Friday, January 27, 2012

A Pleasant Surprise!

My hubby took me clothes shopping the other day. Yes, you heard that right. Clothes shopping!!!! I had lost some weight due to my tonsillectomy and my pants were literally falling off of me. He couldn't stand it anymore, so he told me he wanted to go get me a new pair of jeans. After taking me to two different stores, we finally found a pair that would work. Before we went to pay, he suggested I find a shirt, too. Then I found a cute skirt I liked. Oh my! He was so generous and sweet. He even refused to let me use my mad money!

So the above picture is me in my new long skirt. I LOVE long skirts. I'm crazy about them! We live in a very windy region and I feel very "safe" in these. They are modest and I feel very feminine in them. I like to dress up even if I never leave the house. I feel better when I am "put together" for my husband when he is home.

Here is the shirt and jeans he gave me. I just loved how vintage, wispy and light it looked. I also really liked the colors. Lily and Jess LOVED it when I came home to show them.

After clothes shopping, he took me to lunch. After 16 years, this man is truly figuring out how to romance his woman. I never thought it would be this way. It is so nice to be able to go on dates now. Having a 13 year old has truly made a difference. As the children get older, I think it is going to be easier to focus more on each other.

Thanks, Steve! You made my day!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

REAL Snow Cones and My Musings

 Jessica wanted to take advantage of all our ice and snow and make REAL snow cones.

 We gathered snow. Notice she is getting where everyone has been walking? Ugh! I kept telling her to go someplace new, but she wouldn't listen. Oh well!
 Steve had bought them some cheap pop at the Dollar Store. A real treat, since Mom never lets them by it.
I also gave them permission to use my espresso syrups to pour over it. I think it was probably too sweet. Andrew was not impressed. They all seemed to agree that pop was best.

Now, if I would have had blue raspberry syrup or bubblegum, I probably would have partaken. That is about the only snow cone I will ever eat.

I can't believe how much fun we are having as a family. The movies stay are staying off most of the time, and we are playing game after game of Trouble with the little ones. Reading so many books, I'm afraid I'm going to get the vocal nodules back! I am seriously losing my voice over it. I have a hard time saying no when they bring a book to me. I LOVED reading as a child. We lived on a ranch and didn't have TV growing up. We read, we played, we read and we played.

Tonight, the kids were playing freeze tag (a little loud when we are in the house). I sent them outside and they were still playing it in the freezing rain, ice and snow. I couldn't believe it! I'm not hearing, "Can we watch a movie?" nearly as much anymore. Even Steve seems to be watching less. Steve and I love playing Scrabble together when he is not working. I love doing this because he has never been much of a game person.

I'm just having so much fun spending time with my children. I am enjoying them more than ever. I don't know if it is because they are getting older or I am less distracted by the internet, books, and other media. I am loving it though!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ice Storm and My Musings

I haven't seen ice like this since '96, the year after hubby and I got married. Wow! I am so thankful that Canon gave me a new camera and I was able to take pictures of it. Was finding it really hard to blog without my camera.

The handles of my wheel barrel planter.
LOL! Look at the poor trampoline. I can't believe my baling twine fix has held this thing together! The whole bottom of it looks like it is about to split in two. Ice is heavy!

With sadness I saw that my beautiful cherry tree on the wall had the largest top branch broken off. Hoping I can figure out how to shape it so it will look good come spring.

There's the break. No wonder, look at all that ice!
Jessica loved breaking off the ice and eating it.
 When it started melting, I told the kids to keep out from under the trees. It is like shards of glass when those icicles dropping off.
 Josh in his shorts. Yes, he is crazy! I really do think he has something against pants. Here he is feeding the goats.
It was so thick, even I could stand on top of the snow crusted with ice!

The poor van has been crusted over with ice for days. Our driveway is such a mess, we could barely get the old Suburban out. We ended up parking it in the middle, halfway up the driveway so no one could get down and get stuck, and so we could get out. As you can imagine, Steve has been on a bunch of overtime with all the wrecks and power lines being down. The older people keep falling and breaking hips. I wish people would just stay indoors. It isn't worth it!

I was scheduled for oral surgery on Friday, but that got rescheduled because of the ice. This left us with getting four days of homeschooling done, which felt good because all the public school kids were out four out of the five days this week, due to MLK Day and snow days.

The boy's Christian sports program, A.C.T.S. was cancelled today. Jessica's last basketball game and sadly her pizza party were cancelled as well. They are all a little bummed, but I am enjoying NOT running kids around. This has left me time to catch up on my blogging, make some yummy meals, and to mend my husband's grandmothers quilt.

We saw "Courageous" yesterday. WELL DONE!!! I would recommend it to anyone! It covered a gamut of themes and had some very good points.

Our reading time is interesting. I only have two children that are wanting to hear the story. Not sure what I'm supposed to do about that? Should I force the other ones to stay and hear, or let them go play? Just curious as to what others do.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Sculptures and Chapter Books

 We finally got some snow! I guess making a snowman was not challenging enough, so they made sculptures  snow women. I was impressed at the level of detail they went into. Josh's had a lady holding a Bible. We all thought her nose was a bit interesting, but a good job none-the-less. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
 Here is Lily checking out Josh's lady.
Marcus couldn't figure out how to make the arms on his. I told him to give her a smooch for the camera. He actually did!

Alas, it is starting to melt now. I can't believe how much more laundry there is to do when it snows. It can be quite overwhelming.

Instead of turning on a movie last night, we started reading "Summer of the Monkeys". I was a bit worried about how I could get the little ones to be quiet and listen, so I allowed them to bring their Legos out and play with them as they listened. It worked great! I am determined to start reading chapter books to them. I know, it is pathetic that I haven't made this a priority. Honestly, I just haven't had the patience for it. Every time I would try to get the little ones to settle down, I would get more impatient and frustrated. It ended up not being what I envisioned. Now that Lily is almost three, I'm trying it again. After "Summer of the Monkeys", I plan on reading a "Hank the Cowdog" book and then start on the "Little House on the Prairie" books again. It is hard to find books that 13 years old boys to 3 year old girls enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


How can I thank the Lord? How can I tell Him how grateful I am for so many things in my life? I have to start somewhere...

1) Grateful that homeschooling is going so well. We have been consistent and the children are moving forward in their studies. I am seeing some improvement in their writing, spelling and reading. Math even seems like it is moving right along.

2) Grateful that I get to homeschool my kids.  I live in a state with very few rules about it. I don't have to come up with portfolios, syllabuses, attendance, attach myself to a charter school or come up with official lesson plans. I don't even have to test every year! What a blessing. It makes it easier to relax and to teach my children at a pace that they seem comfortable in.

3) Grateful for positive changes in my marriage. Steve and I are working together towards a common goal of raising these children in the admonition of the Lord. We are having regular family devotion times and the kids are learning lessons from both of us as we both do the teaching.

4) Grateful for the "Help Me Be Good" book series by Joy Berry. I bought all 27 books for the younger children for Christmas. I find them everywhere! I think they like these books because they can relate to the struggle that other children experience in trying to behave. It isn't necessarily Christian literature, but the principles in the book are very much indeed what Jesus preaches. I, of course, interject "How would Jesus handle that?" and stuff like that. I read about four a day. They bring them to me all the time and I have seen many positive changes in their behavior. It is nice to be able to refer back to a particular book if I am seeing some attitudes that need to change.

5) Grateful that my body seems to be mending and my health, in general, is good. My hubby bought me an exercise machine and I can't wait to use it. I am a fair-weather exerciser, so it will be good to get on that thing and work my stress out as I listen to some good worship songs with lots of Scripture.

6) Grateful that the two older boys came back from Junior High Camp with wonderful stories about new friendships and lots of attitude changes. I think the sessions must have been powerful! God is good and continues to reveal Himself to my children. My Marcus, was having a hard time the other day with friendships and he knew where to go when he was hurting. He read straight through the book of James and told me about it afterwards. It was so encouraging to know that he ran to God before he even ran to me! Praise the Lord!!!

7) Grateful for family and friends who love and support our family. It is comforting knowing that almost all of our extended family are Christians. I know many do not have that kind of support. I don't want to take it for granted. I have also surrounded myself with friends who will call me out and keep me accountable in my walk with Jesus.

8) Grateful for heat! It was 24 degrees two nights ago and the heat pump started acting up. I called the repairman because it was set at 74 degrees but the house was at 62. Brrrrrr! Thankful that it was only $105 to fix the problem. It could have been so much worse.

9) Grateful for a chance to teach "Believing God" for our Women's Sunday school. This is one of my passions. Encouraging women to get in the Word for themselves. Discussing biblical concepts and edifying one another in the Lord are so important to me.

10) Grateful for this blog that allows me "to shout to the nations" what the Lord has done for me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Musings

Please pray for me. I am sick with a cold (on top of still healing from my tonsillectomy), and I am tired and I am struggling to have patience with the six blessings that God has given me. Yesterday, I blew it. BLEW IT!!! It was not pretty. I was so convicted and asked God to forgive me for my outburst and my impatience.

Today is a new day and I ask that you would join with me in prayer that although "I am weak, He will be made strong." I have been in the Word everyday and so excited to be teaching a women's Sunday School. We are doing Beth's "Believing God", and I am just astounded to be reminded just how deep my unbelief runs in some areas. I am thrilled to get the chance to not just do this study again, but teach it to other ladies who might struggle in this area of their spiritual lives as well. I feel very connected to the Lord and feel His presence almost constantly. I love to see Him working in our lives and performing small and big miracles that just amaze me!

I am thankful that today is a more mellow day, it consists mainly of homeschooling, chores, a haircut, heat pump being repaired and cooking three healthy meals.  No running kids around to this activity and that activity. Thankfully, those days are reserved for Mondays and Tuesdays. The rest of the week is a lot easier.

I hope to be blogging more often, but my camera is in the shop and I have no pictures to share.

Have a blessed day and thank you as always for your continued prayers for me and the fam!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back From the Dead- My Musings

What a week and a half! Man, am I glad that is over. Tonsillectomies are NOT fun when you are 36 years old. I do have to say that it was easier than the foot surgery last year (BY FAR). The Doc says I am cured and I also have the added benefit of my arm and shoulder pain leaving. I was finally able to rest like I needed to! So I killed two birds with one stone. I am happy to say good bye to two physical therapy appointments a week. What a blessing!

I am almost back to my old self, despite a sore throat. I even went outside today and fixed the trampoline net!

Something I really learned about myself is that I really do enjoy my role as a wife and a mother. It is so fulfilling. I know that I take being able to stay home and care for my large brood for granted. I want to be more grateful for this privilege.

As usual, when mom is down and out, dad had to pick up the slack. It created tension which came to a boiling point. Instead of being afraid of the conflict, I embraced it and used it as a catalyst to implement some changes. We are both happier for it. I just want to say that conflict in marriage is not always bad. Time + Conflict = Change. And changing we are. It is a good thing.

Something else I was reminded of is just how effective it is to GO to your child instead of YELL at your child to come here or give an instruction one room away. When I had a voice that was barely a whisper, my children actually behaved and listened better. It was amazing! I am trying to form this into a habit. Stop what I am doing, go to the child, touch their shoulder and get them to meet my eyes, then give the instruction in a gentle, yet firm voice. It works, people!

While I was on my sick bed I finished up Beth Moore's newest Bible study, Mercy Triumphs": A Study of James. It was not my favorite because it was more academic, but I did learn some valuable lessons in it. I have volunteered to lead Believing God  for our women's Sunday school class this coming term. I am super-excited to be able to do Believing God: A Fresh Explosion of Faith again. This study moves and shakes you! It will be a perfect wrap up to James.

I am ever grateful for God's Word. I love how God speaks to me through it, affirms the lessons I am learning, and teaches me to love the unlovable. He is so good and gracious to me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Entitlement Mentality

Dear Mothers,

It is so easy to want a cushy life when it comes to parenting. You want to be served, not the other way around. It is the brackish sin of self-entitlement.

The book, The Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp has some wonderful insight to this problem. He says, “I am afraid that many of us live for comfort and bring this entitlement mentality to our parenting. We reason that we have the right to quiet, harmony, peace, and respect, and we respond in anger when we do not get it. Parents who demand comfort, ease, regularity, peace, space, quiet, and harmony will be ill-equipped for this spiritual battle that is raging for our children’s hearts. They will begin to see their child as the enemy, they will begin to fight with him rather than for him, and even worse, they will tend to forget the true nature of the battle and the identity of the real enemy. They will act out of frustrated desire, doing and saying regrettable things, and they will fail to be effective and productive in those strategic moment of ministry in which God has placed them.”

As parents, we are also guilty of having silly expectations when it comes to our children showing us appreciation. We wonder when we are going to get some of the credit for all the sacrificial things that we do for them, such as sitting season after season in snow, rain, wind and heat to watch them play their favorite sport. Will we receive thanks for endless taxiing to this event or that event? Will they come up and give us a joyful hug when we hand them yet another basket of clean laundry? Will they compliment us on cooking thousands of healthy, well-balanced meals throughout their childhood? HELLO! I don’t think so!!!

David Paul Tripp goes on to say, “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard parts of this list recited to me by parents, always with the same final punch line. ‘Isn’t about time I get some credit?’ It seems logical, so harmless, so right. Children should appreciate their parents. Yet being appreciated cannot be our goal. When it becomes the thing we live for, we will unwittingly look with hyper-vigilant eyes for appreciation in every situation.

Teenagers don’t often burst in the door at the end of the day and say, ‘Do you know what I was thinking about on the bus ride home today, Mom? I was thinking about how much you and Dad have done for me over the years. You have been with me and for me from the very moment of my life until now. On the bus I was flooded with gratitude and just couldn’t wait to get home and say thank you!’ If this happens to you, erect stones as a lasting memorial, or light an eternal flame!

Very few parents have headed to bed only to hear sobbing coming from their teenage daughter’s bedroom and had this conversation. ‘What’s wrong, Dear?’ ‘Oh, I was just thinking about you and Mom and how unthankful I’ve been. I feel so guilty that I haven’t appreciated you more, and I’ve committed myself to demonstrating that I appreciate you ever day!’ On the contrary, the trend for teenagers is to be much more filled with self-orientation and self-interest than to be filled with an awareness and appreciate of others.

If this is the mentality that parents have, then they will struggle a lot with discouragement and anger during the teen years.”

We need to be asking ourselves these questions:

1. Why am I doing what I am doing?

2. Who am I serving?

3. What are the things that I have come to expect and demand?

4. Whose desires rule the moments of opportunity with my child-God’s or mine?

From One Mom to Another,
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