Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for Family at Thanksgiving

I just wanted to let all of your readers (family) know that we are wishing you many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving. We have way too many to list but here are a few we wanted to share with you:

1. Reconnecting with my (Janelle's) mom this year (totally a God thing) after almost 18 years out of touch.

2. That we (my mom and I) like each other, get along really well, and are amazingly alike in many ways!

3. That "Aunt" Kristen is following the Cole Plan for her family and will add a beautiful little girl to her brood in a few short months (after 3 adorable little boys)!

4. That "Uncle" James is willing to make huge sacrifices (with his family) for our country by serving in Iraq - thank you! (said with misty eyes!)

5. That we are able to travel to places like Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Mississippi (and Dallas too) and spend great time with our family.

6. That the kids and I were able to see my Grandfather in early October - it had been about 4 years at least. The visit was tough as he was not looking great and is almost deaf and blind. We did stop by while in Mississippi though to say hello and check in on him. we are thankful for that brief visit because he passed away this past weekend. God is amazing and works all things for his good! I am glad we did not plan to do a visit "next" time, it would have been too late.

7. That we live in a country where we are allowed to teach our children at home and go to our church that teaches the truth of the Bible, where we worship the ONE true God!

8. That our boys are learning to love God passionately - and even our little girl who tells me all the time that Jesus loves me!

9. That we have a great group of kids and a healthy, happy family!

What more is there to say? We hope that you have a day of reflection and contemplation - and are able to see the many things our great and glorious God has given you this year - that you are able to thank God in all things and for all things. We are blessed and hope you feel that way too!

Happy Thanksgiving!
The Cole Clan

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter Wonderland!!

Blessings, blessings, and more blessings!

Where do I begin? well we drove about 1100 miles with a nail in our tire (we think)- blessing #1 - we still made it to Michigan where we had the tire repaired! God is so good!

We arrived in Michigan Saturday late afternoon to see snow on the ground - direct answer to prayer (he said yes this time:)) and we had more snow today and more tomorrow is expected!! Blessing #2! God really is good!
We were able to spend the evening with Denny & Jon (Robert's aunt & uncle) for her birthday on Sunday - and we were able to see the answer to lots of prayers and tears too - Uncle Jon had emergency Open heart surgery this summer and we were a little scared - but driven to our knees in prayer - he looks great! It was so good to see them both and see how Jon has recovered and is just feeling great! Blessing #3!

Does he always say yes? of course not - but right now we are delighting in some yeses to our prayers! I am sure there are many more - too many to list - but we are just feeling so thankful this week!

The kids are loving the brisk air and the lovely snow and the warm fires! Not to mention yummy food, great family time and more "new" toys than they dreamed of! There are so many joys of childhood!

We are just so thrilled to be up here enjoying the weather and the family time! We are not looking forward to the drive back, but that is reality!

the kids even made a snow man this morning! Check out our pics on flickr

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Here we are enjoying some cool weather and fun with family! We got some great pics at the Arboretum this weekend with Brian & Lisa and the kids had a blast!
We are heading up North in a couple days so my blog will probably be sleeping for a week. Hope you all have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving and that you have lots to be Thankful for this year!
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Thursday, November 13, 2008

More of Mary and less of Martha for me!!

I am just amazed at how hard headed I can be sometimes. It takes a group of ladies (great ladies I must say) sitting in a circle offering advice on how to (this time) stop yelling too much. But you know it was nothing they said that gave me that "Ah ha" moment! One of these friends is a licensed counselor - so I did feel like I was getting some great FREE advice, but she is also a grandma and has been where I am and has done it! So her advice is well received.
This time however, my revelation was not in how I was dealing with my kids, not in my temper or my attitude. It was not one of my kids anger outbursts that I was solving. It was realizing that when I take my focus off why I am home and what my "mission" is - things fall apart! And that is what has happened the last 2 weeks or so.

We have been going great with school - consistent, good attitudes, and getting everything done! I can not always claim those things. But as soon as we are done with school, I start on my "project" which currently is sewing Christmas gifts. This is something I love to do - but if it is taking my focus off of being a stable mom and a loving mom, to my kids, then I need to find another way to do things!

One thing that rang true from my friend's advice - is to "rest" when the kids are resting. Okay, I know this is not new or anything. I have "rested" for years when the kids rest - especially when we had a baby in the house. But these days? Well, 3 of my 4 don't nap - they read or have quiet time. What do I do? Feverishly do things that I do not like to do when they are running around (i.e. sewing, canning, cleaning, etc). I also heard this week that we need to teach our kids to relax without guilt. Now in this area, I know that Robert is the person to model this to our kids. But really, if they never see me relax without guilt (which they don't) then what am I teaching them? That is it all about performance. That concept is something my boys will figure out without me modeling it every day of their lives, so really I need to teach them to take some down time, that relaxing after working hard is okay. I have to teach myself that concept more I think. I am performance driven - has to be done well (okay usually perfect) and has to be done NOW, and has to be done! This is not a healthy philosophy to live by.

Okay - so the new me. Today, we schooled at a leisurely pace (not that I would ever rush through school to that I can then dig out the sewing machine - no not me!) (we schooled by the fire I might add) and then we cleaned the house - together. We each took a room and the kids picked up and vacuumed the floors. Then the little guy helped me in my room just picking up stuff and getting it in one place for me to sort. Anyway, it went great. We have several very clean rooms and then the kids hit the legos. Oh yeah, I did send the 2 bigger boys out to journal nature this morning after school - by drawing our tree that is actually changing colors. So we really had a great morning. While they did legos I did can some pumpkin butter - but it only took about 30 minutes. Then as rest time approached I wanted to get the sewing machine out - but knew that would re-start the frenzy - and I wanted to force myself to rest this afternoon. So here I am resting.

Really, blogging is relaxing, I am not multi-tasking (don't ask the number of tabs I have opened - that does not count) and I get to have a few moments of me time. While that may sound selfish I am becoming increasingly aware that after I have some me moments I am a better and more patient mom! So here goes!

Did I mention that one of my friends called Nancy Leigh Demoss last night? I don't know which one did it, but today she was talking to me on her radio show! I could not believe it! She was using the Mary and Martha story to speak to my heart and oh my goodness! I can get so wrapped into being a Martha that I could scream!! I just pray that God will slow me down (gently) and show me how to be Mary, how to savor the moments with my kids and not let them fly by! Check it out here if you want to hear what she was saying to me. I still cannot believe those ladies!! :)

And while I do this, my boys are quietly in their rooms on their beds reading some books and resting, I must say the quiet sounds great!

Hope you have a blessed day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Back on track

We had a great day today - very productive, fun and just all around great!
Happy Celebrate Day little girl!

It was a celebrate day too - the first time we celebrated the Princess's celebrate day (each month her day is the day she was born - 10th). So tonight we enjoyed some caramel apples that Chewie helped me make. We also treated Daddy to a special meal of fish chowder. This was a first for me - I have tried it in Maine, but never made it. Well, it was really good! The 2 older boys ate 2 bowls and the other 2 kids finished theirs. Robert had 3 servings himself! I will take those indicators as favorable!

We also had a great morning of school. We have been reading Shakespeare and the boys really like it! It is fun to see them get excited about something that if not presented right can be terribly boring! The book we are using is for kids and it is great! Han Solo also read the Bible story to us today! He is really reading so well and just wants to read all the time! They get upset when I tell them to stop reading and do something else!

This pic of the Princess is her new As-For-Wii outfit - or just her new Wii clothes! We were on the phone with my mom when I walked out of the kitchen to see her sitting there in all her glory with the Wii controller in her hand sitting with her brothers! A funny moment!

Tomorrow is Veteran's day - we are going to go to Dallas to watch the parade - I hope it will be tons of fun for the kids and just a nice memorial for me. I am sure we are going to see tons of Veterans!

It seems you cannot ignore the fact that Obama is our new President Elect, but my goodness there is nothing in the paper these days except all the details on all that Obama plans to do on January 21st. Our sermon on Sunday was about our trust in God. Our associate pastor Adam talked about how if we are worried or fearful or upset we are not placing our trust in God but in a man. It made me realize that maybe that is why God allowed this. I keep racking my brain to understand how this can glorify Him - and I finally got a glimpse into a possible reason. What if it is to get our attention - us Christians. What if McCain won, would we be praying as fervently as we are? Would McCain have been that much better? I mean I know he would have been some better - but really was he the man we wanted leading our country? I think the Republican Party made him out to be MUCH more conservative than he really was and I think we would have been disappointed with him. (Not more than Obama - but some none the less)
So I just thought maybe Obama is the man who will get us on our knees, get us united as Christians to fight for this country? What do you think? I can get terrified in about 3 seconds, so I am not any better at this not have any stronger faith than anyone else. But I am working on it. I am trying to trust that the Supreme Court is not forever. I am trusting that Obama is just one man and his campaign promises were like any others - bigger than he can really do. And I trust that my God is still on his throne and he will only allow what he chooses to happen. So I think we need to get ready to be in prayer a lot in the next four years. And let's start praying now for the next person who will earn the title of President elect in 4 years that that person loves God with their whole heart!
Enough about that. We had our first fire tonight in our fireplace. It was not really cold enough - but we have tons of wood and we just felt like it was time. The kids were of course excited to have a fire and I loved the smell and the coziness. We are trying to get ready o head to Michigan for Thanksgiving! I cannot wait for the cold weather - I think in the 30's today - and the fires and the Thanksgiving food! Yum! So we are taking off in about one and a half weeks to drive up to see Robert's folks for the week - hopefully we will have a great drive and get there on Saturday night. I figure with 2 adults it will be a walk in the park easy! (After driving to NC with just me and 4 kids)
Well, happy Veteran's Day - and thanks to those who gave some, and those who gave all! And to those who are still giving! And especially to our favorite one serving - "Uncle" James!

Sunday, November 9, 2008


What a difference a day away can make! I was able to get away all day Saturday to do my favorite hobby of all! STAMP!! I loved it! I went to a stamp camp my friend held and we stamped all day. Do you want to know the best part? I did not have to do anything except show up with tape and myself. Lunch, Dinner, and all the crafts were planned and ready to go! it was great! We made some great cards, a scrapbook, lots of gift containers, a recipe box, post-it note holder, ornaments and probably more! It was just so fun!

I can home completely refreshed, loaded with lots of great gifts & ideas, and happy! I neede Saturday after my Friday! What a day!

Today has been a good day too - we spent our morning at church - of course! Sunday School was great - we covered (review) from Abraham to Moses and then talked about Moses getting the Israelites out of Egypt. The best part of this was a call from my friend this afternoon to tell me that her son has been sharing the lesson and the take-away point after class! What a blessing that encouraging infomation was! You never know if they are catching it, and by golly, they are catching it.

I have gotten some more sewing done today too! I finally finished Chandler's name pillow and on Friday I finished her comforter! I just love both of them! I am working on my dear little girl's name pillow and one for the boys too (Christmas presents) - and then I am off to PJ pants for my kids and Robert and me. I think we will match this year. Then I have a list of pillows I want to make for people for gifts! I am so tickled with this project!!

What a week we have to come! A great day on Tuesday - VETERAN'S Day!! Yeah! It makes me so thankful for what many of my friends and family are still doing today. James (Uncle to my kids) is in Iraq as I type - and my kids miss him and pray for him all the time! We are just so thankful to live in a country where men and women put their lives on the line for our freedoms. So THANK YOU - to those still serving and those who have served!

In honor of Veteran's day we went to the National Cemetery in Dallas last week and this week we are planning to go to the parade in Dallas. I am excited - I know the kids will LOVE IT!!

Well, I am off to organize the school room for tomorrow and prepare for the week - I have jelly making on the schedule, school, field trip, more sewing, and I am sure to find a few more things to add!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Family Friday (or so I thought....)

Written Thursday night before......
Well, I am starting this Thursday night, but as you can see I am excited about tomorrow (or today) depending on your view.

We are going to have our first official Family Friday - which is also Hans' Celebrate day! yeah! 3 2 for 1

We are going to have a family devotion tonight led by Robert about heroes of the Bible. DInner will be pizza with Hans assisting and choosing the toppings. (so no mushrooms tonight :() For dessert we will have microwave S'Mores. I picked the S'mores because part of our family devotion is a marshmallow fight during the obstacle course - okay doesn't that just scream FUN? I think so - and I know my boys will think so!

Also our day has opened up because we were going to go see a theater show tomorrow but have changed our minds so we have an open schedule! We have a bit of school to get done which will be quick and then we are off for a fun family day! I can't wait!

Written Friday afternoon - after......

Okay, so I had such grand plans and hopes for this day. That came to a screeching halt this morning and has not gotten much better until, well I will save that for the end....

My big plans for a fun day with the kids - started with them all in trouble -up at 5:15 - all 4- and then proceeding to wrestle, jump and just be crazy until I yelled. Again, and again. SO then we attempted some school (really just needed to do a little to finish for the week) and then I thought maybe it will get better. No it did not. Today it was Hans cutting his brother (somewhat intentionally) with a piece of broken glass (from a broken frame) he found in their room. This is following the knife chasing incident (we won't get into that) and the many others.
Then he was outside playing with a dowel rod (from the craft closet) ...... and it goes on and on. So we cancelled family fun day, postponed family night (since a friend reminded me this family fun night thing is not a given and bad attitudes can lose that privilege) so we are a not fun family today. Young Luke got into trouble too for taking brown sugar in a measuring cup outside to play with - go figure! Then Hans was throwing rocks at the back door.

Robert asked me if I completely lost control today and I explained that I have not had control all day! I did find a precious note from Hans telling me he was sorry and he loved me. SO I do have the attention of his heart, I just wish he had a conscience to listen to!

Okay - so the good - I mean GREAT - news?? Kristen is having a precious baby girl- and no vasa previa - no anything bad!! YEAH!! THis is great news and we are so excited I almost forgot about our un-fun family day! I could really cry I am just so excited!

Anyway, hope your day is better than mine! I am still blessed and thankful, just tired!

Thankful Thursday

Yes, today I am thankful. I am thankful we live in a country where the people decide our leader. I am thankful for the people who voted for the first time in their lives - because lots of people have died for that priveledge. I am thankful that I can pray every day for our President elect and pray for our country. And lastly I am thankful for a God who is so big he can bless our country through our future president and he could even change his heart! (Not really the last of my thankfulness, but for now....)

I have been working on my dear daughter trying to convince her this new outfit is super cute and that she needs to wear it if she plans to stay here much longer! :) So this morning I bribed her with a bath and we got some very cute pics in her Thanksgiving outfit....

Well, since I am thankful today, I may just keep going. I am thankful I only have to wait one more day to find out Kristen's baby is a ______. We are praying it is a girl, but will be thankful for a healthy baby either way! I am not sure I could wait much longer, well I know I could but who wants to?

We have PE this morning, so we are getting some math done before we leave. The princess gets to go play at her favorite friends house while we are doing PE - Ava! Yeah! Ava is the only one home while her brother is in school, so the girls just play like little girls and they both love it. She is always so excited to go and has such a good time! I cannot wait to drop her off! The boys love PE - we are doign soccer with Hans and Chewie, and Luke is in the nursery but still has lots of fun!

I really am thankful this morning, I am not trying to be thankful. Yesterday I had a hard time staying positive, but really, who is in charge? Our creator and he loves us. This too shall pass! I am grateful for these kids that God has graciously given me for a season, and I really cherish the time we have together to watch them grow and learn. I love that God is in their hearts and they are each learning to love him in their way. What a gift that is!

I pray that you are able to find many things to be thankful today too! Even healthy kids after a couple YUCKY days! Or cool weather after what seems like a long hot summer! Or seeing family in the weeks to come for Thanksgiving. We are blessed, can you count the ways?
Lastly, here is a quote Kristen shared with me today:
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Corrie ten Boom

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quality Time Assignment

Assignment: My family and I rarely do anything apart from each other. We don’t really have quality time together because all our time is together. We feel like the more special moments are when we have dinner together or when we worship God together. For this assignment, tell how you and your family spend QUALITY time together.

How do we spend quality time?
What a challenge – to find the time and then carve it out so that nothing bumps it out. We love to camp as a family – to get away from the tv, the phone, and of course the computer. It seems we all get along so well while out camping or hiking or even fishing at the crack of dawn. (I would not know this part first hand, I am usually still sleeping or trying, but I have heard good things about the early fishing!)

We also like to read together. The role of reader, while still falls mostly with Robert or me, it starting to shift to my two bigger boys - they are starting to ask if they can read to everyone this time. I love that – what a gift for them to give all of us –a story read by them!
As for the kids and I Рwe spend our quality time doing school РI know that sounds clich̩ but I have found when I ignore the house and just focus on the school part of our day we just get along and have a great time. I love our school time! The kids seem to soak in the attention even though it is not so much one on one - but one to four. But either way we all seem blessed by our school time! I am just thankful to have privilege to do just that!
One more quality time things we do it Celebrate Days - we do this each month on the day of your birth (12th every month for me) and during/after dinner we all share something we enjoy about that person and we usually have dessert that day (a treat in our home). The kids LIVE for their day! They love to do this and are always tracking who is next and so on! Anyway we really enjoy this and it is good quality time for our family encouraging one another!

Memory Verse :
Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.
Till I come, devote yourself to [public and private] reading, to exhortation (preaching and personal appeals), and to teaching and instilling doctrine. 1 Timothy 4:12-13 (Amplified Bible)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's been a while

Well sorry we have been off-blogging for a couple days - busy days of course! Is there anyone whose days are not busy? I cannot imagine!

On Friday we did get to make it to Flag Football again! The boys loved it and the little ones and I hung out in the stands and watched. It was great weather for being October 31st - and it was a nice afternoon! Watching my youngest two play football on the sidelines was hysterical! The would take turns holding the ball so the other could kick it - football style!

Then we trekked out that night to First Baptist Mansfield to their Fall Festival and played lots of games and bounced and left with way too much candy! Upon returning to our neighborhood we quickly realized the power was out so we made a few stops on the way home (since there is not much you can do in the dark at home) and got a little more candy! After we got home, the power came right back on, so the kids went to bed and Robert and I watched The Happening - I expected scary and it was not - too bad.

Our weekend was great too - I had a friend "drag" me along on a crazy adventure on Saturday! And it was a great day! We went out to the Half-Price Book teacher give-away! Yes give-away! Not sale! You get in line at some crazyhour (7am) [understand we had about a 45 minute drive] and you wait for about 2 hours - 9am. Then they hand you 2 boxes and let you race inside to get as many books as you can (and want). It was a bit insane, but I got some great books and lots of them!!

After that we made it to Target before all the costumes were gone and got one for each of my kiddo for Christmas! And some other stuff too - of course! Then we were treated to some time at North Park Mall - and had a great lunch at Maggianos. It was just a fun girl day!

What a blessings girl-friends are! They are just such a source of encouragement for me - even those far away! I just feel so blessed to have a great group of ladies that I call friends. You should never take those ladies forgranted if you have them in your life! It is another way that God shows his love to us with physical arms and hugs! Not to mention the wisdom they share with us!
Sunday was spent in church - and Robert played his last game of softball this season - and they did not win the playoffs - but they were glad to have played in the playoffs! I think!

Yesterday was our field trip day with our homeschool group and we went out to the Dallas National Cemetery! It was so fun - the boys loved it! And we learned lots about the process and who gets to be burried there. I told Robert that is my choice - to be buried there. Anyway it was a great field trip with some great weather too!!


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