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A Joyful Noise

Psalm 100:1 – “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”

How do you make a joyful noise? Do you sing? Do you play an instrument? What is the noise you make that is joyful to the Lord?

I find the giggle from a baby makes me smile…that’s joyful. The chirping of birds outside on a sunny day….that’s joyful. The splashing of a trickling stream or a roaring waterfall….another joyful noise.

Personally, I love to make a joyful noise to the Lord with my voice. I love to sing (and those of you who follow this blog know that!) and most of all, I love to sing praises to God. I also enjoy playing the piano. Though I’m not at all an expert at it, I do spend a lot of time expressing myself through my piano music as well. To me, it’s a joyful noise.

Tonight, I got to enjoy hearing a joyful noise from my daughter! She performed in her first musical instrument concert….a recorder concert. I fully expected to go and have my ears assaulted. After all, how good could a fourth grade ensemble of recorder players sound? I fully expected to hear the occasional squeak from misplaced fingers on the holes or a note played out of rhythm, but I didn’t notice much of that this evening.

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These kids were having fun up there! They didn’t care if it was perfect. They didn’t care if they missed an occasional note. All they cared about was if their parents were watching them from the audience and seeing them applaud at the end of each song.

I couldn’t help but think about what God thinks when we attempt to make a joyful noise to Him. He doesn’t care if we’re off-key; he doesn’t care if we forget the words and just hum the tune. All He cares about is the fact that we are trying to show our love to Him by praising His name.

God loves joyful noises. I know this is true. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have given us so many beautiful things to hear!

When was the last time you made a “joyful noise?” There’s no better time than the present!

♥Miriam

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Snow Days and Hot Chocolate

We are having a snow day today, if you can call it that. It started to warm up during the midst of the storm and started to melt nearly as quickly as it laid. We did get enough (maybe about 6-8 inches) of the white stuff that Katie was able to go outside, sled for a while, and build a snow fort.

It was nearly lunch time and so I started heating a pot of water to make instant cocoa to warm her up when she came inside. I started hearing a scraping noise outside and realized that she was cleaning off the back porch! Wow! Without being asked? Unbelievable! (Sorry for the poor quality picture, but if she would have seen me taking this, she would have stopped shoveling!)

Katie clears snow from our back porch.

Katie clears snow from our back porch.

I realized that her coat was absolutely soaked as well as her snow pants. I waited until she was done cleaning the porch to call her inside. She stripped out of her wet things and it brought back memories of snow days gone by. I guess I had one of those “far away” looks, because she asked, “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing,” I replied. “I’m just remembering when I was your age what it was like to be out in the snow.”

“Tell me about it,” she said.

So, while we made turkey sandwiches for lunch and stirred our hot chocolate, I recalled memories of snow days gone by.

When I was her age, it seemed like we got so much more snow than we do now. I remember large drifts in my backyard that would get as high as me. There was one year, and I can’t remember what year it was, we had an abundance of snow. There was a large drift that formed in our side yard and it packed down quite tightly. I had recently seen a movie or TV show that had a St. Bernard on it rescuing people and found it fascinating! I decided there “had” to be some sort of lost victim in that snow pile. I found an old broom handle and went to work searching for victims by poking the stick down into the snow bank.  The giant drift was deep enough that it nearly covered the entire handle! The neighbor boy happened to see me doing this and wondered what I was doing. I soon explained that there were “victims” trapped under the snow and I was poking the stick down to find them. He quickly produces some sort of stick and began to search with me. Needless to say, we didn’t actually discover anyone, but our efforts were good!

Sledding at my house was awesome!! There was a field beside us that was hilly (we lived at the top of a big hill….one of the highest points of Peters Township, PA!) If you got the sled going just right, you could fly down the hill about 250 feet. If there was some ice involved, you went even further and could sometimes land in the stream at the bottom of the hill. The neighbor boy and me and my mom and dad would spend hours out there sledding and sledding until we couldn’t feel our hands, feet or faces. Then we’d decide we had enough and go inside for hot chocolate. We’d warm up long enough to thaw out and get dry clothes on and then we’d go out again. We’d sled until it was dark.

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We lived in a quiet area. There was one point on our property where our land met with the farmer’s field that had two huge cedar trees . I loved to go back there at night in the snow and sit in a spot I’d create between the two trees, and look out over the snowy countryside and gaze at the stars. I felt very close to God in those moments. I’d often sing as I sat there with nothing but the moon and starlight to illuminate the night. It made me feel like I was the only person in the whole world. I haven’t felt that type of solitude in years. It was wonderful.

Katie and I finished our sandwiches and cocoa and she went off to play.  I sat looking out the window at the birds in the back yard pecking at the suet in the feeders and thought how lucky they were. They could fly off and find that solitude I once experienced any time they wanted to.  Suddenly, I felt very warm and fuzzy inside. I think it was a combination of hot cocoa and good memories.

I was happy as well to be home in my nice warm house. I didn’t have to go out and drive in the bad weather with all those crazy people who don’t know how to drive in snow. I felt blessed to have a job that I could do from home and yet enjoy a little quiet time with Katie. God had kept us safe in this “biggest storm of 2013” (so they said) and we were having a great day.

I remembered a scripture that would often come to mind when I would have those moments of solitude in the snow. It’s always been one of my favorite passages and has been a passage I’ve turned to many times in times of distress or fear. Psalm 121 says – “I lift up my eyes to the mountains–where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you–the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forever more.”

Cardinal in our backyard.

Cardinal in our backyard.

♥Miriam

♫ It’s the Most Wonderful Time….♫

Spring brings many things…warmer weather, sweet smelling flowers, new colorful birds at the feeders, and softball.  Now, personally, I’m not excited about softball, but I do like going and watching a good game. Fortunately for me, Katie plays softball and looks forward to each practice and game.  And Katie is pretty good at it, even if I say so myself. It wasn’t always that way though.

Katie played T-ball first. You just have to love a bunch of 5-7 year-olds running amuck on the field, not really interested at all in the rules or really learning anything. They’re more interested in watching their teammates do weird things with their baseball hat. Dirt becomes a huge fascination as does pulling grass and picking dandelions. One of my favorite moments comes when someone actually hits a ball and the entire outfield goes running for it and wrestles each other to get the ball. In the meantime, the player who hit the ball could have lapped all the bases twice. I think the only purpose of T-ball is to get the kids to learn how to hit the ball. None of them really learns anything in the outfield. Overall, I found T-ball painful to watch between the hilarious moments.

Katie up to bat.

Katie up to bat.

Then she graduated to girl’s minor league slow-pitch softball. Still not really good at it, she tried her hardest. She was the littlest girl on the team. But we soon discovered something…this kid could run, and she could run FAST! Now, if we could just get her to hit the ball.

During her second year of slow-pitch, she got better, much better! This little pipsqueak starting getting people out at third-base and at home plate left and right! She hit her first double, and after that, consistently got on base and would hit doubles. The only thing she wasn’t good at was pitching and this really bothered her. So, since the end of last year’s season, she’s been practicing.

Getting an out at home plate!

Getting an out at home plate!

Unfortunately, Katie’s team hasn’t done well the past 2 years. Each year at the playoffs, they have bombed out pretty quickly. She has not been a “good loser”. She really needs to do some practicing with that!

Now, in 2 weeks, we’ll get to see what she’s capable of. This year, it’s a new ballgame…fast pitch softball. It’s also a new team, The Flash. And, we have a new coach. Katie is excited about all of it. I’m excited for her. Yes, it’s 3 months or so of running and running and running. But, this is something that makes her happy and so I’m happy for her.

Katie has been trying to keep her skills sharp in the off-season.  She is concerned about how well she will do this year. We’ve told her that she just needs to pay attention to what her coach is telling her. She needs to practice her skills. She wants to finish this season well, and hopes that she is on a winning team this time.

In  2 Timothy 2:5 is says, “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” (ESV).  I think she needs to make this a “theme verse” for her softball season. (A little prayer couldn’t hurt either!)

♥Miriam

♫Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it’s off to camp I go!♫

Katie loves camp! Katie would live at camp if we’d let her! She wants to spend all her free moments there, experiencing all the activities and fun that can be had.

This weekend, she gets to learn about being a “princess” in God’s Kingdom. I think she’s most excited because the speaker for the weekend is also a balloon artist and makes really cool stuff out of balloons.

Katie at camp this past summer. She was seriously having fun...she just likes to make goofy faces!

Katie at camp this past summer. She was seriously having fun…she just likes to make goofy faces!

One thing that I love about her being at camp so much is that she is getting good solid biblical teaching while she’s there. I’m excited that she loves camp so much, especially when I think of all the options for kids out there and how many of them aren’t really good choices. Things aren’t like they were when we grew up.

That's Katie in the red shirt making the goofy face!

That’s Katie in the red shirt making the goofy face!

Katie told me she’d like to work at camp someday. She has ideas of taking over my job! Well, sure, if she thinks she can handle it! As I greeted parents coming in to register this evening, she insisted on standing with me. “I want to help,” she said.

I told her she couldn’t do my job. She said, “Sure I can. I just say hi to everybody.” (Well, it’s a little more than that Katie!) I explained that if she did that when I was supposed to do it and if she did it better than I did, then I wouln’t have a job. “Nah,” she said. They’d let you do it till I was old enough to do it for you.” (Really? She does have this all figured out!)

I won’t discourage her if she’d like to pursue a camp career when she’s older. I just hope it will be at a camp close to home! I wouldn’t want her to go to camp permanently and I’d never see her! Meanwhile, until she is old enough to work full-time at camp, I’ll let her go as much as she wants. It’ll only help her as she grows in her walk with God!

Katie and her friend Rachel

Katie and her friend Rachel at Camp Joy El.

♥Miriam

Say What??

I debated about whether or not I would post this memorable moment. After all, some could view it as a bit risque’.  But after recently talking with my friend, Becca and finding out that you can actually print your blog in a book form, decided that’s something I’d like to do at some point. And so, I’m including this “Katie moment” here. Besides, it IS hysterical and it’s something I’ve neglected to put in her baby book. So, I figure if I post it here, it’ll become part of a book at some point.

This “Katie moment” is actually a “Katie/Katrina moment”. Katrina is one of Katie’s best friends. Now keep in mind, they were only 6 and 5 at the time, but this story is just classic!  It’s one of those “pick-me-up-off-the-floor-I’m-laughing-so-hard” moments! Enjoy…..

Two best friends-Katie (age 6) and Katrina (age 5). Now they're 4 years older, but still just as silly as they were then! :)

Two best friends-Katie (age 6) and Katrina (age 5). Now they’re 4 years older, but still just as silly as they were then! 🙂

The other week, Katie’s little friend Katrina was here for the evening.  They were having a blast playing dress up and house.  Dave & I were relaxing; I was in the living room reading and Dave was just coming in from the kitchen when he & I heard the following conversation….

Katie: “Wanna play restaurant?”
Katrina: “Sure!”
Katie: “Okay, I’ll go first at being the waitress and cook and all, and you’ll be the customer and then we’ll switch.”

Katrina goes back the hall and grabs a doll and comes back to Katie’s “kitchen”.

Katie: “Welcome to Katie’s dinner.  Here’s a nice table for you.”
Katrina: “Thank you.”
Katie: “I’ll get a highchair for your baby.” (Proceeds to get a doll highchair and drags it to the table.) “Here’s your menu, let me know when you’re ready to order.”

Katie then goes to the “kitchen” and begins to “cook”.

Katrina: “I’m ready to order.”
Katie: (With tablet in hand) “What will you have?”
Katrina: “I’ll have the pizza.”
Katie: “And what would your baby like to eat.”
Katrina: “Oh, she doesn’t eat.  She drinks from my nipples!”

Now Dave is just about in the living room when he hears this, comes in and whispers “Did I just hear what I think I heard?”  Yes, Dave, you did!

Without missing a beat Katie continues on…. “I’ll be right back with your pizza.”

Talk about hilarious!  There is Dave and I tears streaming down our faces because we’re trying not to laugh out loud and Katie and Katrina continue on playing restaurant as though nothing was ever said!

Kids do say the strangest things! 🙂

♥Miriam

Katie the Bear! (Grrrrrrrrrrrr!)

Here’s another memory I found and it’s a real “Katie classic”! This is one of my all-time favorite “duh moments” she’s ever admitted to! At least this whole incident taught her a lesson…she’s not a bear!  Enjoy…..

Well, my daughter did it again! She never ceases to amaze me!  The other day, when Katie got out of bed, she told me her back was itchy and would I scratch it.  I scratched it and the day moved on.

When I got home from work that evening, Katie once again asked for her back to be scratched.  Thinking nothing of it, I obliged and scratched her back.  She proceeds to tell me that at school that day, her back had itched but her friend, Sushmita, didn’t know how to scratch it like I did and she was glad I was home so her back could be scratched.  I started to wonder why she was so itchy all of a sudden.  I went to the kitchen and made supper, and forgot all about her itchiness.

Then came bath time for Katie.  As she began to climb in the tub I noticed something terrible on her back!  It looked raw, totally brush-burned and scabby!  How could I have not known about this?  Of course, I immediately questioned her–“What happened here?!!!!!”  Katie proceeds to tell me. “Oh, I was really itchy at recess today, and since Sushmita didn’t know how to scratch my back, I used a tree.”

“You what?”

“I used a tree.”

“How?”

“I lifted my shirt, leaned against the tree and started rubbing up and down until it stopped itching.”

“Like a bear?”

“I guess you could say that,” she says.

“Did you ever think this was a stupid idea?” I asked.

“No.”

“Do you have any idea what your back looks like?  Do you realize you could have given yourself splinters?  Do you know you aren’t a bear?” I questioned.

“Yeah, Mommy.  But I don’t itch anymore!”

"Ooooo, a little more to the left!"

“Ooooo, a little more to the left!”

Well, her itchiness had ended after her encounter with the tree, but now it’s back full force since the scabs that formed are starting to come off!  When will she ever use her head?  I guess she was–she was thinking like a bear!  🙂

One of my favorite pics of Katie! She was about 22 months old here.

One of my favorite pics of Katie! She was about 22 months old here.

♥Miriam

Ready for Anything (A memory from 2009) ☺

Here’s another oldie but goodie! ☺

The other week, we had to have our septic tank pumped.  This meant that Dave would need to dig a hole and find the top of the tank so that when the pumper people came, they could do their thing.  Dave went out and started to dig.  Katie announced, “I’m gonna help Daddy!” and out the door she went.

Next thing you know, in comes Dave and he heads for the basement.  He came back up the steps with Katie’s toy garden tools so that she really could help him!

Katie and Dave are out there digging away, when suddenly, Katie makes a beeline for the house.  I didn’t think much of it, just figured she had to go to the bathroom.  She comes flying in the door all out of breath and says to me, “I’ll be right back!  I need to do something!”

As she went down the hall, I hollared out my usual “Don’t forget to flush!”  (Little did I know that she had other things in mind instead of going to the bathroom!)

Next thing you know, here she comes!  She is wearing a play hard hat that she got when she built her own bear at Boyd’s Bear Country, and she is wearing a pair of gloves.  I say, “What are you doing?”

She replies, “If I’m gonna help Daddy, I need to have everything I need.  Now I’m  repaired for anything!” and out the door she goes.

She’s out there digging away in her “workman’s outfit” while I stay inside rolling with laughter over her “repairing” herself for work!  What a kid!

This was taken around the time of this story in 2009. Boy has Katie grown up since then!

This was taken around the time of this story in 2009. Boy has Katie grown up since then!

♥Miriam