welcome friends.....thanks for popping in my world....
I'd love to know you've stopped by, so please note that the comment section is now found at the title of each post.

It's the little things....

....that make me happy! Today was a day filled with "little" things that kept me smiling....

OK, so first.....I woke up to my trusty $3 yard sale score percolator coffee pot ready to go, so I plugged in that bad boy and had a perfect cup of coffee within 7 minutes.

I then jumped on the computer to sift through emails and message boards and came across a link to a fabulous Etsy store that sold my weakness......handmade soap. I love love love handmade soap......I even am making it this year for Christmas presents (so if you are on my Christmas list, sorry for the spoiler)....but I still have no will power when it comes to buying it. I guess it is equivalent to some womens' addiction to shoes or pocketbooks. The only problem with ordering it online.....is that I hate to pay high shipping charges. I don't mind paying $4-6 for a nice chunky bar of yummy lathering luxury.....but postage costs are through the roof and sometimes I cannot swing it. Well this Etsy mama creates the most awesome soaps, they almost look too pretty to use. I can only imagine how good they are going to smell when I suds up! Her tag line is "Simple elegance... with style!" and I can see why......I have seen hand made soaps that weigh considerably less, go for alot more money.....and she is running a fabulous deal right now (in fact, she has a few)....only 99 cent shipping until December 2nd. If you need a little pick-me-up......check it out!

So on to more little treats.....we got to hang out with Patriot and all his friends at a local llama farm where you could learn about alpacas, spinning and weaving and tour the farm. It's was so cool to watch the demonstrations of spinning and needle felting.....N even got to try spinning and brought home her own yarn.....Then had a little store open that sold many of their handmade items and I scored a bar of oatmeal/chamomile soap. (yes, I just bought some this morning onine......but remember, I have no patience or willpower. In my defense, I quite sure there is a proper medical term for addictions such as these).
I was told that these alpaca knitted socks they had for sale were like getting a foot massage whenever you wear them. They did feel so soft and snuggly......but considering I am usually barefoot, not to mention on a budget (they were $20), I had to take their word for it and pass on buying them today. We did have hot cocoa and mulled cider and spent some time learning the steps involved in turning wool into this gorgeous handspun yarn. It was really awesome!

So we started to head back home.......I was sniffing my new bar of soap......and I got to hear my favorite Christmas song, Mary did you know? this afternoon. Of course I was getting all weepy (yes, you will soon figure out, if you haven't already......that I cry often). N knew not to ask why....she just waited for the song to be over (she knows about this song and what it does to me) and then gently asked if I wanted the rest of her Pringles, even though it was just crumbs. Hey, it's the thought, right?

Then I got home and my order from ChristianBook.com was waiting for me on the counter. I only placed it Wed. night,I figured it would be about a week with Thanksgiving and all.....so YAY! for me! I got the Casting Crowns Christmas CD.....I am keeping my word with my new commitment to reading, so for my first book, I bought The Shack. We also scored two homeschooling workbooks for N at a great discounted price.....and I got *free* shipping. If you can't find a code, the representatives are very helpful and friendly and can get one for you!

I also got the welcome pack from World Vision with all of Julienne's information.....we can ship her out a little package of goodies this week. :)

Hmmmmm, what else.......oh yeah, this morning E accidentally dropped a bottle of balsamic vinegar on the tile floor......yeah.....It kinda brought my content "coffee is just the right color" moment to a screeching halt. So after I did a short but sweet flinging my arms in the air and a teeny bit of a grumble......OK, alot of grumble as I watched the liquid followed the grout tracks right under the fridge. This of course forced me to pull out the refrigerator and find many interesting and disgusting things I don't care to admit as it would show how often I actually do clean in that area. Anyway.......one thing that I was happy to find under the fridge was a precious drawing that N made when she was three that I thought I lost ......again, little things!
(and just a little FYI, I have definitely cleaned under there since she was three....it was just part of our refrigerator art all these years.)

**and btw, if anyone has any remedies on how to get my kitchen smelling a little nicer.......I am all ears.

Now I am going to call it a day....I am jumping in the tub with my new bar of soap.....putting on the most comfy "shammies" and watching The Santa Clause with N.....oh, and I have left over "dirt" dessert that is calling my name. What a great way to end the day!

So that is it......nothing super duper to report for a Saturday, just little things that are super duper to me. And yes, you are allowed to make fun of me and call me a nerd for using "super duper"......twice. eek.


"Thanks" giving challenge

Well we did it! We pulled off Thankgiving Dinner!

Everything went off without a hitch even considering the turkey was done way before I started "the fixin's". Being ahead of schedule was SO out of character for me..... (remember, I am late for everything) So yeah, I went to baste good ole Tom around 11:30....and I panicked as I saw the popper thingy had already popped. I tried to remain as calm as possible and called my trusty friend Lili, who as always, looked at the glass half full. She lovingly reminded me it was better to have the turkey overdone, then send the whole family to the ER with undercooked poultry. With that, I took the turkey out.....and put the kids to work so that we could get the ball rollin. E worked on the mashed potatoes, N worked on the Pocasett Punch (we decided Pilgrim punch did not honor our newly discovered Native American heritage, the Pocasset Wampanoag tribe, so we changed the name). G and H worked on their appetite.

All in all, it was a great day.....we sat down at 12:45 to eat and had the kitchen cleaned up by two o clock, just in time as the tryptophan kicked in. Josh and I even snuck in an afternoon nap. So a great successful day.....good food, a well needed nap and I was blessed to be able to stay in my "shammies" all day.

So getting to the "thanks" giving challenge......I had prepared the turkey obviously very early, and decided to jump on the computer to poke around a bit. I often check out this amazing blog, Bring the Rain (which I have a button on my sidebar). This blog is written by a very faith filled woman of God, take the time to check it out! (make sure tissues are handy). Anyway, in reference to something that was weighing heavily on her heart......

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus
~1 Thessalonians 5:18

....she encouraged her readers to take part in a challenge to thank God *in* everything, as opposed to *for* everything. You could either post to her blog, write it down and then stash it, burn it or shred it......it was your own private challenge.
(*I just popped over there and the post has since been deleted, with an explanation from Angie)

Anyway.......I realized that it is so true about praising God when everything is great......but it is difficult to praise Him when things are not so great. It's easy to give thanks for all the wonderful things He has blessed us with.......but so difficult, and for many.....impossible.......to thank Him when we have tragedies, disappointments to face and valleys to go through in our lives.

So I decide that I would thank God for a few things that I certainly wouldn't normally think to thank Him for......things such as the early pregnancy losses I have endured, a toxic relationship in my life.......and also the fact that Josh didn't get a bonus this year for Christmas shopping.

Thanking him for the lows? That just doesn't seem even logical. In fact, I don't know how honest I can be with this task.....but just even thinking about what I was going to thank Him for did remind me that God does not make mistakes, He has orchestrated these events/circumstances for a reason and they are all part of His plan for my life. It also reminded me that when I look back on some of the valleys in my life.....I understand why He allowed them to happen. I came out of them learning a lesson, gaining patience/perseverance and became a better person.

So here it goes......taking a deep breath:

Thank you God for the gift of being able to relate to other women who have miscarriages and offer some real heartfelt compassion......Thank you God for placing this troubled person in my life and showing me how I *don't* want to be with the people who matter the most in my life, to force me to seek You when I question why she is the way she is, and also to teach me how to forgive.......and lastly, Thank You Jesus for reminding me (and my children) what Christmas should solely be about, it's about You and that miraculous night......and how gift giving is bonus.

and ps. please forgive me as You know the exact number of hairs on my head and that I am not 100% sincere in this thanksgiving prayer, but 100% sincere in trying to be.

So now, I'll challenge you to this too.....It is not easy, in fact.......it is downright complicated to comprehend. And I am not so sure that I understand it all myself.....but if it gives me a chance to dig deeper into The Truth, then bring it on!


Tackling Thanksgiving

Yep.....I got my big girl panties on and I am doing Thanksgiving dinner this year. For the past 18 years, we have always gone to Josh's mom house for this day. She loves Thanksgiving and her Martha Stewart spread clearly proves it. She makes everything from scratch including the cranberry nut bread, Buka (polish bread, I am sure I botched the spelling), the stuffing and her cranberry sauce. She has a buffet table with five different pies, again....all made by her, even the pie crust. The dining table is straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog with hand sewn linens.
Now that I think about it......how DARE she make other plans this year and dump this immense responsibility on me!?!

OK......deep breath......I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. It might sound ridiculous to most, but taking on a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins (my husband hates that term so I am hoping he is reading this and cringing).....is very overwhelming to me. Martha Stewart has more talent/creativity in her baby toe than I do in my whole body.
I have tried.....trust me. I have picked up many Family Circle/Better Home and Garden magazines in hopes that one article might inspire me or spark some hidden gift. I have watched Rachel Ray and other Food Network gurus hoping that one little tip might set me free from my lack of domestic talent.

I get nothing. *insert cricket sounds*

So in the spirit of giving thanks.....one thing I am very thankful for is that my husband and children do not expect a dinner of the same magnitude and quality from me.

Sooooooooooo, N and I are going to attempt to pull off our own little "feast" as she calls it. We have the turkey brining in the vegetable crisper bin of my fridge. (I do not own any proper "brining" containers, nor do I know if they even exist as I never even heard of brining) I am praying that no-one decides to move it as it is filled to the rim with what appears to be disgusting salty lemon water as of this morning. I actually poured the second half of the water while it was already in place in the bottom of the refrigerator so Lord knows how I am going to get it out without a flood. I was told I needed to change it today. You see, my best friend Lili is coaching me on how to make this turkey. Cooking and baking come second nature to her.....I am sure feeding a family of nine on a tight budget forces you to be a creative chef to begin with.....I have seen her make a casserole out of leftover spaghetti and eggs. I will admit that I didn't have the courage to sample it, but all 11 kids, including my own......loved it. So in my eyes.....she has a gift.

So this morning, I will make my daily call to Lili to find out what I am supposed to do today to continue the prep of Tom the turkey as well as a detailed step by step plan of attack for tomorrow's task. I know this will mean that I have to go back to the grocery store for fancy smanshy ingredients that I do not normally have on hand like she does, such as spices. I know he has to cook for some insane amount of time (which means I have to get up early and I will admit I am a little resentful to Josh's mom for that fact) Oh, and he does have that little popper thing, so I don't have to worry about the wrath of serving undercooked poultry.

So yes, I have Tom soaking as if he is at a spa, in the bottom of the fridge......and N and I are going to do our best making the side dishes. I am pretty good at making "smashed" potatoes, and I can open a mean can of green beans. I also will be making my "Funyon surprise" which is the nickname of an easy casserole I make with those french fried onions, frozen veggies and a can of cream of mushroom soup. I have a couple cans of Pillsbury rolls and we are good to go.

We will be making homemade butter, which is so insanely simple, but I feel so Little House on the Prairie when I announce it to guests. (I do not dare tell them that it is only heavy cream shaken in a round jar until it is in a solid state with a dash of salt). Another not so homemade hit in my home is a veggie dip made from Knorrs mix, sour cream, mayo and chopped spinach. It is G's favorite, in fact......I make a separate batch just for him and his box of Wheat Thins.

We also will be making "dirt" another ridiculously easy recipe that looks impressive (chocolate pudding, Cool Whip and crushed Oreos layered in a trifle bowl....it's all about presentation!) but a child over the age of three could make it. The fact that I own a trifle bowl is indicating that I might be getting a teeny bit more domesticated, now that I think about it.

Josh and E's favorite dessert is pumpkin pie......and thanks to the friendly people who make the canned pumpkin......I have the simple recipe readily available on the can. I feel like a seasoned baker when I put tin foil on the edge of the crust to prevent burning....(I won't mention that I learned that from one of my preschool students last fall when we were making pies)

N is excited to make a Pilgrim Punch that she read about in The Dragon Thanksgiving Feast....orange juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale and sherbet. This punch will be served in a margarita pitcher (after I scrub the inch of dust collecting inside it) as I do not own a punch bowl either.

Our table will not look like a Pier One display.....but I think we do have six matching plates and six Mason jars in the same size. Before you think I am cheesy.....I have invested in "nice" glasses so many times over the past 15 years. The average life span of a drinking glass in this house of kids and tile floors......is about 4.5 weeks. Mason jars/spaghetti sauce jars are sturdy and plentiful. Function over fashion, I always say. :)

N will be printing out some nice placecards from this site and I scored a pretty ceramic pumpkin last year on clearance at Pier One that will be in the center of our table.

I think we are as ready as we can be to tackle Thanksgiving this year! And although it won't be as "professional" as Josh's moms events......it will definitely be something to remember. Not only the meal itself.....but spending more time in the kitchen with my little girl, preparing the dinner and making the kids' favorite desserts. I might even wear an apron to give it the full effect (*note to self.....buy an apron today)

I wanted the house to look festive so we did some extra decorating too. As part of a project/lesson.....N and I made a "tree of Thanksgiving" this year....it was a little bare with just our leaves.......so I had everyone in the family (yes, even the older kids who think I've flipped my lid with my corny ideas) write down things that they are thankful for. I was impressed to see that God and family made the top three.......along with food, video/film equipment, and toys.

Maybe hosting Thanksgiving will be a new tradition for N and I. I'll let you know after tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you and your family~

"I would like another six year old girl please....."

Now that I think about it.......I can see why after hearing that.....N went running to her room, in full meltdown mode and hid under her bed. What she didn't know is that it was a World Vision representative on the other end of the phone.

Yes, poor N was totally convinced I was on the phone with some national child exchange program when she heard the tragic news. It was coincidentally during a protest in her homeschooling.

So when I finally persuaded her to come out from under her bed, I got the chance to explain to her what was going on....You see, last summer at The Soulfest (which btw, you do not want to miss if you live in New England) we decided to sponsor a child.....World Vision had an AIDS interactive exhibit set up. It was a huge tent that you walked through with a iPod Shuffle and basically had the heartbreaking experience of the journey of a child whose life has been affected by the AIDS epidemic. There were three children's lives that you could experience, I had "Stephen" who lived in Uganda and at an early age was abducted by the rebels (The LRA, Lord's Resistance Army), brainwashed and threated with his life to commit unspeakable acts against his own village. He eventually is rescued by a missionary team who risk their own lives to free these children before they succumb to disease, starvation and brutal abuse. But then faces yet another enemy.....the fact that he might be infected with HIV/AIDS.

*I was just searching for the link for schedule (to see if it might be coming somewhere local) and found out you can actually watch Stephen's story online here,. I will warn you that it can be a little upsetting, but definitely will impact you.

So for me........it was inconceivable to walk away from that experience without feeling the need to do something. I literally had a pit in my stomach and walked around in a fog for about a half hour upon exiting that tent.....I mean, I knew the AIDS crisis is pandemic....but I just didn't expect to witness what I did.

So after talking to Josh, we decided that the least we could do, was to sponsor a child through the World Vision organization. We figured we would check out their website when we got back home, find out all the particulars and go over our budget to see if we could make it work.

So we were hanging out, waiting for Kutless to play.....and another powerful presentation came on the huge "jumbo-tron" screens......that was it....something came over both of us. It was almost like someone whacking us with a two by four, only not the physical pain. It was an emotional pain brought on by pure sympathy and heartache. Learning about these villages who don't even have working wells or much needed health facilities within 25 miles and here we were......on the foothills of a beautiful New Hampshire mountain enjoying a week of music, teachings and fellowship. We are blessed to live in a country that we able to attend these awesome events and worship God! We have a roof over our head and food to eat. These are staple items in our life.....that is not even considering our camper, our cable TV (even if I have to keep getting up to wiggle the wire) and all the other items we take for granted. These children have nothing. They have no freedom, most have no parents and are pretty much on their own. They didn't choose to be born into this life.....

The presentation concluded with how it was only $35 a month to make a difference in one child's life.....and yeah, some months we knew that we barely cover all of our bills......but that was less than skipping one Dunkin Donuts coffee a day. Forgoing such a "luxury" wasn't even considered a sacrifice.

The emcee on the stage started to hold up info cards on different children and asked who would be interested in making a commitment right there to sponsor a child. Before he could get his hand up with the first card, Josh was jumping up with his arms, trying to do that sports like whistle sound....but it came out like a canary. Now remember, there was probably about 1500-2000 people just at this particular stage.....so I guess you really did need to make a little scene to be noticed in the crowd. He continued to shout out until he got the promoter's attention and the card was passed back to us.

So we were given a sweet little girl named Elsa from Mozambique. Elsa was 9 years old and lived with her parents....we were not aware of her HIV status, but she was in satisfactory health and was in the first grade, remember.....education is a luxury.

The kids thought it was pretty cool to have a sister in Africa. We sent out small envelopes filled with little goodies/trinkets for her and we had her photo on our fridge. I reminded my kids that when they looked at her picture to remember what her life is like as compared to theirs (and these gentle reminders also came at not-so-gentle, somewhat self-centered, teenage times)

Then a few days ago, I received an email telling us that she was no longer with the WV program and that we would receive a letter in the mail explaining more. Being overly concerned (thinking she got sick or worse yet, passed away, I called the WV office. The representative explained to me that Elsa's family moved out of the village and was no longer participating in the program. *sigh of relief*

That is when the horrifying words of wanting another six year old girl came out of my mouth and shot like a dagger into N's heart.

So after I pried her white knuckle grip from the bed frame.....I hugged her, gave her a million kisses and explained what was going on. I asked her if she really thought that I would want another girl and she gave me a pathetic look, then a little smirk and said no. (have I mentioned that she is somewhat of a drama queen?)

I told her that I thought it would be a great idea if she chose our next sponsored child. This brought on a 180 turn in attitude and we headed to the computer. She told me she wanted a girl who was her age, and had the same interests as her so she could send her drawings and "relate" to her. Yes, those were her exact words.

So without further adieu, meet sweet Julienne.....she is six and lives in Rwanda.
Like N....she loves music and playing ball games. She is from a family of four children and also was born in the fall of 2002.
Unlike N.....her chores include carrying water, most likely a few miles a day and caring for her grandparents. She also isn't fortunate enough to go to school. (YET! we are hoping our sponsorship can change this) We are going to put together a little welcome care package for her this week and get it out to her ASAP. Due to high duty charges and also the difficulty of getting packages to the children (many times, the oversea staff members have to walk or ride bikes to get the mail) they encourage you to send just envelops filled with inexpensive items such as a toothbrush, stickers and markers. These simple trinkets seem trivial, but will be cherished and bring smiles for many days to Julienne.

If you get chance, please check out the World Vision websites.....the AIDS experience is a must.....because there are so many other "Julienne"s who need our help. The sponsorship helps with supplemental food, the chance at an education and also healthcare. So if you can figure out a way to cut out that Dunkin Donuts afternoon coffee run.....I encourage you to pray for these nations who are held captive by The Enemy and his spirit of poverty, sickness and injustice.......and if you are able, please sponsor a child and make a difference in their life. :)

Peace and blessings~

I learned alot yesterday.....

So yesterday was a day full of lessons.

I learned that I could fill the tank in my van for only $31.23 when gas is down to $1.89/gallon.
I also learned that most people do not do a victory dance at such a discovery, based on the looks I got at the gas pump.

I learned, well was reminded.....about how God is the perfect Provider/Accountant.......along with having a weird sense of humor. I was doing my daily online banking......and noticed that when my last check cleared for the week, I had 52 cents left in my account (before Josh's direct deposit went in).

I learned that it doesn't have to be 32 degrees out for puddles to remain frozen. It can be 38 degrees as well. This fact was also confirmed by the people who witnessed me slip and fall in the parking lot earlier in the day. I am pretty sure I caught one guy laughing in his scarf. thanks.

So onto other learning experiences.......Last night was The Apologetics Conference at my church. I learned first that "apologetics" doesn't refer to saying sorry in this context. The word "apologetics" is synonymous with defending. Apologists are writers, educators and leaders that take on arguments or positions that are placed under scrutiny. So yeah, it comes from the Greek word apologia meaning speaking in defense. WOW, I sound smart!

I also learned that most people that attend these apologetic conferences, do not wear braids, a patchy kerchief and fuzzy Crocs.

I learned that I would really never make it in college.....not in an education sense, I mean MAKE it to a class, physically. Yes, I was that person who was excusing herself politely, banging into peoples knees and knocking over their binders as I tried to exit the row of seats when I realized I was in the wrong "class" two minutes into the session. Now this is a scary thought, as this conference was held at my church and there were only three possible "classrooms" that sessions where being held. And I had a conference itinerary complete with a map for the scheduled lectures.

I learned that I was a bit out of my league as some of the speakers sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown most of the times. I did absorb some great information/understanding of certain topics and issues, but I most likely will never be able to reiterate any of this information in any conversation or explanation. It's as if it gets scrambled from my brain to my mouth. I know what I want to say, but when I try to work it into my own words.....I just get overwhelmed, I start to stutter and then I "dumb down" these solid Creation scientists findings. Then *I* sound like the Charie Brown teacher.

One of the sessions I did find my way to was a "Responding to Dawkins" session. Apparently, Dawkins is a "new-age" atheist who actually has some really good arguments regarding his stance on God, religion and how our universe fits better with a "naturalistic" universe rather than a theist universe. I followed all the philosophical jargon somewhat and felt very enlightened after the presentation. OK, who am I kidding???...I was really lost. In fact, that last statement about the universe, I will honestly admit.....I just copied from the handout we were given.

But one thing I did learn from this Yale professor's opening remarks, was to not give into anger and frustration when I get into a debate, er discussion, about creationism with the few hard core Darwinists in my life. He referred to 2 Timothy 2:22-26 which basically tells us run from youthful passions such as always needing to be "right"......not to be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, try to teach patiently and correcting our opponents with kindness. I know that I needed to definitely hear that as I tend to get all fired up and get angry/frustrated with the person, who is just defending what they have been taught/believe.

That is why I learned I will have to leave it to the people with lots of letters/degrees at the end of their name to explain how evolution is just an adopted theory. I will stick to my simple statement.....If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Oh another very important lesson I learned at this conference, never, I repeat, never eat two huge handfuls of dried apricots on an empty stomach when you have to be in a very quiet public setting. Let's just say my stomach felt like there was some severe lava lamp action going on and I wasn't the most comfortable. I dared not to pick up my pen when it fell on the floor.....for fear that I would be excusing myself again from the session.

And lastly, on the way home, I again learned another valuable lesson that I needed to be reminded about. Steven Curtis Chapman's song Cinderella came on the radio. What an amazing song about how quickly life goes by and how kids are only little once and in a flash, they are all grown up. There just seems to never be enough hours in the day for everything, but man, we really need to make the time (even if it's a 15 minute dance) to enjoy the small simple moments with our kids/loved ones every day. After the first verse, I started to well up with tears reflecting on how painful this song must be for him now that his sweet Maria is with Jesus. I cannot imagine what that family has gone through and the strength it took to move ahead. What an awesome testimony of true faith. If you ever get chance, check out The Chapman family interview with Larry King.....

I leave you with his video to enjoy......and reflect.
Peace and love~

a little inspiration

Just wanted to share this little craft we did yesterday after reading The Boy who Dreamed of an Acorn. It is a very inspirational story about a Native American boy who is searching for the purpose in his life. He learns that the gift (dream) he is given may not be the strongest or most powerful like the other boys' talents (lesson on envy), but how God (the Creator) has chosen him for a different purpose and to embrace this destiny that was placed upon his life (lesson on acceptance and obedience).

N wasn't the only one who learned a lesson with this story. ;)


I am not getting out of my shammies today. Period.

"Shammies" is how N used to refer to her "jammies", so it has been adopted in our home as the correct pronunciation. PJ's, sweats, loungewear, .......no matter what you call them, it is comfort and peace. And that is what I want need today. My calendar for this week is full of errands to be run, doctor and dentist appointments to go to (even one for me on Thurs for glasses!), and working at the salon. I also have two nights booked to attend that conference at my church that I have been looking forward to.

So N has the right idea.......she lives in her shammies. In fact, it is a rare occasion that you ever will see her not in her shammies. She is all about comfort......being free. She has three drawers filled with assorted styles of pajamas.

It totally goes with her free spirit personality. Even as a baby, she hated being restricted. She was my only child who screamed bloody murder being in a carseat. This was totally new to us, as the carseat/carride was our sure fire solution to getting the boys to sleep when they were babies. We would even go as far as to secure G in his carseat, place it on the dryer and turn it on for the motion/vibration factor.

So having a baby who hated the carseat forced us to make some quick changes in life. Long gone were the nice family car rides to see the decorated houses at Christmas-time.....or afternoon day trips to see our New England foliage. Nope, it became only a need vs. want situation when deciding on running errands with her. My poor boys would play rock, paper, scissors when it came to having to come along. Buying stock in headphones would have been a wise investment for us......and I cannot even tell you the sheer horror we endured when we decided to take a 7 hour road-trip to Canada.....but I can tell you that a baby can be breastfed, while remaining safely strapped in her carseat, if you contort your body a certain way.

And on the rare occasion that N has to wear "real" clothes.......she is prepared with a plan to return to her comfy shammies as soon as possible. She packs her favorite pair in her backpack when she goes to church, and I kid you not......the shammies are on before she straps into her carseat for the ride home. (tinted windows in a minivan are reason enough and modesty is not one of her strongpoints either).

Speaking of modesty......a good example of what a free spirit, should-a-been-livin-in-the-sixties, kinda girl she is.......

A few weeks back, Josh and I are in the garage just talking about whatever....it was a gorgeous day, with temps unusually high for the fall. N is riding her scooter, barefoot of course.....yes, shoes are constricting too. She is buzzing in and out of the garage having the time of her life. So, she zooms back in, drops her scooter down and whips off her shirt......then proceeds to say:

Hey Mom, it's sooooo nice outside........why doncha take off your shirt and come play with me?

um......I didn't even dare look at Josh but could hear him snickering....he even attempted to mutter a "yeah, mom.....why don't you?" comment......but I quickly interrupted his nonsense with my reply on how I would love to play, but think it would be best to keep my shirt on. I cannot even tell you her comforting reply on how it would still would be OK for me go topless......(remember her very honest turkey neck comment the other night?!?)

I am told that she gets her free spirit, non conforming way from me. Not sure if that is good thing or not.....I mean, I do conform in life....... for the most part, I guess.

Hmmmmmmm, what did I do that was conforming? Oh, I know.....I did buy a minivan when we were expecting our fourth child....(seeing as though we wouldn't be able to fit all the kids in our Pathfinder. And I'd like to insert a confession prayer in the safe haven of my blog today....

Lord, please forgive us for masking the sour milk smell in that SUV with 20 air fresheners stashed under the seat and keeping the windows open at all times before we traded it in. Amen.

But I know I do not fit the mold for a typical 40 something mother of four either......I do not have even one pair of heels or "slacks" in my closet. I haven't cut my hair short, I secretly would love dreads...... and I have plans for more tattoos. I do not moisturize my aging skin like middle age women are advised to do....I do not wear make-up (only because I am not "good" at it)....and I often can be caught at the grocery store with my hair in a headwrap and in my "shammie" bottoms.

My kids do not have "texting", even though the whole world feels they are entitled to it. In fact, G is the only one with a cell phone, at almost 17. We restrict the music they listen to, in our home......to Christian genre.......even *if* it sounds like screaming or "gansta" rap. We have not gotten sucked into the commercialism and bought every video game system, their GameCube still works perfectly fine. They do not have internet/computers in their room.......and they are limited to one hour per day. We discourage MTV, VH1 and most of the garbage that is on the tube..........we only have extended basic cable w/DVR on one TV in the house (for Animal Planet, History Channel, Discovery, as well as taping my favorite preachers)... we are huge LOST fans (come on Jan 21st!!!) and I'll admit that I do enjoy some mindless entertainment/humor like The Office, New Adventures of Old Christine and Desperate Housewives.

On a more serious note, I do not vaccinate my kids on a certain schedule just because the gov't/medical community suggests it. I do educate myself and choose which vax they will get and when they will get them. In this day and age of promoting safe sex........we are trying to promote the importance (physically and emotionally) of waiting until marriage. (and yes, I am completely aware of "do as I say, not as I do" or should I say "did"). I am trying to teach the boys how it is still proper to open doors for girls and be respectful with their mouths when around them (even if she is their little sister).

I am very liberal and open minded in other issues such as tattoos, piercings (to a limit, no facial piercings are allowed)....and hair styles. I let them choose their wardrobe, even when it doesn't appear to be the right size for their body.

So it's not like I am trying to be unrealistic or going against the grain for just the sake of it all, I am just choosing to not be a sheep in my life and hope my children are bold enough in their morals/beliefs to do the same. I remind them of Matthew 7:13 ("Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.")

So where was I going with this?? Man, I do have a severe case of ADD. hmmmmm.....shammies to N to free spirit to non conforming......wow maybe I do need medication.

So yeah.....we are hanging today in our shammies. That is something that I feel blessed to be able to do. I still have tons of laundry to catch up on, bills to pay, beds to change, toilets to scrub.....N and I have some homeschooling to tackle.......I have two Christmas fairs coming up and a pile of blanks waiting to be dyed.....I have emails to answer, orders to fill and a new wholesale program to work on.

......but I can do it all today......in my shammies.

I hope this finds you comfy too!

patience through puzzles

Patience is not one of my strongest attributes.....but I am working on it ;)

Well, I am pretty patient in day to day stuff... such as

  • allowing kids to cook/bake in the kitchen, no matter how much flour is getting under the stove's heating elements. I even exercise more patience when the spilled milk makes it seep into places I will never reach to clean.
  • getting up over a dozen times during one TV show to wiggle the cable connection back in place.
  • asking H, over the course of a week (or two), when his bedroom will finally not look like a bomb went off in it.....only to hear each time, "I'm working on it, Mom".
  • waiting for this 100 pound "puppy" to stop chewing anything and everything that isn't moving (unless he catches it)
  • waiting for the house-cleaning fairy to make her appearance at our house....along with the Publishers Clearing House people ;)
  • this list could go on forever, but I'll stop here

But one thing I really need help is in patience to know where God wants me.....It's hard to explain, but I just feel that I am supposed to be doing "more" or going in a different direction for a purpose. It's so frustrating because on top of juggling family life, homeschooling, working p/t and tending to my two small online businesses....I also have a waiting list for "the back burner".

  • I have a children's book in draft form, that has been staring at me for over three years. I did get a good portion of the illustrations done this year, but now.....those paintings are sitting on top of the dusty pages of the story.
  • I have a project that I would love to start that has to do with sending (or better yet....hand delivering) boxes of my tie dye tees to Malawi or another less fortunate nation. I just think that tie dye can brighten anyone's day. :)
  • Josh and I would love to start a venue for youth to enjoy live Christian music and preaching and incorporate it with skateboarding, bmx and other sporting events in our area.
  • another list that can go on.....and on......and it does.... in my brain.

I know that these ideas are doable and can happen in time. But it's so frustrating to have your brain and heart wanting to invest time/energy and go in a certain direction, but waiting and needing some word of advice from God. Waiting on the confirmation that it is where He wants me to go. I am not one of those people who are fortunate enough to clearly hear God talking to them. I wish I was, because it would make this so much easier for me.
But, I do know that God puts desires and dreams in our heart. So I need to rely on Him to bring them to fruition if it is His will.....I have to trust in His perfect plan and perfect timing

....but sometimes, I feel like a kid stamping my feet and whining "I just want it NOW!!"

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." (Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)

So I did a search at Blue Letter Bible for patience and came across that passage.......and just by re-reading it, I am finding some answers right now. As I pour out these thoughts, I need to have patience like Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Joseph and the many great heroes in the Bible. Time after time their stories show us that patience is a virtue and is rewarded.

So yes, I need to work harder on patience. I decided to buy myself a puzzle. I often give N a 100 piece puzzle as part of her homeschooling downtime. It helps her with problem solving and gives her a great sense of accomplishment when she sits back and sees the completed puzzle. It also has a calming effect on her, as she sits quietly and just focuses on "finding a match".

So I thought it would be a great way for me to wind down, work on my patience and hope to find a peaceful quiet time in the day. I hoped it would even get quiet enough in my head so I could hear God's soft sweet whisper that I have been longing to hear.

So I broke out that puzzle last night.........Life has been so busy for me this week, that I decided that we were all going to hang in on a Friday night for once. Josh was working so it was just me and the kids. I opened the puzzle box and dumped the pieces on the table......At first I had to talk myself out of just walking away/giving up as I felt overwhelmed just flipping over every piece.....750 of them. Starting to feel anxious, I regrouped and started working on the "flat edges" (because that is how you are supposed to, right?). After about an hour, I finished one whole side! (I know that doesn't seem like such a feat, but for me to sit still for an hour in itself is a victory)......so completing just one side of a puzzle felt so gratifying. I was brought back to the image of N's face when she proudly finishes her puzzles.....and it felt so good!

So then, it hit me.......I didn't necessarily hear God "talk" to me, but He revealed to me something I have been searching for, while I working on the puzzle. I thought about how sometimes life seems so disorganized and overwhelming in the rush of it all, but if we just take our time, relax and go with it.....after a few different attempts....the pieces will soon fit together.

One thing I did hear during my quest in Puzzle-Land......was all four of my healthy children talking in our living room. And then, one by one......they joined in on working on it with me. For that short time, there was no background buzz of the TV, there was no screaming music coming from the computer speakers (but it's hardcore Christian, mom!) and no bickering. It was almost a Beaver Cleaver moment, HA!

And it was then that it hit me.....again ( a double dose of enlightenment).....*this* is where God wants me right now....home with my kids enjoying the moment. He reminded me that there are many women who would love to be doing puzzles with their children in their home, rather than in the hospital. Many women would love to have the luxury of doing a puzzle, rather than working 12-14 hours a day trying to pay the rent.....many women would rather be doing a puzzle rather than making funeral arrangements for a loved one.

Point being......my life is truly blessed and fulfilling just the way it is, and sometimes I just need to be reminded of with the simplicity of doing a puzzle. (I have to mention that the word simple and a 750 piece puzzle should NOT be used in the same reference)

.....so, maybe God wants me to be right where I am, right now. Maybe he is pleased with me just trying to be the best wife and mom that I can be, trying to raise up my children to be Followers of His word, and hopefully letting His Glory shine through me whenever possible. Maybe I am not ready to take on the bigger projects I have planned........yet ;)

So I pray...... There is a purpose for my life, Lord. I will trust that you will help me to discover it, embrace it, and fulfill it for Your glory....in Your perfect timing. In Jesus Name~Amen.

OH, and lastly......speaking of patience......I will leave you with this amazing story of patience. It's almost borderline ridiculous that it is real....check it out.

Art in the Eye of a Needle

I hope you are having a peaceful weekend

Friday funny

So we were in bed watching How It's Made (one of N's favorite shows) and I mentioned to Josh that I was making a long overdue appointment at the eye doctors next week, as my sight has been going downhill lately. I wouldn't want to make anyone nervous by admitting how downhill it is going as they might never get into my car again.....but fear not! I will be reading road signs and staying on my side of the road soon enough.

Anyway, back to the story.....after I mentioned about needing glasses....the conversation went like this:

N: So Mom, why do you need glasses?

Me: Well, because sometime when people get older, their eyes do not work as well as they used to so they need glasses to see better.

N: But you are not old mom...not even close.

Me: Aw ....thanks so much, that was so sweet.

N: well it's true.....you don't even have that turkey gobble skin under your neck yet.

Ahhhhhhhh, gotta love it.

Just once more......

I would love another baby......there, I said it.

It's my blog and I can be as honest as I want. It's not something that I dwell on everyday, but I have had been thinking about it more lately, so I wanted to get it out, here.....I don't have to worry about the raised eyebrows, the shaking of heads, the negative comments and discouraging words I face when I say it to the world or anyone who wants to listen to me. This blog is my safe haven because I can't see or hear anything other than what is in my heart. I know there are a million reasons why I shouldn't feel the way I do, but I do.

First off, I know that I am blessed with four beautiful, healthy children already....I feel a bit selfish as many have no children, long to have just one child or their children have gone home to Jesus.

I know that we really are already tapped for time, finances, space in our home..... and everything else that goes with raising a family.
I know, and have no problem saying, that I am 42 (even though I am not sure what "42" is supposed to feel like, I still feel like I am in my 20s).....but well into the "advanced maternal age", stage where my eggs are probably all rotten, lol.... so medically speaking......I know that there is only a 2.5% chance for me......but I also know God doesn't deal with statistics ;)
and yes, I know that I have had my share of early pregnancy losses these past few years and should just accept that this will probably never happen.

oh,....and I know that I would doing diapers (cloth of course, lol) and Driver's Ed. at the same time....

.........but I also know that I'd like to be pregnant just once more. If it is God's will, I would love to add another blessing to our family. I know that it all doesn't end with just being pregnant and birthing a child.....it continues with sleepless nights, worries, stress, sacrifice......but I know I would welcome it all, along with the joy that each child brings into your life.....and ultimately, enjoy the gift that they truly are from God. I just love being a mom......it's what I do best. Of course I am human and have days where I need "Michelle" time....but a quick trip to Target alone for a half hour of mindless browsing is all it takes, and I usually end up picking up something for one of the kids and can't wait to come home to show them.

I know that having a baby takes more time from the little bit that Josh and I have together and that weighs heavily on my heart, as he is my "bestest" friend in the whole world. He holds the weight of the world on his shoulders, being the sole provider and head of our household....but he is also is the most amazing dad in the world and we always find a way to keep it together and make it work. He is a hard working, faithful man.....he puts everyone first.

So I keep this little prayer/hope tucked inside my heart for the most part......and when I find myself getting wrapped up in the "I wants".....I am getting better at reminding myself of what "I have already" and never taking that for granted. I know and trust that God provides all that we need and if this is meant to be, it will be......and if it is not, I am still ever so thankful for all that He has given me in my life. I also pray that if carrying another child is not what He has planned, then to reveal to me why I have this desire in my heart. I know I have been open to the idea of adoption someday......I also know that a trip to visit Africa's children is on my "bucket list". So I continue to ask God for guidance on what He wants me to do.....or where He wants to bring me.

I have had this piece stashed away in my drawer....I read it from time to time....I don't know who wrote it, but whoever did...really captured some emotion.

I'd like to be pregnant just once more.
I'd like to see a plus sign on a pregnancy test and do a dance of joy on the bathroom floor.
I'd like to tell my husband, "We did it," and see the joy on his face.

I'd like to walk with my secret in those early months,
a proud grin on my mouth,
inexplicable to those who do not know.
I'd like to take prenatal vitamins every day.
Just once more,
I'd like to feel my clothes grow tighter and let that make me smile.
I'd like to tell my daughter there's a tiny baby in my tummy,
a brother or a sister for us to love.
I'd like to see her eyes grow wide and her heart full with happiness that I know will turn to envy.
I'd like to worry about how she will adjust to her mommy caring for another child.

Just once more, I'd like to feel this family grow.
Just once more, I'd like to watch my body swell.
I'd like to look at myself in the mirror and rub cocoa butter on my hips and my breasts.
I'd like to take warm naps when the sleepiness comes.
I'd like to take loving care of myself.
Just once more, I'd like to make passersby smile at my enormous middle,
and cause strangers to open doors and carry groceries for me.
I'd like to feel the envy of the women in my life, those who will give advice and remember,
for a moment, what it feels like to carry life inside of you.

Just once more, I'd like to wear that womanly sacredness.
Just once more, I'd like to feel the movement inside me,
and try to guess which body part is pressing on my ribs.
I'd like to feel the gentle nudge of a baby's hiccups in my guts.
I'd like to take my daughter's hand, and place it precisely on my skin, where it ripples and undulates.
I'd like to peer over my stomach to find my toes, and watch my belly button turn inside out.

Just once more, I'd like someone to be a part of me walking.
Just once more, I'd like to go to sleep at night, too big to be comfortable.
I'd like to wonder if I will sleep through the night, or if labor will come before tomorrow.
I'd like to feel the first contraction and get out the stopwatch.
Just once more, I'd like to ride the waves of contractions, howling.
I'd like to marvel at the strength of my body.
Just once more, I'd like to squeeze my husband's hands when it hurts,
and have them massage my back when it subsides.
I'd like to breathe those funny breaths and hum that strange, guttural tone.
Just once more I'd like to bring forth a child, slippery and wet from the depths of my body.
I'd like to feel God move through me.

Just once more, I would like to undress a newborn child and count the toes and fingers.
I would like to see my husband's eyes looking back at me from the face in my arms.
I'd like to look for birthmarks, and place my finger in a tiny powerful fist.
I'd like to turn names over in my mind,
listening to the sound of them with our family names,
and see if they match the new face in my arms.

So yeah, I said it....and I know I will get some flack, but that's OK. It's my blog and I'll dream if I want to.


Interview with God

I couldn't have asked for a better morning!

.....I was able to sleep in a bit (well 6:45 is sleeping in for me....oh, and don't forget to thank a Veteran today)
......all my kids were still asleep,.....and healthy!
......my coffee was piping hot and just the right color (thanks to my latest yard sale score, a $3 percolator coffee maker!!)
..... and I had this wonderful video waiting for me in my inbox.

Although I have seen it many times, each time it touches me in a different way. So if you can, take five minutes....and enjoy.
(*you'll have to pause my music playlist as it opens in another window and has it's own awesome melody)


I hope you are blessed with a wonderful day!

Peace, love and stay barefoot~

Be Prepared

The motto of The Boy Scouts of America.

It also was the message at church yesterday. We learned about how it is our duty as Christians to be prepared to live the life that Jesus wants us to live.

Some of the definitions of prepared are 1. made ready or fit or suitable beforehand; 2. to be equipped with necessary intellectual resources.

So, for example.....we should be prepared to answer questions from people who want to learn more about Christ or maybe just why we have faith in times when others do not, or simply cannot....... based on what they have always seen or believed. I know I need to be more prepared in many areas, but I try my best and speak from my heart when I am asked about my faith. I try to be respectful of others' belief systems and not be "in their face" with mine. But if I am asked questions or my opinion, I believe that this is my opportunity (and duty) to witness or share my testimony about Jesus. It might be the only chance or window of opportunity for anyone to speak into this persons heart, so I should make it my best. It should be filled with wisdom, compassion and radiate God's Word in all it's Glory.

So I am going to take it up another notch and invest more time learning and preparing. First, I am going to make an effort to start reading more. I am not a very good reader.....I mean, of course I can read......but as I mentioned, my ADD gets in the way with constant distraction and I have a hard time retaining information. So it ends up taking me three times as long to read one page of a book as when I get to the bottom of one page.....I already forgot what I read from the top of the page. I probably need to take a crash course in speed reading as my only opportunity for "alone-time" to read/learn will be when I am on the toilet and I cannot even rely on that being uninterrupted in this house. {*bag on head* for being honest and admitting that one.}

I am planning on attending a great conference coming to our church called Earnestly Contending. Now these scholars can debate Creation vs. evolution like no one else's business (one of my biggest hot topics! YAY!). Speakers such as these have changed the minds/hearts of hard core famous atheists such as Anthony Flew who after 50 years of debating, lecturing and teaching atheism, has come to the conclusion that "some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe". He also goes on to say "A super intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature".......I know he doesn't give God the glory He deserves, but it's a start in the right direction..... ;)

There also are so many resources available on the wonderful word of the internet with podcasts and webcasts of many great teachers/preachers from all over our country and world.

So yes, I want to be more prepared. I want to be armed with whatever it takes so I will be ready for who or what it placed in my life. It's funny.........we (society) rely on people to be prepared in life such as the doctors at the Emergency Room......we rely on them and have to hope and trust that they are prepared to save a life. So why should it be any different for us.......of course, in a different context......why should we not be prepared, as Christians..... to save a soul?

So I pray for God to help pour in His wisdom and compassion when I am at a loss for words....I know I will need Him soon enough when my friend Karen asks me why these tragedies have happened in her life....of course I do not have the answers, but I hope and pray that I can offer some comfort to her aching heart by letting her know that we serve a loving God and He is weeping right along side of her.

Oh, I'll leave you with this.....on the motto deal with the Boy Scouts. Now, my boys were never into the Boy Scouts. If I remember correctly, I believe G and H did join the Tiger Scouts but lost interest very early on. Maybe if they had "extreme" badges to earn for how many broken bones/injuries you could get from motocross or skateboarding or if would have allowed rocket launchers attached to the pinebox derby car events.....they might have stuck it out. It seems like a great positive organization, it just wasn't their thing. ;)

But my neighbor is very involved with The Scouts with their two boys and I found this framed in their hallway. I think it was pretty awesome so I wanted to share it. It was written by Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts and found in his desk after he passed away in 1941. I just love how God is given such glory and recognition throughout.

Peace and love

Dear Scouts,

If you have ever seen the play Peter Pan you will remember how the pirate chief was always making his dying speech because he was afraid that possibly when the time came for him to die he might not have time to get it off his chest. It is much the same with me, and so, although I am not at this moment dying, I shall be doing so one of these days and I want to send you a parting word of good-bye.

Remember, it is the last you will ever hear from me, so think it over.

I have had a most happy life and I want each one of you to have as happy a life too.

I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness doesn't come from being rich, nor merely from being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. One step towards happiness is to make yourself healthy and strong while you are a boy, so that you can be useful and so can enjoy life when you are a man.

Nature study will show you how full of beautiful and wonderful things God has made the world for you to enjoy. Be contented with what you have got and make the best of it. Look on the bright side of things instead of the gloomy one.

But the real way to get happiness is by giving out happiness to other people. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. "Be Prepared" in this way, to live happy and to die happy-- stick to your Scout promise always-- even after you have ceased to be a boy-- and God help you to do it.

Your Friend,

widows and orphans

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows-- this is God, whose dwelling is holy. ~Psalm 68:5

I would like to ask, if you are reading this....to take a moment to pray for a childhood friend of mine, Karen.

Karen and I were inseparable from first grade until junior high.....adolescent changes and silly high school drama caused us to drift apart, but throughout our adult years......we've managed to touch base from time to time and get caught up on each other's lives. She has an eighteen year old daughter, Kimberly from her first marriage and has been married to Terry for quite some time. They were perfect for each other as they both were passionate animal lovers.

It's funny how God sets up these random times that our paths cross at just the right time. Well my mom crossed paths with Karen's mom last spring and found out that Karen's husband Terry was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. I felt horrible hearing about this, especially as I have heard that esophageal cancer is one of the fastest spreading of this ugly disease. I immediately contacted Karen and started praying for Terry's health. He ended up going in for surgery where the doctors thought they got the majority of the cancer and he started with chemo treatments. Prayers appeared to be answered as his health improved over the next few months.....Well over the course of the summer, they got the grave news that the cancer did indeed spread and was very aggressive. It spread to his bones and to his brain... I don't know all the details exactly......but her email updates went from bad to worse as therapies and treatments were now replaced with a hospital bed being brought to his home. God decided it was time to call Terry home a few weeks ago. He was free from pain and peaceful in his last few days...surrounded by his family/loved ones. He spoke about how he was anxious to meet up with his favorite pet Marley at The Rainbow Bridge, who passed suddenly the week before his diagnosis. He was tired and wanted to Go Home. Hours before he passed....he spoke of a beautiful forest in the distance and that was where he was going. The nurses said it was the medication.....I believe differently. I believe that God let Karen know, that Terry was going to a paradise and would be fully restored and healed.

It was a week or so following his ceremony, when I received an email from Karen with "more bad news" in the subject line. Karen's first husband, Steve....Kimberly's dad....suffered what the doctors first thought was a massive heart attack (he is only 42) and was on life support. They now think that his heart just stopped and due to the lack of oxygen, he has suffered brain damage. Unbelievable! My heart is breaking for Karen and even moreso for Kimberly. She has been flying back and forth from college these past few weeks.....is emotionally broken, yet trying to keep it all together. The latest update (yesterday) on Steve is that his condition nosedived these past few days and his family decided to take him off life support last night. Kimberly has been pretty much by his side.....just holding his hand. She wanted to be with him when they removed the tubes, so as to say her final goodbyes to her dad. She feared that she would see him choke, struggle and die.......Once again, Our Lord has shown such amazing grace as when the tubes were removed.....he continued to breath and is quite peaceful. I know that God has a plan.....I am not sure if it is to keep Steve here for any longer, or to call him Home as well....but I do know that we serve a righteous God and He has promised to care for the widows and orphans. His ways are not our ways.....we are mere humans and not created/able to process His ways all the time......so we have to trust and believe that it will all be revealed to us when we go Home as well.

So please pray for Karen.....she does not have much faith right now, she is so broken and lonely. Please pray for Kimberly....may she find peace, comfort and strength.....may she know that she has her Almighty Father holding her close during these painful times. Pray for Steve's family.....he has a new wife and young child. If it is God's will.....please bless him with a miraculous healing.....and give all the glory to the One who gives....and takes away.

In Jesus name~


It is with great sadness that I have to let you know God called Steve home this morning at 10:15 with Kimberly and his family by his side. .....Karen is so lost right now, claiming that she was destined to be a widow at 42 no matter who she was married to......and Kimberly just lost two fathers. This all happened in less than one month's time and I cannot imagine what they are going through. Please continue to keep these families in your prayers.......God tells us in Matthew 18:20 that where two or three gather together in His name, He is there among them.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

" I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth."

.......we interupt this blog.....

......to bring you this special treat.

Nothing screams "crunchy" and "hippie" louder than homemade granola!

It seemed like the perfect day to make it......and it's wicked easy, just put all ingredients in a crock pot on low......for about 4 hours or so.....stirring occasionally.
Oh, and I don't really measure.....so go with your own tastebuds when figuring amounts and spices/ingredients. You really can't mess it up or go wrong with this basic recipe.

4 cups quick (or rolled) oats

1 cup wheat germ
1/2 to 1 cup flax seed (not really for taste, people tell me it's good for you so why not?)
1 cup raisins
1/4-1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup oil (cooking oil, not olive.....we use canola)
2/3 cup honey
2.....3....maybe 4 tbs cinnamon

Enjoy.....I love it just as is......but it's really good on ice cream and yogurt or baked into bars.

empty nest syndrome....

...that's what we have. Our chickens are just not pulling their weight around here yet. And although we love to be surrounded by God's creatures and have tons of "life" around our home.....with the economy forcing us to tighten up our already suffocating financial belt......we had to make a solid decision last year that we will choose to have animals/creatures that "give back" rather than just "take". No more cute little pygmy goats..... who were supposed to teach the children responsibility and clear out some land for us.....instead they only cleared out $80 worth of blueberry bushes, two years worth of gorgeous perrenials and a good part of our budget.

We are following God's Word and promise and now have dominion over all our animals. :) Well, for the most part.....Mufasa, our Rottie who is still in his teenager rebellion stage....still needs direction on who is boss. His job is to keep all predators, human and animal....away and protect our home. He does get a little carried away with his responsibility by destroying those bad basketballs or garbage bags that are posing such a threat to us. He also feels his mouth should serve as a taxi cab for the smaller creatures running around here....at least that little chick got a bath on her abrupt exit, thanks to Josh's boot.

The cats take care of the barn pests, such as mice.....and they are so kind to lay them at our feet every morning on our deck. A standard rule is to look before you step out. I do feel bad as most of these little critters are so cute in their own little rodent way. I would not go out of my way to hurt any creature, but I have to accept this is the way God created the animal kingdom and circle of life. We did save a small litter of baby rats this summer...H went to mow the lawn and thankfully pulled the lawnmower out in the driveway before he started it up. Just when he was ready to pull the starter thingy....he saw a mama rat scurry out (the cute small breed, if you can consider that "cute" and "rat" can be said in the same sentence).....and then he noticed something wriggling nearby....it was one of her babies, who didn't even have it's eyes open yet. It was most likely nursing when the mom made her great escape......we then found another little guy wandering aimlessly nearby. Later that afternoon, I was talking to Josh as he was sweeping some leaves off the driveway.....he was in mid-sentence when he let out a loud "OH CRAP!", threw down the broom and dove under our camper. Not having a clue as to what was going on, I dropped to the ground and started the army crawl myself. Before I could get my head under the vehicle, I see Josh's arm poke out with our rescued friends' sibling, who was clearly as dazed and confused as I was. I am still not sure how Josh noticed this inch long critter tumbling among the pile of debris, but quite certain that if he hadn't,.....it would have ended up as a "gift" on our doorstep soon enough.

So yeah, we ended up with three blind mice (let's call them mice as it sounds cuter in a Mother Goose kinda way). We did what anyone else (needing psychiatric evaluation) would do....we went out and got some kitty formula, a teeny syringe and nursed them until they opened their eyes. We even rubbed their little bellies with a wet cotton swab to stimulate their digestion system. So after a full week of 3 AM feedings, they finally opened their sweet little eyes. It was time to pass the torch of motherhood so we brought them to their new adoptive mama's home (aka the local pet store) where a pregnant hamster took over the duties of lactation and raised them up. At least that is what the pet store assured us.....I am blocking out the possibility that these little guys became Sydney the Snake's lunch.....yeah yeah, I know.....the circle of life.

So getting back to our empty nest syndrome......our fine feathered friends better start producing some eggs soon....they are at the "age" where are supposed to be. Our reason for investing in chickens, is for the blessing of having free range fresh eggs whenever we need them. I know it sounds corny, but they really do taste better than store bought eggs. And you never have to do a hissy dance in the kitchen and cry out "WHY? WHY? WHY?" when you are in the middle of baking and reach in the fridge.....only to find out that someone put the carton of eggs back empty.....not that I have ever done that, but I heard it happens. ;)

We do know why one nesting box will remain empty forever.....we found out that one of our chickens, is actually a rooster. Which actually is cool, as we will have baby chicks next spring and it will be awesome to watch them hatch. We've never had a rooster in all these years so this is all new to us. It is pretty difficult to tell roosters from hens for the most part when they are growing up....but like many species in the bird family.....the males are usually "prettier" with more vibrant colors and fluffier feathers. I suspected one was a rooster when I noticed one was also leading the flock around and puffed out it's chest often, another "male" trait. But, the dead giveaway was this terrible sound we heard one morning from the barn a few weeks ago.....it sounded like a painful screech, followed by a bah-kah. I just thought it was one of the chickens finally passing her first egg! (considering the size of the egg, doesn't that still seems like a painful thing to do.....everyday??.....this coming from a natural child-birthing mom) We later learned it was our rooster discovering his cock-a-doodle do. We also are learning that it process to perfect this God-given talent. It really doesn't sound like the cock-a-doodle do that you hear in the movies......it sounds more like a chicken is dire need of a cough drop and some singing lessons. All I can imagine is him clearing his throat, with little feathers flying out, before he attempts to belt one out. Apparently, he didn't get the memo that he is only supposed to do it in the morning.....he makes this very unpleasant attempt all day long.....and he also will do it in the middle of the night.....it will be pitch black and if he hears someone outside, he will let out one of his awful shrieks. I think it makes our house sound like an insane asylum to our neighbors.....

So meet "Strep".....named for what seems to be one of the chronic condition he suffers from.......the other being an identity crisis as he thinks he is a watch-dog.

Never a dull moment here.

Thankfully, our empty nest syndrome is only referencing our non producing chickens at this point.....I don't even want to think about the "real deal" that I will have to face soon enough. Josh and I have dreams of buying more land and having our own "compound" where each of the children can have their own plot of land to build their home and raise their families so as to never have to deal with ENS (my own medical abbreviation). We can have large gardens and livestock and go back a little bit to the pioneering days of living off the land......We actually are trying to figure out a plan to make that dream become a reality.....but for now, we are just enjoying our little gentleman's farm in the quiet corner of Connecticut, feeling ever so blessed.

Design in CSS by TemplateWorld and sponsored by SmashingMagazine
Blogger Template created by Deluxe Templates