Saturday, September 26, 2009

It has taken five years

I have been a mother now for a little over five years. I am mother to one baby in heaven, that I will meet one day. We lost her(don't really know), when she was ten weeks in the womb. Quietly sleeping in their beds are Nathan-5, Timothy-almost 4, and Keith-16mos.
You know it has taken all of these five years for me to really like being a mom? I always grew up thinking that I wanted to be a mom, to be a stay-at-home mother who did all the homekeeping. Up until recently I have inwardly rebelled at the sacrifice of being a mom. When my oldest ones were teeny, I struggled with bitterness at the cost of being a mom. Perhaps part of what happens to us as moms is that we are softened. Instead of being the young know-it-all in our twenties, we grow into the thirty-something and forty-something know-it-not. As children and life experiences change us and challenge us, hurt us, confuse us, love us, we let go of our little pet theories and learn to love. We learn to love our children as they are, we learn to love our husbands as they are, we learn to love God whether we see Him or not, we learn to love and accept ourselves exactly as He made us.
Instead of straining after what I am not doing, (like back then), I am content to watch my baby sleep, to snuggle my older ones and dance with them (they still want to!) I am happier cleaning up the messy kitchen than I used to be, I am more contented to be home than away. I am happier singing Jesus Loves Me and Amazin' Grace with my little ones then to be earning a six-figure salary.
When I am old, and my children and grandchildren and perhaps great-grandchildren are around me, loving me, caring for me, I will be happy that I took time out of my life to love them and care for them, and teach them the importance of loving and caring for others. In the light of old age, no longer does the career life have any appeal. When I am an old woman, I will want faces I love surrounding me, not possessions and bank accounts. When I am an old woman, I will then know, more than ever, the value of the work I have done, though I may not have earned a cent.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Project I have Been Working on

A lady in our church who has been suffering from serious health problems for some time is going to be moving soon. She will be moving to Maryland to be near her daughter, and hence will be leaving our congregation. This Sunday is our monthly potluck dinner after service and she will be there as a going away. I suggest making a quilt for her that everyone can sign and here it is.

We Have Been Contemplating

My husband and I had a wonderful talk last night on our way home from Bible Study. It covered so many things, I can't hardly break it down enough to share it with you.
The two of us have been very frustrated with our walk's with Christ lately. We both have been contemplating the nature of God, how He is manifest in our lives, what, concerning our sanctification is ours to do and what is His to do, if we really, deep down, don't hold to an unbiblical pragmatic view of life and faith (ie it's only true if it works), and on and on.
We both read a book last week called Blessed Child by Ted Dekker and Bill Bright that gave us some food for thought. It is a novel, but full of quite deep theology. Anyway, it is about a ten-year-old child who was raised in a monastery whose life is in danger, and about the flight for his life, and the people who are to keep him safe. He was raised and thoroughly discipled by a monk in this monastery, and was taught to see and understand the kingdom of God in a very tangible way.
Anyway, as we were talking about our individual walks and questions and struggles, we both have felt that we (us plus most of Christian America) do too much compartmentalizing of our faith. When I say this, I mean we put it in a box too much. It doesn't seem to have a place in the minute by minute living. That the life in the kingdom that that book illustrated showed how this boy (and eventually others) lived knowingly in this world and the Kingdom of God simultaneously.
The questions I began to ask my husband were things like, "What does living in the kingdom look like when I am trying to get dinner ready with three screaming children hanging on me??" Or "What does kingdom living look like when the boys are ready to scratch each other's eyes out, they are so mad at each other?" Or "What does kingdom living look like when one of my children prays of his own accord for a boo-boo to be healed, only to look at it still there, not understanding why it is still there and waiting for an explanation from me as to why??"
I am so tired of trying to apply Scripture and Biblical understanding like you would a bandaid to life's day to day difficulties. I'm tired of praying for healing of individuals only to watch them deteriorate and die, or perhaps heal, but no differently than if they simply healed naturally, through many weeks of pain and struggle.
I'm tired of this life that is supposed to be abundant and victorious, and yet I have a feeling that part of the reason is because this life is the tip of the iceberg of what following Christ is supposed to be, and I haven't discovered it yet. I'm wondering if the Lord isn't beginning to give me the desire for Him. The desire that I know I am supposed to have, but could never quite muster it up on my own?? The desire that is like digging potatoes(see previous post).
He is beginning to show me about life and love, and what it's all about, and the part that I see is only on the surface. Hmmm. More later.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Only have a few minutes...

I thought I would sit down and post a little bit before I have to get supper on to cook. Dear husband will be going on home duty this evening while I go shopping for groceries. Earlier in the day, the kids and I ran around and did our incidental shopping for bulk stuff and odds and ends that we get elsewhere.
Speaking of shopping, I would like to find out what ya'll spend on groceries. There are times when our food budget just doesn't seem to stretch, and I wonder if it's because I am simply not budgeting enough. We are a family of five and I budget on average, about $85/week. THat includes things like tp and shampoo. Lemme know!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Anyone Want a Pumpkin??

So, something happened last night. It starts with the letter "f". When I woke up this morning, our thermometer said 32*. It froze last night. EWWWW!
So anyway, as a result, my children and I spent most of the day at the garden gathering the summers last produce. We pulled the rest of the carrots, picked all the pumpkins(minus a few teeny ones), found three cukes, pulled three small green peppers, and pulled a couple of stray onions, lost in the tangle. Let me tell you... We have about 30 pumpkins!! All sizes from a 20 poumder, to tiny gourd-sized ones. Most of them are standard pie-pumpkins, great for actually cooking up for pie, muffins, and so on. Problem is, I don't have that many recipes for pumpkin that I could use that much of!! Anyone have a recipe for pumpkin soup?? Or other baking ideas?? I thought a creamy pumpkin soup with sour cream and such might be good? I don't want to bake so much that i end up shaped like a pumpkin...
Anyway, if you live close enough and would like a pumpkin, how about you leave a comment on this post. I will contact you and we can set up how to get one to you.
bye for now

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Time for the Switch

Two days ago, we retrieved the winter clothing out of storage, and have spent the last two days sorting it and repacking all our summer things. This is one way the Lord has provided for our needs--the free clothing everyone seems to give us!! Our three boys have sooo many clothes. And right now, I think I have purchased underwear, socks, and a few pairs of pants, in the last year. Everything else has been just given to us. Now at times I get irritated at the storage containers that have to be hauled out and repacked for each season, but that is a whole lot better than haulin' out my wallet to purchase clothes every time I turn around.
When I do have to buy clothes for my children (except underwear), I mostly shop used. There is a thrift store just a few miles away that carries a lot of stuff!! Just today, we were there to get some things for myself and hubby,(I still have baby weight, and hubby wears his pants out so fast..). I purchased three pairs of men's pants, three skirts, two pairs of women's pants, and six or eight shirts for twelve dollars!! I also purchased some sheet fabric there awhile ago in nice colors with the purpose of making myself some skirts for around the house. I only have one made...Oh well, soon it will get dark at 4:30 and I'll need something to do...
Let's see, I am also working on the last of the harvest for the season. We dug potatoes, got a bushel and a half, we still have all our pumpkins in the field, though we picked some mystery squashes, cause the vine was rotting. We also stopped by our local produce market and picked up a bushel of peaches to can and freeze. Made 10 jars of jam, and so far, six bags of frozen. Still have half-a-bushel to go. I just remembered that I have MOPS tommorrow morning. So much for getting caught up tommorrow...Suddenly, I have the immediate desire to go and be ya'll!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Bounty, and then Some

Not much to say, just some pix of the daily goings-on of our family. Garden produce, gluten-free blueberry muffins, etc. Enjoy!!

Our Desires,Not Intentions

If you look in my book list, the most recent one I have read is Blessed Child, by Ted Dekker. Great Read!! A little thriller, a little romance, a lot of Jesus, a lot of politics, a lot of action!!
This isn't a book critique, so I'll work on getting to my point in mentioning it. There is a quote in the book during a dialogue part about seeking the kingdom of God. Paraphrased, it says that it is the desire that leads to the seeking that will result in finding the Kingdom of God, not our intentions.
I was pondering that while I dug my potatoes today in our garden. I was really getting into digging them, let me tell you!! I had my sandals off, and was just reveling in the dirt and every time I found a cache of potatoes, I was just inspired to dig and find more! Sometimes I would find a couple, and then nothing. However, I found that if I kept on digging, I would frequently find more. I had to search in all directions, I had to dig down deeper often, sometimes I even had a rock or a root to contend with, but let me tell you, I wanted those potatoes!!
I desired those potatoes--enough to push through whatever was in my way. It was the desire for the potatoes that urged me on, that didn't let me rest in finding ways to get to them.
You can probably see where this is going. If my intentions were to dig potatoes, I could encounter a hard one and say, "Eh, who cares, I am digging potatoes--who cares if I miss a few?" And move on, not realizing that the motherload may lie right underneath.
Is our life with God lived out the same way?? Our intentions are to seek God. So we do a little Bible study, we attend a seminar, we spend some time praying. But watch out!! Encounter the rocks and roots of a time crunch, a medical problem, an inconvenient parking space, an untimely death, and wham--doubts, questions, weariness, and so on seem to choke out our intentions. However, if our desire is for more of Christ himself, what will keep us away from Him?? If we desire Him in a way a thousand times more intensely than my desire for potatoes, we will push through all rocks and roots of life to find him, won't we?

Monday, September 14, 2009

On a Practical Note

I have been catching up on laundry today. My usual Monday routine. We also have cleaned the house, mowed the grass, organized our produce, switched summer clothes for winter ones, and the list goes on. My poor husband is suffering through his usual round of dusty clothes misery(ahh-chooo!).
A practical laundry tip for anyone who suffers from greasy-head stains on their pillow cases, (that seems to be there even if you change the cases every week!), is ammonia. I have a dear husband who tends to have an oily scalp, so his pillowcases need some extra TLC. This is just like my father, whose cases have been stained for years. Anyway, you know, that yellow haze that lingers where your head goes? And has that scalp smell you just can't get out?? Go buy a one dollar bottle of clear ammonia. Do all the laundry that has sweat-type stains--undershirts, pillowcases, even sheets, where the edge where you grab with your hands tends to get icky. I frequently do a load of whites with ammonia instead of bleach. You see, ammonia is a grease cutter, and bleach is not. Now after you dissolve all that head oil out of the fabric, bleach can do a wonderful job of whitening things up!!(A half cup of borax will help the ammonia along, if your water is hard)
Let's see, tommorrow we intend to go and dig potatoes, as long as it doesn't rain. We'll see how well they have done. We also have carrots, pumpkins, and a last skimming of bean plants. We also intend on doing some looking for a produce stand that carries bulk peaches so we can freeze some, and make some peach marmalade. I have decided that I need add a new category to my budget. I need to start tucking away a little through the winter months so that in the summer when produce is ripe I have some funds to buy bulk without it breaking the budget now. Note to self:start new page in saving ledger...Speaking of which, I need to go over the budget, so we can do our banking tommorrow.
love ya'll!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thoughts Concerning Church

After having been exposed to the family integrated church concept, I have decided(with hubby's support) to bring my children with me into services. I have been doing so now for over six months. I struggle, as the wife of a pastor, to keep my young ones under control for the hour of the service. They are 5, 4, and 1. The older two get bored and the baby either squirms or screams after a bit. I have tried to bring a few quiet toys and paper and pencil, and such with me into service, but it only serves to distract for a little while. I want my children to love church, to look forward to going to church, and I hate having to be stern and disapproving all the time at church, just to keep them in line. Don't get me wrong, I think our boys are fairly obedient, but we did send them to jr. church the first 18 months of going to this church, and now I think, we are reaping the consequences. I have to hold the baby on my lap, which means my ability to hold either of the other two is limited. The older boys cannot touch the floor when sitting on the pew, and therefore, their legs get tired. I was given the idea of sitting down with the children at home and listen to preaching tapes and practice sitting there quietly for a slot of minutes at a time. I want to do this, but it is on my never ending list that never quite makes it in. Any suggestions?
I'll post the thoughts on why this is important next time.

The Dilemma of the Homemaker

This is a dilemma that has baffled me ever since I started having children. Has anyone else struggled with the "time with the Lord is a privilege". And as with other privileges it is to be reserved for times when the daily grind is done? After all, what do we tell our children? "No movie til toys are picked up" or "I can't give you dessert unless you do the work of cleaning your plate". It's sooo easy to think of God as the reward at the end of the day if we get our "to do" lists completed. The problem is, and a way Satan uses to discourage us, is when we get behind on everything that needs to be done, we wake up and go to bed behind on the list!! And this could go on for days!! Every day, hoping to catch up sufficiently enough to devote a half an hour, or *gasp* an hour to worshipping the Lord and reading His Word. But the chore list is endless, our energy wanes, the piles of laundry, dishes (that you have already washed once), and toys seem to increase not decrease!! Perhaps we should all try an experiment. This week, let's all put God first. Let's let the dishes sit in the sink (heaven knows they've already sat--another half hour won't hurt 'em!), sit down on the floor with your Bible, and the children playing nearby and read. And then get the children together and sing some songs to the Lord together. A great children's worship tape, I think, is Kids of the Kingdom, with Annie Herring. Let's do this first thing every day for a week and see how our workload goes. Are you with me??

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I NEED to win Charlie's Soap!!

There is a give-away at one of my favorite, for Charlie's soap. I have heard of it before, and that it is really great for cloth diapers, which we use. My baby, however, has had miserable diaper rash for over two months now that we can't get rid of. Quite literally little blisters, that get infected, and we have tried everything we can think of to help the little man!! Charlie's Soap could do it!! So, hence, I need to win!! THis soap is supposed to be great for hardish water, and completely non-residue. I have heard people ranting and raving about it!!! For people with skin problems, and such and other allergies, it is supposed to be great. As my boys would say "Hip, hip, horray!! Hip, hip, horray!! For Charlies' Soap!!
And Charlie's Soap is soo versatile, here are some other things I thought I would try cleaning with it!!(Well, maybye not the boy, and the carrots...)Check out his soap at

What a Busy Day!

I feel like that has titled a lot of my postings lately. Let's see, made french toast for breakfast,(or french "toes", as we tell it to our boys--only to hear them scream...and giggle). Then me and the boys went on an adventure this morning to a place we'd never been. We wended our way to an out-of-the way hardware/construction store in search of masonite or tempered hardboard to make homemade chalkboard for school. We purchased a four by eight foot sheet and had them cut it so we could get it home. Then we stopped by a natural food store that didn't look like much from the outside, but boy was it huge!! Literally out in the middle of nowhere!! And it was extremely clean and orderly and had a huge amount of stuff!! Glad to find way out here in the middle of nothing. The nearest one i knew of is in Wellsboro and that is forty-five minutes away. This one was maybe a half hour away. Let's see, after that we stopped at the Amish store for butter, as it's cheaper there. Then we got home and proceeded to work on painting our chalkboards, and I put on like three coats! Then I worked on sorting and braiding our onions into hanks. I got seven big hanks plus some that need to be used right away or they will rot, etc. I also got a half-bushel of short stem ones that can't be braided. So I will probably chop and can the onions that are questionable--after all you can buy canned pearl onions, right?? Besides, I want to use my new canner!!! Then we came in to get ready for bed, and I looked at my boys, and they were filthy. So, into the tub they went...
Now I am doing a quick post while my baby hangs on me, ready for bed.
Good Night!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Nasal Passages Runneth Over...

Strange sounding title, eh? Well, we harvested onions out of our garden today and I thought I would put some pix of the bounty God has blessed us with. The bucket actually has potatoes underneath the carrots. It has been such a wet summer, though, that I hope the onions don't all rot. So far, we have the rest of the carrots to take in, which should yield about half a bushel, almost all the potatoes to dig up, which I am expecting at least two bushels of those, and about 25 pie pumpkins that are all about half ripe.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Favorite Stones

Here is a group of four. You can kinda get an idea of what I am trying to do.

My favorite one

In my desire to earn a little money, I am been working on producing these pretty little stones to sell as jewelry pendants. I just thought I would post a few that are my favorites. I had both shells and stones. Most of them are from Camp Judson on Lake Erie. Aren't they lovely??

Daily Happenings

First off, we purchased a new pressure canner last week that I am so excited about!! I have never had my own. Always borrowed my mom's before. So here it is.
On a different note, I have been so into my calling right now. Being homemaker is a beautiful thing right now. My baby is a little less needy, my older two are discovering the world around them, and learning to read. I am really into thinking about how to best teach and disciple them each day. What's most important in their character development and how to instill it.
I am enjoying the challenge of making do on our tight budget, continuing to learn to cook and bake gluten-free with more successes than failures. It is a wonderful gift of God that we have wonderful seasons of interest, purpose, some degree of success and more!! I just want to revel in all aspects of being mother and wife and homemaker!! Get into life with my children and plan and arrange and organize and learn and, and, and yes!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Biscuits, not from Biscquick!!

I just learned a new feature on my blog!! I have been tring to figure out how to add in a picture with text. The picture feature makes the picture huge!! I just figured out how to add a picture into the text...ahhh
Anyway, I have a recipe for making gluten-free biscuits out of cornstarch. Aren't these beautiful?? We dined on turkey-sausage gravy and biscuits this morning for breakfast. I was quite pleased with how these came out.

How to teach diligence

I have really wondered, at times, how to teach diligence to my children. I have three boys ages 5, 4, 14mos. I would really like to begin teaching them about diligence now, but I get frustrated with myself and what seems like a lack of diligence on my part. I think about what people say concerning raising children--you know the more is caught than taught?? Well if that is true, then all I can see is the fact that I oftentimes do cut corners because I have so many corners to keep clean. I get frustrated with the example I set to my children because I feel like I am not diligent with every task. The problem is, there is no way I could be diligent (perfect) in every task I do. I wouldn't get everything done sufficiently. I would have 50% of the needed work complete and the rest would be completely undone. Do you see my dilemma? So how does a busy mother attempt to teach something that she struggles with herself?? Perhaps I should look up the word diligent, to get a specific definition. 'Cause, you know, perhaps what could make the difference is a phrase like "given certain circumstances". I just hope I can make my children see that I am diligent over the whole host of my sphere, and that what is perceived as cutting corners is for the purpose of getting it all pretty much done, so there aren't any glaring problems in the home.