Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I was inspired by Dawn Edmondson over at The Feathered Nest in her recent post regarding all of the beautiful hand-stitched and embroidered linens she has accumulated. What loveliness ,there is in the details and fine workmanship. I decided to pull out some of my "pretties", the handkerchief collection that was left to me by my mother.

Mama was born in the early part of the 20th Century when Southern ladies were expected to always carry a clean handkerchief with them wherever they went. Over the years she collected quite a few...Look at the beautiful trim of hand-embroidered violets above. Isn't it lovely?
Hand-wrought lace...Just looking at this makes one feel like slowing down and having more feminine movements...and putting on perfume.
Above are some homemade hankies.

Kleenex is handy and sanitary, but it doesn't make one feel beautiful. Whenever I tuck away one of Mama's "pretties" the whole world seems a much more gracious place.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Sweet Lineman

My son, Robert, let me take pictures of him today for my blog. He is at football practice, where he is a lineman.
Many years ago, when I was a young woman, I thought football was boring. Never could I have imagined myself spending countless hours at football practice and enjoying it. But I love to watch Robert train. This is his first year and he has been learning a lot. He is very strong and gets along with his teammates really well. He's very outgoing and friendly. Besides, I now see beauty in this sport as the players strive for excellence.
Isn't he a handsome boy?
What I love about Robert is that he is all boy and is very strong, but he is also sweet, sensitive, thoughtful and loves animals and babies. He looks forward to being a daddy one day. What a great combination.

I'm very proud of him!
Said the Robin to the Sparrow
"I should really like to know
Why these anxious human beings
Rush about and worry so!"

Said the Sparrow to the Robin
"Friend, I think that it must be
That they have no Heavenly Father
Such as cares for you and me."
~ Unknown

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Morning Musings

This morning, I put everything aside that I needed to do and went for a very long walk to get some much needed exercise. On my way back home, I passed by a small park and flopped down on a hillside there underneath some shade for a little rest. On my back in the grass, I lay gazing up at the clouds. I began to do with myself what I have often done with the children, which is recognizing familiar things in the shapes of the clouds. That was one of my favorite games as a child, but I lost that ability when I became an adult. Not that long ago, as a single lady, I would have looked at those same clouds and that is all that I would have seen. Since experiencing life through the eyes of my children, my childhood eyes have re-opened and I see all kinds of things. Today, I fancied that I saw three angels in white flying through the sky. It was fun and an enormous sense of peace settled over me as I realized, once again, that despite my many challenges in life, I have been blessed.

I usually count my blessings everyday and I am amazed at how many things, even if they are "little" things, witness of the tenderness and love of a personal God. Not the least of these blessings is having two beautiful spirits in my life, that of Sarah and Robert, who have opened up my eyes again to see the world with wonder.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Inspired Room

Hey, Ya'll!

Melissa over at The Inspired Room will be hosting a Give-Away and Fall Decorating Kick-Off soon. Check out her blog for all of the information (see August 24th post) about how you can be a part of this! She has a great blog full of terrific decorating ideas.

Good luck and enjoy!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together. Add eggs, and mix well. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt. Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. Spread batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

Yum, Yum!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Printable Chore Charts

Thought I'd pass this link along to you... Active Allowance is a wonderful website that offers free chore charts that you can edit and change to fit your family's needs. It offers ideas on incentives, appropriate chores/age of child. It also encourages the basing of allowances on responsibilities that your children perform.

The Basic Membership is free (this is what I use). Any additional features are under their paid membership rates which are charged on a monthly/yearly basis.

Hope you find this helpful!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Have a Peaceful, Restful Day

More tomorrow!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blessings of the Day

I wasn't able to get back to my blog yesterday to tell you some of yesterday's moments of grace, so I thought I'd do it today~

Yesterday was school clothes shopping day. I really had to make my dollar s.t.r.e.t.c.h, too. So, I took a tip from Trish over at Shades of Grey (no link, because this is a private blog!) and I prayed before I left the house. I know that this sounds like an obvious step, but I am pretty dense about things sometimes.

Right after my prayer, Sarah, who watches some TV and sees more commercials than I do, piped up with, "Mom! Kohls is having their best ever sale. Plus, for every $50 you spend you get a $10 cash coupon to use in their store again!"

Well, guess where we went?

Not only did we find great prices and many cute outfits for Sarah (she was the one most in need), we got the cash coupon which I will then use on a return trip to buy jeans for my son, Robert.

Following Kohls, we visited a local children's clothing consignment shop, where I have credit for selling them used clothing. We were able to get some nice things for Robert and one nice outfit for Sarah all on my account credit, so it cost me nothing!

Next time we have some extra $$ I am focusing on getting Robert and Mark some new clothes.

I have to say that I was nervous about all the school shopping that was coming up this week. Wasn't sure that we'd make the stretch, but we did thanks to the Lord's infinite goodness. Whew!

Love and more thoughts later,

Friday, August 22, 2008

Favorite Painting

This is one of my all time favorite paintings. Isn't she beautiful? I would like to be more like her - graceful.
I am saving pennies to buy this print.

More about today's blessings later.

Thy Grace is Sufficient

Well, for those of you who don't like faith-based posts, you might want to look away from this one.

I have been thinking a lot about having faith in the midst of adversity...and how easy it was for me to have faith when I was young and on my own and how much more difficult it is for me now that I have a husband and children who are dependent upon me. For those who don't know us well, Mark and I have struggled at making a living for many years. My husband works very, very hard, but it has been an uphill climb. There have been many prayers for God's intervention to help us out.

Recently, I have realized that over the years my prayers have been prayers of fear instead of prayers of faith. This hit me very hard between the eyes. So, I have been thinking a great deal about approaching life with greater belief that the Lord has the ability and DESIRE to help us according to our needs. This has turned my thinking around 180 degrees (well, I'm not great with geometry, but I think that is a correct analogy).

Now, I am approaching each day looking for manifestations of the Lord's grace, small examples that He is watching over us and knows our concerns...Everyday, I come away something that shows me that He is there.

Just for an example, yesterday I did something stupid yet again...I locked Sarah and myself out of the house. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. Well, it wasn't the first time. Plus, my hide-a-key was inside. Wouldn't you know it? I was pretty desperate, because I didn't want to call a locksmith. I need any extra funds for buying school supplies and school clothes. A locksmith would eat up my extra funds. So, I prayed with all my heart. Suddenly, into my mind, pops an idea. Go into the garage, find a screwdriver and try to pry open one of our windows. I particularly felt impressed that my son's window might be open (we'd already tried this with our hands to all the windows in the house to no avail). We were desperate so we followed this prompting. Guess what? Robert's window opened. We were able to get inside and unlock the front door.

We can still buy school supplies and clothing.

Some people would say this is a coincidence. I don't believe that. I believe that the idea that popped into my head when I was ready to give up was information from God to help us out.

This is just one of many examples of late that I have had of God's constant love and caring. It is helping me to move forward in faith instead of fear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back to School

Tomorrow, my daughter, Sarah, goes for her Middle School orientation. My son, Robert, begins school on Monday, which will also be my daughter's first full day. I thought carefully about putting them in school versus home schooling and, for now, this seems like the best choice for the family. However, I will miss them greatly.

It seems like it was last week that the children first came home for summer break. We hoped to have so much fun and we did make many memories: Midsummer's Eve and the baby dove is one of my favorites, July 3rd at the Read's, we saw several sets of fireworks this summer, had many sleepovers and fun activities, like visiting the Fish Hatchery in July with the home school Project Wild group. This was also the summer when Sarah and I learned all about Blogging together. Time zipped right by...

Now, we are looking at the beginning of school again and I'm planning fall decorations.

Did this summer go quickly for you, too? What is one of your favorite summer memories?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The veggie garden is going to town! I'd show you pictures of the whole thing, but it is currently overrun with weeds (we've been having too much fun recently with not enough work!). But, here is one of the oddest cucumbers I've ever seen. They were suppose to be "Slicing Cucumbers" but they look more English to me. What do you think?

The strawberries are plump and delicious!

This year I am growing corn, bell peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, strawberries, bush cukes, English (??) cukes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, yellow squash, zukes and kale. Oh,...and onions! Whew!

Today, is "chem" Tuesday (I'm stealing that term from Trish Abdullah over at Shades of Grey). I am making whole wheat bread and muffins. Would you like my whole wheat bread recipes? I hand-make bread - I am the bread machine!

Possibly more later.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Day at Lagoon

Hi, Ladies!
I haven't blogged much last week because the children and I are enjoying the last days of summer before school starts.
Friday, we spent the day at a local amusement park with our friends Josh and Mara (see their family at Joyful Liberation
I forgot to take pictures, so the pictures in this post are from the Internet.
This amusement park is 115 years old. It has a lot of fun rides...

This is my favorite ride, Turn of the Century. We went on this in the evening when the wind was blowing hard and it was thrilling! I felt like I was flying.
This ride, the Spider, scared the living daylights out of me. I only went on it because Robert begged me to and I got through it by a combination of prayer and LaMaze breathing.
This merry-go-round is 115 years old!

We had a lot of fun, but our feet HURT by the time the day was over.
Hope you are enjoying summer's end.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Busy Summer Days

I haven't blogged since Saturday because our lives have been very hectic, running from activity to activity...

Sunday, Mark and I gave talks at church, plus I also taught a class. Monday was Sarah's birthday slumber party with lots of girls. Tuesday was Project Wild at the park and sleepovers. Today, I spent the balance of the day taking care of homemaking responsibilities which were badly neglected.

Tomorrow and Friday will be busy, but I will have more time to write. I have much to say and a recipe to share (whole grain!). Check back with me then.

For anyone interested in what we did at Project Wild, check Teri's blog, Joyful Liberation. Teri teaches these hands-on science classes. They are fun!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A New Member of the Family

I thought that you might like to see my new grandchild. This is Pansy, adopted by Sarah with some birthday money she received.
As you know, I am crazy about all living things both great and small. So, this cutie stole my heart right away.

Now, to keep kitty paws away!

A Few Words on Robert

>A few family members have commented recently on the fact that I don't put a lot on my blog about my sweet son, Robert. He is easily embarrassed and I like to respect his feelinhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.photo.gifgs. I have written one post on him in July and he has promised that I may post a picture of him wearing his football uniform when he gets his new jersey in a couple of weeks.

Sarah and I share a love of blogging. Robert is not into it at all. So, this has kind of been a "girl pursuit" in our house.

Please rest assured that I adore my precious boy. Please also be assured that my posting this will embarress him to death.

The Birthday Girl's New Look

For my daughter, Sarah's 13th birthday, this past Thursday, I took her to Fantastic Sams to have her hair cut and styled...Below is her new do!

Rest is not idleness;
and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is hardly a waste of time.
–John Lubbock

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bird Rescue

I saved a little sparrow today, which was a very unexpected blessing.

I had been gone all morning and, on my return home, I went out back to turn the sprinkler on for my vegetable garden. Right as I poked my head outside of our sliding glass door, I realized there was a rukus going on over at the fence where I have my bird feeder. As soon as I was outside all the birds flew away, but I saw what appeared to be the body of a bird upside down on the fence by the feeder. I thought that the bird was dead. On closer inspection I saw that its foot was caught in between two boards of my fence. He was exhausted from trying to get away, poor thing. That's why he was hanging upside down. As soon as I tried to free him, he began flapping his wings, trying to get away from me. I was afraid I'd hurt him, but I tried to get him free. Nothing worked until I got the idea to get a kitchen knife and try to use it in between the boards to wedge his foot out. It worked!

The little sparrow did not stop to thank me, but burst into a flutter and flew away.

Whew! What a feeling of exhilaration to save that little bird. I'm so grateful that I came home in time, before the heat of the sun did it's work.

Anyway, this made my whole day!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

I just saw a wonderful movie that I'd like to tell you about. It's called, "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" and stars Julianne Moore. This is the true life story of Evelyn Ryan, "who raised 10 children on 25 words or less". Her husband, Kelly Ryan, a one-time singer turned machinist (a terrible automobile accident robbed him of his singing voice), hated his job and drowned his bitterness with the bottle. Unfortunately, his drinking habit decimated the family income, so his wife, Evelyn, used her unique way with words, writing advertising jingles for contests, to win prizes which ended up supporting her family.

What I loved most about this movie is this woman's indominatable spirit, her faith in God and belief that everything happens for a reason, as well as the positive spin she was able to put on all the rotten, disappointing sitatuations that happened to her. Her behavior obviously inspired her children so much that one of them wrote the book about her upon which this movie is based.

"Prize Winner" is rated PG-13. It has no sexual content, some brief violence when the father has a drunken tirade and there is one scene with language. When you get to the part where the father is standing in the kitchen, listening to a ball game. Watch out when his team loses! He uses several swear words (they are a bit muffled by his slurred speech), including the so-called R-rated swear word. After that, there is no more language.

This movie has inspired me to want to be of a more positive mind, to model an even better example for my children and to believe that the Lord wants to bless us.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Our Baby Dove is a Teenager!

I was returning home from running errands this morning and was about to turn into our driveway, when who should swoop down, but our sweet baby dove (see our Midsummer's Eve post, June 21st). He is now a teenager and looks just like the other doves, only smaller. He was attracted to a puddle at the end of our driveway, where he lighted, took a drink and then proceeded to give himself an entire bath.

What did I do?

Well, I sat in my car, in the middle of the road, and waited patiently for my little friend to complete his toilette! I couldn't interrupt him. He was much too precious.

When he was through, he flew to the top of our house and I was able to park.

Aren't they a wonder, our little feathered friends? They lift my heart and make my whole day!