Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Keeping Up

Life has been a whirlwind here lately and I am barely keeping up.  We had a wonderful week of vacation 3 weeks ago, but as soon as we got back life went into overdrive.  We spent the week after vacation recovering from vacation, i.e. loads and loads of laundry, getting back on schedule, trying to do school!  Plus we had to prepare for our county fair the following week.  Last week was the fair and we spent part of every day caring for our rabbits or attending 4-H events.  Busy, busy, busy!

I figured life would return to normal this week, but at 12:30 AM on Monday, our dear, elderly, neighbor lady pulled into our drive way.  I woke Joel and jumped out of bed with a feeling of dread.  I ran out on to our front deck and asked her what was wrong.  She calmly informed me that she thought her husband had passed away.  Joel called 911 and then went with her back to her house.  At 2:30 he returned confirming that he had passed away.  We have spent the past couple of days helping our neighbor organize her husbands funeral arrangements, cooking meals, grieving, and preparing the funeral dinner.  Please keep her in your prayers, she is alone now except for two granddaughters, one close the other in Arizona. 

What it all boils down to is that its not about keeping up its about making time to build relationships

Joel is gifted in this.  I have seen it time and time again in the last 19 years.  He has given of himself time and time again to those in need and especially to our neighbors.  He has given of himself and in return has gained a close bond with both them.  I truly believe this is his spiritual gift.  He will drop whatever he is doing and help those in need and in the process build lasting relationships.  I am blessed to be able to call him my husband.  

Even though the days have been busy and full, the passing of our neighbor and friend, has made me stop and think about how precious friends and family are.  Some days I get so caught up in my to-do list that I forget to really enjoy my children and my husband.  The past few days I have taken more time to snuggle, talk, listen and love.  I need to remember that in the grand scheme of things, my family is not going to remember the never ending mountain of unfolded laundry on my living room floor or whether the floors were spotless.  They are going to remember the times we spent together making memories.  That's what I want memories and lots of them with my precious, beautiful family.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hints of Autumn


I love this time of year, like so many of you, whose blogs I read.  So, I decided to jump on the band wagon and give my blog an autumn overhaul!  I have been walking around my yard snapping pictures the past couple of days.  It has been beautiful here- blue skies and fluffy clouds with the scent of falling leaves in the air.   The picture on my header is one of my favorites.  These are rose hips from a rambunctious and prickly wild rose that grows along the border of my back yard. 

I even had a helper as I was taking pictures100_3566

My kitty Mack decided since I was laying on my back taking photos of one of my bushes that it was a perfect time for me to pet him.  He rubbed all over me, purring and kneading his paws into my thigh!  I couldn't resist snapping a picture of him just after he threw himself to the ground- readying himself for a good petting!

Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful time of year.  We sure are!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Attitude Adjustment

I woke up yesterday morning with an attitude.  I allowed it to follow me around for most of the day.  Hovering above me, tainting each thought and action.  I focused on all the aspects of my life that I felt weren't measuring up to my standards.  I wallowed in self pity.  I spoke harshly to my children.  Let me tell you it wasn't a pretty sight.  I am ashamed of how I behaved today.  And honestly the only reason why I am sharing this is because I desire to accomplish three things with my blog- 1) to create a journal for my children and future grandchildren, 2) so that I can grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father and 3) just in case I may be able to share something, about my life, that might impact anyone who should happen to stumble across my blog.  All three of these reasons compel me to be honest and open, writing about all aspects of my life not just the  pretty, perfect or happy parts.

In the evening, I was able to take a walk down our dirt road.  As I pushed Lauren along, I asked the Lord to open my eyes and heart to Him.  What I received was a reminder of the blessings He has lovingly given to me.  As the cool night air filled my lungs, I began to relax and my eyes and ears took in the beauty around me.  I listened to the tree frogs chirping and the distant call of a blue heron.  I felt the sun warm on my cheek and the cool breeze ruffle my hair. I watched as my cat Mack sauntered along beside us as if we were on some grand hunting expedition.  I watched in awe as the glowing, red, sun turned the drying soybean plants a beautiful bronze.  As I took all this in I began thinking of all the other blessings in my life that I take for granted.

  • A comfortable home. I don't live in a cardboard shack in the middle of a slum, in a third world country. 
  • Healthy children.  My children aren't fighting any serious illnesses or disease. 
  • Enough food to eat.  We aren't suffering from malnutrition or starving to death. 
  • A loving husband. I am married to a man who loves me and takes care of my every need. 
  • Freedom of religion.  I am able to pray, read the Bible and worship my Lord and not get persecuted for it.
  • A relationship with a loving Savior.  I was born into a family that loved God and taught me about Jesus. How blessed I am to know Him as my personal Savior.

How easily I forget all these things when I let my attitude dwell in the dumpster.

"O LORD of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in YOU!"   Psalm 84:12

"May you be blessed of the LORD, Maker of heaven and earth."    Psalm 115:15    

"Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forever." Psalm 113:2

O Lord, help me to remember the blessings in my life.  Help me to keep my eyes on you.  When I let them wander I become absorbed with myself.  Help me to remember to  "Lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:1-2)  Thank you for loving me even when I am so unlovable.  Your love is amazing!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

*Okay, I guess this needs a little explaining! Sissy didn't want to sit in her high chair one night at snack time. She chose Isaac's chair to sit in. So, Isaac being a comedian, decided to sit in her high chair. We got to laughing at his long, lanky body in that little chair and we stuck a bib on him. He started hamming it up, so I snapped some pictures. Then, Jacob and Caleb, seeing all the laughter Isaac was getting decided they wanted to try it out. This wasn't a discipline, just boys being goofy!

100_3378 100_3379 100_3381

UMMMM.......Don't Ask!!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Crafty Days

100_3284A couple of months ago we decided it was high time to get a little creative!  My sister and her two children and my brother and his son were at my parents for a visit.  So we got all our chilluns' together and we decorated some T-shirts.  The first step in this decorated T-shirt process was to mix flour and water together until it was the consistency of a soft frosting.  I put the goo into squeezable bottles and let the kids go crazy!  Some used stencils to trace around, others just drizzled and doodled.  Here's Jacob's floured "T".

100_3286Next we set them out on the deck to bake in the sun for a couple of hours. 

The next morning we sprayed the shirts with fabric paint.  Once again setting them out to dry.  When the paint was dry, everyone sat down to do the labor intensive part- pick off the baked on flour.  It took a little while, but it was worth it.  We got some really cool looking shirts!


Can you tell it was just a bit bright out! :)











*The boys entered their T-shirts in 4-H at out county fair this week.  Isaac got an Honarable Mention and they all recieved A's!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birthday Boy


Happy Birthday Caleb!

Today Caleb is 7 years old. He is my precious little buddy! Not a day goes by that he doesn't tell me "I love you, mom", numerous times throughout the day. I treasure these bonding times with him. I enjoy pulling him into big hugs or setting him on my lap and just savoring his little boyness. Every moment spent with him is special and memorable.


You are a blessing to me and Papa. God has blessed us with a special gift- YOU! I am so happy that we could celebrate your 7th birthday this weekend. For the past 7 years you have brought joy to our lives. We love your silliness, your belly laugh, your gentleness, your easy-going nature and your adorable smile.


You entertain us just by entertaining yourself! I have never met anyone with such a wonderful imagination! Who knew a little boy could make jets and rockets out of 2 pencils and create a whole scenario that lasted about 45 minutes! I love to listen in when you are playing. The noises and conversations you have are so creative.


I thank the Lord every day for placing you in our family. You are an amazing, special, beautiful, undeniable gift from our Heavenly Father and I love you with all of my heart!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Prayer Request

My Father-in-law got into a motorcycle accident yesterday. He is in a lot of pain. Broken scapula, clavical, and ankle all on his left side. Also he has a concusion. He is still in the hospital and is pretty uncomfortable. We are all so thankful to our Good Lord that his injuries weren't more severe. But, please pray for quick healing and reduction of his pain.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Endless Flow

While on vacation last week we came across a couple of natural springs in the yard of the cabin we stayed at. One was a gentle, slow, trickling spring. The other bubbled, gurgled and gushed. You could here it the moment you stepped out the door. These natural flowing sources of water reminded me of the importance of choosing to speak wisely.

Proverbs 10:19 says "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." I like how the New Living Translation words it. "Don't talk too much, for it fosters sin. Be sensible and turn off the flow!"

Too often I find myself like the bubbling, gushing spring. Words just tumble out of my mouth seeming to explode off my tongue in mere milli-seconds. My flow gets out of control and I need to turn it off. I had a bursting flow this morning. I was stressed, overbooked and I didn't guard the flow of my words. Sadly, my children received the brunt of it all. It really wasn't their fault, mommy was just pressed for time. But, I didn't heed Proverbs 13:3 "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

Not only do I need to guard my lips around my children, but I need to control my tongue always. I despise it when I feel I have chattered on endlessly and placed the proverbial foot in my mouth. I always wish I could replay those conversations and change or lessen my words. I desire to be wise with my words to be a good role model for my children and others. I want to be more like the gentle, calming spring bringing peace and comfort with my words.

"Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Proverbs 12:18


Munising Falls, Munising Michigan

For more inspirational thoughts visit Celly B at Busy at Home

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our U.P. Vacation

*You'll have to bear with me for the next few posts.  I will be journaling about our vacation for posterity's sake!

After two years of foregoing vacationing, our whole family was really excited to be able to take a vacation up north.  The boys were in a constant countdown, but before we knew it (or at least before I  knew it), it was time to pack and go.  The U.P. is one of our favorite destinations.  We love nature and the beauty of God's handy work so we feel right at home there.  If we could ever make a living up there  we would probably move!

This is the Mackinaw Bridge it connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.  100_3400On the right of the bridge is Lake Michigan on the left Lake Huron.  The bridge is 5 miles long. I was bummed because it was a cloudy day.  I was  hoping for sunshine so that you could all see the beauty of water, clouds, sky and bridge.


As soon as we crossed the bridge it cleared up! Of Course!  We watched a water spout out over Lake Michigan as we drove along the highway. At one point we could even see the water splashing up around the base of the spout.  It was pretty spectacular. By the time we stopped to get pictures it was starting to dissipate, but if you look carefully you can see a little dark spot coming down out of the dark cloud in the center of the photo.

We finally reached the cabin that we had rented with my parents (they are brave souls!).  The boys and Lauren were really excited to see that it was near a beautiful lake. I was relieved to see that the lake was really shallow for quite a distance.  Lauren could walk out about 15 feet and the water was still only up to her waist.  What we later discovered that made it even easier to keep track of her was, that she didn't like the pebbles that were in the sand just a few feet into the water.  Her mantra was, "no tones, no tones".  She pretty much kept to the beach after that.  Mama, Grandma and Grandpa were able to breathe a little easier!


Another great aspect of where we stayed was the fishing.  We had towed up Joel's boat, so the fishing possibilities were unlimited.  There was only one day that Joel, my dad and the boys didn't throw their hooks into the water.







100_3413The boys even spent a good amount of time fishing from the docks.  They got really good at changing baits.  At one point during the week they even made fishing poles out of sticks! When they weren't fishing they were catching crayfish and minnows to use as bait.  I don't think there was ever a dull moment for them the whole week. A little boys paradise indeed!




Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm Back

After a much needed break, I am back in the blogging realm!  My break was two-fold: 1) Our family went on vacation and 2) I needed to re-prioritize and take some time away from the lure of blogging!  This was only done successfully because there was no hook up for a computer where we stayed!

We had a wonderful vacation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I will be posting some more about it in the days to come. For now I will leave you with a picture I took of one of my favorite places to visit in the U.P.

Pictured Rocks


The beauty of this place never gets old to me!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Blogging Break

I will be taking a blogging break this next week. Oh, it will be so hard! But, it needs to be done! So, my blog will be silent for a whole week. Hmmm- this is not going to be easy on me! I will miss reading all of your blogs, but I will catch up with each of you in a week. Okay? Have a great week.

God Bless-


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Re-focusing My Vision

Be Thou My Vision

"Be thou my Vision O Lord of my heart- Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art; Thou my best thought, by day or by night- Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light."

"Be thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word- I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, and I Thy true son- Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one."

"Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise- Thou mine inheritance, now and always; Thou and Thou only, first in my heart- High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art."

"High King of heaven, my victory won, May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun! Heart of my own hear, whatever be fall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Ancient Irish Hymn; trans. by Mary E. Byrne, 1880-1931; versified by Eleanor H. Hull, 1860-1935

I have failed to be consistent with my devotions this week. I have failed to put the Lord first. I let busyness take over. I have failed my Lord, my family and myself.

The above hymn reminds me that I need God to be my vision. I need Him to be my wisdom and I need to fill up on His true word. I need to put the Lord first in my heart. When I fail to fill up on God's word, I notice a unpretty difference on how I deal with my day.

How easily I forget this. How quickly I allow myself to get caught up in the busyness of the day. Soon to forget all about the importance of spending quiet time with my Savior.

"Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word." Psalm 119:36-37

Oh Lord, Help me to fill up my heart with Your word. I want You to be my vision. I long for Your wisdom, love and strength. Create in me a desire to seek it each and every day.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oh What A Feeling

Blogger Friend School Assignment #100

Assignment: Take time this week to write about YOU and your feelings of trials and triumphs with homeschooling. Touch on when you first heard about the concept of home schooling and whether you tip-toed into the idea or just jumped in and never looked back. Share your schooling as a child and how you compare it to what your goals are for your children.

The first time I ever heard about homeschooling was when I was in 5th grade. My mom pulled us out of the public school we were attending and started homeschooling us. At the time there wasn't much support for homeschoolers, pretty soon mom felt she just couldn't do it and placed us back in the public school. That was my introduction to homeschooling. It wasn't flawless. It was less than perfect, but it gave me a memory to go to when things get tough in our homeschool. Because even though at the time I didn't appreciate what my mom was doing, now it gives me strength to continue on because it was what my mom wanted for her children, too.

When I had my first son I was actively looking for a job as an elementary school teacher. I worked through my pregnancy and for the 1st year of his life. During that time it became very clear to me that my place was at home with my son. I really didn't think much about school for him because in my mind it was a long ways off. But as the time drew nearer and my husband and I talked about the options, we just knew that homeschooling was what we wanted for our family. Once we had decided that, I jumped in wholeheartedly. We just started our 8th year and I still know that it is the best option for our children. To top it all off, most days I love this wonderful opportunity that God has given me!

This year I printed out the goals for our homeschool year. I also had each of the boys come up with 3 goals they wanted to strive for this year. I try to read them each morning to keep them fresh in our minds. I think it will really help each of us with our attitudes and committment to our school work.

Juniper Hill Academy's Homeschool Goals 2008-2009

  • Give God our best each and every day

  • Show respect for one another

  • Focus on the work laid before us

  • Listen carefully to the instructions given

  • Find delight in what we are learning

  • Attend to our school work with a cheerful heart

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Monday, September 1, 2008


I already posted today, but then I came across this meme on We Are THAT Family.  Kristen made me laugh as she always does.  So, I decided to jump in.  Besides what else do I have to do today! If you want to participate head over to Rocks in My Dryer and link up!

How Long Were You in Labor?

Child #1- 3 hours 13 minutes

Child #2- 3 hours 34 minutes

Child #3- 3 hours

Child #4- 4 hours 14 minutes

How Did You Know You Were In Labor?

Child #1- I went in for my weekly appointment and I was dilated to 5!  My doctor wanted to know how long I had been in labor.  I said, "What? I haven't been in labor!"

Child #2- I was induced, because I live an hour away from the hospital and was afraid that I wouldn't make it because I had had my first so quickly.

Child#3- I went in for my weekly appointment and I was dilated to 3.  The story repeats itself here.

Child#4- Went in for weekly non-stress test because of a umbilical cord that wasn't typical.  Baby was showing signs of stress so I was induced.

Where Did You Deliver?

All in the safety of the hospital.


Yes, except for child #3, but I was begging for them.  I had asked the nurse not to give me any because I wanted to go natural.  However, I was pleading with her about 3/4 of the way through!  I didn't have an epidural with any of them though and that was my main goal.



Who Delivered?

With child #1 almost the nurse!  The doctor was lolly-gagging around because I was a 1st timer.  No way does a 1st timer deliver in just over 3 hours!

A mid-wife with child #2

And an a great doctor with child #3 and #4


I am participating in a meme today called At The Well. This meme has started by Chelsea over at Joyfully Living For His Glory.  She has a wonderful blog. If you get a chance check it out.  Each Monday a group of ladies post about certain biblical topics that would help to draw them into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Laurie at Women Taking A Stand is todays host.  The topic she chose to explore further is mentoring.

  • Have you ever been mentored by someone?
  • What characteristics do you look for in a mentor?
  • How do you go about pursuing a Godly mentoring relationship?

First, I would have to say, yes, I have been mentored.  My biggest, greatest and most wonderful mentor has been my mom.  She has been along side me my whole life.  She was at my bedside, in the hospital, when I was deathly ill.  She has held my hand as each of my babies entered this world.  When I need counsel, I talk to her and I listen for the wisdom she has gained over the years from raising 5 children of her own. 

The characteristics I would look for in a mentor:

  • a lady who exhibits a meek and quiet spirit
  • a woman who studies Gods word faithfully
  • a lady who is a prayer warrior
  • a woman who has experience in life and looks to God through each trial
  • a lady who's eyes shine with the love of Jesus

"The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness,...That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."  Titus 2:3-5

I am mentoring two young ladies that attend the same church as I do.  I have known them for 9 years.  Over the years I have become very close to each of them.  I have taken the time over the years to do special things with each of them.  Having them over to my house, spending time doing craft projects or just having a snack, pop and a talk.  I think to pursue a mentoring relationship with a young lady or another woman you have to surround yourself and them in prayer.  First of all you need to know with certainty that this is what God wants for both of you.  Secondly, prayer can open hearts and make them ready to receive instruction or wisdom.  And it can fill the mentors heart and mouth with knowledge, kind words,  and understanding.  Sometimes as a mentor the only thing you can do is pray.  I am in that place with one of the young ladies.  She is really struggling right now and has told me she wishes to work things out on her own.  So, after feeling crushed because she shut me out, I decided I would just double my efforts in prayer, because she can't stop me from doing that! 

I think to be an effective mentor you must love the other person.  You have to have a heart that is willing and longing to be a part of that persons life through the good and the bad.  A desire to laugh with them, hurt with them, cry with them, heal with them.  A Godly mentor will be someone who loves as Christ loves- unconditionally.

Sometimes it may feel like there isn't really anyone who we could mentor.  To that I say- pray!  God will show you someone who could use your wisdom, love and prayers.

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