Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reminding Myself...

When life throws the curve ball, which seems to come way too often at 103 mph, I fight to turn to the Scripture, where I know I will find hope and peace. The fast pitch came in last night and almost hit me in the ribs. Actually knocked my breath away...again. I stumbled. I fell to my knees. Anger tried to capture me, but it wasn't long before the Spirit brought humility and right thoughts.

So as Mr. Cartwright and I opened the Word this morning, we turned to the innumerable promises of our Great God.

I meditate on them today.

Here are just a few.

*We will be rewarded for perseverance.
Matthew 10:22 "The one who endures to the end will be saved."

*The Lord will give us rest.
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

*The righteous will shine.
Matthew 13:43 "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father."

*The Lord gives wisdom.
Luke 21:14-18 "Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand on how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand and contradict. You will be delivered up even by brothers and parents and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for My Name's sake, but not a hair of your head will perish."

These are just a few of God's Words that give hope when all around gives way. My thoughts turn to those Believers in Iraq and other countries that are fleeing for their lives.

That puts life into perspective. My God and their God is good. He remains good and will uphold His children.

More promises to come.....

Thursday, July 17, 2014


While visiting my sister up in Tennessee, she got me hooked.

My PointsSaving StarCheckOut 51, and not to mention True Couponing has become a part of my everyday to do list.


That's what I'm talking about.

I don't know about you but grocery shopping has become so depressing. Here on the Ponderosa we try to eat as healthy as possible, but I have had to strike a balance in order to balance our budget. Since I home school my kiddos and don't have the opportunity to go and make money to help out, I thought the best way to do this is to save money.

I mean, I was able to save $35.00 on a $70.00 order at Winn Dixie, only purchasing what was cheaper to buy there then to do price comparison at Walmart. I also am going to save .38 cents on my next gas fill up. Yes, this takes more time, but I believe it is well worth it.

Food is getting more and more expensive. So instead of rationalizing buying my milk at Walmart since I'm there already, I make time to go one block west to Aldi, where I find it for $1.00 cheaper.

So, for now, this is my contribution to our budget. And I am thankful, I am able to be wise in my spending.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Encouragement Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

Yesterday, the girls and I ventured to Bradenton Beach for a little sun, surf and sand. We were accompanied by my sister, Melissa and her friend. It was an absolutely perfect day. The sun hid for a few minutes but always came back out at our bidding. 

Of course, my little nature lover spotted the turtle nests. She was full of questions about who, what and why? My  prayer is always that she would see the Creator as more important than the creation. I can definitely see her hugging some trees. ;)

My two Black Beauties!

As we were packing up to leave, my sister handed me a box that was light as a feather with a surprise in it. 
When we arrived home, I opened it to find blown up balloons and a card.

What a terrific idea! And a super big Encouragement! Each day the girls and I will be looking forward to the Scriptures and focusing our minds on His Word.
(This couldn't have come at a better time.)

I belong to the truth! There is rest in His presence.
When I show love in deeds not just words. Wow! So convicting too.

My sister is going through many trials herself and took the time and energy to put each handwritten note inside a balloon! This is love in deeds! 

How can you show purposeful love today?

Friday, July 11, 2014

He is Willing! (Even Though It May Not Look Like it)

Matthew 8:1-3
"When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed Him. And behold, a leper came to Him and knelt before Him, saying, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing. Be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."

What great faith!

Faith to believe and not doubt. Faith that has 100% trust that God is able. And Jesus shows such compassion. He rewards this mans faith with healing.

I realize that God does not always act in this way. Those times when our prayers are not answered immediately, He is still working in our lives to produce faith in us. This time last year, my world crashed around me and our family. I begged God to remove this trial. He chose to take us through it. His answer was, "No, I am not willing to remove it, but I am willing to be with you carrying you as you persevere."

Praise Jesus for His sustaining mercies. They truly are new every morning. My faith has grown despite still not having the "answer" I want. But I have a God who I can trust no matter what falls around me. He is my High Priest.

He answers my prayers, but not necessarily in the way I would like. He is teaching me to love in a deeper way than I have ever been challenged before. This road is hard and full of potholes (maybe sinkholes is a better description). But my Great God will sustain me. He will uphold me. He doesn't lie nor glory in seeing us suffer. He is glorified as we suffer and shine the light He has placed in us.

So, yes, there are many deep soul needs here on the Ponderosa. God knows them all and will answer in His time and for His purpose. And I trust in this.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Big Red and Cover Girl

The girls and I took a little trip to Tennessee this last week to visit with my sister and her family and Dad and Lindi. We had such a great time and made some awesome memories. 

We went to the local Pigeon Forge pool.

 We were given complimentary tickets to Dollywood's Splash Country.

 We drove the Cade's Cove Loop and attempted to have a bbq picnic, but we were rained out.

 Each time we visit there is a "first without mom" memory too. As we drove through Cade's Cove, I realized the last time I was there I took mom while she was sick on Chemo. She slept most of the way, but at one stop we got out and sat in the chairs we had brought. I read Psalms to her. As we passed that meadow on this visit I could see her sitting there.

I can't believe it has been 4 years since mom has gone home to be with the Lord. Time flies. Children grow. Time just changes things. But some things never change. 

Like the smell of Big Red gum and Cover Girl Face Powder. These are the smells that my sister and I were reminiscing about. Mom's purse always carried these two essential things. I can still hear her laugh and see her crazy ways. My sister embodies many of them. Ha! So many of her mannerisms are moms. This made me happy.

After mom left us, my sister planted a tree and had a plaque made that still sits in her front yard.

 I've said this before, but I am so thankful for the legacy my mom left.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

No Place to Hide

I am not one to typically like to read a military book or watch a movie based on military events, but when I read the bio of Dr. Warren, I was intrigued.

Dr. Lee Warren served for 180 days in Iraq as a brain surgeon. His story is raw, real and incredible. He finds himself in the middle of the mortars, gunfire and violence. While taking in all that happens around him, I stand amazed at how each person who worked along side him and other doctors as well were used during this critical time in history. My eyes often fill with tears when I think of our soldiers out there fighting for our freedom as well as others. I now have a new respect for those civilians as well. He not only treated our soldiers, but all men, women, and children who needed help. Although there were gruesome details that I normally can't stomach, I read in utter amazement in how God used this in this mere man's life. I also have a new respect for those who come home after seeing all that takes place on the battle field.

I was also greatly challenged with loving those most unlovable, namely my enemies.

You will be challenged as well.

Read it and be inspired!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Horrible Nuisances

We love nature here on the Ponderosa. We love having bird feeders, water feeders, and have seen a large variety of birds. We often have wrens make nests in our tree fort, garage and plants on the front porch.

But no matter how much we love them, we hate the other creatures that the seed draws here.


We have tried baffles, airsoft guns, etc. And now our birdfeeders stay empty. Birdseed is expensive and they empty the feeders in one day.

And now, I can't even keep the chicken coop open during the day because they find their way in to eat the chicken food. Maybe our resident pet whisperer can train her beloved hens to chase and peck them. Any other ideas? I'd love them.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A New Look

For 10 years, our kitchen here on the Ponderosa has been a pale yellow. Two weeks ago, "Mr. Cartwright" and I decided to be a little risky. 

Both of the boys were gone (or asleep) during this painting session.

When they saw our beautiful job, they pronounced, "We now officially live in a "black" house!" (No offense to those of you who are African American. My boys are too. They are always making these kind of comments.) (And while we are on this subject, my daughter has dubbed me the toasted marshmallow of the group due to my fun at the pool taking in the sun.)

I happen to love the color.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Be Made Pure, Not Keep Pure

I was listening to this the other day and was struck by something said.

"We pray for our teens to remain pure, but there IS no purity unless Christ is Lord of their lives. We put such an emphasis on the outward purity, yet it is a heart issue. If there is not a relationship with Jesus Christ, there has never been nor will be purity.We need to pray for purity to be given not for purity to remain."

As a mom of three teens and one "thinks she's a teen", and trying to steer them in the direction of purity and Biblical love, I must go back to the ONE ultimate issue. Their hearts. No, not that beating machine. But their mission control station. The part of them that makes decisions, feels emotion, and longs for the unknown. The part of them that decides whether they are for or against their Creator.

But, aren't externals so much easier to be in control of? Aren't rules so much easier to navigate their actions by? Surely, I don't want little Pharisees, and yet, so often this is what this external stuff makes.

We are so often sidelined and shocked when our almost grown teens make decisions that are contrary to our standards. We are seen as failures as parents. We, "all of a sudden" stumble upon sin in our kids lives and lose grace with them. Our kids need heart change, not sinless lives.

"Many parents want to train their kids to be sin-avoiders and sin-concealers. Instead, we need to train our children to be sin-confessors and sin-repenters. We need to start showing them what that looks like in our own lives." - Michael DiMarco

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Quote For the Day....or Year

"Today, I need to remember: the task to be done is not as important as the teen to be loved. Not now. Not ever. People are always more important than projects."

That is all.

Thank you, Mrs. Cowell.