Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mama, I won!!!!

"Mama, I won!" Maddie leaned close to my face and exclaimed.

I smiled and nodded. You see, it was Wednesday evening during our children's Bible class. "Brother Seth", aka "Daddy", was leading a game of "Solomon Says" (just like Simon Says, if you don't know). He had explained that the first person "out" would received one piece of candy, the second 2 pieces, etc until the last person still "in" could potentially walk away with a massive amount of cavity causing sugar.

And my enthusiastic little Maddie was THRILLED to be the first one to receive a single piece of candy. She strutted up to the front of the class, sure that she was the envy of every other child. But of course, every other child, all older than Maddie, knew that the best prize was yet to come. And the best is worth waiting for.

He he he. Don't you love preschoolers?

But I do hope that as she matures, she will learn not to sacrifice the permanent on the alter of the immediate. And naturally, she did not even consciously do that in this instance. She just isn't very good at playing Solomon Says yet!

In my mind though, I think of Esau selling his birthright (a real treasure) for a bowl of soup (something so temporal even though it tasted good for a minute or two). I am reading a book entitled, Bringing Up Girls written by James Dobson. Most of the book is positive and encouraging but the section I just completed deals with our "free love", or a more modern day term would be "hooking up", society and the horrific emotional and physical damage to young girls in particular. I could share heart breaking statistics with you and relay some of the very sad stories he included in the book, but I think I will simply say, directly to my younger readers:

The best is worth waiting for.

Don't be as foolish as Esau, or my cute little 3 yr. old, and trade in something of real value and worth for a cheap knock off. Don't believe the lie the Devil has spread over this world.

You'll never regret walking down the aisle a pure bride. You won't be missing out on anything. Those who "cash in early", as Maddie did with her candy, don't even realize what they forfeited. Only those who wait really know the best.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Revelation, Part II :)

If you recall a week or so ago, I posted this quote:

If...a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary's love...for a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted." Amy Carmicheal-Misssionary to India

Sounds very similar to:

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

James 3:11


Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Matthew 12:33 & 34

Contemplating these verses, I thought of the many many times I have attended ladies' conferences and meetings. In just about every ladies' gathering where there are lessons given to help women in their Christian walk, the subject of our tongue and our words is addressed. With good reason, for sure. The tongue can be an unruly evil and holds the power of life and death within it's power. And for some reason we women can really struggle with taming our tongue. As Amy Carmichael put it, "impatient, unloving words" fly out all too easily.

Why it is we struggle so with our words? Why must the topic be dealt with over and over and over again?

Do you recall the quote I shared yesterday from Susan at JoyMomofMany?

Parenting/discipling our children is more about *people* than *process*. It is more about who I am than what I do.

Yesterday, I discussed this quote in it's original content: the area of child training. But what really is on my heart lately is the second half, and not necessarily only in the field of parenting.

It is more about who I am than what I do.

The reason I must constantly be biting my tongue and working so hard at not saying unkind words is that "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh". If who I were inside were kinder, the kind words would follow by default. And doesn't that principle apply to every aspect of our Christian walk?

If we are right on the inside {the heart} than the issues we struggle with wouldn't be such a tenacious battle for us each and every day. Our words, our dress, our actions, our thought life, our choice of entertainment... it would all simply reflect a heart that was right. In fact, it already does reflect our heart... for better or worse.

Thinking about our Lord, it really is more about Who He is than what He did.

If just anyone had died on the cross, it wouldn't have been enough to save the world from sin. The act of Jesus dying on the cross saves us, yes... but only because of Who He was: the Son of God. Holy. Sinless.

I think when we are first introduced to the Saviour, our emphasis can perhaps be on What he has done for us or what He continues to do for us. And He certainly does a lot. His blesses are too numerable to count. But the longer I am saved, the more appreciate God for just being God. An AMAZING God. Merciful. Patient. All powerful. All knowing. My Father. My Friend. It's become more about Who He is than what He does.

On Sunday evening, my pastor preached about showing the joy of our salvation in our every day life. I certainly want to be revelling in the joy of my salvation. But truthfully, this joy can not be manufactured. Just as I can not manufacture kind words all the time (maybe for short time I can successfully "fake it"), I can not produce lasting joy on my own.

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Pslam 16:11

So.... what's my point... what is "The Revelation?"

"The Revelation" is intended to be said with a big booming voice, with an echo in case you don't know.

It is more about who I am than what I do.

The heart {our heart} is what the Lord is looking for, and it is the key to all our "doing" (our words, our expressing the joy of our salvation, our service for God, etc).

I've just finished reading I & II Kings. For almost every king of Judah or Israel, the Bible says something to indicate whether that king followed the ways of God AND whether his heart was right. It is therefore possible to DO good things but not have a heart that is not right. Some examples:

Imperfect deeds, imperfect heart: King Abijam "And he walked in all the sins of his father, which he had done before him: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father." I Kings 15:3

Imperfect deeds, perfect heart: King Asa "But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days." I Kings 15:14

Perfect deeds, imperfect heart: King Jehu: "And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes... But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the Lord God of Israel with all his heart..." II Kings 10:30-31

Perfect deeds, perfect heart: King David. Not to say that David was perfect man, for we know otherwise. I don't mean "perfect" as in sinless; "perfect deeds" just refers to whether the king walked in the ways of the Lord or not. If it doesn't make sense to you, blame the Bible teacher I learned it from! ;)

I want to do good and I want to be good.

And thus ends "The Revelation"... or would it be more aptly entitled "The Ramblings"? ☺


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Revelation, Part I

Does God ever try to tell you something? As in, He keeps sending you the same message from various sources until you "get it". Really really get it?

I'm having one of those times. It started with a quote a friend posted on facebook. Then during my personal Bible reading, I came across the same principle in different wording. Then was reiterated by a sermon my pastor preached Sunday evening. And then this morning as I was reading on of my favorite blogs, I clicked on a link to one of her favorites blogs and ended up browsing there for a while... and there God re-sent that same message just to be sure I really did "get it".

Transmission received, sir!

In my perusing on this new-to-me blog, I wound up reading a few posts on the subject of child training. Basically, if I even suspect that you have half way decent children, I will read and consider anything you've got to say about the topic. Well... that may be slight exaggeration but not much. I'm passionate about home and family and raising our children and this whole amazing responsibility God has given me. So my mouse always finds it's way over to sidebars and clicks on those types of subjects.

This blog writer has a positive perspective about child training. Here is her philosophy in a nut shell:

Parenting/discipling our children is more about *people* than *process*. It is more about who I am than what I do.

Firstly, notice the word she chose is "discipling" not "disciplining." Just pointing that out...
I appreciate this thought so much and think it was one I needed. I tend to be a task oriented person. My husband, on the other hand, is very much a people oriented person. While I can not even consider being hospitable until my floors are properly steam mopped and the laundry is all folded, Seth really doesn't care if his project list is neglected as long as the people in his life... which could be me, our kids, a stranger with their care stuck in a snow bank, our church family, either of our parents, our nephews and nieces, or the elderly neighbors around us... are cared for and have the attention from him they need or want. My focus is usually consumed on a "to do" list, whether literal or mental. In all my readings and investigating on parenting and child training, I have looked for "The Formula". You know... that guarantee that says if you do steps A, B, then C you will end up with good children who seek the Lord with their lives. I want a process or " to do" list. But as much as I (and probably most of us) would love it, there is no method of child training that can promise to yield any particular result.

Parenting/discipling our children is more about *people* than *process*.
Am I going to abandon methods and process? No. My copy of "To Train Up a Child" will still be keep on the top shelf of my bookcase for easy reference. When this little one gets closer to her debut, I'll be fishing out my "BabyWise" book for practical help with newborn feeding and sleeping schedules. But I want to be more like my husband and make my life about people and not tasks. Which people in particular? The two (soon to be three) little girls that are counting on me to train them correctly. What do they need? Really, they just want me. My time. My attention. My patience. My smiles. My hugs. My heart poured into them.
So is this the point the Lord has been drilling into me? Nope, but it was helpful to me. And this point was used to get across the real point... which I share tomorrow. Because it is late, and my husband needs a cuddling partner as he relaxes on the couch. So stayed tuned for part two of The Revelation. In the meantime, try not to fall off the edge of your computer chairs. ;)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Grow, Garden, Grow!!

For years and years, my in laws have planted a garden. This year, with my brother in law and sister in law wanting to garden as well, they expanded the garden. It's growing quite lusciously now! It's such a pretty sight and EVERY single vegetable that comes out of it is so delicious. Wanna see what's growing? Here is a sampling:

One lonely corn stalk. This actually started out as my nephews science lesson in school.

Rows of onions and potatoes... Notice the thin electirc wire. It is a deterent for stingy rabbits and wood chucks who would otherwise treat the garden as their personal buffett. It also effective for two year olds who do not stay where they are told. {Don't worry- it's a very mild zap. It only made her hair turn bright red and curl up. Oh wait, it was like that before...}

Broccoli... fresh broccoli is soooooo much better than what we pick up in the produce department at the store.

Red lettuce....

Some obviously not yet ripe tomatoes....

Cucumber... as a city girl, I had no idea cucumbers were naturally so prickly. The prickles are easily wiped off but the girls do not appreciate their texture.


Green peppers... there is also a variety of hot peppers which I can not wait to try out!!!

Beautiful, right?


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ready to be convicted?

My friend Amy Arthur posted this on facebook today:

If...a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love...for a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted." Amy Carmicheal-Misssionary to India


Monday, July 12, 2010

Chicken Tetrazzini ~ Budget Friendly

My sister in law, Suzanne gave me this easy recipe a few years ago and it's become one of my staple stand by dinners. I'll give you the basic recipe as was given to me, but the beauty of this recipe is it's versatility.

Versatility = use what you've got. dress up left overs. save money. stretch a small amount of chicken. waste less. reign as queen of your kitchen.

1 pkg. (7oz.) spaghetti, broken in half (never in my life have I personally met a 7 oz. pkg. of spaghetti... so I use half a typical 1 lb. box... and you can use ziti, rotini, whatever)

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups cubed cooked chicken

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a 2 quart sauce pan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth & bubbly. Add cream and broth, heat to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Drain Spaghetti. Stir spaghetti and chicken into sauce. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole. Sprinkle with cheese and bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes, or until bubbly in center.

Gourmet, it is not. But cheap it can definitely be, and (at least around here) it's very kid approved. Whenever I bake chicken breast or boil a whole chicken, I save cut up, cooked chicken in my freezer for recipes like this, calling for "cubed cooked chicken". For tonight's dinner, I just defrosted one breaded baked chicken breast which was leftover from last week. The breading tasted just fine (I may even prefer it!) in the tetrazzini. My heavy cream and broth were also remnants from other recipes I recently made. After a few experiments, I've discovered that we like to add extra seasoning along with the salt and pepper. I add a bit of garlic powder and Italian seasoning mix. And I also have learned that our family does not like the full 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. We probably use half of that. And sometimes, I completely leave the cheese off and use bread crumbs to sprinkle on top... you could try crushed potato chips or Ritz crackers. The given recipe makes a perfect amount for our family of 4.75 people. ;) So if yours is larger, you will need to double it.

Let me know if you try it and what spin you put on it yourself!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

I love doing laundry.

It's true. I love doing laundry.

But before you bring over YOUR laundry for me to enjoy let me clarify...

I love clean clothes. They smell so good and feel so warm and soft.

I love empty hampers. A laundry pile up causes stress in my house. For one, my husband has a sensitive sniffer; he smells a dank washcloth on the bottom on the basket as soon as he walks in the door. And not only does Maddie not have many clothes (which is fine; less to organize) but she is a major creature of habit. Keeping her favorites available is just one of those little things I do as her mommy simply because I know she really loves to wear her cargo skirt with her flowered pink shirt.... every day if possible. And for me, piles of laundry waiting to be washed, dried, folded or ironed and put away is aggravating to my mild OCD (which, just in case you are concerned, is self diagnosed). Simply put: it freaks me out.

I love the simple routine of sitting on the couch folding each piece, with my girls doing their part to "fold" small items as well. Actually, Maddie is really quite good at folding her PJs and t-shirts. Eden... well, she looks cute with a pair of Maddie's undies on her head and she runs around the ottoman.

I love having the simple chore for each daughter to put away her own clothes. They feel successful and its over with before we can even get tired of it.

While its true that some days, the walk down the stairs to the basement to lug another load up doesn't sound like the most thrilling activity in life... I never feel like I can even begin to complain. I have never once had to scrub dirty clothes out on a wash board in a creek or water basin. I have never rubbed my skin raw doing my family's laundry. I don't have to tote bags and bags of yucky clothes to a laundry mat to spend hours on nothing BUT laundry. I have the convenience of my own machines in my own home, to be used at any hour I need.

Yup. I love laundry.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Well... I took the plunge...

Thanks so much for each of your comments. I looked at every single link and really considered your suggestions.

And I just finished making this tie up shade out of a crazy paisley (or as Seth calls it, "amoeba material").
I literally spent an hour in the fabric store debating and second guessing between about 3 choices.

One was really fancy pants looking. I always seem to gravitate toward rich, formal textures but really... it doesn't suit my home/life/family. Just appeals to some part of my brain that still wants to grow up and be a princess.

And then there was a bright green and pink fabric that was just plain old cute. But as much as I liked it, and tried to imagine it fitting in to our kitchen based solely on the fact that I have a pink mixer sitting in the corner (which no ones sees), I had to finally admit it was lime green and not sage in the slightest.

So I ended up taking home this funky nod to the 60s. I guess it appeals to the part of me that still wears my hair in mini bee hives.

Or maybe it was just extremely hot in the craft store and my brain cells were wilted.

I'm obviously still not sure it was a good pick. But the girls, and Seth were ready for me to just hurry up and decide already. So I did.

And then I sat down and used my new sewing machine (a lavish Mother's Day present!) for the very first time. It felt very strange to be using a sewing machine for the first time in over 10 years and have no adult supervision. No one was there to thread my bobbin for me! But it really wasn't that hard. Okay, okay... I read the instructions 15 times and watched the DVD twice. And isn't there some unofficial rule that one must learn to sew by making hair scrunchies or pot holders? But a curtain is where I started. It was pretty much just a matter of putting hems on a rectangle but I'm inspired to keep going.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Your decorating advice, please!

Behold! My naked kitchen window:
It needs a treatment, don't you think?But WHAT treatment would you suggest? I'm stumped.

You see, everything I find, whether to purchase or make, looks country-ish to me. And while I do appreciate country decorating in other people's homes, it is not what I'm aiming for in my own.
I'm not sure what style, if any, I want. Maybe cottage? Vintage? Basically, I've done the house in colors that feel peaceful. It's not formal but not extremely casual either. I've decided to veer away from being a "matchy matchy" fanatic and just simple choose things I like on their own merit. And the result has been more interesting and reflective on the people who live here.

Browsing through the fabric store this evening, I found a few selections that would compliment the colors and other fabrics in the kitchen/dining room. And I would LOVE to try to sew something with those pretty fabrics. But I'm not sure how to proceed from here. Maybe just start with a simple rod pocket valance and then embellish it somehow when it's done? But then comes that fear that the end result is going to country-ish.

So what do you suggest? Any links to how-to instructions? And would you mount the rod to the window frame, or do you think a suspension rod behind that wooden valance would be best?

Here are a few more pictures to help you picture the room. The paint is pale sage. It's a really nice, soothing color but it's so hard to capture in a picture. It actually changes shades throughout the day as the lighting changes. Sometimes it looks more blue than green. The counter tops are also hard to gasp in this photo... they are charcoal with specks of brown.
To give you an idea of other fabrics near by:

The living room is pale blue, with brown and green in the drapes and rug.

So.... what would YOU do?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Baby on the brain

After months of being mostly distracted with remodeling and other activities, I am now becoming more focused on the fact that {gulp} we're gonna have THREE children. Three DAUGHTERS, in fact.

My biggest concern about being a mom of three is whether I will ever be able to convince my family members to babysit for me again. ☺ When it was just one child, I felt no hesitancy asking grandparents or aunts to baby sit. I mean, after all: my lil' baby girl was gorgeous and they probably WANTED to enjoy some time with her. {Right? I said... RIGHT?} And then I had a second, and yeah, the diaper bag was bigger... the task more involved. But as long as I didn't cash in the baby sitting favor too frequently, I still didn't feel it was too much to ask.

But to ask someone to watch your THREE children, ages 4 (by then) and under? Hmmm.... not sure how that's gonna go over!

Not that I leave my kids with a sitter every other day. But sometimes.... sometimes, I go out to eat with my husband by myself. And it's nice. Real nice. ♥

Other than wondering if my relatives will run the other direction when I start a conversation with "Are you available.....", I have been thinking a lot about our newest little bundle of baby goodness. How big will she big? What about her temperament? Will she have red hair or brown hair? Blue eyes or green eyes? Is brown eyes possible? Maybe I'm way off but I don't think a blue eyed father and green eyed mother can make a brown eyed baby...? It would be fine if we did....

I think it would fun to have a blond baby this time. Seth was blond as a child so that, I do believe, is possible!

Maddie is getting quite excited about her new baby sister too. She cheerfully remarks "Mommy, your belly is getting really really big!" as she strokes her unseen baby sister. She woke up one day and said that she had a dream about the baby, and in the dream we named her "Ella". Ahhh.... so cute. But we won't be naming her Ella. For starters, Seth is not a fan, and with an "Eden" already in the family, it just wouldn't work. But the big fuzzy bear that the girls push around in a stroller all day has now been given the honor of the bearing the name "Ella".

We do have two names in mind for this wee girlie. But I think we're just going to wait to met her before deciding. Actually, I know my husband.... after hours of watching me laboring, whatever I like will be fine with him. I don't mean that I'm planning on manipulating him about it; I just know how he has been in the past. For the first week or two after delivering a baby, I could ask for just about anything and he gladly agree with me. ;) He's just too tender to me.

And as silly as it may be, I went ahead and registered for this baby. Ya wanna know why? If you create a baby registry at Target, you receive a $20 gift card! So I went ahead and picked out a few things... little things my mom had been asking what color I liked of and so forth, so Target will get a little business out of it anyway. And I got $20 just for my time! Woo-hoo. Truth is, I think registering is super fun. I remember registering for our wedding and spending 4 plus hours running around Target with the scanner, having a blast. Seth started laying down on the sample bedding and making loud snoring noises to {subtly} hint that he. was. tired. of this whole dumb thing. ☺So Maddie was my registering partner today. She had fun too as we browsed through baby items. So if any of you are expecting and have a few minutes to spare, take advantage and get yourself a free gift card!

Another fun baby related thing to do: The Look-alike Meter at It's a cool gadget that allows you to upload a picture of your child, yourself and your spouse. The meter then calculates the percentages of look-alike-ness. I tried it for the first time the other day and it was a hoot! Creating an account was fast and easy, and uploading photos went up very quickly too. I'll attach my results to my blog soon. In the meantime, check it out and see who gets credit for your little darling's good looks. Unfortunately it does not calculate who is to blame for the stinky feet or bad behavior.

One last bit of baby... I was reading a new parent magazine and saw this helpful idea, which I plan to try out. To make middle of the night sheet changes faster and less disruptive, plan ahead with an extra layer of sheets. Directly on top of the mattress, put a plastic waterproof cover, then a sheet, then another waterproof cover, then a second sheet. When the inevitable happens, just shed the first 2 layers to reveal a clean sheet. No figuring out which way that crazy fitted sheets goes in the dark and no fishing around in the linen closet for the right sized sheet.

Now... do you think that could work on the child itself? Hmmmm....


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, America!!

Happy Independence Day!!!!!!

I type in my safe house, while my little ones drift off in their own beds. The popping and ka-booming of fireworks sound from somewhere nearby. I held my very own Bible in my hands today and openly met with other Christians for church services. My family gathered around a table overflowing with food. My children ran and played with all the carelessness that childhood affords.

We are free. And we are blessed.

Thank you, Lord for the miracle we call America. And thank you for every solder who sacrificed for this American nation, and for every solder who still sacrifices to protect her.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frog Huntin'

One handsome daddy + two curious lil' girls + four nephews + wooded park = Frog Hunt!!!
Hmmmm.... something tells me they are going to scare any frogs away with their ruckus!
And they are off... the "experts" leading the way:
The beginner frog hunters close behind:

"Mine turn to push!!!" Be my guest.

A flower from my hubby.

"Here's some frogs guys!!!"

Maddie, trying to get as close to the action as possible without falling in the water.

"Mama!!! A frog! A frog!!!!!!"

Any more over here?
How about over here?

Not a frog, but a weird looking snail thing.

Mmm, yes. lovely. Now get that thing away from me.

Moms are never in the pictures so I included my best angle:

And then asked a nephew to take our picture. Please excuse Maddie's unladylike pose. And my "Jabba the Hut"-ness.