Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ode to Tim the Tom



Tim, it was in your favor that you displayed an unusual growth on your chest.

When all your pen mates went to the butcher you were set free.

You were left to roam the yard.

We figured you would wander away with the flocks of wild turkeys that pass by our house.

Yet you stayed.

You became one of the family.

When anyone was outside you followed along like a faithful dog.

You hobbled close by with your crooked toed foot, giving you a unique gait.

A source of smiles, giggles and entertainment you were.

Sad was the day when your growth went away.

Grandpa, the veterinarian, said it was probably just caused from a peck or irritation on the chest bone.

Your fate was sealed.

We put it off as long as we could.

No one really wanted to see you go.

Yet, it was another mouth to feed and a cold hard winter seemed unfair to one unaccustomed to the wild.

So it is with sad regret, but with a knowing heart of right, you will grace our table.

I think it best not to tell your children pals who is set before them on their plates.

But, I do thank you for your service in nourishing my children.

You will be remember with fond memories in years to come.

Except for the poop you left in our garage, in a metal coffee can(don’t ask!), and on our deck.

That we can certainly do without!



All children in this story were quite okay with the eating of this turkey.  No trauma or drama ensued! In fact one certain boy is quite content that he won’t have to chip ice out of the turkey’s water dish any more!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


swamp flowers and water droplets


Praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord, O my soul.

I will praise the Lord all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

Psalm 146:1-2



We’ve been counting our blessings these past few weeks.  Counting, recording and displaying.

Simple handmade leaves and pen are at the ready for anyone who thinks of a blessing.



When a leaf becomes full on both sides it joins the rest. Strung across across our sliding glass door on a length of jute.




Our thankfulness garland is filling up.  Reminding us of the Lord’s unending blessings.  We truly are blessed.  And through this display, made by our hands and hearts, I am hoping my children grasp deeply the Savior’s love for us.


Want to make your own?  It is SO simple.  Gather some fall colored construction paper.  Spray it with water, just till damp.  Crumple the paper into a ball and scrunch it good.  Undo the paper and lay flat till dry.  Trace leaves on the paper and cut out.  That’s it, you now have paper leaves with a neat texture to record your blessings on!

For another article on recording blessings visit me At the Well.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Almost Heaven~ Book Review


Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry focuses on the life of Billy Allman. A man born and raised in the hills of West Virginia.  Billy’s life is met with many trials and sprinkling of what seem to be only small triumphs, but God has a plan. Even though his life may seem insignificant to those around him, God feels otherwise and sends the angel Malachi to watch over and protect him.

This was a great book.  I read it in three evenings, staying up way to late, because I couldn’t put it down.  Chris Fabry has a gift for painting with words.  There were many times throughout the book when I was just deeply impressed by his ability to describe and inform in a truly amazing way.

I believe every life has hidden songs that hang by twin threads of music and memory.  I believe in the songs that have never been played for another soul.  I believe they run between the rocks and along the creekbeds of our lives These are songs that cannot be heard by anything but the soul.  They sometimes run dry or spill over the banks until we find ourselves wading through them. (page 3)

Another intriguing facet of this book was that not only did you get Billy Allman’s perspective, but also the perspective of his protecting angel Malachi.  Through out the book the chapters will alternate between what Billy is thinking, doing and feeling and then you get to see Billy through the perspective of his protecting angel. 

Although I found this book a bit predictable in parts and bit over the top in some of the trials and drama towards the end. I still recommend it as a very good read.  One you probably won’t be able to put down. 


**This book was provided by Tyndale Publishers. In no way was I compensated for my opinion on this book.

Friday, November 19, 2010



All you mommas out there, God is calling you!  Calling you to show your children Jesus.  Leading you to mold and shape them.  Calling you to be a light in this dark world.  Leading you to discipline and teach.  Calling you to love.  Leading you to be worthy of your calling.

Are you willing?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Just Dance…

When I was a little girl a “twirly” dress was sure to add brightness to my day.  One simple twirl determined it all.  If my skirt rose up high and full, then a smile and many more twirls would follow.  I would spin gazing down at the material as it rose up full of air.  I loved the light, feminine feeling that the billowing folds of material gave me.  I loved the action of dancing, leaping, jumping, with my childlike grace.

Usually my sister would spin with me and we would throw our arms out wide twirling and weaving together. Finally falling to the floor in a heap of giggles and pure spinning delight.  Only to begin again when the room turned back to its normal level.

When my boys were little I continued the tradition…minus the lighter than air skirts!  I would put on a favorite CD, crank up the volume and we would dance and dance and dance, until we collapsed on the floor taking in big gulps of air.  Again and again we would play this dance game.  It never grew old, until they grew older. 


dance dance-1 dance-2


Now I have another dancer.  This one who requests a dress almost every day! 


dance-3 dance-4 dance-5

A twirler.   A spinner.   A twister.  A turner.

She’s reminded me…

For a while, I had forgotten the joy of dancing.  I had forgotten that I can’t spin and twirl without a smile tugging at my lips.  I had forgotten how good it feels to move my feet, get short of breath and break out in a sweat.  I had forgotten how much lighter my soul feels after I have belted out some of my favorite Christian music songs as I move my feet to the rhythm.  I had forgotten the smile and tears that can combine with the joyfulness of my deepest being as I worship my God who created me to sing and dance and worship.


Feeling down today?  Put on your best twirly skirt, some praise and worship music and move your feet.  I guarantee you will feel a smile tugging at the corners of your mouth, a lightness in your heart and a oneness with your Creator as you praise Him with your biggest and bestest twirl!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Day….

Mixing, adding, stirring, flour coats my hands and the smaller set helping me.  Kneading is a favorite activity, right along with the rolling.  And who can resist spreading on the butter and heaping on the brown sugar and cinnamon. The extra effort  is worth the hugs and smiles when a pan of hot, fresh Cinnamon rolls is placed on the table.  And since this is my story, I can amaze even myself by whipping of a batch of fluffy pancakes, a side of bacon, a batch of scrambled eggs and a pot of fragrant coffee.

With tummies full and sugar energy flowing through everyone’s veins, we head to the woods for a nature hike.  With my camera on the ready, we wind through all the curves, uphill and downhill, finding secret hide-a-ways and forest treasures.  God’s gifts.  I capture a touches of God and precious memories on film.

back roads-2 

When everyone gets pleasantly tired and fresh-air-famished, we find the perfect open patch of grass, spread our blanket and enjoy a perfect picnic of deli meat and vege stacked sandwiches, warm apples picked from the apple tree in the fence row, and fresh squeezed lemonade.  As our tummies fill we lay back and watch the lazy summer clouds float across the clear blue sky.  Out in the quiet, we feel God fill our hearts and souls.  We see His handy work.  We feel His glory.  We are warmed by His nearness.


While the day is still young, we head back home, my husband hands me a peppermint mocha latte that he magically has on hand.  He sets me down in the over stuffed chair, covers me with my favorite cozy blanket, my Bible, a book and an assortment of candy bars.  He mysteriously herds the children out the door to a destination unnamed.  I’m left with only the ticking of the clock for accompaniment.  After devouring my latte, multiple ounces of chocolate, and having read for awhile, with perfect understanding (due to the lack of disruption), I head to over to the computer. 

Oh, how I love to write!  A passion for sure. Blogging is the perfect outlet for expanding and growing my desire to be a better writer. I spend an hour or two just typing away, letting my creative juices flow.  Memories, struggles, triumphs recorded.


As my family tumbles through the door all arms and legs in motion.  I am reminded of how passionate I feel for them.  They are everything that defines love.   They are hugs and kisses, giggles and sunshine, fresh breeze and bright colors.  They are mine.  God’s gifts. 

A roast and vegetables that I thoughtfully had placed in the crock pot earlier that morning and a hot loaf of bread satisfies the hunger call.  Since there are a few more hours left in this blissfully, picture perfect day, we settle down to a pile of classic videos, Pollyanna, The Swiss Family Robinson and Anne of Green Gables.  What could be better?

A perfect day filled with the Lord, family, writing, photography, flavored coffee, and chocolate.  Showing me that my highest calling is to be a missionary.  Maybe not a missionary across the sea, but a missionary in my own small world. To live my life in such a manner that it is saturated with the love of Jesus.  Flowing out and over, shining for my family and those who pass through my life to see.  Living a life that God is leading, full of love, teaching, molding, listening, hugging, and growing.  With children or without that is my calling, to cast a light around me so that others can hear, see, taste the Gospel of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

 barbed wire and fall


Thanks Amanda for making me think!  This post came about when Amanda tagged me to answer the following questions.

1.)  What is your favorite meal to fix for your family that you enjoy and they enjoy?
2.)  If you had a free day with your husband and children and all work was done what would you spend the day doing?
3.)  If you had a free day by yourself and your family was taken care of, what would spend the day doing?
4.)  Why did you start blogging?
5.)  Do you have a TV and if so what good family movies do you recommend?
6.)  Tell me three things you are passionate about.
7.)  If God had not called you to be a wife and a mother what do you think he would have called you to do?


Even though this day didn’t actually happen… could! :) 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why Me? Struggling Reader~ Part 2

“Mom, why did God give me dyslexia?”

A question I heard uttered through tears often after we finally had a name for my sons struggles.

My answer always came straight from my heart. 

“God has great plans for you, sweetie.  He made you just the way he wanted you, dyslexia and all.  Maybe he gave you dyslexia because he plans for you to help other people with dyslexia someday.  Maybe he gave you dyslexia because he knows how creative a dyslexics mind is and he has plans for you to use your creativity in a fantastic way.  Maybe he gave you dyslexia because he knows you are tenacious and having dyslexia will only build that inner perseverance you already have. God does not make mistakes.  He made you absolutely special and in His very own image!”

We worked hard those first few years. We’re still working hard, but we seem to be over that hump of massive confusion.  For those of you who are teaching a struggling reader I hope the knowledge that it does get easier will give you a goal to strive after.  Don’t give up, just keep plugging away.  Even if  it is the same stuff you’ve been doing for the past two years, don’t stop!

From kindergarten through 4th grade our days, weeks, months consisted of gigantic amounts of repetition. We worked on letter sounds for 2 years straight and that was it!  We had several sets of flash cards that we used.  The first set consisted of the letters with a corresponding picture.  These were the ones we used for a LONG time. (The other cards I made without pictures and we used these later when he got better at recognizing all the letters). I would show him the card and we would say the sound of that letter.  Just the sound.  Not the name.  I realized early on that trying to teach him the name and sound of the letter just confused him completely.  So, keep in mind that if your child is struggling to get the sounds, just focus on the sound of each letter, not the name.  You can always go back and teach the names of the letters after the sounds are well grounded in their minds. 

The reason why we worked on the sounds so long is that I wanted them to be automatic for him.  I didn’t want him to have to stop and think about each sound.  I wanted for him to see the letters and for the sound just to pop right out of his mouth without hesitation.  If they weren’t automatic in his mind then it would make reading that much more difficult.

When working with the letters I only introduced a few at a time.  If I gave him too many they became jumbled in his mind and it was like undoing everything he had learned so far.  It was a long process and some days I didn’t know if he would ever be able to memorize all the sounds of the alphabet, but he did.  By the end of second grade he had them down so well that he could just fly through the alphabet without any problem.  During this time I also began to introduce what Abeka calls “special sounds”  these are sounds such as, “th, cr, oo, aw, ou, str”, plus short vowel words and sight words.

Through out this time of sound memorization, I used simple worksheets that I found on line and also from phonics workbooks.  My favorites for my son were the Abeka workbooks and Explode the Code books.  I like the Abeka workbooks because they are strongly phonics based.  They teach the sounds in a manner that my son was able to grasp.  But, they teach it fast, too fast for a struggling reader.  I learned to pick and choose.  To supplement to re-use.  A clear page protector placed over workbook pages works wonders for a student who needs repetition!

etc-workbooks Explode the Code books, for us, was (and is) a wonderful supplement to what we were already learning.  Again a clear page protector allowed us to re-use these sheets over and over again until the concepts taught were locked into my son’s mind. 

Another method we used was word flash cards  I wrote all the sight words on these, words he came across in his reading, plus any other frequently used words that he needed to have in his memory bank.  We used these daily and for a while we added to these daily!

Last year my son was in fifth grade and I began to notice a huge improvement in his reading.  After years of work, most short vowel words and the sight words were stored in his memory bank.  His reading improved greatly and we used last year to cement the basic phonics he had been learning throughout the years. We began working on the four letter  long vowel words that still seemed to allude him and larger words that he came across in his reading.

This year I was happy to find a curriculum called Megawords.


It is taking us into the realm of words with multiple syllables.  I am extremely happy with this book!  Another great product from Educators Publishing Service. It is helping my son take bigger words and break them down into manageable pieces.  He is reading words, big words, words that amaze me. 


If you hung with me through this long piece, thank you!  I know it isn’t something everyone is interested in or even dealing with, but I felt it was something I needed to share.  Honestly, there were days when I think we both wanted to give it up, but with an amazing will to keep, keeping on, my son is reading with more fluency and accuracy every day.  There is hope for struggling readers.  The road isn’t easy and its uphill most of the way, but what victories my son and I have shared!  God is definitely good!  He has given my son the gift of dyslexia.  Yes, a gift!  It has shaped my son into an amazing young man with a glowing personality and a gift for seeing things like no one else can!


****The above is what worked for my son.  This may or may not work for your child.  Each student is different and has different abilities. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Struggling Reader? ~Part 1

Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade…that’s how long it took for my son to memorize the sounds of the alphabet. Something that seemed so simple and comes so easily for most children was a huge battle for my middle son.  If was frustrating, confusing and down right difficult.  But what a learning experience for both of us! 

At first, I couldn’t figure out what the problem was, even being an educator didn’t help me at the beginning.  I wondered if he just wasn’t ready, maybe a maturity problem.  I wondered if he wasn’t really trying hard enough. I wondered if he would just sit still...

I wondered!

I tried everything I could think of. Different curriculums. Different ways of approaching what I was teaching. Different schedules. I was constantly wracking my brain for ways to help him.

Finally as we got further into our his second grade year, I began to realize that we were facing could very well be dyslexia. I began to research.  The more I read the clearer it became that my son definitely was probably dyslexic.  To confirm my suspicions I had him tested. The results from his testing were a confirmation that my little man was dyslexic. When the lady who tested him told me this, I began to cry. I’m not sure why, except that it was now obvious, I couldn’t deny it, and my heart went out to my tenacious son, who always gave it his best even when he continually failed.  We were offered help, which I would have gladly accepted, if the place of service wasn’t an hour away and the price tag so staggering.

With a heavy, but undaunted heart, I began to dig further into the research. 

There was an abundance of material on-line.  Many companies claiming to be the best for helping the dyslexic student, but all coming with a hefty price.  I contemplated some, others I dismissed.  It was a difficult decision at best. After a lot of prayer and research, I decided to come up with my own combination of workbooks and reading materials.  A educational plan that would fit my boy specifically.

All of this to say…we are now seeing a lot more of this!



My sixth-grade boy is reading!  And doing it more fluently and with less effort.  It has been a long, difficult road, but one that has built character in my son and myself. 


Dyslexia is a learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, and/or rapid naming. Dyslexia is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction. It is estimated that dyslexia affects between 5 and 17 percent of the population. (wikipedia)


 ****If you have a struggling reader in your family come back for part 2.  I will share some of the things that worked for my son on his journey to reading.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sleep-Numbed Brain

My youngest son has been sick for a week.  My nights have been spent sprawled across the short love seat or bunched up in the chair with my chin on my chest.  As soon as he lies down each night he starts to cough.  And since he has a reputation for vomiting, I guess you can probably surmise what happens next.  To top it all off the girl has decided that rising at midnight is a good thing to do.  SIGH!

It’s been a long two months, ladies.  Someone or at times multiple someones have been sick.  There has literally been no break from this.

Sleep depravation is taking hold.

I’m trying to hold it together, but this momma’s brain is a little flighty anyway. Then when you add in limited hours of sleep it causes havoc.  This sleep-numbed brain is struggling! Not too many coherent thoughts are making their presence known.  It’s pretty scattered up there!  Along with skittering brain function comes a quiet me.  I tend to pull within myself when I’m over tired.  I’m pretty sure its because many a sentence that exits my mouth is either jumbled beyond interpretation or is has a tinge of the stressed out momma within it.

With a worn out momma  comes limited ability to handle stress. Oh, I’m a tryin’, but my chillins’ are a tryin’ me! 

I know this is one of those trials.  A difficult time that is building my character and dependence on God, I’m just praying my children survive it! 

In all honesty, I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.  If I melt down and “lose it” just because I’m functioning on delayed sleep patterns, then what am I teaching my children?  I don’t want them to learn it is okay to throw a tizzy when things get tough. 

So for the past two months I have been more conscious of my reactions, my behavior and what I am teaching my children during this time of momma trial.  God is working on me and if you know me well you know that sickness is a weakness for me.  In the past I have not dealt with it well at all.  I have let it rule my actions.  I have almost become a recluse because I can’t handle the recurring episodes of sickness. 

I am, with the help of the Lord, working on this.  I feel stronger and more adept at facing the unknown.  I know as the cold and flu season progresses I may still struggle with the desire to shut us up tight into the relative safety of our home, but I am praying for strength to bear up under whatever the next 5 or so months bring.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10


*Now if any of this made sense let me know.  I proof read it many times, backspace and spell checker helped me. Because I couldn’t remember how to spell some of the simplest words.  I literally stared at them for minutes trying to figure out what I did wrong.  I couldn’t do it!  Oh my brain!

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