Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Big Brother

It has been one of my greatest pleasures this year to see my oldest son mature. I have spent seven years reminding him of his manners, prompting him to remember his responsibilities, pointing him to Jesus. This year something beautiful has happened. He is standing on his own in many new ways. He reminds ME when it is library day. He sees when I am overly tasked and offers to play with the baby. He asks his teacher how he can help her when he sees a need. He remembers his manners on his own (usually). He truly is an extra caregiver for the younger ones, and I never really asked him to be this way. I can't find a word to describe how it feels for me to see my child consistently embrace and apply whatI have taught and prayed for.
It is one of the greatest joys in my life and I am so thankful to the only One that can give my children a soft, obedient heart. I certainly can't!
Tonight my husband is at youth group. I was exhausted by the end of the day. As I was laying out the children's clothes for tomorrow I had to tell the baby that I could not read to her. She knew exactly who to find. And before you know it, this sweet moment happened. Precious ending to our day.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving highlights

We spent Thanksgiving this year away from home. We traveled to a Bed and Breakfast, and then several other cities, with my parents and my brother's family. We made fresh, beautiful memories with our nephew and nieces and the adults. More time together, laughter, sweet little smiles etched in my memory, and so much to be thankful for.

Lydie playing with the leaves and bubbles
I tried to breathe deeply and capture a few favorite memories to file away for Thanksgivings to come... looking at Christmas ornaments with my niece, watching the children pop bubbles on their noses, Lydie eating her first Thanksgiving meal and loving the turkey and dressing, the boys cheering for their favorite football team, sweet and tender prayers from happy little hearts, a surprise birthday song and cake at breakfast, giggles and board games, and so much more.

The boys in their Thanksgiving colors at the B & B
My extended family blesses me so deeply. I have parents that love one another and are amazingly generous to us. They are not only generous with their money and gifts, but equally with their encouragement. They comment often on our marriage and parenting and their words are invaluable! My brother, his wife and children are all people that I love to be around. We share so much in common, including our faith and a wacky sense of humor. It makes for fun holidays. We each have three children, and each of our children are less than a year apart. So six children, seven and under. There is never a dull or quiet moment.
Five of the six little rascals
This trip filled me up in so many ways, but left me wanting more time for fun, sweet fellowship. It's hard to believe another Thanksgiving has come and gone and we will be getting out the Christmas decorations this week! Where has the fall gone? I am bubbling over with thanksgiving tonight!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Frugal thanksgiving and a new best friend

Here's a picture of my frugal Thanksgiving basket for Jaybird's teacher. I admit, I found the basket at a yard sale. But, it was new, confirmed by the plastic wrapping. It cost 25 cents. The pumpkin muffins were made from scratch all from our pantry, except the canned pumpkin, on sale for 49 cents. The bath salts were on sale for $1 at Wal-Mart. I threw in a few tea bags that I already had from my own stash. And the thanksgiving card was left over from 1999 when we invited all of our family members to our house for Thanksgiving (to share that we were pregnant with Jaybird). All in all, a fun way to say thank-you to a wonderful teacher for less than $2.

On another note, here is a picture of Lydie's new best friend. We named her first doll "Melly". She kisses, hugs and drags her around for hours at a time. They go in the rocking chair, toddle around the house, and play with her play kitchen together. Through out the day she hugs and kisses her over and over again. Melly is a symbol of all that is beautiful and endearing in little girlhood.
In case there is no time to post tomorrow before we leave for the holidays, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope it is full of family, yummy food and deep, rich thanksgiving to our Savior for the many blessings He has provided.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Crazy Kitchen

This is what a kitchen looks like when there is too much going on. We had our dinner, a dinner for our neighbor and muffins for a Thanksgiving treat for Jaybird's teacher all cooking at once. I like to clean as I cook... but as you can see that didn't happen tonight.
Look at my little ham posing for the picture.

I had food cooling all over the kitchen table. I thought about using the little extra bit of couter top space by the frig, but no I had homeschool stuff spread out there. Enough procrastinating, time to go face the music and clean. I'll have to post my recipe for pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins later. My friend Abby shared it on her blog last year and we have made them several times. Yum!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A quiet day

You're a little too big, sweet heart. We found a beautiful tree to climb.

Toot with one of his famous winks. What a charmer!

Yes, my baby loves chocolate. She's a female, what can I say?

The pictures are from our neighborhood playground, our favorite place to go after church, lunch and naps. Today was a much needed day of rest and worship. How does anyone make it without the Sabbath? I guess I should know, Lord knows I don't always reserve it for worship, much less rest. But today I did. And it was wonderful. Today I am thankful for the Lord's provision in giving us Sundays.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Those wretched medical bills!

This picture has nothing to do with the post. Her little spunky tights and shoes and chubby legs just make me laugh.

Well...the garage sale was a semi-success. We made $250. But...I am waiting on a neighbor to come and look at our double stroller that is priced at $50. I would be much more excited with the $300 that I prayed for! Either way, thank you Lord for needed money! This will make a (small) dent in our medical bills. And I have 30 or 40 items to post on ebay after the Thanksgiving holiday. I am hoping they will sell BIG!
There is a fine line in following my conviction to be Proverbs 31ish and "consider a field and buy it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard" versus completely obsessing about money and trying to be THE provider. I am perfectly content and blessed to have my husband providing for our family. He is smart and strong and talented and does his job very well. But then, I want to use my time and energy and talents well for the sake of our family, particularly when we have unforseen needs. Balance. Doesn't it always come back to prayer and balance? Titus 2 says, "...train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." It is exciting to pray, "Lord what does this look like for MY family? Show me the way and I will walk in it." Looking forward to the balance that the Lord will provide as I seek Him. Do you ladies do anything in particular to "cut corners" or supplement income?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Has it been a week since I've posted??

Silly boys leaving the house this morning

With only a minute to spare (the tub is filling with water and bubbles), I wanted to check in. I have been reading your blogs with no time for comments, but updating myself none the less. I have had a week filled with preparing for a garage sale, keeping friends' children, school events and a wonderful, surprise guest (my mother-in-law). I closed my first 6 ebay sales and made $20 after fees. It deserves no drum-roll, but still, it is a profit. (A penny saved... right?) I have been feverishly working to sell un-ebay-able items tomorrow at our garage sale like our old sofa, high chair, double stroller, etc. I am praying for $300 tomorrow. It would help a lot with these infamous medical bills. Ugggg!

The great thing about being a child of the King is that God is always at work in the heart of a believer. He is always teaching, loving, making Himself known. He is faithful and kind to me, in spite of my most recent panicked state of mind over our finances. He is teaching me how to lovingly speak up in my marriage, something that has always been very difficult for me. (One of my biggest fears in life is sounding like a nag so many times I avoid conflict.) He is teaching me to pray and not try to take control of His turf. He is showing me that I am abundantly wealthy in so many ways that don't show up on paper. He is allowing me to enjoy life amidst a stormy season. What a miracle it is to share in the spiritual heritage that is inherited through Jesus. More later...the tub is full!

Friday, November 09, 2007


Today was thrifting day. Every Friday my Jaybird is at school and my Toot is at a homeschool co-op. It's just Lydie and me. So off we go to see what deals are awaiting us. It is so much fun! Today, Lydie actually stayed home with Daddy because he took a day off of work, and I went out alone. This ebay selling is so exciting so far! I guess this fun will wear off with time. But I love the challenge of finding a good deal. As uncomfortable as it can be, I am learning to love a good haggle. Today was my best haggling yet. Here's what happened.
I found this lovely chandelier at the back of a sweet's lady sale. She claims that it is Pottery Barn and asked $15. I haggled her, albeit politely, down to $10. I was quite pleased with my purchase. But even more so when I asked her about shades and she ran in and brought me these black and cream toile, free of charge! As I was about to leave she saw me looking at this sweet little rocking chair.Funny, I actually have been wanting one for the baby. She loves to rock. And I had wondered if God could just drop one out of the sky. Lo and behold, He did! She insisted that I take the rocking chair for free. I left there one happy, thrifty Mommy. After a few Gymboree sweaters, Pottery Barn curtain rods, a Gymboree dress, a pitcher and some sewing material (and a belly full of coffee) I found my $20 gone and my car full. So much fun!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

My Girl

Independent. Feminine. Affectionate. Emotional. Mysterious. Determined. Beautiful. Captivating. Precocious. Observant. Loud. Petite.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

My new interest and a project with Toot

I finally did it! I am officially an ebay seller. After years and years of curiosity, I decided to give it a whirl. I'll let you all know how it goes. I have four items that will be up for auction until Sunday and six that I am posting tonight that will expire on Tuesday. (To the left is a piece of Talavera mexican pottery that I found at a garage sale for $1.00. We'll see if it's worth anything to the ebay audience!) I am a true amateur, but I still have a goal in mind. I should just aim for breaking even. But instead my heart is set on a $50 profit. Making fifty bucks on eight items is reasonable, right? Poor me, the eternal optimist. Always setting myself up for disappointment!

Here is another homeschool project that Toot and I finished today. Earlier this week we made the planet mobile. Today it was was the Lego solar system. We're having fun with this unit!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My little pilgrims

Tonight we began the "I am thankful for..." conversation around the dinner table. The Spirit has filled me up with thanksgiving today, as only God can. When situations arise, financial situations, that are out of my control I tend to internally panic...big time. Today as I went to get Jaybird from school, I was alone, which was very unusual. I cracked the windows to feel the 55 degree, crisp air. I breathed deeply and stared at endless shades of orange, green, red and yellow leaves. I blasted Chris Tomlin. And in that 20 minutes I spent intimate time with Jesus. I couldn't help but sob with joy over the things he reminded me in that quick car ride. And I was reminded of how deeply I am blessed. Back to the dinner table, some wonderful and silly things came out of our mouths. We began by agreeing that we were all thankful for God and our family. From there, here were some other answers:My heart (Toot said that. Sweet, huh?), bacteria that gives us cheese:), colors, forks, polka dots, rainbows, food like pizza, God's word, music, the planets, dancing, fabric. And the conversation continues...
Toot with his planet mobile.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Paralyzed with perfection

God has graciously been revealing to me a character issue that needs changing. For as long as I can remember, I have been a perfectionist. This word is used so frequently that I'm not even sure if I am using it appropriately. But in this case, I am referring to my need to do things at my own high standards or not at all. Here are some examples of how this problem has negatively affected my daily life: ~Only fifteen minutes for a quiet time? I can only have a "good" quiet time with at least a half hour. Result: No quiet time at all! ~I would like to use my interests and talents to generate a little extra income. But with only an hour at night to invest, what's the point? Who would want anything that I don't have more time to invest in? Result: No finished products or extra income!
This wanting all or nothing seems to be a pattern in my life. I was talking to my husband about all of this and we laughed as we realized I have never played a sport due to my perfectionism. For as long as I can remember, I have danced. The funny thing about performing is that you practice dozens and dozens of hours before you perform in front of an audience. In a sense, you "perfect" your art before you expose yourself.
My husband wisely asked me, "So what do you think God is trying to teach you right now?" I know that He is NOT chastising me for my eye for details or for my desire to do things well. Both are glorifying to Him if I seek to honor Him (and not myself) in my tasks. I found a Teddy Roosevelt quote that hit me square in the eyes. It said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." I have been paralyzed with perfection. I can think of so many wonderful opportunities that the Lord has offered me that I have not taken. Just recently I have felt an urging to start a performing arts team at our church. But I have not moved forward because of doubting that my skills will be adequate. I was asked to emcee the women's retreat at our church, but I don't think my speaking voice is the best and could I be warm, funny, encouraging ENOUGH?
All I know to do is run to the One who promises to love me like I am. The only One who is perfect. The only One who lived in this world full of money, lust, pride and deceitfulness and was perfectly unwavering and holy. I need to put one foot in front of the other and MOVE. Otherwise, I will be completely unfruitful in many areas, including my deepest desire to glorify Jesus. I am reminded that I serve a God that is BIG and GENEROUS and ABOUNDING in LOVE, and as I offer up what might seem so little and feeble, if I do so with a heart of worship, he will turn the little into much for His glory. If nothing else, in the doing...He will change me. And maybe in doing so, He will take my eyes away from the goal of a perfect ME and set them on the Perfect ONE that never leaves me wanting.

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands." Psalm 138:8

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Three IS a lot!

"I shall now have one mouth the more to fill, and two feet the more to shoe; more disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure for visiting, reading, music and drawing. This is one side of the story to be sure, but I look at the other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worthy of all it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom, while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what little leisure for my own recreation, my other darlings had left me. Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares, to her life-long prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!" Elizabeth Prentiss

Sometimes having 3 children completely overwhelms me. I'm not gonna lie, it can require more energy and patience than I think I have. Having a baby in the house after four years can be a challenge. After all, our four year old dressed himself, pottied himself, buckled himself in the car, put his dishes in the dishwasher, made his bed...well, you get the picture. Lately, I have been presented with challenges that I hadn't yet faced since having my third born. Flying with two rambunctious boys and a toddling girl. Taking three children of different ages and needs on vacation. Homeschooling a preschooler while keeping a little one happy and driving carpool twice a day for the other one. The tasks are difficult and mentally and physically consume me each day.
BUT... the blessings are endless. I was reminded of that truth at the dinner table tonight. My little girl wanted to be held, held, held this afternoon. As I plopped her into her seat for dinner we began to play a little game to satisfy her. We began to ask her questions like, "Are you sweet?" "Do you love your brothers?" "Are you a fan of Daddy's hat-head?" Silly questions. And she played right along. She would shake her head no for a few questions, and then randomly shake her head yes. Her comedic timing was impecable. My boys were laughing so hard that they couldn't eat. My husband was laughing. I looked around the dinner table and our family felt so completely wonderful and as-it-should-be. All of the exhaustion left my body and I began to laugh, too. What would we do without our little girl? I'm sure our house would be neater, my hands would be emptier, thus my body more rested. There would be less whining and more outings. But absolutely none of that can compare to the endless amounts of love and joy my little ball of spunk has brought to this house. God is so good to remind us just when we need it of His unfailing love and His constant provision!

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

"The most holy service we can render to God is to be employed in praising His name."

John Calvin

This year we are spending Thanksgiving with my side of the family. We will not be at my Mom and Dad's house in my hometown, but in a log cabin at a State Park. My mom, thoughtful and kind as she is, is not one for tradition or creativity. So I am brainstorming ideas to make our day special and worshipful.

For starters, I am going to begin a journal for each of us to capture our thankfulness throughout this month. It will be interesting to see what the boys record. I am praying for more than Star Wars and candy.:) The boys will both be learning about the first Thanksgiving in their school lessons. Next, we will create our own decor for our log cabin. Just the usual, placemats, bowls of leaves, nuts and other things from a long nature walk and a Thanksgiving banner. And finally, I am developing a song list for the day. Hymns and praise songs for my husband to lead on the guitar, along with verses of thanksgiving.

My heart is so full of praise and thanksgiving. The creator of the universe loves, cherishes and delights in me (which is almost too amazing to believe!). Even amidst a mountain of earthly blessings, what more could I need? His grace is sufficient for me! Do you have any ideas to make Thanksgiving more special?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Random fall fun

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

Albert Camus

The tree above my head as I was laying on the deck listening to my little boy and his friends play

Like many of you, I adore fall. I love to bake in the fall. I love to be outside in the fall. I love to stop and take deep breaths in the fall. I seem to worship more keenly in the fall. I love this time of year! Here are more wonderful fall moments...

The crew dressed up. And this WAS the best shot!Fun times with Toot. He and I both love paint and baking. Notice the cookie up top with one, green eye. That's the monster pumpkin, courtesy of Toot. A teenage girl in my man's homeschool biology class sent me these treats with a note, "Mrs. ___, Thank you for sharing your husband with us!" Darling, huh?

Toot with his masterpiece. Does this kid ever just smile? Nope!