Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

This has been such a wonderful, busy month for us! I got a very cool (and much needed!) new computer for Christmas with lots of bells and whistles that I haven't had time to figure out just yet. I can't wait to get back to posting - I think it might take me all of January just to catch up on December.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. 2009 looks to be an excellent year!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My poor computer...

is in the shop again. Our power went off several times last week and during one of those episodes the motherboard was completely fried. Now I don't know exactly what that is but it sounds bad/expensive. So while it's being operated on, I'm having withdrawls.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Yesterday was Casey's birthday. Isn't he gorgeous? And aren't my kids cute?

Thanks for putting up with all this chaos with me, sweetie! And for digging that leaf out of Christian's mouth:)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Talking about what we're thankful for...

We hung up our thankful quilt today. I'm really proud of myself for not waiting until the last possible minute for this...
My camera is awful so you can't really see how gorgeous this paper is - it's Martha Stewart's classic woodland scrapbook paper from the friendly neighborhood walmart. The blocks that look solid in the picture (cursed camera!) actually have a very pretty quilted design on them. Each day we will take a square down and write what we're thankful for (leaving space for Daddy to add his after supper).
Today's list....
I am so thankful for Casey's hard work.
Levi is so thankful for Rover (his stuffed dog).
Brenna is thankful for mommy.
Jack is so "sankful" his mommy loves him:)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The kids and I went to Veteran's Day celebration at the Georgia War Veterans Home. It was wonderful. First of all, the kids behaved. That alone usually qualifies as a win for me. But the ceremony itself was very moving and it was a great opportunity to talk to the kids about things that don't always come up in every day conversation. Levi asked lots of questions afterwards...we talked about POWs and amputations and sacrifice. They were all very impressed with the ROTC squad from the local high school. I was too, they were good.
Growing up in a military family, I think I'm especially passionate about our country. I still tear up any time I hear God Bless the USA. It was released (or re-released?) when my dad was in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War and I just don't ever hear it without getting choked up.
I was so proud when the M.C. called out the branches of service for recognition. After each one I would tell the kids which people in our family were or are in that branch. It helped the kids to put a face on what we were honoring.
I hope that I can pass my love for this country on to them. I hope that I don't let my own discouragement or disillusionment get in the way of teaching them what makes this country great.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Christian's first haircut

We took the boys to get haircuts yesterday and I almost cried. In public, y'all. I don't think I've ever been so emotional about a first haircut... I love that he's growing up, I do, it's just that I have loved his baby time so much! But all my boys are growing up and that's exciting, too. Christian and Jack are sharing some clothes already. Sharing is not Jack's strong suit so this is good practice.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Being Pro-Life means doing something

More than ever we need to be working towards a culture of life. This is a list by Randy Alcorn that I've passed out at church several times, but I don't think I've ever linked to it here. Instead of just linking to it, I think it's important enough to post the whole thing here. Read through it and pray God will show you which ones He's calling you to, that's what I'll be doing.

50 Ways To Help Unborn Babies and Their Mothers
By Randy Alcorn

Please Note: This article was written for the first version of my book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments (1992). The book was revised and expanded in 2000 so the references to Appendices are different depending on which version of the book you have. The abbreviation PLA stands for ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments. References to the smaller prolife book published in 2004, Why ProLife? have also been added.

Direct Personal Involvement

1. Open your home to a pregnant girl. Help her financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
2. Open your home to an unwanted child for foster care or adoption.
3. Volunteer time with organizations helping pregnant women, newborns, drug babies, orphans, the handicapped, elderly, street people, and others in need. Personal care is the most basic prolife activity.
4. Establish a pregnancy counseling and abortion alternative service that offers free pregnancy tests, counseling, and support. You can often get the very first listing in the Yellow Pages as Abortion Alternatives, which precedes Abortion Services. (For help getting started, see "Abortion Alternatives and Support For Women" in Appendix D or K, Prolife Resources, PLA.)
5. Donate materials, office equipment, furniture, baby clothes, professional services, and money to Pregnancy Resource Centers, Birthright, Bethany Christian Services, and other prolife groups.
6. Teach your children and other young people how to say no to premarital sex. Teenage sexual abstinence is not only psychologically healthy, it is the only sure way to prevent teen pregnancies. (Josh McDowell's Why Wait? and How to Teach Your Child to Say No to Sexual Pressures, and James Dobson's Preparing for Adolescence are helpful resources. See also the "Prochastity Curricula" listed in Appendix D or Appendix K, PLA).

Educating Yourself and Others
7. Become thoroughly informed about the abortion issue. Read ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments or the condensed version, Why ProLife? There are many other fine prolife books and videos as well as excellent—and usually free—prolife newsletters. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.) There are a large number of quality prolife websites. The one I highly recommend is .This website is one of a kind, cutting edge, informative and appealing in its presentation. Know the facts so you can rehearse in advance the best responses to the prochoice arguments. Be prepared so no opportunities are missed.
8. Talk to your friends, neighbors, and coworkers about the abortion issue. Challenge them to rethink their assumptions, and to be careful not to buy into an illogical or morally untenable position. Give them a copy of this book, with some pages marked for their attention. (Refer women who have had abortions to Appendix A, PLA, "Finding Forgiveness after an Abortion".) Use this book to read and discuss in a class or small group.
9. Volunteer your services as a prolife speaker for schools and church groups. Use the arguments laid out in this book as your presentation outline. Approach a church or Christian school and offer to teach a course in Prolife Logic and Action.
10. Call in and speak up on talk shows, and ask for equal time on television and radio stations that present the prochoice position. They often welcome a variety of positions. To say nothing is to endorse what is often an unchallenged prochoice bandwagon.
11. Students: Write papers, make speeches, and start a campus prolife group. See "Organizing a Student Prolife Organization" under Books on Prolife Strategies in Appendix D or K, PLA.
12. Display attractive prolife posters and information at your office or shop. You may lose a little business, and gain a little. But the truth will be served, and some innocent human lives will be saved.

Literature, Visuals, and Advertising
13. Order and distribute prolife literature. Have it displayed or available at your place of business. Leave it on your coffee table. Distribute literature door to door to influence opinion. An attractive piece left on each porch on a Saturday morning will be read by many. In some areas every home distribution has radically changed community sentiments about abortion. (See Appendix D or K, PLA, for a list of the best literature.)
14. Donate prolife books and magazine subscriptions to public and school libraries. They are usually well-stocked with prochoice literature—point out that you just want to provide a little balance and make sure the other position isn't censored.
15. Use a pre-made prolife slide presentation, assemble your own, or buy a video tape, and offer to show it in schools, churches, to your neighbors and government representatives. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
16. Wear prolife symbols, precious feet pins, buttons, and shirts ( sells some attractive prolife apparel). These often stimulate conversations. Use prolife bumper stickers or lawn signs. Place prolife stickers on letters. More than a dozen people see the average piece of mail. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
17. Place newspaper ads, bench ads, and billboard posters. Attractive pre-made ads and beautiful full-size billboard posters are available. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)

18. Write letters to the editor. Be courteous, concise, accurate, and memorable. Quote brief references cited in ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments. Some local newspapers have a policy of printing every letter to the editor. The opportunity for influence is enormous. Letters to the editor in a major national magazine may be read by a million people.
19. Compile a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of politicians, newspapers, television stations, hospitals, and others in your area that people can contact to express their prolife views. Distribute them widely.
20. Select the most strategic measures and issues and host a prolife letter-writing party. People can help each other compose informed and succinct letters to the right people and places. Since legislators and others assume there are a hundred others who feel the same way for every one that writes, there is considerable impact from each letter.
21. Write letters of encouragement to the sometimes tired and discouraged prolife activists.

Personal Conversation
22. Refuse any indirect or business support of abortion clinics, and explain your refusal. Boycott proabortion companies, landlords of abortion clinics, and businesses that share space with abortion clinics and abortion-promoters such as Planned Parenthood. Explain your reasons nicely, and they will often take you seriously.
23. Contact physicians and hospitals that perform abortions and insurance companies that cover them and express your convictions. Be polite but firm, stating that you, your family, and your business cannot in good conscience patronize those who contribute to the killing of innocent children. Does your own physician perform abortions? Ask him; you may be surprised to discover he does. If so, tell him you must reluctantly change doctors. Is your doctor prolife? Encourage him to take a public stand and participate in local prolife events. Share this book with him and ask his opinion of it.
24. Talk to journalists about your concern that they accurately represent the prolife side in their reporting. Many have never heard an accurate presentation of the prolife position. Until we present it to them, how can we expect them to be fair? Highlight sections of this book for their interest. Many will read what you provide, and some may use the material in future articles.
25. Talk to teachers, especially junior high, high school, and college teachers. Express your desire that they understand and be able to represent the prolife position rather than ignore or distort it. Whatever a teacher believes is multiplied a hundred times over in his students and those they in turn influence. Give them a copy of ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments or Why ProLife? or other prolife books or videos. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)

Political Action
26. Write to representatives and others in government at local, state, and national levels. Be respectful, legible, straightforward, brief, and nondefensive. Enclose attractive prolife literature. The more personal your letter the better. Pre-printed postcards are not as effective.
27. Personally phone or set up a meeting with your representatives to share your views on abortion. Groups of three are most effective. If possible include a prolife doctor or other professional. Be careful how you come across; show them prolifers are intelligent and rational.
28. Draft, circulate, and sign petitions for prolife ballot measures, school board members, and so on.
29. Run for political office, school board, or precinct chairman. Or stand by other prolife candidates with your time and money. The only possibility for there to be long-term restrictions on abortion is if our state legislatures have a prolife majority. Churches and prolife groups should identify and support character-qualified, knowledgeable, and skilled candidates.
30. Help a bright young prolifer through law school. Challenge him or her to set a goal of becoming a judge. The legal and judicial arenas, as well as the medical and political, desperately need intelligent and skilled prolifers.

Prolife Events
31. Picket abortion clinics, hospitals, and physicians who perform abortions. Write a brochure or fact sheet documenting their performance of abortions. When abortions are only part of their practice they are much more inclined to eliminate them to preserve their reputation in the community. But until they are exposed they usually won't stop.
32. Make prolife signs for yourself and others. Make them large and attractive, with concise messages such as: Abortion Kills Babies. Adoption, not Abortion. Every Child Is Wanted by Someone. Give Your Baby a Chance to Choose. Please Let Your Baby Live. Equal Rights for Unborn Women. She's a Baby, not a Blob. We Care; Talk to Us. We'll Help Financially If You'll Let Your Baby Live.
33. Organize or participate in a Life Chain, where hundreds or thousands of prolifers stand on public sidewalks and display signs supporting the unborn and opposing abortion. This is an extremely effective means of mobilizing prolifers and making a clear statement for the children. Many who begin with Life Chain will solidify a prolife commitment and get involved in future prolife activities. (See Life Chain under "Prolife Event and Action Organizations", in Appendix D or K, PLA.)
34. Join prolife rallies and marches to galvanize prolife efforts. Have walk-a-thons and other projects to earn money for prolife groups. Get your children involved. They'll love it, and it's a great education as well as a family activity.
35. Attend prochoice rallies as a counter-demonstrator. Be peaceful. The quiet presence of your group and your signs will make others think and lead to conversations with passersby.
36. Participate in peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience at the doorways of abortion clinics. Or do the legal sidewalk counseling, singing, or praying in conjunction with other prolife activities.

Abortion Clinic Strategies
37. Research and write a brochure on your local abortion clinic, citing specific lawsuits and health code violations, which are a matter of public record. Write a leaflet or brochure asking something like, "What Do You Know about the Third Street Abortion Clinic"? Make it neat and attractive, perhaps with a photo of the clinic on the front. Give this brochure to women coming to the clinic, neighbors, nearby businesses, and passersby. Include information from this book on physical and psychological risks of abortion. Or use pre-made brochures specially designed for women entering abortion clinics. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
38. Collect information and initiate lawsuits against abortion clinics. Place newspaper or billboard ads asking, "Problems after an abortion?" Give a local or national phone number to call for medical, legal, or emotional help. (1-800-634-2224, the American Rights Coalition, is already set up for this purpose.) Many abortion clinics have been shut down by successful lawsuits.
39. Hand out questionnaires and legal information to women entering and leaving clinics. Did you have a doctor-patient relationship? Did the doctor ask you for a complete medical history? Did he explain to you the possible complications of abortion? Did he show you a picture or explain to you the state of development of your unborn child? This will encourage them to reconsider their decision, to seek other counsel, or—if the abortion is over—not to come back for another abortion, and possibly to initiate legal action against the clinic. Include the number of an alternative pregnancy center where they can get complete and accurate information the clinic won't give them.
40. Keep new abortion clinics out of your community by informing the public, writing letters to council members, and contacting potential landlords and real estate agents. Abortion clinics mean loss of business and declining property values to everyone due to public sentiment and frequent demonstrations. Those who do not respond to moral reasoning often do respond to public opinion and even more to financial loss. It is usually easier to keep a clinic out of an area than to shut it down once it's there.
41. Rent space as close as possible to an abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood office and establish a pregnancy counseling clinic or prolife information center.

Influencing Your Church
42. Organize a prolife task force and target key church leaders for influence. Identify pastors and other strategic leaders and speak with them one by one. Give them literature and ask them to watch a video. Recruit prolife activists in your church who will help you formulate and implement a plan of education and mobilization. Ask your church leaders to include prolife activities and literature in the budget.
43. Set up a prolife table at church with the best prolife literature and materials. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.) The presence of the table itself is a vital reminder of the prolife cause.
44. Show in church services or classes prolife films and videos such as The Abortion Providers, The Hard Truth, and The Eclipse of Reason. Offer to pay the film rental yourself. (See Appendix D or K, PLA.)
45. Place a prolife newspaper ad, bench ad, or billboard with your church's name and phone number, offering your help to pregnant girls. (See Appendix D or K, PLA, for pre-made ads.)
46. Take your church bus to prolife activities. Many people who won't go alone will go with a group. Some will discover an aptitude for regular prolife ministry they would otherwise never have realized.
47. Have prolife emphasis Sundays, with special music, speakers, films, and literature. This should include, but not be limited to, the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday in mid-January. (Special bulletin inserts and materials are available from CareNet and Right to Life of Michigan,, listed in Appendix D or K, PLA.)
48. Bring prolife issues and opportunities to the attention of your pastor, Sunday school class, Bible study, or men's, women's, or youth group. Show them one of the videos listed in Appendix D or K, PLA. Provide relevant newspaper clippings and other information to inform your pastor and provide him with sermon ideas and illustrations. Give him ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments or Why Pro-Life? as a resource. Instead of expecting him to fulfill your prolife agenda, help him out by offering to be a resource and facilitator for him.
49. Start a group of sidewalk counselors from your church that go once or twice a week to talk to women outside abortion clinics. This is hard but rewarding work, and you need the camaraderie of others by your side. Some excellent sidewalk counseling materials are listed in Appendix D or K, PLA.
50. Pray daily for prolife ministries and victimized mothers and babies. Organize your own prayer group, perhaps combining prolife concerns with other vital needs, such as missions. Go to prolife rallies or sidewalk counseling and focus on the ministry of prayer. If the darkness of child-killing is to be overcome with the light of truth and compassion, it will require spiritual warfare, fought with humble and consistent prayer (Ephesians 6:10-20).
I don't know about y'all but I went to bed pretty disappointed last night. I haven't changed my mind one bit about what I believe is good for our country. But I woke up this morning with a new outlook. God has allowed this for a reason..."For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (Jer 29:11)... Perhaps God is using this election and this new president to wake up His people. So many of the issues that I disagree with the new president about are Biblical, marriage, the very role of government. What I feel like this morning is that I've been waiting for a new president to come along and "save" our country - the very thing I've often accused Democrats of doing. Hmmn, humbling, huh? So it's time for me to ask myself what *I* am doing about these issues. Unless peoples' hearts are changed there will be no end to abortion, marriage and family will be redefined, we will continue more and more to rely on our government to do the things we should be doing for ourselves... As Christians we have to be tirelessly doing our part to show others what God's Word says.
With that in mind, I'll be praying for President Obama more than I've ever prayed for any other leader and I'll be praying for new opportunities to share Christ and do His will.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Going to vote

We brought our breakfast in case the lines were long but we went at a perfect time - there was no wait!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The past few weeks have been crazy. Not that we've been any busier, really, than usual. Actually from the outside I bet you couldn't notice any change. But boy I can feel it. Suddenly (or so it seems to me) our family is growing up. It's not that we're out of the baby phase - we'd be thrilled with a new baby! - but we aren't a family of babies anymore. Levi and Brenna and even Jack are old enough to really do things. I can give them a job and expect it to get done without standing over them. We can take them places and just enjoy them instead of feeling like a mama duck trying to keep all her ducklings in a row. It's very nice...

I just love this picture. I know it's technically not, well, good. The lighting is off and my camera is just really bad (dropped one too many times maybe?). But I like it:)

Casey and I took the kids to a new park our town has built down by the river on Friday for a picnic. After we ate, we walked along the path and wound our way down towards the river.

That bridge in the background is where we parked and that stroller in the foreground is where we parked Christian while he napped and we investigated the sandbar.

Then we came home and dressed up to Trick or Treat. Christian refused to wear his fireman hat (and Mommy refused to spend $20 on a better costume for a baby who could care less). The big kids had a ball though...

Levi was Anakin Skywalker (from The Clone Wars - not *regular* Anakin Skywalker), Jack was Batman and Brenna was a ninja. My girly girl with the drawers full of dress up costumes. But her ninja moves were quite awesome.
I just finished updating our "lesson plans" for the next few weeks - up to Christmas. I like to divide the year up into blocks of 6 weeks or so. That gives me a chance to adapt things pretty easily if we fall behind or get ahead. Now that I have the basics down I'm making holiday plans and working them into our school days. I'm so excited about the holidays this year - cocoa and reading Christmas stories and baking cookies...bring it on:)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Election Thoughts

I just had to pop on here for a second and share this video (hat tip to Barbara). In all the excitement about the upcoming elections, I hope we remember that it's personal responsibility that makes this country great. So let's vote for the candidate who'll do his job and not let him try to do ours.

Monday, October 13, 2008

So much better

After the Storm, Micheal Coleman

The last week and a half has been so so much better. I don't want to get into everything that was going wrong, but much of it had been building for a long time like a storm. The death of a church-family member somehow brought everything to a head. Isn't it amazing how God uses one thing to wake you up to other, completely unrelated issues? Now, even though not everything is neatly resolved, I've come through the stormiest part...

My parents came this weekend for a visit and the timing could not have been better. It's been so good to relax with my family. And my mom bought me new shoes - what could be better than that!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's been such a hard week

Like pouring tea in a tea cup...with a fire hose...
And I know that this is all for His glory...but where is the glory in this?
I just have to trust that it's there.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you;
He will never let the righteous fall.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Some of the very yummy supper recipes I printed out for my binder

Obviously some of these are healthier (quicker, more expensive, etc) than others, but they are all so good!

And because I love y'all here is my own personal, oh so incredibly creative, recipe for Pork Lo Mein which I ate all the time when I was growing up in Germany. Yes, German people like Chinese food, too:)

Pork Lo Mein

4 thin sliced boneless pork chops
½ bag broccoli slaw
½ onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 servings cooked spaghetti
Soy sauce
Chop the pork chops into small pieces and toss them in a bowl with some soy sauce while you cut up the onion and garlic. Heat a large pan with plenty of oil over med-high and stir-fry the pork. Remove them from the pan and set aside. Add the onion to the pan and cook until brown, then add the garlic and the broccoli slaw. Turn the heat down to medium and stir for a few minutes until the veggies are cooked but not limp and the garlic is brown but not burnt. Add the noodles and enough soy sauce to lightly coat the noodles to the pan and stir until heated through.


I'm not going to count how many times I went through a drivethru last week. I'm not proud of it and frankly my memory isn't that good. Could the greasy burgers be clogging my brain?
Probably. And either way, it's just got to stop. It's not healthy, it's too expensive, it takes too long and requires using precious gasoline that could be used to take us somewhere fun...and I'm just sick and tired of rotating Zaxby's, Dairy Queen and Burger King.
So I'm working on a new plan...a binder (you saw that coming, didn't you?). Everything I need to plan meals in one handy place.
I started with a list of everything we like to eat for supper (I'll add breakfast and lunch in soon) and then I divided the list up into sections...beef, pork, chicken, pasta, etc. Then I printed a blank calendar and jotted down what kind of meals I need on which days. I need to have something in the crockpot on Wednesday so we can eat before church and Casey can eat when he wakes up. On Saturday we like to have a big family dinner with dessert. We like something fast and kid friendly on Fridays - sometimes I make something different and "grown up" so Casey and I can have supper together after the kids are in bed.
Then I started printing recipes for all the foods on our favorites list. I probably could've put this part off for awhile, but sometimes I get a little carried away. I put them all in the binder with tabs separating each section. Then I made a list of everything we already have in the freezer and cabinets and made a plan to actually use it. Five pounds of hamburger in the freezer? Fine. Flip to the beef section and see what's for supper (and what else to use all that hamburger for...).
Now, HOPEFULLY, I can get back on track with buying groceries and cooking at home. As one final motivational boost I'm planning things I *like* to cook for at least the first few days. Now I'm off to make a pretty cover and make sure my pearls and high heels match my apron:)

ed to add...the fabulous Other Shannon posted on the same thing today! Two Shannons on the same wavelength...hmm.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Are women "allowed" to work? (this is going to take a minute, y'all...)

by Susan Mink Colclough

What a silly question, huh? Sometimes I wish I wasn't "allowed" to work and had nothing to do but lie around on my sun porch sippin' mint juleps all day. Wouldn't that be lovely? But I do work and so does every other mother out there. So the question I suppose is more about money. Should married women and mothers work for money or work only at caring for their homes, children, and husband? Or maybe making money is fine...after all the Proverbs 31 woman made money, didn't she? Maybe the issue is where a woman works. It's fine to work from your own home but not to go out of your home to work...but that doesn't seem logical. No one is saying that women are literally never to leaves their homes. What if I work from home but occasionally have to go to the post office to mail something or a college nearby to teach a class...? What if I start a little company selling hairbows over the internet and the company takes off? Am I allowed to hire staff? Rent a storefront? Take some business courses? Or must I insist that my husband give up his job and come home to be the CEO of our hairbow empire?

I'll admit that I've thought lots of times that women should stay home, especially women with small children. I really do believe that the best place for little ones is in their own home with their own mommy. I adore being home with my kids and I honestly can't imagine what it would be like to have to go back to work 9 to 5, 5 days a week and leave them in daycare. I feel deeply for women who must live that way when they'd much rather be at home with their little ones. All of that is why I was so astonished at the sheer excitement I felt when I heard Sarah Palin was going to be John McCain's running mate.

Was I selling out my ideals? Or, infinitely worse, was I selling out God's Word? I know all the reasons why I think Sarah Palin would make an excellent VP. I also believed that women should be "at home." But what I realized was that I didn't really know why. In puzzling it out I've read what the Bible says and I've read what others I respect say that the Bible says. And while I won't pretend to have figured it all out, I have a much clearer picture of what I believe.

Voddie Baucham, who I greatly respect, has written an interesting article about the Proverbs 31 woman (I wish she had a name!) refuting that she is a Biblical example of a "career gal" and he makes some excellent points. I agree that the argument that she had a career in the way we define it is pretty thin. And certainly nothing in Proverbs 31 negates Titus 2 where women are called to be "busy (or keepers in the KJV) at home." The way I see it, Mrs. P31 is doing all of the things she's doing...making sashes, buying a vineyard, take care of her family. The vineyard would've been an excellent investment for a family who who ate raisins and drank wine, much like a modern wife might buy a cow for her family. The money from the sashes probably went to buy things for her household...they same way I sold too small clothes at a consignment store and used the money to buy clothes my kids will need for this fall. She's using her talents and skills to run her home and serve her family. What if she were to take on other jobs in the process of serving her family and her community? In this day and time that might mean serving in her church or in a charitable organization or in the neighborhood school. It might mean beginning a business to provide something her family or community needs. Maybe she's concerned about the quality of water her family drinks so she starts a bottled water company or she's concerned about the environment her children will inherit so she starts lobbying her government about it. Sometimes taking care of our home can lead us out of our homes. The thing that matters most, I believe, is a woman's heart attitude. Is she trying to find self-fulfillment? Make more money to have more things? Escape? Feel important? Is she putting her own ambition before the family God has given her? Or is she trying to follow God's call on her life? Trying to serve? And, perhaps most telling, do her husband and children feel cared for?

In Proverbs 31, since her husband and children praise her, we can assume she was doing a good job and no one felt that her vineyard or sash-making was taking up too much of her time.

Now I know, for me, taking care of my husband and kids and home and serving my extended family and church family is all I am able to do. It takes all of my time and energy and focus. Actually, scratch that. It's much, much more than I can do in my own power. But I don't try to do it in my own power (well, I do sometimes, but that's usually a disaster and not worth talking about right now). God gives me what I need to do this job because He's called me to do this job. I have to believe it is the same with any job He calls us to do. And so that is where I've landed. Should most wives be at home with their children? Probably. It's a big, big important job and we need to get it right. But each woman must do what God calls her to do - regardless of the cultural norms. For many of us bucking the culture means staying home. But some women will have to buck the sub-culture...the one that says women are only "allowed" to work at home. Because it is possible that God may call a woman to run an organization or a business or a country. And if a woman is called by God, then we would do well to support her.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

At my house this week...

This week has been so busy that I've hardly had time to sit down. We took the week off from school last week and getting back in the swing of things this week was more of an effort than I thought it would be. Especially since we had so many other things going on.

One great thing required absolutely no efforts on my part baby sister's birthday. She turned 19! Isn't she gorgeous? Well, when she's not making funny faces. But she makes funny faces a lot, so...Anyway. Not only is she gorgeous, she's kindhearted and principled and generous and hysterical. She's in college, planning to be a missionary. Now what does such a wonderful girl want for her birthday?

I went through all of the kids clothes this week, switching from summer clothes to fall. I had to leave a few short-sleeved shirts and shorts in the closet though because it's still pretty hot around here. I also pulled out all of the clothes in storage - sorting some to sell at the big consignment sale and putting anything that will fit into the right closet. Levi has a ton of hand-me-downs to grow into from his cousins and of course jack and Christian have hand-me-downs from Levi. Christian will wear the clothes that Jack wore last winter. He's only two pounds smaller than Jack right now and they're a year and a half apart. At any rate, Brenna is the only one that needs clothes - for the boys I'll probably just pick up a few things to freshen up their wardrobes. I have a nice list put together for Brenna - the big pre-sale consignor's sale is Tuesday night. I can't wait!

My pastor's wife and our Sunday School Superintendent came over to go over the church website with me and to work on updating our church policy manual. It was so nice to talk to other grown-ups. I'm planning on having them over for lunch sometime soon now that I've seen the kids will behave. Just as soon as I get over this awful cold/sore throat!

We also finally had our lunch at Pizza Hut for reading 30 books in August. It was lots of fun. The kids really enjoyed getting to go "out" to eat instead of just bringing something home. I think for this month we'll pick a different prize. For one thing I want them to read for the pleasure of reading not just for the prize and for another Mommy's not up to taking four kids out to eat by myself every month:)

Our homeschool group got together on Friday and that went really well. All the kids were divided into groups for reading groups (book clubs for kids!) and art classes, free play and volleyball (for the big kids). The moms are even discussing starting our own bookclub. This will be a once a month thing and we're also having a picnic at the park day once a month. That leaves one Friday a month for playdates and field trips and one Friday for me to regroup!

Now I'm off to get started on lesson plans for the next few weeks.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Wedding Shower

My aunt and I gave a wedding shower this weekend for my cousin Brandy. I love showers, but they're always more work than I remember. This one was very worth it, though. There were lots of guests and Brandy got lots of good gifts. I always remember how much Casey and I appreciated all the shower gifts we got. And when I think about starting out a brand new household now with everything getting so expensive so fast...well, I'm glad we could all help out a little.

And it was just so much fun to get to see everybody and visit. When I was growing up I loved going with my mom or Granny or Grandma to showers. It seems like women don't get together for things like that as often anymore - we're just all too busy and I think we've forgotten the value of these "girl's only" events. I think I've started Brenna off on the right foot, though. She had the best time yesterday at our girl's only party:) She helped and visited and had a ball (until a precious puppy made her temporarily lose her cool). It's all she's talked about today!
ed to add...
Since we're probably going to be giving another bridal shower in a few months, I'm going to post the menu here so that I can find it later on:)
Sandwiches - pimento cheese, chicken salad, and...?
Shrimp cocktail dip with crackers
Endive with herb cheese
PepperJack cheese straws
Chex mix
Brownie bites
Cheesecake dip with strawberries
Chips and dip
and Cake!
Strawberry punch (thanks, Melanie, for the recipe!), iced tea, and co-cola:)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I don't know what to say except that I couldn't not post this.

Thanks, Barbara.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Some of the books we read in August

This was our first month of school and we read thirty books! Well, we wrote down thirty books...I think we probably read a good bit more than that because we didn't count the books Levi takes to bed or the books we've already read a hundred times. I just keep track of the books that were new to us or that Levi read and insisted I write down.
Bread and Jam for Frances falls in that second category. Levi reads this one all the time and Brenna loves it too. I'm especially fond of the descriptions of food...the lunch her mom packs at the end is so lovely! It always inspires me to try to make nicer meals (Frances's mom doesn't serve fish sticks!) and it really helps the kids to be less picky!
The Frog Wore Red Suspenders was full of funny poems. Being a Georgia girl, I especially like the one about peanuts! The pictures were funny, too. Levi picked it himself and he read it several times - always a good sign.
I loved Little Farm by the Sea. Beautiful pictures and I loved the way the family pulled together to do farm chores. It was a neat introduction to seasons, too.
As part of our history study we read One Small Blue Bead and it was very good. I wanted to avoid any discussion on evolution for right now and since the drawings in this one looked a little like Neanderthals I was a little concerned, but the book doesn't mention anything like that. It actually led to a great discussion about the Tower of Babel (check out this book on that) and how in a few generations, people could have come to believe they were the only ones on Earth. Also, the young man in the story shows a real servant's heart and that impressed me:)
Another history book, Seeker of Knowledge, was a very good story. Well worth the read when I overheard Levi telling his granny about the Rosetta Stone! It was inspiring to read about Jean-Francois Champollion's passion for his work.
The last book we read for our list was Brenna's favorite. If Everybody Did is a very funny look at what would happen if everyone had bad manners. The kids were cracking up over the very simple black and white drawings (we checked out the older hardback copy from the library).
Now I have to plan a day to take them out for a pizza lunch and decide on a shape for our September reading window. I'd like to use apples, but do I really want to cut out 30 or 40 apples? But I do have a lot of red construction paper....

Monday, September 01, 2008

Library Day

Since Levi was a baby we've been going to the library on Tuesday mornings for Storytime. There've been lots of times when we didn't go for a few weeks, but for the most part it's been a pretty constant thing. Now that he's starting to outgrow it and we're getting so busy, it was tempting to find another time to run in and pick up the books I put on hold. But I really wanted the little kids to get to go to storytime, too, and I really want Levi to have time for browsing through the books so I settled on a trip to the library every other week (with occasional quick stops on errand days just to pick things up or turn things in). I'm planning to let Levi browse while I take the little ones into storytime when he gets completely bored in storytime, but that hasn't happened yet so we just go early to browse.

The second problem was that Levi wasn't really browsing - he went to the same sections every time (Transformers, Ninja Turtles, trains...not my idea of quality reading material) and I'd have to drag him to look at anything else. So when I saw this idea I knew it would be a perfect way to get him reading different things. I limited it to four 'required' books since I knew I'd already be picking out a pile to bring home and I added the call numbers to introduce that idea to him. I showed him where to find the number on the book and explained that if the call number fits between the numbers on his card, it counts for that section. He didn't quite get that until I explained that it just has to start with the same number, then the light bulb came on:)

I printed out the card using clip art and pasted it on a scrap of card stock, then laminated the whole thing with packing tape. I use that stuff for everything - it was on my school supply list:)
(ed to add - I hope the picture is legible. My camera is acting up again!)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Christian's First Birthday

It was a very busy weekend! The highlight was definitely Christian's party - he had a ball! I was running so far behind when everyone got here that I wound up putting everybody to work...but they all pitched in and we had a great time.

Christian was less thrilled with taking his very first picture on the steps but at least he didn't cry:)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

At my house this week...

So far this week seems to be going pretty well. I'm getting a lot done , although you'd never know because the living room and toy room are still a disaster. Those will be the last rooms I clean because the kids are hanging out there while I clean everything else.

I'm planning on finishing up the cleaning this afternoon. I, of course, bit off more than I could chew. My beginning list took up three pages in my notebook! But I think I got more done by starting with a big list and crossing off the less necessary things than I would have if I started with a list of what I thought I could get done. And it was very handy to be able to look at the list and assign a job to whoever popped there head and asked to help. Levi and Brenna have both actually been big helps, but it is almost impossible to do anything with all of them "helping" at once! It was much easier to start them playing and then call one of the older kids to work a shift.

We got a lot of reading done this week. For every book we read (or Levi reads) we add a part of our flower...

Lovely, isn't it? When we've read thirty books I'm going to take them to Pizza "Hunt" for lunch, but that's a surprise for now. They just think we're making a flower:)

Also, Christian really started pulling himself up on everything! He's been pulling up on the rails of his crib for awhile now, but he hasn't really done it anywhere else. This week, though, he seems to have discovered that there's a lot of fun stuff on top of these tables!

The kids' clothing sale was postponed so I haven't had to worry about that this week. It's looking to be even bigger this fall and in a larger building, too. I get so excited about this sale but it is full of really great clothes and, provided you get there early, there are some great deals. Most of the time I sell enough to at least cover the amount I spend.

Well, I'm off to finish up in the kitchen. My curtains are clean and ready to be pressed! It really doesn't take much to make me happy:) Making things pretty is my favorite part of cleaning, so I bribe myself with little projects like ironing the curtains or rearranging the pictures to get through the scrubbing. Sometimes we have to make our own rewards.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The week ahead

This week is going to be so busy. For one thing I'm going to do my big fall cleaning. A smarter person would've planned this for next week after Labor Day when we're going to take off from school, but Christian's birthday party is this weekend and since everyone is coming over to grill out I want the house to be clean and shiny. And at least this way I'll be able to really relax and enjoy our break next week.
Besides the big clean up and preparing for the party, I'm also trying to get clothes together for the big kid's clothing sale. I usually spend about a week getting all of that in order, but it sort of snuck up on me this year. I had hoped to volunteer to help with the sale this year, but I won't have time. Maybe next spring.
It's also my Grandpa's birthday so we're going to go to his house on Friday night for his party. I can hardly wait - I love going to my grandparent's house!
Let's see, what else...there's library day tomorrow and preparing for the class I'm leading on Wednesday night. There's school and let's not forget the requisite grocery shopping expedition. And I'd like to squeeze haircuts for me and Brenna in there sometime...
But I'm oddly excited about getting all of this done. Something about the change of the seasons always gives me a boost. And I love fall. I'm already trying to figure out if we can squeeze in a trip to the mountains and making plans for our annual field trip to the pumpkin patch. I'm hoping to list what I get accomplished on here later today. We'll see!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How we've spent our summer

Someone in this family has been sick all summer long. Since April. Jack ran a fever off and on for the last two days and now it's hit Brenna. I had to call and ask my pastor's wife to fill in for me leading my adult class at church tonight...again. I'm actually feeling like I should just give up trying to lead this class. I do really enjoy it, but I just hate having to ask someone to fill in all the time!

On the up side, I got to snuggle on the couch with Brenna and read her favorite book. Well, one of her favorites anyway...she's kind of like her mom- we have lots of favorites:)

It's called Elizabeti's Doll and it's one of my favorites, too. I love that Elizabeti makes her own doll and I love that she wears her baby just like her mom wears her baby brother. Brenna does that all the time. It's a really good story and the pictures are just gorgeous. I know, again with the artwork:)

And I'm back

I finally got my computer home yesterday. I had no idea how much I would miss it! Who knew that I used it for so much? Thankfully they were able to save everything on it, but I will be backing up everything from now on.
In the meantime, school is going really well. One of my favorite parts so far has been all the reading we're doing. I've always read a lot to the kids, but it's usually been books that they choose - whatever they bring me, basically. But now that I've been planning out so many books to read as part of our curriculum, I'm really enjoying it even more. Our librarian's are so helpful. I can get online and request as many books as I want from our local library or any library in the state and they email me when I have a couple waiting at the desk. Which means I don't even have to go upstairs to get myself a book when I take the kids in. Now if they'd just install a drive through...
We're making every other Tuesday Library Day. Tuesday's are storytime and we used to go every week, but I'm really committed to staying home a few days a week. Levi is learning his way around the stacks. I made him a "laminated" (with clear packing tape) card listing the kinds of books he has to check out each week. I think I got this idea from The Well Trained Mind. I tried to keep the categories to a minimum for this year. He chooses one book from each category - social sciences (which I help him choose because there are a lot of books in this category that he's not ready for...Coping with a Gay Parent for example...sheesh), science and technology, arts and recreation, and literature. I, as always, have final veto power, but I'm trying to let him choose for himself as much as possible. For example, last week when he chose a book about Christmas (in August, y'all) I didn't say a word.
One book he picked out last week was really great, though. Thunderstorms by Nathaniel Tripp. Levi is fascinated (and terrified!) by thunderstorms so I thought knowing more about them might help. Children's books seem to focus on how kids feel about thunderstorms, though, and that seems to reinforce the idea that there is something to be afraid of. This book was wonderful. It's the story of a big thunderstorm passing over a farm. There are lots of scientific explanations about what's going on with the weather, but there's also a lot of story about farm and animal life. I also liked the way it shows neighbors helping one another and the art work is lovely. I'm a sucker for the artwork.
I've read some other great books lately so I'm planning on writing about some of those in the next few days. And I've got to get some of our homeschool plans up on here soon. But first it's time for Brenna's medicine...we all seem to have summer colds.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Away from my desk

My computer is in the shop. I had no idea I'd miss it so much! Thank goodness hubby doesn't mind sharing his:)

Monday, August 04, 2008

First Day of (Home)School 2008

This morning went really well! We stuck to our schedule for the most part and I think it's going to work out pretty well. Casey brought home Krispy Kremes for breakfast - yum! They were still nice and warm. I think this might need to become a tradition:)
They were all so excited about their lunchboxes that we included them in the official first day of school picture. Jack chose batman. He's a little obsessed. He spends a pretty good bit of each day wearing some sort of cape.
Brenna is a kindergartener! She's only four but she does so much with Levi that I thought it would be neat to have them just one year apart. If we need to add an extra year in there somewhere that shouldn't be a problem, but I'm afraid it's going to be the opposite problem - that she grows up all too fast for me! Already she looks so grown-y!
And now my first grader. Oh my word, I can not believe how fast he's growing. Look at those legs! Every pair of pants he owns is suddenly at least an inch or two too short. My baby boy. Not such a baby anymore...

I have so much I want to post about. I love the books we're using this year and I put together a good sized list of activities to keep Jack busy while we do school. I've read lots of good books I just need to tell you all about. I'm planning a wedding shower with my aunt for my cousin. Facilitating a class at church on Today's Disciple. Lots of stuff to chat about only I have to make some time to chat!
Maybe tonight, blogging always helps me get my thoughts in a row:)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Closest Thing My Kids Have to a Pet

Starting around March, this lizard visits our back deck every morning. We see him on the back door, literally, every day. The kids have a ball watching him and aren't nervous about him at all (what with the glass between them and all). Even I like to watch him. This is our third year with a (this? how long do lizards live, anyway?) lizard visitor. This picture is from Spring 2006.

Look how little the kids were! Brenna wasn't even quite two. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised when they yell "our lizard's here!"... As long as they don't invite him in.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Our first day of school will be next Monday! With the heat and daily thunderstorms around here, it just makes sense to do school now and take a little extra time off when the weather is nicer - maybe around Labor Day. I'm so excited, but I have so much to do! I started by buying school supplies because I love school supplies:) And then I got started on some scheduling. Figuring out how to work in storytime at the library for the little kids (and library time for my big boy!) along with other fun stuff like playdates and field trips and going to the park along with reading books and doing lessons at home - oh, and don't forget naps! and making dinner! and my husband! - was challenging. But here it is in all its glory! I'll update in two weeks if I've completely changed everything:)

You can click on the pictures if you're hard of seeing like me, but be warned it's still fuzzy:)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Renewing my mind

After I wrote yesterday about getting things together I did manage to check off the items on my list. But my heart just wasn't in it. I was so looking forward to feeling like I'd accomplished something, but I was so cranky and I think we all know if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

So, after spending today trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to shake myself out of my discouragement, I finally sent the kids out to the pool and sat down at the computer. A self-indulgent waste of time? Well, not this time, anyway.

I looked through all my homemaking files and my favorites list and found one uplifting article after another. After spending a little time drinking from this fountain of material, I feel so energetic, so ready to tackle this mess. Here are a few of my very favorites...

  • Why I Love Homemaking I think there will be a lot of women in Heaven thanking Laine. Her letters are so cheerful and self-effacing and...they're just wonderful.

  • Homemaking: An Art to Be Learned This is a really good article about learning to care for a home. I think it's really written for girls and young women, but the description at the beginning of the workings of an ideal home is lovely.

  • The Wife and Queens Ride By should be required reading for every new bride. Thinking about all the work involved with running a home makes the task seem larger than life, but when I remember the effect that it has on my husband and my kids (and me!) it makes it so much easier.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Amish Country Home by Carl Valente

I may say that I work best under pressure, but I crave the peaceful happiness in this picture. There is too much going on in my little corner of the world. There's good stuff, like planning for school next month, and heavy stuff, like our struggling church, and difficult stuff, like a six year old who thinks he 16 or 60 (the rolling eyes, the know-it-all attitude, the "Listen, mom, it's like this") - oh my word. Sometimes stuff just seems to take over my life.

But my big problem lately, and you'll just have to trust me - it is a big problem, is me. I'm letting everything get to me until I'm not getting to anything. One problem leads to another and while I'm busy thinking about those problems, three more crop up. It's like laundry...first you just skip doing it one day, then you're running late because your kid is out of socks. And when you're late maybe you yell "hurry up" one too many times and maybe your kid has a melt down from the stress. Maybe. And maybe you're so exhausted from the day that when bedtime finally rolls around you veg out in front of soapnet instead of doing the laundry. And, again, this is all purely hypothetical. But my point is, "taking a break" or giving myself some "me time" doesn't really seem to help. The work just waits for me and, since it's bored, it reproduces. And then I'm more discouraged than I was when I started. And I don't intend to live my life discouraged, always wishing for my next time away.
Meredith shared today that she's ready to snap out of it - I think she called it Better Wife Bootcamp:) If anyone has a good reason to take it easy and let some things slide, Meredith surely does! But I'm so glad she wrote this post today.
So I sat down to make a plan of's not a full bootcamp, but hopefully it will be a start.
  • I must have a clean (clean! not just straightened up!) kitchen before I go to bed every night
  • all the laundry gets washed and dried today, folded and put away tomorrow

  • no tv tomorrow - a trip to the library, the swimming pool and helping Mommy should keep everyone busy

  • set my alarm to get up in the morning in time to fix Casey breakfast

Now, to get to work...

Friday, July 18, 2008

I couldn't resist adding one where she's smiling. She had a wonderful time at the BK Lounge with bestest friends Ryan and Riley.

Brenna turned four...

and I forgot to post her picture on the steps. Well, I didn't forget exactly, I just kept thinking I would go back out and try to get a picture of her smiling. I took 12 pictures of her and she was smiling and happy the whole time, but not one of the pictures has a good smile with her face turned to the camera - there was a plane, some neighbors came home, lots of distractions for a very distractable little girl:) She's very like her mommy that way...

I worry a little that she's getting lost in the midst of all these boys. She's so soft-spoken that I don't even always hear her over the firetrucks, tazaran yells, karate chops, and machine gun fire. Hmm, Brenna and I need more tea parties...

My Girl

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How Mommy Gets Some Work Done

Our street is a little too busy for the kids to play by themselves in the yard just yet, but I can see the back deck from the living room, kitchen and my computer so every summer we haul the baby pool up the steps and they spend hours out there (with industrial strength sunscreen, of course). Last summer they wouldn't stay for long because it was soooo hot, but this year has been much nicer so they are really taking advantage. Christian plays sometimes, too, but only when I can go outside. Now if I throw some bubbles in while they play, will it count as a bath?

Monday, July 07, 2008

On Education

I recently ran across this post - John Wesley on Education - on Vodie Baucham's blog. It's worth reading, a good reminder about what we ought to be preparing our children for. If you don't already read Vodie Baucham's blog, I highly recommend it. His sermon, The Centrality of the Home, is one of my favorites.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Time to Update the Old 101 in 1001 List

With only about 6 1/2 months left to finish this (wow! 1001 days seemed like forever when I started) it's looking like a few things may fall off the list. For a control freak/obsessive list maker like myself that would ordinarily be a problem, but I'm feeling strangely okay with it. I'm so glad I made this list though - it's been really great for reminding me about long range goals that I would've forgotten about otherwise.
(the ones in red are done)

Apr 17, 2003 - Jan 13, 2009
1. Pray about our home school goals
2. have a homeschool planning time
3. Get rid of unwanted hs materials
4. attend hs convention
5. join hslda
6. teach Levi to read
7. start having a regular school time
8. have a big “starting homeschool” day this fall
Health & Safety
9. buy and take a quality vitamin everyday
10. put together an emergency/disaster kit
11. put together a first aid kit
12. serve a raw vegetable or fruit with every meal
13. get a fire ladder and have a fire drill
14. do a detox after weaning Jack (ed. Do this after weaning Christian)
15. drink only water for a week and see if I feel better
16. buy and try stevia instead of sugar
17. take Levi to the dentist
18. exercise 3x a week
19. use only nontoxic cleansers in the house
20. Lose 60 lbs ( I can’t believe I wrote down the number!)
21. go to bed and get up earlier
22. Hold a garage sale
23. Make a family tree and hang it up in the house
24. Decorate the playroom
25. Decorate Mbed and Bath – make it a retreat
26. Get rid of unwanted toys
27. Decorate the kids’ rooms
28. Fence in the yard
29. clean out my closet and get rid of all the clothes I don’t wear
30. get a new kitchen table and chairs
31. paint scripture on walls
32. complete my black and white picture frame of all our family
33. decorate patio
34. invite people over for supper at least 1x every other month
35. organize storage room to hold outgrown kids’ clothing
36. learn how to make really good biscuits
37. learn how to make a great 14 layer cake
38. have Christmas presents made or bought and wrapped before Dec 1st
39. learn to cook cabbage the way Casey likes
40. put together a list of a months worth of well-liked meals
41. create and follow a workable cleaning schedule
42. make silhouettes of each of the kids to hang up
43. establish a chore chart for kids and use it
44. keep meals in the freezer to take to people in need
45. pack an emergency diaper bag for the trunk
46. read or get rid of all unread books
47. Reorganize all my books
48. make a price book for groceries & household stuff
49. grow an herb garden
50. try once a month cooking
51. Pay off all debt except house
52. sign Levi up for scouts
53. make Easter more meaningful – establish more traditions
54. take the kids to the zoo in Atlanta
55. take the kids to the aquarium in Atlanta
56. swim w/ kids
57. Start Brenna’s pearl necklace
58. Take the kids to the beach
59. Verbally praise more than verbally correct
60. teach kids good manners
61. Have a pajama ice cream run
62. Invite Bet to stay with us over the summer
63. be at Bethany’s high school graduation (I'm still a little upset that I didn't get to do this one - very early labor pains with Christian kept me from traveling)
64. plan fun things with nieces and nephews
65. start a playgroup in our neighborhood
66. get a playhouse for Brenna
67. have a traditional picnic with Casey and kids
Church Family
68. Encourage someone at church every week
69. Weekly praise a child that’s not my own
70. start a church library - I'm so glad to have this one done! It's really growing, too!
71. go to ladies retreat at least once
72. have a cookie decorating party for the kids at church
73. build a basic wardrobe
74. take better care of my skin
75. get teeth whitened
76. buy and wear really good makeup
77. get a cool shorter hairstyle
78. Take care of my nails
79. Memorize 3 scriptures per week for a month
80. Pray faithfully for family, church family and friends
81. Finish reading through the Bible
82. establish a daily Bible and prayer time and keep it consistently
83. pray with Casey every day
84. Pray for Casey daily (use POAPW)
85. plan an overnight getaway for me and Casey
86. be an active prayer partner for a volunteer at the pregnancy center
87. find a way to volunteer at the pregnancy center
88. make shoeboxes at Christmas for the Christmas Child Project
89. sponsor a child
90. grow my hair to donate to Locks of Love
91. invite another woman over once every other month
92. get to know some neighbors
93. make a will and have it notorized (or whatever to make it official)
94. get a bigger vehicle
95. finish “baby” quilts for all three kids
96. learn more about the Old testament laws/ traditions
97. write something and submit it to be published
98. Write a letter explaining our “quiverfull” philosophy
99. write 1 letter a month to friends or family
100. Don’t check email on weekends
101. Catch up on scrapbooks

Well, it's pretty clear what areas are easier for me and what's going to take a little more willpower. Somethings may not be as important as I thought. For example, we haven't even looked into scouting yet. But overall, this is a really handy way to make some long range plans - and it's fun to see how much I have gotten done!

Christian at the Ballpark

Christian is 10 months old already. He looks small in this picture but he's actually a pretty decent size (20lbs at the last doctor's visit) - Praise God! After worrying over Jack's growth for so long because of his reflux, it's very reassuring to see Christian getting a little pudgy in some spots:) He's old enough to have acquired his own nicknames now...I occasionally call him Crispy and Casey calls him Triscuit. I'm not sure why we do this to our kids, but since it's a tradition now, I'm not sure we could stop if we wanted to.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweet Mandy asked for a better look at the notebook - I was flattered enough to jump right on it, but my camera has been on the blink. Isn't that always the way it goes (at my house, anyway)? But the camera's finally working a little so I thought I'd record the creation of my July notebook. I'm starting it a little early because Jack somehow got ahold of my June notebook and scribbled on half the pages. Bad Jack. Bad. Anyway.

The first thing I do is get out my pretty pictures file and dig through all the, um, pretty pictures, until I find some that look good to me right now. Obviously this will be different for everyone - this is also what makes this so fun. For some reason bright pink was just calling my name this month... Lots of these pictures won't get used, but I like to have plenty to choose from.

Next, I get a plain Jane notebook. The sturdier cover and cheaper price of these make them an excellent choice.

Now I start picking and choosing pictures and tearing them to fit. Feel free to use scissors if you want your notebook to be boring and dull with no cool-edgy-torn effect. Sometimes I use a piece of colored scrapbooking paper for a background, or sometimes I choose a really large picture for the background. Either way, it's easiest to have one piece that covers all the brown-ness and then build on top of that.

I like to have some words somewhere on the front because that's just the kind of person I am. Sometimes a Bible verse, sometimes a day I might do one with just words all over it. I love words. Let's move on.

Now I slap some modge podge on the cover and start placing things where I think they should go. A couple of notes - always lay it out first and smooth it out really well (see my wrinkles? the ones on the notebook, I mean!). Rubber cement works much better than modge podge, but sometimes I have to make do. I will not go to Walmart just for rubber cement. I just won't do it!

Sigh. Now it seems like I can start all over with a fresh clean slate. All those messy to do lists and menu plans and memos are gone and blank pages wait for me to craft my life in them...that's pretty deep for a 33 cent notebook, don't ya think?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Should my first homeschool conference be in my jammies?

I saw this over at Amy's (she's having a contest for free registration, by the way, but don't sign up cause I want to win!) and it looks fabulous. $19.95 is not a bad deal.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Y'all are going to think I have too much time on my hands...

but I have had a rough day (it was my preacher's last day at church...very emotional) and I just want to think about something that makes me happy. My notebooks make me happy. I've been using a plain brown steno book as my "brain" for awhile now. It's so important to me that I bought a purse with a pocket to fit. The problem, of course, was that they're plain and brown and ugly. They do not go with my pretty new blue purse! I also had a stack of magazines that I couldn't throw away because they were just too lovely (Southern Lady for example). So I tore into the magazines and pulled out every picture that appealed to hydrangeas, pecan tassies, lace hankies, a golden pineapple, peaches, whatever,,,and saved them in a file folder. Now each month I start a new notebook. It only takes about 15 minutes to dig through the pictures til I find some I like and glue them to the cover. Rubber cement and/or modge podge seem to work the best, by the way. Now I know this probably seems a little like a waste of time, but y'all it is so much fun to turn this boring old notebook into something pretty and interesting. And looking over them today really did cheer me up:)