Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fall 2012 wrap up ... finally!



Hello friends - it's so good to have you drop by for a visit! It's been such a long long time since I posted anything here - I've almost forgotten how! We've had a lot going on, as usual! With Dreamer in grade 10 this year and Storyteller straddling 6th & 7th we've had a lot of school work each and every day.  I'm the first to admit that it's a lot, but I feel so blessed to have the privilege of homeschooling our children, and I know these busy seasons will pass quickly, so I am trying very hard to savor them!

Dreamer has decided to compete in both Federation and the Guild for piano this year, as well as the Regional Teen Talent contest with her Youth Group. It means lots of extra practice and even a lesson on Boxing Day! She has chosen to try for the Sonatina Award this year and is working really hard to learn and memorize 5 pieces - 16 movements in all.  She is still taking ballet on Monday and helping with a class on Thursday each week, as well as participating on our library's Teen Advisory Board. Both children enjoyed soccer this fall, though we kind of dropped out at the end when church activities and fall colds got the better of us. Storyteller played baseball all fall again with the Fall Hitting League and he really enjoyed that. At first we fried, then it got pleasant and then we froze in the stands so I was really glad when it all wrapped up! Though our Storyteller is not in Youth yet, both he and Dreamer have participated in Youth outreaches placing hundreds of door hangers inviting people in the community to visit our church this fall. They had so much fun with it, and our Storyteller holds the record for most door hangers hung.


Fall canning - salsa!

 I taught a few craft and sewing classes at our local community center this fall which I really enjoyed. I also had some of the ladies from church come to our home for a canning class.  We made spiced plum preserves and cranberry sauce and had a really good time!
Things were going along at a brisk pace all fall and we were keeping busy and active. My Dad and Mum came for Canadian Thanksgiving and a good visit which was lovely.  They also came for American Thanksgiving - Dad had some parts to pick up and got new tires for his truck and Mum got some Christmas shopping done, which was great. Dad also blessed us with his old laptop and found a great deal on a wireless router so after months of limping along with our half-working ancient laptop we were finally back in business. It was helpful to have Dad and Mum here while we faced a time of great uncertainty as I waited for an unexpected biopsy and the results of that. Thankfully the results were good, but the waiting was really hard.

Thanksgiving 2012 - we were hoping for a good picture for our Christmas letter!
  

We had a great time on December 5th at a homeschool ice skating event, visiting with friends and refreshing very rusty skating skills . The next day Storyteller suddenly developed a high fever and life slowed down considerably after that. Our Storyteller rarely does anything by half measures so scoring 7 out of 7 on the Flu Symptoms chart was no surprise.  Thankfully it was the respiratory flu and not a gastro-type. The down side was that it was terribly contagious and Dreamer and I both succumbed. We spent the better part of two weeks in the 'infirmary', formerly the family room - sleeping, listening to Christmas music and watching videos.  Our heads were too achy to even try to read. Our stocks of jello, apple sauce, juice popsicles, frozen juices, tissues, and fever medication were quickly depleted and we were thankful that the Historian stayed well and was able to run errands for us. He took Dreamer to the doctor when I felt that she wasn't improving - her diagnosis - bronchitis and and ear infection. Poor darling - her asthma always complicates things.




We missed out on many special Christmas events and didn't get to decorating the inside of our home or doing any shopping until just a few days before Christmas.  Thankfully we had purchased the items we needed for the stockings we had promised a children's street ministry and we were able to follow through with that commitment. We really had a lot of fun sewing stockings, wrapping little gifts and praying for the children who would receive them. We put aside our hopes to visit Mum and Dad and my sister's family over the break and settled in for a quiet Christmas at home.  All of my best intentions to actually write a family letter and get a few cards out this year went by the wayside as we slowly recovered from the flu. Just before Christmas we were blessed with a second 'new to us' computer and we were {are} so excited!  From one 'limping along' 12 year old laptop to two working computers that are up to date and move so quickly! Wow! We even let the kids connect our Wii - in a very limited way, but they are thrilled to be able to see the weather and read the news! We have a lot to learn about operating these two computers, but we're doing so much better with it than I thought!  Schoolwork will be much easier now that the kids can use the CD's and we don't have to wait to print out the things they need!



Dreamer took this picture of her 'little' brother on Christmas Day after we read Scripture and opened a few gifts. He has grown so much!  He looks so much like his oldest cousin Andrew in this picture which is fun because he really loves Andrew and admires his commitment to the Lord. All in all it was a very quiet, very different kind of Christmas for us.  We were so blessed to be well and symptom free the Sunday before Christmas, so we were able to keep our hearts and minds focused  on the Saviour.  I did a very tiny amount of Christmas baking after Christmas as we enjoyed time together at home with the Historian.  He had to take his vacation days or loose them, so we were blessed to have quiet times together with him, along with a day trip of browsing bookstores and finding bits and pieces for my new Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I saved for months to purchase it and when it came I was far too sick to enjoy it, but Dreamer and I have been learning the ropes and I think it will be a terrific crafting tool in so many ways! We already used it to make some stencils to etch glassware for 'teacher' gifts for Christmas and it was so much fun! We forgot to take pictures of our work, but they turned out really well, so we were pleased!

I tried to keep this short, but since I've not kept you up to date for a couple of months there was a lot to tell! Thanks for reading this far and for caring about our little family!

Happy New Year!
May the Lord bless you richly in 2013!






Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Mantle


I find it super hard to capture the simple beauty of our fall mantle this year.  Every time I walk past I find myself smiling - not because I think it's super fantastic or anything like that - it's just because it turned out almost as restful as I pictured it in my head before putting it together. 

{except for when certain children who shall remain nameless turn the rice lights from 'steady' to 'blinking'}

Our fireplace is in the family room and there are no windows in this room - when we came the walls were painted 'terra cotta' to match the brick of the fireplace - yuck! I've begged and pleaded for the go-ahead to paint the miles of dark wood trim in this room, but to no avail. We both know that it would help to lighten the room up, but the wood is in great shape and the Historian happens to love wood,  so ...
I work with what I've got - and this year I decided to step away from the orange pumpkins and go for something 'fallish' but more subtle and neutral


 I did not spend any money putting this together but pulled things from here and there throughout the house and craft room keeping with the burlap, creamy white, vintage paper and brown theme.
Do you see my Reader Roses? 
They are made from moldy old readers that were destine for the burn pile - I rescued the best of the pages and made a bunch of fragile flowers! 
 


We picked up these Buckeyes on a family afternoon one fall at an old cemetery and
 I've used them over and over again.This year they are making my white candles happy.
I used to have them on the table, but found that they were too tempting to play with.  They are smooth and glossy and the richest deepest brown.

 

The chippy old window we found in the attic when we renovated the garage several years ago!  It was in the shed covered with a thick layer of grime and mouse droppings. You can believe I cleaned and bleached it but good before bringing it in the house.

So that's our fall mantle - in all it's busy-ness! 
Somehow because of the simple color scheme it is still quiet, simple and restful. 

Speaking of restful - Storyteller's Fall Hitting league is now officially over ( I FROZE my nose off at the last couple of games, but he loved every second!) and tomorrow is our last day of Homeschool Soccer!  Yeah! No more sports until January ... can I get an 'amen' Mama's?


In kitchen news, I've been up to my eyebrows in apples!  
I prayed for a cheap 'source' for apples and God provided! Free!
A man from church has picked over 3 bushels of his neighbors unsprayed apples for us - they are generally wasted each year and just rot on the ground, so I am loving that they are being used.
So far I've frozen a bunch of apple sauce, canned apple sauce, apple pectin (for next year's jam), apple butter, apple pie filling and made apple bread.  I dried apples and made apple leather too.  I have about a 1/2 bushel left and my hands are a mess, but I am determined to use every last one of them! There have been a few wormy ones and they are making good compost for us for next year's garden.

We are hoping to get a new computer very very soon - this one is terribly slow and inadequate, but since it's more than 10 years old, we really can't expect much more I guess! 
It took 46 minute to download these pictures!
 No you know why I've been neglecting my blog so much!
Time to take a big leap forward into today's technology. 
Do you have any hints or tips for me?  
How do you decide what to buy and where? 
I'm in such a muddle - I know so very little about computers.


It's Friday night and time to get busy making pizza for the family!
We are all so tired and it's rainy and dull ... 
I think snuggling in front of a heartwarming movie with three of my favorite people is just the ticket!

Blessings,



Friday, September 28, 2012

When you neglect your blog ...

anonymous commenting trolls will find you!  And I've committed serious blog neglect for several months so the weird comments are really adding up! It's crazy, but true.

Are you wondering why my blog has been so badly neglected?  There are a lot of good reasons I guess.  Our ancient computer is getting slower and slower.  Uploading pictures makes my teeth ache - it's just that slow!  Typing anything is time consuming too since our keyboard died ... most likely from PopTart crumbs. You wouldn't there would be anything as junky as PopTarts in our house, would you? The kids and I think they are disgusting - really we do. But every once in a blue moon the Historian has a flashback to the flavors of his youth and craves something totally weird - like PopTarts.  Those things should be in the candy bar isle - NOT the breakfast isle.

Life is full and busy and blessed beyond measure.  We are a month into our school year and it's going well. I've found out that our darling girl might just be a mathie - as in she grins and claps when she understands an algebra problem and gets 98% on most of her tests. It just makes me laugh because I am so not gifted in math. As I type I am hearing Beethoven in the background.  Having achieved her Early Bach Award she is full steam ahead on the Sonatina Award.  She has most of the first piece learned and memorized.  It's really different from Bach and I am loving it.  She's learning all about 'grace notes' and really working on phrasing - it's so fun for her.


Sports of all sorts are going on to and next week we add homeschool gym to the weekly line up. Right now it's Fall Hitting League and Ballet on Monday, Ballet Helper on Thursday, and Soccer and Fall Hitting League on Saturday. Every Saturday after soccer we take a detour on the way home to a family farm market and load up on apples, squash, melons, pumpkins, corn and cider. Yummy!  I do love fall!

We've been given a lot of tomatoes this fall - such a blessing.  I made my Nanny's Chili Sauce - enough to distribute to Mum and Dad and Uncle Larry. The Historian is the only one who cares for it here so it's good to give it away.  I've made a lot of  tomato basil pasta sauce and canned it as well.  We were also invited to pick grapes which the guys did one Sunday after church, so I have grape jam and jelly in the pantry.  It was so much fun to make grape jam for the first time - yummy! I think I like it better than jelly.

Last Saturday I had a friend from church come and we made Salsa ... 38 jars of Salsa! Hey, you might as well make a big batch when you are making it, right? It was fun day and it felt so good to have it all lined up on the counter ready to put away.  We did a quadruple recipe and it tastes so fresh and good.  It could be hotter for our taste, but I think we taste tested too soon ... the flavors need to develop in the jar. Maureen had never canned before so it was fun to share my canning knowledge with her ... though I think we should have started with something a bit easier!  There are a whole lot more steps to making salsa then there are for jam, for sure.



 I'm hoping to get some apples for Apple Butter - we are totally out and it's a family favorite.  The cider is really expensive this year and the apples are too, so I am not sure if it's going to cost a fortune, but I need to can apple sauce as well, so I really need to track down a couple of bushels and just get to it!  I'll be doing my Nanny's Oven Apple Butter recipe - you can find it HERE.

There are big changes in our children this fall. Our Storyteller's voice is deepening and it's so hard to get used to that idea. He's growing and maturing in so many ways. I cannot keep him in clothes as he outgrows pants faster than he did at 4. He's wearing men size 11 shoes at 12 so I have a feeling he has a lot more growing to do.  I am so thankful he is healthy and maturing into a young man who loves God and His Word and has great compassion for people.  He is doing Trek in AWANA this year and really loving the challenge of learning God's Word and studying it in more depth.

Our Dreamer is changing too, though she wishes she would grow taller, I have a feeling she has reached her full height at 5'7". She might surprise me though - she would love to be taller. She is trying so much harder to keep her room tidy, though it seems to get out of hand very quickly.  At least now she is making an effort, and that's encouraging. She's beginning to show an interest in her appearance, though she has no vanity or awareness of her attractiveness. She's just finding her own unique style and getting comfortable in who she is. She was at a big Youth Rally on Saturday and made a re-commitment to the Lord which was very exciting to us.  Since she was so very young when she accepted Christ as her Savior we were praying that she would one day make that decision. It's so humbling to see our children growing in the Lord.  I pray that they will always be so passionate and committed.

Lovely to catch up a bit here! 
Thanks for reading!


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Friday, August 10, 2012

A random catch up for Friday

The fact that you all still come to visit my blog despite my frequent neglect astounds me ... and blesses my heart! I'm sorry that I took an unexpected blogging break - thank you to those who were concerned and e-mailed me just to check in! Sweet kind friends - you are wonderful!

I thought it was about time I catch up up on things around here - I'll try to hit the highlights and cover a lot of ground quickly.

Storyteller's daily summer baseball clinic went right to the end of June - it was killing me to have all these super nice days interrupted by baseball, but of course he loved it!  I did some cleaning and a few smaller painting projects and of course some gardening - but very little else. By the time baseball was really over it got really really hot - for days on end and my motivation to do anything on the project list quickly melted away!

All but one of my June classes at our local cultural center were cancelled for a lack of attendance. There were a number of women who signed up and then had to change plans at the last minute.  I am going to offer the classes again in the fall and hope they are better attended. I'm all ready for them - I just need students!



July 1st the regular baseball season ended for Storyteller with the All-Star game. It was so so hot - unbelievably hot. He got to pitch, but only for a short while since his shoulder was hurting.  Thankfully that's healed now. His All-Star team was soundly beaten - sad but true. I was kind of glad since it meant we got to go home! So long ball field!



I decided to make a sign for our porch and this is what I came up with.  I have painted the porch ceiling, posts and floor and am just looking for the right fabric to make new cushion covers. When I'm done sewing I hope to follow my own advice and take some naps out there! I have been doing tons of reading - discovering some inspirational fiction writers that I am really enjoying!  I love to read outside too, so I hope to use the porch for that more as well.

In between baseball games and general life stuff we had Bach - lots and lots of Bach.  Dreamer practiced faithfully and finally the date was set for her adjudication. I could tell she was really stressed about it because she was a bit short with her brother and not sleeping well at all.  I tried to keep him out of her hair as much as possible, and he learned a bit about extending grace.



Somewhere in all of that our churches Man Camp was scheduled and the guys were really excited about all that the men of the church were planning to share.  Again though it was a terribly hot day and the Historian had to wrap it up and head home a bit early because he was on the verge of some heat exhaustion.  It so hard to adjust from days in the A/C to a full day out in 102 degrees. They took in framing basics, replacing a switch, brake repair and a few other manly skills.

Dreamer's Early Bach adjudication was July 10th and it went really really well  - it is so helpful to know that this is something that most piano students don't even try to achieve. It was really hard - 15 Bach pieces memorized with their scales, chords and inversions two hands two octaves. Hearing from 5 well seasoned piano teachers that they had not had a student achieve this award ever was mind blowing.  It put all of the effort, frustration and stress into perspective - our darling girl set a goal and achieved it with wonderful results! She will be presented with the Early Bach Award plaque sometime this fall during an informal recital. It is quite an honor for our Dreamer and for her amazing piano teacher as well. We can't wait to see what God has in store as Dreamer uses this gift she's been given to glorify Him.




Right after the Bach adjudication we scrambled like crazy to get ready to go to visit Poppa and Grammy in North Bay!  Yes!  First - I had some sewing to do - a special padded case for Dreamer's Yamaha piano needed to be made. It was a fun project - lots of calculations and measurements and then two long zippers to figure out.  Dreamer loves it and it protected her piano well. I love the black and white fabric she selected ... and making it saved us about $50 so that was a blessing too! Poppa came all the way down to get us since the Historian was not able to get away and I was not up to that long drive alone with the children.  While we were away our Historian ended up at the ER twice because of a sudden case of cellulitis in his leg.  I felt badly that I wasn't home to take care of him, but he managed pretty well without us here - except for the loneliness.




So where do we head first at Poppa and Grammy's - why, the beach of course! I definitely have two water lovers!  They enjoy the lakes as much as I do!  We're so thankful for our time in North Bay with Mum and Dad - it's just not summer without the smell of the water, the sound of laughter as the children swim and play, and of course more pretty rocks for our collection! I made two big batches of jam while in North Bay - Dad and the children picked the very last of the strawberries and than some super ripe raspberries a week later!



A strange thing happened while we where in North Bay - our boy turned 12! How is that possible? Sister followed our tradition of making an acrostic of his name and adding positive words that describe our boy, which he loved.  we had fun decorating the dining room and making he day special - and he especially loved the money cake we enjoyed at dinner.


Looks like they are having a great talk in the water while they keep cool! 



Lots of swimming time for the kids - and I went in too and remembered how much I like swimming in the lake and cooling down that way! My sister sent her youngest boy T. to join us at Poppa and Grammy's house and they had good times together.  Poppa bought an airsoft gun for them to target shoot with and that was a big hit with all three children.  My Mum's brother Uncle Larry and Aunt Joan came for a one day visit which was really nice and I spent another pleasant afternoon eating ice cream with a childhood friend. Of course there was lots of cooking alongside Mum, cleaning up a bit and endless amounts of laundry to do ... and wouldn't you know it - the washer died! Grrr.  Timing is always bad for a washer's death, but with 6 people in the house instead of 2, it was especially poor.  We used a neighbour's washer for a few loads but then Poppa and Grammy had to go out an buy a new one.


 I also bossed my Dad into making  helped Dad make a pretty corner garden for Mum to gaze at from the kitchen window - it's a bit of a shady spot, but I hope everything with thrive and bring lots of color and texture to the yard. Dad financed the operation and did all the grunt work - I was the just design coordinator and slave driver implementer. Uncle Larry and Aunt Joan contributed four lovely plants and the solar lights to the project - I am praying that everything will survive the winter and the dry sandy soil. There are two spots with annuals that will need to be tended and replanted each year, but everything else should just fill in and flourish. Dad took this picture - I took some better ones on Mums' camera but she hasn't sent them to me yet - hopefully Dreamer will help her with that soon!




Two men drove 12 hours to get Storyteller and I home in time for him to take part in the first ever Cincinnati Reds Baseball Camp. Poppa drove us part way and the Historian picked us up and took us the rest of the way home - it was a terribly long day for all four of us, and we were thankful for safety and strength to do it. Reds camp was amazing for our boy - he learned so much and enjoyed every minute.  I made lunches each day and struggled to keep those white uniform pants clean, but other than that just I stayed at home chipping away at the project list.  I didn't have any wheels all week since we were waiting for parts!  It was hard, but we made do!

I did lots of weeding and trimming back - getting some areas cleaned out to buy some new perennials in the fall. I did some painting and cleaned through the house though you'd never know it now! I've also been working on small sewing projects - pillows and a giant purse for Mum {before we left} and new pillows and a table runner for our home.  I made a skirt that fit well but visually put 20 pounds on me, so it's in the donation box. So sad - it just wasn't flattering.

Dreamer stayed in North Bay with Mum and Dad and we are missing her terribly - her sad Daddy has not seen her in 4 weeks and I haven't seen her in two weeks and she is greatly missed.  She's having such a good time in North Bay though, and I am looking at it as a reward for all of her hard work on her Bach program, as well as good bonding time with her Poppa and Grammy.  I know she'll be right ready to buckle down to school work when she gets back.

There have been a number of deep sorrows in the past couple of weeks that have really broken our hearts for those who have lost so much. My dear friend Laura's eldest daughter was in a terrible horsebacking riding accident which left her battered and bruised but not broken.  We're so thankful because it could have been so much worse, but it really made us sad to think she has to go through all this pain and prolonged time of healing. God certainly had His hand of protection upon her in many miraculous ways. Since we have always wondered just how God will use this very gifted girl for His glory, it's a joy to know He continues to be at work in her life even in this accident.

Sadly another lovely girl, a 19 year old homeschool graduate - a friend through soccer and co-op was killed in a senseless car accident along with a 19 year old boy.  Storyteller and I attended her homegoing celebration yesterday - because she loved the Lord and had accepted God's free gift of salvation through faith in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, we know without a doubt that the Scriptures say she is in heaven right now, but or sorrow for the family is great. We're also sorrowing for another local family - and mom and three sweet girls that we know a little bit through ballet and the AWANA our children used to be a part of.  The husband died after a terrible hiking accident - his funeral is tomorrow, but again, he had put his faith in Jesus Christ and his life was a shining testimony to that vibrant relationship with God through Christ so we know He is with his Saviour.

The air is crisp and clear tonight and I can really believe that we are turning the corner into fall when I smell the wonderful freshness of the line dried laundry.  I've been struggling with back issues for almost a week and am so very thankful to be better - much less pain and much more mobility!  I have so much to catch up on - and the good news is that this cool clear air is a great motivator. Our school year is going to begin in just two short weeks and I have much to do before we plunge headlong into the schedule.

Thanks for catching up with me.  I hope to get back to blogging on a more regular basis soon - and I have a fun giveaway coming up too! I just have to work out the details! 


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

25 Things for a Monday in June

 It's been forever since I posted anything.  It's not that there aren't any posts waiting to be edited and published - there are!  There are even a few posts floating around in my head. The problem is that they are all half done - like everything else these days!  Oh well - I'll get back to them when I have time.  In the meantime I thought I'd catch up with another installment of 25 Things. Completely random things ...

1.  Yesterday our family took an important step following the Lord's leading - we became members of Grace Baptist Church in Sidney, Ohio. Storyteller was baptized for the first time and the rest of us were re-baptized to show our commitment to the Lord and affirm our support of Grace Baptist Church.  We are all so glad to take this step after almost 3 years of attending regularly.


2. Dreamer played all 15 of her Bach pieces with her eyes closed this morning.  I am pretty sure she is ready for her audition.  I'm hoping we can arrange that for this week since I am really really ready for her to start on her next goal - the Sonatina Award. All Bach all of the time is great, but a little variety never hurt.

2. I am a baseball mom. I have been to all but one game this year.  My backside is spreading proportionally. We have three games left unless the team really picks things up in tournament. Is it wrong to hope they don't?



3. Last week I had my hair cut and I was scalped. I have learned that I don't speak 'hair stylist' very well at all. I asked for a 'trim' and parted with 6". Oh well - I guess it will grow.  The good news it that it drys fast and now that I am used to flipping it up it doesn't look as much like a brown football helmet.

4. After three weeks of serious neglect, our home is quite a mess. I cleaned the kitchen to do some baking on Saturday and than just paused for a minute to enjoy the dog hair and dust free floors.  I plan to get this house whipped back into shape by Friday at the latest. Notice I didn't say which Friday ...



5. I am teaching a flower making class at Troy-Hayner Cultural Center tomorrow - I hope I have enough students to make it worth while.  It should be a lot of fun even if we have just a small group.

6. I am a very messy baker - after making the breakfast for our HomeBuilder's class on Saturday I had 14 tea towels and several dish cloths in the wash.  I always feel like I have to be extra clean when I am baking for others so I keep grabbing clean linens to tidy up with.

7. Making danish in a hot kitchen doesn't work well - they were puffy instead of tender. They tasted great, but the texture was just not danish-y enough. For the record, I did not go overboard baking.  I made 1/2 as many items as last time.

8. We loved having our homeschool evaluation this year. We got our profiles put together at the last minute, made cupcakes and headed to our first Profile Party.  It was fun and encouraging to see other veteran homeschoolers. Both children did very well this year, and with our first year of High School out of the way I am more confident that if the Lord leads we will be able to homeschool High School.




9.  Our favorite field trip of the whole entire year was to a one room schoolhouse.  It was so much fun! Both children are not keen on acting/drama but both love reenacting and dressing up for a day in the life of a child in 1887 was so much fun! I sewed like a mad woman the day before to make their somewhat authentic outfits, and Dreamer made moccasins for both of them. The petticoat and pantaloons where fun! That is their lunch packed into a lard pail!




10. That same day Dreamer had her ballet performance and, of course, Storyteller had a baseball game. I had so much fun doing Dreamer's hair - it is thick and long and incredibly straight, so getting it all up in a cute style that wouldn't give her a headache is always a challenge, but it turned out well! She has gained so much confidence through ballet and it is great exercise. She wears a more modest ballet outfit than the rest of her class, but her class has accepted that quite graciously and made her feel welcome. This year she also helped with a younger class, so performance night was a bit crazy, but she loved it!

11. I hate being forced out of a rut, but forced I will be.  My favorite lipstick color was discontinued about a year ago and I bought 2 or 3 tubes on clearance.  I am scraping out the last bit of my last tube. How will I find a barely there color that compliments my face without saying 'hey look at my lips'?  They all seem so bright or dark or shimmery. Back to trial and error I suppose.

 12. I'm reading Brokenness, Surrender, Holiness: A Revive Our Hearts Trilogy by Nancy Lee DeMoss for our ladies Bible Study at church. I am really being challenged and looking forward to actually getting to the study to hear what the other women are gleaning from the book. I've missed the first two studies but plan to be there this week!


13. I am so thankful for breezes.  Even on the hottest days a breeze just somehow makes it more bare-able.


14. Eating late at night after ballgames is getting on my nerves. And my hips.


15. I need to start making notes in my cookbooks because if our darling girl is making something while I am not here, she won't know the ways I've changed the recipe to make it easier/healthier/faster. Keeping it all in my head isn't helpful to her at all. And since I've got a mind like a sieve, it's not helpful to me either!




16. The fact that baseball clinic is going into a third week is just killing my hopes to get any one of  those half done projects completed.


17. Into every day over 80 degrees some really good ice cream must fall ...


18. Lately every pin I try to follow on Pinterest leads to a dead link. Why is that?


19. It is incredible how urgent it becomes to clean out the fridge and re-stock with good things to eat when you're expecting an overnight guest. It's a good thing!


20. It is lovely to receive compliments, but I never quite know how to respond.  A Kroger employee asked where my children were today.  I explained that I had given our son a list of chores he was to have done by the time I got home, and that our girl was finishing up her room.  She was amazed that I could trust them to do those things while I was out shopping, but than she said that she guessed since they were incredibly polite they were probably also very obedient. She told me I was 'lucky' to have such good 'easy' kids (if only she knew). Luck has nothing to do with it - it is the grace of God and consistent training. We are blessed, not lucky.


21. Why do scabs on knees take so long to heal? I am putting vitamin E on Storyteller's knee every day (and sneaking in to do it at night too) but he's got a huge ugly scab. Every time he plays ball he re-opens it.  I guess one day soon it will be covered with man hair, so I shouldn't worry.


22. 11 year old boys are smelly. When did this happen?  I used to nuzzle on his toes and now if he puts his foot within a yard of my face I almost pass out.  He showers often, but I suspect he could be more diligent with his use of the soap.




23. I love the sound of giggling girls ... even when they are laughing at me!


24. This post actually took two days, but I am too lazy to change to title and add Tuesday ... that's just the way things are rolling these days.


25. You are a trouper - if you read this far you either have way too much time on your hands, you speed read, or you really are interested in my quiet, simple, blessed little life. Thank you!


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Sunday, April 29, 2012

{grace and peace}


  My mind is whirling as I look over the calendar for the weeks ahead.

 Just the reminders penciled in for tomorrow alone are enough
 to sink me far below the crashing waves of busyness. 
Just one day, but it's filled to the brim with activity.



Some routine, many extras.
I know that when I awaken, in those moments before full awareness,
 before it all comes crashing in,
I must seek Him first.
I must.
The first prayer of my day is thanksgiving.
{always}
Even when pain or nausea assails.
Even when stress pulls and strains.
Even when the night is insufficient to regain my strength.
I will take the time to breath.
{thanksgiving}

Lamentations 3:22-24
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, 
because his compassions fail not.
 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

Remembering the LORD, His unchanging character, His faithfulness, His love for me.
Remembering the hope I have because He is my portion.

Then spilling out come words of joy.
All my blessings line up to be remembered and there are so very many.
  •  the privilege to pray 
  • The Word
  • husband, children, father, mother, sister
  • crazy family love
  •  friends who build into my life so richly
  • forgiveness
  •  grace given and received
  • enough and more
  • living, breathing, moving - even slowly
  • another day
 Before I swing my legs over the side of the bed and greet the day,
 stumbling with sleep filled eyes to make the fresh start before me.



I will reach out for grace and peace.
Inseparable blessings.

{grace and peace}

*repetition is God's volume control*

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

{Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2;
 Philippians1:2; Colossians1:2; 1 Thessalonians1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2}

{grace and peace} 


Matthew 6:33-34
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


{grace and peace} 
What robs you of your peace most often?
A jam packed schedule, lack of time spent with God, a cluttered home,
 discordant relationships, unmet expectations, discontent,
filling up longings with things that don't satisfy?
Let's seek Him first together.

blessings,



Monday, April 16, 2012

25 Things for Monday



 I am following Lisa's lead at The Pennington Point and posting a crazy list of 25 things that are on my mind today!  I feel very random, so buckle your seat belt because I'm not sure where we are heading ...

1. I love having Monday morning 'off', but the rest of the day can be pretty crazy.  My husband goes in to work after lunch on Monday so he takes part of the morning to teach History.  I organize my week, start laundry and sometimes run errands, but I have to remember to save some energy because we have piano, baseball and ballet on Mondays.  Whew!

2. Today it is so incredibly windy that I dared not put the laundry out to dry ... I was worried about the shaggy mares in the field behind us finding their pristine pasture littered with our clean unmentionables!

3. I desperately need a warm and windless day to paint - the wicker porch furniture needs a fresh coat and so do the free cabinets I hope to hang in the playroom to make a crafty nook for the children. If I don't get one soon, I am going to try to construct a cheap 'clean room' paint booth in the driveway.



4. I won another recipe contest - the  Get Ready Emergency Stockpile Recipe Contest - the prize is awesome!  I can't wait to receive my Emergency Preparedness Kit from the American Red Cross! I used to carry a roll of duct tape in my purse, but in trying to lighten the load I removed it. It's amazing how often I reach for it and it isn't there!


5. The kids had way too much fun doing history with The Historian this morning!  Giggling and laughter aren't supposed to be part of a serious history class, are they? I plan to have them go over their notes again and see what they really learned!
 
6. My hot rollers are my good friends right now.  I saw some recent pictures of myself and decided that curls are more flattering.  I am happy to report that my hair is thickening up a bit after falling out by the handful in December and January, but it is pretty lackluster.  Leaving the hot rollers in too long is not a good thing, and answering the door with them in is just plain humiliating.  Our poor mail carrier didn't know what to say ...


7. Wind + Curls = Medusa Mama


8. There is nothing more beautiful than the giggles of a 14 year old girl. Even when she's laughing at your wild hair after a walk!

9. I hobbled around all weekend because of huge splits in my heels and toes.  Ouch! I've got dry feet in the genes, dry feet due to hypothyroidism and I wear sandals.  You think I might remember to baby my feet a bit before these painful cracks happen, but I don't.  The Historian spent a lot of time rubbing cream into the cracks, so I'm hobbling less today.





10. It is so helpful that our Storyteller likes peanut butter this year.  So helpful. Thank you to author Rick Riordan and his loveable peanut butter loving cyclops Tyson.  Making pre-practice snacks when I don't have a lot of leftovers on hand is sooooo much easier!


11. Last week as we were discussing the problems with the new health care plan Storyteller declared ' I would rather face a firing squad than be forced to abort a baby if I were a doctor in America.' I am praying his words are not prophetic.


12. Am I really only half way there with this list? Um. Well okay. Half is good. 





13. We don't live in a fishbowl any longer. Our new neighbours had a new 5' white vinyl fence erected between their driveway and our back patio on Friday. It replaces the 40 year old cedar hedge that they removed in the fall.  I really appreciate having our privacy back, but I still hate plastic fences. We will get used to it and I love the idea of zero maintenance.


14. I desperately miss the humming birds that lived in the cedars. Do you think they will ever come back?


15. I miss having a 'cookie' path between our home and the neighbour's - though we will continue to send cookies their way since they are greatly appreciated.


16. My sermons notes from yesterday are very sketchy - we studied one verse, or rather the first 1/2 of one verse. Galatians 4:4 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,".  I learned so much about the 'fullness' of time that I didn't know.  We were all over our Bibles defining it and digging deeper into all Christ was made to be for us - flesh, sin, a quickening spirit, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.

Home Baked Comfort (Williams-Sonoma): Featuring Mouthwatering Recipes and Tales of the Sweet Life with Favorites from Bakers Across the Country

17. I borrowed this cookbook from the library and fell hard for all the great recipes it contains.  The Historian spoiled me and ordered it and now I am happily baking my way from cover to cover!  We have the Adult Sunday school class breakfast for 40 this coming Sunday and I hope to make a few new things from this book to share!

18. I have an upholstery job to do this week - 6 dining room chairs.  They are super simple and I am hoping they go well, but I know it's the tearing off of the old covers that will take the most time. I always get stuck by a wayward staple or two ... or ten.

19. I am not looking forward to grocery shopping tonight because I am already running out of energy. Maybe if I reward myself with a quick trip to the garden center ...

20. Dreamer is all too attached to her new keyboard.  It was a very unexpected blessing last week and she is thrilled beyond thrilled! She is still practicing for hours on end for her examination on April 28th.  She now has all 15 Bach pieces but is shaky on the last 3.  She has worked incredibly hard, but three weeks of a nasty infection really set her back. I am praying she will be ready.


21. I have never seen a finer crop of dandelions than ours. I am not proud of them, I'm just saying - we have the nicest batch on the block. Perhaps the only batch ...



22. My herb garden is flourishing and is wildly out of control.  I have to share some with friends or expand the garden ... soon.

23. My dear friend and former dorm-mate June and her husband are coming for a visit next week.  We have not seen one another in 4 or 5 years and I am super excited.  At the same time I wish I was further along on my spring painting project list.

24. I wore a summer skirt on Sunday that has not fit in more than a year - it has elastic at the back and was uncomfortably tight but now it fit. Yeah!

25. Whew!  I'm at the end of the list at last. That was harder than I thought it would be! Thanks for reading to the end!

blessings,


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Sunday, April 1, 2012

{unless}




It's Palm Sunday on our calendar - the celebration we call Easter is just a week away.
{already}
Where did March go? 


Spring is fully upon us and there is just so much to do!  
Perhaps your thoughts have traveled with mine this week ... 
 
We'll get through Easter and then we can get on with 
yard projects, planting the garden, house projects, play performances, field trips, evaluations, school work, spring recitals, kid's sports, ballet performance,
company coming, and travel plans.
We are steadily, prayerfully filling up our days, penciling it all in.
Good things, all.

This week we have a pause in the everyday schedule.
A purposeful time of reflection.
A time for drinking in Truth like the thirsty ground drinks in spring rains.

{Resurrection Sunday}

The story of the eternal God of all who was wrapped in lowly humanity to be born in a stable 
and die on a cross to pay for the sin of mankind.
The One whose body was laid in a tomb for three actual days.
Cold, lifeless, damp and earthy.
Not the end - just a beginning.
The Saviour who defeated death resolutely.
Rose from that stinking grave.
Triumphant!
Lives today in heaven and is seated on at the right hand of His Father God.

{for me}
 and
{for you} 

This week I simply want to have my eyes wide open and my heart prepared.
I want to really see and hear.

I don't want our resurrection celebration
to rush by in a busy blur.



We've taken this week off from homeschool because I need it.
I don't have time to take a break really.
In some ways I feel so behind.
With schoolwork, with the house, with life ...

I need this because I am tired.
I need to be refreshed.
I need to rest, read, pray.
 I need a week without 5th grade mathematics.
But I know myself too well.
I have an endless to-do list.
I WILL fill this week with cleaning, shopping, decorating, gardening, 
sewing, baking and planning.

I WILL close my eyes in exhaustion each night only to 
wrestle with the long list of things left undone in my sleep.


{unless}

In the midst of cleaning our home, I cleanse my heart.
 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; 
and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Psalm 51:9-11 

{unless} 

In the midst of preparing menus and baking treats, 
I feast on the Living Word.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, 
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

{unless}

In the midst of preparing a room for dear guests, I prepare my heart.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, 
and bring forth fruit with patience. 
Luke 8:11,15 

{unless}

 In the midst of tucking in new plants and pinching off the spent blooms,
 I renew my mind with right thinking.
  That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24 

{unless} 

In the midst of tears flowing freely 
as I stand to sing with the congregation,
I worship freely, 
eyes wide in wonder ... a humble heart prepared.
  
Will you take some time with me this week to really get ready for Easter?

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