Be Encouraged

Psalm 59:16-17 (ESV)

16But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
17O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.

Philippians 4:4-9 (ESV)

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Nevin – A Mini-Tribute

Today, our Nevin turns 11!  Happy Birthday.

In a family with 4 children, it is often hard to pinpoint a “middle child.”  But, in our family, Nevin was #2 of 3 for 4 years, so the monaker of “middle child” definitely falls to him.   So to ward off a little of that “the middle child is always forgotten syndrome,” I am offering a mini-tribute to our 11-year-old middle child–Nevin.  (Please note, being the middle child means there are very few photos of you alone.)

Nevin at around 1.  Cute little guy.

Nevin & Calvin right after a bath.  Nevin was probably about 9 months old, which means Calvin was just over 2.

The whole  family in 1999 at our church near Seattle, WA.

Nevin & Calvin, circa 2001, in Minco, OK.

Nevin with Granddaddy at the St Louis Zoo,  2005.

Nevin at this year’s harvest party.

Nevin is a sweet-natured kid who loves to read, play computer games, and has recently acquired a taste for old A-Team episodes that are posted on the internet. He also likes to sing, to do strange dance moves that often embarass his older brother, and he enjoys operatic music.

We love him a lot, and we’re thankful for all the great and fun qualities he brings to our family.  Thank you, Lord, for Nev.

The Wounded Princess

Many of you know that our Charis fell on the black top near the playground at recess about 2  weeks ago.  This past Sunday was the first time I had the opportunity to take a picture of her with the cast.  This was taken at our church’s annual Harvest Party:

As you can see, she’s pretty happy with life despite the large pink cast.  After having the bone set and the cast put on, she has barely missed a beat.   She did say to her teacher last week, “I don’t know how all those misquitoes are getting into my cast.”

School Walk-a-thon Fundraiser

This is the second year we have had children enrolled at  a small Christian school in south St. Louis County.  It is like lots of other Christian schools with small classes, loving teachers, strong academics, and sweet students.  However, it is unique because the church that hosts the school donates the building, and even maintenance and utilities to the school to keep their overhead very low.  The church sees this as a ministry to the community,  and I can testify that it is a ministry to our family.  We are very blessed to have our children surrounded by other believers each day as they study and learn academics as well as what it means to be a Christian in today’s culture.

All tuition at this school goes to paying for school materials (textbooks, etc) and teacher salaries.  The school is also very committed to making Christian education accessible to families of all economic backgrounds.  They have a generous multi-child discount, which makes it possible for several families with multiple children to keep them in a Christian educational environment.

The school has very few fundraisers compared to other schools.  As a parent, I am very thankful for this.  However, each fall the school has its primary fundraiser, a walk-a-thon, where parents, friends, and family sponsor the children to walk to raise money to help allow the school to keep its tuition low and its academics and Christian testimony strong. The children do not take donations for number of laps walked, but they take lump-sum donations for completing the event.

This year’s fall walk-a-thon is scheduled for October 31, and the school’s goal is to raise $40,000.00 through this event.  They would like to see each student raise $350.  With 4 kids at the school, that makes our family expectation $1,300.00.  If we were able, we would just hand over the $1,300.00.  But we’re not.  So, I am asking anyone who stops by my blog to consider donating to this cause.  If you would like to donate, you can e-mail me at mjathornesdotorg for instructions of how to get your donation into the right hands.  If you are interested in giving but would like to know more details about the school, e-mail me so I can answer you privately.  Any donations we receive through my blog will be divided up among my 4 children so they receive “credit” for the funds raised.

You can also donate through paypal if you like.  I tried putting a donate button up here, but it didn’t work.  So if you want to use paypal, shoot me an e-mail, too.

Our Simonaversary

Perhaps you remember this post from a little over a year ago.

So it has been just over a year since Simon joined our household.  He has adpated well to the craziness of living with us.  The children still bemoan the fact that he feels he must sit as close to me as possible when we are just hanging around the house, but they have gotten used to it.  I think Simon thinks he is just another one of the kids–the most special one who must always be by Mommy.  He and Charis have had their tossels as they both jockey for position.  In the end, though, I think Simon has learned that he is #5 in the pecking order of children (the rest come in no particular order of course, ahem  . . .)

So raise your coffee cup to our first year with Simon.  He has been a happy (albeit sometimes smelly) addition to the family.

Clean Counter Tops & Sanity

Last Saturday, I hosted a bridal shower in my home for a young woman from church.  I was providing the place, and someone else was bringing the decorations, set-up, etc.  I was only responsible to have the house clean, make my one small contribution to the food table, and be available.   So I cleaned, and I was pretty happy with my results.

This is the counter a bit after the shower–not completely clean, but close!

We have a long, skinny galley kitchen with very little counter space.  So one thing I did was cleaned off the counter surfaces completely.  Our refrigerator stands between two island like tables I have added to serve as extra counter space, so I removed all the papers, notices, pictures, etc., from the refrigerator, too.   Boy, do I love a clutter free refrigerator.  Who knew how good something so simple could make me feel?

In the week since the shower, I have tried to keep the counters and fridge clear of as much stuff as possible. It has been great to have more space for cutting, serving, etc., this week because there’s not a lot of extra junk sitting on my counters.  I have felt more calm in my kitchen than I have in a long time.

Now, with 4 kids and a husband, is it possible to keep up this clean counter-top regimen?  Time will tell.  In the mean time, would you like me to slice you a piece of banana bread on my nice clean counter top?