Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fruits of a Year

Illustration of the Barren Fig Tree

Then Jesus used this illustration: "A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.  Finally, he said to his gardener, 'I've waited three years, and there hasn't been a single fig! Cut it down.  It's taking up space we can use for something else.'

"The gardener answered, 'Give it one more chance.  Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.  If we get figs next year; fine.  If not, you can cut it down.' "

Luke 13:6-9

This year has brought knowledge, changes, growth and varied experiences to our lives.  We have been blessed with health, a warm home, enough food to eat and a loving family. Not every thing has been easy.  Life at times can be challenging, difficult and down right frustrating, but through it all we have grown to lean on our Savior more. These are experiences are God's fertilizer for our lives.  He has used trials and blessings to mold us to be more Christ-like.

Sometimes I fail Him miserably, but He is always there with loving arms, ready to hold me when I finally give Him back the control of my life.  He fills me with his love, His special attention, so that I may grow and produce abundant fruit.  Fruit that will be reaped by my husband, my children, my family, my friends and by strangers I may meet.  He loves me and is therefore willing to take the extra time to guide me, challenge me and teach me, so that I may produce fruit for His glory.

How about those in our lives who are like a barren tree?  They seem lost- searching for something, they may be harsh, they seem selfish and lacking in love or maybe they are just hurting and in need of direction. These are the people that need our special care. 

A gardener doesn't just plop a plant in the ground and then walk away hoping for good results.  No, a gardener tends to that plant.  They get down on their knees, eagerly working the soil to prepare it for the new plant.  Then the gardener supplies it with a gentle sprinkling of water and a good dose of fertilizer.  As the days pass the gardener visits that plant.  If it needs pruning the job is done with utmost care.  It the plant needs staking to keep it upright, the gardener supplies a good straight rod. A gardener sees potential in that small plant and therefore gives it special attention, because the gardener knows of the beauty to come.

This is how we need to see the world.  Those around us need our special care and good dose of fertilizer that only God can provide.  I'm ready to face the new year.  I have my spade, watering can, box of fertilizer and lots of tender loving care to give.  How about you?  Let's work together and tend to those in need. Just imagine all the wonderful fruits that will be reaped if we work together for our Lord and Savior.  I can see the blossoms already!

Monday, December 29, 2008


100_4106 I woke up to a big pair of brown eyes staring into mine. I slowly turned my head to glance at the clock, it was 2:30. I mumbled something about it being to early and that he needed to get back in bed.  I gratefully slumbered on, snuggling deeply into my pillow. At 5:30, I felt a presence standing next to me. I opened my eyes and there he was again wondering if it was time to open presents. I gave him a hug and shooed him out of my room. Around 6:00, I heard animated whispering coming from the living room.  I knew how excited they were, I used to be the same way as a child.  I would be so excited that I couldn't sleep. My sisters and I would congregate on the living room floor staring up at the tree and wondering what was inside all the gifts that surrounded the tree.  We would count the minutes until 6:00 and then we would all rush into my parents room to waken them for Christmas. Now I see Christmas through the eyes of my children.  I don't get so excited that I can't sleep, but I anticipate the joy of a blessed day with my family. Finally at 6:30, I consented and I rolled out from under the covers.  The boys quickly called their grandpa and grandma, who had been up since 6:00 (I think it must be ingrained in them), to come over to celebrate with us.

My mom and dad soon arrived with a basket of gifts and breakfast goodies.  The excitement continued to mount!  There was a lot of prancing and bouncing going on as they patiently waited for the adults to organize themselves. As soon as I had the coffee brewing (an essential ya know),  we sat down to see what was in the stockings.                                                          










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Lauren picked out a sucker right away and ignored the rest until we prompted her to keep looking.  After that she quickly got the concept of Christmas down and we were hard put to keep up!


All was going well until Grandma mentioned that she would love to have a picture of them in front of the tree. The boys gladly obliged grandma, but Lauren refused.  We coaxed gently, but the two-year-old with the will of iron prevailed.





Seriously, how can you fight with that on Christmas Day?  So, grandma got a nice picture of the boys, while Lauren laid on the floor ignoring us all.


After the gifts had been opened we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my parents- Cinnamon rolls, Carmel rolls, Cresent wrapped sausages, and a delicious fruit bowl.  Then we spent the rest of the day just relaxing and playing with the new toys that the kids had received.  I treasure being able to focus on family and Christ's love for us on this special holiday. To me staying in and surrounding myself with my husband and children is the best way to celebrate the most wonderful gift of all.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve Review

Usually on Christmas Eve we celebrate Christmas with Joel's side of the family.  This year however, traditions were altered because of this...



Jacob came down with a funky virus. Like we haven't already been sick enough the past two weeks.  He ran a high fever, was itchy, lethargic (he took two naps in one day, highly unusual for high energy boy) and broke out in this crazy rash.



So, we postponed out Christmas celebration to another day so that my nieces and nephew wouldn't be exposed to this phenomenon.  We spent the evening at home cuddling and reading the Christmas story.


After 3 tries to get a good picture of my crew and me we gave up!  I'm lookin' a bit ragged in this photo. We were having trouble coordinating the smiles and keeping our eyes open as you can see. I'm giving out a Christmas wink to you all!


100_4126When I was a little girl my mom would take a picture of us each Christmas Eve before we went to bed.  This year I decided to continue that tradition.  Princess Lauren threw a fit because she was dead set against the whole idea.  I finally got her to get up off the floor where she was laying, wailing in protest.  She wouldn't drop the phone, so I gave up and just took the picture. I guess it just wasn't our night for perfect family photos!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!


To all my blogging friends,

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you!  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your families.  Tomorrow evening, we will be snuggling up around the Christmas tree and reading the Christmas story together; remembering and focusing on God's perfect gift to us, of His son Jesus.  I pray you and your families will know the awesomeness of God's love this holiday season.   And may we all share freely of the wonder of Christ's birth and His ultimate sacrifice for us.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6


From our family to yours~ We wish you a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Craft

*We did this a while back, but I never got the chance to post it. Thought I would share it with you today.

  100_4071                                                                                                    Today we felt a little bit artsy so, we made up some pretty Christmas balls.  We started with craft foam balls. Using Elmer's glue that I had watered down slightly, we attached small squares of fabric.  It was a fun project and not horribly time consuming.  The worst part was the glue.  I told the boys not to be stingy with it. To make sure they covered each piece.  Oh boy, did they take that to heart.  There were puddles of glue on the table.  It was running down their arms and of course we had some pretty sticky fingers.  But despite all this, we had a fun time and the our Christmas ornaments turned out beautiful! 

Take a look....


I set the ornaments on parchment paper to dry over night.  While they were still sticky with glue I wrapped coordinating ribbon around each of them. 

TA-DA! The finished project. 

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I like these so much I will be making a few more to add the Twisted Willow branches in this vase.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Sorry for the extended absence,the dreaded stomach ick has chosen our family as its next victim.  At first I wasn't posting or reading anyone else's posts because its hard to type in a de-contamination suit.  Then I was struck down.  It wasn't fun my friends, but my dear, youngest children had the worst case of the crud I have ever seen.  It is now day 6 and I still have one throwing up occasionally.  Please pray that the rest of my family doesn't get this nasty stuff.  I will try to catch up with all of you when I get done bleaching every teeny-tiny surface in my house.

Friday, December 12, 2008

O Tannenbaum


This is our Merry, Merry Christmas tree which leans to the left!  Oh well, it hasn't crashed to the floor...yet.

When I was a little girl, my mom would buy each of us a new ornament each Christmas. I now have a box full of Christmas memories.  Now I do the same for my children.  Each year when we are putting up the tree they get so excited to see what their new ornament will be for the year.

Some of the other traditions we have are watching a children's video about Jesus' birth and reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.

We also celebrate Christmas with my husband's family on Christmas Eve.  We share a wonderful evening Christmas meal and then gather around the tree to open gifts. 100_4017

A new tradition that I added this year and hope to continue is having the boys read parts of the Christmas story, throughout the weeks of December, for their individual Bible study.  They also will be memorizing verses that proclaim the good news of Jesus' birth.








To view more Christmas memories head on over to We Are THAT Family.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Beauties

Last week I posted an awesome picture of my husband on Christmas morning 1993! This week I thought I had better post some pictures of myself. This way I will be less likely to endanger myself by having my hubby find embarrassing pictures of himself plastered on the web. First, I must add this little disclaimer... To my dear sisters and brother, so sorry you are being featured in this post, but if you hadn't been standing next to me this wouldn't have happened!

So with out further delay...

Christmas 85

Here I am with my sisters and brother. I am the one on the left sporting the glasses 10 times to big for my face and a feathered doo! My mom took this picture on Christmas Eve right before we hopped into bed for the night. Check out the matching flannel nightgowns my sister and I have. I'm sure my mom made those for us!

Christmas 1985

A couple of day later this picture was taken with me holding my baby sister Katie. She was born on Christmas day and was the best Christmas present we ever received. Notice my brother still in the same PJ's. HMMMM...I wonder how long he wore those before we peeled them off him!

Fast Forward a few years....

Christmas 90

Christmas 1990- Here I am nonchalantly sucking on a candy cane sportin' the newest hip look- Garfield P.J.s. And no I am not the height of Goliath! I think I must have been standing on a footstool or levitating, I'm not sure which!

Finally we have Christmas 1991:

Christmas 91

Once again we are all gathered for a Christmas photo. I am the one holding my little sister and trying to peer through the hair in my eye!

Just one final note, to my brother and sisters, P-l-e-a-s-e don't despise me for posting these beautiful pictures of you all! I LOVE you and you all know you were just adorable back then!

For more great memories visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

In Other Words- Christmas


I have often read other ladies blogs who have participated in this weekly theme. Today I thought I would join in.

*Please overlook the layout of this post. I am having technical difficulities!


How easy it can be to fall into feeling like the Grinch this time of year. The pressure to have the perfectly decorated home, send out oodles of Christmas cards, bake 10 different varieties of Christmas cookies and at least 5 types of sweet breads, buy the perfect gifts for each one on you list, attend parties and plays, and

do it all with a cheerful heart and smiling face.

How easily we forget what Christmas is truly about. I am guilty of this myself. Just this morning, as I was trying to get each of the boys settled into their school work and telling Miss Thing, at least 50 times, to be quiet, I started to feel angst. There is so much to do and so little time. I haven't finished purchasing gifts. Christmas baking? Forget it. Christmas cards, oh boy, I haven't even started. How am I going to provide a Merry Christmas for my family, when I can't even tackle my every day to-do list? The ironic thing is I just wrote a post last Monday on how I was going to keep Christ in Christmas. But with my attitude this morning, I am far from accomplishing that. I am feeling more like a yelling at the top on my lungs BA HUM-BUG!

I think, if Christmas is going to mean a bit more this year, I need to focus on doing less. I will not worry about Christmas cards this year. I will take time to focus on Christ's birth. I won't bake hoards of Christmas goodies. I will bake just enough to share with our elderly neighbors. I won't decorate like Martha Stewart. I will let my children decorate the tree. My goal will be to focus on the beauty of the season and finding ways to do it simply.

If I am going to make Christ the focus of the season, then I need to put Him first. I can't do that if I allow myself to get caught up in the non-essential traditions. I desire to help my children see that Christmas is more than gifts, cookies and cards. It is about giving your heart to the Lord Jesus who came as an infant to this world to save us from our sin. Jesus provides so much more than what can be "bought in a store."

For more "In other words" visit Lori.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

No Pressure!

AARRRGH!  Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system. I have had a tremendously busy week.  For this homebody it has been something nigh to a marathon!  And it hasn't ended yet.  Today I have two separate parties to attend.  Tomorrow we will be going to church in the morning.  Then I will rush back home to get the noon meal on the table, because we are having our families over to celebrate Isaac's birthday. Then its back to my parents church for a Christmas program in the evening.

This isn't really what got me in a tither.  What got me wound tighter than a 10 day clock, was the baking fiasco I encountered.  Yesterday, after I had finished my bi-weekly cleaning of the neighbors ladies house, I came home to tackle the long list of  food items I was going to be preparing for today and tomorrow. 

I dumped all the ingredients for French bread into my bread maker.  No Problem.  I mixed up the cinnamon roll dough. Check. I moved onto Isaac's birthday cake, normally I would just use a boxed mix, but not this time.  I was doing alright until I put in a 1/2 Tablespoon each of baking powder and baking soda instead of the 1 teaspoon it called for.  OOPS! By the time I realized this, it was too late. I put the cake in the oven and hoped for the best. I successfully began to brown the meat and onions for the spaghetti.  However, when I went to check on the cake it looked funny, partially cooked around the edges with a couple dozen bubbles in the center.  I opened the oven door and noticed the oven temperature had fallen to 250 degrees.  I got on the floor and checked on the pilot. No flame.  I shut off the gas and then turned it back on.  It started back up. Five minutes later, you guessed it, no flame.  I called my mom for advice.  She lovingly told me she would just bake another cake and that I could bring the bread down to bake at her house. 

As I was retrieving the dough from the bread machine pan I noticed, to my dismay, that for some odd reason there were hard clumps of unmixed dough at the bottom.  My shoulders slumped as I dug out the worst of it and worked the dough into a loaf.  I took the lumpy thing to my moms.  She once again came to my rescue and said she would make another loaf of bread.  Just in case!

My oven is toast.  Joel removed the burner and there is hole in it.  We are hoping we can get a part to replace it.  So today I will be bringing 2 pans of unbaked cinnamon rolls to a party. Thankfully the hostess has offered her oven to finish up the job.

As for the birthday dinner, I will be able to use my slow cooker and stove top to finish up the meal.  And my mom, who I believe deserves sainthood, will be bringing the rest!

Oh, and by the way, my boys loved the cake.  My sweet guinea pigs ate huge pieces of it last night and declared it scrumptious, even if it was a bit ugly.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas 1993

Christmas of 1993, it was our first Christmas together in our apartment, which was above my husband's parents home. It made for an interesting year, but that is another post entirely!

I loved being domestic and making our apartment a home. So, when Christmas rolled around, I was especially ecstatic to decorate and cozy up our home.

First Christmas

The photo quality is poor, but you can see I'm in full decorating mode! Boxes everywhere and a shop vac just in case, because you never know. And check out that full head of hair! If the picture was better you would see that my hair was tight ringlets that fell all the way to the middle of my back. This was no perm, people. It was all natural and at that exact moment- poofy!

first tree

TA-DA! What a masterpiece! You must take notice of the two silver disks on either side of the tree. I do believe this was our handy-dandy way of tieing down our live tree so it wouldn't tip over. I'm surprised we didn't just duck tape it to the wall!

Now for the piece de resistance...

Joel Christmas

My stunning, young, oddly dressed, showin' a little skin hubby, on Christmas morning! Yes, we were of legal age to be married, even if he does only look about 12! Now, for those of you who know me in real life and read this blog let's keep this little gem to ourselves, shall we! Or I will pay dearly for sharing this beauty with you all!

For more ancient memories that will make you laugh visit We are THAT Family.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy Birthday!

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My Boy,

What a joy you are to me! You are my gentle boy with a tender heart. My first born, my treasure. My heart fills with love for you today and every day. What a blessing you are to our family.

You bless us and others by your willingness to give a helping hand to those in need. Ever since you were old enough to walk you have been a hard worker. When the other children at church were playing tag you would walk around the yard picking up sticks and piling them up for disposal!

You still don't shy away from physical labor. If there is hard work to be done here at home, at Grandpa's or the neighbors, you are in the midst of it all. When I ask you to do a small job for me, never do you complain or try to extract yourself from the chore. You jump right up and accomplish the task. This attitude will help you tackle the difficult times in life. It will strengthen you and those around you.

I cherish your easy smile and laugh. I love that we can joke around with one another and you actually "get" it! When you chuckle over something it makes me giggle. And before you know it we are both bubbling over with laughter. You brighten our home with your cheerful disposition.

Even though you are growing and becoming more independent, you still take time to give me a hug now and then. I treasure these times when you come to me for reassurance and comfort.

You are changing into a young man. I see evidence of this daily. I pray that you will allow God to guide you in the years to come. Let Him shape you into a Godly young man by following the path that He has laid out for you. Always seek His will for your life and you will know true joy. Yes, there will be hardships, but they will only strengthen your character and strengthen your faith in our Lord. I pray you will give your heart fully to Him each day, so that you will know His love for you.

Happy Birthday, my sweet boy!

Love you,


Monday, December 1, 2008

Keeping Christ in Christmas

At the Well topic: Having a "Mary" Christmas: Keeping "Christ" in Christmas with Practical Ideas.  Hosted by Tracy from Thirsty for Him.

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year at our house and probably yours too.  There are cookies and sweet breads to deliver to the neighbors, play practices, extra events at church to attend, gifts to make and buy, decorations to put up, and family functions to enjoy.  All  this takes place within a few weeks.  With all the hustle and bustle we can easily lose the true meaning of Christmas.  I don't want our family to miss the deep spiritual significance of the season, so this year I am hoping to slow the pace as much as possible.

Every year I try to make changes so that we can focus more on Jesus and less on busyness and material items.  Some of the events scheduled for December I can't or won't cross off the list, but I won't be adding any extras.  The activities that we will be doing this year will be centered around the true meaning of Christmas.  We will be in the Christmas play at our church.  We will attend and work at the Christmas functions are church is hosting.  We will bake for the elderly in our neighborhood.  All these items on our list will help each of us remember Christ's birth and ultimate sacrifice. 

This year we will be doing something I have wanted to do for the past several years.  I have added an Advent Calendar to our December days. 100_3998

100_4000Our Advent tree calendar and ornament counters.  Nothing fancy, but it will be functional and fun for the kids.

We will be counting down the days to Christmas and giving a bit or ourselves each day.  Our Advent activities will be simple and take little time, so this project won't add any more stress to a full schedule, but it will hopefully place a spirit of giving in our home.  The goal for this simple 25 day project?  To help each of us celebrate Christ this Christmas.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm thankful for.....










Ice cream



I know I wasn't going to post anymore this week, but I just had to share this.  Isaac and Jacob did this acronym today.  They struggled with a couple of the letters, but they were eventually able to come up with some great things to to thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

With Thanksgiving

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name."  I Chronicles 29:13


100_3725  I like to remember Thanksgiving year round.  It is a holiday overflowing with historical importance and traditions, which I love.  But, most importantly, to me it symbolizes a time to count my blessings.  And that is something I strive to do year round, not just on one day. The Lord has blessed me so richly and fully and I have so many reasons to be thankful.

  • Four beautiful children
  • A husband I adore and who adores me
  • Freedom to worship my Lord freely
  • A warm home I can call my own
  • Food to feed my children
  • A Savior in Christ Jesus
  • Friends who I can talk to about anything

I could go on and on, but my point is that these blessings are year round.  I desire to remember all of these and more, even through the rough patches in my life.  God has given me so much to be grateful for!   When I am feeling down in the dumps or focusing on my pitiful old self, I just try to pull up that list of blessings.  I can't wallow in self pity too long when I'm mentally busy counting all the reasons I should be thankful!

"Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done."  Psalm 105:1

According to this verse not only to I need to be giving thanks, but I need to shout it out.  I need to share with others the blessings of our Lord.  Oh, I am convicted by this.  My world here in the country is small and protected.  I don't get out much except for church, homeschool functions, and going to get groceries.  I feel restricted in this area.  How do I share when the awesomeness of my Savior when my life is so sheltered and circumstances prevent me?   I'm ready to share God's blessings with others, but feel limited at this time in my life.  How do you shout out God's goodness?  Leave me a comment.  I would love to hear your ideas.

*I will be taking the rest of this week off to focus on giving thanks with our families. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving and I will catch up with all of you next week.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This Old Job


Over the past couple of weeks I haven't approached this ole job of mine with much ambition. I have been filled with lack of excitement for mommy/home-maker/wifely duties. I felt stuck and I didn't like to rut I had landed in. I let this build up until I didn't feel like any portion of this job the Lord has given me.  I just moped through the days, I didn't really live intentionally.  I just kept wishing I could get away even it it was for only 2 hours.  Until I read this...

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."   Colossians 3:23-24

The Lord used these two verses to show me my selfishness.  The part that got my attention was that I should be working with all of my heart.  Touché.  I certainly wasn't doing that. I was going through the motions and doing what needed to be done half-heartedly.  I wasn't even close to using my whole heart.  I had filled my heart and mind with selfishness. My focus was on myself not the Lord or my family.


Help me to serve my family with my whole heart.  Forgive me for my selfishness. Help me Lord to remember that when I am doing this job you have given me, not only am I serving my family, but I am serving You. Help me to show my family the love I have for them by being the wife and mother you intend me to be.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Giving Thanks


..."Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:19-20

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Do You See God?

Setting: Occupied Holland during World War II

"The Germans are going to take away our dog", sobbed Joris. "She'll have to go to Germany and I'll never see her again!"...

"I don't understand God," Joris went on rebelliously. "Why doesn't He stop the Germans? Why does He let them go on and on, doing awful things to people when He is almighty and could stop them?"

Here was a theological problem.  Father Kobus sat down to it, pushing into the pew beside Joris.

"How would you like God to stop them?" he asked.

"He could kill them all," said Joris fiercely. There was a silence. Joris heard his own words echo through the church and they frightened him.

"You mean, you want God to kill all the fathers and mothers, the babies and the little girls and boys, the old grandfathers, the artists and the people who make songs...just because they are Germans?" Father Kobus asked gently. It was Joris' own argument, used against him!

"No, no," he said hastily, "I did not mean that."

"Then what do you expect God to do?"

"Well, He could kill Hitler and all those awful people who started the war," argued Joris.

"And not give them the chance to be sorry, to save their souls?" asked Father Kobus. Joris had not thought of that. ...

"Well?" asked Father Kobus.

"Could He not as least make the Allies win?" Joris asked.

"He will, He will," the priest assured him. "They are winning. But it won't solve anything for long. Wars never do. The evil is inside, and has to be conquered inside.  That is where God works. It is in your heart that the Lord will conquer." ...

"Then there is another thing," Father Kobus went on. "If God interfered too much with us, we would not be free. You have a dog.  Would you like it if she only followed you when you dragged her by a rope?"

Joris' eyes lit up. "She doesn't," he cried. "She follows me everywhere because she wants to. She looks for me when I'm away. She watches me when I go to school, with her front paws on the windowsill, and once, when I had a cold and couldn't go out, she lay at the foot of my bed all day long!" Joris' triumphant voice rang through the church.

"Hush, child, hush, said Father Kobus, smiling a little. "I can see that your dog loves you.  And it is the way God wants us to love Him.  He wants us to follow Him out of our own free will."

This exerpt taken from The Winged Watchman by Hilda Von Stockum, spoke so clearly to me I just had to share it with you. Sometimes it is difficult to explain to my children why bad things happen. When I read this I knew I now had the perfect answer to why God lets evil people live.  Father Kobus' reply to Joris will now be my stronghold. I won't flounder when my children raise their sad, questioning eyes to me in confusion. I'll be able to answer honestly and precisely, "It's because God cares for their souls. He wants them to be sorry for their sins. He wants them to follow Him, because they love Him. He wants to give everybody the chance to know His abundant love and glory."

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."           I Peter 1:8


Friday, November 14, 2008


There are days (few and far between, thankfully) when I don't feel like being a mom. I know shocking, but true. Those are the days when I wish I could change my job title. Because if I have to hear one more "M-O-M, I need, or I want, or can you....", I'm going to implode. Really! I feel overwhelmed by trying to do all and be all.

When I'm having a hard day and I'm stuck down in the trenches, trying to claw my way out, I try to take some time to refocus. Because lets face it, if I don't I'll turn into a she-monster that nobody will recognize.

Here are a few things I do to help ease my feeling of over taxation:

  • Repeating one of my memory verses, such as- "Look to the Lord and His strength, seek his face always" I Chronicles 16:11 Cuz, the good Lord knows I need Him.
  • Grabbing a hot cup of coffee, curling up on the couch and reading a chapter or two from a book. This option must take place only during my two-year-olds nap time, of course.
  • Sending the kids out to play. Duh, that's a no-brainer!
  • Make an executive decision that today is Easy Day at Juniper Hill Academy.
  • Removing myself from the situation, if possible, and escaping to my room to pray fervently for a better frame of mind.
  • And finally, taking a breather and remembering how blessed I am to be able to call these precious children mine. They are wonderful gifts from my loving Lord. When I slow down and take a good look at them, I see them for the beautiful, amazing creations they are.

How do you handle those days when you feel like running out the back door and not looking back?

To find out how other homeschool moms cope with doing it all, head to Homeschool Memoirs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Word Filled Wednesday

"Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being? declares the Lord..." 

Isaiah 66:2


I took this picture this summer of a Monarch butterfly that my children and I raised from a caterpillar.  After it had hatched from its chrysalis and dried its wings, I set it out on this Aster in my garden.  I think this picture captures the amazing beauty of God's creation.  The intricacies, colors and design of God's earth is amazing and testifies to his glory.

For more Wordless Wednesdays visit 160 Acrewoods



Stephanie at Simple Midwest Mom and "Wilma" at Little Toes and Cheerios sent this award my way. It acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day. Thanks Stephanie for choosing me!

I started reading Stephanie's blog about a month ago. I have enjoyed reading her perspective on being a mom, wife and just life in general. I enjoy making new blogging friends and I'm glad to call Stephanie one of them.

The rules are to send this award to 15 other bloggers. Well, since I just sent out an award recently I decided I better just leave this as an open call. If you read my blog and would like to use this award on yours, just consider yourself awarded, because I think you are all great!

Monday, November 10, 2008

At The Well- Getting To Know You


Today's theme At the Well is- Getting to Know You- the goal for this post is to share with other ladies about yourself so that we can know more about one another.

  • I am a stay-at-home mom and I homeschool my four children. I have been married for 15 years to my high school sweetheart and he is still the love of my life.
  • I love learning knew things.  So teaching my children suits me just fine!
  • I enjoy crafting. I especially like to crochet and create things for babies and small children. I often have ideas for projects I'd like to try, floating through my head, but not enough time to accomplish them all!
  • If I have some free time there is probably a book in my hand.  Usually at night, after the kids are asleep, I read a few chapters snuggled up under the covers.
  • I love to cook! Especially this time of year.  I love to whip up a warm, satisfying meal for my family. 
  • I play the piano.  Not well enough to play for a crowd, but I can play good enough for my own enjoyment and to teach my children.
  • I love learning about nature and so do my children.  You can often find us outside exploring, finding new bugs, planting new flowers, working in the garden, catching frogs and feeding the birds.  I like feeding the birds so much that I grow my own mealworms to feed to the bluebirds!  I know kinda crazy!  But, it saves me a bunch of money and the bluebirds love them!
  • I'm camera crazy! I take bunches of pictures of my children and nature. I can't help myself!  I love beauty!


  • I am tenderhearted.  It tears me up to see people hurting and in need.  I can get really emotional about it.
  • I am shy and a home body. So, blogging gives me an outlet without the pressure of someone looking at me when I am speaking!  Or me second guessing everything I said the minute the conversation is over.  Oh boy, I can really stress about that!
  • I desire to live my life for the Lord. My prayer is that my children and others will see God in me.


Want to know more about the ladies who gather At the Well visit Chelsey at Joyfully Living for His Glory.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Scalloped Apples

This is one of my families favorite fall recipes.  There's never a drop left when I set this on the table!


10 cups peeled baking apples (about 8 medium)

1/4-1/2 cup sugar- depending on tartness of apples

2 Tablespoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, cubed

Place apples in a 2 1/2-qt. oven safe dish.  Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle over apples and toss to coat. Dot with butter. Cover and cook in 350 degree oven 30-40 minutes depending on how soft or crunchy you want your apples. You can also do this in the microwave. Cover dish and microwave on high for 15 minutes or until apples are tender, stirring every 5 minutes.

Friday, November 7, 2008



~This week has blessed us with 70 degree, blue sky, gorgeous weather. We couldn't pass these days up spent inside, especially since the normal high for this time of year is 45 degrees. So, we headed over to glean the cornfields after my dad harvested them. We took a couple hours off from school and gathered the corn that the combine missed. Our bunnies will be grateful for these treats this winter. And we got to enjoy the beauty of God's earth.

~Potty training isn't for the weak. Enough said.

~The time change is working against me. Crabbiness, whining, bickering, eating and sleeping schedules altered and that's just me, you should see the kids! Let's just say life is a bit skewed around here right now.

~On the plus side, we spend more time together in the evenings. Since it gets dark so early we are all inside to stay after dinner. Some nights we may just all grab books and read them. Or we may all gather in the master bedroom and watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Other nights it becomes a wrestle/tickle fest, in which I become the referee.

~Yesterday, Isaac had the opportunity to spend the day with his uncle who is a carpenter. His uncle and him went to build a chicken coop for a friend from our church. It was a a great learning experience. Isaac and his buddy Sam did all the measuring and lugging of materials. What better way to reinforce fractions.

~Raising a two-year-old is like trying to overthrow a dictator. Lauren is in the midst of her reign of terror. Little does she know, I have the upper hand. I have successfully subdued the last 3 overbearing tyrannists who have roamed this household!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Learning Experience

*This post is political in nature. It is not my intention to upset anyone or demean anyone for the choices they may have made during this election. These are my opinions and what I believe, stated to the best of my ability.

As a child I never took much interest in politics. A President was elected, served his term and another took his place without much notice from me. Congressmen were voted on, proposals were passed or failed, political issues were discussed, all without my knowing. Politics didn't make sense to me (a good portion of it still doesn't) and at that age I didn't really care.

With my sons it is different, they have shown great interest in the election process. Maybe it is because Joel and I talk freely about politics in front of them. Or maybe it is because they are really listening closely. I don't remember my parents discussing politics with us as children, but I talk with them about it now. So, its quite possible I just didn't listen close when they were talking about elections. Maybe its just that this election held such hot topics. There was always something to debate and mull over. Whatever the case may be, my kids were involved. And will always remember this election which would make history, whomever won.

They knew who they wanted to win. They may not have understood all of the beliefs of each candidate, but they knew enough. They knew they wanted a certain proposal in our state to fail. They were so concerned about these issues that they started taking their own poll. Whenever we went somewhere they would count the signs in yards, keeping a tally. They were always pleased that their guy came out on top. In their minds it was a shoe-in.

Last night before they went to bed they pleaded with me to wake them when I knew the results. We settled on as soon as I woke up in the morning, for the much awaited announcement.

This morning there was disappointment at our house. Everything and everyone whom they wanted to win didn't. But, it provided an amazing discussion and learning experience.

We talked about God's will and His plan for our nation. About how we can't possibly know the plans God has, but that it will all work out for His glory. I tied our present situation, to the kings of Israel in Biblical times, who we are studying. I reminded them how God allowed some kings to rule who didn't follow God's leading because it was God's plan for the nation of Israel. Mr. Obama may not hold to all of our beliefs, but God has a plan for him and our nation. 1 Most importantly we discussed the importance of praying for our new President elect, his family and his advisors.

"But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations" Psalm 33:11

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Impatience- I'm Back

This weekend spent without a computer was good thing in disguise. I tackled some cleaning projects that needed to be addressed. I de-cobwebbed (I know not a word) my basement and scrubbed the bug ick off the windows down there. Then I vacuumed part of the floor and basement steps. Plus, being the ogre I am, I cruelly forced my children to clean up their playroom (also in the basement), which was littered with Legos in the oddest places. I am now the proud owner of a sparkling clean basement, except for the three boxes of Legos that somehow got spread all across the floor as soon as I turned my back!

When I tired of all the cleaning, I worked on some items that I am selling on my Etsy shop. (This is an unabashed advertisement.) It you get the time check out my shop. I am putting more items on every couple of days and hopefully my sisters will be adding some too.

Even with all this to keep me occupied, I just couldn't handle it any longer! I highjacked the computer my sister and her husband gave the boys to play games on. Thankfully it still had internet explorer on it and I was able to set up an internet connection.

Now, the boys weren't too happy about me requisitioning their computer, but I'm the mommy and it just had to be done! So, I have been lurking these past few days reading all of your posts. This computer moves pretty slow, but I just wander off and do other jobs around the house until a page loads. Hopefully, I will be back in business with my computer this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pulling Out My Hair

ARRRRGGGG!  C-o-m-p-u-t-e-r malfunctioning....m-o-v-i-n-g at snail's p-a-c-e.  Must shut d-o-w-n.

I won't be blogging for several days. I'm sure I'll experience some pretty significant withdrawal.  However, I can't properly enjoy my blogging the way my computer is operating at present.  S-o-o-o, I will be sending it away.  Hopefully it will come back with less of a penchant for irritating me. While I am waiting and wondering how all of you are doing, I will have to entertain myself by catching up on laundry or some other such fun thing!

*Just wanted to let you know I have been reading your blogs the past few days, but since dial-up which is notoriously slow has been aided by a buggered up computer, I haven't been able to leave comments.  Whew! That was an extremely long sentence. I'm quite out of breath. It just goes to show you that I really have been missing leaving you all comments, had to get it all out at once!  :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Appreciating Falls Beauty


About a week ago we took a break from our book work and headed outside to collect some of the beautiful leaves around our yard.  By the time we got back inside we each had handfuls upon handfuls!  I wasn't sure what we were going to do with all of them, but I wanted to preserve the beauty of Autumn if I could. 

We decided to dip some of them in melted wax.  After they were dry we hung them from thread and placed them around the house.100_3763

Don't they look beautiful hanging from the window!100_3765

This is our new art display.  I always want to display the boys artwork, but never really had a great place to do it.  So this year I pounded some nails into the wall, strung some jute, hot glued on big black buttons and painted a dozen wooden clothespins red.  TA-DA a way to display our creativity.









The rest of the leaves we placed in books to be pressed.  We will let our creative juices flow and make collages or leaf people or leaf creatures.  Who knows what we will come up with, but it will be original, I'm sure!



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pear Butter

Last weekend when I was at our local orchard, I picked up a 5# bag of utility Bartlett pears for $1.75.  I couldn't pass up that deal.  They weren't the prettiest pears I've seen, but I figured we would eat them right up.  Well, even though they looked ripe, they were quite hard.  I tried ripening them on the counter, but they just started rotting at the core.  So, I got busy and decided they would make excellent Pear Butter.  Now, I have never made Pear Butter before, but I made Apple Butter with my mom one year.  I got on the Internet and got a recipe that sounded good.  I tweaked it a little and this is what I came up with.

4 lbs of pears cored and chopped

1/2 - 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want it.)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup white grape juice

100_3769Place cut pears in slow cooker with 1/2 c water.  Cook on high 6-7 hours or until soft.  (You could do this quicker on the stove, but I was busy with school and couldn't keep an eye on it so I went for the ease of the slow cooker.)  Once soft run it through a food mill.  (I then placed it in the fridge to finish it up the next day.)

100_3771 Place pulp in a large stock pot add sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and juice.  Cook on low heat until mixture is thick and molds to spoon. (This took about 3 hours.)  Place in hot jars, clean rims, place on lids and bands.  Hot water bath for 10 minutes.  Yields about 3 pints. 




I used half-pint jars, skipped the hot water bath and placed them in my freezer.




We will be enjoying this on our toast on chilly winter mornings or as a snack after a invigorating afternoon of sledding!

Friday, October 24, 2008


Heidi from Moms, Ministry and More has given me this wonderful award. Heidi has an amazing blog full of humor, overseas knowledge (like things such as squatty potties) and Godly wisdom. Head on over there, you'll find some great insight.


With this award comes a meme. It is by no means a small one. The original plan calls for a listing of seven items under each heading. (So if you decide to play along you can either list 7 things under each heading or cheat like I'm going to do!) Well, ladies, I'm just a simple girl, really. I don't have that much to say about myself, so I'm going to make it easier on myself and you. Like Heidi, I will be listing one fact about myself under each topic. That way I won't be losing my readers half way through this post (hopefully)!

1. What I Did Before: I graduated with a BA in Elementary Ed. and taught pre-school for a year. A couple of months into it I realized I'd made a mistake. My heart was with my precious baby boy. I taught the rest of the year, loved the children I taught, but then called it quits. I needed to be home.

2. What I Do Now? I am putting my education to good use! Teaching my four children is showing me that college didn't prepare me all that well! It's a new and challenging experience everyday and I'm lovin' it.

3. What I'd Like To Do? Get away for a few days. No laundry, no dishes, no cooking, I just want to relax, relax, relax!

4. What Attracts Me To My Husband? Oh where do I start! His humor, His dark hair and chocolate brown eyes, his deep dimples, his willingness to work hard to support our family, and his wonderful hugs that make me feel so loved and safe.

5. Favorite Food: Um- I can't pick just one. So I will list a few.

  • Homemade bread
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Anything Pasta
  • COFFEE- one of the basic food groups, right?
  • Soups- comfort food at its finest.

6. What I Say Most Often: That's Crazy!

7. Pick Seven Other Bloggers: Okay, here goes, I choose.....

Jamie at Rose Cottage. I have been reading Jamie's Blog for 9 months now. We share the love of homeschooling, nature and picture taking. Jamie's blog is full of beautiful pictures,wonderful insight and inspirational thoughts.

Amy at The Kings Table. Amy's blog is light-hearted and full of fun. She posts some really interesting items that she finds on the internet. Her posts always make me smile!

Amy at Little Toes and Cheerios. Amy is full of honesty and sincerity. She keeps me laughing with all the adorable posts about her daughter and mommyhood.

Marisa at Small Moments Captured. This is my beautiful sister's blog. She is one of the most creative people I know. Let's just say she is very artistically inclined! She is very busy with my niece and nephews and I know she doesn't get to post as often as she wishes, but when she does post her thoughts are always beautifully expressed.

Angela at Becoming Me. I just recently found Angela's blog, but it has touched my heart deeply. She writes beautifully with emotion and strength. Her posts always give me something to ponder and learn.

Jackie at Our Moments, Our Memories. Jackie has some of the most amazing posts. She is a wonderful writer and is able to write so that you can see right to her heart. She has a wonderful sense of humor and you can feel her joy in what she writes.

Kristen at We Are THAT Family. If you want to laugh this is the place. Nobody can leave Kristen's blog without chuckling. She takes every day life and turns it into comic relief. Plus you get the added bonus of the wisdom she imparts about the many different aspects of parenting.

If you get a chance, check out these blogs and leave them a some love with a comment or two!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Memory Lane

Thought I would reminisce a little this morning and take a walk down memory lane!   




Last fall we took a trip to the zoo with my mom, dad, sister and her two children and one of my other sisters and her husband.  We had a great time exploring the zoo.  The best part was that we were able to do it together.



Here is a picture of my children and my nephew sitting on a statue of a cow.  When I look at these pictures it amazes me how much each of them have changed in a years time.




Here Jacob and his Uncle John thought they would pose next to this lovely sign.  Jacob was quite impressed that there were sheep named after him! (Or at least that is what he thought!)





Here I am with Lauren, trying to keep an over friendly pigmy goat from getting to know me too personally!


Now for the best part! The giraffes!  We always look forward to this part of our zoo journey, because you get to feed these beautiful animals.  The giraffes are in a big field with zebras, birds of all kinds, and other animals.  It is beautiful to look at.  I don't feel so bad about them being in captivity, because they are in such a natural setting


When the giraffes see people up on the observation deck they amble right up for a tasty cracker.  You can even touch their heads if you move quickly.  But watch out for that tongue!100_1555


HMMMM, Jacob did you clean your ears?

Maybe that giraffe can help him out!






For more memories visit Kristen at We Are THAT Family.

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