Thursday, December 31, 2009

Planning for a Successful Year - Part 1

I always look forward to the beginning of a new year.  It is a wonderful time to start making all those lists that give me such great joy!  Yes, I am one of THOSE know the ones...they never feel complete unless they have at least multiple lists of things to check off.  I have been so neurotic about my lists before that I have intentionally written things I had already completed just so I could draw a line through it and sit back and revel in the beauty of being able to check off something else!  So, the thought of reevaluating goals, plans, lists, etc. actually makes me very happy.  This is my element.  So, how does one go about planning for the upcoming year?  I will share with you some of my thoughts on the matter and I would love for you to share with me as well.  First of all, nothing should be written down apart from a time of prayer and seeking the Lord's mind.  There are many things in life that are worthy, but not what God wants US to do.  I had to learn that lesson the hard way.  I would see something that wasn't getting done and feel that is was my job to do it.  I would burn myself out because that is not what God had called me to do.  Now I have learned the art of saying no and praying before I rush into commitments of my time and energy. 

1.  First, always in planning for the upcoming year is prayer.  And when we pray about our priorities, we realize very quickly that our relationship with the God of the universe is our greatest priority.  Nothing else compares to this.  Nothing now and nothing in eternity.  To lose our closeness with Him is devastating...both to our own spiritual wellness and the effects we will have on everything else we do.  So, the main priority should be what am I going to do this year to find out more about develop a real breathing, living, loving relationship with Him?  If you have not already, what about reading the Bible through in a year?  If you have make it a priority to do so every year?  How about guarding your quiet time better?  What spiritual books might you read as well?  Is there a specific area that the Lord is working on in you...patience, anger, envy, etc. that you could read about from other Godly sources?  Now, this is only after you exhaust what the Bible has to say about it because that is always the BEST source.  But I know personally, not having those Titus 2 women around me that the Bible talks about...I have gleaned greatly from books by Titus 2 women who have taught me so many things through their writings. 

2.  Secondly, once I pray about what God would have me personally do, I pray about what God would have me to do as a mother and a wife.  How can I better bless my husband?  What ways can I assist him better in the avenues that God has called him?  What ways can I make our home more of a haven for him?  What about my children?  How can I address needs they have individually?  What ways can I bless them?  How can I begin to spend more one on one time with each of them?  Besides our relationship with the Lord, our relationship with our families are of utmost importance.  Our marriage should be a reflection of Christ and His church.  That is nothing to take lightly.  Our relationship with our husbands is a witness to a world that is reeling from sky high divorce rates, infidelity and so many other problems.  What a privilege to show the world God's way!  The same with our children.  Building relationships of an eternal nature not only makes our families more enjoyable, but it is a further witness to what a Godly family is all about.  Do you memorize scripture?  How about making it a family goal this year?  These things will obviously work more smoothly if they are decided upon as a team...husband and wife together.  Since my husband is currently in Afghanistan, many of the practical workings of this will wait until he arrives home and we can work on these together.  But, some things, like memorizing scripture, reading through the Bible, etc., can be started right away.  Bless your children this year with more saturation in the Word of God.  It is one gift that He promises will not return to Him void.

There are other areas I have floating around in my head that I will be discussing with you in Part 2 of this.  I would love to hear how you are evaluating your goals.  One of the great things about blogging is how we learn so much from a community of believers.  May you have a blessed New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Invisible Woman

This clip was sent to me by my mother-in-law...on a day that I was feeling quite "invisible." It was a real encouragement to me. I had never heard of Nicole before, but so appreciated this clip. I hope it will encourage other mothers out there as well. Before you play the clip, don't forget to scroll down to my playlist and pause the music.

Keep on building those great cathedrals ladies! Remember...we will get weary IN the work, but never let us get weary OF the work!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Returning to the Land of the Living!

Well, we are beginning to feel part of the living once again! The children all got the H1N1 virus and are still recuperating, but are well on their way to full health again soon, we pray! Joy, my oldest, seems to be having the hardest time shaking the effects of it and we are heading to the doctor this afternoon to make sure there has not been a secondary infection that has set in. The pictures are of our "world" while all this was going on. Being the only caretaker, having to take care of all five children at once, throughout the day and night...I decided to transform the den into our mini "hospital." I knew I needed to get as much sleep as possible in between caring for the children to make sure my immune system was the best way to do it was to get the children centralized to be able to hear them all and give out medicine when needed throughout the night. So, three twin mattresses were brought downstairs and Julia's toddler mattress as well. Joy slept on the couch and I slept on the loveseat (and my back is still suffering from that one)! The bookshelves became holders for everything!!! Tissues, coon skin caps, CD players, etc. Did I ever tell you that is one of my pet peeves? Bookshelves being used for other things besides books!!! But, when your family is ill, you look over all that and press on.

Josiah said he was either pretending that the whole family was camping out...or that he had been wounded in battle and I was the nurse taking care of him in the military hospital!

Notice the Legos on the mattress...once the fever left...this is the first thing they grabbed!

The children were able to play for a few hours after the fever left them...and then it was right back down in the bed. This virus just seemed to zap all their energy.

And this is what my kitchen counter looked like...a mini pharmacy. I cannot begin to tell you all how the Lord blessed us during this time. The very virus I dreaded most, we got. But God used that to show me that He is constantly taking care of us, no matter what comes our way. The one I dreaded most about getting it...Julia, because of her asthma, actually took it better than the older children. No steroids and no breathing treatments for her. That was a miracle itself. I did not get it...although for about four or five nights straight I averaged three hours of sleep a night. God gave me supernatural strength to take care of my children during that time. He was with me...when no one else was...He was there...through the night, through the day...every moment. He is always faithful. I cannot thank Him enough! God is so very good to me. So, what now? To begin the constant washing of all bedding, to clean off all those get back some continue to help in the healing process of the get cleaning every room of this house that has gone to shambles since our sickness...and to thank God all the way that He is ever with me and faithful and loving and kind. May you be blessed today!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Yes, once again, it seems we are sick. It has all the trappings of the flu this time. Fever, congestion, vomiting, body I will be absent from blogland yet another little while caring for my dear children. If you think of us, pray for my strength and their healing. God is ever faithful and kind to us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Well, I am back, after a much needed rest and reflection and it has been very good for me. Sometimes we all need to step back and reflect on our lives and see how they measure up by God's standards. It is so easy to get caught up in our own standards...feeling like a failure if we aren't keeping up with the great list of things that we find important, rather than really reflecting on whether God finds our activities of eternal value. I have spent much time thinking about those very things, and it has given me a different view of many things I once held up as dear to me. God is pressing on my heart more and more the need for thankfulness. It is easy to thank God when everything seems to be sailing along smoothly, but another thing altogether to develop a thankful heart in the midst of trials and sorrow. God used my oldest daughter Joy to convict me of this very thing one day. She asked me, "Mom, do you ever thank God for this deployment?" Wow, that made my mind start spinning! Thank God for being separated from my husband? The children their father? Thank God for going all this time alone? No, I hadn't ever thanked God for this deployment. I have not been bitter toward God because of the deployment. I have faithfully prayed for my husband's safety, our protection, his ministry and a myriad of other things, but never had I thanked God for this deployment. To would be like thanking God for a tsumani! But what does God say?

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!" Phil. 4:4
"giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Eph. 5:20
"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God is Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thess. 5:18
Not anywhere in those scriptures do I see where God only tells me to be thankful for things I personally like. But isn't this what loving a great God is all about...trusting Him and thanking Him even when you don't understand, or don't feel like it, or struggle with it all? To love God means I should trust He has my best in mind. That best will not always be what I think is best. I am reminded of a line in a song that says, "When you can't see His hand trust His heart." So yes, I can now say that I have thanked God for this deployment. I still don't like it. I still want my husband home. I am still very lonely. I still cry. But, I am resting in the fact that a great God is watching out for me and He will accomplish His good purposes even in the midst of my pain. I am learning to be thankful.

The pictures today are of the wall in our hall near the bedrooms. This is our thankful tree. I got out some paper bags and made a tree trunk and some branches. I made a template for the leaves and all of us were able to pick one color for the leaves that we will use over and over again from construction paper. That way, at a glance, I can see what each of my children were thankful for. We started eight days before Thanksgiving, putting up a leaf thing we are thankful to God for. But, it has been so wonderful, we are going to add another leaf every week until Daddy gets home and he can see it. It reminds us of God's goodness! And by the way, today is December 1st! Do you all know what that means? My dear husband comes home, Lord willing next month for a visit. We are looking forward to 15 glorious days with him! By the time he gets home, it will have been nine months since we have seen him. We are quickly approaching the 100 days until he gets home. The paper chain above our thankful tree is for the last 100 days. We will clip off one chain for everyday and when he gets home...we will throw it up in the air like graffiti!!! What a glorious homecoming that will be! Until next time, it is my prayer that you have a great day...thanking Jesus for all your blessings!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Quiet Rest

Are there ever times in your life when you seem totally overwhelmed? To be quite honest with you all, that seems to be the norm in my life right now. I know so much of this is heightened because my husband is gone. In fact, much of it can be attributed to his absence. But, there are other issues....the never ending trips to the doctors for them to tell me, "Everything looks fine...Let's see if we can send you here..." The small illnesses of my children that just seem to happen close enough to keep me tired, and far enough apart to keep us isolated. It is hard to imagine all the obstacles that one faces without a spouse by their side...until you walk in those shoes. I never imagined what many military wives went through until the Lord called us to this occupation. And adding homeschooling and managing a home, yard work, meals, laundry, health issues, finances, oil changes, etc., without help can get quite wearisome. For that reason, I am taking a much needed rest. Now, when I say rest, it is not a true rest...I will still be doing all those things listed. I am just stepping away from all the things in my life that aren't necessary until I can pass through a season of refreshment. I want to spend more time in the Word and less time worrying. More time praying and less time pouting that my husband is gone. More time enjoying my children rather than bemoaning the fact that I am tired of doing this alone. More time thanking God for all He has given me...and less time giving Him my list of things I would like to see Him do. I need this time. I need to fill my spiritual tank commune with God...not just talking about it, but really doing it. I want to practice once again living in the presence of Christ. I will miss blogging for a while. But, I know the much needed time away with the Living Water will actually make me better prepared to share with you all. I hope to be back by December 1...unless the Lord tells me to stay away longer. If I could ask something of you all, when you think of me, pray that I would return once again to my First Love so passionately that the evidence of His control in my life would permeate my very being!
"That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death." Philippians 3:10

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Thing Is Needful

A couple of days ago, this little guy was walking around on the paint can under our carport. The children and I had been out and my youngest son Joel who notices everything said, "Look Mom...a bee is walking around on this can!" Well, I of couse told him not to touch it because it might sting and I was a little too busy trying to round up the troops to get in the house to go and look. The next day, we were leaving the house and that same bee was on the paint can. The children noticed it immediately and I thought it unusual...maybe it got stuck somehow and couldn't fly off. So, I got a small stick and put her on the concrete. She wobbled and staggered and then I knew that this little bee probably had worked herself into a frenzy and had run out of fuel and couldn't get back to the hive. The children knew this little lesson about bees and so begged me to give her something to get her going. I went and got some raw honey, put it on the ground and placed the bee beside it. She began immediately gobbling it up as fast as she could. It was amazing to watch. After a few hours, that bee had recovered enough to fly off again. I thought, "Okay...I can count that as a science lesson!" We homeschooler's can always find things to count as school!!! A few days later, I woke up feeling pretty good physically. I have been unable to keep up with household tasks the way I would wish lately due to doctor's visits and my lame toe! Have you ever had one of those mornings that as soon as you wake up, you already feel 10 hours behind? Well, this was one of those days. I began frantically running around barking orders to the children...doing school, rearranging clothes for the new season, raking leaves in the front yard, juicing, giving two guinea pigs a bath and cleaning our their cages...and the list goes on. By the end of the day, I was worn out...I had accomplished a lot, but still didn't feel satisfied. I expected to feel much better about my day than this. And then, it was as if God brought back to my remembrance that little bee. Funny, I thought that lesson was for the children! "Jackie, how much time have you spent in the Word today? Today, you have been a Martha, when I wanted you to be a Mary? When was the last time you longed for Me the way that bee for honey?" Oh, how that pricked my soul! I wasn't as kind as I should have been to my children...I wasn't at duties got in the way of my devotion. I cried out, "Forgive me Lord...and teach me to long for Your word like that little bee did for that sweet honey." How often I am like that little bee...runnning around in a frenzy, trying to keep up with all that I think needs to be done, and all the while God waits, waits to refresh my soul, to give me the energy I need to accomplish what He has called me to do...but many times it is only when I run out of fuel and my spiritual tank has run dry that I realize what my soul needed all along. May the Lord give you the desire to rest and find refreshment in Him today!

"How sweet are Thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
Psalm 119:103

"But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, "Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me." And Jesus answered and said unto her, 'Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'"
Luke 10: 40-42

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Just Call Me Graceful!!!

Did you ever have one of those mornings when you felt great and were ready to tackle the day head on? It has been a while since I felt that good to say that...but Saturday morning was that kind of morning for me. I had my mental to-do list and was buzzing around the house like a busy little bee...making the bed, championing the children to make theirs, getting dressed, calculating all the places we would go in search of clothing items needed for fall, thinking of how much time I could take before I had to get back and rake the plethora of leaves that have fallen in my front yard...and the list goes on. Then something called life decided to slap me in the face that morning...or rather I should say in the foot! While I was going full speed around the bed, so glad to be feeling energetic for once...a little thing, or should I say a rather big thing, a big wooden thing got in the way of my toe. BAM! Yep...I thought I had broken it. Still not sure whether it is fractured or not. I don't know when the last time this 40 something Mama jumped so high. It literally made me cry and I usually have quite a high tolerance of can't have five babies and not have a high tolerance for pain!!!

Don't you think the colors are lovely? They don't quite look like fall, but we can imagine they do. Anyway, all of a sudden I have five children rushing to their ailing Mama who is rocking back and forth and crying on the such pain I have no idea what I hit because the pain is all over my foot and shooting up my leg by this point. Every time I looked at it yesterday, the purplish black color kept spreading. When I woke up this was at the base of my toe as well. It really isn't that bad long as I don't have the sheets on the bed touch it...and when water touches it, that hurts too...oh and did I mention socks and shoes...that doesn't feel very good either...but other than's just peachy!

So, that is why I am here on this Sunday morning instead of church. You wouldn't think such a little thing could cause so much problem would you? Amazing what those little appendages are capable of when they get hurt. Otherwise, we don't even give them a second thought huh? Well, this little toe has sure got my attention now...and I will never look at it the same way again. My dh wants me to get it X-rayed to see if it is fractured...but if it is...I don't want to wear that big 'ole shoe around for weeks...or have it taped up...and I am just tired of going to doctors lately. I was SOOOOO looking forward to this week because I didn't have a doctor's appointment. But, I may still go. Right now...I am limping along...still grateful that things could be a whole lot worse and they aren't. At least I can least the rest of me is feeling pretty least my children don't have husband is healthy and I've talked to him...God is still on the throne! Yes, in the scope of life...this is just an insignificant little bump, a rather painful insignificant bump, but still insignficant. Hope your having a blessed Lord's day!

Friday, October 16, 2009

How Much Do We Compromise with the World?

I heard a disturbing conversation the other day when I was waiting for my various tests at the cardiologist's office. It really made me stop and think. I was waiting to be called for a particular procedure and quite a ways across from me, two of the ladies that work in the office were chatting. It was early in the morning and they were catching up with one another. It was also one of those conversations that were loud enough so that one could not keep from hearing it. What disturbed me was the topic of their conversation. One of the ladies was talking about her seven year old son and describing a recent magazine (don't know which one) that is out which is highlighting some of the best athletes from various sports, cycling, rock climbing, etc. What was especially alarming is that she tells her that all of these athletes were filmed with no clothes. Now, from what she described, you did not get the full view of them, but it was nevertheless, quite shocking. The fact that this is in a magazine of this world does not surprise me, but I must admit, I am still shocked sometimes with people's reactions to these type of things. Although I agree that God made the human body beautiful, I do not agree that it should be viewed by others. God made the body to be seen by our soul-mates, to do otherwise, cheapens what God has made beautiful. But, what was an even greater disturbance to me was the fact that she was laughing about how she showed this magazine to her son, how he couldn't put it down, how he held it close to him, took it and put it by his bedside and then even spent the next morning in the car on the way to school looking at it. (He is currently attending a very reputable Christian school in the area). I was shocked at the fact that the thought of exposing her child to sin never even occured to her. And then, it began to dawn on me all over again. It is a constant struggle and it takes real diligence, watchfulness and much prayer and Bible study to keep one unstained by the world. We are so surrounded by sin everywhere we go. It is increasingly harder and harder to be in the world and not of it. I am grieved from the images my children are constantly bombarded with just in standing in a check out line in a grocery store! I purposely stay away from the mall to keep them from seeing all the huge posters of women wearing nothing more than their undergarments! I try to keep them away from big name electronic places that blare ungodly music and images on huge screens to target the eyes, ears and minds of my little ones. And then I began to think, "Are there areas where I am compromising with the world?" I remember when the Lord convicted me some time ago about movies. Although I was never an R-rated watcher...sometimes it would be alright to watch a PG or PG-13. Then God brought to mind this question, "Would you watch this if I were sitting right there on the couch beside you?" Ouch, that one cut. So, I began to change my viewing habits drastically. Now if there are movies rated PG or PG-13 and the story looks decent (and believe me...that is getting harder and harder to find), I watch them using a filter stick to make sure that profanity and other ungodly scenes are cut out. Most of my watching consists of BBC productions and Franklin Springs or Vision Forum movies. But, it is so easy to get so desensitized by the things of the world that our consciences are no longer even pricked when confronted with some of these issues. There are so many areas that the Lord has opened my eyes concerning worldly compromise. Maybe I will share them little by little with you all. All of them at once may be overload!! But, I am sure there are others as well...ones I don't even know about yet because, once again, I am a product of my culture and I haven't asked the big question. Just because I have always done this, everybody else does it, no one else seems to think there is anything wrong with it...God is it alright with YOU? And that my dear friends is the real issue and the one that counts for eternity.
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and keep himself unspotted from the world." James 1:27
May we constantly keep working on our spot removal! May God give you a holy weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Won!!!

I can't believe I actually won! And I am so excited I wanted to share the news with you all! I would have posted this earlier, but unfortunately I had an appointment with the cardiologist this morning at 8:30 and spent about 6 hours taking various tests. Of course, most of those hours were waiting, but at least this part of the testing is through. I woke up to find a message from Michelle over at She Looketh Well telling me that I won one of the packages from her blog party. I was totally and pleasantly surprised. The main reason I signed up was to find other like minded women out there in the blogsphere...and here God doubly blesses me with winning! The great thing about winning is that I am such a bibliophile and she was giving away some wonderful Christian books. Of course, my husband would correct me and say that I no longer love books because we like things and love I will say that I have an INTENSE LIKE for books. So, to win these is a real joy. Thank you Michelle for hosting the blog party. I have met some wonderful ladies through it and I look forward to reading these great books! Hope you all are having a blessed week!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Blog Party

Well, this is a first for me. I have never been part of a blog party before, nor have I ever entered my name for a blog giveaway. But, I have been so blessed by Michelle's blog, She Looketh Well that I thought I would join in. The idea is to tell a little about myself and why I started blogging. I mainly started blogging to keep family and friends abreast about all the happenings of the Fowler clan. Those who know me, know that my husband is an Army Chaplain and we move quite often. Blogging seemed a good way to keep people connected with us. I am a 40 something Mommy of five beautiful blessings ranging in ages from 13 down to 3 years old. I am a sinner saved by grace and am constantly amazed at God's goodness and faihtfulness to me. I am married to my best friend and the love of my life going on 19 years here soon. He is currently deployed to Afghanistan serving a year long deployment. We are greatly anticipating his final return sometime early spring. It has been a hard time for the whole family, but God continues to pour out His love and protection on us during this time. I don't blog as much as I would like, especially during this deployment time. Being the only parent here means that there is not much time to blog as I would like, but I certainly enjoy it when I get a chance to do so. I like to blog about things happening around our home, homeschooling, good books, occasionally crafts and decorating. My desire is to live the Proverbs 31 lifestyle and I am so thankful for the other ladies I have "met" through blogging that have been wonderful examples of the Christian faith. Although I have not met Michelle, I follow her blog often and am always encouraged in my walk with Christ through reading it. May God give you all a blessed Lord's Day!

Friday, October 9, 2009


If the Lord sets you to guard a lonely post in perfect stillness from all active work, you ought to be just as content as to be in the midst of the active warfare. It is no virtue to love the Master's work better than the Master's will.

Hannah Whitall Smith from "The Christian's Secret to a Happy Life"

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beautiful Autumn!

I don't know about you, but autumn is truly one of my favorite times of the year. I love the color of the changing leaves and the crispness in the air. I marvel at God's creativeness and His wisdom in giving us four beautiful seasons to enjoy. I love autumn even more this year because it is the season right before winter...well, of course that is always the case, but this winter is even more special because that is the season my dh gets to come home for his visit with us. We will have fifteen glorious days with him before he returns to the desert for the rest of his time.

And if you have not noticed on the counter on the right side of my blog, we have officially hit the halfway mark!!! Now, that may not sound too impressive...since we still have six months to go. But, right now we have less days to go than we have already gone and in my estimation, it is downhill from here! So, that is huge! I can't even imagine what it will be like to hit the double digit mark!!! We are praising God for His goodness to bring us this far and to be so good and faithful to us.

I also enjoy fall because it gives me an excuse to put little fall touches around the house. The picture of Joy at the top is one she took of herself holding a bundle of wheat I picked up at a produce stand. The children really enjoyed seeing it. Since we do not have an abundance of wheat fields around us, I thought it would be good for them to see it before it gets to the grain stage where we grind it into flour.

Most of my fall decorations were purchased after the season, so I could get them at 75 to 80% off. I believe in decorating as frugally as possible. And it is always fun to see how much I can get for as little money as possible. I also like the fact that my family appreciates the little touches I try to bring to the home. There are others who are far more gifted in this area than myself, but that is what makes our homes unique. And anyone can achieve their our personal loveliness for their homes.

I have been feeling better lately and I am greatly praising God for that. The weeks have not been without their difficult days, but none that have totally kept me from functioning. I am having a round of tests upcoming so we will see what is uncovered there. Right now, I am just so thankful for the slow, but steady signs of progress I am seeing. God is so good to me.

Here's wishing you all a blessed Autumn season!

Autumn Fires by Robert Louis Stevenson

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Do You Have Scenes Like This At Your House?

Kids and their toys. I am totally used to having toys around the house on many different fronts. Here is a popular scene in our home. Small, plastic Army soldiers littering the floor. I am sure if you have children, the toys may be different, but the concept is the same.

But, do you find them in peculiar places? Like, hiding out on the bookshelves?

Here is a small basket I filled with autumn decorations. What did I find? A soldier waiting in ambush.

But my absolute favorite was this one. Even my eldest daughters shoes are not safe if not put away. Here they are used as boats to carry soldiers to their battle grounds.

Where can toys be found at your house?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Update

The Lord has been so gracious to give me three good days in a row healthwise. I am truly thankful for them. It just brings to mind once again how much I take for granted. I have been trying to do some catching up on things that haven't gotten done while I was very ill. Only God knows what my tomorrow will be, but I am trying to make the most of today while not overdoing it. We spent a good portion of the morning trying to find fall shoes for Joy and Joanna...where was the search conducted? Well, let's see Marshall's, Rack Room, Belk's, JC Penney, Sears, the Shoe many shoes were found? Zero!!! Can you believe that? I went out with the children last week and we found some for Julia, Josiah and Joel already. Joy's foot is long but so narrow...many of the shoes that will fit are not becoming of a young lady. And she prefers flats...which means it is hard to find flats with narrow sides. And for some reason...all those places just happened to be out of 13 1/2 which is Joanna's size. So, not sure where we will go next...but go we will. Just not today, I am a little overwhelmed with it all.

The following pictures are of the children. Joy is working on a script with a friend of hers and they were able to do some of it at our home this past Thursday. Her friend brought over some of the costumes and I thought I would share them with you. You will see make-up on the girls...just to clarify, none of my girls wear make-up yet...this is just for the purpose of their story.

Julia decided she was going to play along too, even though she is too young to read a script. She sort of got into the lipstick on her own!

This is Joanna in front with her dress and cloak. Notice Joel in the background...he was upset because he couldn't put things on his face too. We had to have a little discussion about that one.

Here is my son Josiah with his hobbit cloak on.

And lastly, Joy who is the elfen princess.
Hope you have a great ending to your weekend. God bless!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

God's Will, My Rest

It is a hard thing sometimes to submit to the Providence of God. In my finite way of thinking, sometimes I think I know better than He does what is best for me. I surely would not have chosen my current health issues if given a top ten list of ways to refine me. But, that is why I am not God. I do not see the big picture, nor do I know what is best for me. I have bought into the whole Western mindset of know...nice house, good health, vacation twice a year...all those things that have been ingrained in me by my culture that are true contentment. But, really, that is not what Christ says. He cares more about our holiness than our happiness.

Yesterday, I had a rough day. There were a few "episodes" of dizziness, tingling in my hands and legs, some muscle weakness...and today, although I am not has actually been a much better day for me. It is a strange feeling to never know which one you will wake up to...the good day or the difficult one. But, God is using this to remind me of the brevity of this thing called life. None of us ever really knows if tomorrow we will wake up. So, it is important to live every day, every hour, every second as though this one might be our last. On my good days, I am learning to appreciate things I took for granted before, to be thankful to a God who has given me strength. On my difficult days, I am learning to wait on God, to submit to His authority, and to in His providence and know that He loves me regardless of how I feel. It is not easy, but it is a good thing. So, right now, I am resting in His will, and what better place is there to be?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Here

It's been a little while since my last post. It seems I have run into some other health issues that have kept me from keeping up with regularity on my blog. I have missed writing and posting pictures and hearing from some of you by way of your lovely comments. I don't want to bore you with the many symptoms that I have been having so I will try to make this VERY LONG story as short as I possibly can. A couple of months ago, I had the amalgam fillings removed from the left side of my mouth. Since then, I have been having some pretty serious complications...things like muscle weakness, partial paralysis, sleepy all the time, itching all over my body, but no rash, dizziness, etc. Right now I am being sent to a specialist and will go through a series of tests to try and rule out this and that. I feel that this is a direct result of the mercury...however, I am open to the fact that it could very well be something else and am therefore, going to follow the doctor's protocol concerning my symptoms. Today has been a good day. I have had a little more good than bad lately and for that I am grateful to God. It is a frustrating place to be. When the labs start coming back fine...then you get "that look" know that one that says, "Well, we know your husband is deployed, you have five children, you are you handling all of that?" I used to get the same thing about my migraines that I had for about 12 years until I found a chiropractor who got my atlas back in line...and then you know what? NO MORE MIGRAINES!!! Now, I am in no way discounting the effects of stress. It can make all things seem worse. But, just because conventional medicine can't find the "answers" doesn't mean it is stress. So, I am praying and waiting on God. It has been especially hard to go through this without dh here. But, through it all, God is showing me in a real and tangible way that I am truly never alone. He is always with me. He knows my body better than even I do. And I am waiting on Him to direct me in the next step I should take concerning these problems. It is amazing how many things we take for granted isn't it? You don't realize how blessed you are physically until your health is stripped from you. You don't always appreciate those you love like you should until you are apart. And unfortunately, we don't always understand the goodness of God until we walk through valleys. He continues to show me His whisper to me of His care, His love, His never-ending faithfulness. And today, even though I am not well, I am thankful. And that, my friends is a good place to be.

Here are some recent pictures of my blessings. May you have a great day in Jesus!

My first born son...a lover of all things history!!!

My middle child...the one whose picture is beside the word determined in the first grade this year and already reading Little House on the Prairie!

First born daughter...right hand girl...crafty lady...wearing the first skirt she sewed.

Baby girl...what a ham!...loves to perform...and my little cuddle bunny!

Second son...cutie pie...melt your heart smile...normal volume of voice ~ HIGH

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Do you ever have scenes like this at your home? Silly question, if you have children...of course you do. Isn't it amazing what their minds will come up with? Of course, having two boys who love to play all things battle, sometimes they recruit their little sisters to be on their side. Here, Julia is wielding the sword.

Who needs a real horse? Joanna just enlists her brother for the job!

Ferocious looking huh?

And in case you were wondering, those helmets they are wearing are actually toy bins with all the toys dumped out of them. Of course, they had to wear them very carefully because if not, they fell down over their eyes and they started bumping into things. I am always shocked at the uses of everyday items of our home in the hands of my children.

May you have a God blessed day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Eternal Hope for the Christian

Isn't it wonderful to know that no matter how difficult things in this world may get...this is as bad as it will ever be for a believer? With government bail-outs, trillion dollar debt, socialism and yes even fascism taking over our land once known for its independence and freedom, socialized medicine on the way and being taxed on every possible level, etc., isn't it reassuring to know that we are only pilgrims passing through here? Doesn't it do your heart good to know that even as evil as this world may get, this evil will pale in comparison to the riches of His glory, to being in His presence, to knowing what it is like to bask in the light of the Holy One? I leave you with this wonderful thought today dear Christian. This was taken from the daily Grace Gems.

All the hell that you shall ever have!

(William Dyer, "Christ's Famous Titles")

"Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows!" John 16:33

"You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand!" Psalm 16:11

Cheer up, Christian! The sweetness of the crown which shall be enjoyed--will make amends for the bitterness of the cross which was endured. This world is all the hell that you shall ever have!

Here you have your bad things--your good things are yet to come!

Here you have your bitter things--but your sweet things are yet to come!

Here you have your prison--but your palace is yet to come!

Here you have your rags--your royal robes are yet to come!

Here you have your sorrow--your joy is yet to come!

Here you have your hell--your heaven is yet to come!

After the cup of affliction--comes the cup of salvation!

Oh, sirs, under the greatest troubles--lie your greatest treasures!

The seed of sorrow on earth--shall reap a golden crop of joy in heaven!

Those who sow holiness in the seed-time of their lives--shall reap happiness in the harvest of eternity!

Oh! sirs, never think to have an end of your sorrow--until there is an end of your sin!

The apostle tells us, "Our light affliction, which is for a moment--works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!"
A grain of affliction--works a weight of glory!
A short moment of pain--works an eternity of pleasures!

Therefore saints, be of good cheer! Here is comfort for you--your best days are yet to come!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Have You Ever Gotten Those Looks?

As a homeschool family, I am used to getting "those" looks...if you homeschool, you know the ones. Those that say, "Are you in your right mind?" "Why would anyone want to do this?" And although we do not have a large family, (especially by homeschool family statistics), we do have a large one considering the 'average' American family. So, for those of you that know exactly what I mean, this video is for you! And for those of you that don't, I think you might find it funny anyway!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Little Humor for our Troubled Times

Make sure before you play this that you pause the music at the bottom of the blog. Have a great laugh...or should I say cry? At least we can keep our sense of humor in the midst of trials!

Have a blessed day!

Decision Made...Again!

As I said in a earlier post, I have been studying and praying about where the Lord would have us go in regard to school. I am pleased with many of our curricula choices, but some of them just have not given us the results that are totally satisfying to me. One of the great things about homeschooling is the flexibility to make changes and choices. But, that can be a two-sided coin and it can also be one of the most frustrating. On the one hand, there are a plethora of curricula choices for every kind of learning style imaginable. Along with that can come the feeling that this or that curriculum is better and the grass can look greener on the other side and can cause a lot of second guessing and frustration on the part of the homeschooling Mom. That is why it is so important to pray about these decisions and to make sure both Mom and Dad are on board with the curriculum choices. Many times Dad can bring a fresh perspective that Mom doesn't have because she is so close to the issue. I know that has been the case in our family. My dh, being the head of our home, has the final say when it comes to curriculum choices. He trusts me to bring to him the best researched materials I can find, and then he prays about those choices to make sure he senses that this is the direction the Lord is leading our family. Even long distance, I have given him options and ideas that I have been mulling over and he has given me the final decision on the matter. Therefore, I think we have come up with an assortment of curricula that fits our needs. I am very much of an ecletic homeschooler. I have never done a set curriculum. So, for those of you that might be the least bit is what our family is doing currently.

Bible: Rod and Staff. We will also continue reading through the Old and New Testaments. We are working on scripture memorization and beginning to learn the questions to the shorter catechism.

History: This has been the biggest change for me this year. I have decided to write out my own history curriculum for our family pulling from some of the top resources that I enjoy. I find that when I do this, I am more excited about teaching history and I am so much more knowledgeable in the subject because I have studied it more thoroughly. The downside to this is the incredible time it takes to do this. So, I will keep going as long as I possibly can. If I find out that this is not something I can accomplish (especially this year with dh deployed) then I will relinquish my lofty dream! Right now I am gathering data from the following resources: Gary DeMar's works, BJU's 11th grade text, Truthquest, Veritas Press and book lists from Sonlight.

English: I have tried many English programs...from Daily Grams to Shurley Grammar. I find that I am totally comfortable with Rod and Staff. They do a great job with being thorough. Their material is uplifting and many of their sentences even review concepts such as history and science. Lastly, the cost is so incredibly inexpensive compared to other programs that compare to them academically.

Phonics/Reading: (for Joanna and Josiah) Rod and Staff

Math: I have used Math-U-See from the beginning. Joy is getting ready to start Algebra I and I am praying about possibly switching her to Teaching Textbooks. The curriculum is costly, but what it will save me in time to be able to free me up with the smaller children may well be worth it.

Spelling: Rod and Staff

Explode the Code: (Joanna and Josiah)

Wordly Wise: Joy

Science: Joy will be going through Apologia's General Science. Josiah and Joanna will be doing the Rod and Staff science to get the basics and then will switch over to Apologia's elementary books. They will also be nature journaling.

Art: We will study an artist a week. Briefly touching on his/her life and most famous works. I will show them the work of art, give them the name and remind them of the artist. When they can tell me the name of the work and artist, we will move on to another work by that same artist and continue that pattern until we have mastered several of their works. I have not yet decided how we are going to work our actual drawing and such. I am looking into Artistic Pursuits for this, but have not made up my mind on that one yet.

Music/Composer Study: We will do the same basic thing with a composer. Telling a little about their lives and then listening to some of their most popular pieces. I am teaching Joy piano currently and hope to start Josiah very soon.

Geography: Rod and Staff and also we will be studying this while we do history. I also would like to incorporate the Holling's books to study it that way as well.

Shakespeare: I will be doing Julius Caesar with Joy this year. We will also be doing vocabulary along with this and will review the historical time period surrounding Caesar.

Handwriting: Italic

Classics will either be done through individual reading or read alouds. I am planning to incorporate some songs in here as well. I want them to learn many of the Psalms to music and some songs that correspond with the time period they are studying now.

Writing will be done some through English compositions, but mostly through narrating back what we have learned in history. Hopefully this will serve two solidify their learning and to cut down on my grading.

I am also planning on getting a regular dose of poetry in there too.

So, for now, this is our plan for this school year...which is probably WAY more than you ever cared to know. But, thanks for humoring me!

Have a blessed day in Jesus!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Joy!

I have been a little silent for the past week for several reasons. All five children caught a cold and decided to share with their mother. That would have been fine except that mine ended up turning into a killer sinus infection that just wiped me out for a while. I had to go in for antibiotics and am finally feeling somewhat normal again. I still have three more days before I finish the prescription. The second reason is my in-laws came down for a visit...arriving on Friday and leaving this morning. We had a truly lovely time with them and they were a great help during the worst part of my illness. And lastly, all my energy was being saved to help pull off a birthday party for my oldest daughter Joy. It was a lovely time and one I pray she will remember for a lifetime.

Joy took this picture of the first part of preparation with the table set. She wanted more of a tea party theme, so we did the best we could. That's me in the background getting some timothy hay for the two guinea pigs!!
These are the flowers sent by her Daddy. Of course, it was difficult not having him here, but he did all he could to make it as special as possible long distance. He sent her a lovely letter, these beautiful flowers and also called during her party....which happened to be 1 am for him. It made her feel truly special and loved by her Daddy.

Joy made lemon poppy seed muffins. We made homemade ranch dressing and had a lovely veggie tray. Aren't the colors so pretty?

This is our first attempt at making an edible bouquet. It was really fun to do. The flowers are pineapples cut from a flower cookie cutter with a cantaloupe center. The rest are white seedless grapes. Ever wonder why they call them white seedless, when they are actually green? The bottom of the bowl has a head of iceberg lettuce to hold the skewers in place with green leafy lettuce to make it look like grass.

I made some turkey salad to serve on crackers. We had cheese and some deviled eggs that my mother-in-law made and a delicious red velvet cake that my Mom brought over. However, since we don't do food coloring was more of a cream velvet!!! But, it didn't affect the taste one little bit. We served tea and had a great time.
Joy's friend Olivia came to share the special day with her, along with my in-laws, my mother and the family. It was truly a blessed day.

I am so very thankful for my dear Joy. She has been such a treasure to us and continues to be growing into womanhood so graciously. Thank you sweet girl for giving me some of the happiest years of my life being your mother!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Daily Routine for Good Health

I may have shared with you before that three of my children, as well as myself, have suffered from various sicknesses. On a quest for a more healthy lifestyle for our family, juicing was one of the first changes I ever made. I can remember when my husband was in seminary. We were literally living from paycheck to paycheck and we saved our money to buy ourselves a grain mill for grinding flour to make bread and a Champion juicer! The difference it made in my own health was incredible. Over the years, and five children later, homeschooling, military moves, deployments, etc., juicing took a backseat due to time restraints.
But, when three of my children developed asthma and my youngest two had frequent visits to the ER, keeping their immune systems healthy became a non-negotiable. So, we gave up white flour, white sugar, hydrogenated oils, regular salt, and started buying mostly organic meat. We also added many more fruits and vegetables and a salad at least once a week. Now, juicing has become a daily routine...much like getting a good multi-vitamin in the morning. Juicing does take time. You must cut the ends of the carrots, wash them, cut up the apples, oranges, strawberries and whatever else you may want to juice. I have simplified my routine by getting as many organic fruits and veggies as possible.
Before we were able to buy mostly organic, I would have to peel the top layer off the carrots to keep it as pesticide free as possible. Having organic just means a good wash under the water and they are ready to go. Still, to juice for seven of us and then clean up does take a chunk out of ones day. But, we have been greatly reaping the health benefits. Do we still get sick? You bet we do! But, we have not gotten sick as much, nor have the bouts with sickness been as long or as severe.

I usually juice for two days instead of one. The juice only lasts 24 hours. You want to be able to get as many vitamins and minerals as possible without too much oxidation going on. This was one of the final products. The small jar is my 8 ounces. The children had already drunk their juice before I took the picture. The other jar will be divided up tomorrow morning. Juicing for two days allows me to only have to clean up every other day. If you do juice and you have little ones, do not give them the full 8 ounces recommended for adults. It is too much for their little systems. I usually give them anywhere between 3 or 4 ounces depending on their age and size. My youngest is three years old. Joy, being almost 13 gets a good size portion. If you don't already juice, I encourage you to give it a try. I think you will be pleased at the difference it will make in your family. Have a blessed day!