This and that. (AGAIN!)

With all of the rain we have enjoyed this season, I am eager to see the which flowers and plants will bloom this spring! Many will be our yearly favorites, to be sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion we will enjoy some new additions since there was enough water to produce proper growth.
The other day we walked outside to find our front yard filled with purple beauty. One day - nothing. The next day - color! God's creation ... such sights to behold!

Well, we are on Day 7 of illness in our home.
It started with the little people and ended with the parents.
I thought I would be spared, but when four of your six children AND your husband are knocked down with a virus, what are the odds you will survive?!
Dennis is bionic, so he is able to function regardless of severe body aches and pain, but me? Not so much.
This has been my view for the last three days. A lovely view, but I am ready for a new one, please!
Right side. Sleep.
Left side. Sleep.
Back. Sleep.
Rinse and repeat.
How thankful I am for teenage boys in the house! Since I barely had the energy to lift my head, I was not able to teach lessons to Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie, but we needed to finish two books in order to move on to a new subject next week. Enter Micah and Luke.
Each one of them read a book for me, Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie appreciated new voices, and our lessons were tied up with a neat bow for the week.
Thank You, Lord, for small graces such as these!

~~~ I am making a new commitment. Every time I see someone praying in public, I am going to walk over and say, "Thank you for praying publicly!" Between the fear of praying out loud and the dread of being mocked as Christians, we need to support those who willingly and intentionally give thanks to the Lord in the presence of strangers. 
I remember someone doing this to me, how encouraged I felt, and I want to offer that same encouragement to someone else.
I will never forget it. I spent a few hours at a restaurant with one of my girls, engaged in a very deep-hearted discussion, so I did not want to let her go without taking her before the Lord. We stood on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, held hands, prayed, and cried. We knew people had walked past us, for we heard them, and when we looked up we found a large man, smiling down on us who said, "Thank you for praying so boldly in public. It is nice to see."
What a wonderful way to end our time together!
I think about doing this every time I observe others pray over a meal, but I never do it. Not anymore!
Who will join me?
Heaven only knows how many wonderful opportunities the Lord will provide through this!

~~~ Though INtrinsic motivation is a life skill that enables a person to accomplish much and succeed at many things because they are self-driven, there is something to be said for EXtrinsic motivation. 
While the desire to work hard and push further may not be natural (yet), a little enticement can get a student to do more than they thought possible.
When it comes to learning how to read, especially when you have to fight for every sound, every word, and every sentence, there has to be something to get you excited!
Being that I do not have a creative turn of mind, I was not prepared with even one extrinsic motivator. So I prayed, "Help!" And the Lord provided BUTTONS!
Josiah, Isaiah, and Ellie get one button every time they read me a book and one button if they work through their reading lesson without complaining. 25 buttons = A Surprise!
Boy, you would think I offered them a new Lego set for every book they complete!
Score one for the mom! Thank You, Lord!

The happy daffodils my friend delivered on Monday are in full bloom!
Every time I look at them I hear the song from Mary Poppins.
Oh, it's a jolly holiday with Mary
Mary makes your heart so light
When the day is gray and ordinary
Mary makes the sun shine bright
Oh, happiness is bloomin' all around her
The daffodils are smilin' at the dove
When Mary holds your hand, you feel so grand
Your heart starts beatin' like a big brass band
It's a jolly holiday with Mary
No wonder that it's Mary that we love!

Last night my sister showed up with dinner for our family and a giant coffee cake for breakfast, and this morning a lovely woman brought over a huge pot of beef soup and turnovers for dinner tonight.
How grateful I am for helping hands such as these!

~~~ Enjoy your weekend, and may the Lord bless you and your family with health and strength in the days ahead!

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