Yours Truly

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I started this blog several years ago as an outlet. To whomever reads my blog, I hope you are encouraged. I do my best to keep it short, so it can be a breath of fresh air.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gloria

If ever there was a Kodak moment, it was tonight in the car. RJ lately has been wanting to listen to Bethel's Christmas CD, tonight was one of those nights. As were were driving and listening to the music, Gloria came on and in unison we both broke out in song along with the choir. We sang at the top of our lungs and RJ was so tickled by it, he couldn't stop laughing. It truly was a moment that was captured in my mind and I'll think back of it and smile. These little things make life happier and bring a smile to your hearts and face.
God is Good!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

63:3

I have to say, 64 is a bit on the defensive side, so I decided to blog this one as well..it's a good one and more on the positive side.
Psalm 63
1O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

2To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

3Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.

4Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

5My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:

6When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

7Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.

8My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

9But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

10They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.

11But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.

God is Good!

64

Tonight RJ chose to read from Psalms.
We read Psalms chapters 63 to 65.
I really liked chapter 64 and wanted to blog it tonight.
Psalm 64
1Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

2Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity:

3Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:

4That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not.

5They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?

6They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.

7But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded.

8So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away.

9And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing.

10The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.

God is Good!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Song While In Line

Well, our Christmas celebrations are winding down and I wanted to share a cute RJ story that took place. Last week, while standing in line to enter The Riverside Church sanctuary or as they call it the Naive, RJ was passing time by singing out loud. Of course his selection came from Handle's Messiah and this is what those in line with us heard : " OH, We like SHEEP, dun dun dun, oh we like sheep, dun dun dun dun, OH WE LIKE SHEEP!" You must close you eyes and imagine him, sitting in his stroller, head tilted back, eyes closed, singing out loud and conducting as he sang. Everyone around us was smiling and enjoying the show before the show. Two ladies walked by and Bob overheard them commenting in wonder that a little boy was singing Handles Messiah while waiting in line.
Yes, folks, that is my boy. Handle would have been proud and I think Jesus was happiest of all.

God is Good!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Music

Today many celebrated Christmas. Loved ones came together to share gifts and hopefully remembered our Lord and Saviors miraculous birth.
A lot of "work" goes on behind the scenes for one day of huge celebrations. We, the Manners Family, prefer to celebrate it as much as we can. I'm getting better at having all the presents done at an earlier time, so I can sit back and truly enjoy the season. This year, I think we started some new traditions. As you are aware, RJ is very musical, and since he is 4, we figured it was time to bring him to the music that he loves. Here are all the concerts we attended ( please bear in mind, I'm a thrifty shopper and did very well on the ticket prices.):
1.Children's Christmas Concert at Bethel United Pentecostal Church-ADORABLE
2. Handel's Messiah at Carnegie Hall-AMAZING
3. The Nutcracker at Hofstra University-We enjoyed it
4. Holiday Concert by RJ's School- SO CUTE!
5. Bethel United Pentecostal Church- Christmas Concert- AMAZING
6. The Riverside Church in Manhattan- So beautiful and AMAZING
7. St. Paul's Methodist Church in NJ or as RJ calls it " The Big White Church", annual candlelit worship service.-nice way to end the Christmas season.

We spread these out throughout the month of December and are definitely plan to do most of them again next year.
Also, we celebrated Christmas for more than one day. We had dinner with Tim and Claudia and then had Christmas in our home a couple of days before the 25th ( Lisa and Ross were with us this year), then we went to NJ to be with Bob's family and celebrated with a fantastic Italian fish dinner on Christmas Eve and as we stuffed our faces, watched the children open presents. Christmas Day we cooked a turkey and had a yummy feast. We decided to come home tonight(Christmas day)and continue the celebration tomorrow with just us.
We don't know what next year will bring, but this year was filled with many times of " OH LORD, what is going to happen next", followed by,
" OK God, we trust you, no matter what." He has taken us through the valley of the shadow of death and brought us great peace.
We want to celebrate our amazing Lord and celebrate the mercy of God who has kept us and brought us much closer together as a family unit.
By the way, if you ask RJ out of all the concerts he attended, which one did he like he will say:" Carnegie Hall and Bethel's Hallelujah Chorus-it was so beautiful."
God is Good!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jesus' Cake

Today we had a wonderful Christmas. RJ loved all his presents and Bob surprised me with a new laptop! It truly was nice to share this day with my sister Lisa and Ross as well. As a tradition we cook a Christmas Goose and let me tell you, Bob cooked an amazing dinner. I'm an ok cook, but Bob, he's amazing.
As you are well aware, we had a fiasco with the birthday cake for Jesus. I was going to get a much better one fit for the King of Kings, but as I was staring at this cake that was heart shaped with the middle sunken in, a thought occurred to me.
He was born in a manger, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In all His greatness, He chose to be born in the lowest of places, so that we with our broken lives/hearts could come to Him freely. I left the cake as it was, and we put one candle in it. We sang Happy Birthday to our Lord and Savior and RJ blew out the candle. He sat there staring at his Jesus cake and said these words: " Oh Jesus, I want you to be in my heart." He then proceed to sing Handles Hallelujah chorus, while staring at the cake.
A truly special moment that I believe Jesus showed up for.
He was born in a manger, died on a cross and rose again all for you and I.
It does not matter if your "cake" is burnt, disfigured or even perfect. All He wants is what you have to give to Him.
Jesus, we celebrate you.
God is Good!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fire In The Oven

Lisa and Ross have been with us for the week. Since I have not had Christmas with them in years and they leave Friday, we are celebrating it tomorrow. As promised we baked a cake for Jesus birthday. We decided to bake it in a heart shaped cake pan. All was going well, until we smelled something burning. The cake had overflowed and the overflow was burnt. I was not to worried about it and took the cake out. The cake had risen very high like a soufflé and then it went plop and caved in the middle. We were in the process of making chocolate chip cookies and I left the oven on. Well..that was a big mistake. As we were getting ready to put the cookie dough on the cookie sheets, my sister points out to me, while filming the whole entire thing, that the stove was on fire. OK! I yelled for RJ to get out of the kitchen, turned off the stove, grabbed the fire extinguisher and realized I didn't know how to use it. The fire was getting bigger and thankfully the extinguisher had very basic pictures showing you what to do. Meanwhile Lisa is still filming the whole entire thing and Ross is trying to get the phone to work and keep RJ out of the kitchen. I yelled at my sister to turn off the video camera and keep RJ out of the kitchen all while putting the fire out. My kitchen was covered in white ash and the fire was out. It was raining outside, so I was able to open the door and get the smoke out.
Thankfully no one was hurt and my stove was not ruined by the fire. I'm sure it was pretty comical. Isn't that like Jesus try to bake Him a cake and it overflows and then the fire of the Holy Ghost comes and files the whole house in which we were sitting. (laugh..that was meant to make you laugh).
When RJ saw that the caked flopped in the middle he said. " OH NO! Jesus heart has a hole in it. That makes me feel so sad inside." Bob replied; "It has a hole, because He loves the world, He loves us so much, that His heart has a hole in it." Talk about an amazing lesson that came out of a disaster.
The cookies were baked, we ate dinner, did our nightly routine and put to bed a super excited little boy. He promised to stay asleep all night, because he wanted Christmas to come tomorrow.
God is Good!

Friday, December 16, 2011

RJ's Bad Dream

Tonight RJ woke up and said he couldn't sleep because he had a bad dream. I pulled him into my lap and asked him what it was about. Here was his dream: " I dreamt there was a war in the city (he means Manhattan) and all the people died. And the big tree fell over and it started to snow. The big tree fell ( Rockefeller Center), the star fell off, but all the decorations and bulbs were still on it. And the trash man was coming to get the tree with the bulbs still on it. I was so sad because you and daddy died in the war too and I was an Orphan. I was so sad and the trash man came and took the tree away with all the decorations on it. Mommy, what is a war? I had a dream about a war and I don't even know what a war is."
I explained to him what a war was and told him that if he prayed for mommy and daddy, that God would protect us and he would not become an Orphan if there was a war in the city.
He was quiet and then asked if we could read the Bible.
We settled down to read the Bible and he asked if we could read about "the guys in the fire." We read it and assured him that if God was with the 3 Hebrews in the fire, He would be with us if there was a war and that God always takes care of his children.
God is Good!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Dinners

Tonight we enjoyed a lovely dinner with my Brother and Sister law, Tim and Claudia. RJ loves going to their house and keeps asking when he is going to spend the night. I am sure once the festivities of this season settle down, he will get his sleepover. I get misty eyed when I watch him giggle and interact with him. Family is so precious and important to me and I really appreciate them and their love for my son. Tonight, they gave him a present and it so happened that he got the same exact gift for his birthday. He of course being a 4 year old blurted out that he had it already. (note to self, work on teaching him polite thank you's when he opens a gift.) I think someone mentioned that it could be replaced and he surprised us all by saying that instead they could send it to the Orphanage. Ok..I had tears streaming down my face. I was already feeling like my cup runneth over just spending time with family and my sweet boy automatically thinks about others. He is not perfect and let me tell you, he will push his boundaries, but I thank God for a good little boy.
I also thank God for family. I thank God for Holiday Dinners that bring loved ones together. This month we will be with all of Bob's family have a big Italian feast. This coming week, my sister Lisa and Ross will be with us and we are going to make a yummy Christmas Dinner. Yes, it's food, but breaking bread with people you love, what more can you ask for?
God is Good!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

School Concert

Tonight was RJ's School Christmas Concert. He was adorable singing his jingle bell song and Down on the Rooftop. We wish it would been more about God and the true meaning of Christmas. I'm probably going to say something about it. Last year, CHRISTMAS flowed throughout the ceremony. This year, it seemed to be a bit all over the place. I enjoyed watching my son, but I wished it would have been more traditional.
Towards the end of the concert, RJ was sitting on Bob's lap lamenting that he didn't like the concert because it was not praising God and that he wanted to leave. He of course was very upset because they decided to not end with the Hallelujah chorus this year like they did last year. Since RJ's heartbeat is music, it made my heart sad to see him sad. I hope next year they will go back to what Christmas is truly about.
God is Good!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

RJ as the sheep





As requested here is a videop clip of RJ as a sheep...

God is Good!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Chameleon

My Father in law has told us that someone with perfect pitch can see music in colors. I don't know how much fact there is to it, but since he is a musician, I will take his word for it.

Tonight gave us some insight into how RJ "see's music". We go to a yearly tree lighting at a nearby church. Before the tree is lit, the band usually plays live with a few musicians singing classic Christmas carols. When the band started to play, RJ was wincing. I have to admit, they were playing in a weird key and all of the singers were not in perfect harmony. Me not being "musical" was able to ignore it. RJ however made this comment: " They are singing in chameleon." At first we were like what? Then we got it, to him they were all over the place and were all kinds of colors. Later in the car we had some classical music on and Bob asked him what the colors were and he said the color was red.

We already knew we had a musical child on our hands, now we are watching to see how this unfolds as he becomes older. Already, he can hear a song, go home and play it on his drums and sort of figure it out on the Piano.
We are so thankful, that already, he wants to play the drums in the church when he grows up.
God is Good!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hallelujah and The Nutcracker

The past two nights have been filled with cultural experiences for RJ. As many of you are well aware RJ loves the Hallelujah chorus. We listen to the entire Handel’s' Messiah CD many, many times during the Christmas season. We listen to the Hallelujah chorus year round, just because it's RJ's favorite song as he says "in the whole wide world." Thus, we figured he was ready to hear Handel's The Messiah, live, at Carnegie Hall. We purchased the cheap seats way up in the top, just in case his 4 year oldness kicked in and we had to bow out early. Let me tell you, I have never seen a 4 year old so captivated. He was conducting right along with the conductor. He looked through his binoculars for a close up and overall was very well behaved. After intermission, we were even allowed to go down one level and have a closer view. The workers were impressed at how he was wide awake and it was clear that he was enjoying himself. We left after the Hallelujah Chorus and as we did, one of the Ushers gave him a high five and a candy for being such a good boy. The people around us, were commenting on how well behaved he was and how cute it was that he loved it so much.
Tonight, we took him to see The Nutcracker, that was being put on by a Long Island Ballet Company and performed at Hoftsra University. It was good, but I could tell RJ was getting very bored at the end. He was on my lap making faces and kept asking when it would be over. Such a difference between the child last night and tonight. As we were heading for the car, we asked him what he thought about The Nutcracker and this was his reply. " It was cute, but I liked the Handel’s Hallelujah better, it was so beautiful." He followed that comment, by humming his favorites out loud for all to hear.
God is Good!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Mistletoe

We decided to hang our yearly mistletoe in the living room. It's in a spot that if you walk down the stairs you are under it and if you go/leave the living room to the front door you walk under it. Bob and I are having lots of fun with it. This morning RJ got excited when he realized we were standing under the mistletoe together. He was jumping up and down, telling me that we get to kiss. So I got down to his level and he threw his arms around me and gave me a big hug followed by a huge kiss on the cheek. It was so cute.
I love being a mommy!
God is Good!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Special Memories

This past weekend, Bob's parents came up for the weekend. When they arrived on Friday night the house had been transformed into Christmas. I love the way we set the house up, it's so cozy and warm. Saturday was a whirlwind of a day. We spent the morning together, the afternoon we went to hear our church choir sing at the Broadway mall. They did such a wonderful job singing! Later that evening we drove into the city to see the Rockefeller tree. I think this year it's especially pretty. We could have done without the crowd, however we gained an unexpected treat. St Patrick’s Cathedral was open and there was live singing. RJ was entranced by the children's choir. From there we hailed a taxi and took it to Macy's on 34th street. We love taking RJ to see their Santa land and yes, Santa. The walk through was lovely and we were tickled and thrilled when the Elf asked him what his favorite part of Christmas was his reply " I LOVE the Halleluiah chorus, because it Glorifies God!" She was a bit taken back, but got a kick out of it. Santa was laughing and thankfully agreed with RJ! Sunday was completed by RJ singing as a sheep in the children’s concert. I took some video footage and I'm going to try and figure out how to put it on here for you all to see. We ended our Sunday night eating a fabulous Christmas Goose Dinner cooked by my awesome husband. He can cook some good food!
This whole weekend was so special, our lives get so busy and it was nice to stop for a while and make quality time with Bob's parents. They are nearing their 80's and time with them is precious. We want RJ to have many happy memories with them. Don't forget to spend time with your loved ones this year. Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season.
God is Good!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Amblyopia

A couple of weeks ago, we took RJ for his four year old check up. They gave him a routine eye check and he scored 20/40 in both eyes..OOOK...thus, we had to take him to an Pediatric Ophthalmologist to get his eyes checked. Since Bob and I both had Amblyopia when we were kids, we were very sad and prayed that it was a mistake. RJ went today and was a real trooper when he had to get his eye drops. He did his best with the testing and followed the doctors instructions, if I can boast, he was the only kid in the doctors office that did not cry after he was given the eye drops. Thankfully at this time, he does not need to get glasses, but has to go back next year because the doctor did detect a slightness of Amblyopia in his left eye. It's not enough to require glasses right now, but he may need them next year. We know we can't fight genetics, both of us had it, we have in on both sides of our families. However, I know a God who can move upon RJ's eye and can heal him of this tiny bit of Amblyopia and cause it to not happen. RJ told me that I needed to pray for Jesus to take the Ambylopia out of his eye. Such faith my boy has!
God is Good!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Fallen Tree and a Sheep

This Friday we picked out our Christmas Tree and had a lot of fun decorating it. RJ was really having a good time, since he was able to put the bulbs on by himself. The house was all decorated and Bob's parents came for the weekend. Around 4am Saturday morning RJ woke us up crying that something very bad had happened. The tree had fallen over, there were busted bulbs all over the place. We cleaned up the mess and RJ was crying saying his Christmas was ruined. That statement prompted a lesson on Jesus being the real reason for Christmas and that we were celebrating His birth. The tree is nice to have, but not what Christmas was all about. This calmed him down and we were able to fix the tree situation. To reinforce what we taught him, on our Christmas Eve, we are going to bake Jesus a cake to celebrate His birth, for He is the reason for the season.
Today(Sunday) RJ had his first concert at church. He was the cutest sheep, I ever saw (Ok I am biased). We were sanctified proud of him because he knew all the words to the song and sang his little heart out. It was a joy to watch him sing and he was super happy his Grandparents were there for the concert.
We are thrilled that he loves to sing for Jesus.
In all this hustle and bustle, remember who this really is about. Don't forget to celebrate Jesus and invite Him to His own party.
God is Good!