Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Reflections...

The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!      - Henry Ward Beecher

I know this time of year prompts many people to think about being more thankful.  I have to admit - it has me thinking. My own personal thoughts have been along a parallel line. I've been thinking about just how much we take for granted.
The blessings in our lives are truly innumerable. There is enough to praise God forever in just the redemption of my own heart. You know, the great big sinner, with an even bigger Savior. This is change we can be thankful for. (corny use of a recently popular cliche)
But that's not all, He picks us up out of the miry clay, sets our feet on a solid rock, and then . . . leaves us to fend for ourselves? Not a chance! He daily cares for His children, provides for our needs (but my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19), hears our prayers (The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Jms 5:16), and carries our burdens for us (Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee...Ps55:22).
There are so many things that God has done for us, how often do I thank Him? I am ungrateful, and I am asking God today to put a heart of gratitude in me. Our pastor preached a wonderful Thanksgiving message on Sunday which encouraged us to give praise and thanksgiving every time we pray - BEFORE we go to begging.
I so often just jump into praying for the burdens on my heart, for needs, or for others in serious situations without stopping to first thank and praise Him. Even the Lord Jesus praised the the Father in Matthew 6:9 "Hallowed be thy name."
It is my prayer and hearts desire to keep thanksgiving in my heart, not just because it is the "time of year", but because He deserves everything we have, and most certainly our thanks!

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving...

Amos 4:5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving...
I Cor. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which geiveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our piece of history...

I have had a few people to ask me to post something about our "old house."  We purchased this big old house in November of 2003.  It took about 3 years of blood, sweat, and ALOT of tears to actually finish it.  I don't have time to go into all of the details about what we did, but I will just give you an "outside" tour.

These pictures are from the first time that we got to "look inside" our dream home.

                                      What a welcoming sight from the street!

It is even better from the back! That little shed - lean to looking thing was a "toilet" and laundry area. That and the outhouse just behind where I am taking a picture must constitute a 2 bath home. Ya think...

As you can see the inside wasn't much better. The neighbors gladly let us know that this is the window that the ghost looks out.  Six years and we haven't ran  into her yet!

Here we are today... 3 years of long hard work - a few broken teeth - and almost losing a finger!

As you can see, there was no electric, no plumbing, no heat system - unless you call 8 fireplaces a heat system.  We had to take all the interior walls off due to termite damage, but it did make it easier to re frame the house, insulate it, wire it, and add the plumbing. Life is always interesting. Then of course, my husband was called to pastor a church in now we need to move! I am sure we will find another house that needs some TLC! I think that old houses become addicting!
historic homes

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kid's Favorite dessert for now...

I thought I would share with you all our new favorite dessert... though this may change at any moment.  Last weekend we tried Peanut Butter Streusel topped brownies... oh my goodness were they good!  Anyway, the kids loved them the adults loved them... they were definitely a winner! So here is the recipe - you may want to give 'em a try this weekend.

3 eggs
1 stick of butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c cocoa - I use dark :)
Cream this together then add:
1 to 1 1/2 c flour depending on how thick you like your batter.

Mix together until crumbly
1/2 c flour
2 TBSp light brown sugar
2Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 c peanut butter
2 Tbsp. melted butter
1/8 tsp salt
Sprinkle over the brownie batter after you put it in the pan.

Cook in a preheated 350* oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Hope you enjoy this serious comfort food!

P.S. the "Freedom fairie" is getting a little better - only redressed her 2 times yesterday! Yeah!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Okay, today's post is definitely nowhere near normal or even respectable, but I am venting my frustration with my beautiful blond haired blue eyed... uhhummmmm... cherub.

Every day for the past week... about 6 times a day I dress and redress my little "freedom fairy." I have tried putting clothes on her that are difficult to take off, and clothes that are VERY comfy, yet still she persists. Yesterday we had our family movie night and while I was busy making supper and dessert the naked "nipper" struck again. (which reminds me dessert turned out wonderful - peanut butter streusel topped brownies...mmm I will have to share the recipe later)

I am sure there is some sweet and innocent childhood fixation going on behind the scenes here, but I just found her a minute ago happily playing in her castle playhouse with her dolly...clothes dropped in a little pile and long forgotten!!

 I have even tried the "mean" approach - still to no avail! So, now I am questioning my parenting skills... have I lost it?  I managed to get 5 other children past the toddler years without going through this stage... this is making me crazy. I am so frustrated, then she smiles up at me and blows a kiss -

Oh so sweet, I could just eat her up!

Any suggestions for keeping clothes on little angels with blue eyes?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why we homeschool...

Just thought that I would let ya'll know a little bit more about us...  The decision to homeschool was not something that just happened to us.  I had wanted to homeschool for a very long time. In fact, I knew when I held my first baby in my arms that I wanted to homeschool her. But life is never easy or uncomplicated is it? And things never turn out how we thought they would!

I had been working as a teacher at a private Christian school, and they asked me to be the administrator.  At the time, we needed the money, (ever heard that before?) so off I went. I had a mother from the school watch my little girl in a room right next to me. This went on for a few years, and then it was time for her to start school. I told myself that she would be just fine - she is just down the hall for goodness sake! How could I quit, they needed me. (Hmmmmm.....)  I have to admit I squelched my hearts desire until she was in 3rd grade.  We finally just couldn't stand it any longer and brought her home and then eventually her sister and then the twins. Though we dissapointed many close to us who really believe in the Christian school, we were so relieved.  We were finally doing what we knew God wanted us to do. What joy!!

Since we began homeschooling, we have tried many different methods, places, practices, and curricula. We are now homeschooling 5 of our children (the youngest is 2) with our oldest at 14 in ninth grade. I still like to be somewhat structured in my approach - I guess I just can't get away from all my college training, or all those years of teaching! But I sure have relaxed a lot (the kids are all saying yeah!!!)

Our approach is quite eclectic, but on a typical day most of us work at the kitchen table.  We start out with Bible using Positive Action for Christ curriculum, we use DVD's for Latin from Memoria Press, we scrapbook our science text from Apologia, use workbooks from ABEKA for math, handwriting, and language, and we supplement the core subjects and do history with an online education program called Time4Learning.

Just like any other home with children there are good days and there are bad days. There are messy days, and well... there are messy days! But through it all it is such a joy to see the children grow daily and turn into really wonderful and interesting people. I have to say one of the most rewarding things about being a mother and raising children is when they begin to grow up and you realize one day they are no longer just your child, they are your friend.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  III John 1:4

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WOW... what a weekend!

At our full house... we have been busy busy busy for the last few weeks and escpecially this past weekend! We have our annual Fall Festival at church on the last Saturday of October. It is always so much fun... lots of food, candy, games, fun, and our Mission Auction! I know you're thinking... what???  We don't actually auction missionaries... we auction homemade items to raise "Christmas money" for our missionaries.  This year I tried to encourage each of the children to get in on the creativity and make things for the auction.  They did so good! I was thrilled to see them learn new skills and lovingly make something to benefit another. Priceless... in this day of selfishness.
The Festival was last weekend and even though it rained (my thoughts were a beautiful sunkissed autumn day drowned in rain - boo hoo).... we still had so much fun! Here are a few pics of things we took.  I thought I had a picture of Camie's hemp bracelet and necklace sets... wow! They were soooo cute!!

They made beautiful Christmas cards!

My sweet boy drew pictures of his favorite things.

I painted a bit for the auction...

and a bit for fun!!!! Gotta love these little "animals!"

Even with the rain it was a wonderful weekend... and so nice to be with friends and enjoy great fellowship! It is wonderful memories like these that make us realize God is so good to us, He provides for our daily needs, gives us warm and cozy houses, so much love and laughter... but on top of all of that He gives us Himself - "good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over..."  What more could we ask for?