Monday, December 29, 2008

Weekly Update

1. Still relishing Christmas a bit around here. It was really nice. Nick had 4 days off in a row. The gifts we gave and got were fun. I'm still enjoying looking at and smelling my Christmas tree. I was feeling a little down last night about it all being over, but the short week this week will be nice, and there are lots of other things to look forward to. We're running Maeve ads again, so new work is one thing I'm excited about...

2. Nick and the girls got colds after the day of candy. No big shocker there. I always feel like we're the last ones to get it, but eventually some opportunity to eat tons of sugar presents itself, and we get hit with it too. At least everyone seems better today, after a regimen of prayer and various concoctions over the weekend.

3. We made the decision last night to shut off our satellite. We've known this was needed for quite some time, and frankly I'm glad the decision is made. We get just a couple channels out here without it, but I am honestly looking forward to the quiet, and the blessing it will be to our family long-term. Is it easier to park my children in front of the tv? Yes. Definitely. Do I feel good about it? No. Absolutely not. Honestly, my kids enjoy watching princess movies and Veggie Tales more anyway...

4. We have no New Year's plans. We'll probably either end up at my parents' or just put the kids to bed and drink sparkling cider on the couch. :)

5. The cute little cottage across the street still isn't rented....know anyone who needs a place to live?

6. It's supposed to be 50 degrees here today! Backyard, here we come!

Hope you have a great day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Waste

I've been pondering this concept for quite a while. I agree with the author of this post - God doesn't seem to care much about "wasting" things. On the one hand it's frustrating - God seems unhurried, unworried, not careful to us at times. When we have things that seem to be big problems, He takes His sweet time working out the answers.

But, if you think about it, the entire world belongs to Him. All the money that exists. All time - eternity. All love, all peace, all forgiveness...it all belongs to Him. I don't think I'd be concerned either...hmmm...I'm a child of God...maybe I shouldn't be concerned either?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Afterward

We had the nicest Christmas I remember in years. Fun church service on Christmas Eve, PF Chang's takeout for dinner, wonderful time opening presents with the girlies, wonderful time with my family at my parents, quiet afternoon, and (another) Chinese dinner with my family last night. Aside from the overtired temper tantrums when it was time to leave my parents' house, we had a remarkable shortage of arguments, falling apart, etc. It was fun and peaceful.

Now for grocery shopping, gift exchanging, paycheck depositing, and various other things that must be taken care of today. Hope you and your family had a great time!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas


May the peace of God guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cute Hair Bows

I'm forever trying to figure out what to do with my girls' hair. Hair is not really my strong point. (I like to have a hair style that has something it "does" so I never have to think about it, just do the same thing every day.) But I have not been able to bring myself to give my kids that kind of hair style.

These are the cutest little bows. Let me know if you get some and how you like them!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Update

OK, so I finished writing about how my kids wouldn't go to sleep, told them one more time to be quiet, laid down on the couch, and woke up 1 1/2 hours later after a great nap. See? Life isn't so bad. :)

Stream of consciousness

-My students are 21 minutes late. Does this mean they're not coming? Maybe. Maybe not, with them. It's kinda the week to forget.
-Hannah does not want to nap today, and she's keeping Audrey up. Audrey has been crying at the drop of a hat for three days. That might have something to do with all the running around we've been doing. She's not used to it. They are quiet for the moment. Oh, I hope they will sleep!
-I made flatbread today. I figure if I can't come up with any bread that works for us, at least we can have something to eat sandwiches on. I used rice, millet, teff, and sweet rice flour, and they are crispy and just the slightest bit sweet. I had one with avocado and turkey for lunch. Yum.
-Spent the morning organizing. Our small house gets overrun with the smallest amount of excessive junk. Had to move the filing cabinet so I could put bills in it easier, clean out the drawers in the kitchen. Got rid of three piles in the kitchen, still gotta tackle two more. I don't intend for piles to gather, but they just do. Why is that? Paper multiplies in my house.
-Trying to decide what to do about excessive toys in our house. I like Shelly's idea about trading out old things for new things. We don't have space for junk, nor do they play with lots of their stuff, nor do I really want them to focus on accumulating things. But my kids will cry if I make them give their things away. Is that okay? I wish there was a more "personal" way to give things away - so they could see the faces of the children who will receive the toys, rather than just impersonally dropping them off at Goodwill. Thoughts?
-I found a pre-made frosting that we can actually eat at the health food store, and it has been sitting in my fridge just waiting for cookies all week. Have I made cookies? Nope. Are they calling to me? Yep. Maybe these with a few tweaks? I found GF sprinkles too...
-Why do I love Facebook so much? Seriously. Sara, SHUT IT DOWN!!
-Looks like the students are not coming...32 minutes late now, for a 45 minute lesson. I'm off the hook!
-Why are my kids talking again? *Sigh* Their schedule got totally out of whack this weekend.
-Tonight we have to go find more gifts. I love giving gifts, but often feel inept at picking them out. I have had many friends with this incredible knack for knowing what would be perfect, even if it's inexpensive. That is not my talent.
-Non-naptime days are SO frustrating to me. I feel like I need the quiet time in order to function, and they most definitely need it or they will fall apart all evening. I have always said that even when my kids were done taking naps, I would continue to do quiet time every day because I need it and they need it. My mom used to lay down with us when we wouldn't settle down. I find with Hannah that makes it worse. I love her determination. God made her that way. But she is more stubborn that I am. It is so hard for me to outlast her, and trying to avoid the conflict doesn't seem to work either. I get really sad about it some days.
-Whew. Must be time to go spend some time with God. Well, I was due for a "real" post, I suppose. :) Most days go well, some do not.

Microbusinesses?

I often read business-related blogs. I figure I'm running a business with absolutely NO formal business training - I better learn anything I can! I came across this today, and thought of all of us stay-at-home moms. Do you have something you can sell? Etsy is one place you can set up handmade products stores, with no up-front cost. I'm pondering this...

Love this

Weekly Update


Whew. We are a bit groggy around here. This week was, frankly, insane, and full of events which will never make it to the blog. But we made it. God is faithful. We're still standing.

1. My mom watched the girls Friday night so we could have a date. I love spending time with my husband. We went to dinner, and hit a couple of stores and Starbucks before heading back. I have been wanting a Nativity set since we got married, but they are always so pricey! Well, at Kirkland's, we found this beautiful ceramic set for $11. Love it. They had SO many of these and other really inexpensive ones. It was very exciting. :)

2. Saturday my sister and brother-in-law watched the girls so we could Christmas shop. We braved Toys 'R' Us, which was a madhouse. We found cute things that I think the girls will love. I'm excited. I also saw all kinds of toys without BPA, phalates, or lead paint. They also are selling unfinished wooden cars and blocks. Maybe soon we will all have the ability to buy safe toys without expensive catalog ordering?

3. Nick and I gave each other our gifts already. It was funny - we knew what we got, and we both really wanted to have our gifts, so we lasted a few hours and finally just said OK, HAND IT OVER! Our self-control is incredible, I tell ya. Nick got some accessories for his phone that will allow him to put his schedule on there and use his phone as an MP3 player, and I ended up getting a parallel Bible (KJV, Amplified, RSV, NIV together-I love reading the Bible this way!) so far, with something else to come.

4. Sarah, one of my best friends from high school, is in town for Christmas. I don't think we've seen each other since graduation. She and her husband Matt have an adorable baby girl named Sophie. It looks like we're getting together tomorrow! Sarah and I were the main student accompanists for our (award-winning, I might add) concert choir, although Sarah could run circles around me classically. :) Because we were both learning to read all 4 staves of the SATB music, she usually played the women's parts, and I usually played the men's parts - sitting side by side on the bench. We would often smash each other's fingers, or end up all tangled up. I have such fond memories of that, although I remember some tears over accompanying as well. Anyway, excited to see Sarah.

5. Oh. My. Goodness. It is COLD! I'm thankful for boots, gloves, coats, and warm Christmas jammies. The heat has been running so much that we're running a humidifier nonstop and it barely keeps up. It gets dry up here! At least a dry 2 degrees feels better than a humid 2 degrees...right?

6. Maeve wedding this weekend - Tarah's dress turned out beautiful! Here's a sneak peak - thanks, Megan for the pics!


Alrighty, time to go tackle the dishes and house. I figure with Christmas on Thursday, and a half day of work for Nick on Wednesday, we're halfway through a normal Wednesday already this morning. Did you follow that? Ha. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Raw Milk Vote

On Obama's website there is a whole list of suggestions people have made--issues for Obama's administration to work on. One of them is to legalize the sale of raw milk. Now, some of you could educate ME on raw milk, but here's what I know:

1. Raw milk contains the enzymes that make digestion easier, pasturization kills these enzymes.
2. There is very little danger (if any!) in drinking raw milk (many people do it every day!) if you get it from places that keep their equipment clean. In fact, the milk itself is somewhat sterilizing, if I understand correctly.
3. Many, many people get around the law by selling "shares" of their animals, in exchange for a certain amount of milk per week. We bought a share for a while after I had to wean Hannah early. So it's actually happening anyway...just not in stores.

Anyway, if you're interested in voting, here's the link. It only needs 111 more votes to make it to the second round...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Um, yuck!

Please tell me this is a joke...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh good grief...

Christmas Party


We had our small group Christmas party last night. These are not great pictures, but they actually capture the chaos rather well. :) We did a gift exchange for the kids, and a good time was had by all...with a few minor meltdowns toward the end. :)




Tuesday, December 16, 2008

wordle.com

Check this out - it creates an image of the most frequently used words in the last page of your blog. Pretty nifty! Interesting to see what I've been talking about most. :P (Click to see it larger)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekly Update

Christmas Shoes


I don't feel like doing this today. Not sure why. Maybe I'll figure it out?

1. My Gramma is here this weekend from Southern CA. We've been having fun hanging out and eating out. It's been a long time since we've seen her. Wish Grampa could have come too. She bought the girls their Christmas outfits, and even got me a pair of warm boots. I'm very grateful!

2. We finally got the tree and decorations up this weekend. It feels a lot more like Christmas. Getting the tree up was an adventure in and of itself...the trunk of the tree wouldn't fit in the stand we had, so Nick had to go back to Walmart (a 30-40 minute roundtrip) and get another one. By the time we got it all up, it was...later than I care to admit. The girls were very tired Sunday, as Hannah lately gets up at 7:15 no matter what time she goes to bed. (Why do kids do that?) Like I told one friend, life provides much better material than movies...

3. I keep searching for a bread recipe we can eat. I have another one I'm going to try. It will have to be more like quick bread because of no yeast, which just doesn't have the sandwich bread consistency I wish we could find. Our health food store no longer seems to carry the one brand of bread we could eat, so we're going without. I miss my toast and almond butter - one of my favorite snacks!

4. We had our first real business crisis on Saturday. At what should have been her final fitting, the bride tried on the dress and the seamstress who put the zipper in had made the dress too small to zip up. I looked over at Holly as she was trying to get it to zip and my stomach dropped when I saw the look on her face. This bride's wedding is this coming Saturday. It can and will be fixed in time, but with several hours of work. We usually aim to be finished with gowns a month in advance, but did this dress in two months total, because of their short engagement. Whew. Stress? Just a little. I'm just glad it can be fixed...

5. We have two Christmas parties this week, both with (lots of) kids. I think the goal is at least partially organized chaos...if we hit that for an hour, we have succeeded. :)

6. The cottage across the street from us is for rent again. It is 700 sq ft, 2 bed 1 bath for $600 a month. It has a fenced yard, and looks (from the outside) like they take pretty good care of it. Somebody who's not a weirdo, please come rent this! :)See how cute it is?

OK, I think I'm done for today. Just feeling a little burnt out and tired. Maybe I'll go cuddle my kiddos and watch Little Einsteins for a while... :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More on Giving Yourself a Break

Another great post I saw today...

Cutting Yourself a Break

David and Becky Grothe, the marriage and family pastors at church, came to our small group to visit last night. We had been wanting some older couples around to encourage us, and they so graciously volunteered to come, even during the busy Christmas season! As we talked with them, I had to ask a question that has been bugging me for months.

"What do you do when you're too tired to be nice anymore?"

Everyone chuckled a bit, as I expected. What parent of young children has not felt that way?

Their response surprised me.

I expected a long speech about asking God for strength, taking a minute to pray, reading your Bible more... What Becky said was to relax the expectations on yourself. She started telling stories about just sprinkling Cheerios on the carpet for her twins to pick up, because they would end up there anyway; about her feeling of shame over her small house and old furniture. She said having peaceful happiness is more important than a clean house. Don't do more house-keeping (or other stuff!) than allows you to be kind and happy with your children.

Then, I opened up my reader today and saw Kim's post about the same thing.

I have been concerned about the habits our children form, based on what they see while growing up. Obviously we don't want to raise our kids thinking it's okay to live like pigs. However, personally, when my kids are grown I would much rather their houses be messy than constantly tense, overworked, unhappy, and tired. Striking the balance between an appropriate level of cleanliness and not overworking ourselves is a tough thing, but I'm grateful for the "permission" to have a messy house. Thoughts?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Noise, Again

More wisdom from Seth Godin today...

I have noticed that when I get the most stressed, feel the most overwhelmed, the most discontent, and am the most mean to my kids (um, yesterday comes to mind-bad afternoon/evening for us); is when I am reading everything I can get my hands on, on the internet. Our brains are not meant to process as much information as is available to us. So how do we make it stop? Do we go on internet fasts? Do we give ourselves time limits (that we will inevitably break)? Do we do away with the internet altogether (not really an option, I don't think)?

Thoughts?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Noise

Love this quote from Seth Godin: "And most of all, get straight on who you are trying to please, and why."

Hebrew vs. Greek Thought

I found this fascinating. Some of it is probably somewhat biased, but it's not intended by the author to be an objective reporting. The things that are most important to know are different between Hebrew thought and Greek thought. Many homeschoolers are moving back toward Hebrew ways of teaching their children, for obvious reasons.

Weekly Update


Story behind this one: the girls played outside yesterday while Nick put the Christmas lights on the house, and when I looked out the window this is what I saw. That's what we get for being too lazy to put the top back on the sandbox during last week's snowstorm...Audrey sure thought this was fun. It was ICY water...she's nuts! :) (Don't worry, I cleaned her up and got her warmed up right after I took this. :)

1. Nick and I got to have a date night last night! It had been nearly three weeks. We like to try for weekly, but we've been missing our piano lesson/babysitting exchange because our babysitter needed to take a break from lessons for the holidays. We split dinner at PF Chang's, and then went to Starbucks and then wandered around Barnes and Noble for a while. It was really nice. I like my husband...a lot. :)

2. Potty Training. Whew. Hannah has continued to resist training, and it's obvious she's ready. Plus she'll be 4 in April. So finally the other night I looked up potty training resistance, and found an entire school of thought on the psychology behind potty training. They say that when it becomes a power struggle (as it has) that the best way to end it is to drop out. Quit talking about it, quit reminding, and just make them clean up the mess (of course that's only their perception - really you help clean up, but make them take off wet pants and put on dry ones). So, we're trying it. They say that since the parents don't control their children's bladder, you have to make the child responsible for it. She really doesn't like having to change her wet pants herself (which is weird because she'll walk around in a wet diaper most of the day if I let her), so at this point she just holds it all day (I still make her go at bedtimes) and has about three BIG accidents. It's been two days. I Guess this is improvement? We'll try it for a week and see how it goes...

3. We had a fitting for Maeve on Saturday. It went really well - the dress is going to be the best one yet! And we got a pleasant surprise last week - a free office! My dad moved his small business out of his basement and into an office space last week, and there is a tiny closet of an office in his suite that he's letting us use for free. It gets us out of Holly's basement, and gives us a place to meet clients. Works for us! From a basement to an office, even a small one, definitely a move up! Final fitting on that gown is next Saturday!

4. Saturday was quite the day for us. After the fitting, I ran home and got the girls down for an early nap, then we went to a late lunch for my brother's birthday. When we got home it was almost time to get ready for the Christmas Tree Lighting. By 8pm I was fried, big time. What do you do when you get too tired to be nice anymore? Ideally, I think we would avoid getting that tired and quit while we're ahead, but there are some days it can't be avoided. I'm really interested in thoughts on this one...

Oh, and we got cute pictures at the Christmas thing, in spite of the bad light in the building...


And it was so fun to see some of our small group friends there! I tried to get pictures of them but none of them turned out.

4. On Thursday my Grandma ("Gramma") arrives to visit from SoCal. I'm excited to see her and to have my kids hang out with her. We're going to drive up to the airport with my mom to pick her up.

5. Finished a shirt for the stuffed bunny last week...hopefully I can get more done this week. It's cute so far!

6. I tried this bread recipe this weekend, in my never-ending quest for bread we can eat. It's not my favorite. It has that sandpapery texture from LOTS of rice flour, and I haven't yet figured out how to keep it from burning in the toaster. One good thing about it - it doesn't get that gooey center that so many GF breads get. Yuck! And it is free of gluten, dairy, soy, egg, and yeast...although all that potato starch isn't the best idea either...

7. Keeping my house clean: I have always appreciated FlyLady, but my complaint has been that my days are never the same. I don't get to go through the same routine every day, and I certainly can't follow a schedule. So, I was reading this the other day, and came upon an idea. What if I could combine the best parts of flylady with her list idea? So, I made a basic daily list for myself. On it I have the things that I need to do each day, along with places to write in two cleaning chores for the day, and a project from my list of projects to be done around here. So, my morning list looks like this currently:
Breakfast
Dishes
Feed Animals
Shower
Dressed
Hair & Makeup
Girls Dressed
Girls Hair
Make Beds
Exercise
Chore:
Chore:
Project:
Then I have some blank lines at the bottom to add more things. (Or else to write down things I've had to do and cross them off to make me feel good...come on, you know you do it too!)

So far this has been working better than anything I've ever tried. Between the kids' needs, I have a hard time staying on task to finish what I need to. When I have a list I can say, "Where was I? Oh yes..." and be right back on task. And, I can tailor it to what I want done the most. Last week my dirty windowsills were bugging me, so working on them with the magic eraser made the list. That would never come up in the flylady daily assignment, and often that assignment either does not need to be done in my house, or it's something that is low on the priority list to me. Without sounding so domestic that it's goofy, I've actually been wearing an apron over my clothes and keeping the list in my pocket. I remember I'm at work (without wearing shoes - another thing I rebel against with flylady :), I have a place to carry things, and my clothes don't get dirty while I clean. Heh...listen to me going on and on. I'm kind of excited about this. Enough about that.

I should probably go get started on my list, come to think of it. This is LONG today... Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Everywhere!

You know how when God is teaching you something, suddenly everywhere you look, there the message happens to be? Came across this today. Read it. It's wonderful.

And then read The Search for Significance.

And then read or listen to The War is Over. (He's on TV, teaching about that right now at like 6 in the morning too.)

And then...well, you missed it. The pastor at the tiny Presbyterian church I play for talked about it a couple weeks ago.

And read Hebrews 9 and 10. And Ephesians.

And listen to Pastor Brady's Sermon on the Older Brother Syndrome.

I'm still not sure what to say, and I've been processing all of these for 6 months. I have spent all of my life as the older brother from the parable, thinking I had to do a list of things in order to be accepted, and still was not. I couldn't understand why life was so hard when I had done everything right. I found myself punishing people around me for their shortcomings, but it was only because of my acute awareness of my own shortcomings. At times, the guilt and shame I had over my sin was almost suffocating. Good thing I never feel into real rebellion - it might have killed me not just spiritually but emotionally and physically too!

I have been and am still being changed from the inside out by the truth of who God is. Jesus' sacrifice is complete - it wiped out all my sin, forever. I am, as Search for Significance says, "Deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, and complete in Christ." Truly, I'm in awe of Who God Is. God wants that for all of us. Let's allow Jesus' sacrifice to set us free as He intended, so we can reach out to others with that message. Do it with me. Come on, it'll be fun...and exciting! This is what gives meaning to life...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Audrey Nicole




Hannah's been taking pictures of Audrey, and her smile is so precious that I have to post them!
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Monday, December 1, 2008

Thansgiving Dinner

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Daddy and his girls

 

 
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Snow Pics





Nick said Toby actually had drool icicles. Ha!


Because I would much rather do this than the list of other stuff today...
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Bunny and Kitty

 


Here they are - still faceless and clothing-less. :) They are both about 12" from the top of the head to the toe, and the bunny's ears make her a bit longer. The patterns are super cute and easy!
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Weekly Update


1. Man, did we get a lot of snow. Somewhere between 18-24". Hard to tell exactly. The thing is, our street is one of the first to get plowed, and our neighbor did our driveway for us, so we went out to run errands tonight anyway. It was nice to get out of the house after being here two days. Yay for our Jeep! And Nick gets to work from home in the morning. :)

2. The Mom Blog is temporarily set to private (only contributors can see it) until we get a name figured out and the site designed. This is shaping up to be a great team of moms! If you'd like to be involved, please let me know! I think it's going to be really great.

3. Thanksgiving was fun around here. We did our meal on Friday, which actually turned out just so-so. My heart wasn't really in large amounts of food for the second day in a row, so I didn't pay attention like I have in the past. The turkey was just a little dry, the green beans undercooked, the stuffing not good at all...oh well. We ate it anyway, and it was nice to have all the leftovers. I'm going to make turkey pot pie with some of the turkey this week - yummy!

4. I finally figured out the gluten free sourdough bread! Unfortunately, the yeast still seems to upset Hannah and my stomachs. (Somebody tell me how to fix the grammar in that sentence...SaraW?) Anyway, anyone who wants the info about it, feel free to email or comment and I'll get it to ya.

5. Thursday night we came home to the biggest disaster of a house I think I've ever seen. It was just the way we left it. Honestly, I sat down on my kitchen stool and cried. After I was done doing that, Nick decided he would take over doing the dishes. He has done them all weekend, and I have been so amazed at the difference. I actually have time to get to other things! Thanks so much, hon. We're also more actively working with the kids to train them to pick up after themselves. This will obviously be a long process, but we needed a course correction, and we're correcting.

6. The girls and I made a paper chain yesterday, to entertain ourselves. I bought some glue sticks and cut strips of construction paper. You'd think I had created the coolest project ever. :) We hung it in front of our living room window, and the girls keep looking at it and talking about it.

7. I found some free patterns online for stuffed animals, and finished the animals this week. Now I just need to embroider their faces and make them some clothes. I also found these little plastic rings and some really soft fabric, perfect for making little ring slings for the girls to carry their dolls in. Yay for Christmas presents that cost...oh...less than $5? :)

8. Welcome to December!!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Christmas Music

Because I love Christmas music, especially worshipful Christmas music - check out Glenn's new song.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Audrey Quote

After bath tonight:

A: Mommy, I want Happy Thanksgiving

Me: You want Happy Thanksgiving?

A: Yes. (Holding out her extended index finger) Just one sweet potato, and dat's enough!

Well, it's a start...

I started the mom blog today. Please check out my thoughts about it, and send me your own. We need your input! :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Question

Random to follow the last post with this, but I've been thinking about it all morning...

Would any of you, my dear readers, be interested in starting a "team" blog? Off the top of my head, I feel so compelled right now to encourage mothers. Our job is so huge and so important, and so little value is given to us in the media and society right now. We need to nurture each other (has anyone else read Lisa Bevere's book Nuture? - you should!)

As we all know, it's very difficult to continually post encouraging things. We all have bad days, or just days when we don't have much to say. But I love the idea of working on something like that together. We probably need to clarify the vision a bit too, so any thoughts on that are welcome! Any interest, fellow bloggers?

Thoughts on Democracy

Came across this post today, where she took the time to type out a lengthy passage of C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters - one of my favorites. If you take the time to read it, I think you'll be struck, as I was, of how well Lewis described our current social and political situation. Lewis had an incredible ability to see things through to their logical conclusion, and therefore often his work seems prophetic - in the sense that he described something the way it would become, 60-80 years before it happened.

*Edited after I thought of a better way to explain what I mean - someday I'll learn to edit BEFORE posting...

I don't think anyone here would argue that not all ideas are equal. Some ideas are good, some are bad. Although all human life has intrinsic value, that does not mean every person's ideas are good ones. Therein lies a danger in Democracy. If we all have to be equal, no one can be outstanding. If no one is outstanding, what do the rest of us have to reach for, to aspire to? Who can be a hero? Other people's success does not threaten my worth - my worth is founded in what God says about me, not in my accomplishments or in comparing myself.

It's not just the U.S. that is heading this way, either. It seems like the world as a whole wants to cut down the successful ones - that's kind of the whole premise behind socialism/communism and there are so many countries governing with those principles. Of course, heading back into the feudal system isn't a good goal either. It's definitely a balancing act. I'm rambling now, but...thoughts about this?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Family Principles from Scripture

I'm really loving this kind of thing right now. I remember one time asking God why, if raising children is so important, He didn't tell us more about how to do it. I have to laugh at myself about that now, as I am discovering the vast amounts He has to say on the subject!
I feel terrible today. The cold that has been threatening my kids for two months finally seems to be bugging them and me. Something I ate yesterday hurt my stomach. I didn't go to bed until late, and Hannah decided to get up at 6. We don't do 6 at our house...how about 7:30 or 8? The Jetta is broken again/still (it's a different issue now) so we can't go anywhere. The house is a mess and I have no motivation. I haven't been very nice to the kids today, mainly because I have no energy to "help" them mind or clean up messes. I exercised too hard yesterday and can hardly move today. (Yes, I see all the "I's" in this paragraph. Yes, I'm whining a bit.) Money - no explanation needed.

I know some days are just like this, but I wish life could be without the "survival" days. I wish there was some way to overcome them every time, and make each day full of life and good things. Sometimes all you can do is feed the kids and keep them safe for the day. Waiting out time. It feels like a waste...

On the other hand, we got a ton of food last night for a surprising amount of money. My cupboards and fridge of full of fun things to make and eat. The girls are laughing and playing happily - they are the best of friends lately. Nick is getting better and better. I will probably get a nap this afternoon when the girls go down for theirs in a few minutes. We got another Maeve deposit yesterday - a gown for April that we were hoping for but not really expecting. It's going to be gorgeous - all silk! My kitty loves me. I have a little pile of remnant fabric from Walmart to make clothes for the girls' stuffed animals (a kitty and a bunny that are nearly finished). I also got things to make paper chains with Hannah - kids' scissors, glue sticks, construction paper...I can't wait to show her.

All in all, that doesn't really sound that bad. I bet I take a nap and feel much better. Thank you for reading my therapy session. Feel free to add your own. ;)

Make Your Own Vanilla

Thought this was nifty. Although I have yet to ever buy vodka...for any purpose - not that I wouldn't, just that I haven't! :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Book Game

This turned out really funny and interesting when a friend posted it on Facebook - please do it! :)

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence and what book to this note / post as a comment.

Also, if you would like, post it along with these instructions.

Here's my contribution:

Perhaps they live too far from the "real country" for squirrels and wild rabbits to be more to them than a dream of possible delights.

Home Education by Charlotte Mason

Reading

Hannah quote

Every day when I put the girls down for naps, Hannah says to me,

"Mommy! You forgot the text message"!

Number one, she doesn't even know what that means.
Number two, I don't text that much
Number three, how does she remember that every day?

Lesson (Re)learned

I was on Facebook this morning (this was my first mistake), and came across the fiance' of a friend from college who was feeling discouraged. I tried to write something quick to encourage her, and apparently came off preachy...or over spiritual...or something, and got reamed by the next commenter. I hate when this happens. As if I'm just trying to give shallow answers... I wish this didn't bother me so much, but it does. Why is it impossible for everyone to believe that most people mean well, even if they either don't communicate well, or others disagree?

Then I read You Will Be Misunderstood and felt just a tiny bit better...but still?

Weekly Update

1. Nick got his wisdom teeth out Friday. In case you missed my comments on FB, he had four huge impacted teeth that took them a full hour to get out. He also needed a bone graft behind one of them to make sure he didn't lose the next molar. Then, when they took one of his top teeth out, there was no bone between the tooth and his sinus. So he had a hole through to his sinus that they filled with collagen. So, all that to say, he's been one miserable dude the past three days. He felt quite a bit better this morning, and went to work. Hopefully he has a good day.

2. Taking care of everybody was more work than I think I've ever done. I am very blessed to have such an attentive, hard-working husband who does so much for my kids and me. I have new found compassion for single parents, that's for sure!

3. The brand of bread I usually buy (free of yeast, dairy, soy, gluten, egg - Nick says not many people have figured out how to make bread without ingredients. Ha!) has been back-ordered at our grocery store for weeks, so I've been looking for alternatives. This worked pretty well this week, even with egg replacer. Not incredible flavor, but decent texture and definitely filling and full of fiber.

4. Still messing around with the sourdough thing. I'm getting closer with the starter. But, I'm finding no recipes for gluten free sourdough bread online that use real sourdough starter rather than one started with yeast packets that have allergens in them. I may have to create my own...which sounds a little scary and expensive.

5. Down to two (well, really three) students. It's a tradeoff - money or free time?

6. I found this super neat website, full of sewing projects and crafts. I found a stuffed bunny and a stuffed kitty that I'm making for the girls, after finding my sewing machine manual online, and cleaning and oiling my machine so it actually works right. I think they'll love them. :) I actually took I think two years of sewing lessons when I was homeschooled...I think I was 12. It amazes me how much comes back to me when I start working!

7. Thanksgiving - I'm excited. This is probably my favorite holiday. Good food, laughing with family around the table, remembering all the things God has blessed us with, and very little commercialism. Funny how being grateful doesn't really sell much... I chatted with my mom last night about our big family meal, and we're going to stuff the turkey with GF stuffing and make some other minor changes that will make dinner easy for us without changing it a ton for the others. On Friday I will make our own gluten free feast at our house. I really enjoy this! Cooking has become such an outlet for me lately. It's funny...I never would have guessed that would happen.

8. Was at Walmart for diapers the other night (Walmart has much better off-brand diapers than Target, so I have resigned myself), and found one of those wide scarves for $5. I was excited. I made one of our clients show me how she ties hers the other night, and I wore my scarf yesterday and was warm. :) It's the little things...

Alright. Boring myself, so I'll go. What's going on in your world?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Importance of Our Job as Mothers

"Children are a public trust - Now, that work which is of most importance to society is the bringing-up and instruction of the children - in the school, certainly, but far more in the home, because it is more that anything else the home influences brought to bear upon the child that determine the character and career of the future man or woman. It is a great thing to be a parent: there is no promotion, no dignity, to compare with it."

-Charlotte Mason, "Home Education, Vol. 1" p. 1


It is often difficult, especially for those of us who stay at home with our kids, to feel purposeful, needed, useful as a mother. I'm not sure why this is, because it seems that even two generations ago it was not the case. But I have already established here in the past that I will make no impact larger than the one I make on my own children, my own family. So what if my training in music (or your training in...fill in the blank) is intended not to fill my own heart, or change the world as a whole, but ultimately to make an eternal impact on my own children and our home life? What if I create an atmosphere in my home where my children learn to live lives of worship? How much more impact will children who live lives of worship make, more than the person for whom I can facilitate a few minutes of encounter with God during a worship service (not to discount that, but obviously the impact will be less). What if this applies to all of our trades that we learned B.C. (before children)? Education, music, healthcare, business - whatever we did can be passed as a strength to our children through our willingness to give them those gifts...

Just something I'm thinking about...

Phone Call with a Vaccine Maker

Dr. Mercola has a recorded phone call with an employee of a flu vaccine maker. Very interesting...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekly Update

Wow...it feels like forever since I did this!

1. 2nd fitting tonight for Tarah. Her dress has a low backed strapless corset, and we're a little concerned about the fit... I hope it will work well. I actually ordered some of that dress tape they use on red carpet gowns to try with it.

2. Nick worked until almost 4 on Saturday, so our weekend felt pretty short. He had hours to catch up on, so he worked like 58 hours last week, I think. Whew.

3. Thanksgiving...I'm starting to think about our menu. We will spend Thanksgiving with my family, but I usually do a complete gluten free meal of our own on Friday. I really enjoy doing it each year! I am finding cooking to be a creative outlet for me lately.

4. On cooking - I am still working with the sourdough starter. This is the third attempt. :) It is supposed to double in size after feeding, within 3-6 hours. It takes more like 12 hours, and it never really doubles. I made a delicious pizza crust/foccacia bread thing with it the other night, but I have been scared to try a whole loaf of bread because I hate for it to turn out like a brick. :)

5. Hannah is doing a new reward system for potty-training. Every time she goes potty she gets a sticker, and when she gets 15, she gets to go on a "date" with mommy or daddy. So, our first date was last night. She wanted to go to Wahoo's for dinner, and then we played around at Target. She seemed really indifferent to the whole thing and I was a little disappointed, honestly. I hoped she would be excited and open up. That said, she does seem really positive with me this morning, like she does feel more connected. She just has a really different way of showing that than I do. I so badly want to "get" her. I'm praying about that a lot right now.

6. Made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins over the weekend. I have made these several times, and they turn out so yummy! This is also one of the few cakey recipes I've found that allow for egg replacer without falling in the middle. Yum.

7. Nick's getting his wisdom teeth out on Friday. He's kind of nervous about it. He did such a good job taking care of me with mine. Now it's my turn! If anyone needs me, I'll be single-handedly running the house next weekend. :)

8. Doesn't this look cute and fairly easy? I really want to make something for my kids for Christmas. Maybe this?

9. I got Volume One of Charlotte Mason's writings from Paperbackswap the other day. Oh my goodness. This is how we homeschooled when I was a kid! It's so funny to me that my mom has never heard of her, because she did so much by her teachings. I am finding it to be incredible encouraging and challenging at the same time. The other thing that makes it enjoyable is the style of writing - reminds me so much of a Jane Austen novel. Mason lived around the turn of last century. Thoroughly entertaining.

10. (Are you tired of me yet? I have lots to say today.) This is the last week of lessons for school of worship, which means I go from five students to two. Know anyone who needs lessons?

OK. My house is a wreck. I better get busy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Testing...

So, on Wednesday of last week, our 6 year old laptop finally bit the dust. Through the huge generosity of TWO people I love, we now have a brand-spanking new computer. Well, the computer part is new. The monitor is the old HUGE one that Nick bought in 2000 that weighs more than both of our children...put together. But, it works! The first thing we did was try watching video on youtube - a frustrating experience on the old computer, to put it mildly. I have to admit to crying a little at the clear, steady image. I feel so thankful. Actually, what we watched was good too. Have you seen the new Weepies video that is muppets? SO great. Audrey sat on my lap and watched it over and over.

Therefore, I have been without a computer for a week and a half. I'm amazed at several things:
1. How much you can get done when you are not absorbed in reading 349 million blogs per day.
2. How quiet the house seems when there is no computer yelling at you
3. That the world continues, with or without you
4. That emails do not have to be answered within 30 minutes or less. People generally don't notice if it's 30 minutes or 3 days...or more.
5. That when I choose my reading material, rather than reading whatever Google Reader or Facebook puts in front of me, I learn a lot more and am much more encouraged.
6. That phone calls are much more effective for real connection that anything computer related. 3 1/2 hour dinners are even better. ;)
7. That my children absolutely, positively did not miss the computer one bit. Having mommy more mentally available was huge.

Now. To remember these things and make the appropriate changes.

Oh, and read this post by Glenn. Great reminder and perspective, from someone who loves the U.S., can't vote, and has some thoughts we all need to remember about our citizenship.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

An excellent post

I've read lots of great posts today, but this one by my pastor took the cake. SO good...

Reminders...

...to you, but mostly to me. :) God has lots to say about authority - it's a topic of huge importance to Him. If you can't live in submission to authority, there are many, many not-so-nice things promised to you. And WHO the authority is doesn't seem to matter. If I'm not mistaken, the "governing authorities" referred to in Romans was the emperor Nero, who was arguably the most brutal killer of Christians who has ever existed.

So no, I didn't want Obama to win. But now it's my job to submit and pay him the respect and honor I owe him.

Romans 13

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 8:28

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Exodus 22:28

28 Do not blaspheme God or curse the ruler of your people.

Titus 3:1

1Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

1 Timothy 2:1,2

1I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Col 2:10

10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority

Heb 13:17

17Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

1 Peter 2:11-15

11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.

2 Peter 2:9,10

9if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.[c] 10This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature[d] and despise authority.

Jude 1:8

8In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekly Update

1. Just another reminder, if you haven't heard it already: pray for the election today. Pray that God's will will be done... (If anybody here wants to go see Palin at 5:15 tonight, you can RSVP here.)

2. The Jetta is not yet fixed. It starts, which is improvement, but now it smells bad and we suspect that's the battery...

3. This was not a very restful weekend for us...but it's a long story that I don't feel like telling here.

Whew. This is just a rough point for us. I could tell several more stories...of the bad business decision I made when I didn't get anything in writing from a girl who wanted us to make some clothes for her, and now has moved and lost interest completely and doesn't want to pay for them...of the cold symptoms Hannah can't get rid of that I guess must be allergies...of the lack of Christmas money...of my concern for the election...of Nick's friend who is moving back where his parents live this week after his wife left him... What can I say?

One thing I can say: my hope is in God. I learned some things this summer about what God thinks about me, and about what He promises. Today, I'll be mostly staying off the computer, and staying immersed in worship, prayer and truth from the Word. (In between piano lessons) :) Pray for us, if you think of it. We need strength and wisdom.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More pics

Audrey refusing to have her picture taken. ;)


The girls with my sister Amy - who is 17 and still LOVES going trick-or-treating with her friends. :)



Our small group met up at church, which was so nice! In the midst of the hysteria, friends! :) (Robby and Joanna got there right after this and I'm so sad they're not in the picture! We had to take it quick before we lost all the kiddos!)
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The Requisit Halloween Pictures

My tender-headed Hannah actually let me put a bun in her hair!



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Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to quit nagging

I loved this post today too, about how to teach habits. Now to implement...THAT is the hard part! :)

Two Posts

Here are two posts that I appreciated in the past couple days:

Kim's post about simplifying Christmas and helping our children truly appreciate and enjoy it. It's always somewhat of a gamble when you buy presents for kids. It does seem like they are often tossed aside, even the "flashy" ones that are designed to catch and keep their attention. After 10 minutes, the thing doesn't do anything more than what it already did, and the fascination is over forever. We've been trying to choose things that will encourage more imaginative play...good to hear these thoughts about it.

Glenn's post about how you can't love the whole world, you've really gotta love just a few people (incidentally, this is a portion of his book, and I highly recommend it). I think this is very applicable to moms who are focused on their children. We all went to those youth conferences as teenagers, where they encouraged and inspired us to change our world. But can you really do that? Does it last? I have been frustrated looking back, because I don't remember one time those events placed a high value on raising Godly households. I know one thing - the lives of our kids are deeply changed by our involvement with them. If we can raise children who know God, who are not bound by their own insecurities and faults, who love other people more than themselves, and who are highly imaginative and intelligent...sounds pretty world-changing to me... Arrows in the hands of a warrior, like Ps. 127 says...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekly Update

1. Halloween on Friday. Hannah is going to be Cinderella and Audrey is going to be Sleeping Beauty. I have to keep reminding Audrey that's what it's called. She likes to say "Sleeping Goady." It's really funny. She can say it right, she just doesn't unless I remind her. We'll probably take them to my parents' and then to church's HUGE "Fall Fest." It's usually too cold here to Trick-or-Treat, especially when you live in a rural area like we do. My parents used to drive us around in the van. My kids don't know any better, so far. :)

2. Really liked this post on parenting this morning. Nick and I also went to a parenting class at church last night. (On Sunday nights they have "New Life U" where pretty much every week you can choose from around 5 or 6 different mini seminars. They are an hour long and usually three consecutive weeks. The Marriage and Family pastors are doing a parenting one. The third and final meeting is two weeks from yesterday.) Anyway, SO encouraging and challenging. I've always wanted to do more than survive parenting, feeling direction and purpose about what we're working toward with our children. The Grothe's have 4 fantastic grown kids, and hearing about their parenting ideas, it was not an accident. Still pondering on this one...

3. Nick and I started going to a marriage conference they had at church Friday night and Saturday, but after the 2 hour Friday session, decided to skip the conference and have a date on Saturday. (The conference was free anyway.) The content of the conference was terrific, but felt like it was geared toward couples who were really struggling. ("Here's why you should not cuss each other out.") By the grace of God, that's not where we're at. Instead, we went and had breakfast at Whole Foods, and then wandered around town, chatting and enjoying the morning. It was a great way to start the weekend. Fun to have a date during the day!

4. The Jetta is getting fixed today! Yay! Hopefully it won't cost too much and will run well...

5. We had a couple of cooking adventures the past week. I made this pumpkin ice cream. It tastes a bit like frozen pumpkin pie filling. Hannah said it was yucky and then ate it all. :) It's good, strangely so... I also made Runzas for dinner, mainly for Nick. Runza is a fast food place that is mostly in Nebraska. Nick grew up eating these pocket sandwiches, and prior to my gluten free life, I really liked them too. I used dough from this company that Gluten-Free Girl recommended a while back, and made the filling according to the recipe online. I needed to bake them a bit less (the crust got hard), but the flavor was great! We'll have to do those again, and maybe freeze some to heat up later?

6. Things with Maeve are pretty slow right now. We're working on a new project though - boutique clothing! Maeve Bridal is set up under the parent company Maeve Designs, because we wanted to keep our options open to design things other than bridal gowns. So, we're trying it! If you have any contacts that might be helpful, I'd love to have them. I'm guessing we'll have a summer line, which will be ready in the next few months for buyers to look at.

7. Food budget. Um, yeah. We have always prioritized enough money in our budget to buy organic, gluten free food. It's just our way of life. We choose our cars and home accordingly so we can afford it. But lately? $100-$130 more than the budget per WEEK! Prices have gone up so dramatically that it's incredible. Honestly, I'm not sure what to do. I try to keep dinners at $15 or less, with leftovers. Even just oil and maple syrup and things that seem like basics are so much more expensive... I read lots of those frugal blogs, but their solutions are usually to cut back on protein and eat more carbs. While that is definitely cheaper, it's not a good idea for people with blood sugar issues (us) or we'll have bigger problems than being over budget. So, we can't really follow lots of the advice. Arg. Budgeting is so hard... Surely the prices will come back down, right? That whole supply and demand thing? The gas prices followed it...

Alright. Audrey just came to sit on my lap and cuddle, and it's time for yoga (you should see Hannah do yoga with me - SO funny!). And the girls just had a little battle. Gotta help Audrey say she's sorry - this is a process right now... :) Have a great week!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More on flu

More flu shot info/natural treatment of flu here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

GF Pumpkin Cookies

Sometimes you gotta have a cookie.

Danielle brought some mouth-watering looking pumpkin cookies to small group a few weeks ago. We asked her to post the recipe and she did. Of course since they were made with gluten, I could only sit and have my mouth water. :)

So, I adapted the recipe. I laughed as I did it, because ultimately the recipe looked nothing like hers. But, the cookies actually came out looking similar, and they are very tasty! I was afraid to make the huge amount her recipe makes, until I knew if it would work. So, I halved the recipe first. Here's my adaptation:

GF Pumpkin Cookies

Combine and set aside:
1 c Teff flour (brown rice flour or sorghum flour would probably work too)
1/2 c Tapioca flour
1/2 c Sweet rice flour
1 c Quinoa flakes (or certified GF oats)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice (it was a nice touch, I thought)
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk together:
1/2 c virgin coconut oil
1/4 c canola oil (or grapeseed oil)
3/4 c agave nectar
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer powder (no need to add the water)
1 tsp vanilla
1 16 oz can of pumpkin

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until combined. Add 1 - 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (optional)

Drop by tablespoon onto lightly greased pan (I used parchment paper on my pans) and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

The Blessing of Children

I enjoyed this post from Kim today. Although I seriously doubt we will ever get to 10 (never say never on this kind of thing!), this is something I've been giving a lot of thought to lately.

While talking to my Gramma on the phone a week or so ago, she was talking about the many things she wishes she could still do. Dance, was one of them. (My Gramma always was a feisty one!) :) I said to her, "Look at how many people came from your family though, and how many of them love God and take care of each other. You have a great legacy." (They had 6 children, and they have 25 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren) Her response surprised me. "Yes, I would have had 10 children if I had known how much joy they would bring us." I asked her if she really meant that, and she really did. My Gramma was a nurse for many, many years, helping women deliver their babies, and also working in ICU for a long time. She had the chance to serve and help lots of people, but none of it meant what her kids did and do... They've had many struggles over the years, but their children still mean more than anything else to them.

My Grampa's family can trace their heritage back to the 1400's. We have a family historian who has spent countless hours putting our family tree together, and we have a "family website." On that site, many of my relatives have posted OLD pictures from as far back as the 1880's. The thing that struck me is people are all that really lasts. We can do huge amounts of great work, and it will make a difference. But our children, and their children, and their children are the ones who will remember us, ask about what we were like, want to know what was important to us, and treasure the memory of us. No one I make a wedding dress for will do that. Most people I have or will lead worship for or teach will not do that, although I'd like to think there would be a few I would make an impact on. There are many dear friends whose pictures made it on the family website too, which I found interesting, so friends definitely matter a huge amount as well. But, PEOPLE! People are all that is important in the long run.

I have no brilliant conclusion to this post yet. What are your thoughts?

Weekly Update

1. It's a foggy day here. Hannah told me at breakfast that we needed to get rid of the fog so we can see the sun. "But how will we get up there? We need a ladder." You betcha.

2. We spent most of the weekend sitting around here. We did finally make it to church last night, keeping Hannah with us since her cough sounds awful, but other than that we stayed home. Kind of nice to do that once in a while. Wish Hannah felt better though.

3. Another fairly quiet week around here. There's a free marriage seminar at church Friday and Saturday that we're hoping to get to. You're supposed to register, and no childcare is available, but you can't beat free.

4. I'm starting Flylady again. Our house had gotten completely out of control. I always come back full circle to her system. It's not perfect, but your house does get and stay clean. Hannah in particular has such a need for order in her surroundings. She actually behaves better when the house is clean. It's important for me to give her that chance.

5. Honestly, not sure what else to talk about. Money is incredibly tight around here. I set a new record this week for money spent on groceries for the week, just for the normal stuff. The prices keep going up. At least gas is down, especially when you only have one functioning car! :) I've been spending a lot of time thinking about how big God is, and how he promises to take care of us. If the money issues start to seem bigger than God, my perspective is out of whack. God has to be big enough to take care of us, or what we confess to believe is phony. And ultimately, my desire to be close to God has to outweigh my desire for the comforts money can buy. My ultimate comfort comes from intimacy with Him.

There's my sermon for the day...well, I'm teaching school of worship today, so it's probably not the only one, but it's the one for you. And me. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Frustrating Day...

This post is for my own therapy...feel free to skip.

We got home from dinner and errands at 8:30 last night. Nick left right away to go out with his best guy friend (I'm his best friend. Teehee), who is about to move back to Ohio. They totally needed to hang out before he leaves, so I got the girls to bed by myself. Then I laid down and was OUT. Nick got home at 11:30, and got up again at 4am because he had a bunch of hours of work to do before we could go to the memorial service today. Meanwhile, I had terrible dreams all night, and ended up laying awake the better part of the night. At 6:55am, Hannah came and got in bed with me. She was coughing and stuffy and miserable. She kept randomly yelling because she was so frustrated with her stuffy nose. This, while I'm trying to get the little sleep I actually got last night. At 7:30 I finally called Nick and he came home from work so I could get a couple of hours of sleep. When I woke up my head was buzzing. That's the best way I can describe it. We had planned to leave the girls with my mom so we could go to the service, but didn't want to do that since Hannah was sick, and someone with a seizure disorder (me) cannot drive when their head is buzzing.

So we skipped it. All of it. The service which there is no replay for, and the farm with the pumpkins. I finally woke up at 1, feeling somewhat groggy, but normal, and very disappointed. The house is a disaster, the girls were wiped out and Hannah is sick (at least they went down for naps easily), Nick is sitting on the couch watching football, and I'm pouting, I must admit. Can I have a do-over?

ADHD Treatment

This is an article I found today, talking about alternative treatment of ADHD. I have no personal experience with ADHD, so I'm putting this out for discussion purposes only. What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Politics in American History

Just came across this site today. David Barton, the head of this organization attended ORU, and they used to show us his videos in my Christian high school. Very interesting historical information that often is left out of textbooks edited by non-Christians. There are also lots of voting resources on the site. I will be looking it over in the next few days - check it out!

End of the week Update

1. I've been home a lot this week, due largely to the fact that the Jetta has quit working. It has needed a new oxygen sensor for about a year and a half, and it's worse in the cold. So, we have cold nights now, and it's done starting unless we jump it. Not sure when we'll have the money to fix it, so for now it's parked.

2. I played for Prayer Shield again yesterday. When I picked the girls up from childcare, Hannah informed me that she found an animal cracker on the ground and hid under the table from the teacher while she ate it. This after the raisin incident last week. Hannah has been a pretty cranky little girl for the past few weeks. Whew.

3. In spite of that, Hannah is finally potty-training! She stayed dry all evening while we ran errands two nights ago, and even during childcare yesterday! When we're at home she still lays on the floor and cries when I tell her it's time to go potty, but, you know, who's counting that? ;) I just wonder why she thinks it's such a chore to do. But I'm glad we're making progress!

4. We had a first fitting for Tarah on Monday night. It was just the corset of her gown, but it looked great! Her wedding is December 20th, which is right around the corner in our world. I put up pics of Safiya's gown on our website this week, in case you haven't seen them and wanted to. It's looking like we're going to be getting an office in the next couple of weeks, so that's exciting too. No more fittings in Holly's basement or consultations at Starbucks. ;)

5. Sunday night we went to Group Leader Training at church. We are all taking the DISC test, and this Sunday night we're analyzing what the results mean. When I lead small groups, I am an ID, in case anyone cares. I think I become a DI at home...which I have to temper with S in order to not drive my kids nuts. Anyway, enough rambling about that.

6. Thus far, not a single contact from the Bridal Fair. I think it will be several months before we know for sure if we got business from it, but I had expected at least a few inquiries. Oh well. Other vendors there told us in the future, not to waste our time with shows in the fall. Apparently everyone gets engaged over the holidays.

7. Tomorrow we're headed to this little farm about an hour away to pick pumpkins. I think we're going to bring the dog since they allow that, and make an afternoon out of it. They have a general store, a tractor ride to the field, homemade treats (not that we can eat any of them!), and other fun stuff.

8. In the morning though, Jon Hutchison's memorial service first. Though this is incredibly hard, I'm sure it will be a beautiful celebration of his life, and I look forward to giving my friend Melody a big hug. We do not grieve as those who have no hope...thank God.

9. We were headed to the grocery store the other night, and passed by a toy set out on the road. I asked Nick to turn around, and lo and behold, it was a First Steps kitchen - a very expensive toy! Some of the stickers are worn off and it's missing the coffee pot, but other than that it's in terrific shape and super neat! As soon as I get it cleaned up my kids are going to absolutely love it. I guess it's discontinued, because I can't find anything remotely like it online. It's probably 10 years old. Heh. Oh well. It has a fridge, a dishwasher, a light we can try to put batteries in, a fold out table, and the usual stove, sink, cabinets...and it's really sturdy. Plus, Step2 is made in the U.S., so no fear of lead paint! :) Not bad for free, huh?

Alright this is getting super long, so I'll go. What's going on in all your worlds? It's quiet online this week!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good News for Adoption

This is pretty cool...

Homemaking Article

Funny how people that would have once been anti- women staying at home, are coming around to understand what lots of women have been saying all along! Wall Street Journal article...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Grieving

Our friend Melody Hutchison's brother Jon went to be with Jesus yesterday morning, after a two year battle with cancer. Though we grieve with hope, it seems trite to give you a list of what's going on in my life right now.

When Hannah woke in the middle of the night last night, I went to go lay down and snuggle with her for a little while, rather than require that she go back to sleep alone. We're going through a bit of a tough discipline time around here, but I'm gonna do my best to treasure my little girls today and in the future, just a little bit more. We never know what life will bring. I want to be fully present enough to notice more.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Caused the Economic Crisis?

I am basically done talking about politics at this point. Can't wait for the election to be over, and we'll all just deal with the results. If you can handle one last thing though, check out this video. It describes in great detail what the economic crisis is all about. I find this kind of stuff interesting from an intellectual standpoint, beyond the politics. Frankly, I don't care whose fault the whole thing is, I just want to understand why it happened, and therefore maybe understand what is being done to fix it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Futher...

Staci has written another excellent post, without which this conversation would not be complete. She makes a terrific point - neither side can currently trust what they hear in the media, or from any one of a dozen website that claim to be unbiased. We must do our own research if we are to be sure that our information is correct.

I wish we could elect politicians who did not bend the truth for their own gain, but currently it does not seem possible to get elected while functioning that way, and someone MUST be president. So, what we must look for, is someone who matches up with our principles of government and life. The only way to really know that is to check out who they were before they became famous. The only way to find real facts about that kind of record, is to check out things like how they voted at senate.org. We cannot take people at face value when they have an agenda to promote. The future of our country is too valuable.

Why I Can't Support Obama...and will do what I can to keep him from being elected

I don't love everything about McCain myself. But, I feel that many of Obama's opinions are downright dangerous. Maybe with McCain we would get more of the same in some areas. But change is only good if it's GOOD CHANGE! Here are my reasons that I cannot and will not support Obama in any way:

-He doesn't seem to understand that there are evil people in the world. Islamic terrorists WANT TO KILL AMERICANS. You can't make deals with people who are evil. They lie. And then they kill more people.

-If Obama is elected, he WILL tax small businesses. He says it's only businesses that make over $250,000. Um, those ARE small. My dad's business only supports three people...barely. And that affects us, personally. Do we seem wealthy to you? Have you been to our house and seen the cars we drive? Obama talks about McCain not having a concept of how normal people live. Well, we are normal middle class, the people Obama claims he's trying to help. His taxes would drastically affect us.

-Taking more taxes from people who make lots of money and giving it to poor people never works. That's called Socialism/Communism. There's a reason poor people are poor, and it's because they don't know how to manage money, and/or they don't or can't work hard. That doesn't mean you give them handouts and their lives get better. Jesus even told the disciples they would always have the poor with them. Yes, we should be compassionate and help care for their needs, but that's not the government's job - it's the job of individual citizens. The government trying to do that job will only foul things up. FORCING people to care for those less fortunate will not make them more compassionate and generous.

-Healthcare...the problem with healthcare is twofold: ridiculous lawsuits that drive up the price of practicing medicine and therefore of receiving care, and the fact that drug companies control everything medical-related in this country. Fix those two things, the price of insurance plummets, and voila'! people can afford healthcare again. The government taking over health insurance is treating a symptom of a problem. Plus, if you are under government healthcare, do you think you're going to be able to decide when/if you want to have a certain test or vaccine or medication? Why would you be able to do that? They will want to cover their tail and make sure you never have an "unnecessary" illness. You will have to get every test in the book, every vaccine, every medication they prescribe. I guarantee it. If it doesn't happen right away, it will.

-Obama has talked about encouraging teachers who do well, and helping teachers who don't teach well to find another line of work. OK, where do I even start with this one? We've all had terrible teachers. But what he's talking about is giving the federal government power to decide which teachers go and which teachers stay. Isn't that the job of school administrators? If that's not their job, what is? This kind of rhetoric sounds awesome - like it would fix some of the things that private citizens just can't seem to fix. But in reality, it gives the federal government a HUGE amount of input into my everyday life. Recently there was a bill in Congress that would have required government employees to go to every house where there was a child under the age of 5, to "teach" the parents how to parent. This is so scary. I have nothing to be ashamed of, but I'm also not a robot. Who decides the standards by which we raise our children - the parents, or the government? I believe based on his beliefs about other things, that Obama would support a bill like this. I have no proof, but I don't want to find out.

People, the economy is in bad shape. The current President has nothing to do with that. Economic geniuses have been explaining for months that the culture of debt in this country would eventually catch up with us. We have to live on what we make, simple as that. The Republicans or the Democrats did not do this to us, we did it to ourselves by spending more money than we had. It should have no bearing on who we vote for.

The war is a terrible, terrible thing. War always is. But we don't know all the details of what led our leaders to make the decisions they did. They carry a burden we will never understand. Treating people who are evil in their every intention as if they are logical, reasonable people will not work - they don't behave in logical, reasonable ways. McCain, just like Obama, will not make all right decisions. He's human. He's not God. But he understands that evil exists. Obama can't even bring himself to say that.

I don't know if this will change anyone's mind about anything. But I feel it's time for me to say it. So many of Obama's ideas sound great until you follow them to their logical conclusion. Change isn't worth that.

Note: We're headed out for family time this afternoon, and tomorrow is my Sabbath, so I'm closing comments. Thanks, everyone.