Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home Improvement (lol)

Do you remember this?

Now it is this! Yea! It only took 3 months, but the hole is fixed.

Several months ago I posted about how I needed to see tangible change, and I listed things I wanted to accomplish over the summer. One of the things was new wall paper in my bathroom.
Now I have this...

We are down to the studs. The vanity comes out next weekend and hopefully we can get a new floor in then.

This was the order of the destruction.
Rip out old wall paper.
Identify mold under wallpaper and the need for a new window.
Identify need for new counter top.
Try to remove counter top...ruin cabinet.
Identify need for new vanity and counter top.
Take out old paneling and discover bad electrical wiring.
Rewire bathroom.
I don't know what happened today...all I know is we are down to studs. Oh, my.
Will it ever end?

Praise Jesus that my dad works at Lowe's Home Improvement and keeps an eye out for great deals.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My 12 step program to simplify

OK, maybe at this point I only have 2 steps...

Ron and I have been having great conversation about where we want our family headed. We are trying to be very purposeful in raising our children, although there have been seasons (some lasting longer than others) that we seem to just be running through life doing what needs to be done and not being purposeful about God's best for our family. So we have decided to do some things different this year. For starters we have decided to pull the kids from the home school enrichment program that we have been involved with for the past 5 years. This gives us one extra day at home. Hopefully the result will be a less hurried school time at home with extra time to do lots of hands on fun stuff. It was so convicting to me to go Tuesday night to the open house and hear the teachers talk about all the fun things they were going to do like the art projects, making applesauce, and visiting community places like the police station. I thought to myself shouldn't I be doing those things with my kids. The program has been a good experience, but I don't know it is God's best for this time, thus the change. We are also opting to give up Awana. (I will not bore you with my Awana speech.) This will give me Sunday afternoon to get ready for the week ahead. I think these are both good changes to start with. Ron and I are also reading Family Driven Faith together at night as well as going through this series of videos.

On a little side note...
I went to dinner with a friend last night and bought this totally cute jacket. Originally $60 on sale for $9.99. Insert happy dance ;o) Won't this be so cute with a little thermal under it this fall?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This and that

I was so surprised last night when my family noticed my little sanctuary things. All six family members commented on how yummy the chicken soup smelled and three people noticed the quiet music. That was a huge encouragement to keep working on creating sanctuary here at home.

Here is the menu for the rest of the week:
Tuesday: Pizza from Costco - I have a late meeting
Wednesday: Church dinner; I have no idea what they are making
Thursday: Tacos
Friday: Fajitas

I would like to start planning Sunday lunch too. We usually go out with either set of grandparents, but this has started to change so I need to be prepared.

This has been an unusually quiet day. The kids are enjoying the last day of Summer vacation with their friends in the neighborhood. They all start back to school tomorrow. We will do some school housekeeping Wed and Thurs but not really start back until next week after Labor Day.

I have spent the day cleaning up, doing laundry and working on lesson plans. Tomorrow will seem so strange with all the kids in the neighborhood gone all day. I am sure to hear 'I'm bored' at least once tomorrow. Emma (14) has some testing in the morning and I have a meeting with a high school counselor to go over some credit questions in the afternoon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back to basics

With the start of the school year I, like so many of you, are taking a look at what is working in my life and what is not. It is so funny to me that in the Spring I am ready for the 'laid back days of Summer' with relaxed schedules and fun filled adventure days and yet when Fall comes I am so needing to get back into a routine. I have been over to The Lyla Blog and she got me thinking about how to intentionally create sanctuary in my home. There are some things that I intentionally do, but with Summer I have let go.

*Create weekly menus - This Summer I have really let this go. Instead I have opted for the easy instead of what is best. I am committed to doing this every week. My family is so much better off when I do.

*Keep on schedule with cleaning routine. I have certain days that I clean or do housekeeping, for example; changing sheets on Monday. I have also let this go this Summer.

*Play peaceful music in the evenings. I try to play something soothing while I am fixing dinner. Although it may not be everyone's music of choice, including mine, it creates a peaceful atmosphere and calms. My favorite is an acoustic worship CD.

*Bake more. I think the smells of home cooking do wonders for everyone. It makes my hubby smile and the kids love it when there is something yummy to look forward to.

*Spend a few minutes everyday straightening things. This helps get rid of piles around the house. Don't wait until things pile up, tackle them right away. Especially junk mail.

*Light more candles. This goes right along with the music and baking in creating a mood.

*Limit blogging time and telephone time. During the school year I try to limit blog time to before the kids go to bed and after they are asleep as well as keep phone time to a minimum. This Summer it has been all over the place.

What do you do to create sanctuary for your family in your home.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It has officially begun

I think #2 is mighty handsome ;o)

Friday, August 22, 2008


It is that time of year when I am pouring through books and teachers manuals trying to get a handle on educating the four older kids. Trying to understand how to use the books, the assignments, and the lesson schedules. It is a lot of work. Good, but work. In this process the Bible/Spiritual discipline that I have chosen to use this year for Emma (13) led us to look at something for Eli(11). It is called J12. Ron has been looking at it and is very excited about it. Its main mission is to expect more out of kids at a younger age. It uses the verses about Jesus who at 12 said 'I must be about my Father's business'. All this to say that through this site I read an article about the state of 'Tweens' today.


Here are some facts:
*Kids are spending more time on TV and computers, and less time in active play. (no surprise here)
*Tweens are being diagnosed with risk factors for heart disease and other adult diseases like Type 2 Diabetes.
*Tweens are the fattest and most unhealthy in history.
*Kids are now having their first concert experience at 5 or 6 when a generation ago it was at 11 or 12.
*Girls on the average are entering puberty a full two years earlier than 10 years ago.

I think all these go together to some extent.

The article I read goes on to say:

1. They are getting older younger.
Scorning any symbols of their immaturity tweens now cultivate a self image that emphasizes the time they are 12, children describe themselves as flirtatious, se*y, trendy, athletic, and cool" ( So long toys, now they want cell phones.

2. They are getting faster quicker.
Kids start playing organized sports now at 4 or 5 with parents wanting them to specialize at 7 or 8. USA Today

3. They are getting sadder sooner.
Our kids live in an uptight world. Eating disorders are being reported among the 12 and under gang with increasing frequency. Depression driven diets are producing an epidemic of tween obesity.

4. They are staying younger longer.
Although this may sound like a contradiction, although they are getting older faster, they are staying immature longer. The Duke of Windsor was asked a question about what impressed him about America. His answer "The way parents obey their children"

This is such a battle for believing parents. It makes me so sad for not only my children, but the kids I know that fall into this category. I know this does not have to be the rule, but it is a hard battle to fight. To fight against the world. The article went on to say that as Christian parents we have settled for the 'prodigal model' as the norm, instead of the 'Jesus model'. Sometimes I feel like an alien living on this planet. Oh wait, I am ;o)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tuesday evening Eden (10) asked if she could pop some microwave popcorn. I was blog hopping and said 'sure'. I am not sure what exactly happened, but 3 minutes later she had a big mess. Smoke billowing out of the microwave, lovely. Our house still smells like an ashtray even with baking soda and vinegar working overtime.

On another note, my hubby recently signed up on facebook. I am a little jealous when I check my email and see another 'friend' has added him, or he has yet another message. I don't have a facebook, but I am thinking I want one. He doesn't even update his page or check his email. I totally don't get it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Why Blog Part 2

I first learned about blogging two years ago while we were waiting for the adoption referral of our daughter Ella. While I could not sleep at night I would read other families stories about how they journeyed through adoption. It was such an encouragement to me to read of these families who also loved the Lord and felt they were obeying God’s commands to care for the orphan in this way.

Blog hopping from the adoption blogs led me somehow to Kim @ Lifesong. She was the first non-adoption blog that I read daily. Her sweet spirit and love for the Lord inspired me to be a better wife and mom. From her I found many others that have been such jewels (Lisa Writes, Deo Volente, One Day More). Reading these womens' blogs were such an encouragement to my walk as a wife and mother. So in March 2007 I took the plunge and started my own blog. I was surprised at how scary it was. Who would read it? What if no one read it? This was my first post.

I will not bore you with more links to my daily reads since they are all listed on the side bar, but there are some others that I have found that even though I do not read every day, I still enjoy dropping in from time to time depending on what I am looking for.

Aroma of Joy - (I found Joy through Jamie)
Baby Bangs
Diary of a Stay at Home Mom - Lots of yummy recipes!
The Organizing Junkie - Lots of organizing helps
Bring the Rain - Most of you know about this one already, but she blesses my socks off

So there you go, those along with the ones in my side bar, they make blogging fun and worthwhile. I have a whole other list for homeschooling helps ;o)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Why Blog

Recently I have run into several people that are acquaintances that in the course of the conversation they will make some comment about reading something on my blog. This is so strange to me, that people outside of my little blog list would care to read anything that I have to say. But it has also made me think about why I do this.

So WHY BLOG? All of our lives are very busy and filled with all sorts of activities; family, church, sports, camps, classes, friends, jobs, lessons, etc. Why fill my time with one more thing to do? I go to church with most of my close friends. We try to get together once a week for coffee that lasts about one hour. That one hour is not nearly enough time to really connect with someone. To really hear their heart and know what is going on in their lives. Our time at church is usually filled with smiles and a quick ‘hello’ as we pass each other in the hall as we are herding our children where they need to be to trying to get were we are supposed to be (I think I spoke to my good friend Beth yesterday for a whole 2 minutes) . I was longing for some sort of community; to be able to connect with others. Blogging does that for me. I can drop in on someone at any time and see what is going on in their family, what they are cooking for dinner, what they need prayer for, pictures of what they are doing with their family, whatever. It gives me a feeling of really knowing what is going on.

Blogging also gives me an opportunity to complete a thought. Much of the time I feel like I have old-timers. You know where you cannot complete one thought. Most of my thoughts feel like fragments. I enjoy sitting down and putting something out here when it has some substance. In a way, I guess it gives me a sense of identity. So much of my life is a support role (wife, mom, teacher, friend, etc) that I enjoy knowing that I have not lost myself completely and there is something of worth still in my brain. Luke 6:45 says ‘Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’. Hopefully what flows from these posts is a blessing to you and glorifying to God. I certainly try to share my heart and what God has been teaching me. It also gives me a way to articulate what God is doing in my life. I think it is a much clearer picture of what is going on in my heart and life than just running into a friend and chatting for a moment at Target.

Really I don’t think blogging is unlike any other hobby. It works for me. It costs absolutely nothing. There is not a mess to clean up. There are no supplies to buy or store. I can do it whenever I have free moments, anytime day or night. For this season I am in, it works. The fact that I have met some great women who encourage, inspire, make me laugh and make me think is just icing on the cake! Kim @ Mercy Days commented the other day that someone said 'Blogging was ridiculous. Who would have time for that?' I have to admit that blogging can become consuming and I have been known to spend way too much time checking blogs, but I also have come up with an system for myself to to keep me accountable and help that not to happen. I assume there would be the same risks with any other hobby such as scrapbooking, quilting, photography, fitness or whatever. I wouldn’t know since I really have no other hobbies ;o) But I have also spent too much time talking on the phone, gardening, painting, cleaning, etc. Everything in moderation right?

Tomorrow I will give you a few blogger that I have enjoyed reading over the past couple years.

So, what are you thoughts? Why blog?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Shout out!

Hey y'all. Leslie is a lurker no more! Stop by Confessions of a shoe junkie and give her a warm bloggy welcome!


With my previous rambling thoughts on the new school year and all that comes with it, I came across these two timely posts.

RachelAnne @ Home Sanctuary has some great thoughts on how to really take control of your family's schedule. I give a loud AMEN SISTER to everything she says. This is so very hard to implement, but so necessary to do.

Girl Talk has been doing a series of posts on home making. If you are not a regular reader of these gals I encourage you to stop over. The Mahaney women are solid biblical gals. I have read Carolyn's books Feminine Appeal, and Shopping for Time. I have also read a couple of her husband CJ's books and would recommend any of them.

I have a thought rolling around in my head for a post on Monday that I am going to title 'Why Blog?'. I am sure that you can hardly wait to hear what I have to say. Sitting there on the edge of your seat. I would really like y'all to stop by and share your thoughts on this little post. It would make me ever so happy ;o)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ramblings of the week

Where has the week gone? Our family has had some yucky Summer bug so all but one of us has been down most of the week. The lone teen has isolated herself in her room, I am sure just to keep safe from infection ;o)

I have sat down to post several times and nothing comes. I have a lot of rambling thoughts

*Steven Curtis Chapman - WOW! What a testimony his family has been. I have seen the GMA video, the Larry King interview, and now the People magazine article. The strength of this family is truly inspiring. I hope if my family is ever faced with anything like this we also will rise and bless the name of God.

*Little Ana Hall - A two-year old spit fire who is in the hospital. This family and their extended family are so dear to us. Say a little prayer for Ana.

*A new school year - I am always so excited about starting a new year. It is better than New Year's Day for me. So much promise. I have spent much time considering what to do, how to do it, new things to try, dead weight to ditch. I thought it funny how with each new book that I receive for the kids I always think it holds all the answers to make them love learning. I find myself thinking 'this is it!, the thing to solve all learning woes!' When the reality is...probably not, and Eli will probably never enjoy grammar no matter what I use. ;o)

*Church - New year, Eli is now in the youth group. Argh! Wondering what the next year holds in our church life.

*Emma is going to be a freshman. A FRESHMAN! I can not believe how the time has flown. I never thought I would home school this long, but I am so thankful that I have had all this time with my kiddos.

*Pain of some hurting friends and family. Life is just so hard sometimes. As much as I love and feel for these dear people, sometimes you just have to walk your journey alone. Hopefully with a lot of cheerleaders on the sidelines cheering you on.

*Kate - How awesome that she will someday hear her Momma say the words 'I love you and chose you to be mine'. God has brought you so far little one. Do you know how much you are loved?

*Weight is not coming off fast enough. In fact I think I may be at a plateau. So what does that mean? Work harder? Argh. I didn't loose anything last week and really don't expect any change tomorrow with weigh in.
OK, I lost a 1/2 a pound.

Ramble, ramble, ramble. I has been a full week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A bloggy thing

A bunch of blogging buddies and a couple lurkers went to dinner tonight at Red Robin. Kim was our international star of the night. As you can see below she got her Bonzai Burger that she had been longing for for the past year. The food, service, conversation and company were wonderful.

Here is a picture of us outside Red Robin. Our friend Lynsey took off before we could snap her picture. Back row: Christy, Tricia, & Beth
Front row: Wendi, Carol, Kim, Me, Lori, and our friend/lurker Leslie ;o)

We missed Ginger who has recently moved across the country. And Jamie who couldn't make it tonight. We will have to do it again soon!


For any of you that did not have the chance to see this on Good Morning America.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

This and that

Today was day two of Vacation Bible School. I feel like I am totally getting off easy since I am just helping with crafts. I am sure I feel that way because I totally am getting off easy.

Doesn't that just make you feel like you are visiting the islands? Me either.

In other news...
Ron is sick. Too many weeks of going at the speed of life has caught up with the old man.

School is just around the corner. Very exciting stuff around here. Emma is starting high school so I am trying to make sure that we have all our ducks in a row. I have met with an advisor a couple times already. It seems not only are we doing OK, but we are a bit ahead of the game. This is a great relief to me as the teacher. Books are starting to arrive via the big brown van. I love opening the new packages and seeing all the great books with hopeful anticipation. This year we will be schooling a 9th grader, 6th grader, 5th grader and a 2nd grader. I am excited to try a couple new things this year. Back to school always reminds me of a line in the movie 'You've Got Mail' that talks about a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils and the smell of scotch tape.

I have been thinking about getting back into routine and schedule. In someways I am looking forward to it and in other ways I feel like the summer past too quickly. Even though there are only a few weeks left of summer I want to really enjoy them. Jamie has inspired me to get out the fire pit (that we have had for the past year yet never used) and roast some marshmallows. Yum.

Thursday night some blogger girls are going out to dinner in honor of our international blogging friend who is here visiting. It should be lots of fun. I am really looking forward to it. So any of you lurkers that are reading have til Thursday to become bloggers, then you are invited to come along. ;o) If you are reading this Ginger, we will miss you.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Complaint free?

This has been a hard Summer. (My real life friends are now saying "There she goes whining again.") I have been a whiner this summer. I hate whining. I hate to hear it and I hate it when I do it.

As I was perusing the blogs today I came across this graphic from I will take it Lord, all You have to give (appropriate title for today)

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Hmmm...not showing much of any of these. Evidence that I am not living in the Spirit.

This woman amazes me. I have read much about the life of Ruth Bell Graham. Both that which she wrote herself and also what others of her. She inspires me. Inspires me to be better than I am. Although my husband is not Billy Graham, he has been called into ministry. I thought I was marrying an engineer...and got a youth pastor.

One thing I have struggled with this summer has been being the one at home. Not that I don't want to be here, sometimes it just feels like I am more of a maid and taxi service than anything else. Like everyone else is living life and I am just cleaning up after it. Laundry, meals, housework, etc.

Ruth Graham gave up her aspirations of being a missionary to China to serve her family. And WOW look at the results. I can't imagine what it was like to be busily raising kids and have Billy phone home and tell her about the people he was meeting, the places he was seeing, and to witness God moving to mightily.

From all I have read she is described as spirited and spunky. I wonder if she ever lost it with her kids? If she ever felt likes she was missing out on life? If she ever wondered if what she was doing at home really mattered for God? Did she ever resent Billy? Or God for her position or lack of of it?

As I was cleaning my nightstand I had to laugh. These were the titles of books:
The Power of a Positive Mom by Karol Ladd
Faithful Women and their Extraordinary God by Noelle Piper

Attitudes of a Transformed Heart by Martha Peace


How about instead:
The Impact of a Crabby Momma?
Fickle Woman Resisting God?
Attitudes of a Selfish Heart?
All written of course by yours truly.

This is my pattern. Start of strong trusting and leaning on God for strength and then somewhere along the way when things get tough and long, I trust in my own strength and lean on my own understanding. The results are not pretty. I apologize to my real life friends who have seen me at my worst this summer. I have treasures in you for putting up with me. This time the enemy did turn up the heat on me. Circumstances a little longer and a little tougher than in the past, and I failed.

I woke with a renewal this morning. Circumstances have not changed, but my heart some's a start.

Last Sunday the Pastor told us he was going to be preaching on complaining and asking us to wear this

I said right then and there "Forget that. I won't wear one." Ugly I know. (not the bracelet, my attitude)

But today, nearly a week later, I think I will try. It will be good for my heart. And for your ears (eyes) ;o)