Monday, March 18, 2013

Giving Thanks

counting the gifts of 2013 ~ #35-56

Seeing the fruit of admonishment sow seeds of the truth heard
Worship, pure and loud and precious, from the backseats
Mom of 4 courageously living life as well as possible while her husband is deployed
Rough and tumble boys
Tight hugs
Sheetrock Dust
New Old Friend, sharing the grace that has fallen during out time apart
Flannel softness
Painted Daisies on Petal Rose's birthday
The faces of children in the background
Hope for new life, to observe for nature studies
Remodel under budget
Laughing children, eager to learn
Joy over  review games
Science in her free time

Joyness swinging peacefully in the baby swing
Laughter replacing frustration
Gift carved ~ my heart flesh nearly 10 years ago,stitched together in flesh and spirit
Bathrooms gutted to the studs, cleaning out decades of rust & old paint
New sheet rock, crisp grey paint and smooth tile

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Becuase He Loves Me, Chapter 7

Because He Loves Me Book Study

In Chapter 6 the focus was on setting our gaze upon Jesus, believing with whatever small measure of faith we possess, that HE IS.

In Chapter 7 the author, Elyse Fitzpatrick, introduces the concept of the indicative and imperative in Scripture, using Colossians 3:1-3.  Indicative is what has already been indicated or declared.  Imperative is a command or direction. 

Some of the indicatives, or declarations in Colossians 1:1-3 are:
You are raised with Christ
You are the elect of God
You are forgiven by Christ
You are holy, beloved.

A few of the imperatives are:
Seek the things that are above
Set your mind on things that are above
Put to death fleshly deeds
Put on tender mercy, kindness, humility, forgiving others as Christ has forgiven you.

Throughout the Bible the imperatives are usually paired with an indicative, and there seems to always be a "put on" for every "put off".

Now before we jump straight to the imperatives and start making the "to do" list, adding "how to" books to the shelf or blog reader, STOP.

Look Up.   Go back up to the indicative/declaratives. 

What happens if we focus on the indicative?  What God in Christ has done, has given, has called?  And here, again, our eyes are taken off self and what self can and cannot do.  Instead attention can be focused on the Author and Finisher of our faith, our very salvation. 

Then in gratitude we can set out to obey, resting in the imperatives, knowing that it is God who is really at work in us.  "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10.

For Christ, by Christ, through Christ.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Because He Loves Me, Chapter 6

Because He Loves Me Book Study

"Faith is the gaze of the soul upon a saving God...Faith is the least self-regarding of the virtues.  It is by its very nature scarcely conscious of its own is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pay no attention to itself at all." Elise Fitzgerald

Reading this chapter illuminated the bronze snake in the Exodus desert brilliantly for me.  As I continue to ponder the significance of looking at the bronze snake for the Israelites in the desert, and the above quote, I'm left knowing my faith is indeed very weak.  All one has to do is to look to Christ, simply believing that He Is.  This is where faith begins.

Here is where GRACE enters in my understanding.  I can't pull myself up by my bootstraps (not that I am wearing boots).  My faith is truly as small, or smaller than a mustard seed.  But Christ is the author and perfecter of my faith.  He is the author, the giver, of faith.  And He promises to perfect it. 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

This book study is fantastic.  As a self loathing sinner, so often in the past I have found Biblical teaching a reason to increase that unrighteous self abuse.  But as is continually happening these days, true Biblical teaching is soaked in the knowledge that it is by grace we have been saved, through faith.  GRACE.  FAITH.

Fix our eyes on Jesus.

Through Christ, For Christ, By Christ. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013


A crazy morning of "Mom/Wife...I need...will you...ARGH" And then a not so quick trip to the phone store to take care of transferring Beloved's work number to our personal account.  That didn't work out quite how we hoped, but we walked out of the store believing that in an hour, at store number 2, we'd get it all resolved.

That didn't happen.  So we get to try again tomorrow.  Turns out that even if a store has a Verizon sign, it isn't necessarily a VERIZON store.  To save you some time, make sure that the store with the Verizon sign really is.

Next I took Sweet Mae to piano lessons.  Listening to the music that flows from that girl's fingers often calms my frazzled nerves, other times it just sets me to singing.  Her teacher

Afterwards Mae and I ran a few errands, found her 2 new pairs of pants & a couple of other items that she was needing.  I'm so thankful for the budget habit we put into place about a year ago.  Each month money gets put into designated folder in my budget wallet.  And on this day, there was no stress to let my girl get the floral jeans along with one pair of plain denim.  A small splurge with no guilt or worries.

We finally arrived home and this afternoon I've enjoyed the chatter of 2 lovely ladies embracing the warm sunshine and playing outside.  Baby JoyNess has added her own music, and Grandpa Ben rescued her from the swing.  I love listening to his tender words to this little babe.  Warm smiles all around were beaming as Grandpa and JoyNess headed outside to visit the chickens and see the blue sky.

Miss Sunshine (mother of JoyNess) is helping Petal Rose to create a Jolly Roger flag for her ship.  Chica is asking to start an astronomy course and looking very cute her in twin braids, pink heart earrings and cranberry colored dress.
All the stuff of life has been going on since I woke this morning, and a glorious life it is.  Giving thanks to God, for He is good.

Monday, March 4, 2013


This month a major remodel is taking place in our 60 year old home.  Two of three bathrooms have been completely demo'ed, down to the studs.  Drywall dust and wood shavings over everything.  Seven people, one bathroom.  One bathroom, in the basement.  One bathroom with holes in the ceiling, waiting for new pipes.  And 10 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 20 and 40 something year old ladies in the house!

But you know something?  It's been challenging at times, it's been very hard work, especially carrying 60 year old rusty gross cast iron pipe pieces up the stairs and out the door.  But every time we walk through another one of these "hard" inconveniences I am struck by how very blessed we still are.  It is truly easy to find the gifts raining down upon us.


Youthful exuberance, Cat snuggles, Warm tea, Encouraging words, Tough nights, Auntie’s doing storytime with the littlest one, Snow sparkling in the warm sunshine, Teamwork, The late to bed Moon, Quiet drive together, Giggling ballerinas, Birthday celebration, Pink and purple balloons, Sister messages of love, Surprise time with a dear friend, A pair of 13 year old gigglers,  Couldn’t be more different, yet sweet friends, A triplet of younger actresses, each with a touch of director in her, Romans 1:22, Juicy oranges

Friday, March 1, 2013

Becuase He Loves Me, Week 5

Because He Loves Me Book Study</

Joining in this week because, life has given me this little space of time.  Here are the pondering points from GraceLaced.

1) What is the most comforting aspect of your inheritance? What are you resting in today?
2) How do you respond to your own sin? Are you tempted to believe that God is punishing you? What is the difference between punishment and redemptive discipline?
3) What struck you the most about this chapter?
This was a great chapter for me, because while I don't really "get it" all, I've enjoyed seeing some of what my loving Father has done in me.  The most comforting part of my inheritance, at this point, is the hope I have.  The hope that I am not what I was, and I am not what I will be.  And, as the Spirit continues to work in me, and as I continue to follow or "work" this relationship with God will deepen on my side.  This hope is what I am resting in.  The blessed hope that is nourished by the daily evidence of GRACE.
In the past, and sometimes still, my sin is a cause for self loathing.  But here is the word again, GRACE has saved me.  The grace of God has washed me clean, the admonishment of God often wakes me at night to deal with me, and then the love of God sings over me.  That redemptive discipline builds more into that wonderful hope that continues to grow within me.
As I am a serious reader, always looking to learn and grow, this chapter was a sweet refrain.  The reminder to me to work out my faith because the work of grace has redeemed this life of mine.  What sweet rest is available in the hope created by grace.
Are you interested in joining Grace Full Mama and GraceLaced as a community reads Because He Loves Me?  Just pop on over to either of their blogs to read more.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reading in February

Routine, yes, routine, it's back and I've been enjoying it greatly!  Along with a more regular routine like rhythm to our days time for reading is more readily available.  This month I have finished

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Children's Picture books
Rock You Tonight by Emily Roussell ~ a sweet story that seems to be written more for the Momma than the little one she may be reading to.
The Three Little Rabbits and the Bake Sale Pie by Nancy Nuce ~ a story that had Mae and I laughing hard at bedtime.  Delightful

and am reading

Because He Loves Me by Elise Fitzpatrick
The Peacemaker
Peacemaking for Families.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You are a Leader

What are you doing to pour into your life and build yourself up to lead in those areas you’re called to lead in? If you can’t think of anything, today’s the day to set a few small goals and start working on them! Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom

Earlier today while in the post office, I stood uncomfortably.  With only 2 clerks and at least a dozen people in line, a Hispanic couple stood at the counter, trying to submit an application for a U.S. application.

This couple did not appear to know any English, not enough to respond to the official oath, testifying that they are citizens, and everything on the application is true.  In frustration the clerk looked up and asked if there was anyone in the office who could interpret Spanish.

I stood there wrestling with myself.  Spanish was my major in college, but I haven't used it in over 13 years.  I could ask about place of birth and if the things on the application were true, but I held back, disappointed in the fact that my skills were so weak.

Several things like this have happened recently, and reading the above quote has me thinking more seriously about becoming better equipped to live this purposeful life.

*Builder and I have been talking about my returning to college this summer.  I've taken a math placement test and determined where I need to start brushing up on skills to be able to take college Algebra.

*The Peacemaker and other books continue to be with me where ever I go, available to be read when I have the moments.

* Where does one find mentors?  How does one go about seeking mentors?  Those are questions to be pursued.

How about you?  Does the above quote challenge you to set some small goals toward becoming better prepared to lead, to serve, to expand your influence?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sketch Tuesday

It doesn't happen every week anymore, sometimes it might happen once in a month, but Sketch Tuesday is a favorite of mine.
Here is Chica's assignment for this past week.  I love how she threw in a little Spanish vocabulary.  She also approached this sketch using instructions she received in her Art Enrichment Class.
La Bota

Gifts Spoken, Gifts Tucked Quietly Away

While it's been different around here, mostly reviews and simple photographs, life has been happening large and messy and hard and beautiful.  Often, so much truth is flooding my mind, my heart, but sitting here to type it out, to share what grace the Father is showering upon me, doesn't get done.  But today, I'm stepping back into the recording of gracefilled gifts, and maybe that will unlock the word dam of all the goodness filling my head.

 gifts 1-14 in 2013

Grey sweaters and red sparkling scarves
Snow that keeps falling.  All around this dry thirsty area.
A grandchild who is thriving, growing rapidly, taking in all the fresh Momma Milk, grand love and auntie stories
Family to help ~ both ways
Eager students, gulping down new information
Goals within reach
FaceTime calls from a sweet daughter who just wants to know when I’ll be home.
A precious prodigal hungry for family time, soaking up, filling up after the empty years away.
A calling
Builder is home.
Sunlight to read under.
Baby breath on my cheeks.
Sweet time at the changing table when Joyness sees the origami mobile made by her youngest auntie.
Godly women, acknowledging their own brokenness, warmly welcoming the new single momma into the fold.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Giveaway winners

The Winners of the Honey Bunches of Oats Tropical giveaway are survivingateacherssalary at gmail dot com and Chantel.  Emails have been sent.

Thank you for stopping by.

Friday, February 15, 2013

These Moments

{these moments} - A Friday ritual. A couple of photos - capturing precious moments from the week.  Simple, special, extraordinary moments to pause, savor and remember.

Great Grand Dad

Oldest and Youngest Aunts

linking with Amanda and with Amy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Because He Loves Me, Spring 2013 Book Study

First the first time in several years "one word" for the year didn't come to me.  As a matter of fact, not one word, nor a few words.  But when I think over the books that I am currently reading there is no doubt that I am being led on down the road by my Saviour.  Time after time I find that what the Spirit is teaching me is brought up in Scripture, in books I am reading, sermons on Sunday and sermons on the radio.  Sometimes I've really thought that God, our pastor, Charles Stanley and my husband have had a conference.

Here I am again.

Because He Love me.

"It's essential for us to think about God's love today because it is only his love that can grant us the joy that will strengthen our hearts, the courage that will embolden us in our fight against sin and the assurance that will enable us to open up our lives to him so that he might deal powerfully with our unbelief and idolatry. 

If we don't consciously live in the light of his love, the gospel will be secondary, virtually meaningless, and Jesus Christ will fade into insignificance.  Our faith will become all about us, our performance, and how we think we're doing, and our transformation will be hindered." Elyse Fitzpatrick in "Because He Loves Me."

I am reading Hind's Feet on High Places and listening to Because He Loves Me.   And I know that another golden thread is being woven into my heart, another transforming work being done upon my mind.

At the end of chapter 1 Elyse Fitzpatrick asks "Do you have any hopes or expectations as you begin this study?"

Right now I am experiencing a bit of breathless wonder that the God of the Universe once is again calling me further upwards.

linking with Ruth and with Joy.


Productive Pursuits ~ A Saturday at Home

Since I turned down several invitations to leave the house today (errands others wanted to do) I've enjoyed this DAY AT HOME.  Games of Dutch Blitz and Battleship have taken place and the hope of starting a new read aloud after dinner has me working to get some things wrapped up...

Home Sewn Nursing Pads ~ Sunshine Princess had her first baby on January 19th.  Nursing is going super well and today we set out to make some cloth nursing pads.   She picked up some cloth diapers at Target and I figure we can make 12 from 3 of the diapers.  This will allow us to set aside the rest for when JoyNess outgrows the ones our sweet neighbor friend lent us.

Another cousin quilt is almost completed, I have to sew the binding on one last side, then hand sew it down on the back side.  This is my favorite of the quilts I have made so far.

Can you believe how cute this is?

Fine Art drawings by cousins on cotton blocks

Good days.

20 Mule Team Borax, a Review and More Pictures

Just in time, our full size box of 20 Mule Team Borax, Detergent Booster and Multipurpose Household Cleaner arrived last month.  A dear friend had shared the newborn cloth diapers that her own sweet grand daughter had outgrown, so we put the Mule Team to work.

The diapers wash up clean, without any odor.  I am enjoying that they are clean, but don't smell like bleach.  Back when we used cloth diapers, bleach was always mixed in.

As we are preparing for a big 3 bathroom remodel, we've set up a simple changing station in our large laundry room. 
There is always a sweet auntie nearby to love on baby after changing.

Do you see that origami animal hanging above baby?  Auntie Chica made an origami animal mobile for her first niece.  It is hanging above the changing station.

I've also been using the 20 Mule Team Borax, Detergent Booster and Multipurpose Household Cleaner around the house.  It is a gentle abrasive for cleaning stubborn stains, works great for cleaning in the bathroom without leaving a chemical smell.

Have you tried 20 Mule Team Borax?  What jobs have you found where it replaces stinky bleach or other chemical cleaners?

Did you know?   20 Mule Team Borax® has been setting the standard in detergent boosting and odor control for over a century, each year brings new cleaning challenges. Face those challenges head on by entering to win our Fresh Year, Fresher Laundry sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will be awarded $1,500, with 171 second place winners receiving a coupon for a free box of Borax.

20 Mule Team Borax, Detergent Booster and Multipurpose Household Cleaner was provided to me by Purex Insiders, in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, February 8, 2013

an Aunt, not an ant

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember

linking with SouleMama and Finer Things Friday

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Goodby to Yesterday, a Review

 I'm so ready for routine and schedules to resume in February.  We didn't intend for our Christmas break to continue on into a Winter Break, but life brought us quite a few changes and challenges and tremendous blessings.  We have stacks of books waiting to be read, and since this book Goodbye to Yesterday is such a little read, I did manage to finish it.  It actually only took a little time one afternoon.

Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E. Brunstetter is part 1 of 6 in The Discovery series.  A sweet Amish fiction that reads easily, this story took me away from my own challenges for a little while.

As the story began to unfold and pick up a little speed I was surprised by the abrupt ending.  Just 121 small pages long, the story is to continue in The Silence of Winter in March of this year. 

While I did enjoy the story, that abrupt ending caused me to think about the size of the book.  I've waited a couple of days to write this review because I needed to think it over.  As a family we've read some great read alouds designed to be read daily, with cliff hangers at the end of each day's reading.  This book wasn't written in the same way, but it does seem strange to have a story printed in a short book form, and to have to wait a couple of months for the next segment of the story.  It's really just a little more than a booklet in size. I'm curious to read what others think.

I recived this book in exchange for an honest review from HANDLEBAR -- 207 Reber Street, Suite 100, Wheaton, IL 60187

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

We received two letters from Guatemala this past week!

Lesbia wrote in response to some questions we sent her in the fall.  One specific question I had asked her was about her father.  She always asks us to pray for her grandmother, her mother and herself, because they are "all alone."  In this most recent letter from Lesbia, she was more open than ever before.  It seems that we have been granted a level of trust, that I cannot share the letter in full here.  We treasure this letter as an open door to a deeper relationship with this precious girl and to pray more specifically.

Now from Carlos,

We are so blessed by these kids and the relationships that are beginning to grow.   It is our hope that we can travel to Guatemala in 2013 or early 2014 and meet these sweet kids.
If you are interested in pursuing world missions right where you are, visit and look at the work that takes place, in Jesus' name, one child at a time.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mail Call!

Mae skipped cheerily into the house one day this past week singing, "Two letters Marme."  In our home, getting sent to check the mail box is like a special treat, as each of us really look forward to those cream colored envelopes from Compassion International.  Seeing  "A Message from your Sponsored Child" is exciting to every member of the family.

Here are the 2 letters that arrived that day.

From Neema, Tanzania

and from Lucia.


In case you noticed the similarities between the two letters, Neema and Lucia live in Tanzania and actually attend the same Child Development Center.   As they grow their different personalities are sure to be more noticeable.

We are also part of an online community that sponsors a young man through Compassion.  Earlier in the month we received a couple of emails with a scanned letter from Obwini, as well as a link to a song he mentioned in his letter.  I hope you enjoy!

Obwini's Favorite Song

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Finding Grace

Genesis 6:8  "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

Grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Grace in the Old Testament!

In January of 2011 I set out to read the Bible in a year.  It took 2 years and 8 days, it was wonderful, but not enough.  Now I've set out to read it again, this year and I'm seeing things in Genesis that I haven't seen before.  Like "GRACE" in the eyes of the Lord.

And how did Noah find grace in the eyes of God?  The next verse says "Noah was a just man, perfect in his generation.  Noah walked with God."  Genesis 6:9

Last week I wrote about establishing habits to "do well."  And here I find the first habit.

Walk with God.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Goal Setting 2013

It is nearly the middle of January and this blog has been quiet during the online community conversations about the New Year and goals.  We did mark the turning of the year, but even that we didn't do on the actual day.  Life happened without regard to the days marked on the calendar, and so I find myself with a head cold on this chilly Sunday in mid January, posting my 2013 goals.

This new year has a different feel than ever before.  While I have pondered simplicity and decluttering of my life many times over past years, the landscape ahead of us now insists on the letting go of many things while we embrace what lies ahead.

Just before Christmas we said earthly good bye to Builder's and my paternal grandmothers.  As the New Year dawned, we saw the diagnosis of early dementia in my mother, and began assisting my step father in her care.  In just a few weeks our first granddaughter is due to be born, and will be living with her momma (our 2nd oldest daughter) in our home.

Life ending, life beginning and so much in between.

Here are my 2013 goals, in simple style.

Read through the Bible, again, this time in 1 year
Memorize Psalm 91 and Colossians or the Sermon on the Mount
Read 24 books
Listen to 12 audio books
Learn to follow my husband
Learn about 5 new birds, and their calls
Learn about 5 trees in my local area, and observe them through the 4 seasons of this year
Become a peacemaker
Replace current products with items better suiting my changing skin care needs
Continue my fitness habits of strength training and cardio activity