Saturday, November 15, 2008

Various thoughts and updates

Last night TWS and I went out on a date. We have the single most phenomenal babysitter EVER. Her name is Michaela. She is incredibly poised, looks adults in the eye in an open and not sullen manner, and washes the dishes when she babysits. Honestly, I would adopt her if I could!

Our dates are very very mundane. And I love that! We go out to supper, either go shooting or go shopping, and usually end up at the bookstore getting Godiva Choc Cheesecake for me, and whatever he wants.

I love the comfortableness of our relationship. I am thoroughly blessed.

We bought some Christmas presents, including something for my folks. I want to tell you all about it, but my mom might accidentally read the blog and that would blow the surprise!

I am not sure if all y'all know, but I headcover. You have probably seen it in some of the pics I have posted. I do not feel that one must always headcover. And last night, because we were on a date, I considered not covering (not that TWS cares one way or the other, but frankly my hair was kinda cute!). I decided to put it on anyway, and I am glad I did. I ran into our neighbors who seem very nice but are most definitely witches (as in, that is what they proclaim as their religion, not that I am being catty). She had on her cape and amulets or whatever, and I was standing in my headcovering. We said hello briefly, I talked to her husband for a moment, and then it was over. However, I was very thankful to be wearing my faith when I ran into someone who was wearing their beliefs. I was thankful that I was ready "in season and out of season...". It was the Holy Spirit who arranged me to be prepared...frankly I was just tickled with my hair!

(Thank You Lord for making me ready for that one brief moment where I could be a witness for You!)

Speaking of hair, the no poo is going REALLY well. I still use mane and tail conditioner, and it still helps if I am under the water when I scrub. But I am very much enjoying my hair. I think I will keep with the conditioner only regimen.

Back to my folks coming to visit....I am trying to figure out what I can get done ahead of time! I am very eager to make a lot of candy this season. SHAW and I have been pouring over blogs of numminess. I want to make pies, cakes, etc. However, I am also finding out that after the first two days of looking at very sweet, sugary, rich foods, I am finding myself actually wanting to bake and eat some very simple bread.

So I have baked bread and dug out my science experiments (AKA my sourdough starters) from the back of the fridge and am going to try to get them going again. If I cannot, then I still have time to order starter from king arthur (the food blog there is beyond!). My plan when my folks visit is to have very simple breakfasts of cheese, bread, fruit. That will keep our blood sugars from going so wonky, and will also free up the rest of the day for numminess :-).

I have found that eating protein only for breakfast (or something with a TON of fat in it), feels so much better. No crashes, no spikes. This is a FAR cry from what i have preferred my whole life. Even if I woke up at 2 in the afternoon, I wanted something light and sweet before eating anything substantial. Now I pretty much have either chicken, cheese, pork or moose for breakfast. Just that and coffee. Took me a while to get used to it, but man, the day goes so much better that way!

Now, one odd thing is that if I eat something that is SUPER high in fat, like donuts, I am not hungry for hours and hours. If I eat waffles or pancakes or diet shakes, I am hungry in about 20-40 minutes. But donuts keep me going to past lunch. Maybe because your body wants fat for breakfast? I don't know. I just know that donuts do the trick. I have even thought of going on a donut diet! I knew a lady who lost 40 lbs eating only chocolate. She was even on one of those morning shows! Probably not the healthiest, but MAN what a nifty way to diet!

Speaking of food, I have some left over chicken from Chilis with my name on it just crying out to me in the kitchen!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Going no poo

I have been conducting an experiment the past week about goind "no poo", or using no shampoo. I MUST wash my hair every night if I intend to be presentable the next day. I might can limp through if I put cornstarch on my hairbrush, but really I need to wash my hair.

However, it is firmly winter and my hair was exceedingly dry at the ends to where I was getting split ends. That almost never happens to me, so I knew the weather was taking its toll.

There was a bit of a spiritual quandry at this realization as I had just been blessed with a check from my mother. I WANTED to spend it on hair cuts and perms with Precious, but, long story short, I realized that it was better if I did not spend it on that. Instead I put it to meat to be used for the family.

However, that still left me with raggedy hair. So I had my 12 yr old cut it. Yep. I had Precious cut my hair. It was only the second time (iirc) in my adult life that my hair was cut at home. It was the first time she had EVER cut hair. BUT it is only hair, right? So I let her go to it.

With careful coaching (which is kind of hilarious since I had no idea what I was doing either), I talked Prec. through the hair cut. She did a phenomenal job! She has a very good eye, and there was very little difference or bad angles from one side to the other. I had her just under cut it, then cut the other layers longer, but the cut was blunt. The next morning I decided i wanted a bit of an angle, so I cut the angle myself (should have let her do it though!).

Now, I thought that going to get perms together would be an excellent fun thing. But I honestly think she got so much out of being able to actually cut my hair. I showed I trusted her, she got a VERY important job, and she got a feeling of satisfaction.

Anyway, since my hair was so raggedly before she cut it (and because I was talking to SHAW about what to do about HER hair), I started researching how people go "no poo". After much reading I found that, as many things on the internet, there is a lot of enthusiasm for a process that is only marginally successful. I read enough to know that washing with baking soda was going to be very irritating to my scalp, and washing with apple cider vinegar was not going to "cut it". There was so much disappointment and confusion, that it almost seemed like only a few people hit the exact right combination (after weeks "detox" where their scalp produces so much oil that they could not really go out). I heard enough references to "barbie hair" that I knew that was not for me.

Now, I have a dear friend who washes her daughter's hair with conditioner ONLY. Her daughters have mixed heritage, and the ringlets on her youngest are softer than silk with just using conditioner.

So I decided to try conditioner only on a week that I did not need to go out too much. I figured I would try it, day by day, and just stop if it does not work. I also wanted to try out what I had heard. Some people are so excited about a new thing, that they post "I have been going 'no poo' for a day and I love it!". I wanted to post this as a document of my trial of no poo--for good or ill.

I must say I am incredibly, and pleasantly, surprised with the results SO FAR. I use mane and tail conditioner. I have been doing this for several days, not quite a week. So this is not a definitive conclusion. But just to keep you abreast....

The downsides of conditioner only are three:

A) It seems to use a lot of conditioner because there are no bubbles. I think the action of scrubbing your head is the main source of cleaning. At first I found myself using twice as much conditioner as normal to "wash" my scalp. I am learning, however, that if I wash my hair with the conditioner while under the water, I feel that the conditioner is doing a better job at cleaning.

B) As alluded to above, it takes some scrubbing. With shampoo, there are so many cleaners that they seem to act like "scrubbing bubbles" to clean your scalp without much effort. I FEEL that I need to scrub harder.

c) There is not the feeling I am used to after my hair is dried after the washing. (however, read below where I talk about when I washed my hair with shampoo to see the difference).

The upsides of CO (conditioner only) are these
a) Less drying chemicals. Conditioner is supposed to add moisture and coating. Shampoo is supposed to strip things away. Stripping away means that your hair is unprotected.

b) My hair SEEMS to hold a curl better and for longer. I want to experiment with this further however, so do not think of this as a definite statement.

c) My hair STYLES better. This is for absolute certainty.

After many days with CO, I tried shampoo. I wanted to see if there is a difference in how my hair behaves, but to be honest, I also felt that I wanted my hair to FEEL more clean.
For many days wiht the CO, my hair had looked very shiny, healthy, bouncy and CLEAN. It looked clean, but it felt different. So two days ago I tried only shampoo. I looked at it as a scientific experiment: I wanted to see what my hair would do. My scalp did feel much "cleaner" BUT it did not look any better at all, in fact, my hair seemed to be greasier later in the day than with CO (this also needs to be repeated to make sure it is actually because of the shampoo, and not because of hormones, etc).

Also, my hair was an absolute NIGHTMARE to brush and style the next day. I have started brushing my hair 100 times in the morning--50 times upside down and 50 times right side up. When using CO, my hair might be slightly unruly for about the first 25 brushes, but after that, my hair suddenly calmed down, accepted the brushing without problem, and my hair looked shiny and healthy. When I brushed my hair after shampoo, I kid you not that the static made some of my hair stand out almost 90 degrees from my head. It was one mass of static and unprotected hair. It was a pain in the patootie to bush and style.

I decided that the feeling I got from shampoo is from being used to the feeling of my hair and scalp being stripped of oil. It feels lighter (cleaner) but it did not LOOK any cleaner and it was a pain to brush.

I washed my hair the following night with CO and the next morning, my brushing was not full of static. It looked clean, though it did not feel as light, and behaved well.

So far, I am going to keep going with the CO method. I am also going to try a shampoo every once in a while just to see what happens. If after a considerable length of time (say 3-4 weeks) of daily or near daily CO with the rare shampoo, my hair still looks good, then I will consider this the best for my hair. If not, I will simply go back to shampoo--I am not opposed to shampoo, just wanting to find out what is best for my hair and scalp. It appeals to me to not be battling my own oil production, but rather to achieve balance so that my follicles are not under duress. I am not going to keep this up if my hair looks oily or dirty :-).

I will keep you posted!

(FWIW--my hair is straight as a board, baby fine, but I have a TON of it. I use a boar bristle brush. I have an antler comb and a plastic comb, though I usually use the plastic comb because it is usually right there in my reach. I started rolling my hair in hot rollers. I use whatever shampoo I have, and mane and tail conditioner. I use a generous squirt of paul Mitchell hair sculpting lotion and 2-3 pumps of paul mitchell smoothing "super skinny serum", which is excellent for adding shine to hair. I take this handful of "stuff" and run it through my hair, then brush, then roll. I also use a decent amount of hairspray to hold the curl (my hair HATES to keep a curl). I will hopefully post pics soon).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


My beautiful wonderful sisters in Christ!

I hope this is a wonderful morning for you! I have not been awake very long, but so far I have been blessed beyond measure.

The Lord is doing great work in my life--quiet work, nothing huge or obvious, but great nonetheless. He is working on my contentment. In the Bible it says "Contentment with godliness is great gain". How right He is! I used to understand the verse to mean "great spiritual gain", but I understand now that it is also tremendous personal gain for myself and my family. I LIKE being content! Not striving, not stewing, not fretting. Just a happy little bee buzzing around my hive with my two little baby bees humming beside me, filling our time with work, service, and learning until daddy bee comes home :).

I am very rarely content. I have always felt a sense of striving. I am not sure why. Sometimes it is because I am discontent with my surroundings. Sometimes it is because I am discontent with myself (often that is the case, actually). I will sometimes keep a constant dialogue in my head of discontent and condemnation of myself. I felt it land square on top of me yesterday, and I spent much time in irritation at things not working right, at the cold, at myself for not watching the clock better. I started begging the Lord for us to move. I realize now that when I allow myself to do that, I get into a temper tantrum, so I stopped begging. I might not be CONTENT to be here, but at least I can stop putting fuel on the fire!

This morning i read a WONDERFUL I had not been to in a few weeks. Lady Lydia had an absolutely beautiful piece on contentment. It filled me with ...well contentment! I realized that this is some of the work that the Lord is working in me right now--to be content.

I do not know why I fight contentment--it feels so wonderful! It is peaceful and pleasant, altogether wonderful. I fight it, though, because I think I will be HAPPY if things are the way I want them, when really I am called to find JOY and CONTENTMENT and PEACE, no matter what the circumstances.

What is the difference between joy and happiness? Many people do not see a difference. FOR ME, and this is me, I am reminded of a phrase I heard once "Happiness depends on happenings". Happiness is the emotion we get when things are going right in our lives (again, this is my opinion).

I did a VERY quick search in both the NIV and the KJV of happy/happiness, content/contentment, and joy/joyful to see what context they were used and how many times those words came up. This was a VERY unscientific search (I would need to go back to the original Aramaic and Hebrew to see root words, etc) but it did give me a very interesting overview:

In the Word, when looking up happy/happiness vs joy/joyful, most of the time when "happy" was used, it denoted an emotion about a positive event. For example, a woman finding herself with child, a master who calls a servant to share in the good things the master has ("come share in your master's happiness"), or even Haman when he thought he was going to get rewarded. Nearly all the verses have something to do with events that one would expect someone to be happy in.

Joy, however, is often associated with the Lord and seems to have deep spiritual roots. Praising Him with joy, or finding joy in suffering, or joy after sorrow, or joy in the Lord. Joy seems to have a deep, abiding presence, even if the "happenings" do not seem good.

Now, of course there is overlap between the two! And this does not mean that we should not be happy when the Lord has blessed us--in fact, quite the opposite! Praise Him for His mighty blessings in your life! He brings happiness to your life. He gives you moments of just pure happiness, where you can just happy!

But to me joy is sort of like "love thy enemy" thing, and happiness is more like love that you would feel for people whom you enjoy and who bring blessing to your life. Both are quite good, but joy is one of those mysteries of the Lord that the unsaved do not understand--how you can praise the Lord even when you are in the midst of stressful or difficult situations. It is joy I think, more than happiness, that we can demonstrate in our lives to the unsaved to bring them to Christ. They already know how to be happy...but do they know the Source of joy?

Contenment falls in line, from the quick reading I read, with joy. Though not mentioned often in the Word, contentment is not dependent of what is going on in your life, but rather something deep to strive for "Godliness with contenment is great gain" and "Be content with what you have". The only two physical conditions that I saw associated with contentment were food and clothing. Anything else is just icing.

I will be honest, I fluctuate between joy (and contentment) and happiness (looking at my happenings). The only thing that saves me, I think, from making a big huge mess in my discontent is remembering Sarai (before she became Sarah) and how she lost patience about not having a baby, did not wait on the Lord, and tried to rush the Lord. I am terrified of rushing the Lord and making a mess (though I have definitely made messes before!). I know that the Lord knows what I want to be happy. But I am realizing that He wants me to be content and joyful. It is a slow lesson for me to learn! But that blog entry by Lady Lydia was balm to my spirit and mind.

What is the Lord teaching you in your life? He might be teaching you contentment too! Or maybe He is teaching you joy or patience, industry or forgiveness for yourself or for others.

He always works in your life....have you sat down today away from people, the computer, the tv, the radio, the phone and just said "Lord, what lesson are You having me learn?" and then think carefully about your recent life and see what work He is doing? Give it a try. Understand that He is teaching you EVERY minute. For me, that builds my faith because I get restless if I think that my life is in freefall, that He is not there every second. But when I realize that He is working, that makes me better--I do not feel as restless or striving.

If you do not mind, if you read this, post what the Lord is teaching you. You do not have to go into details at all if you do not want fact, if He is guiding you from a personal sin, you can just say "He is guiding me from a personal sin" or "He is teaching me obedience" or something. I find it faith building for myself when I speak (either vocally or in writing) the work that the Lord is doing in my life.

So what is He teaching you today? If you do not know, go ask! :-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


My wonderful sisters!

Here are some pictures of the soap I made (yes I am pretty picture happy today, but with the strivings it took to get the white box set up, I figured I wanted to make the most of it!)

In the past, when I sold soap, I put the soap in muslin drawstring bags. I learned something very important this time: my packaging was all wrong with the bags! I was pretty much out of bags and decided instead to wrap the soap in wax paper. I thought it would make the bars look soft and pretty. I cannot TELL you how much I think that did to sell the soap. One person even said that they bought the soap JUST because of the packaging!

I needed a way to decorate the wax paper. Precious and I spent an inordinate amount of time in JoAnn's trying to find good stickers while TWS and Little Man had gone to the sporting good store. When they got to JoAnn's, they both helped us look for stickers and TWS found these! I should have made him go shop for stickers while I went to the sporting goods store!

This is a stack of the soap that came back with me. I sold out of one scent, so that is not in there.

A close up of the wrapping. Let me just say that wrapping these soaps was a BLAST! I have no idea why, but it just REALLY appealed to me to be making such delicate folds, smelling the sweet scent of the soap. Honestly I have decided that any soap I make I would like to wrap, even if it is for our family! I need to get more stickers though....

This is my "Kaleido-soap". I made the rest of the soap (4 scents) and chopped them down to size (at least 4 oz. Since my scale might not be precise, I add a bit extra, but the bars are advertized as 4 oz).
Anyway, that meant that I had lots of different colored scraps. I put them in some more soap to get a multi-color effect.
Another selling gaffe: I ended up with a lot more soap in this batch, so I cut the bars into different shap (thicker and narrower), but they are the same weight. However, I think people saw the difference in size and thought it was smaller than the other bars. Oh well, live and learn :-)

More soap

We had wonderful company over for shooting archery and eating on Sunday (we put a tiny little ten yard range in the garage). I wanted to put some decor in the bathroom, so I got this bowl, a bottle of crushed bath fizzie from a local lady (it smells like blueberries and just makes me happy each time I smell it!), as well as a locally hand made glass ball, and some of my soap. I thought it made a really pretty little bowl. I set this on the sink with some other pretties.
That was our day at the bazaar! I had a blast making the aprons, I had a blast making (and wrapping!) the soap, and I had a blast hanging out with Precious! I am thankful for the opportunity that the Lord offered us!
God bless you!
PS Again with the formatting! Those soap pictures have a whole nother third that is not showing in the blog. I also put "small" pictures as a choice, and it made big huge ones. I have NO idea what the deal is...I have not done anything differently than when I have posted pictures in the past. xsighx. Well at least you get the idea!


My beautiful sisters!
I FINALLY got pictures taken of the aprons I made for the bazaar! (Actually these pictures are the ones I brought home--I sold out of other patterns I had brought).

I got out TWS's light box thing. I must say that it was a bear to set up! I would have liked a LOT more light, but this will do for now :-). I would love a plexi set up where the walls of the box are actually brightly lit. Sounds like a job for Super Sweetie!

I am not trying to brag, but I REALLY love these aprons. I have two that I have kept (plus one for Precious) and they just always look nice. I can throw them in the washer and dryer with anything (no special washing) and they come out looking beautiful! I feel very pretty in them when I am cooking or scrubbing out the bathroom or whatever :-).

This is the size of the adult aprons. That is me, but I had not done my hair, so I did not let Precious take a picture of my head hee hee!

Here is Precious modeling the little girl's aprons. She is tiny, but the aprons are tinier!

Here are some adult aprons

More adult aprons

Here are the little girl aprons.

They sold very well at the bazaar. I definitely cannot complain! The hardest thing was convincing customers that these were to WEAR EVERY DAY to keep their clothing clean :-).
I am grateful to the Lord for how much ended up selling! It makes you feel good to know that people like what you have made.
I also brought soap, as my one loyal customer convinced me to. That also sold well! I will post pictures of the soap in the next entry. I sold more with the aprons and the soap than I used to with soap and other things (milk bath, bath fizzies, etc), and it was a LOT less work.
Did I tell you that Precious made earrings to sell at the bazaar? She used sculpey clay and baked it and made adorable earrings which she sold for a dollar a pair. I think she must have taken over 70 pairs to the bazaar! (She hand lettered a sign in crayon and put each pair in a little baggie and everything. She was ready for the bazaar DAYS before I was!) I praise the Lord for His kindness to her! At first she was not selling anything--just one pair--and she was SO upset. We had a talk, and I prayed that the Lord would allow her to sell more, and suddenly she was swamped! She ended up making about $40!!
Anyway, thank you for your prayers and well wishes for the bazaar! It was a blast and I kinda wish I had made more aprons and signed up for another bazaar. The season here is short. This bazaar was a great one--low table fee and pretty well visited. There are other bigger ones that I would have liked to have tried as well just for grins. Maybe next year!
God bless you my sisters in the Lord!
PS, the formatting on this post is atrocious, but I cannot figure out how to fix it! The top photo is supposed to include my other arm AND there are supposed to be spaces between the paragraphs! Sorry about that!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

One More Barack Obama post

This time regarding homeschooling. I am a homeschooling mother, thank the Lord. I chose to homeschool for various reasons. I am in the midst of homeschooling my children, and do not want to lose that God given right to educate, to raise my children. I fear that Barack Obama would push that very thing.

I have looked up Barack Obama's record on homeschooling but have been able to find very little. A few people will point out to a quote or two in his book that seem to indicate that he is pro-homeschooling, or at least neutral.

I would offer two thoughts:

1) If we are going to go with quotes in his books that he is pro-homeschooling, then we have to go with quotes in his books that would seem to indicate that he is anti-white, pro terrorist, anti-American, pro "globe", etc. I do not want to go down that road, tbh. Words are free and plentiful. You have to look for the proof in the pudding.

2) However, in absence of actual voting records, you must look at the company one keeps, whom he supports and who supports him. The NEA (national education association) is very much for Obama, and is raising money and support for him, which he accepts. What does the NEA think of homeschooling? "
At its 2007 annual meeting, it approved a resolution calling for tighter regulation of homeschooling: “When home schooling occurs…[i]nstruction should be by persons
who are licensed by the appropriate state education licensure agency, and a curriculum approved by the state department of education should be used.” (National Education Association, “Home Schooling,” Resolution B-75, in “2006–2007 NEA Resolutions,” p. 36, at (February 1, 2008).)

What does the NEA think of homeschooling parents? According to an article on their website, that we are "well meaning amateurs" and "wannabes" As well as posting: "Don’t most parents have a tough enough job teaching their children social, disciplinary and behavioral skills? They would be wise to help their children and themselves by leaving the responsibility of teaching math, science, art, writing, history, geography and other subjects to those who are knowledgeable, trained and motivated to do the best job possible.". Who is more motivated than a parent? If parents are supposed to be teaching children social and behavioral skills, and teachers only teach the three R's, then why is the NEA spending so much time on social issues and directing a child's moral compass than figuring out why the USA lags so far behind other countries in math testing?

Ignore that the AVERAGE for homeschoolers on standardized tests is higher than the average for public school students on everything except math computation (higher in math concepts, but lower in computation). Ignore the lack of safety in schools. Ignore the fact that teaching behavior and discipline is much more difficult than teaching math or geography. Ignore the fact that this author said that homeschooling is ok if your child is bedridden or lives in a remote area (is he saying, then, that those children are NOT getting a good education? Or that those parents are "miraculously" able to educate their children, but parents get dumber the closer they live to a public school?). Ignore the fact that homeschoolers are actually exceedingly well adjusted (not the "social misfits" that he claims). Ignore the fact that, except on the rarest of occasions, homeschoolers do not have to worry about being bullied, offered drugs, beat up, shunned for wearing the wrong brand, shot, or stabbed over a cigarette (yes, this happened in my school when I was a senior....the rest of the students had to make a circle around the wounded child to protect him from his attacker--another student. WHERE were the adults? Hmmmm....).

Actually scratch that. Don't ignore any of it. Homeschoolers do have higher average scores. Colleges are starting to seek us out because they recognize that most homeschoolers are self starters. Do not ignore the fact that parents know their child best. Do not ignore the fact that even the most phenomenal, brilliant, engaging teacher does not have the time to educate 28 individual students (who may range from highly gifted to remedial and who each have specific strengths and weaknesses regardless AND who might have variations in sensory abilities and deficits as well as physical and emotional needs and issues) in 50 minutes. Do not ignore the fact that PARENTS outrank TEACHERS when it comes to a parent's child. They are your children, not the teacher's children nor the government's children. Do not ignore the fact that if your child is in school, and there is an event of some sort, the school WILL keep you from your child until they deem it is safe.

Do not ignore testing results
"In 1998, Dr. Lawrence Rudner of the University of Maryland administered academic achievement tests to 20,760 homeschooled students. He reported that “the achievement tests of this group of home school students are exceptionally high—the median scores were typically in the 70th to 80th percentile.” He also found that 25 percent of the homeschooled students tested are enrolled one or more grade levels above their age-level peers in traditional public or private schools." (Lawrence M. Rudner, “Scholastic Achievement and Demographic Characteristics of Home School Students in 1998,”
University of Maryland, March 23, 1999.)

Do not ignore college preparedness:
The academic performance analyses indicate that home school graduates are as ready for college as traditional high school graduates and that they perform as well on national college assessment tests as traditional high school graduates." (Paul Jones and Gene Gloeckner, “First-Year College Performance: A Study of Home School Graduates and Traditional
School Graduates,” The Journal of College Admissions, Vol. 183 (Spring 2004), pp. 17–20.)

Do not ignore results in life experience after homeschooling:
"In 2003, Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research
Institute surveyed 7,300 adults (ages 18 through 24) who were homeschooled. Among the respondents, 74 percent had taken college-level courses, compared to 46 percent of the general population. They also reported being involved in their communities and engaged in civic affairs at higher rates than the average population. They were also more likely to report being “happy” than was the general population
." (

Do not ignore taxpayer savings (which benefits both taxpayers, and students in public schools)!
"Given the Department of Education’s conservative estimate of 898,000 students20 who were educated entirely at home in 2003, the National Home Education Research Institute’s estimate of 2 million homeschool students, and the national average per pupil expenditure on instruction, homeschooling likely saves American taxpayers and public schools at least $4.4 billion to $9.9 billion in instruction costs each year."(

Do not ignore that the NEA wholeheartedly backs and are campaigning for Barack Obama for a reason--they think he is their friend and will support their agenda which includes diversity training for children as young as 5, unlimited exposure to any reading material to students, limiting homeschooling (if not outright banning it). Don't ignore that, if you are a homeschooler, voting for Obama is murky at best in terms of keeping your homeschooling rights.

Just something to consider.

Barack Obama

My beautiful sisters....

I do not want this blog to become too political (not that I do not love talking politics, but I wanted this blog to be more home and spirit).

However, I feel that I must say something about the election, specifically about Barack Obama.

I knew that he was pro choice, but I did not realize how abhorrent his position was.

We have all heard about him saying that he did not want his daughters "punished with a baby" if they became pregnant young (since when is a baby a punishment??). However, I would like to offer something that truly I did not think even he was capable of saying or thinking.

When he was in the Illinois state legislature, there were three pieces of legislation that were brought up to be passed to protect babies who had ALREADY BEEN BORN. Understand that this is not about preventing abortion, this is to protect babies who survived the abortion process and are now living and breathing in the doctor's hands. Up til this legislation, they were left in the soiled linen room, by themselves, to slowly die.

The three bills: SB1093 said if a doctor performing an abortion believed there was a likelihood the baby would survive, another physician must be present "to assess the child's viability and provide medical care." SB1094 gave the parents, or a state-appointed guardian, the right to sue to protect the child's rights. SB1095 simply said a baby alive after "complete expulsion or extraction from its mother" would be considered a " 'person,' 'human being,' 'child' and 'individual.' "

Understand that. The three bills were only for babies who were BORN, that they would be able to get medical care, that the parent could protect the child's rights, and that once a baby is born ALIVE, in whatever manner, it would be considered a person.

Those seem very reasonable. If a baby is born alive, you have to take care of it, and it gets to be declared a human (though at some point I would like to offer why a human is a human scientifically way before birth, but that is another point for another time).

Barack Obama was the ONLY person to vote against these bills. Understand that he was not surrounded by a bunch of conservatives, but also liberals. They all voted for these bills.

Barack Obama instead called theses babies "temporarily alive outside the womb". May I offer that the important point here is OUTSIDE THE WOMB, not "temporarily" (which would be longer if these babies a)were allowed to go to term and b) were given medical care).

Then he also called them a pre-viable fetus. Fetus means IN the womb. They are not pre-viable, they are viable at that moment. They are breathing room air and their heart is beating. They are LIVING right then.

He then said "whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the equal protection clause or other elements of the Constitution, what we're really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a - a child, a 9-month-old - child that was delivered to term."

Now, understand this! Even if you are not planning an abortion, this bit of mental sleight of hand is IMPORTANT for you if you are going to have a baby! This is saying that if your child is born premature, not through abortion, but through ANY means (induced labor, premature labor, etc) that, if his way of thinking sticks, your child will not be recognized as a human or entitled to any protection!

Oh he meant it just in regards to abortion, I am sure. But since when is a person only a person if someone is not trying to kill them? What does that have to do with anything? You cannot have a premature person born at 22, 26, 30 weeks, but just have a bunch of cells with no rights at 22, 26, 30 weeks. The preemie baby who was born because the doctor was trying to kill him is just as much of a person as the preemie baby who was born due to induced or accidental labor.

Think of what that means when you want health care for the premature child that you gave birth to. According to his thinking, your child is not the same as a child born at term.

He said that this legislation would "I mean, it - it would essentially bar abortions," said Mr. Obama, "because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an antiabortion statute." . He would not vote to have a child have protection once it is BORN because he is afraid it would bar abortions. He wants the right to have abortions unencumbered, even if that means that a baby who is breathing, who is moving, is put in a linen room to die, cold and alone and gasping for air. Anyone who has had an asthma attack or has nearly drown knows how excrutiating that is. I cannot imagine the cruelty, and frankly the lack of anthing resembling logic, of a person who would vote against caring for a born baby just so they can protect abortion.

Does this mean I am for McCain? No. I am not sure who I am voting for. It means I am against someone who would torment a baby. It means I am against someone who allows pseudo-intellectual arguments to keep them from seeing that a baby should be protected.

I do not know who I am voting for, but I know who I am NOT voting for.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bits and Pieces....

My wonderful, beautiful sisters!!!

Just a few bits and pieces....

1) The Bazaar: ACK! Only three more days to work on the aprons!!! :-) I almost have enough aprons done to take pictures of, if anyone is still interested in seeing them.
--After I had been scouring Jo Ann's for I have no idea HOW long, The Wonder Sweetie found some stickers that will be perfect for sealing the soap for the bazaar.
--Precious heart has her earrings she is going to sell all bagged, and her hand lettered, crayoned sign all ready (she is such a cutie pie!). She is REALLY excited!

2) Nuts for donuts!! I made donuts the other morning with biscuit dough. I am sure everyone does this, and I have done it before, but I had forgotten how easy and cheap it was! Everyone loved them and they will save us a ton of money (we like donuts on Saturday morning ). I made chocolate icing, glaze, and maple. The chocolate did not turn out right--I think we need some chocolate flavoring in there to REALLY make it a good, deep chocolate flavor. Or maybe just a bit of coffee to sharpen the flavor some....Any suggestion? The maple and the glazed were a HUGE hit though.

3) Prayers Please! Need prayers for a cousin's husband of mine and their family. He was hunting in a tree stand, fell out, and broke both ankles and both wrists, as well as various other bones!! He had taken a class on how to fall, but that does not help when you are that far up. He was alone and had to crawl on his elbows and knees to get to his truck!!! God have mercy! He was medevac'd out and is recovering, but I know that the road is going to be tough for this active man. Please pray blessings, peace, quick healing, and calmness on him, my cousin, and their children.
**NOTE! Tell your men to WEAR A HARNESS when hunting in tree stands! There are THREE (count em, three) men between my family and The Wonder Sweetie's who have fallen out and have had serious injury over the years. No excuse not to wear a harness.

4) A Toasty Fire I think today is PERFECT for stoking up the woodstove! It is zero degrees this morning!!! We had a Chinook (a warm wind) blow through on Saturday, melting our previous snow. Then it started snowing that night, so we have at least 4 inches of fresh new snow!

5) Calories Wanted! What are the most calorie packed foods you can think of? Little Man just came off of a growth spurt, so his eating is way back down. But he keeps growing UP, not OUT and he is rail-thin. Maybe it is winter coming, or maybe the southern mother in me that wants to see him a little more healthy, but I am determined to get a pound or two on him.

6) Your Name Is Safe In Our House-- I have that posted on my desk, and I reread it this morning. It is such a wonderful thought--that even when you are not at someone's house, that you are still "safe" from gossip or slander. I have it posted because it convicts me to make sure that I am not gossipping (even in the name of "information" or "venting" or whatever).

7) Election Selection: Ladies, make your choices of who you are going to vote for in ANY election CAREFULLY. Do not be swayed by words, nor by party lines. The Bible says that by their fruits you shall know them--look to the fruits of those whom you are considering and see if they are godly or not. Of course, no one is perfect, but there are some issues that are just "deal breakers" in terms of what the Word says.
We all have special issues that we want addressed, but we cannot allow ourselves to be persuaded by words that we want to hear--we have to make sure that we are not like the weak willed women in the Bible who are gullible (2Tim 3:6), nor like those who have itching ears (2 Tim 4:3). We women CAN be especially swayed by emotions, so we have to be EXTRA careful to use sound doctrine in everything. Do research on any and all candidates from president of the PTA to president of the USA.
As for me, I have not decided who to vote for. I know a few whom I cannot vote for due to research I have done, but do not know who I might vote for.

Have a wonderful day ladies! God bless you all!!

Joy Comes In The Morning! Amen!

Good morning my beautiful sisters!~

It has been a couple of weeks since I have written--so much has been going on!

The Lord has guided me through the month of September and the early part of October. It has been a very hard few weeks. BUT He is incredibly good and kind and has taught me so much!

One evening, after having an argument with my husband, plus the stacks upon stacks of stresses and woes, I was at the end of my rope. I thought things would NEVER get better, would NEVER be better. I had no idea how I was going to live the rest of my life without joy, without hope, with just fear and dread for tomorrow.

I was mired in a depression of the SOUL. Now, let me say that I am pretty much NEVER depressed. I get down, I get pouty, I get irritable. I get listless or restless, but USUALLY a night of sleep is all I need because my mind or my emotions might be depressed, but my spirit is still bright. That evening, I had no hope at all. This sum of my recent days had left my spirit wounded. I do not think I had ever felt that before--seriously wounded in my spirit.

I got my Bible and went to the living room. I was overcome with shame, anger, loss, fear, indignation, and sorrow. I knew this to be a crisis point--a point where my choice in that moment would be an important, life changing one. My choice was this: trust the Lord and REALLY SERIOUSLY give everything to Him OR choose to lick my wounds, feel the shame, stay angry, nurse the fear, refuse to forgive and be forgiven.

It seems on paper a really easy choice. It is not that easy in the middle of the night, cold and tear stained, with your tummy hurting from crying and after fighting with your husband and having pain upon fear levied on you nearly every day.

Ladies, it was a miracle of the Lord. I just, by His Grace, made the right decision. I do not know how, because I did not FEEL any hope at all. But my father told me once: faith in good times is not faith. I do not remember if I thought of that that night, but it really fits.

I praised the Lord. I read Psalm 117 which the Lord had shown me a few evenings back when my friend K was im'ing with me and I was down. (He knew what was coming!)

1 Praise the LORD, all nations; Laud Him, all peoples! 2 For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!

The Lord showed me that I had to give up my past to Him, that I needed to let go. He showed me that I have to have faith in Him, to trust that He WILL bless me. See, I KNEW the Lord's will would be done. I was just afraid that His will was for me to suffer horribly. But that is not the Lord. He is not wanton. We will suffer, yes. We will have pain, yes. But we are not abandoned nor destroyed. He IS FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL. He has LOVINGKINDNESS for us.

There is a purpose to every pain. It is like childbirth: there is pain so profound sometimes that you have no idea if it will ever end, but then there is the child, the blessing from that pain. When you are in the pain, it seems like there is no blessing that can overcome it, nothing worth the pain you are feeling right now. But there is. He will provide it.

It has been a many days since that happened, and the change has been amazing. That morning I woke up and really apologised to my husband. I had apologised the night before, but I really did not mean it. I said it because I was supposed to say it and then thought "HEY! Wait a minute! *I* am not the one who did wrong here!" (really I was the one who did wrong, but I did not feel it at the time). But the next morning, I had that sweet type of remorse where you know that you are really sorry, but that you will apologise from your heart and earnestly do better.

Two days later felt like Christmas! I just woke up one morning and felt that wonderful excitement for the day, just like Christmas. It was a morning full of joy. What is even odder is that my daughter (who had no idea all this was going on) said "You know what? For some reason it feels like Christmas.". I love getting confirmation like that!

Ps 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

In the days that have followed, there have been trials, things that would normally be very wearying, but they are momentary and light, and the blessings have abounded. BUT nothing has changed in our circumstances. There has been no great news, nothing changing in the things that had made me so despondent and fearful. But there has been an INWARD change. There is peace in the storm, not a cessation of the storm. I know the storm will end. I know the Lord has a plan and I know it will be wonderful. I had never known TRUE hope until this month. Faith, yes; obedience, occasionally {smile}; but not true hope until now.

Romans 5
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

And also about hope and the love of God, even when things try to overcome us

Romans 8:18-39
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written,

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A note....

My wonderful sisters, given to me in grace.....

You know, I seem to follow deep posts with lighter ones. :-)

You may not know that I do not have any biological sisters. I have a brother (whom I love DEARLY...he is definitely the golden son of the family :-) ). But I sort of have had a little desire to have a sister, especially in these later years.

But then I realized that I HAVE sisters. I have sisters in Christ. Now, to many, that is just words "Brother Joe and Sister Sue". But to me, those are NOT just words. To me, that is a promise, a blessing. I have sisters! I have many sisters!

I have Sisters in Christ who are also related to me in some way (Jeninlaw, Colastie, Precious Heart, among others). I have Sisters in Christ who are also friends of my heart. And I have Sisters in Christ whom I have never met, but who I still ponder and consider and pray for.

That makes me happy :-).

I made an incredible recipe the other day out of a cookbook called "Just 4 Things". I got it from Jo Anns (for some reason, craft stores seem to have great cookbooks that are cheap and colorful--my kinda cookbook!). It was a roast that used a lot of onions and then a Guinness Stout and cooked for hours. I used an arm roast, which is pretty tough I think normally (as far as I know it is anyway....i am SO bad about knowing which meat cut is good!). But this recipe made it literally melt in your mouth. It was altogether pleasant!

I am eager to get this book-type thing about anxiety disorders (OCD, panic disorder, and chronic anxiety disorder, etc) set up. I am going to try to get copies printed, but I also want to put everything on the web. The Lord healed me for free, and I want to provide the information He gave me for free to others. I am not sure if a website or a blog is better. I am not sure if it is better if I restrict it to those who pm me first OR if I should just leave it out in public. I am not sure if I should just have the website with no posting, or if I should have a forum as well (forums can be pretty touchy.). I have no idea how the best way is to present this information, and would gladly take input if anyone has a suggestion.

We got our first snow this weekend. Not enough to play in, but enough to let us know that winter is here :-). I am excited about building fires in the woodstove. I really love that! We homeschool in that room, and my sewing machine is there, so it is all tucked in and cozy, a room for the most blessed of homemaking and home keeping and home experiencing. I just need a (very small) loveseat to go in there because we do not have any really comfortable seating except a rocking chair.

Please pray for Colastie and The Colonel as they travel to get more tests done on Colastie. The Lord has been working in our lives with Colastie's illness for years, and the blessings have been too numerous to count! Please pray that He will continue to give her improving health for many years to come!

I cannot wait to try my tomatoes that we finished inside. I have some tiny transparent yellow ones, some very green (they are supposed to be green!) ones, a dark burgundy one, and a few red ones that are not smooth, but are sort of ...... can't describe it. Kind of pleated looking.

OH! And I went out and dug up potatoes! I use potatoes as bedding plants because they are cheap and big lol. Frankly I was about out of giggles for how un-summerlike this summer was, but TWS told me that I needed to go dig up the potatoes and see what there was. Yeah well....sigh....

So one evening, he dug up a few and he got several potatoes! Then i knew I was not getting out of this without me getting in there and digging up a few. So the other day I dug up as many as I could. WOWOWOWOOWOWOOWOW! What a bountiful harvest of yukon gold and purple potatoes! And digging for them was actually kinda fun :-). It was like a treasure hunt. Now, when you plant a potato, at least up here, the one you plant sometimes just turns into icky goo....ugh. So it was a high stakes treasure hunt--would I find a little purple gem? A bit of yukon gold? Or gooey toxic slime? I wore gloves lolol.

Mostly the dirt did not stick to the potatoes, so when you unearthed them, they looked so pretty! It was really a blessing. Now I have no idea what to do with them! I do not like mashed potatoes, and these are too small to cut into french fries. But I think I am going to dice them and oven roast them...the family likes that :-).

Ok, my dear sisters, it is time for me to get BUSY. I have some sewing to do! OH that reminds me! Many years ago I used to make and sell soaps, milk bath, bath salts, etc at bazaars around here. I dressed up in costume (the one I wore to the Victorian tea). It was fun but hard work. Up here there is a really independent spirit, plus not a lot of turn over in people. So after the novelty of you wears off, the same people who go to the same bazaars know what you sell and may not come by the table to see if you have anything new. We stopped doing this a couple of years ago. Just was not worth the hassel of doing the bazaars.

BUT I have one customer who has been faithful all these years. Her husband, apparently, does not want to use any soap but the one I make (it is REALLY REALLY moisturizing. I mean REALLY). So a couple times during the year, she buys whole batches of soap from me. :-). She just recently got a couple of other people buying the soap as well! I had also mentioned to her on the phone that I was going to do a bazaar. When I delivered the soap to her she was SO excited! She said "If you don't mind, I want to volunteer to sell the soap for you at the bazaar!". She had told lots of people that that was her plan! I felt so bad when I said "Ummm.....I am not selling soap at the bazaar, I am selling aprons.". She looked stunned! I said "But you are my only customer!". We had a good chuckle about that, and she informed me that I do not do a good job of selling my soap and that she needs to sell it for me because I am too modest about it, but she has no problem gushing over it to other people--she cracks me up! :-) looks like I might be selling aprons at one end of the table and making soap for her to sell at the other end! She has so much energy, it will be a blast to have her keeping me company :-).

So I need to get to sewing the aprons. I am really excited about them because I have not seen anything similar, even online! We will see how they go at the bazaar! If they do not sell, people can expect a lot of aprons at Christmas lolol. :-).


My beautiful sisters.....

Yet again I have been absent for a week or two. First I had been working hard on that book. But then we have been buffeted by bad news the past week or so. We found out that TWS is set to deploy, AND he has had at least two MAJOR disappointments at work, and all of these things seem to be oddly orchestrated for reasons we do not know.

I will tell you, this has been quite a difficult time for us. Now, I am a military wife, I know the drill about deployments. My father was in the military, and he did not see my whole first year due to being deployed. Grandfathers, uncles, cousins, in laws, etc etc, are or have been military. This is not a new thing for us.

BUT we do not know why politics SEEM to be playing such a role (they might not, they just seem to be). It is not that he has to deploy (we accept that that will probably happen when we are in the military), but the manner in which this is coming up, as well as other disappointments in the job.

It is like TWS said to people who work for him "It is not that I had to tell her that I was deploying. It is that I had no answer as to why it was happening this way.".

If I may....TWS is one of the most honorable, patriotic men I have ever met. It kills him that he was not born on the 4th of July. He is GOOD with his troops, is one of those who does not sit back and watch work being done, but will jump in there to move crates or do anything else that needs to be done. He does not tolerate foolishness gladly, but is also VERY slow to anger. He is trustworthy enough that when we married, I insisted on having "love, honor and OBEY" in my vows, even though that wording raised an eyebrow or two. Being submissive to him is, thank the Lord, easy. He is just a good man.

Now, we have natural fear of him deploying--no one wants their loved one in harms way. But more than that, there are....questions about HOW and WHY these things are playing out. We do not know what is going on, only that it seems that we are being kept in the dark about many ....unusual situations at work. If they said "Hey, we know this is bad for you, but we really need you to do xyz, to accept abc because you are the man we know who can get this done. We trust your ability." then TWS would take one for the team. But even that small comfort has not been forthcoming. That hurts, to be honest.

I have to brag on my man though. He feels sure that he is being played. And yet, his focus is on making transition easy on the person to follow him and the person who is getting the job that he should have gotten. He is being altogether honorable and noble. He is putting aside his own desires and hurts and disappointments and is working for the good of others. I have never been so proud of him in all my life.

We have found out that the position he is to take is fraught with danger....more than we would have expected for his career field. I had to ask how they might let us know if he had been killed, who would come to the door. We might not get to talk much (I was kinda hoping for a lot of text messaging or im's!). There are even more frightening things that we have found out.

I will tell you, this is a spiritual attack. Every time I started to find ground, started to find my feet, another tidbit of scary or disappointing news would come to my attention with stupefying regularity. It actually had almost gotten comical. You ever have those times where so many things are going SO wrong, that the ridiculousness of it almost makes you want to laugh?

Of course with this comes added strain on relationships and on ourselves. I praise the Lord for a husband who is kind and gentle with me, when I am upset and frustrated. I am thankful for His presence that tells me exactly what I need to hear and do, even though sometimes I do not listen (bad mistake...ALWAYS listen when the Holy Spirit is trying to calm you down! If the Lord is interceding, trying to soothe you, then do what He says, even if it seems impossible. If He says "Praise Me" then do it. If He says "My grace is sufficient for you" then rest in that. If He says "Stop crying right now and with your husband" then do it even if closeness is the VERY LAST THING you could possibly imagine right then.).

Truly the deeper the pain, the greater the grace that the Lord provides. There are times where I am just so weary, still licking the wounds of my grandmother being gone, my mother being sick. The sun is leaving and it has snowed already. We normally live such a calm, mundane, UN-dramatic life, but this month has been one of breath-stealing trauma.

The other day I was in the throes of despondency. I felt the pain of every second and every second seemed to stretch for an eternity. It was a bad night for both of us, discussing our fears, venting our frustrations, and the Holy Spirit urging me to do things that seemed TOTALLY impossible for me--praise, faith, joy and rest in Him. I left the room and went to another room and decided that I would just focus on Christ for a moment. After all, I have the rest of my life to weep and gnash my teeth, so I finally listened to the Holy Spirit and put everything aside to turn my focus FULLY to Jesus for just a moment.....

Ladies, it was beyond explanation or expectation. THERE is where I found peace. Right there in that moment. In that moment, literally in the blink of an eye, all those daggers that had been piercing my mind and my heart and my soul were gone. I smiled. I ACTUALLY smiled. It was like......the pain was instantly gone. It was like childbirth was over and there was just joy and rest. In Him. TWS joined me, the Lord had given him the wisdom to leave me alone for a moment. By the time that TWS came into the room, I was refreshed in my spirit and mind, joyful and at peace ONLY by the grace of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen.

I had learned that lesson once when my grandmother passed. I remember being in the same position of wanting to leave Alaska, wanting to go to the south, being so discontent. But when I truly focused on the Lord, those feelings were gone, replaced by assurance and faith and GRACE.

I wish I could say the lesson stuck when I first learned it a few weeks ago...apparently I have the long term memory of a gnat (sigh). So I had to relearn that lesson. Please ladies, if you are in pain, try this. Put your human fears and wants and desires aside for just a moment to focus SOLELY on Him. Take down those guards that you have built up in your heart and mind. Be like Mary, not focused on what you think needs to happen to make your life go smoothly, but sit at His feet and LOOK at Him. Without expectation, just in worship. This is not about you in that moment, but about Him. I cannot tell you, when you reach that place, how sweet the moment is. It puts everything into perspective. It is everything you need, even if your circumstances have not changed. It is rest for your souls and light for your eyes. It is peace in your mind and joy in your heart. It is altogether wonderful to turn your focus on to Him.

I was telling Colastie about it. I like to use the analogy of faith like a horse in a burning barn. From what I have read, a horse in a burning barn will panic. A groom has to blindfold the horse to lead them to safety. Even if safe, the horse will become irrationally focused on the burning barn and might run back into it!!! The horse has to not look at the barn in order to be led to safety and then to be kept in safety.

So with us....when we look around us at the burdens and trials and fears in our lives, we forget that we are saved by the blood of the Lamb. We forget that He has promised us blessing, peace, joy, love, forgiveness. He has promised us He will work out even the worst things for our good. When we are looking at the fire, we forget that we dwell in the sweet, green grass of His pasture.

That is what I was doing. I was running back into the fires of fear, of discontent, of frustration, of selfishness, of discord. I was trying to tend to my own needs, not the needs of my dear, wonderful husband who needs to know that he is a hero, a good man, and that some people do not see that, but that does not mean that he isn' means that they are blinded.

I was still praying to God, make no mistake! I was praying LOUDLY and OFTEN. But I was not focusing on Him, but on the troubles and sorrows. I thought I needed delivery from the fire, but He had already delivered me from the fire. I just needed to look at Him, to listen to Him, to rest in HIS strength and decision, not my own.

Is anyone as hard headed as I am??

Sisters, this has left me in a bit of bind though as to how to speak to others about this. I want to be godly and bring glory to the Lord, but then sometimes I want to march up there and say "WHAT IS GOING ON?! HAVE Y'ALL LOST YOUR MINDS?!?". I mean, at some point I might be offered the chance to talk to some people at his work. How do I bring glory to the Lord in this? How do I use this as an opportunity to gently point out some very obvious flaws in judgement that we have seen made without seeming bitter (because I REALLY am not, the Lord works all things out for the good of those who love Him) or angry (I am not that either, the Lord is in control)?

I know that we will be victorious in this, that the schemes of men will be used by the Lord to bring glory to Him and that good will come out of it for us.

I have assurance that the Lord is working. I have assurance that there is something that is going to happen. I have NO idea what it is. I have what *I* want to happen, of course! I am totally blinded as to what it might be that the Lord has for us in this. But He keeps giving me a sense of assurance. I like to think that He is keeping me blind on purpose, so that I can learn to rest in Him fully. Maybe this is my blindfold as He leads me out of the burning barn of my continuing human weaknesses into even sweeter pastures of faith.

We still need your prayers. I am not naive enough to think the spiritual attacks are ceased. While I know that I am safe resting in Him, I also know that I am weak enough to fall back into habits of focusing on my self. TWS also needs your prayers of encouragement and safety. The people at work, especially, need your prayers, both those in charge and those who serve (who are seeing not just the stuff with TWS, but unrelated ridiculousnesses that are leaving morale ROCK bottom and allowing confusion to reign). Those in position need prayers for wisdom and discernment and good judgement. We need wisdom to answer everyone with the right words in each moment. I know my Lord provides wisdom for those who ask and who DO NOT DOUBT as per James 1:5, so I know that we will be given that wisdom. Please pray for the strengthening of those who do not know James 1 so that they learn they can ask for wisdom and that it will be given.

I hate to burden y'all. I know that you do not come to blogs to be weighed down with drama and trauma. But I am hopeful that the lessons I am learning blindly will be of some assistance if, God forbid, you have to face your own trials. I would much rather just learn the lesson for all of us and to post my failings and how He provides, than you have to learn these the hard way without anyone to say "Yes! I have been there! This is what He has shown me, use these lessons and be at peace.".

As one tagline that I read said "It might very well be that the purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others" hee hee!

God bless you, my dear, sweet sisters in Christ. Know that you are in my heart and on my mind, but most of all are in His heart and on His mind.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A few other projects and notes....

My wonderful sisters!

Thought of a few other things while sitting at the desk (almost done printing Little Man's 3rd grade science things!).....

1) I realized last night how important it was to let Precious know about hormones. When women live in the same house, they tend to get on the same cycle. She is not "cycling" yet, but her hormones are very much in drive. The past few months, about the time of my cycle, she has become bewildered by why she is particularly anxious, upset, irritable. She did not understand why she is "suddenly" always on the edge of crying. It did not occur to me to give her a heads up when MY cycle is so that she can have some idea of what is going on. I find that once i can chalk something up to hormones, I realize that I do not HAVE to give in to them---the world is not coming to an end and my life is not really that bad, I am just feeling the effects of hormones and I can choose to indulge them or not.

Last night precious was beside herself with panic because she had spent the past three nights in terror of "what if I died". She did not realize that a)because she is growing older, she will be exploring issues such as mortality and injustice and fairness and such b)when either of us is on our cycle, the other's hormones will be affected and therefore we will be more likely to be emotional before we catch it.

When I explained to her that her thoughts were normal, when we talked about death and salvation, when she understood that what she was physically feeling (upset tummy, etc) was all part of physically overbreathing, when she realized that the severity of her emotions was due to her body reacting to mine, she was MUCH relieved, and I learned a very important lesson: keep her informed AND things are happening sooner than I thought they were!

So keep your daughters informed! Your hormones might be affecting their bodies more than either of you realize, and vice versa. Likewise, if there are sisters, they also might be playing a role in each other's emotions via hormones.


I have a project I am fairly eager to undertake. I plan to make warm fur mittens for us this winter. I have discovered that fur really is the warmest thing to use. Thisulate, down, and sorel boots just are not enough at 40 below, at least for me. There are antique shops where my grandmother lived that generally carry old furs for mere dollars. I had my mother send some of them to me and I hope to make nice warm mittens, and maybe booties, for the children and me.

I also think I am going to wear bunny boots this winter. They are not rabbit fur, but rather are severe arctic boots that are white and are totally sealed. They are supposed to be extremely warm (if not fashionable).

Chocolate covered graham crackers....I made chocolate covered graham crackers the other day. WOW I am glad I did not discover how easy it was earlier on in my life....I would be another 50 pounds heavier! They are VERY nummy and SO easy! I mixed hershey bars and semi sweet chips in a bowl, micro'd them until they were melty, and dipped the crackers in there. I scraped off some of the extra chocolate, as it was a little cool and made too thick of a covering. I also dipped a couple of oreos in there, but TWS and I were not terribly impressed.

The egg roll I made last night seemed to be a big hit. It was so TERRIBLY easy as well: cook the meat (I used ground pork) in a frying pan, mix it in a bowl with a bag of premade coleslaw mix (I do not buy salad stuff at the store, but since this was being fried, I figured it would be ok), and add soy, pepper, ginger, salt, onion powder. I also added some sweet warm curry powder, but think I will forego that. I really like that flavor, but it is VERY cloying and overpowering. You could smell and taste that so much, even though I used probably half a teaspoon for probably 2o egg rolls.

Anyway, separate the egg roll wrappers and put about 1-2T of the pork and coleslaw mix in them and roll them up. Add more oil to the pork drippings and get it up to temp and fry the egg rolls. It does not take too long to fry them at all. They hold their heat VERY VERY well, in fact, there were some that were still very hot on the inside by the end of the meal.

My only suggestion would be to separate your wrappers before the oil gets hot. I was scrambling to keep the cooking egg rolls from burning while I wrapped the next batch. I would have been much better off taking the time to separate the sheets first.

Oh, during this time I also had put on a pot of rice, so we had that with the egg roll. I keep calling them egg rolls, but they were actually more like lumpia. I was using lumpia wrappers.

Supper tonight is supposed to be texmex soup with cornbread. Colastie gave me some White Lily cornbread mix (I will tell y'all about our family's obsession with White Lily flour some time!).

My wonderful TWS just came home, so I need to for now! God bless you my sisters!

Getting serious....

My beautiful sisters....

While I am here, I thought I would write.

I mentioned that I am turning over a new leaf, trying to be organized. Well I have a LOT of years of non-organization to deal with! So the next few weeks will definitely be playing catch up.

Right now I am printing out the quizzes and tests that the children have taken on SOS. I love that on SOS you can print the work (as well as quizzes and tests) with blank answers if the children are traveling. You can print out another copy with all the correct answers so that the teacher has a copy to grade off of, and you can print out the finished work that they have done on the computer.

I am copying the quizzes and tests, which I will keep so that I have a paper record, in case the computer gets messed up. However, it is going to take a prepared for more posts as it prints too fast for me to leave, but too slow for me to just print and go. :)

I am also cleaning around my desk and decluttering my desk area. It is hilarious if you look at TWS's desk vs my can really tell how our brains work. His is MUCH neater, but I think mine has more interesting "stuff". His does have a jelly bean dispenser (which I bought him!) but other than that it is mostly business stuff. How can he THINK when he does not have anything nifty on his desk to get the creative juices flowing?! hee hee! I can put my hands on at least 10 ENTIRELY DIFFERENT projects from my seat.

Is anyone else considering making life changes? I can't be the only one who needs some serious organizational help. I need my dear friend Beauty Queen to help me get organized. She is amazing at it. In fact, TWS actually hired her to organize my closet many years back! When she visited me last, I kept catching her slip away downstairs to fold my laundry. I would call out "What are you doing?!?" and just like a child who was snitching cookies from a jar she would call back in guilty hesitation "Ummm.....nothing?". "STOP FOLDING MY LAUNDRY!" "I was just checking on the baby..." "Uh huh...get up here!!" "Allriiiight". hee hee!

BQ, come visit me and I PROMISE to turn a blind eye to any laundry folding indiscretions. In fact, just to show my unconditional positive regard, I will make sure that my closet needs a good cleaning too (hey, I just want to be supportive!).

If you are making a change of any type, post it! Let's see if we can support each other in these times where the Lord is moving us to self discipline in our homemaking and in our lives!

McDonald's Musing....

My beautiful sisters!

The other day we got McDonalds for supper. It has been literally months since we have done that. I am not adverse to fast food per se--fried chicken in any form (nuggets, strips etc) is one of my favorite things! And french fries!

However, something was very odd. Because we had been eating at home for so long, and because any eating out I have done has been either a local take out pizza place or an occasional meal at Chili's, my taste buds must have been used to home cooking.

The first thing that I noticed is that the food tasted odd. I am not saying it tasted different, I am saying it tasted ODD. Now, again, I am not a food snob--I LOVE fast food, though for cost it is just too pricey. However, honestly, the food tasted fake. I remember thinking "this tastes like it is food and then something else added to it.....something NOT food.". It was not that I was tasting different spices or seasonings. It was actually like eating food mixed with crayon or something. There was something out of place. Like eating food off of a soapy dish, or licking your fingers if you had used hand sanitizer or bug spray. Just that taste where you know that something is not food.

It did not taste BAD at all--in fact, I would have loved some more!! It just tasted....fake.

Then almost immediately after supper that night, my tummy got very full of air--so much so that it was visible (ok, even more so than usual! lol). It did not bother me much, but was just annoying. I took some gas tablets and everything got back to normal.

But I talked to TWS later and found that he found the taste was "fake" too. BUT he had eaten a chicken sandwich, not the nuggets. Again, neither of us are health food nuts in the fact, there was a time of my life not too long ago where I thought poptarts should count as fruit (I was a big hit at the la leche league meetings lolol). so this is not "I am too good for McDonalds" but "Weird, wonder how long that has been going on and why I did not notice it before what exactly *AM* I tasting? Is it bad for me?".

As for the air bubbles in the tummy, I do not know about that either. TWS used to get indigestion when he ate burgers at Mc D's but never chicken. I am not allergic to much, and we eat fried foods quite often. In fact, fried tastybird chicken tenders and ore ida tater tots that I had had a few days before neither tasted fake nor inflated me like a balloon. So it is not that my eating habits are just SO healthy that my delicate system was not used to fried foods....we are from the south, we deep fry as much as we can!

This concerns me. Not the air bubbles, that could have been from hormones or whatever, but the fact that I could actually taste something that was not food. I wonder what it was, I wonder where they make their breading for their food, i wonder where they get the chicken and potatoes. I know that they, as well as most other food vendors or companies, use a company that makes fake food tastes. I read a VERY interesting article about it. They can make a million different tastes and smells from chemicals. I am not saying that the chemicals are all harmful, though I have no idea what they are. I am just saying that we might want to be careful about how much non-food items we eat.

I mean, surely it is not too much to ask that, when you buy food, that ALL the food is ACTUALLY food.

This also possibly answers why many kids only want fast food, no matter what sort of good homemade food you make. My fried chicken will never taste like fried chicken from places that do not use regular, actual food ingredients (I can even buy MSG, but I cannot buy the chemical flavorings that have been invented). It gives me pause to think about that.

Anyway, this is neither here nor there. Just thought it was so interesting, seeing as how I actually love chicken nuggets BUT after many months away from them, could very clearly taste something that seemed fake AND had tummy troubles as well.

Cooking plan

My wonderful, darling sisters!

I mentioned previously that I am trying to revamp my life (hey, nothing like biting off more than you can chew! hee hee!).

I had mentioned food, and, since most of us are foodies, and a fair amount of us dread the "what's for supper" question, I thought I would put what I am trying out....

In our family, when I am ill or weary, when the family is busy or the schedule is up in the air, or when I am lazy (blush), we have "Fend For" nights. That means "Fend For Yourself". I will nuke anything you need, but you have to decide what you are eating.

I HATE making decisions about what other people will eat. It is just a hangup of mine that I had developed without knowing it. Half of the time I have no idea what *I* want, and deciding what other people will eat is just dreadful for me. I know, it is silly.

So what happens is that I tentatively decide what is for supper, and then wait for TWS to come home and tell me if that is fine with him. He is not picky at all, but sometimes he has his own druthers about what he wants for supper. So that leaves me in a quandry--he will eat what I cook him, but I cannot stand to cook him something he did not prefer. Ramen noodles, anyone?

So we talked about this impass and we decided that I either need to make a menu (something I do not really like because I have NO idea what I feel like that day) or call him at 3 pm and verify. Well frankly the weekly menu provided the most benefits--I could plan my grocery list, we both have an idea of what we are having, and I do not have to make a decision EVERY day, just the one day where I make the menu.

I had written down all the dishes I know I make regularly, but then also picked TWO cookbooks and went through those. I have made the mistake before of going through tons of cookbooks, then be overwhelmed with the amount of recipes I flagged, so we just ate chicken tenders and tater tots instead hee hee!

This way I can try new recipes, then drop them if they do not work. Two cookbooks was manageable for me.

I am having "week" blocks of menus. My goal is to use left overs as much as possible, reduce the stress of decision making, save money by not buying food I do not get around to using, and be proactive instead of reactive.

I have two weeks of menus so far. I put the menu, where recipes can be found (recipe card, book and page, or "mine"--in my head, no written recipe), and any weird ingredients that I might not have on hand. The ingredients I put in italics so it is easy to see at a glance when I am making a grocery list.

I keep a stocked pantry (I think every woman should!), so I have staples.

I plan to add additional weeks of menus as well.

Now, I did not schedule any "fend for" or convenience or take out foods. I figure that there will always be days that pop up where we need to go the easy route. I am not stressing over being PERFECTLY on the menu EVERY day...the goal was to reduce stress, not be a slave to a printout! I showed it to TWS and he thought it looked great. He also thought it was good not to schedule easy meals, but to have them "waiting in the wings" for those days where we need them.

I tried to have a new recipe night, an involved recipe night, a moose recipe night, and bake a pie each week.

In case anyone is interested, this is what I have planned for two weeks:

Menu Week 1
Day Recipe Location Page

Monday Spaghetti w/sausage meatballs Card
Bread, buttermilk, Italian sausage, egg, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, basil
Breadsticks Mine

Tuesday Egg roll Mine
Wrappers, sausage from night before, ginger, coleslaw mix

Wednesday Pork (moose?) texmex soup Mine
Canned tomatoes, canned corn

Thursday Turkey breast
Hm noodles, cranberry sauce
Turkey breast, cranberry sauce, egg beaters

Friday Fettuccine alfredo with chicken (or turkey) and broc
Lo hm noodles, lo turkey, fresh parm, evap milk, broc

Saturday Hamburgers and onion rings, smoothies
Hm buns, onions, canned fruit

Sunday Beef braised in beer Just 4 things 82
3 onions, oil, beef (moose), 1.25 cups Guinness or stout
Tomato Bruschetta Just 4 things 30
Bread, 4 garlic cloves, diced tomatoes, olive oil for drizzling

Menu Week 2

Day Recipe Location Page
Monday Beef BBQ sandwiches
LO beef and onions from night before, rolls, corn and green beans

Tuesday Tagliatelle w/ ham Just 4 things 94
HM pasta, prosciutto, fresh parm
Basil green beans Lowfat country cooking 224
Green beans, onion, celery, dried basil

Wednesday Brat, beer, and cheese soup Card
2 brats, ½ cup each onion, celery, carrots, 8 oz potatoes, 3 cups chicken stock, stout beer, mustard powder, milk, sharp cheddar

Thursday Dirty rice with pork
Outback bread, smoothies

Friday HM pizza, breadsticks
Fresh mozz, tomatoes, olives, tomatoes

Saturday Bacon and biscuits
Corn, green beans
Canned corn, green beans

Sunday Pork Roast with homemade noodles or biscuits, pie

Hopefully I can get some pictures of these things! Any tips on food photography would be great, as I am a beginner with a camera.

May God Bless you today!!

New (School) Years Resolutions

My beautiful, wonderful sisters in Christ!!!

I have been thinking a LOT about resolutions and changes in my life. For me, new years is not a great time to make resolutions. First of all, there is no CHANGE at that point, no signal, save the calendar, to make a change.

For me, fall is the best time to make a change because there is a definite signal. The difference between December and January is not much here--both are mid winter. But the difference between August and September here is VERY much a change. August is green and rainy, with a few more warm days sometimes. September is cool, dry, and golden. The difference in the sun from August to September is also significant. In August, the sun was still up most of the day. In September, it is starting to get dark in the morning. The change in light is sudden and significant.

There is also hunting season. This allows me to have some down time with the babies while TWS (and sometimes little man) goes hunting. So for a week or two, I have nothing really asked of me. Supper can be popcorn if I want, because it is just me and Precious (she will have a burrito or something). I can stay up as late as I want, there is no schedule.

After a week or so of "freedom", I find that I long to get back into a routine. That is the PERFECT time to start turning over a new leaf or three! I have had a break from a hectic summer, the season is signalling change, the people around me are signalling change (back to school, end of vacations, etc). It is just a good time all around to start changes.

A couple of weeks ago, I had mentioned that my grandmother passed. I also think I mentioned a talk that TWS and I had had about how I was doing as a wife. I got praise and gentle suggestion fo what I can do to be better.

I wrote those down as he said them (both the good AND the changes I need to make), and made some decisions of my own. I am SUCH a project person, am interested in just about anything. But that means that I honestly do not have time to do all the things I want to do. It is simply not possible for me to clean house, homeschool, cook supper, bake bread, counsel a friend, write a book, paint a picture, crochet a sweater, shoot my bow, sew a dress, learn a new language, exercise, go on a field trip, do the laundry, write a cousin, post on my blog, snuggle my sweetie, watch the game, and paint my nails all in one day!

Now the problem with me and plans, is that I am overly ambitious and have very little organizational bent. So I have had a ton of plans and schedules but not stuck to them. This time I am actually praying BEFORE I work on things and letting the Lord lead my days. I have pared down my list of what I want to do, so I am not trying to do everything all in one day, and have put a few things on hold until a different time...maybe after Christmas or maybe in a couple of years.

I have my list of things that I am trying to work into my day, paring down the waste of time, and increasing the fruit of time. God willing, He will bless this list and make me fruitful!

Here is my list in no order per se, ('cept the Lord is always at the top!):

1) The Lord a priority--I do speak to the Lord often in the day. I do read my Bible, but I also get VERY lazy and start talking AT Him and not TO Him. I have been thinking of having standard prayer times. I am going to pray about it (hee hee--praying about praying just seems funny!). I also have a song that REALLY TRULY reminds me of Him, of His sacrifice. I get so caught up in my life, that I forget to just SIT AT HIS FEET and think about His sacrifice and salvation and blessings. I get anxious to go DO something, when the best thing I can do is just to sit for a bit and dwell in His presence.

2) Homeschool a priority--I am blessed with children and a curriculum that allows me to play bubble shooter all day if I want. Both the children and the curriculum are JUST that easy. However, the children are not getting the full benefit of homeschooling. They need field trips and projects, experiments (my fav!) and such. During those times where they are homeschooling, my goal is to be in the same room for most of the day, being proactive and setting up things they can do to enrich their experiences. When we have those days where they are just going to be doing work, my sewing machine is in the homeschool room, so i can work on that. The woodstove is also in the same room, so I can cook pancakes, fry bread, etc right there while they work!

3) TWS a priority--I am also blessed with a husband whom I really love and who really loves me. He is not perfect, neither am I. But he is my husband and deserves my respect and love and time. One of the things that he said that he wanted me to change was "timely taskers"....if he gave me a task, I need to do it immediately. I also need to be more sensitive when he needs to go into his "man cave" and decompress. His job is very stressful. In order to be the type of husband and father he wants to be, sometimes he needs to withdraw for a little bit in order to transition from "battleground work" to "home sanctuary". And I have also told him to let me know by making me look in his eyes when he wants to spend time with me and I am missing the cues. I get "task saturated" and tell him "Just one more minute...almost done...." for two hours!

4) House a priority--Frankly this is just my laziness. Starting with the "parlor mentality" (kitchen, living room, bathroom), I need to keep things clean and neat. I also am REALLY trying to stick with a menu (another thing TWS mentioned). Kinda cracks me up that I spent hours coming up with weekly menus, writing up a grocery list, went to the store.....and then we changed the very first meal to something other than what was on my list! hee hee!

5) Book-- Many years ago, I had panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, OCD and chronic anxiety. The Lord took me step by step through the sins that I was committing that enabled these. With His guidance, I was able to go from completely housebound, to able to jump on an airplane. I had long struggled with whether I should write this book. I would start, then stop. TWS told me to, but I was still hesitant (note: our husbands are the head of the household--we need to LISTEN!). The other day I was praying about it, again, and telling the Lord "Hey, whatever You want, just let me know". That very morning I had a message from a dear friend of mine asking if she could use a post I had made on the subject on a board. That was my signal that it was time to get serious about it.

6) Exercise. I would rather be beaten with a stick than exercise. I hate the way they keep changing how much you "should" do, I hate it when they say "Well, 8 hours a day of aerobic activity is ok....but you REALLY need to be doing 12...." (ok, that is a total exaggeration, but that is how I feel! lolol). But the other day I woke up and thought "I actually just feel like exercising today. NOT to be tiny, NOT out of "health guilt", but just because I wanted to do it. I PRAISE THE LORD for that healthy change in my thinking, because I have learned that the quickest way for me NOT to want to do something is to be told I HAVE to. lolol So, i am going to start exercising, on my time, in my way, for MY benefit. Not for guilt. Not for "have to". For the fun of stretching and moving and such. Besides I have Alton Brown cooking videos that I can watch while I exercise!

7) Misc projects--I have pared down my list of everything I ever wanted to do to these things that I will do now, with more to be added or dropped later. So, God willing, I am going to work on learning spanish, getting better on the dulcimer, sew more and learn to make more food from scratch (cheese is my next project!). I am also going to be painting. I am putting off a lot of interior decorating, instead focusing on making my house neat and tidy, ready for guest or project :-).

I want to have my chores done so that I can be ready for a friend who needs a shoulder, ready for a chat with my mom, ready for an unexpected guest. I want to be PROactive, not REactive. I mean, the laundry does get done, I wash the same pairs of socks, the same dresses and shirts every week. So why not have it done BEFORE people ask? If I am going to get it done on, say, Friday, why not adjust my thinking so that I get it done on Monday? The same amount of time will be spent washing clothing in a week, so why not be proactive and get it done?

Same with cooking. I am GOING to cook supper. So why not have a plan beforehand instead of waiting until 4 pm and being frantic? Either way we are going to eat. So why do I not just reduce stress and plan?

So really this is more of a change of thought, than a change of what I do. I am doing mostly the same things, paring down time wasters, and adding a few new things. But I am trying to be organized.

What about you? Is this a good time for you to think of changing your schedule in a big way? If you homeschool or if you have children who go to school, the schedule is changing anyway from summer. So maybe this is the perfect time to be "in for a dime, in for a dollar"! Maybe this is a good time to make New (school) Year's Resolutions!

Feel free to share what you are doing, what you have done, what you find works for you, and what you find your trouble spots are. Please take a moment and pray for every one of your sisters who need a little help in this area.....that is pretty much all of us! Please pray that God's will be done, that we each adjust to OUR family's individual needs! Each family will have different interests, different needs, but all families need less stress, more Lord, less clutter, more healthful behavior, less burden, more joy.

God bless you all!