Friday, June 28, 2013

Walking with our daughters...

"You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."  Matthew 5:14-16

photography by Rachel Oswald
I have to be honest.  I look around the CHURCH these days, and don't see very many young ladies being "the light of the world".  I see a lot of  girls confused BY the world, compromising and flirting WITH the world, thinking they are doing a good job as "Christians" because they are not as bad as so and so.  As I am looking, I cannot help but wonder, "How can girls be effective for Christ when they are so concerned with looking, sounding, acting like everyone else?"  Is this "just the way things are"?  It might be common, but it is not okay.  Our daughters are being robbed of their innocence and purity at way too young of an age.  They are molested by the media and by a government that wants to take control of their sexual education.  The word "daughter" no longer holds a place of honor in our culture.  It used to mean purity, beauty, and a sense of virtue and godliness.  Now, a daughter lacks much distinction from anyone else.

We have 4 daughters of our own, and have been seeking the Lord diligently for wisdom in raising them to be true "daughters" of the King.  But how do we protect our daughters in a world that is seeping with rottenness and filth?  First, and the world may not agree with this, but we are very protective of them.  We believe that God has given us the job of guarding their hearts and minds, until they are well discipled.  Discipleship is key to them being able to face a fallen world and still stand for Christ.  They MUST know the Word of God, and be able to give testimony for why they believe what they believe.  Until they are mature in that, we will not send them to the front lines of battle, for they would be destroyed.   We also need to be careful about who they spend a lot of time with.  Friendships are a big influence on a young person's life.  They should be surrounded by people who have similar values and can be encouraging to them.

photography by Rachel Oswald
"It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish." Matt. 18:14
                    -Protect them.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Prov. 22:6
                  - Disciple them.

"Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character'. " 1 Cor. 15:33

                  -Help them seek out godly friendships

In addition, mothers, we need to be an example to our daughters!  If we spend more money and time getting our hair and nails done than we spend discipling our daughters, there is a problem.  We are told in Deuteronomy 6 about the time investment we must make with our children. 

"These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up."

photography by Rachel Oswald
Basically, all day.  All day, we are the ones to be setting an example and teaching our children the things of God.  All day, the Lord's words should be on our lips.  I know that I can do better in this area!

Stacy McDonald, author of "Raising Maidens of Virtue" puts it this way, when talking about Christian daughters:
"It is a Christian daughter's duty to reflect purity-- literally.  She has an obligation to be a symbol of virginity
(not the sexual type; the biblical type which means in all areas of life and attitude)*  when she walks into a room.  Why would a Christian young lady desire to masquerade as someone else--as someone who is impure?  To do so would be to lie about the very nature of Christ.  A modest young maiden makes more than a fashion statement--she makes a purity statement!"

Let's raise our daughters to set a new standard that will point the world toward the light of Christ instead of seeking the attention for themselves.  Let's raise daughters to be pleasant, servant-hearted, modest, humble, and kind.  Let's raise daughters who are emotionally stable and a blessing to any who would seek their hand.   Let's raise daughters who know the Lord and His Word, and are not afraid to stand up for it.  No compromises!!  Let's raise true daughters of the KING!

photography by Rachel Oswald

"All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.  In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you.  They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king."  Psalm 45: 13-15

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nothing is Impossible...

God spoke to me today in a very clear way, and I'd like to share it with all of you.  This week I have been praying for a loved one who is hurting.  I feel helpless.  It is difficult to see God working at all in their situation (though I know He always is).  I have been very discouraged this week, and my heart broken for them.  As I took this situation to the Lord in prayer, He made it very clear that He desires only two things from me:  prayer and obedience.  Now, obedience requires that I listen to Him, and be in His Word.  He was preparing my heart to hear what He had to say.  The amazing thing is that He used different scriptures and different people to encourage me and the message came together and was so clear!  God is amazing!!  

1. Get rid of fear.  (He told me this in Sunday School from Gene.)  Fear will hold me back from sharing the Gospel with my loved one.  It will hold me back from fully submitting to God's will.  In fear, I try to control the situation.  In faith, I recognize God's sovereignty and control over the situation. 

2. Don't give up.  God will never give up on anyone, and neither should we.  (This one is from Sunday School too, and a movie my husband and I watched last night.)  God is always pursuing people, whether they will believe Him or not, because it is in His nature that none should perish.  There is always hope.  Always.  And you never know what part of your life God is using to speak into someone else's life.  You never know when something you do or say will turn out to be eternally fruitful.

3.  Don't show the world your own version of Jesus.  (Gene again.  He thought he was being indulgent and chasing rabbits, but he was actually submitting to the Spirit and letting God speak into my life) Let Jesus show Himself through you and through His Word.  Then they will not be able to help but to see the love of God in your life.  

4.  Look at the examples of what He has already done. (From my good friend Teresa, who prayed with me).  Have there been other friends, family, or others that you have seen God change their life as they sought to follow Him?  Have you seen someone come to the Lord that you thought there was no hope for?  Look at examples from the scriptures.

5.  Expect great things, and thank Him for what he will do.  (Straight from the pulpit.  Thanks Pastor Joe!) Always be looking forward to what God is going to do!  Expect to see Him moving in their life and in yours.  Nothing is impossible!  

The biggest thing that I can do right now is commit to praying for and loving those who are hurting.

I leave you with the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns:

  1. I hear the Savior say,
    “Thy strength indeed is small;
    Child of weakness, watch and pray,
    Find in Me thine all in all.”
    • Refrain:
      Jesus paid it all,
      All to Him I owe;
      Sin had left a crimson stain,
      He washed it white as snow.

 Where we are weak, God can take over and do great things.  And the great thing is that He gets all the glory!!  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meal plan (6/21-6/27), a recipe, and other stuff...

"He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe." Prov.28:26

I had some really hard days this week.  I mean, really hard.  The kind where you are at the end of yourself, and out of answers.  Where you question everything you are doing, and wonder if you are getting anywhere. Now, I can do one of two things.  I can feel sorry for myself, because "everyone and everything is against me and I want to do things my way".  My other option is much better though.  I can admit that I cannot do this on my own, call on the Lord for help, and be thankful for my blessings.  I've experienced this enough lately to be very confident in the fact that God will give me more strength, increase blessings, and teach me to do things His way.

Now for a meal plan, and a yummy recipe for Easy Healthy Vegetable Linguine!! As always, I include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, and go Saturday through Friday.  This menu does contain dairy, and I will make substitutions for Miriam and myself where necessary.

B- Pancakes with blackberries, milk

L- Chilidogs (had much chili leftover from last week!!), green beans

(Giving a baby shower where I'm making peanut butter cookies, energy balls, and peanut butter &honey sandwiches---its a peanut themed shower.  My mom is bringing Lime Punch. Yum!)

D- Chicken fajitas (chicken, onions, bell peppers, seasoning in crockpot)

B- Cereal in milk, banana

L- Easy, Healthy Vegetable Linguine (recipe below), salad

D- Baked potatoes with chili ( again with the chili! haha)

B- Oatmeal (oats, vanilla almond milk, pure maple syrup, applesauce, cinnamon), orange juice

L- Burritos (refried beans in a tortilla, easy peasy), soft cooked carrots

D- Chicken, Green Bean, Potato Bake (Recipe on my Pinterest board)

B- Cinnamon toast, eggs, juice

L- Chicken salad on bread or lettuce, fresh pineapple chunks, pretzels

D- with our Life Group (I'm taking baked beans)

B- Cinnamon rolls, strawberries, juice

L- Spaghetti (just noodles and sauce, the way my children like it)

D- Taco salad or Soft tacos

B-Oatmeal, orange juice

L- Build-Your-Own-Salad (our rule is choose at least 2 vegetables besides lettuce), grapes or apples

D- Family Dinner Night- Grammy is making BBQ chicken and German potato salad, I'm providing steamed broccoli and buns, Mom & Dad are bringing beans, and Grammy Sharon is bringing dessert.  Our cousin Annie from New York will be an honored guest!!  Family dinner nights are the best!!!

B- Cereal with milk, bananas

L- out (grocery day)

D- Rachel's sleepover night, so lots of great sleepover foods!!!

Snacks: pretzels with peanut butter or hummus, veggies, energy balls, tortilla chips & salsa, fruit, frozen grapes, popcicles

Miriam is determined to bake a cake or cupcakes this week, so that's on the menu too, just not sure where it will fit in.  Probably for Life Group on Tuesday night.

Now, here is the recipe:

Easy, Healthy Vegetable Linguine

12oz  linguine noodles
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, juliennne
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 sprigs basil
4 1/2 c. vegetable broth (do NOT get the low sodium kind)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Grated parmesan (to garnish)

1. Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and basil in large stock pot.  Pour in vegetable broth.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes (if desired) and oregano.  Drizzle top with oil.

2. Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a low simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until almost all the liquid is evaporated.  I like to leave about 1/2 inch liquid in the bottom to stir back into the pasta.

3.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.  Stir well.  Garnish with parmesan cheese.

And just for fun, 3 months pictures of all of our children:




Leah and Levi

Sunday, June 16, 2013

But What About Fatherhood?? -by David

"Anyone can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy."  -Unknown

Really?  Seriously?  As a man, I actually loathe the statement as it implies that I could possibly be one and not the other simultaneously.  In my mind, they are one and the same, inseparable, synonymous.  Don't get me wrong, I honestly understand the implication behind the saying.  I do.  But is it right?  Is it truth?  Is this really where we want to draw the line as men?  I hardly think so!

I have been very touched today by reading the 'I love you, Daddy' or 'I love my father' or 'I miss my dad' posts on facebook.  I share many of the same sentiments!  Strangely, there seemed to be an exceedingly abundant number of them, more so than I can remember in years' past.  And it really struck me (along with the powerful message in church this morning) as to just how deeply intimate and vitally important this relationship is to ALL of us!  Without exception! (because ALL includes everything that nothing does not!)

The statistics are astoundingly sobering, any way you look at them, at what a father-less home will do to the hearts and futures of our children.  I don't have time to study and quote any specific numbers to you (remember? I have 6 kids!), but here are a few examples: a large majority of prison inmates, drug addicts, alcoholics, teen pregnancies and those who commit suicide either have major relational issues with their father or never knew him.  But why?  How can so many of these studies tie all of this back to dad?

The answer really is quite simple.  It's because God has designed a perfect order to the family, the core building block of every society.  He has placed within every man the desire and ability to be a leader, to compete, to conquer, and to triumph.  He has created us with a drive to provide and protect that which we love most.  But, He has also given us a command to love!!  We are to love our wives, our children, our families, our neighbors, and even complete strangers.  Without love, all else fails to find worth and meaning! (1 Corinthians 13:1-3,13)  Without love, leading turns to over-bearing suppression.  Without love, competition and conquering turns to hate and war.  Without love, triumph turns to bitterness and arrogance.  Without love, providing and protecting becomes utterly useless, even nearly depressing.  

So, back to the simple answer: Fathers have forgotten how to love.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "Let love be your highest goal!"  How could we have missed this, men?  Why is it not so painfully obvious to us all that what is lacking is LOVE?  Without a father's love, a child's self-worth and identity remains adrift in a sea of worldly pressures and temptations.  Without a daddy's protection, a child is left to defend himself against unbelievably powerful and subversive enemies.  Without a father's leadership and example, a child is left to define her own boundaries and morals.  Does that sound familiar?  It is not simply coincidental how we now find ourselves in a postmodern (or even post-postmodern) society full of moral relativism and decay.  It all rests on Dad's shoulders.

There is no difference between a father and a daddy, unless you can count perspective.  To me, I am both.  To my wife, I am both.  To my children, I am both.  But, admittedly, I may be more of a father than a daddy at certain times ,or, conversely, more of a daddy than a father at other times.  I believe the title 'Father' commands respect and reverence; I believe that this is a role of authority and power, and encompasses the duties of king, judge, and priest.  It is not a name that I expect to hear my children call me by, at least while they are young.  But, I know that it is who I am and NEED to be for my children while they are in my care.  On the other hand, I believe the title 'Daddy' illustrates an intimate and heart-touching relationship that is beyond description.  It is built around trust, affection, and devotion.  It may look different to different people, but it is the same principle of time spent together that lays the foundation.  I know that this is who I am and WANT to be for my children for all my life.  I have gathered this complement of 'titles' and qualities from Scripture and from my relationship with both my earthly father and my Heavenly Father.

Now, let's take a look at God's first command to Adam and Eve, the first family: Genesis 1:28 "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it..."  From this, I would like to pose an alternative to the initial quote of unknown origin above.  I think it should be "Anyone can be a multiplier, but it takes someone Godly to be fruitful."  What I mean is this: Any man can be a multiplier (you know... the birds and the bees stuff...), but only a man that has humbly submitted himself to God's authority and power can be a fruitful father!  What kind of fruit do others see in your marriage?  In your workplace?  In your home?  What kind of fruit do your own children see in you?  Do you get the implication?

Fathers, have you honestly taken responsibility for the well-being of your children and their eternal future?  Or have you abdicated your office as leader, instructor, and judge to others (wife, step-parents, school systems, etc.)?  Dads, will you not throw off the shackles of fear and pride in order to show unwavering love and affection to your children and spouse?  I know it's not easy!  I know it's often uncomfortable!  I know it's even flat-out awkward sometimes! I know it's physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting!  I know that it actually seems down-right impossible!  I know, I know, I know!!!!

But what else is even worth your time, if not fatherhood?  What else is even worth investing ALL that you have, if not fatherhood?  What else is worth seeking, sacrificing, and laboring for, if not fatherhood?  Why else did your God not spare His ONLY begotten Son, if not for eternal fatherhood?  He desires to call you His child, and for you to call him Abba father.

Happy Father's Day, Dads!!  I'm praying for you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 14-20 Mostly dairy-free menu

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters." Psalm 24:1-2 (NIV)
Found on the trail at Wildcat

Here is our next meal menu.  Again, it contains breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.  I'm also including the recipe for the energy balls, because they are just soooo yummy!!  This menu is also mostly dairy-free, with only one recipe at the very end of the week containing dairy.  

B- Banana Pancakes (unless Daddy has time to make his pancakes)

L- BLT's, tortilla chips, raw carrots and snap peas

D- Beans & Keilbasa, soft cooked carrots

Sunday: Father's Day Dad's Choice
B- Cereal (we are really liking the original flavor rice milk for our cereal)

L- Chili Dogs, BBQ chips, raw veggies

D- French toast (using vanilla soymilk), fruit salad

B- Oatmeals (using vanilla rice milk, pure maple syrup, and cinnamon)

L- Burritos (refried beans on a tortilla with non-dairy cheese), soft cooked carrots

D- Baked chicken breasts with seasoning, roasted potatoes, salad

B- Toast (peanut butter, apple butter, or raw honey), fruit, orange juice

L- Egg salad on bread or lettuce leaf, fruit salad

D- Grilling out with our Life Group

B- Peaches with granola, biscuits with raw honey

L- Dairy-free mac n cheese, mandarin oranges

D- BBQ chicken on bun, mashed potatoes, peas

B- Oatmeal

L- Ham, rice, steamed broccoli

D- Biscuits & Gravy (with sausage, and containing dairy for the gravy), fruit of choice 

B- Cereal ( with rice milk)

L- out while grocery shopping

D- Homemade pizza  (sausage, canadian bacon, pepperoni, onion, olives, mushrooms, dairy-free cheese)

Snacks: peanut butter cookies, fruit, veggies and hummus, pita bread, trail mix, energy balls (recipe below), popcicles, crackers

No-Bake Energy Balls  (from
1 cup (dry) oatmeal
1/2 cup chocolate or carob chips (optional)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix up, roll into balls, and refrigerate. 

This is some delicious raw energy right here!  Yum!  My new favorite snack.  It is easy enough that a child who is old enough to know how to measure ingredients could make these independently.  My girls have already made some.  We have made them both with and without the chocolate chips and they are still just as satisfying for that sweet tooth.  

Have a blessed week!!

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters." Psalm 24:1-2 (NIV)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sweet Sibling Fun (a post about nicknames)...

When a new brother or sister arrives in a family there is much excitement!  Especially when you have one or two that are old enough to enjoy babies.  The twins have been a huge blessing to our family, and I have to admit that they get a little spoiled by their siblings.  In fact, I have to set certain guidelines so that they do not become completely dependent on being held all day.  :o)  

Anyway, as the sibling dynamic has worked itself out over the past few months, the subject of nicknames had come up quite a bit.  They are more like pet names that only siblings make up and use.  I love to hear what they end up calling each other!  Some nicknames come from a shortening, some come from the inability of a toddler to pronounce it correctly, and still others come from a personality trait.

Rachel was always our little Rachie Bug.  Its just what flowed naturally from our lips.  Her first birthday was even a ladybug theme.  I called her "Bug" around the house, but eventually as she has become a big sister to many little siblings, she is simply "Rachie".

Miriam's nickname came from name shortening.  Miriam just became "Mim".  There have been many variations from her siblings such as "Mimmy" and "Mimmers".  Its so sweet to see how her little siblings look up to her as their "Mimmy".

Hannah's came from rhyme.  The very unoriginal "Hannah Banana".  :o)  Eventually, it was tamed down to just "Banana", and now everyone just simply says "Nanna".  Its especially sweet to hear Joel praying for his big sisters at night, saying "Thank you for Rachie, Mimmy, and Nanna."

Joel's nickname came from a mispronunciation.  Daddy often called him "Little Dude".  Well, Hannah, being only 2 1/2 at the time wanted to repeat Daddy, but it came out more like "Doodle Doot".  So since then he has been "Doodle"  or "Doodlebug".    He loves this!!

Since the birth of the twins, there have been many opportunities to try to come up with nicknames.  Levi's is still being worked out.  Miriam wanted to call him "Worm" because he is such a wiggle worm.  Mommy vetoed that one, because although it is endearing to my nature loving child, I'm not all that fond of worms.  Lately, they were calling him "Vi-vi" which somehow turned into "Bye-bye".  Daddy's not too sure about that one, but I think its cute.

Leah's, on the other hand, was pretty easy.  Joel pronounces her name with a "w" instead of an "l".  So it sounds like "Wee-ah".  Next thing you know, we are all calling her "Wee", which fits because she's such a wee tiny little thing.

In all, the sibling nickname thing is just another way to encourage their special bonds with each other.  They are used out of love and familiarity.  It is our prayer and goal to keep those special relationships in tact as they grow up, because brothers and sisters really can be best friends.  It may not be the norm, but we believe that its God's best.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Choosing joy...

I'll be honest with you.  Being a stay-at-home homeschooling wife and mother is the most challenging thing I've every done.  From the time I rise, until the time I lay down at night the "have-to's"  out-weigh the "want-to's" by about 100:1.  There are meals to make, diapers and clothing to wash, dishes to unload, children to teach, discipline to be handed out, training to be done, arguments to break up, relationships to mend, errands to run, appointments to keep, and on and on.  There is someone requiring my attention every minute of the day.

It is increasingly necessary for me to always be checking my attitude.  My attitude will carry over directly to the attitudes of the children and my husband.  The countenance of a home is dependent on that of the one who manages it (that's me). What a great responsibility!!  I've noticed that if the children are particularly cranky, a little joy on my part can turn the whole day around.  Consider these verses:

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones."  Proverbs 17:22

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit."  Proverbs 15:13

"All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast."  Prov. 15:15

When I choose joy, despite what my emotions are telling me, it lifts my spirits and the spirits of those around me.  When I choose joy, it makes me more beautiful to my husband.  When I choose joy, I am being obedient to the Lord to be thankful in all circumstances.

Now, choosing joy isn't the natural thing to for us as humans to do, therefore it is not easy.  It is a learning process that has to be practiced over and over again, by faith.  The first step is most definitely thankfulness.  When you practice being thankful for the mundane things of life, you become content.  When you are content where and with whom God has you presently, it produces the ability to become joyful.

Joy is a choice that has to be made each day.  But we cannot do it on our own. When you walk in the Spirit, in obedience to the Lord, choosing joy can, with practice, become part of who you are.  When it is part of who you are, it becomes the countenance of your home, your husband, and your children.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Mostly Dairy-Free Meal Plan...

I decided that I would start posting our weekly meal plans on here each Friday when I have time.  I know that sometimes I need some new inspiration from someone else's menu for meal preparation, so why not share my own ideas with all of you!?  This week won't have any food pictures or anything, because, well, I just don't have any :o)  I'll try to remember to take some pictures in the future though, so they can be included.  This menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.  It is mostly dairy-free as we have a daughter with lactose intolerance, and a twin showing signs of a dairy allergy (Mommy LIKES her milk, yogurt and cheese, but will give it up if it helps little Leah).  Also, I grocery shop on Fridays, so my menu plans begin on Saturday.

B:  Daddy's Pancakes with peanut butter and syrup

L:  Going to a celebration for Daddy's work

D:  Build-your-own salad (the children LOVE this)
      -lettuce, cucumbers, eggs, avocado, tomatoes, salmon, ham, onion, apples, raisins, almonds,etc.
      -we have a rule that they must choose two vegetables besides lettuce to complete their salad
      -we will use dressings such as raspberry vinagrette, italian, french, or poppyseed, plus a dairy-free                                                Ranch dressing that I found at Price Cutter

B:  Cereal (this is our go-to Sunday breakfast because it is quick and gets us to church on time)
      -we will use almond milk, rice milk, or coconut milk in our cereal

L:  Deacon Meeting lunch (not sure what I will be taking yet; probably apple salad)

D:  Shrimp Kabobs (shrimp, mushrooms, bell pepper, pineapple), steamed broccoli, homemade fries

B:  Oatmeal (Old-fashioned oats, pure maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla almond milk), orange juice

L:  Bean burritos, steamed baby carrots

D:  Tatertot Casserole (our only dairy-containing meal, because its already in the freezer), salad
      -I use the recipe on the Duggar's website

B:  Peaches with granola, sausage links, orange juice

L:  Leftovers!!

D:  Small group bible study (I'll be taking tortilla chips and salsa)

B:  Biscuits, bacon, and fruit

L:  Grilled open-faced sandwiches, cucumber slices, fruit salad

D:  PB&J roll-ups, Sunchips,  baby carrots & snap peas

B:  Oatmeal (might add raisins to the mix this time)

L:  Chicken salad on a large leaf of lettuce, fruit salad, crackers

D:  Cheese-less pizza (Canadian bacon, sausage, onion, mushrooms, kale, and bell pepper piled high!!)

B:  Cereal (again, fast breakfast because we go grocery shopping this day)

L:  We usually eat lunch at Sam's Club on grocery day (though we occasionally branch out)

D:  will be on next week's menu

fruit, veggies, hummus, peanut butter, pitas, energy balls (on my Pinterest board), trail mix (almonds, peanuts, dried fruits, raw coconut shavings, banana chips, raisins, dairy-free chocolate chips),  frozen grapes, peanut butter cookies, popcicles

So, that's the plan for this week.  If there's anything you would like the recipe for just let me know.  There are a lot of times that I just wing-it, so I'll have to try to start writing down and measuring amounts more often when I cook.  :o)

Proverbs 31:14-15  "She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls."

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our homeschool...

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Teach them diligently to your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."  Deuteronomy 6:6-7
 Our decision to homeschool was one that came upon us gradually.  It first appealed to us when we met Jonathan and Elizabeth Trotter in college.  Jonathan had been homeschooled, and at the age of about 20, he was a photographer, pilot, and on his way to a law degree via correspondence.  In other words, he was homeschooling himself through law school!  I was impressed at his ability to self-teach and study independently.  That's when I first started investigating the world of homeschooling.  I wanted my future children to have that eagerness to learn, and ability to teach themselves.  (Since then, he finished law school, passed his bar exam, went to school for nursing and worked in that field for a while.  Now he and Elizabeth are on the mission field in Cambodia, and currently studying the Khmer language.  You can read more about their adventures at

Once we had our first child, Rachel, I had done enough research to be sold on the idea of homeschooling.  I had read the above scripture many times (Deut. 6), and it definitely help solidify our decision.  The very best way, in my mind, to obey this scripture was to be with the children as they walk through life and learn each day.  This is my personal conviction.  This is my calling.  

So what does a typical day look like for us?  Here is a sample day, but keep in mind that each day is a little different.  Also, this is our schedule since the twins came.  It will be different in the fall. 

-Wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed.
-Do morning chores (make beds, start laundry, feed cats, etc.)
-Mom reads out loud
-Reading to mom
-Free play time 
-Creative pursuits (stickers, piano, crafts, coloring, etc) while Mom puts the little ones down for naps
-Seatwork at the kitchen table (handwriting, math, phonics, english, vocabulary, science workbook, etc)
-Play outside if nice, or watch movie if raining
-Afternoon chores (bathrooms, bedrooms, living areas)
-Showers or baths
-Daddy gets home
-Eat dinner while Daddy asks about school
-Tues & Thurs Astronomy activities with Daddy
-Free family time
-Get ready for bed
-Family bible time

This is a very general schedule.  There are other things here and there in between.  Plus, I did not include my housework, laundry, and meal preparation times. 

I cannot even describe the excitement that I have about ordering curriculum, preparing lessons, and planning our day.  Sometimes the plan completely flops and we end up doing things differently.  I've learned that its okay.  Other times we stay on schedule and do the norm.  Then, there are the occasional days where no one is learning anything, attitudes are all over the place, and we just leave things as they are and go to the store, mall, or park in order to break up the cycle.  The best part is that at anytime during the day we can stop what we are doing to work on character and relationships.  We can deal with heart issues as they arise.  We can have their hearts while they are still impressionable.  We can insure that they are discipled before they are sent out to be a light to the world.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Being a blessing...

Lately, the same prayer has been coming from my heart morning after morning, asking the Lord to show me how to love my husband and children well.  After several days, He gave me some revelation on my desire to love better.  He said to be a blessing!
So often, I fail in my attitudes, thoughts, desires, actions, yet God still blessed me in those times.  Aren't we supposed to love each other in the same way?  It's way too easy to dish out blessings to one another based on whether or not we feel the person deserves it.  Or to make what could be a blessing seem like a burdensome chore. So often I find myself forgetting that every pair of socks I match, every dirty diaper I change is an act of love.  I, then, must go to the Lord and let Him clean up my attitude.  I need to seek to bring blessing to my husband and children even when their attitudes, actions, and words stink.  A kind word of encouragement or a sincere smile can infiltrate the filth, and change the whole course of a day.  It is not based on the other person's performance, but rather our own willingness to obey God no matter what .  Ladies and gentlemen, let's be a blessing to our spouse's and children today, and see how the grace of God can carry over into all other areas of life.