed to fail. I realized, much like I do in most instances, that I need to put it in God's hands. Now yes, there are things that my husband and I can work on with Ella, but I am quickly finding out that things get better when GOD is in control. When we LET God be in control. I realized that I had not been praying for her to overcome this jealousy. I thought, "it's probably just a phase, and it will pass." And I tried to handle it. But regardless of whether it's just a phase, I should have placed it in God's hands through prayer.

So that's what I do now. I pray for my children's relationship.

Just this morning, we came in to cool off from a golfcart ride. (I haven't been walking lately due to this exhausting heat!) I set Wilson down in the playroom and left to go fix us all, as Ella would call it, "a refreshing drink." Such big words! I walk back in to witness Ella "reading" to Wilson. I sat there and took it in, praising God for HIS works, not mine. And not only did she read 3 books to him, she included him in a few conversations, and even tried to give him a high-five!

I tell you this to use as an example of one way in which God works. Again, sometimes it's in obvious ways, and sometimes we never see it. We don't always understand God's timing. Sometimes we see His work immediately. Sometimes it takes years. But everything is always in God's PERFECT timing. Not OUR timing ... HIS.

God is good, and He wants to take care of us. I need to let Him.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Small Ways to Save

Yes, it has been ridiculously HOT lately, but our electric bill this month was outragous! I am determined to make this lower for next month. And in doing so, I will be helping our beautiful planet. God intended for us to take care of this place that He created for us. These are all simple and obvious things we can do, but it's always good to be reminded. I love finding ways to save money here and there, so I figured you would to, and I decided to share with this random post.

Simple tips on how to save on your electric bill:

 Try adjusting your thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees. I bet you won’t even be able to tell a difference. You can save 2-3% per each degree. We raised ours 2 degrees while we slept last night, and I surprisingly never woke up hot!

 Lighting accounts for about 15% of a home’s electric use. Replace lightbulbs with compact fluorescent ones, which use 65-85% less electricity and will last at least 8x longer.

 Keep your garage door closed. Heat and air easily escapes.

 Lower the heat on your water heater (gradually). Even a few degrees lower can add up fast.

 Turn off your computer when not in use. You can save between $25-$75 on your electric bill per computer, per year.

 Unplug all devices from outlets when not in use. Some things I continually (and unnecessarily) have plugged in are our cell phone chargers, nightlights, coffee pot, camera battery charger, hairdryer, stereos, toaster, children’s humidifier. Do a walk-thru around your home and unplug any unnecessary items, as they still use power even when not in use or turned off.

 Clean or replace air filter once a month.

 Seal up your home, around doorways, with caulk gun and weather stripping, especially late Spring and Fall.

 Install more attic insulation.

 Make sure to run only when the dishwasher is completely full. This uses tons of hot, hot water. Same goes with the washing machine and dyer.

 Make sure you have proper window coverings. The sun can really heat up a room fast.

Try to instill some of these simple ways in your children early on. Do a walk-thru at home with your children and involve them in ways we can save and help our Earth. And as always, recycle!

Something we are going to start doing as a family ... take just one hour each day to have ALL lights out throughout the house, plus turn off all tvs. We are going to also use this as quality time together. And I'm curious to see how much we save on our energy bill. I'll let you know!

Monday, July 19, 2010

God knows ...

I am not an eloquent writer, teacher, or preacher. I am simply a wife to a wonderful husband and mom of 2 sweet, sweet children, and a heart for the Lord. I feel God leads us in many directions, and for many different reasons, sometimes obvious and sometimes not. I feel God placed some things on my heart and is leading me to share. I do not know where this will go and what doors will open, but I do know that our wonderful, mighty God does. He knows, and He will lead me and guide me ... and I am willing to let Him.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Apple Tree Story

The Apple Tree Blog was created purely on a whim one hot, summer night sitting on my den sofa while my husband was watching The British Open. I do enjoy watching golf majors with him, but tonight something sparked in me to start writing about something that happened today. Something that God truly had a hand in.

I have been stewing over an idea to start a small at-home business, something I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the courage. I was doing a little research today and could not come up with a good name for my small business. I wanted something catchy, but not generic, and it was important for it to have some sort of personal meaning behind it. I called my mom up for some help, as she is so much more creative than I am. An idea that kept coming back to me was “The Mustard Seed” from the biblical parable. I love the meaning behind it but I felt as if this has been over-used. Not in a bad way. Just wanted something different.

My mom then shared with me an incredible saying … “Only God knows how many apples are in one seed.” WOW! What a beautiful thought and so right. I thought, “That’s it!! It’s perfect.” I can move forward. I now know what I want to base my business on. We hung up.

For the past month or so, when bathing our 9 month old son, this hymn would always come to mind. I didn’t know the name of it and only knew part of the lyrics, not even enough to sing, so I would hum the tune. This hymn is not something I hear often. But every night it would just come to me ... when with my son.

My phone rang again. It was Mom. She had remembered a particular hymn that went along with that beautiful saying. She wants it sung at her funeral. (She’s only 60, but what a great idea to share meaningful verses/hymns with your family for when that time does come.) I looked up the song in my Methodist hymnal and after reading the music and singing along, I realized that was THE song I had been humming to my baby boy all along.

Hymn of Promise:

In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

God continues to amaze me each and every day. Sometimes it’s something obvious. Sometimes not. Sometimes we understand it. And sometimes we don’t. But God truly is incredible and I want to share in His awesome, amazing grace, power, and love. It was then that I decided I wanted to put my time and thoughts and energy, instead of a business, into sharing HIS love for us to anyone that will listen.

You can count the apples on the tree, but only God knows how many apples are in one seed. Beginning to understand why you can’t count the apples in a seed? And that’s just one of my apple tree stories. I would love to hear some of yours.


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