Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Vegamite Experience!

Andrew tasted it...
The kids have some new pen pals from Australia. The sweet things gave them some vegamite. I hope this doesn't offend my Australian readers, but this was a whole new experience for us! It was black, thick, and tasted like a thick soy sauce.
Steve had to smell it first before he tried it.
"Make it go away!"
Marcus' expression says it all!!!! Afterwards, he said it wasn't too bad. He had to get used to it.
Josh, my pickiest eater, actually tried it. He was not impressed!
Jess didn't like it either, but Lily stuck her finger in there and helped herself.
She took two swipes, before she made a face. Overall, we decided that vegamite is an aquired taste! It was fun experiencing it, but I think we'll stick with our peanut butter!

I'm so glad I finally got to try it! Thanks, Johnson Kids!!!! We are trying to figure out what to send you. Peanut butter perhaps? LOL!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Who Am I?

Do you ever go through a period of time when you sort of "lose" who you are? Sometimes you have to remind yourself. So I asked myself to day, "Who am I?"

I am a mother to six precious children here on earth and two in heaven.
I am a wife to a man who loves me and works very hard as a firefighter/paramedic to provide for his family. This is what Steve and I do when he comes home. I'm working in the kitchen and we debrief with each other. We are comfortable with one another and have great meaningful conversations when the kids aren't interrupting. I am blessed!
I am a cook! I have learned a ton since I met Steve. He taught me how to cook and now I pretty much use recipes as guides. My sister, Jackie at Homestead Wannabes  has taught me a lot about healthy cooking. I am always trying to make recipes healthier for my family by replacing refined sugar with sucanat and raw sugar and replacing white flour for whole wheat flour. I love experimenting! Here I am with a fabulous peach pie made with raw sugar and part of the white flour in the crust is replaced by whole wheat pastry flour.
I am a hard worker. I do about 3-4 loads of laundry every day, sweep, mop, and scrub stuff down. I home school my kids, fix boo-boos, keep up a vegetable garden and lots of flower gardens, too. Why do I do all this? Because I LOVE it! What you say? That sounds like hard work! I am doing what God has called me to do. I "give my life away" everyday, and in return I am blessed! He has given me my dreams. All I ever wanted to be was a wife and a mother. Now, I'm living it. Of course back then, I thought I would be a mother to two children. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be mothering SIX!

Are you searching for significance? If you have been feeling a little lost lately, you might want to read this devotion I wrote awhile back on the subject. I think it might just give you a little "spiritual shot" in the arm that you have been needing.

Blessings to all of you as you continue to find your significance each day in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one who gives us significance.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

A Sweet Visit With My Titus 2 Friend

This month, my twin, Jackie and I decided to make the six hour drive to my friend, Catherine's in Idaho. I've never been up there in the summer. I can't tell you what a pleasant time it was. We visited and visited and visited. Catherine was a public school teacher for YEARS and YEARS and now homeschools from her studio. She is an amazing woman. This woman lives the most intentional walk with God that I have ever seen and is a shining example of what I can only hope to be in my "mature" years. You can check out her BLOG over at Cat's Tales Productions.
The first day we ran out to her hubby's ranch (they live in town) and brought her daughter-in-law some espresso and we shared giant pieces of a special orange marmalade cake that was to die for! The weather was perfect as we ate alfresco.
Then we toured her garden. This year because of the weird, cool weather, she hasn't been able to produce much. But we did manage to spot a few veggies here and there. It was good for Jackie, who also has a very short growing season. Jackie peppered her with questions on organic gardening! She was in heaven.
One of the greatest pleasures I had was watching Jackie and Catherine connect. You see the last time she was here, within four hours of arriving she fell down the stairs and broke her collarbone. It was AWFUL! Jackie does not have very many Titus 2 women in her life, so she was able to ask Catherine about scheduling, homeschooling, gardening, healthy eating and God's Word. It was wonderful to see their relationship bloom.

I am always honored by the way Catherine introduces me. She always calls me "One of her best girls".

Jackie and I have decided to make this an annual sister trip. This will be our personal retreat before the fall to regroup and get inspired once again to be the wives, mothers, and homeschool teachers that God has called us to be.

Thanks again, Catherine, it was truly wonderful!
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chevelles, Friends, and One Funny Little Baby!

I'm trying to catch up here again. This summer has flown by and we have had a lot of activity around here. The first picture is of my dad, Russ with his pride and joy (and my inheritance if he doesn't wreck it) a 1969 Chevelle. I LOVE this car! I guess I'm a chip off the old block when it comes to Chevelles. If you want to go from ZERO to SIXTY in about 5 seconds, you want to take a ride in this baby! My dad was picking Josh up to take him to the annual Hot August Nights Cruise downtown. He got to spend the night and went to the Threshing Bee afterwards and then the car show on Sunday. Marcus got to join them on Sunday and they had a wonderful time! Thanks Dad and Diana
We had a new family come over for dinner. It was a pleasure getting to know Brian and Kelly with their three sweet little girls and brand new baby boy. It was lovely holding an infant again! I met Brian and Kelly at a Fire department function. Brian is a volunteer and Kelly is a SAHM who is going to start homeschooling her five year old this year. It was a pleasure talking with them and we are looking forward to getting to know them better. Thanks for coming over guys!
This is "Little Miss Dirty Face"! Oh my! She keeps coming in looking like this after being outside.
Here is another time she did it. The kids and I couldn't stop laughing! This is something the boys would have done, but I wasn't expecting it from Lily!

Ahhhh, life is so good right now!
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Monday, August 23, 2010

My Homeschool Plan for 2010/2011

After a lovely visit with my friend, Catherine in Idaho, I am once again inspired by her wisdom and knowledge in  home education. I have felt very "blah" about my home school lately. Yes, I know it's still summer, but when you feel like what you aren't doing isn't working very well and something is amiss, you need to pay attention.

My oldest child, Josh is not a reader. He hates school. Part of that was my fault. I pushed him to hard because I wanted him to be on track. I let the Standardized tests (or the fear of failing the Standardized test) rule me. I squelched the love of learning right out of him.

This year, I am going to come to a screeching halt with this kid! I am going to stop any type of phonics and grammar and just get this child reading. We are going to read, read and read some more! I am going to require him to read at least one book, five days a week to his younger siblings. I'll strategically do this when I am working with Jessica on her phonics and reading. Then I'm going to work on reading comprehension. He will read something and then answer a few questions. He will be required to read one chapter a day from his kid's version of "Robinson Crusoe" and then 20 minutes of silent reading (this will be any book he wants to read). I'm going to take him to the library more and let him pick out his own books.

The other thing that has to change is me spreading myself to thin in the mornings. I want to home school from 9:00 until 11:30. Normally, that is including corrections. I'm going to resist (torture for me) correcting their papers until the afternoon. This will give me more time to work with Andrew, who is starting Kindergarten this year. After the corrections are done, I will call them all back to the table to finish their work. They are used to having the afternoons free, so this will be an adjustment to everyone.

For spelling, right now we are writing out the Ten Commandments, Mon, Wed, and Friday. For example; 1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not misuse my name.

They will do one commandment a day and will not move on to the next commandment until they have 100 percent accuracy. The three older ones are doing these together. They are enjoying the break from their spelling books. And it helps them memorize the Scripture. Love it!

Social Studies and History are going to be happening on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Math is every day.

For electives this year, I am having the three older ones learn how to touch type. Someone gave me a CD Rom that has been so helpful. It is fun and they can do it on their own. I am going to ask Steve to do a First Aid class with the kids. This will teach them anatomy as well. We will also be learning to write letters. They now have pen pals with some other children in Australia. Steve and I are having Bible study with them almost every day and we are giving them lots of historical context with it. Of course, Tae Kwon Do will be on this list as well.

I'm not buying one thing this year in regards to curriculum. I am determined to use what I have and be content with that. I haven't even looked at a home school catalogue and it feels really good! I have submitted my home school to God and I know that He will continue to bless it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mothering Without a Voice

I've been reluctant to BLOG about my voice issue, because I didn't know if it was going to resolve it's self or not. This is fast becoming a life-lesson and a faith-builder, which is exactly why I started this BLOG in the first place. I started it to proclaim the works of the Lord and the lessons He is teaching me. Here is the latest of these...

For the past 5 months, I have had this weird hoarse voice. It kind of came and went at first, but when talking with friends and singing at church kept aggravating I finally got a clue and decided to get it checked out. I'm so glad I did! After going to the ENT doc, I was diagnosed with nodules on my vocal cords. Nodules are essentially callouses on your vocal cords from misuse.

Since the diagnosis, I have been forced to examine every aspect of my life. How did it get to this point? Let's start with mothering. Yes, I have admitted to all of you more than once that I am a yeller. When I'm frustrated my natural tendency is to raise my voice to get my point across. God has been working with me on this for years, but I guess He said, "Enough!". Also, the loud environment that I live in has caused me to yell over the chaos. I'm going to have to totally change my parenting style and the way I address my children. This is a good thing and I'm actually thanking God for this health problem. I have wanted to change this but so quickly slip back into old habits when I'm not filled with the Spirit.

Homeschooling has come to a screeching halt! I can't lecture anymore. I need to relearn how to talk, because when I lecture, my voice naturally gets higher-pitched and louder. I am giving this to Steve right now. He will homeschool them while he is off work until I can talk again. I'm thankful that he is willing to do this, and I'm also grateful that we homeschool all year around so the kids won't get behind. I will be ordering some good documentaries for the days Dad is working. I'm thinking about doing the "Rise and Fall of Rome" by the History channel. I saw it on Netflix.

My singing has had to completely stopped. This is a killer for a soloist! I've been straining my voice in this area since I was a kid. Even though I'm a decent soloist, I have never had any vocal training. I would strain my voice very easily. I love to sing at church. I love to sing with my children. I sing in the car, sing in my kitchen,  and sing outside. Where I go, I sing!!! I'm forced to worship God in another form. I will be doing a devotion on this pretty soon, so I'm not going to go into details right now. I told you, God is using this in a good way!

I've decided to go on as close to total vocal rest as I can. I know I can't mother six children while Steve is working 24 hours by myself without talking. Who am I trying to kid? When I'm forced to talk to the little ones, I use an even, quiet voice (no whispering, that makes it worse). I use very little words. I can't argue with my children any more, unless they want to argue with a clipboard! I use my dry erase board to write instructions to the older ones who can read. They are helping me more with the little ones. I've also developed a series of signals with my coach whistle.

I have a lot more time on my hands, as I'm not talking on the phone anymore. I almost replaced my lost Blue Tooth the other day, but I'm glad I didn't since I can't use the darn thing anyway! I do miss chatting with my out-of-town friends and sister. I just added texting to my phone (so funny about God's timing).

I am supposed to not stress either. God is working with me in so many areas! I'm literally crying out to God and asking Him, "How am I supposed to do this? I can't cry, sneeze, cough, clear my throat, talk, and most definitely not yell". He is getting me through each day!

The best thing about this is that I'm not sinning as much. What you say? "Where words are many, sin is not absent."-Proverbs.

I'm praying that by the time I go to the voice specialist at OHSU, the doc will look down there and say, "What nodules? I don't see anything down there!" I'm going to try to be a good girl and do all I can so that they will go away. I think I've caught them early enough. But this will still be a lifestyle change, because if I continue the old patterns, they will come right back. I will be working with a vocal/speech therapist hopefully within a month. This person will help me change my speech patterns forever. Also, maybe they will teach me to sing better! Another perk!

I'm so thankful that I have a God "who does what it takes" to get my attention in the areas that need to be changed.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Expect Rebellion? From Stacie's Devotional Archive

Dear Mothers,

I recently read an article that really got me thinking. The author said that before her and her husband got married she made a flippant statement that said something like “Oh, all teenagers rebel, I’m sure ours will too”. She then said, “He announced back to ME, that no, our future kids did NOT need to be rebellious and that if we trained them up in the Lord, we could skip all that rebellious nonsense.” This man blew off the world’s thinking and decided that this was not going to be the case in his home. I really admire and respect that.

Do we just expect our children to rebel when they become teenagers? I know I’ve been scared into thinking that. How about this, instead of expecting them to rebel, we do everything we can to think positively and to pray that our children won’t fall into that pit.

The author (Gena Suarez) quotes the following…”You want the "secret?" Here it is: Shelter them. They're yours, gifted by God. Train them up in the admonition of the Lord. Keep them near you. Expect obedience, insist on it. Hold them accountable. Give them lots of responsibilities - and plenty of space. But keep your eyeballs fastened tightly to that space. The key is relationship, too. Be interested in them. Let them drone on and on about their latest software application or musical composition. Love them but not as a pansy best friend. Love them with strength and resolve. With seriousness, firmness. They'll thank you for it later, and you will be blessed. God's way (His word) is always the best way.”

I only have one more year until I enter into this new phase of  parenting teenagers. I want to pray for the best and wait expectantly for it to pass! If we already “know” they are going to rebel as teenagers, then we are already living in defeat! Speak truth into their lives. Speak truth into your life! For Satan would love nothing better then to already defeat us before the real battle has even begun for the souls of your children.

From One Mom to Another,

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Getting Caught Up!

After posting my "One Million Arrows" Series, I got a little behind on my pictures. So here are a few pics I want to share with you. The first one has a story behind it. We were able to go to a family renunion in July and it gave me the opportunity to explain how important it is to stay connected to your family. I told them that one day they will be responsible for making sure reunions take place. The next day, the kids decided to have their own "Family Reunion". It was quite cute! They insisted on eating outside on blankets in the backyard. I managed to get all of them in this shot. Not exactly easy!
"Lily, Get Your Gun"
We are discovering that Lily is OBSESSED with shoes! It's so funny! It is the first thing she points at when meets someone. She is always swiping my shoes and walking around in them.
These two are looking so much like each other it's not even funny! I can't believe how blonde Lily's hair is coming in and Jacob and her look like they are so many of the same features. They just love each other, too.

An update on Steve: The insurance claim was denied to have his infusions every 5 weeks. They refuse to do it more than every 8 weeks which is what he has been doing all along. We are still praying that there might be a loophole we don't know about. Thank you for all that have prayed for us on this subject. So far the arthritis has stayed away, but the beginning of September is when we figure if it's going to raise it's ugly head again, it will be then. In the meantime, he is trying to lose a bunch of weight to naturally make the dosage go up (since the dosage is weight-based). Nothing like the fear of pain to motivate someone to lose weight. Pray that he will be able to keep losing. As a lot of you know, it is very hard work.

Blessings everyone!
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Joseph-From Prison to Palace VBS (Part Two)

Here is the "Nile River". There were three pools set up, one with wheat, another with sand and the other with water. The kids had a ball playing!
They earned "gold coins" and were able to purchase some trinkets at the toy shop. Josh enjoyed being a shop keeper/guard.
On Thursday all families were invited to fun, games and singing. Here the kids are trying to beat the adults in making mummies out by wrapping toilet paper around them.
The adults won! They made an outstanding mummy! We had a great time fellowshipping and celebrating the 15 plus children who came to know Jesus.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

VBS- "Joseph, From Prison to Palace" Part One

We had an amazing VBS this year! I am amazed how God has blessed Calvary with such talented people. We all worked together as a giant team and put on "Joseph-From Prison to Palace". It taught the children many lessons from the book of Genesis. They tried to put the children back in time so they could experience it as much as possible. I was a helper in the kitchen and helped make two of these gigantic rice crispy pyramids! They turned out so cute! You should have seen the kid's eyes when they saw it!
The children got to dress up every day in their Egyptian costumes. Mine love to dress up, so this was right up their alley! 16 children accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior!
The gym was transformed into a market place. Here Jessica is working on this amazing mural/mosiac. Isn't it incredible? They could color or glue pieces of torn paper on it if they had some spare time. I never did see if it ever got finished.
These pillars crack me up! Fifteen years ago we used them to decorate the gym at our wedding. They were painted white then. This time they were used to create a "throne room", look at that fire at the top of the basketball hoop. Very creative! In the corner is an "oasis" that had three pools for the kids to play it. One had wheat, another sand and the third had water.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Teaching Our Children Authentic Christianity

"You can't take your children further than you've gone yourself," says Josh McDowell. "When we're modeling true dependence on God with radical faith, and our kids can see the results, they will experience authentic Christianity. If it is real to us, it will be real to them."

I am continually being challenged by this great book called, "One Million Arrows" by Julie Ferwerda. She goes on to write, "Our kid's faith is constantly being challenged by an atheistic culture. As a result, they have tough questions that must be answered. They are and will be bombarded by scoffers and doubt-planters. Our kids can and must learn rational, intelligent, factual answers to their toughest faith and history questions, and we must help them by seeking out answers for and with them."

I took this to heart and sat down with my oldest son to watch the documentary "A Case for Christ". It was outstanding, but I feared it would be over his head. As I watched and discussed some of Jim Strobel's finds, I could see him agreeing with and cementing these facts into his head. We both loved the scientific and historical approach the documentary portrayed.

I think the key to this was building the relationship and taking the time to watch the movie with him. It also helped that I let him stay up late to watch it!

Joshua McDowell says this, "Relationships are foundational to beliefs, values, and behavior. We can reprioritize, making time to really connect with our kids, learning about their needs, desires, gifts and abilities."

Julie Ferwerda continues with this, "Lack of time is never a good excuse. If we say we are too busy to get to know and properly train our kids-the most precious responsibility we have been given on this earth-it's only a matter of misaligned priorities or self-deception. Every day has the same number of hours, and there are many parents showing us how to reprioritize and make every minute of parenting count for eternity.

When we prioritize well, we'll teach our kids to do the same. Did you know that the typical preteen devotes on average more than 40 hours per week ingesting media content? We're to be the watchdogs over the family priorities and schedules because our kids aren't mature enough to figure out on their own what's truly important and beneficial. and many of them aren't learning any better by watching us!"

Again, lots to chew on. We must be intentional in our parenting. We must be praying and asking God where we need to improve. I know the Spirit is falling His conviction all around us. We are not perfect at our parenting. We let things slide, we get busy and so forth. I have to ask myself this. Why is it that Biblical training is the first to go when I get "busy"? Bible study and prayer should be our lifeline with God and if we are doing these things with our kids, it should be the lifeblood of our relationship with them as well.

If you are struggling with your relationship with your children I ask you to take a different approach. If they have asked Jesus into their heart and profess they are Christians, then view them as your "Brother or Sister in Christ". How does God instruct us to teach fellow Believers? Rebuke gently, teach, forgive, love, love and love some more is the answer to that question. To experience authentic Christianity, you have to remember that it's all about relationships.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lady Bug Hunting

Jacob and Lily were fascinated by some lady bugs that they found in the grass. Jacob was jabbering away telling Lily all about them. I'm so glad Jacob is finally getting over his fear of bugs. Oh my! This has been quite the challenge! I just want to say, "Toughen up, Dude!"

Notice her outfit? Ladybugs!!!! I thought that was so cute!
I love this stage. What a blessing my children are to me. Thanks for letting me share.
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