Sunday, February 28, 2010

Teen Girl's Lesson

In the fall, Mark and I separated the girls and guys in youth group.  I got the chance to share with the girls.  I was VERY nervous about this and felt very inadequate!  I have only boys and have NEVER taught a teen girl class before.  I some times feel I don't relate to them :)  Girls can be so catty (like me)  and wimpy, it drives me nuts!  I always remember my friend Tara (she has 4 girls) and whenever her girls fell or got "hurt",,,, she'd just say "Be tough".  I loved that, thinking  "Yeah!!  Non-wimpy girls!"    So I prepared, searched for info, prayed and studied on what to share with the girls.  I found a useful course on line and worked with that.  I changed it around and filled in where I thought it needed.  I went into the first class really nervous!!!  When I started,, I had the weeks counted down til I was done.  As each week moved on, though, I began to really enjoy the girls and the time with them!  They all have different personalities and some I "get along" with better, but they're all so unique and a GREAT bunch of girls!  I actually started to enjoy it and loved the time with them.  So neat to see the Lord change my heart and cause me to enjoy it.  I still get nervous as I'm not a natural speaker and still feel I don't totally relate to them as I only am raising boys,, but I love the chance the Lord's given me!  Once we finished our 8 or 9 lessons,, we went back to meeting together with the guys .  The girls actually were disappointed to stop meeting as girls!  I was SO shocked and honored,, hehe!    So we decided to meet once a month.  The great thing about this, as I prepare for our lessons, I am learning and being SO challenged in my life!  Teaching is a great way to learn and be challenged yourself!
This next few months together,, I'm going through the book, Words that hurt Words that heal by Carole Mayhall.  What a GREAT, CHALLENGING book on the tongue and our speech!  The Lord is sooo using it for me as I prepare for each lesson.  Today is the first lesson and it's on whether my tongue is a fountain or babbling brook.  Do my words show depth and wisdom as a fountain, or are they just babbling helter skelter as a brook does?  Ugh, so convicting!  I feel I'm going to get the MOST challenged from these lessons as girls!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Love Language

A few years ago, my in laws gave us the book The Five Love Languages.  It's a very good book and I have discovered my "love language" is acts of service. I feel especially loved when Mark does things for me.  At times Mark says he thinks all 5 are mine and that I'm a hand full!!  :)  Maybe so :)

A few weeks ago, the fuse blew to the light in the family room.  This room is in the center of the house and is the main path of traffic.  It's also the room we do school in.  There are 2 windows in it but they are on the west side and also go out into the screened porch, so not alot of light comes in those windows.  So this room is real dark without the lights.  Mark decided to take  down the old light that was in there and replace it.  The old one never worked correctly and didn't give off enough light.  This morning Mark did WalMart's windows real early and came home with a new light.  I looked at it and didn't like the style of the light and it only held two bulbs so I knew it wouldn't be efficient.  I felt so bad making Mark return it,, but he willingly took me to Lowes so we could pick one out together.  We picked one out and he put it up right away.  I know this is NOT Mark's thing and he does not enjoy doing it so it was a total act of love for me :)  How sweet of him!  It looks great and give off tons light!! 
Now he just has to fill in the holes from the old light and then maybe paint the ceiling :)  One small job always creates others but it's the idea of Mark doing that for me because he loves me that makes my heart smile!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chickens in the Winter

We've had chickens since we've lived here in PA.  It's a great chore for the boys to have and also a way to make some money.  We let the boys sell the extra eggs,,, we have to have a dozen in the frig and they can sell the extras.  We've got "customers" from church and the neighbors love the eggs.  Our problem isn't finding people to buy our fresh, yummy, better for you eggs,, it's keeping up with the demand!  Right now Hunter, Luke and Silas all have their own chickens.  Luke also has a duck in his coop.  Last year poor Duck was attacked by a mean raccoon (which we later trapped and got rid of!) and was barely alive but she lived through it!  Luke enjoys Duck and was so glad she made it! 

We always start our chickens from peeps and when they get enough feathers, move them outdoors to moveable coops.  Then once they start laying, they move to the permanent coops.  This summer I hope to get 12 more chicks and also some meat birds.   This is Hunter digging a path to the snow buried coops.
We started with the coop in the front and added an addition on each year.  So there are now 3 different batches of hens,, each with their own rooster.  This black rooster is our only "nice" rooster.  Silas' rooster is the meanest!!!  I won't go in that coop without a weapon to defend my legs!  This is an egg in the nesting box.   Right now we get about 18-20 eggs a day.  This is the first winter they didn't slow down!!  All the winters in the past, we went months with feeding them and NO eggs!  Bummer!!!    It's been great because we go through at least a dozen a day,, 2 per person for breakfast is more than a dozen but Mark doesn't eat eggs every morning and some days the younger guys prefer to just have toast.    The joys of our birds!  I absolutely LOVE the chickens and hope to always have them!  I love working in the garden and throwing the grub worms to them and watch them fight for it!  I just go down to the coop and watch them,, I find real peacefulness in that! 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snowy Thursday

Yipppeeee!  Mark was home from school today.  So nice having him home putzing around here, grading, shoveling, eating with us, etc.  Such a cozy feeling having us all home together with the snow falling outside!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Blessings

While at Ruthie's shower, we're going to be wearing flip flops.  Tonya put it in the invitation to wear your decorated flip flops and win a prize.... so I've been planning on putting together a pair.  Last week at church, an older lady gave me a box of clothes.  She does this often and it's usually clothes for the boys (this is such a huge help and blessing!).  When I got the box home and looked inside, I couldn't believe there were flip flops that were my size in there AND they were the exact color of the shower decorations and my outfit!!!  I was so excited!  Then another lady from church gave me a large box of crafting supplies (she often does this too and it's always SO fun to look through!!!) and I pulled that box out today and put my flip flops together.  The craft box had puffy, glitter paint in it with the same VERY colors!!!  The Lord is SO personal!!  I pointed this out to the boys and they couldn't believe it!   
I made the green flowers and put the glitter paint around the bottom of the flip flop.  The lacy ribbon  and beads were in the fun box :)  What a fun gift from HIM!!!

Godly Women

I've been preparing for Ruthie's Bridal shower devotion.  My sister Tonya is doing two parts and I'm doing two parts.  We divided it up into the word "wife", Tonya doing W and F and I'm doing I and E.  So I've been going over it again and again, saying it in the shower, as I'm drying my hair and whenever I'm alone.  Of course, this makes me conscious of how I'm doing as a wife in those areas.  How convicting this has been!  I realize my failures as I become more aware of it.  This morning I was reading from a book and I found it so challenging and encouraging!  It's about the life of Sarah Edwards.  I thought it was neat, she's from New Haven, CT the very town I was born in :)   Sarah married Jonathan Edwards, a Pastor.  Jonathan seemed like a "difficult" man to be married to at times,, kind of moody.  Yet, Sarah decided to meet his needs even in his moodiness and the difficult times of marriage.  They lived in the 1700's when the conveniences of life weren't available.  Johnathan and Sarah had 11 children!  This is a part taken from the book," In our centrally-heated houses, it's difficult to imagine the tasks that were Sarah's to do or delegate: breaking ice to haul water, bringing in firewood and tending the fire, cooking and packing lunches for visiting travelers, making the family's clothing (from sheep shearing through spinning and weaving to sewing), growing and preserving produce, making brooms, doing laundry, tending babies and nursing illnesses, making candles, feeding poultry, overseeing butchering, teaching the boys whatever they didn't learn at school, and seeing that the girls learned homemaking creativity. And that was only a fraction of Sarah's responsibilities.  Once when Sarah was out of town and Johnathan was in charge, he wrote most desperately, 'We have been without you almost as long as we know how to be.' " 

The book says this about Sarah, "She had an excellent way of governing her children; she know how to make them regard and obey her cheerfully, without loud angry words, much less heavy blows... If any correction was necessary, she did not administer it in a passion; and when she had occasion to reprove  and rebuke she would do it in few words, without warmth and noise...   Her system of discipline was begun at a very early age and it was her rule to resist the first, as well as every subsequent exhibition of temper or disobedience in the child... wisely reflecting that until a child will obey his parents he can never be brought to obey God."

Sarah often had guests in her home, as the pastor's home was viewed as a welcoming overnight place.  Sarah seemed like an incredible servant for the Lord!  As a result, all of her children and many generations after were productive citizens and influential in the community.  Many of the guests that came into their home, went on to serve the Lord as a result of Sarah's encouragement! 

I haven't finished the book but the few pages I've read so far have been such an encouragement to me and challenge to me to be a more selfless wife,, giving more to him and not my selfishness!   And realize the importance my life has on the boys the Lord has given us!   I'm thankful for the Godly women from the past who stuck it out and used their surrendered life ALL for the Savior!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mouse trap

Since we live in the country, we've always had issues with mice, especially in the winter.  We set traps, sometimes more than a couple and they would be full every morning.  I got so sick of wiping down the droppings and sanitizing the counters every morning.  This summer we decided to get two sister kittens to help with the mice issues.  Of course, the boys thought I was just being nice and letting them have another pet.  I don't like pets unless they're useful and help with our home rather than "just another mouth to feed".  (We have plenty of those!!!)  I named the sisters Lilly and Daisy but those names didn't stick.  Then we named them Lucy and Ethel but poor Ethel got run over after only a couple of months of owning her.  She's nicely buried under our maple tree out front.  Well, dear Lucy ended up with a new name.  Her name is Cat's Paw.   Luke some how came up with it and Hunter has made it stick with us all.  She's a great cat and added fun for the boys! They all love having her sleep with them and carry her around.  I feel so sorry for her, dangling from Titus or Addan's arms but she almost looks like she's smiling with them.  And the biggest plus about Cat's Paw is I haven't seen one sign of a mouse this whole winter!  Now, that's what makes me smile about her!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Internet Friends

I'm so thankful for the "friends" and encouragement I get from others on the internet.  I know it can be a "dangerous" thing but in my life right now,,, it's a huge blessing.  I don't live near family or close girl friends, so it's a way to communicate with them each day.  Back in the times when families lived closer and worked to help eachother-- big canning days, baking days, quilting bees, etc., there wasn't a feeling of aloneness.  My Mom has often said how there is so much more information out there.  She didn't have any material on child training and as a new Christian raising kids, had to just do what she thought best.  Now, we can just click a few buttons, and we have oodles of info at our hands (of course, we have to weed through it).  I have learned how to detect which families I want to glean from real fast.  What an encouragement that is for me!

Today was bread making day.  I had read a post a few days ago from a blog friend, Trina.  I met Trina once a few years ago but didn't get to know her then.  She was single then but is now a young Mom and very encouraging to me.  I enjoy her crafting, mothering and cooking skills.  She posted on making healthy crackers, so since I had the mill out while making bread, I got her recipe out and tried some crackers.  It was fun to do and Trina inspired me to try something healthy for the boys (I had to STOP them from eating them all so Dad can try some!!) :)  What a fun time spent with my blog friend,, although, she didn't even know it :) Thanks Trina!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Little Things

While I starting to make supper, Hunter came in with his wet, snowy boots and asked for some scissors to take  back out with him.  In my mind I wanted to tell him "no" because so many have gone outside, never to come back again.  I asked him what for, and he just said to pick something and smiled.  He took a pair and out he went.  I thought he would be using them for something outside for himself.  A few minutes later, the door opened and he handed me these berries.  I dropped the potato I was cutting and took them from him and thanked him and put them in a jar on the window sill.  I'm not really a "flower" type person but I do love the whole thought that Hunter saw those and came back inside for scissors and cut them for me!  How very special!  I was so thankful I didn't "kindly remind" him not to walk with his boots on, or refuse to give him the scissors!  I would of ruined it!  So thankful for the little things that brighten my all boy day!! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Day After

The House of Ludington, Escanaba, MI
I always remember the day after Valentine's Day,,, it was a very special day back in 1992.  Mark and I started dating the first month at college.  We started to talk about marriage in January; Mark didn't want to talk marriage til he met my family and he came over during Christmas break.    Valentine's Day fell on a Friday while we were there.  I remember as the day came closer, Mark planning to take me out to eat.  He ended up planning it on Saturday, the day after Valentine's Day.  That Friday night while on campus, I had many people ask me where Philbrick was and why I wasn't out with him!  Mark had gone off campus with his brother and his girlfriend!  What a bummer but I felt consoled by the fact that he had a planned date the next day.  I remember Mark being so excited about it and all the details of it.  I didn't really get why he was so "into" this date.    It was in Escanaba, MI,, we were in Dunbar, WI so we had to travel a bit to get there.  My RA, Shelty (Melissa) and roommate Rebecca were our chaperones.  We got to the restaurant and ordered our meals.  Mark was so trying to make this just perfect for me.  He ordered duck and I had chicken.  I remember when dessert time came around, Rebecca and Shelty came back.  I thought they were watching us to make sure we "behaved!"  I was actually alittle annoyed they were there,,, man, no privacy!!!  Our waiter brought my dessert on a silver platter and Mark got on his knee and there was a diamond ring under the platter!  I was SOOO surprised!  I never expected this!  It's probably one of the only times Mark's pulled a huge surprise like that.  It was so romantic and so special.  I felt like we road back to campus on clouds.  I think we went to a hockey game after that and I was proudly showing off my ring!  What a special day I'll never forget and the feelings I had that night!  I'm so spoiled to be loved and cared for by my Mark!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Getting Ready

Today Mark, Jordan and Brendan went and painted a window customer's house.  He was supposed to do it last Saturday but because he got sick last Sat, he ended up doing it today.  Tonight is our church's Valentine's banquet.  So, sadly we had to miss it.   Us missing it, reminded me of a Valentine's Day many years ago,,, I'll write about that on Monday :)
So I used today to get ready for our special meal tomorrow.  The boys are so excited!  I made sugar cookies, chocolate cookies, choc dipped strawberries, trifle and pizza crust for the pizza tomorrow.  It's so much fun cooking for the boys; they come in and do their "anticipating food" noise,, wish I could tape it in so you could hear it.  It's kind of a guttural "huh, huh, huh."   Luke helped me with the strawberries.  They love to help when they can.  I only do the choc cookies on Valentines Day;  Mark and Brendan especially like them.  I love fun days together,,, should be fun tomorrow.  We got our "red" outfits to wear to church tomorrow and I'm getting my little Valentines ready for my Sunday School class.  Ahhhh, life is good!  Enjoy your day with your love in your life!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making Valentines


Today we did a half day of school and then made Valentines together.  Addan was SO excited about this, it was the first thing he asked me this morning, "Mom, can I start building my Valentines?"  Titus didn't remember them from last year and was kind of confused at first but caught on.  He'll like it when we open them on Sunday together.  Here Tim is writing one, Brendan is making one and Hunter is finishing his school.  Addan is the in picture standing up,, he must of made about 20 and was so excited to write his brother's names on them!  Then he ran over and put each Valentine in the slot with his brother's name on it.  I made our "mailbox" a few years ago out of cereal boxes.  It's held up quite well,, with having to add Titus and Addan's name to the original box :)

Exciting blessings!!!!

My sister Ruthie is getting married in May so my other sister Tonya and I are giving her a shower in 3 weeks,, eek!!  Times flying!!  This is a very special time as Ruthie's our baby sister (she was born when I was 18) and is such a sweet girl.  She's a very godly girl and is willing to do whatever the Lord wants with her life.  After she gets married, she'll begin the deputation trail raising support with her husband to serve the Lord in Mexico.  We'll all miss her terribly but are so excited to see the Lord use her life!  It's also a special time as Ruth has saved herself physically for her husband,, her first kiss will be on her wedding day!!!  Such a sweet gift to give Rey!    Anyways,, Tonya and I are planning a shower and we've gone with a flip flop theme.  Ruthie wears flip flops all summer, in fact she told me this past summer she's excited to go to Mexico because she can wear flip flops all year round there.   
Here are some of the decorations I've been working on!  It's been SOOOO much fun,, I absolutely LOVE doing this kind of thing!  We're trying to do it a bit elegant with the flip flops.  I put tuelle on them and will have them with my tea cups for the decorations.  I've got bells and hearts and lights to hang up.  Oh,, it's going to be so fun!!  Today while I was at WalMart,, I went to the plastic table cloth section (I'm trying to get a little bit each week to stay within our budget),, and was SO excited to see the very green table cloths I need were marked down!!!!  Just last week they were $1.50.  I need about 15 so I decided to wait and check the dollar store (I want 15 in all 3 colors-- hot pink, green and white).  Well,, guess how much they were????  They were marked down from $1.50 to .37!!!!!   I couldn't believe it!!  I grabbed 15 thinking there MUST be a mistake!!  Sure enough,, they were only 37 cents!!  A true gift from a loving Father!!!  He's SOOO good and I'm so excited!! 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sharing the Love

We've always done it up for Valentine's Day: special meal, Valentine's box (cereal boxes on top of eachother with slits in them for each of us to put Valentines in for eachother), decorations, yummy desserts and fun together! Another tradition we started was to send a Valentine's Day care package to college students.  It's always fun to see the boys get excited about giving to other people.  One year we did our Pastor's daughter and Mark's niece, another year we did my sister and Mark's niece again.  This year, I thought it would be fun to have the teen girls at church join the fun and give to two college girls from our church.  One of the girl's parents just recently sold their house, went to Bible college and are planning to leave for India to be missionaries soon, so this girl will be alone in the states and I'm sure needs encouragement and some fun things too!  So I'm especially excited to get this out to her,, the other girl will be excited too, I'm sure!    Today I started to package them up,, the boys were excited to see that!  Luke exclaimed that he can't wait to go to college!  Silas came down and slipped some dollars into some socks that were in the package!  The joys of giving!  I pray the boys learn the joy of giving and the excitement it brings to think of how much fun it'll be when others receive from them! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday's Message

Well, it's Monday and I normally pick up the house from the weekend's mess (not sure why it's like that,, maybe from not being home much on Sunday??) but today I have the stomach bug.  Not as badly as Mark and some of the boys but enough to feel gross and be making trips to the potty room. :)   Mark went to the doctor this morning, he's had a swollen spot where we thought was the lymph node.  That made for lots of research on the internet,, which can be kind of scary.  Anywhere from cancer to infections.  The doctor said it's a hernia so Mark has to go back in next week to see that doctor.  I know it'll be an interesting time while he recovers, possibly me taking the boys around to do the window jobs,, I have NO clue how to wash them so I'll have to watch them work or learn.  I'm so thankful for such hardworking boys!  They are a true help and blessing to our home, not a drain!  But after fearing (I tried not to think about the worse case but at times found my self fearing having 8 boys by myself) the worst,, this seems so minor!  Funny how that happens.  Well, must go back to my chair and lay down,, feel my stomach gurgling again.  Trying to get knitting done while I "rest",, no such thing being a Mom! :)
I've been thinking alot about the sermon our Pastor preached last night.  It was real good, about keeping our lives separate from the world and how much the church has changed in that aspect.  I want my life to be a pleasing thing to my Savior!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Niagra Falls

Mark and I went away for the night for his Birthday.  We had a wicked good time!  The first day we just went to our motel and then out to eat.  Jordan called that evening and said Timothy had been throwing up.  Poor fella and poor fellas cleaning it up.  The next morning we called to see how things were on the home front and Jordan said he had also got the "bug" in the night.  I felt SO badly for Jordan because that night was a friend's Birthday party and they were all going over to play hockey.  The boys had been talking about it all week.  I kept thinking about poor Jordan all day but I know these are the things that create character and appreciation for the good times we're able to have. 

Mark and I headed out to the falls after a relaxing morning together.  Funny how the area the falls were in and all around them was not like either one of  had mentally pictured.  The falls were beautiful and everything was covered in ice.  The ice falling from the trees and the crash of the falls was real neat.  We walked all around the park area enjoying the beauty.
This picture of Mark,  is on the Three Sister Islands,, I commented it was named after me, Tonya and Ruth and Mark kept saying which little island we were on.  We couldn't get down close b/c they had everything sealed off from the ice.  It was fun to be together sharing in our first time seeing the falls together.  After the falls, we went to a Good Will store and to Red Lobster for lunch (I totally blew my diet these two days!!) and then headed to the hockey Birthday party to pick up the boys.  I LOVED playing hockey with the teens!  Brought back memories of playing hockey with Uncle Al and Greg, Dad, Tonya and Mom!  Such fun memories hearing my Dad and his brothers chasing after eachother getting the puck!  I admit, I was probably too rough but just couldn't help myself and tried to only be rough on Brendan :)  I was so impressed how well he did,, he's a natural with most sports!    Then we headed home and Mark got the bug and was up all night tossing his cookies!  Such a fun time away but ended with a bad ending for Mark.   Such memories!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Learning my man

I have learned over the years what Mark's "love language" is.  He enjoys quality time.  At times, I have to "force" myself as it may interfere with MY time.  I may be in the middle of making supper or some other project  when Mark wants to sit for 10 minutes and share coffee.  It helps me to remember that this is his love language and feels valued when I spend that time with him.  Many times I have failed in this area (I can multitask but he wants my full attention) and am regretful of that!  So for this Birthday I suggested we go away for the night.  We were given a gift card for Christmas and what perfect way to spend it than go away for the night!?!?  So we tried to figure out where to go, and decided on Niagra Falls.  Neither of us have been there and it's not too far to be away.  I must get packing and making the many lists for the boys to do while we're gone.  I'll have to share how it goes when we get back :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birthday Traditions

Mark's Birthday isn't until Thursday, but we won't be home together for that day (just Mark and I are going away for the night for his Birthday) so we had his Birthday meal and dessert together tonite.  Once we got the traditional Birthday decorations out, Titus anxiously sat and waited for Mark to get home from window washing.  He saw me making a cake earlier and asked who it was for.  I told him it was Dad's cake and he told me to make sure I put the banner up.  I made it a few years ago and hang it up for everyone's special day.  We've put the Birthday Pooh critters out since Jordan was little (my Aunt Lilly gave them to him when he was about 2).   I love having traditions and building special memories together.  It's not much we do for each day, really, but they love the simple things that make it special: Birthday plate, pin, decorations, and home made cards.   

I'm so thankful for Mark and another year to celebrate together!  What fun memories together with our family!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Elderberry Syrup

With cold and flu season in full swing, and because we're around people, I like to have elderberry syrup in our home. I just made our 3rd batch of the season. It's real easy to make and SO good for you! Mark is convinced of it's goodness,, I'll say why after. To make it: boil 1/2 C dried elderberries, 1 cinnamon stick , 5 whole cloves, 1 Tbs fresh ginger and 2 Cups water. Boil about 20 minutes. Strain and mix in 1 Cup honey. Store in frig. The boys know to take it when they start to get a runny nose or cough. If they do get sick, I give them 1 Tbs every hour. They don't mind taking this "medicine" compared to my other (herbal tincture with a vodka base) "medicine." Mark did that hot wing contest (see Hot Lips Sunday post)a few weeks ago. While he was laying in bed with a horrible gut ache, I was trying to think what could help him. I thought this elderberry syrup would be good as it has ginger in it, so I gave him a spoonful. I went back downstairs and started to get ready for evening church. About 15 minutes later, I went back up to ask him if we should call Pastor and tell him Mark wasn't going to be able to make it. Mark was up and better! He knows it was the elderberry syrup!

Teens are Great!

Mark and I didn't have much time to prepare for being parents,, having Jordan 10 months after we were married :)!    We were so excited but also challenged on how to bring Jordan up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  The Lord graciously brought much teaching and lessons into our lives.  We began to study homes that the kids turned out as their parents trained them.  We read about them, watched them, listened to them and tried to learn from them. (There were many homes that the children didn't not turn out living for Him and we watched them too, trying to see what we didn't want to do too. )  It didn't seem right, that our loving Father in Heaven would bless us with children and not show us how to also train and disciple them.  We once went to a Bible study that said the Bible didn't have enough information on training children so "their book" was going to "fill in the gaps."  (Of course, Mark couldn't keep quiet and stood up for the Word and said it was very clear and informative on training children,, and we did NOT go back to that study!)   As the boys got older, we got more doom and gloom given to us, "You wait, your day is coming!  Just wait until those boys get older!"  "Teens are rebellious and need a time of rebellion", etc, etc, etc!  Yet, we saw families that their children didn't rebel and their children kept on the same path their parents lead them.   We SOOO wanted that (and still do) for our many boys.  Families like the Boyers,  Pearls, Maxwells, Davis', and many others were such an encouragement to us.  We read their books, listened to their messages, went to conferences to learn and prayed diligently for HIS wisdom and guidance.  At times, it's been hard to stick with it and be consistent all the time, but I am so thankful for a husband who is VERY focused on keeping the boy's hearts and sees the long picture in situations.  The boys are very blessed by that,, even though at times it may seem hard.  The boys have become best friends and are very close (I pray they'll ALWAYS be close as there's nothing better than a close sibling :) )  
Last night was the 5th Sunday of the month and the meeting was geared for the young people of our church.  Mark and I work with the teenagers and we helped them organize the evening.  Jordan lead the congregational singing, played the guitar with other teens playing instruments and sang with the teen choir.  Brendan also sang with the teen choir and he shared a testimony of what reading the Bible through has meant to him.  (The teens do a devotional book all year that takes them through reading the Bible in a year; Mark checks them each week during the meeting.)  Brendan left his notes downstairs so he had to do it from his memory.  He was so cute!  My little redhead :)
Right now, the boys bring us sooo much joy!  They haven't brought us to that dreaded day we were warned of.  Their hearts are tender and open to us.  We pray is always stays that way.  I'm thankful for the Word and our Heavenly Father who guided us and ALL praise goes to HIM for anything our boys accomplish in their lives.  The boys are a testimony to the Lord and that HIS ways DO WORK!  His Word NEVER fails!!