Monday, December 31, 2012

When His Kingdom Comes...

There have been moments in my life when I have felt "his kingdom come" in a setting of worship...frozen capsules of time when I had the distinct feeling of "I need to remember this...I think this may be a glimpse of what Heaven will be".  One was a couple of years ago at the Dwelling Place during youth worship which you can read about here.  Another was yesterday morning in worship.

It was a morning not unlike others spent with other believers worshipping.  We were singing "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down...".  I might have had my hands raised in worship, and I remember thinking how grateful I felt just to be in his presence, just to be welcome there.  Isaac and I were sitting in the balcony and I looked down in front of us to the area reserved for worshippers arriving in wheelchairs.

There she was...she opened up Heaven for me in that instant.  She had her hair in a single braid like that of a little girl, but she looked to be in her 30s maybe.  Her movements were jerky, so much so that she had to have help to move her water bottle to her bag.  Everything she did seemed to take such effort while I make the same movements without even thinking.  Although it looked to be difficult for her, she had her hand up in the air, raised to her Lord, as we all sang, "I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross...Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you're my God".  Yes, he is, my sweet sweet sister...he is YOUR God.  He is my God.  He is OUR God, and we will worship him together healed and whole one day.

My gaze lifted to the rows in front of her.  I noticed a completely white-headed gentleman with both arms raised to the Heavens belting out, "You're altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me...".

A little bit to the left and in front of us stood a 30-something man just weeping and covering his eyes with his hands.  As we again sang, "I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross", he boldly raised his hands high as the tears still rolled down his cheeks.

Isaac was beside me, our sweet 11 year old who knows his Lord and loves him deeply, singing his heart out and causing me to pause with wonder at this man-child beside me...when did it happen?

I have no idea what it will be like when we are finally where we belong, praising the King with all that we are, but I sure did feel like I got a glimpse of it yesterday morning.  I am grateful, so grateful, to be part of this Body, this family, this Kingdom.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

On Christmas...

  • A friend asked me today whether we give a lot of gifts at Christmas, and if not, what are some ways to prepare kids for a lean year.  I wrote out my thoughts in a message and then decided this may be something useful for others....and it may not be, but I just felt compelled to share.

    Christmas...well, we kind of do different things every year which I think actually has helped with our boys not having certain expectations of Christmas...not that we planned just happened that things (resources, our location, etc) would be different each year, so it has always been different.
    • On the lean years, we have focused on giving. Strangely, Isaac will still say that his VERY favorite Christmas ever was the year we (meaning Tim and I) didn't buy them a single present. We took the money (not much, mind you) that we would have spent on them and used it to buy Christmas for an Angel Tree child. Of course, they still got presents from Grandmas and aunts and uncles, but we only filled their stockings and that was all.  We thought Isaac (he was really the only one old enough to totally know the difference) would have HATED that, but he just said again the other day that it was his favorite Christmas. We did a TON of explaining and talking ahead of time, though...talking through the fact that they would still get presents from other people and the kids we were buying for would perhaps not get any presents at all if we weren't buying for them...talking about the fact that their parent was in prison and how sad that would be and that maybe we could bring them some joy, etc

      Now, that is an extreme you may not want to go for...but there have been other years when money just wasn't there and one thing we did was try to spend as little money as possible but get things that make Christmas day SUPER fun...dart guns, cheap(er) board games, craft-ish things we could do together, etc.
    • I have been shocked by our boys' grace and resilience in this area. It would seem that the more "stuff" on Christmas morning, the happier, but we have found the opposite to be the case. Now, that doesn't mean that we haven't had years where we've had LOTS of stuff. In fact, this year, we're spending a bit more than usual. BUT I am already praying that the "stuff" will not drown out the family and the reason for the day....which reminds cliche as it may sound, one other thing that helps us focus is reminding ourselves and the boys that the reason for the day is Jesus' birthday. So, we have a birthday cake for Jesus which they look forward to and get pretty excited about.  Although they typically get in a fight over which one of them gets to blow out the the effect doesn't last long...haha

    Friday, November 23, 2012


     The oldest cousin meets the youngest cousin.  I think they love each other already.

    The two toothless wonders...

     Watching Arthur Christmas....I'm pretty sure this is the first quiet and still moment of the day.
    We missed you, Georgia cousins.  Let's go to Florida, ok?  Right now...this week...ok???

    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    Grammie's Noodles

    She always makes the noodles.

    This year, she made them at our house so I could learn how she makes them.  I wrote down everything she said, but I think Simon has it memorized so he can take charge of the noodles if Grammie ever stops making them.

    The recipe (click to enlarge):

    Monday, October 22, 2012

    Hello Second Grade!

    A week from today, I shall become, among the other things which define me,

    Mrs. Wood, 2nd grade teacher.

    I am VERY excited and super grateful for God's provision of opportunities in our family.  We can look back and see how he has used the ups and downs of our lives to bring us to this point.  Always in my mind, though, is the fact that an opportunity for me means some loss in others' lives.  Mrs. Meehan, who was my fifth grade teacher and Isaac's 2nd grade teacher, is retiring earlier than she planned, and I'm certain that when she imagined her retirement, this is never the way she saw it happening in her mind.  So, it is a bittersweet thing for me...the sweet in the looks on those kiddos faces today when I got to break the news to them that we would be spending every day together, the bitter as I think that Mrs. Meehan thought she would be spending every day with them during this school year.  Life is made up of the bitter and the sweet and they go together to make something beautiful.

    I am thankful...for a new adventure, for a job I LOVE, for Mrs. Meehan and others who have left a legacy before me...

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    I just now stopped to listen...

    ...and this is what I'm hearing:
    • rain on the tin roof of our porch
    • Simon singing Ezra to sleep
    • Tim talking on the phone to a sweet college student, talking him through how to love his room mate to Jesus
    • thunder rolling
    • a quilt and coffee calling out my name
    Loving the sounds in this old house tonight.

    Sunday, October 14, 2012


    What a super-fun night.  So many of the people we love the most all in one room together eating yummy food and talking about great memories.  We felt so loved and honored to be appreciated and celebrated by the FCC Church family tonight.  Thank you for speaking into our lives.  Thank you for your presence.  Thank you for your cards.  Thank you for the pictures...oh, the pictures!!!  Thank you for being on the journey with us.  We are grateful that our paths still cross on a regular basis.  We are grateful, too, for the years  God chose to place us in youth ministry at First Christian Church.  We came as young kids with a brand new baby.  Now we're old[er] with 3 sweet boys in the house and such a great group of "big kids" we get to watch become adults.  We remain...thankful. 

    I love this man.  I can't believe I get to do life with
    him  I am a blessed woman.

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    On the Journey Towards Green

    The Wood family has by no means "arrived" in the area of being green.  In fact, unless God speaks in a clear English voice to me about the subject, this mama will likely never enforce using the used sink water to flush the toilet.  However, we have arrived upon some convictions for our family on this subject.  I thought it might be fun to share them in case some of you find yourselves wondering what your family could do.  We don't, in any way, claim that these are things that all people should do...we're just sharing where we're at in hopes that it may inspire or encourage you on your journey.

    Why green??  Well, for us, it started when we read the book The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.  The subject of the book is not really "green living", but it did convict our hearts as we realized that we have been entrusted with resources and we had not been taking good care...or ANY care...of many of those resources.  It convicted us in other areas as well, but those are blog posts for another day.

    We started the beginning we simply recycled cardboard and that was all.  Then we added plastics and paper.  This family threw away a LOT of paper!!!!  We soon realized that we had almost no trash anymore and, for awhile, we even canceled our trash service.  A few months later, we started back up with the trash service because, even though we had very little trash, we still needed for it to go somewhere.  However, we were able to sign up for a lesser quantity, lower cost service.

     Next, we started using cloth napkins.  We keep them in a bowl or a basket in the middle of the table. I already had some cloth napkins, and I bought a couple more sets on clearance at TJ Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory. You could also make them from a sheet or your favorite material, but I haven't been that ambitious.  At first it was difficult to convince the boys that they really could wipe ketchup or barbecue sauce on the cloth napkin, but now they are pros, believe me!!
     Most recently, I have stopped buying paper towels.  I bought two packages of shop towels in the automotive department at Wal-Mart and this adorable large cookie jar, also from Wal-Mart.  I painted a piece of card stock with chalkboard paint and glued it on the cookie jar.  Again, it took a few tries to get the boys to wipe up their spills with these rather than running for toilet paper or the McDonalds napkins in the glove box of the car, but now they know just what to do when a spill occurs.  Ok...they don't always do it, but they know WHAT to do.

    What about keeping these napkins and shop towels clean though?  It really has not added any work to my life.  I bought this cute little apple basket at Goodwill for 99 cents.  It sits in our mudroom and everyone knows that you bring the soiled napkins or towels into the mudroom, spray them with the "we hope this doesn't stain" spray, and drop them in this basket.  When the basket gets full, I throw them in the washer...maybe along with some towels or by themselves if there are enough for a load or with underwear...who knows.  Ok, not with underwear, well maybe not.  Perhaps you should never use the cloth napkins if you come to our house.  Haha!!!

    There you have it...either my first of many or maybe my first and only post on green living at the Wood house.

    Wednesday, August 29, 2012

    Our Baby Is No Longer A Baby

    Simon started preschool today.  I wasn't sad, but I was a bit nostalgic.  We are ready and excited to have "big kids", but there's something about knowing there will be no more strollers, diapers, nursing, baby blankets, passies, etc. that makes this mama just a wee bit sad....not sad enough to cry, but a little sad nonetheless.

    Simon was all "big boy" today, ready to go and excited.  He didn't really want his picture taken, but Daddy told him he didn't have a choice (God bless Daddy!!).  So, he compromised by standing behind the small brown chair...I guess he thought he won the battle if part of his legs were not showing???

    The Wood boys have a tradition of a "thumbs up" picture with Daddy on the first day of preschool.  Actually, I don't really think its a tradition, but somehow we've done it with all three.  Maybe Daddy is just a thumbs-up type of guy.  I love that these three boys are all so different, but every single picture shows that great Daddy of theirs.  I love these men...

    Saturday, August 18, 2012

    Loving our new chalkboard quote...

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
    –Marianne Williamson

    Friday, July 20, 2012

    Vacation With Three Boys

    Simon took this picture of me.  He was so much fun on vacation.  He no longer needs swim diapers or a stroller.  He's one of the big boys now.  He doesn't even really need his floaties, but mama still made him wear them occasionally.  He loved the beach, and would spend almost an hour making things in the sand all by himself.  He loved to help me take pictures, too (see picture of me with my tongue out!!).

    Isaac has officially become a young man.  He enjoyed the freedom of being older...going up to the hotel room by himself while the rest of us were swimming, staying up a little later than the other two, reading for hours in the car.  I love that he was thoughtful on this trip, offering to take his brothers to the room so Daddy and I could read by the pool, not asking for every trinket we passed by.  He found out that he loves crab legs, so he and I ordered them together every chance we got.

    Ezra was always ready to throw the football or the baseball every time the car stopped or he stepped out onto the beach.  He also began a love affair with ESPN.  We don't get channels at home, so this mama realized that if we did, this house full of boys would have the TV on ESPN most of the time!!  I see channels in our future! ;)  I loved on this trip that Ezra was always ready for a party and made everything we did so much fun.

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    Fourth of July Menu

    I'm hosting a little family Fourth of July shindig this year.  I can't remember ever hosting on the fourth of July before.  I'm super excited!  Uncle Kerry and Aunt Mary are in from Oklahoma, Uncle Mickey and Aunt Kathie are driving up route 1 to join us, and of course our family and my mama will be here.  If you are related to us, consider this your invitation to join us...I'm not even kidding...come it!!!!

    Here's our menu:

    Hawaiian Pork Chops
    We used to have these at Steve and Jan Spencer's house when I was a little girl, and now here I am being the grown-up and making them!!!

    Buttermilk Chicken Legs
    We just tried these for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and Ezra said (with chicken hanging off of his face), "Could we have these EVERY night for supper?!?"

    Calypso Beans and Rice
    We had this fabulous side dish for the first time at a Fourth of July shindig at my 2nd cousin's wife's brother's house a few years ago.  Don't even try to figure that my family we are super close to our 2nd cousin's wife's brother's uncle's aunt and we never see our uncle...we're just weird that way!!!

    Pioneer Woman's Fresh Corn Casserole
    I've never made this, but EVERYTHING the Pioneer Woman makes is delicious!!!

    My Aunt Kathie's Salad
    I love it when Aunt Kathie makes's always yummy!!
    (I don't have a picture of the salad, but here's one of Aunt Kathie...she's the redhead in the aunt Mary is on the right, and my mama is on the left)

    Homemade Peach Pie with Ice Cream
    Again, no picture of the pie (I have never worked that far ahead!), but here's the rolling pin I will use to roll out the crust...

    The Pioneer Woman's Fourth of July Cake
    I'm pretty sure this is sinful, but we WILL enjoy every minute of it!

    So, this is our Fourth of July menu...what's on your menu this year??

    Friday, June 29, 2012


    ...for air conditioning

    ...for the mild weather we've had so far this year and lots of picnics like this one

    ...for the season of life we are in

    ...for a trip to Holiday World with no nursing, swim diapers, or strollers!!!

    ...for a God who SEES us, LOVES us, CARES about our deepest pains as well as the shallow ones

    ...for vacation coming soon

    ...for days at home in our jammies

    ...for the WORD that is living and active

    ...for Jesus, our savior, redeemer, our hope

    ...for a big boy in our house who loves Jesus and loves his little brothers

    ...for the little brothers--the joy and laughs they bring

    ...for big kids in our lives...too many to list, but SO grateful for ALL of them!

    ...for Family Video free movies from report card As :)

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    Friday, June 8, 2012


    Seven years ago today, you came bounding into our family, Ezra James Wood.  We have never been the same.  You have brought joy.  You have brought so very much laughter.  You are legitimately funny, not even just funny in a little kid sort of are VERY funny.

    You speak the truth.  You never hurt people intentionally.  Sometimes you mistakenly think that it is all about you, but you realize later when you have been wrong and you always think to say sorry.  You love your brothers and your Daddy and me with a deep and real love.

    You know a lot about sports and you play them with passion.  You know the plays on a football field before they ever happen just by the way the guys are lined up.  You can pitch a baseball like nobody's business.  You are good at sports, but you are also patient and very excited when your team mates do well.

    I adore you, my second son.  Your face lights up my world.  I am thankful God chose to give you to our family for these years.  You make us more like Jesus.

    Love, Mama

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    I wanna live like that...

    Last night, Tim and I listened as a new friend told us that the future of their little family might possibly have just changed for generations to come because of some recent conversations she and her fiance have had with Tim.  She talked with tears in her eyes which, of course, caused tears to come to my eyes.  I love those moments when you know with everything in you that God is present...that he is right there with you at that Starbucks table...and that he is working in the hearts of people...and that for some reason which we will never know, he chooses to involve us in it.

    My God, the one who redeems, has used Tim in these two hearts, and they are different and their future will be different.  This isn't so unusual, though...God is supposed to use us, right?  It shouldn't be a surprise when it happens.  The part some might find unusual (or dare I even say "sinful"??) is that the relationship Tim has with these two was born about a year and a half ago when my dear husband chose to go to a bar with this new friend of his (the guy in the relationship, not the girl...don't worry...this is not THAT scandalous!!).  He even stuck around while this new friend chose to drink more than his fair share so that he could help him get safely back.  There are some comical stories about their time together that night and subsequent nights.  This guy saw something different in Tim.  My hubby, the one my soul loves, is who he is no matter who he is with.  He is real.  He is honest.  He is wise, yet fun.  He loves Jesus with all of his heart.  He is not afraid to be a friend of sinners (and its a good thing, because if he was, he couldn't be a true friend of his own wife or his own self!!).  The man I love is not worried if someone sees him in a bar or with people drinking or even drinking an alcoholic beverage of his own because he knows who he is and he knows the One who has called him and he trusts his God to go before him, preparing the way for relationships that will be built and ministry that will take place.

    I love this man...who is full of grace and wisdom and trusts his God to lead him.  He is not perfect.  In fact, last night when we got in the car, I said, with tears in my eyes, "I can't believe I get to be married to you!" and then quickly followed it up with "but some days I can NOT stand you!!".  So, no, he is not perfect, but he is REAL and he LOVES people.

    I love this God...who redeems us, who chases us to where we are and uses his people to love us and pull us out of pits.  He IS perfect, but in his perfection, he still pours out grace and mercy into our lives, both for our own sake and so that we can then pour it into others' lives.

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Fifteen Things...

    1.  I accomplished Day 1 of Couch to 5k today.
    2.  Even though I loathe exercising, I always always ALWAYS feel so good after I do it.
    3.  I ate a brownie and a bowl of ice cream after supper.
    4.  My boys are on their 7th episode of The Avengers because they are so excited about the movie tomorrow night.
    5.  It is ok with me if they keep watching it until bedtime.
    6.  My husband and I had a fight about money tonight.
    7.  Actually, I fought, and he listened and responded patiently.
    8.  I hate it when he does that.
    9.  Tomorrow is Opening Day of baseball for our town.
    10.  Baseball is my favorite sport to watch my boys play.
    11.  There are only 8 more regular days of school.
    12.  At this point, no school day is actually "regular".
    13.  I'm wearing a pair of cut-off sweats that one of my college room mates was going to throw away 10 years ago but instead gave to me.
    14.  Clearly, I need a shopping trip (see #6...haha!).
    15.  I am thankful for my wise husband (see #7).

    And, because no post is quite as exciting if it doesn't have a photo, I'll leave you with this...I got up on the roof of south school to take a picture of the whole school for next year's handbook.  They told me to photoshop myself in, but, sadly, they did not choose to use this version for the handbook.  I am still not sure what the problem is???

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Simon!

    Simon came down the stairs this morning and Ezra said, "Hey, Simon!  Happy Birthday!".  Simon looked down at himself, gave himself a once-over, and said, with wonder, "Am I 4?".

    Yes you are 4, sweet boy.  You are not a baby anymore.  I can't believe how much you've grown up.  You make us laugh ALL THE TIME.  You love your friends and your brothers.  You can pray like a wild man, and you always know just what to pray about.  You love to dance, and Daddy and I often look at each other with a look that says "Can you believe how good he is????".  You love for us to read to you and you also like to "read" to us (the books you have memorized of course!).  You are very ornery which is cute most of the time but gets you into trouble at least once a day.  :)

    Daddy and I were wishing for a girl before you were born, but the moment you arrived we knew you were just what we needed.  I can't imagine our family without you.

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Three Boys

    I really love am obsessed with pictures of all three of our boys.  I will never need to wallpaper my house because the walls are filled obnoxiously covered with pictures of the three of them.  So, I recently had the idea to do a blog post with pictures of the three of them from the time there first were three of them (when Simon was born) until now.  This was a fun trip down memory lane, with a little sadness that they will never be this little again, but mostly a lot of excitement about the boys they are now and what they will become.  Before Isaac was born, a wise friend told us that every stage just gets more and more fun, and she was so right!!!

    in the hospital, soon after Simon was born

    hanging out on the porch at home

    on the porch again, dressed up for church

    the 3 chipmunks for Halloween

    our Christmas card picture 2008

    Easter 2009

    hanging out at home

    visiting the Enkoffs

    a photo shoot outside

    and a photo shoot inside

    playing in the snow

    spring break 2010 trip to St Louis

    Easter 2010

    Disney World summer 2010 to celebrate 
    Daddy's MDiv graduation

    three sporty boys summer 2010

    St George Island Summer 2010

    hiking at Turkey Run on Daddy's last Sunday 
    working at First Christian Church

    Christmas 2010

    Deming Park Summer 2011

    Milligan College Fall 2011

    Christmas Card picture 2011