Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Moments Filled With Beauty



My garden is not without a few weeds here and there, but to me, it is beautiful. I am inspired every day when I walk outside to water my plants and enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Maybe it is just because my marigolds are the most low maintenance thing in my life right now!


When I planted my flowers this spring, I wanted my garden to be a place of inspiration to all who walk past it. Since I teach piano lessons in my home and also operate a beauty salon in my basement, there are a lot of individuals who have the opportunity to see my garden on their way into my house. Why not take advantage of that and bathe each one of them in God's Word?



Psalm 34 verses 1-3 are some of my favorite scriptures in the Bible. Here is what it says in The Amplified:


v1) I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.


v2) My life makes it's boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.


v3) O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.



You wouldn't believe how many conversations about our Lord have sprung up from the vision people get of my garden! Isn't it wonderful? They see, they get inspired, they get joy-filled, they smile!

We bless Him together as we learn music. We boast of His goodness and loving-kindness as we explore new hairstyles. He is magnified in my home as I greet my visitors. What a perfect way to bring to fruition Psalm 34!



I have a calendar that I turn over every day. On the pages are inspirational words that touch my heart as I begin each new morning. Today, the words inspired me to take some photographs of my garden and share them with you.



Under each photo, I will place a caption from my calendar's verse today. I hope you are inspired just as my other visitors are as you, too, enjoy my garden of "smiles".



I Wish You



Some Quiet Time For Dreaming





An Unexpected Pleasure






Moments Filled With Beauty





May You Have A Day To Treasure!



Do All The Good You Can, By All The Means You Can

In All The Ways You Can, In All The Places You Can

At All The Times You Can, To All The People You Can

As Long As Ever You Can!


From My home to yours, Have a beautiful day in Jesus!

Love and Blessings,

Starr

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tag, I'm it!!

Well, I've been tagged by my buddy Sonya over at Truth4thejourney http://www.truth4thejourney.blogspot.com/! You all will have to forgive me as I do not yet know how to add links to the text of my blog except by the old-fashioned way.

The game has been fun to follow and now I get to participate!! Alright!!!!

These are the rules:

1) Link to the person who tagged you
2) Post the rules on your blog (this is what you are now reading)
3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below)
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them (This is only a game)
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up

Here are the six VERY random things about me, myself and I:

1) I am addicted to, and I mean ADDICTED in the most severe way to Dr. Pepper. There....I've said it. (Rather, I've typed it).

2) I adore stealing an afternoon nap when at all feasible amidst the chaos of my life.

3) I am shy when I first meet you, but hold on tight, 'cause after we are friends, I will talk your head off!

4) I have been known to forget what I am saying in mid sentence. (Please tell me I am not the only one....PLEASE!)

5) What is it I am supposed to be doing again?

6) Oh, yeah ...and I am not a natural blonde (it comes from a tube) even though I have all the traits of a true "blondie".

Now, Your job is to keep all the above to yourself. (Just kiddin'!)

Really, Your job is to visit all these wonderful ladies whom I am about to tag and encourage them as your read their six random things, OK?

A) Dana, my lovely hilarious friend over at Filled With Laughter (http://www.danamelton.blogspot.com/) is one of my dearest friends. We attend church together, laugh together ALOT and our kids are the best of friends. Visit Dana when you need a good dose of holy cheer!

B) Natalie over at http://www.koinoniacommunity.blogspot.com/ is my buddy from church as well and a terrific writer with lots of posts that make you ponder things. She has 2 lovely little girls who are also friends with my little man. One of the most giving people I know.

C) Joanne from http://onesoblessed.blogspot.com/ is my greatest encourager. We met at She Speaks and I truly believe God placed us together. I will consider her a friend for life. She is one of the best writers I have ever had the privilege of knowing. You will miss out greatly if you don't visit her. She will make ya laugh too! (Go and grab a glass of sweet tea before you sit down to read her blog.)

D) I also met Lynda at She Speaks. We saw each other at the Bloggers Reception and hit it off from the get-go. Her new blog is up and running at http://www.lubylu.wordpress.com/. She is doing a wonderful job and her dear husband encourages her to write. He saw a gift in her and I certainly see it too!

E) Heather has a testimony like no other I have ever heard. It is AWESOME!! She has been through so much and uses it all to glorify the Great God whom we serve. She doesn't hesitate one bit to give Him all the credit for bringing her to where she is today. You cannot read her blog without wanting to just jump up and shout to Him for His great healing power and His loving-kindness. She is a precious young lady. I had the honor of meeting her in person at She Speaks and she just glows with the love of Christ. Visit her at http://www.swallowingamoose.wordpress.com/

F) Last, but certainly not least, is Kay over at http://www.thrivechristian.blogspot.com/. We met at She Speaks trying to find "Kannapolis A". I think God had us on that wild goose chase just so our paths could cross. You will enjoy the wisdom she has to share. A charming lady indeed!

Have fun blog-surfing! Give these gals a day or two to write their random six things, but don't forget to check them out.
Have a blessed day!
Starr

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Welcome To Saturation Saturday


The Dictionary says that saturate means, "to soak thoroughly, of the greatest intensity, to steep, to drench".


My favorite part of the definition says, "to cause to unite with the greatest possible amount of another substance."


Interestingly enough, in Physics saturated means "Charged to the fullest extent of it's capacity."


I love that, don't you? For that reason, I have decided to put Saturdays aside as a day to saturate myself and my bloggy friends in God's Word. No other substance can adequately "charge us to the fullest extent of our capacity".


Though I will use many parts of scripture on Saturation Saturdays, I will focus mainly in the Psalms.




The past two weeks, my trust in God has wavered. I have questioned Him many times.


I cannot fathom why on earth He would allow a precious and perfect newborn baby girl to spend the first few weeks of her life without her loving mother.






I cannot begin to understand why He would filter through His hands an illness that would keep an ecstaticly happy first-time father from enjoying the experience with the mother of his baby daughter.

I can't imagine why a perfectly healthy woman would go to a hospital to give birth and face the beginning of the fight for her life the very next morning.

I do know this. God is in control. He did not cause this to happen. He sees the big picture. He has a plan.



His plan for us during trying times like these is to pray and trust in His promises; To praise Him for His loving-kindness.



Maybe you are facing some difficulties in your life right now. Maybe things are not as you would prefer them to be and your trust is wavering like mine. Maybe you are just wondering "Why". Let's jump into the pool of God's Word together and unite ourselves with Him completely. Let's steep in His promises. Let's drench ourselves with His peace and healing.


I will begin with Psalm 41 from the Amplified Bible and add a few drops from other Psalms for us to soak in.


Dear Father,
Your word tells us that blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who considers the weak and the poor; the Lord will deliver him in the time of evil and trouble (v1). You promise You will protect us and keep us alive; that we shall be called blessed in the land (v 2). You promise to sustain, refresh, and strengthen us on our bed of languishing; that on our bed You [O Lord] will turn, change, and transform in our illness (v 3).


God, You are our Refuge and Strength (mighty and impenetrable to temptation), a very present and well-proved help in trouble (Psalm 46 v 1). Therefore, I will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas, Though it's waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at it's swelling and tumult, SELAH (Pause and calmly think of that!) (Psalm 46 v 3).


There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God (Psalm 46 v4). God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her (Psalm 46 v 5). You will make us glad again!! You will bring us out of these times of turmoil. We will see Your mighty hand at work!

We will call on You in our day of trouble and You will deliver us, and we shall honor and glorify You!! (Psalm 50 v 15). The world will have no choice but to see Your power working in our troublesome situation! You will conquer and restore!


We will rejoice in You, O Lord! We will give You thanks in the great assembly; we will praise You among the mighty throng! (Psalm 35 v 18).


Your hand is at work for us behind the scenes. You NEVER leave us alone or forsaken. You are holding us in the palm of Your mighty right hand and we can feel assured in Your protection and divine wisdom.


Our inner selves wait [earnestly] for You Lord; You are our help and our Shield (Psalm 33 v 20).
For in You does our heart rejoice, because we have trusted (relied on and been confident) in Your holy name (Psalm 33 v 21). Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You (Psalm 33 v 22). May our trust in You never waver. May we stand strong on Your Word.


We Praise You as we claim all these promises from Your Word in Jesus' name. Amen (So Be It!)




Do you feel a little stronger now? Are you charged up? I certainly am!

Have a wonderful Saturday in the Lord!
Love and Blessings,
Starr

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Image Of The Father

Six year-old Austin wants so much to be like his dad. Everything my husband does, Austin wants to do, too.


My husband is an avid bike rider and you cannot imagine how excited Austin was this morning when he discovered a bike shirt in his drawer! The screams could be heard throughout the entire house.


You see, yesterday my sister brought over some clothes my nephew has outgrown and I had placed them all in Austin's drawers without him even noticing it. I never realized those shirts would have such an effect on my little guy.


"MOM!!! Can I go ride my bike right now!!??", he yelled from his room as he excitedly dressed himself in the bike clothes.


Next thing I knew, he was standing at my bedroom door all dressed and exclaiming, "Look Mom!! I look just like dad does!!"


"Of course you can go ride." How could I say no to that little face.


He wouldn't set foot out the door, though before calling his dad at work to tell him all about how his new bike clothes matched his bike and how he was just like dad. Then, he took off like a professional. How adorable he was as he rode away!




video










The other day, my husband was working on his car, so Austin went and grabbed his toolbox. Next thing I knew, he was under the car "working" hard. What a cute little mechanic he made!





My husband is also a guitarist and Praise and Worship Leader. Here is a photo of my oldest son, Chase.




Do you see a pattern here? I certainly do! My husband has an important task set before him if he is to influence our children for God. I think he does a tremendously good job at it. Just look at the evidence!

Parenting is a large calling on one's life. It is a big role to fill. To our children, we are heroes. Little do they know, they are our heroes! Someday when they become parents themselves, they will know firsthand just how much they influenced us.

I found this poem by Lee Fisher. It says it all. My husband keeps on his dresser.

A Little Fellow Follows Me

A Careful man I want to be, A little fellow follows me;

I do not dare to go astray, For fear he'll go the self-same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes, What'er he sees me do, he tries;

Like me he says he's going to be, The little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine, Believes in every work of mine;

The base in me he must not see, The little chap who follows me.

I must remember as I go, Through summer's sun and winter's snow;

I'm building for the years to be that little chap who follows me.

(Lee Fisher)

May we strive to be the kind of people our children believe we are.

1 John 3:2- "Beloved, we are [even here and] now God's children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God's children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is. (AMP)

May we strive to be like our Father, our Creator.

Colossians 3:10- "....renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it. (AMP)

Have you influenced your child today in a positive manner? Tell me your stories of how your little ones follow in your footsteps. Can't wait to hear from you all!

Love and Blessings,

Starr

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just Plain Tired

My mom left to go back to her home at the beach this morning. She has been staying with us for 2 weeks so she could help out with little baby Merissa. (Read previous post if you haven't met Merissa).

I started missing my "mommy" the minute she pulled out of my driveway. But, my dad was missing her, too. Hence the trip back home!

Merissa's Mom, Andrea had to have more surgery this morning. This is the third one in two weeks. She has fluid and infection in her brain and the doctors had to insert a tube to drain the fluid. Please keep her in your prayers.

For most of the day after my mom left I found myself barely able to hold my eyes open. I did have to work in my salon today, but only had two customers this afternoon, so I plopped down on the couch for the rest of the time.

Austin is a little under the weather today due to some allergy issues, so he was quite willing to just lie down beside me on the sofa. What bliss it was to snooze away together under a big soft blanket!

I can hardly remember when he was as small as Merissa. No matter how grown up he gets, he will always be my little baby. I feel the same way about Chase, now 18, but can't tell him that or I will get that notorious eye-roll thingy most teenagers are famous for.

Hopefully, I will wake up tomorrow with a big burst of energy. I want to drive to my cousin's house for a visit. I really need a "Merissa Fix". I didn't see her all day today. I feel kinda deprived.

I'm off to grab still more of that much-needed slumber, this time in my comfy bed next to my comfy husband.

Praise God for all the willing snuggle buddies I have been blessed with!

Stay tuned for more "Not-So-Normal Stories Form The LaPradd Abode".

Love and Blessings,
Starr

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Normal" Didn't Last Long

OK....I know I have been missing in action. Here is the deal:


On July 10, My cousin and his fiance had a beautiful baby girl!!! Her name is Merissa. The mom and dad are Tim and Andrea. Merissa is one of the most beautiful baby girls I have EVER seen. If you don't believe me, just gaze upon this vision of loveliness:



















Not me silly, the baby!!!



Anyway, everything was wonderful and we were all on cloud nine Thursday all day long. My cousin, Tim, is in his 40's and this is his first baby!! You can understand why we all had chill bumps from the excitement of this little blessing!



By the way, there are six of us cousins (three boys and three girls). My mom had only one brother. We are all more like siblings than cousins. We are a very close-knit family.



Friday morning, Andrea (Baby Merissa's mom) had some very serious complications develop. Long story short, we almost lost her three times and now she is in another hospital where she is getting intensive care, on a ventilator, and fighting for her life.



Things have improved a little and Andrea is now alert enough to nod her head and squeeze a hand. She has not seen Merissa since the day she was born.





We are all taking care of the sweet little baby girl and trying to help Timmy in any way we can.




Merissa has no shortage of baby sitters. In fact, we have trouble giving her to the next person when our turn is up!





Here is a picture of my baby (6 year old Austin) holding her:












Here she is with her aunt Tricia:

Here is my mom holding Merissa:




Here she is on the VERY rare occasion when no one is holding her:
PLEASE, I beg of you to pray for Andrea, Timmy and Merissa. The precious little girl needs her mommy and her daddy needs some rest from running back and forth to the hospital. Andrea deserves the blessed feeling of cuddling her newborn bundle of joy and spending time bonding with her new family.



Miranda and Brian are Andrea's two older children and they miss their mom as well. Here they are holding their new baby sister:



Just get on your knees for this family and pray for the gift of healing and health. I will keep you posted as time allows, I promise!

I told ya, "Normal" really doesn't exist around my house, didn't I?

I am off to the hospital to visit Andrea. Then, over to Timmy's house to hold baby Merissa. I am going to give her a kiss from her mom and enjoy the feeling of cuddling her little self all I can.

Love and blessings,
Starr

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back To Normal

Please realize, I use the term "normal" rather loosely. Not sure if we really know "normal" around my house. But, everything is pretty much the same as it once was now that my little man is back from his two week stay at the coast with my parents. (Three,actually, if you count the week we spent there with them)

At this very moment he is playing a ferociously loud video game, the washer and dryer are going full speed ahead, the dishwasher is running upstairs in the kitchen and I am trying to get caught up on a pile of emails and household tasks.

Gone are the relaxing days of peace and quiet. Gone is the relished time spent reading and writing for hours and hours. Gone are the leisurely walks around the neighborhood and the uninterrupted phone conversations with friends. Gone are the romantic nights alone with hubby.

Guess what? I wouldn't have it any other way! (Well, I really do miss that last thing mentioned above!) I'm just so glad to have Austin back home with us!

My eighteen year old, Chase will be leaving this weekend to go on a mission trip. He'll be gone for a week. So, we will be back to "sub-normal" for a short while.

That's how it is for most of us, don't ya think? Normal doesn't even exist.

Family does.

Chaos does.

Adventure does.

Life does.

And life is ever-changing.

So, on that note, I will go check the clothes in the dryer, unload the dishwasher, and get off this computer to go remove the game controller from the grip of my little man so we can do some catching up.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be posting some photos of our trip to the beach and our Fourth of July fun!

Love and Blessings,
Starr