Sunday, June 29, 2008

Prayer and Praise

I wanted to use this post to praise the Lord (PTL)!!!

Jay has a job interview on Monday! Woo Hoo!

Many of you may be wondering why we would be so completely excited about a mere interview. After all, an interview is in no way a guarantee of employment.

But considering that Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, Applebee's, Toys R Us, Publix, and Best Buy (to name only a few) have all declined to even consider Jay for an interview, and considering that we have been out of work and without any source of income for 6 months with no job leads... a "mere" interview is a HUGE deal!

So, we are extremely excited about the possibilities that this job could potentially offer us. It is with a company based here in the Tampa area, so we would not have to move from this rent-free house (PTL!). It is a full-time position (PTL!). It is with a Christian, non-profit organization (PTL!). The job description fits Jay's skills to a tee (PTL!). Jay faxed them his resume and they called within one hour to schedule an interview (PTL!).

So, while we are praising our Great Lord for this wonderful opportunity, we would also love to know that our friends all across the country are praying for us, too.

The interview is tomorrow (Monday) at 1:00 PM (EST).

Please pray for the Lord's will to be done in this interview. Even if they do not offer Jay the job, we will continue to praise the Lord. We truly are excited that he was even considered for an interview after all of these months of waiting. And even in the midst of these trials, our faith is growing stronger, as we fall deeper and deeper into complete and total dependence on the Lord to provide for our needs.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3

We thank all of you for your prayers, friendship, and love throughout this very difficult time in our lives. The support we have felt has meant more to us than we will ever be able to express with words.

In Christ Alone and Always,
The RichFam <><

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Good Chuckle

Jay loves to make a really weird sandwich that I find absolutely disgusting. But he insists it is incredibly delicious. You be the judge: Peanut butter and bologna. Not a peanut butter sandwich with a bologna sandwich. Nope. Not for my unique (odd) husband. A peanut butter AND bologna sandwich. YUCK!

Anyway, we were in the kitchen making lunch and teasing and picking at each other. We were all giggling and laughing and having a great time. I was teasing Jay about his awful choice of sandwiches, commenting on how normal people do not combine those flavors... at least not on purpose.

He grabbed me around the waist, tickling me, and said, "Quit being judgmental."

A few minutes later, as we all sat around the table eating our delicious meals (well, except for Jay's, which is gross), R, (who just happens to be blond like her mom), calmly and innocently asks, "Who is George Mental?"

After the tears and laughter subsided, we had to explain to her what it meant to be judgmental .

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

It has been raining.... and raining... and raining for days now.

And not just calm, peaceful rain showers where you can go outside with the kids, splash in the puddles, and enjoy watching God water His thirsty creation.

No, no.

Florida rain showers are different. Much different.

It seems that whenever God decides to water His creation in Florida, His omnipotence is revealed for all to see.

Clouds as dark as the night sky.

Enormous gusts of wind.

Blinding flashes of lightning.

Thunder so loud you can feel it reverberating in your body.

Wild, thick, pounding sheets of rain that pour from the sky like a fire hose. (and don't even think about driving in it!)

Reptiles and amphibians so numerous it could rival Old Testament plagues decide to venture out of their hiding places and fill your yard, your pool, and even your house, if you are not careful to secure the premises. And even then, some still manage to make their way in (i.e: let me refer you to our interesting experience a few weeks ago in A Bump in the Night).

No. When there is a storm a-brewin' in Florida, one thing is certain: get comfortable because chances are, you won't be going out for awhile.

Although, strangely enough, usually about 10 minutes in, it will end just as fast as it began (sun out, birds chirping, plague over, critters hiding, etc).

Unfortunately for us, however, just as we get shoes on the kids and get them out the door to play in the backyard (before they give us a nervous breakdown), another storm usually blows in, just as ominous and foreboding, and the kids are forced to come running, screaming and dripping wet back into the house (to complete their task at giving us that nervous breakdown).

Despite our uncontrollable atmospheric conditions, and despite the fact that the kids were trapped in the house for days on end, we still managed to use our stormy lemons to make lemonade...

We decided to let the kids get out the finger paints. This was a big deal for me, since I do not like the mess it always makes. I mean, I really don't like it.

Nevertheless, I decided that I preferred for their little minds to be occupied in order for me to prevent my mind from completely shutting down. A little mess was worth keeping my mind intact. Besides, Sweet Baby H had never seen finger paints, so it would be nice to watch her experience something new.

So, I finally said "yes" to their cute little begging faces (which happens quite a lot by the way). I also utilized a wonderful new tool that made the whole experience a whole lot better! I used Glad Press N' Seal wrap and was able to completely seal the table with it! There was no mess! (well, let me rephrase that. there was no mess on the table. the kids were another story).

I have included some pics to show you what I mean...


See... it starts out innocent enough.



Everyone seems to be having a good time.





Is it just me, or does she look extremely malnourished in this pic? She does eat, I promise!

Even Sweet Baby H loved squishing the paints in her fingers.


until...


she started eating the finger paints.


She didn't really like that too much.



Eventually (as you can see) she'd had quite enough of the finger paints.
Have I mentioned she does not like to be dirty?



So Daddy and B decided they would try to look like her so she wouldn't feel so bad.
It didn't work.


So we cleaned her all up...

And then she was my sweet, happy Baby H once again!

All that finger painting excitement proved too much for Daddy, B, and H, who decided to take a very long nap. And while I absolutely love a good lazy nap on a rainy day, we still had another child who, unlike the rest of us, likens a nap to eating her broccoli. So, instead of giving in to temptation, I chose to do some much-needed big girl bonding time with my beautiful 7 year old daughter.

But, with everyone sleeping peacefully, requiring us to be very quiet, me and R were left wondering what to do next.

We finally decided on... Bingo... a favorite pastime among Floridians (well, the older crowd, anyway). I am not such a big fan of the game, myself. But I recently purchased a different version of the game to assist when I am homeschooling the kids. It is Telling Time Bingo. I draw a card that has a clock face on it with a time and we have to figure out if we have that time on our bingo card, etc. The kids absolutely love this game! They ask to play it all the time. I haven't told them yet that it is actually school, for fear that they will stop wanting to play (and learn to tell time).

Anyway, I had a wonderfully quiet, peaceful few hours of big girl bonding time with R. We talked about life, laughed about nonsensical things, played tickle wars, snuggled on the couch with a book, and genuinely enjoyed each others company.

For a blessed few hours, we hadn't a care in the world. In those few precious moments, there was no scary storm brewing outside. There was no laundry to be folded, no beds to be made, no dinner to be cooked, or dishes to wash. There were no thoughts of Daddy not having a job, or of us not having our own house to live in, or worries about where we would get some money to buy groceries next week.

No.

The only thing that existed in those cherished and coveted moments - the only thing that mattered - was a brilliant, beautiful, sweet, innocent little girl... and the mommy who loves her more than her own life, who wouldn't dream of being anywhere else.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Kute Kiddies

Just wanted to post a few recent pics of the kiddies so everyone can see how they are growing...

_____________________
_________________
__________
______
______
______
______
__
Here's B & H lounging by our pool. They sat out there all day using those cute faces to beg us to let them go swimming...

and they won.

Stinkers.


_____

___

___

___

___

___

_

_

__

Sweet Baby H

She will be our athletic princess.
She loves to play ball with her daddy and brother,
but thinks she MUST wear a pretty dress
and have her hair fixed at all times!
Ha ha
___


_____
___
___
__
__
__
__
__
__
_
__

__
__

__
__

Come on, Mom!

Put the camera down!

I'm ready to play ball already!




___
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
__
_
__
__
____
Kissing the ball for good luck.




____
__
__
__
__
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_

She's only 16 months old and she's already
hammin' it up for the camera.

We haven't even started playing yet and she's already sweaty.

That's Florida for ya.

_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
Hangin' with my big sis after the game.
Good game, good game.



_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_

_
_


My poor sweet boy.

He was trying to be a good sport all day.

But he kept pulling on that right ear.

We found out yesterday that he has a punctured ear drum!

He was such a brave boy, though!
*****************************


Hope you like all the pics! :o)



And, to end with a Kute Kiddie Moment... Another Preacher Man, B story:



So we have been going through the Old Testament with the kids the past few weeks during our Family Bible Time. This week we have been studying the story of Hannah and Samuel.



When we got to the part when Hannah gave her first born son, Samuel to be raised by Eli the priest to fulfil her promise to the Lord, we asked the children what that meant (to give her child back to the Lord).



My studious daughter, R, of course, began (or I should say attempted) to give her deep, intellectual interpretation of what that sacrifice meant for Hannah, Samuel, and God.



However, she was interrupted by B, in his Preacher Man role.



He quite loudly interjected with his own "deep" interpretation of the Scriptures (for a 4 year old).



[very animated as he is acting it out]



"She would have to hold the baby and then THROW him up high in the sky to get him back up to the Lord."



Well there ya go.



Like I said in the last Preacher Man B story, if he ever decides he wants to become a preacher like his daddy, we will gladly and proudly let him...



He just needs a little work, first.



:o)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Be on Guard!

For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables. 2 Tim 4:3-4
___
Here is the link to a clip that I saw on the Way of the Master Radio website recently. It is from a "great revival" that began at a church here in Florida and has been spreading like wildfire. I am just dumbfounded by how many people (thousands upon thousands for months now) are so desperate for some "sign" from God that they will believe absolute garbage like this!

___
Do they not understand the true character of God? Do they not know that we walk by faith and not sight? And as far as this "preacher" is concerned, does he not fully understand that he will be held to a higher accountability for what he is speaking about God to these poor, lost, spiritually blind people?


Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard, so that you are not led away by the error of the immoral and fall from your own stability. 2Pe 3:17
___
It is so utterly sad to witness the depravity of man first hand and to watch from the outside and see these poor people giving in to their own self-destruction.
___
Enough from me. I think the clip will speak for itself...
___
The Florida "Revival" Turns Violent --I would be interested in knowing what you think after you watch the clip...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Gift for Father's Day!

The kids practiced really hard today to sing to their daddy for Father's Day. I thought it was absolutely adorable, so I recorded it to share with all of you.

I know I am a bit biased about how cute they are,
but I still think it is amazing that they actually know
all 66 books of the Bible!

Not bad for a SEVEN year old and a FOUR year old!

video
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth" 3 John 1:4

Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did! :o)

And, for another shameless plug...
If you liked the song that the kids just sang and you're interested in great Christian children's music (that is NOT annoying and cheezy), click on the link below.
These guys are incredibly entertaining!

Happy Father's Day, Everyone!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Great (Gross) Debate

Alright... this post is going to be unlike any before.

Not cute. Not funny. Not quirky. Not profound. And not deep. (Not even in the slightest).

I am simply in a very strange and disgusting debate with my husband. Which, really, is not all that unusual, since my husband is, in fact, very strange and disgusting. (Hey - this is nothing you all do not already know, okay? Do I need to remind you of the meatballs-in-the-floor-of-the-car incident???) :o)
**************

Anyway, so here is our current very strange and disgusting debate...

So there we were...

Enjoying yet another incredibly delicious meal that was lovingly prepared by myself (and let's not forget that I started making this wonderful meal at ten o'clock in the morning, people).

Everyone is unusually quiet this evening. (obviously too busy hoarding the food and stuffing their cute little faces).

J sits across from me in the middle of the table. (we do this not to play footsie under the table. No, no. This is a purely strategic move. This way each of us can gain control of the children. You know, divide and conquer. Feel free to copy this ingenious maneuver).

All of a sudden, J starts speaking about a Creationist debate he has been following. It is actually very interesting, but I don't hear much after the first sentence, because a gigantic chunk of food comes flying out of his mouth and lands with a plop into the thick mass of his arm hair. (I know... just imagine how I felt having to see it happen!)

J doesn't seem to notice at all, and keeps talking. (which I find completely strange because the thing looked like it weighed at least a pound or so).

I finally have to interrupt him. (I just can't stand to look at it anymore!)

I point it out to him, expecting him to get his napkin and wipe it off.

No, no.

He picks it up with his bare hands and puts it back in his mouth!!!!!

Of course, I shriek with disgust!

J's response, of course, was, "What? It came from my mouth in the first place! How is it gross to put it back where it came from?"

He also said it was no different from me giving him his medicine after it fell on the floor.

Okay. I need to explain that one.

The other day, J asked me to get him one of his back pain pills. But when I grabbed them, the top of the bottle was not screwed on well enough and the whole bottle spilled all over the floor. These are prescription drugs. We do not have a job, let alone insurance right now. So we cannot replace them. So, I picked them all up, dusted them off, and put them back into the bottle, where I later gave him one (with his full knowledge of what had happened).
******************

So now, my dear friends, I would like to know what you all think.

Is what I did with the pills any more disgusting than what J did with the chewed up ball of food? Or vise versa?

You decide.

Help us solve this Great (Gross) Debate!

:o)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shameless Plugs and Updates

We went on a homeschool field trip in Orlando on Friday to a place called WordSpring, from Wycliffe Bible Translators. This is an excellent place to take the whole family! I had never even heard of it before we moved here, and since it was such a wonderful experience, I wanted to give it a shameless plug on my blog.

We signed up for a program they offer called A to Z Adventures. It is a full day (9:30 - 2:30) of fascinating information about a certain people group (which varies, depending on when you go).

Our adventure was all about the people of Thailand, which they informed us literally means "Free Land". We started out with a tour of the beautiful facility, where people are always hard at work translating the Bible into all the different languages in the world.

Then, they took the children on a "tour" of Thailand, allowing them to dress up in Thai clothes and hats. They told them stories of how people in Thailand celebrate New Year's (they run around all day squirting each other with water guns). Then they showed them how to make things out of rice paper, the way Thai children do. They were able to make beautiful paper fans to take home with them.

Then they gave the children fake Thai money, and allowed them to go to a "market place" that was set up with all sorts of actual items from Thailand. They encouranged the children to barter with them to haggle the prices of the items down to a reasonable rate, like they would actually see in Thailand. Once that was over, though, the children had to return the items "bought" and, in exchange, they were given pieces of authentic Thai candy (it actually tasted really good).

Then they went to an area that was set up with all sorts of musical intruments that a missionary brought over from Thailand. They looked and sounded a lot different than the ones we have in America, and the children were able to play them all! Afterwards, the kids told me that was their favorite part.

They also learned how to speak a few Thai words and phrases. They learned how to say "hello" (which is different for boys and girls), and how you hold your hands and bow respectfully for the culture, depending on who you are saying hello to. Then, using the musical instruments, they learned how to sing "God is so Good" in the Thai language. The kids actually did a really good job! I was impressed by how quickly they learned the language!

As if all of that were not enough, we took a break for lunch, and then were able to speak to an actual missionary and afterwards, visit their Discovery Center, which is full of completely state of the art, hands-on displays, where you can learn the process of Bible translation. Here, the kids learned how to translate their names into several different languages.

I would take me forever to tell you everything that we saw at WordSpring, so I will have to stop there. But the whole wonderful experience costs only $5 per person. Plus, it is absolutely FREE for pastors with their wife and children. So, if any of you are considering a vacation to the Orlando area, I strongly encourage you to schedule this into your itinerary. It is well worth the trip, and I know this will not be the last time our family travels to see it!
*******************

Another shameless plug I will add very quickly, is the Creation Museum in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area. This museum is the first of it kind and is absolutely phenomenal! The whole purpose of this museum is to combat the Theory of Evolution with the facts from the Bible.

It is VERY well done, with completely state of the art animatronic dinosaurs, animals and people, actual fossils that you would NEVER see in any public school science book (because they could not be explained by evolutionists), a 1/2 scale walk-in model of Noah's Ark, an excellent planetarium show, explaining the universe from a creationist perspective that was so good, we ordered a dvd of it so we could watch it at home (the kids actually ask to watch it over and over), etc.

There is just not enough time to describe all of the wonderful things you can find at this museum. But if you want to teach your children (and yourself) from a biblical worldview that the world is NOT millions of years old and that evolution is completely false, it is absolutely the best trip you will make as a family!

If we lived closer to it, we would buy season passes, because there is no way to soak in all of the information in one visit. I encourage everyone to go there at least once!
***********************

Lastly, I wanted to update you all on what is going on over here:

The offer on our house in MD fell through. While we were very sad about it, we still know that God knows better than we do. He knows what He is doing and we fully trust Him.

And, after a few more interviews, J still has no job. There are a few churches interested in him, but as most of you know, that is a very lengthy process, and we are only in the initial stages with them.

Needless to say, we could still use your prayers. And while we are putting our hope and trust in the Lord to see us through this (and recognize all that He has done for us so far), it is also very nice and very much appreciated when we get a few words of encouragement from our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from time to time.

We love you all and we thank you for your love and prayerful support.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,
The RichFam <><

Saturday, June 7, 2008

When in Rome...

We went to the beach today...


First of all, as most of you already know, our family suffers from, oh I don't know -- ZERO pigmentation in our skin (honestly, I think we are the whitest family on the planet)! It is due to this unfortunate skin condition that we do not venture out to the beach very often. :o)


However, today we wanted to do something different and FREE that would be enjoyable for the whole family. So off our little white family went to the white sandy beaches of Clearwater, Florida.....


I have often wondered what young Amish people think when they go out during Rumspringa and see the sad realities of the world we live in. I think I got my chance through my own sweet children today.


We walk all the way down the boardwalk until we can get a good view of the beach and the ocean. Our reaction to the absolute beauty of God's creation is cut short as soon as we see the people who decided to come to the beach, too. All over the place -- walking along the water's edge, sunbathing, flying kites, playing ball -- everywhere we were completely shocked at what people were wearing (or, rather, what they weren't wearing).


Speedos, bikinis, thongs, etc. Everywhere we looked! My mind immediately came to the old children's song that says, "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see..." and J and I discussed that we were all going to have to work extra hard to guard our eyes from what was surrounding us.


Unfortunately, this proved to be much more difficult for the children to do. They were so surprised to see people dressed like this that they began staring at everyone near us deeply and intently. They stared especially long and wide-eyed at those few bold couples who chose to perform certain lewd acts with each other in the water next to us (this is what I meant when I used my example about Amish in the real world).

A little while later, I was shocked as I observed my 7 year old daughter, R, intensely watching a couple of young women (in thong bikinis) sunbathing near our blanket, and mimicking what she saw. She had pulled her bathing suit up where it resembled more like a thong, and then began walking around our place in the sand in a"sexy" way, tossing her hair back and forth. At first I just rolled my eyes because, to me (and probably anyone else who saw her), she looked utterly ridiculous. However, a more serious problem existed there that needed to be dealt with quickly. It is amazing how quickly the culture you are surrounded by becomes "normal" to you and it affects you less and less as you begin to resemble it more and more.

She knows that we do not and will not ever allow her to wear clothing that does not promote modesty. No midriff shirts, no short shorts or mini skirts, no pants with words written on the butt, and certainly no bikinis! So, after a prompt rebuke and a lengthy discussion about what God's Word says about modesty and purity and abstaining from every appearance of evil, she acknowledged that she understood, gave me a smile and a sweet hug, and went back to playing innocently, as a child should.

I think we have all heard that saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." That old cliche took on a whole new meaning for me today. I was reminded of another (less popular) saying that deeply influenced my decision to homeschool, "If you allow your children to be taught by Caesar, don't be surprised when they come back a Roman!"

We don't teach our children how to sin. We don't have to. That knowledge and desire to do evil is born with them, with every human, since the Fall of man. In a society that constantly cries out for you to "Just do it!", and, "Do whatever makes you happy", and, "Just follow your heart", more Christians need to take a stand for God and should be teaching their children what God's Word says about those statements:
  • The wise man, fearing, keeps himself from evil; but the foolish man goes on in his pride, with no thought of danger. (Prov 14:16)
  • For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Tim 3:2-5)
  • The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer 17:9)
  • ...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. (Phil 4:8)

I don't know when we will make our way back to the beach again. Not just because of our blindingly white skin (although right now it is an interesting shade of red), but also because we need to prepare our hearts and our minds (and those of our children), before we can go out into a place where so much sin is relished and revered. If we decide to go again, we will be sure to "Put on the whole armour of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
(Eph 6:11)

Thanks for listening... I will get off of my soap box now... :o)