Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Bitter Fruits of Self-Knowledge

This summer I am participating in a Bible study on the book of Galatians. The study was written by Tim Keller and a sample of the study can be seen here. It has been so good. Part of lesson 3 included a sermon he preached on The Prodigal Sons. I've never looked at that passage that way before!

In addition, at church, our pastor has just started a series on the Beattitudes.

It's interesting how God brings it all together with the last book I'm studying called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. It is very good too.

This quote by Spurgeon helped emphasize what I've been learning.
Wherever the truth about our condition is truly known, it has been spiritually revealed. To be spiritually poor is the condition of all men. ...For my own part, my constant prayer is that I may know the worst of my case, whatever the knowledge may cost me. I know that an accurate estimate of my own heart can never be anything but lowering to my self-esteem, but God forbid that I should be spared the humiliation that springs from the truth! The sweet apples of self-esteem are deadly poison; who would wish to be destroyed by them? The bitter fruits of self-knowledge are always healthy, especially if washed down with the waters of repentance and sweetened with a draught from the wells of salvation. He who loves his own soul will not despise them.

Taken from God Will Bless You by Charles Spurgeon, emphasis mine.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I have nothing to say...

Oh, I'm sure there are words in there, but nothing comes to mind. The week has gone fast and I'm trying to stay on task. I've been making a list each evening for the next day, praying that God would order my days. It's going well overall.

We've been getting rain (Praise the Lord!). The soft, hot rains have greened up all the grass and livened up the flowers.

I'm needing to start homeschool planning for next school year, as well as work on scrapbooks that have fallen behind. A visit to family is planned for a couple weeks from now...looking forward to that.

Oh, I know what I could tell 100th post is coming up soon (maybe next week or early the following week). I'm thinking of having a fun giveaway. The fun part of this giveaway is since I'm not widely read--you have a great chance of winning. I'm still thinking of a prize, but don't worry it will be "100th post" worthy! I'll keep you updated! :)

Alright, so maybe I did have a few things to say.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Scripture Memory

As of late I've been challenged and encouraged to make a plan/goal for Scripture memory. Here are some ideas for making it work:
  • Write the Scripture on a piece of pretty paper or colored card stock
  • Laminate to add durability
  • Place in prominent areas (above the sink in the kitchen, bathroom mirror, etc.)
  • Memorize it perfectly with the reference
  • Review frequently even after you've moved on to other Scriptures.
So, I've chosen my Scriptures for the next 3 weeks. Today I'll write them on card stock and get them laminated. My goal is that by next Wednesday I'll have memorized my first section and moved onto the next one.

Feel free to ask me how it's going.
Visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday ideas.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Another blog giveaway

You've got to love giveaways. Free to enter, adds a little excitement to the days leading up to the big drawing, you know those types of fun things.

Check out this blog, Making a House a Home, not only for a fun giveaway, but for other tips and thoughts on homemaking.

I do windows

My tackle this Tuesday is my windows! I didn't do them last week, or the week before or before... They need it badly!!

I also did some mending that has been in a "to do" pile. :)

That's all for today. Visit 5MinutesforMom for more tackles. AND, don't miss entering the great giveaways at their site. Check it out!

Things I learned in Graduate School Part 2

I struggle with consistency. There I said it and now you know it. Of course, you who already know me, know that I struggle with consistency. Having a good plan and starting well are the easy parts for me. Staying the course and being faithful to what I know to be good, those are the hard parts. So in my evaluation of the last two years, here's what I didn't do so well on:

  • Consistency with being firm in the training of our children
  • Consistency with exercising
  • Consistency with eating well
  • Consistency with reading, meditating and memorizing Scripture
  • Consistency with keeping track of bill due dates
  • Consistency with keeping Marissa on schedule with school
I'm sure I could add to this list, but you get the idea.
Without going in a list of excuses why I wasn't consistent in these areas, I am, instead, going to continue practicing good habits in each of these areas. Because even though grad school is finished, life is not. The journey isn't over.

I like this quote by William Law:
For God has made no promises of mercy to the slothful and negligent. His mercy is only offered to our frail and imperfect, but best endeavours, to practice all manner of righteousness.

I am working on next year's school schedule which will hopefully instill in Marissa diligence and staying on task. I also need to impose consequences for things that are not done on time. Do you have ideas of what consequences would be appropriate for a 6th grade girl? Taking away privileges is a good idea although, we don't do a lot that can be taken away. Well, let me know what you come up with.

I'm working on my personal goals--Bible reading and memorization, exercise, eating well, etc. And my hunny is helping with the bills again (whew, what a relief) and of course, he'll be home more to help with discipline and training.

So, with God's help and for His glory, I am making strides toward consistency.

Are you working towards any goals?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Menu for the Week

Not very exciting this week (or last week, for that matter), however what matters more is that I have a plan! A plan that will allow my family healthy nurishment with no stress on me. Ahh, I love a plan.

Monday--salad with chicken (we didn't have this last week)
Tuesday--hamburgers and veggies
Wednesday--scrambled eggs with veggies and cheese rolled up in whole wheat burritos
Thursday--going to a friend's house
Friday--picnic with homeschool group leaders
Sunday--chicken (on the grill??) and veggies

There it is. It will serve it's purpose while not winning any cooking awards. :)

Visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more meal plans!

Recipe Update

I made the Chocolate Peanut Clusters mentioned here. They were too sugary although very edible. So, I altered the recipe a little bit (okay maybe a lot a bit). Still not the taste I'm going for, but still good and also very edible. This is what I did:

Chocolate Peanut Clusters (altered version):

1 c. chocolate chips
10-12 Kraft caramels
1 T. solid vegetable shortening
1 c. milk

Melt the chocolate chips over med-low heat along with the shortening. Stirring often, add the caramels. They will take a few minutes to melt. Stir in the milk. When well blended, take off heat, add peanuts. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper.

*One note: I do NOT like using shortening. I have terrible nightmares about what it's doing to our insides. I will have to experiment with other recipes and oils. Thankfully, I don't make this kind of thing much.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Things I learned in Graduate School Part 1

I've been thinking about the last two years when my hunny was in graduate school. What a time of stretching and growth, challenging growth. Some things I think I did well, others not well at all and of course there are things I think I'd do differently if I had to do it all over again.

On the positive side, at the beginning of grad. school, we invested in another cell phone. Now we each had one. This only made good sense and it proved to be a great way for us to communicate. He had an hour and a half commute three times a week and on the way home, we'd talk.

Another positive was that we were involved at our church. We'd just started attending this church when grad. school began, so although hunny wasn't able to go, the kids and I were. Several ladies reached out to me which was a huge help. One lady would carry baby boy for me--and when he was still in the infant carrier seat, he was heavy. The ladies in the nursery welcomed us each Sunday and Wednesday--amazing how a smile and "hello" can brighten a person's day. In addition, I attended a class for women of all ages. Sharing, learning, and praying with these women was a big encouragement. One lady and I really hit it off. Her husband had gone through many years of schooling (Ph.D program) when their kids were small. She was able to encourage me and we chuckle about the similarities in our lives.

The last positive that I have time to write about today is that I tried to nurture myself. In the evenings (after the kids were in bed) I would crochet, scrapbook, read or blog. My time to rejuvinate and relax. I enjoyed this time, and had to guard against staying up too late (which falls in the things I didn't do so well...another post).

**As I was thinking about this post, I realized that it sounds like "I" did things well. Begging your forgiveness, more accurately stated is that Christ enabled me to do these things. In myself, no way could I have done it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Marissa and I are going to make these yummy treats tomorrow. I'll have to let you know how they taste. I found the recipe at

Chocolate Peanut Clusters
2/3 c. evaporated milk
1 1/2 c. sugar
10-12 Kraft Caramels
1 c. chocolate chips
1 1/2 to 2 c. peanuts

Bring the milk and sugar to a boil. Addd caramels. Take off heat. Add chocolate chips and peanuts. Drop by spoonfuls on wax paper. It sets up fast.

One question: is the sugar really necessary?? Goodness me. We will be sharing these with way could I have this much chocolate in the house!! :)

Hints from Heather: I use the inner cereal liner as wax paper. Just take scissors and cut down the seam, wipe with damp cloth and wala, wax paper!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Importance of Fathers

Somewhat late for Father's Day, still of great importance.

A father who is bringing up his children according to God's law "puts the hay where the sheep can reach it"--teaches, for example, that it is not enough to claim you haven't punched anybody today or run off with anybody else's toys or cookies, haven't teased your little brother or argued with your mother. He must teach positive acts of thoughtfulness such as doing obvious things without having to be asked--feed the baby his applesauce, pick up the garbage the dogs strewed around, help a younger child clean up his room, replace paper and pencil taken from the telephone by someone else. Love sees what ought to be done and does it.

A father's thoughtfulness or thoughtlessness will be reproduced in his children. Our father's gentleness and respect for Mother set the tone for us. No amount of talking penetrates as deeply as example.

Elisabeth Elliot in Shaping of a Christian Family, p. 134

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm tackling my Tuesday!

The last couple of Tuesdays have pretty much tackled me despite my best laid plans. However today, I'm getting things accomplished.

On my list today:
  • brown ground beef for freezer meals *done!
  • cook chicken for freezer meals *done!
  • wash the front window and back sliding glass door >>nope
  • scrapbook our spring break pictures *started

My goal is to complete these by bedtime....and hopefully to go to bed at a decent time. :)
Have a good day, and for more Tackle it Tuesdays visit 5 Minutes for mom.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Visit to 1800's Farm

Last Thursday we took a family day trip to an 1800's working farm. There were men in the fields baling hay and women in the house sewing. A blacksmith was in the shop making new hooks and latches for some outside gates. He shared a lot of information with us about the process of heating up the metal and shaping it. Fascinating.

Everyone was dressed in clothes of the time period. This farm puts up vegetables from the garden, keeps animals, weaves rugs, etc. It was really neat.

The kids had a good time. The highlight was visiting the general store which actually had 1 cent and 2 cent candy in glass jars. Yummy treat!

Meal Plan Monday

I've wanted to start posting my menu each week so that I'd be more intentional about planning, shopping, healthy eating, etc. This is the week! So thanks everyone for stopping by and visiting. I hope you'll like what you find and come back again.

This is going to be a busy week, so my meal plan is easy. I don't usually do two soups in one week--especially during the summer. But this is the way it worked with the food I had on hand and what I could make ahead of time.

Monday--*cabbage soup for my hunny and I/spagetti for the kids
Tuesday--salmon patties and veggies (salmon patties purchased from Trader Joe's)
Wednesday--fellowship meal at church
Friday--chili with cornbread
Saturday--tossed salad with chicken and homemade wheat bread (recipe below)
Sunday--OPEN HOUSE for hunny (being held at a good friend's house)

*Cabbage soup is one of the recipes on our 30-day meal plan, so I can't give you the exact recipe. However has several that are similar.

Homemade bread recipe:
1 1/8 c. hot water
2 T. olive oil
2 T. honey
2 3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 T. gluten
1/2 T. lecithin granules
1/2 t. salt
2 t. (heaping) yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine in order recommended by manufacturer. Set on dough cycle. When complete shape, put dough in loaf pan and put in cold oven. Turn on to 350 degrees. Bake 23-27 minutes.

Stop by Laura's I'm an Organizing Junkie! for more meal plans!

Busy week ahead

I've been making a long list of things I need to get done this week. Hopefully I will remember to look at my list and use it to the fullest potential. Sunday is a fun open house for my hunny! We want people to come and enjoy food and fellowship, so we've asked for no gifts. Right about the same time he started full time graduate school, we started going to a new church. Working every weekend has certainly cut into corporate worship time. We are looking forward to hanging out with everyone for a few hours at the open house.

My class at church has graciously offered to help make food! We are doing mostly desserts, fruits and veggies. Wednesday I will do a bunch of the baking and Thursday night I'll make a Sam's run for paper goods, meatballs, etc. Friday and Saturday will be more baking. So it'll be busy, but a fun busy.

This afternoon I'm going to cook up a couple pounds of ground beef and a couple pounds of boneless skinless chicken. I don't want to lose my grip on supper this week. So I've made out a simple menu which I'll put in a separate post.

Other things on my list:
Haircuts for baby boy and me
get copy of graduation picture to put in a frame to display at open house
send a b-day card to my brother-in-law
keep up with household chores

Okay, I'm going to stop right here and go take a nap! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

No more dry heels

Dry cracked heels are just a part of summer....or are they?

I've been pampering my heels with a low cost and very effective combination of exfoliating and lotioning. For exfoliating, I'm using the Dr. Scholl's for her exfoliating stone file (link is above). Specially shaped for heels and soles, it does a fabulous job when used once a day in the shower. The lotion I am using is also Dr. Scholl's For Her Softening Balm (link above).

These two items help send me off to dream land in smoothy softness.

For more great Works for Me ideas, visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pictures from Graduation Day

Graduation Day dawned sunny and beautiful! The weather was just right and the ceremony albeit long, went well. We had a good friend keep Baby Boy for us, and several times throughout the day I was glad for that decision.

My mother-in-law beamed as a proud mama would when her son walked across the stage.

We give thanks and glory to God Who gave us the strength and diligence to complete this task.

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Littles

Last night as I was tucking the girls into bed, Bethany asked me if I would please lay in her bed for a while. You have to understand that her bed is packed like she's going on a 3 month safari. She's got babies, blankets, clothes (hers and the babies), books, match-box cars, and I'm sure there are some things I forgot. I am reminded of my brother Mike who used to have his bed piled high with stuffed animals. :)

So now you have a picture of the bed I'm supposed to be sharing with Sweet~pea. I obliged, and now picture me hanging off the side of the bed, trying to appear comfortable. We lay there a few minutes and I quietly tell her that I'm now going to go to bed...

Sweet~pea: Do you want a pillow, Momma?
Me: No, I really want to go to my bed.
Sweet~pea: I really want to go to your bed too.
Me, smiling: Oh, as sweet as that sounds, I'm going to go by my self.

Unfortunately, it ended with a few tears and me telling her that I love her and would see her in the morning. I love my children, at the same time, I really enjoy their bedtime at which time I can relax and unwind.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Grad School Completed!!

Last night, my hunny finished his last exam for his course work and today is his last day at his practicum. Saturday he will graduate with his master's degree in social work. I am so proud of him! Good job, hunny!!

Prayer List

"A Christian who is saturated with the Word is likely to have a calm, wholesome outlook on life; to be kept steady in the path of God's will in neither joy or sorrow, wealth or poverty; he is likely to be a pleasant companion, not voluble in aimless talk; and he will not be overly disturbed by world conditions." (From The Shaping of a Christian Family by Elisabeth Elliot)

This quote was said by Elisabeth's father who also gave this list in response to his youngest's son request to help him in forming his own prayer list.
1. Revise it occassioinally.
2 Three columns: Organizations/People/Personal
3. A daily list, then another for each day of the week.
4. Any area of life where you find
a. trouble
b. mistakes
5. Don't limit prayer to these things--pray for things you read about in the Bible.
6. Pray about the two most important decisions:
a. wife
1)one who wants to go to the mission field, not just because you want to
2)pray before you become involved
b. lifework
My own prayer list is in need of revising. In the past I've divided my prayer list into days of the week. For example, immediate family--Monday, extended family--Tuesday, personal--Wednesday, friends--Thursday, local and country leaders--Friday, church family and missionaries--Saturday. I'm going to revise it to kind of follow the ACTS method: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. The "adoration" section will include character qualties of God (a different one or two each day). The "confession" part will be my own personal struggles and sins, "thanksgiving"--praises and "supplication"--requests for the groups listed above.

I have a book on my shelf that I pull out every now and then called Face to Face: Praying Scriptures for Intimate Worship by Kenneth Boa. This book is divided into days of the year. You pray through scripture for Adoration, Confession, Renewal, Petition, Intercession, Affirmation, Thanksgiving and Closing Prayer. This book is a wonderful way to pray the scripture back to the Lord and focus our prayers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Word and Song Bible

The Word and Song Bible is a wonderful resource for children. Age recommendation on the back of the Bible is 10 and under, although frankly I like listening to them too. The Bible comes in hardback (one place I found it is Christian Book Distributers) and separately one can purchase the 5 CD set. The CD's read exactly what is in the book with voices for different characters and music too.

Bethany likes to listen to it during 'rest time'. I've also used it as a "5 p.m. everyone's grouchy and mom's trying to make dinner" quiet time. The illustrations in the Bible are good and there is at least one story from each book of the Bible.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Financial Wisdom

I really enjoy listening to Money Matters on the radio and have started to explore their website They have lots of articles and information. Some handy information is found here; credit reporting agencies, Consumer Credit Counseling Services, do not call numbers, etc.

There is something to be said for financial stability, but it doesn't happen by itself.

Playing games

How long has it been since I've played "Chutes and Ladders"? Today Marissa went to a friend's house for some assessment testing and I took my friend's two boys in exchange. Her boys are 5 and 3 and we had a great day. They played very well with Bethany and Baby Boy. I found myself playing more with them...aside from Chutes and Ladders, we played with trucks on the floor and then outside on the swingset. The 5 yo made the top of the playset a ship. He was the captain and Bethany was the first mate. Their imaginations ran from there.

Then in the afternoon, Marissa was back and the boys were home, some other boys (4 to be exact) came over while their mother was grocery shopping. And I played MORE games. Disney Scrabble and Dora Memory.

What a fun day! I'd just been thinking that I need to be intentional about playing with the kids. I tend to more of a "doer" and don't take the time I need to, to just play. I'm thankful it happened today.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


I signed Marissa up for an online writing class. I heard Julie Bogart (founder of Bravewriter) speak at one of our homeschool meetings; very good! Another friend of mine speaks highly of Bravewriter and the positive effects it has had on her sons. The website has many helpful ideas even without signing up for the classes. Here is a list of free articles that she offers.

One neat thing my friend told me is that the first class that Marissa is enrolled in (Kidswrite Basic) not only teaches the child how to write, but also teaches the mom how to teach the child to write. The other free service that she offers is a mom e-newsletter. If you sign up, you'll receive emails with ideas of how to implement her Braverwriter philosophy into your home.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Getting to the end of graduate school

About two months ago a friend happily said, "Your husband is almost done graduate school!" I told her that we were definitely dragging ourselves to the finish line. She remarked that it didn't matter how we got there, but just that we DID get there. Well folks, we are doing the turtle crawl. My hunny has one more paper and one more exam and he (we) will be finished with his master's degree. So close,

Really all things considered it has gone well and I'm very proud of him. It's just been a long two years of him being gone from before sun up to well after sun down, seven days a week. I've run the gamet of emotions--strong, independent, resilient, patient, diligent, lonely, sad, deprived of 'big people' conversation, lay down and let the kids run over me, encourager, and on and on the list could go. We will have some adjustments when he is finished, but I'm trusting that they will be favorable and healthy adjustments. And maybe, just maybe, I'll have an evening out withOUT my sweet children.

image (c) Kitty Roach