Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Lasting Memories Are We Leaving?

I just finished reading a wonderful book entitled "Homemaking" by J.R. Miller. I highly recommend it. It is one of those books that need to be read over and over again to help remind us of our duty before God to raise children for His glory. It was encouraging and convicting at the same time. I want to leave you with just a taste of what was in the book. This was in the final chapter entitled, "Home Memories."
"We are fast moving on through this world. Soon all that will remain of us will be the memories of our lives. No part of our work will then afford such a true test of our living as the memorials we leave behind us in our homes. No other work that God gives any of us to do is so important, so sacred, so far-reaching in its influence, so delicate and easily marred as our home-making. This is the work of all our life that is most divine. The carpenter works in wood, the mason works in stone, the smith works in iron, the artist works on canvas, but the home-maker works on immortal lives. The wood or the stone or the iron or the canvas may be marred, and it will not matter greatly in fifty years; but let a tender human soul be marred in its early training, and ages hence the effects will still be seen. Whatever else we slight, let it never be our home-making. If we do nothing else well in this world, let us at least build well within our own doors."
May we rely on the strength of Christ to help us properly train our sons and daughters for His work and glory. Only by His might can it be done. I pray God strengthens all of us for this eternal task.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I am still recovering from some pretty traumatic dental work. I will try to explain more in a later post. Fortunately, I am feeling better today, even though not totally healed. I would appreciate your prayers for healing. Since I do not feel like writing much yet, I thought I would leave you all with a wonderful exhortation. Sometimes when we are in the valleys of life, it is hard to remember the mountaintops and the fact that this too shall pass. May the Lord bless you especially today!
"Why go I mourning?"
-- Psalms 42:9

Can you answer this, believer? Can you find any reason why you are so often mourning instead of rejoicing? Why yield to gloomy anticipations? Who told you that the night would never end in day? Who told you that the sea of circumstances would ebb out till there should be nothing left but long leagues of the mud of horrible poverty? Who told you that the winter of your discontent would proceed from frost to frost, from snow, and ice, and hail, to deeper snow, and yet more heavy tempest of despair? Don’t you know that day follows night, that flood comes after ebb, that spring and summer succeed winter? Hope then! Hope ever! For God fails you not. Do you not know that your God loves you in the midst of all this? Mountains, when in darkness hidden, are as real as in day, and God's love is as true to you now as it was in your brightest moments. No father chastens always: your Lord hates the rod as much as you do; he only cares to use it for that reason which should make you willing to receive it, namely, that it works your lasting good. You shall yet climb Jacob's ladder with the angels, and behold him who sits at the top of it-your covenant God. You shall yet, amidst the splendours of eternity, forget the trials of time, or only remember them to bless the God who led you through them, and produced your lasting good by them. Come, sing in the midst of tribulation. Rejoice even while passing through the furnace. Make the wilderness to blossom like the rose! Cause the desert to ring with your exulting joys, for these light afflictions will soon be over, and then "forever with the Lord," your happiness shall never diminish.

"Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changes not, and you are dear;
Only believe and you shall see,
That Christ is all in all to thee."

C. H. Spurgeon

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Frugal Friday on Saturday

I haven't done a Frugal Friday post in a while. It seems that life is getting in the way of posting!! I would have posted this yesterday, but I spent four hours in the dentist office removing my amalgam fillings from the left side of my mouth to hopefully begin my body on the long road to detoxing from mercury poisoning. But, that is a post for another day! Needless to say, when I came home, I did not even want to look at the computer!!! They drilled down four of my back teeth and put on temporary crowns. But, praise the Lord, that phase is over and I go back in September to complete the mercury removal for the right side of my mouth. Now, on to more pleasant things. With fall approaching rapidly, it is time to start accessing what the children need for clothes. I found these great buys at a local consignment shop here. This is such a cute little two piece outfit. It is a winter outfit, but the dress is short sleeved. It works very well for our mild winters here in North Carolina.
Price for both pieces? $11.00!!

Joy likes wearing sweaters with thinner shirts and blouses, so we found this vintage looking basic black sweater for her.

Cost? $3.50! You can't even get the materials for that price!

And this has to be my favorite find. This is a beautiful, gray, fully lined Rothschild coat for my six year old. These coats begin at over $100 and go to almost $200 retail. It is in mint condition.

Price? $20. I was ready to do the happy dance over this one!
I buy most of my clothes for the children one season ahead so I can get the best clearance prices. But, there are always things that we need. Consignment and thrift stores are the way to go. That keeps me out of the mall...which I don't enjoy going to anymore...and keeps our clothes budget doable. I also save clothes from one child to another and as it stands right now, the boys already have all they need for fall and winter. So, now I will be looking for tights, socks, and undergarments for the winter. Planning ahead saves money and also keeps my stress level down because I don't feel like I have to get all these things right away. This keeps me from impulsive buying. Hope you have a very frugal weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Yesterday, the children and I went to one of my favorite stores, Marshall's. I like it because you can find new items for more than half off, especially on their clearance aisles. I don't go a lot, because we are trying to put away as much money as possible to hopefully buy us some land and begin a more "homesteading" type of lifestyle. But, right now, this is where the Lord has us and we are waiting on Him. I have been looking for some red coffee mugs for several months now. I found these yesterday for $2.99 a piece. And why would I want just two of them? To put in these, my favorite jars! I got this Montana red hocking jar from for free with my Amazon rewards credit card. I pay it off monthly, so there are no late fees, so, it truly was free!
I saw this idea in a magazine and on a few blogs that I frequent and thought it was the cutest idea. This cup will now be used to scoop out my organic green lentils, and the other one is in my hocking jar that holds my Sucanat. The jars provide air tight storage for my foods, keeping them fresh and the cups allow me to scoop out larger amounts at a time, while providing a decorative touch. Practical and pretty and inexpensive. Total for the jars and the coffee mugs? $6.30!! Not bad huh?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who Ever Said Life at Home Was Boring?

You know, when I was working, before the Lord impressed so strongly on my heart that home was where I needed to be...I was a little concerned about being bored. I mean...after all, what would I possibly be able to do with my time at home all day besides the mundane cleaning, cooking and washing, etc. Little did I know that Christ makes even the seemingly mundane into the momentous! Cooking is so much more than just opening up a box of something now. It is trying new recipes, making things from scratch and learning almost weekly new ways to provide nutrition for my family. Cleaning is all about providing the best atmosphere for my family and enjoying the benefits of a tidy home...well, at least sometimes!!! And what was I thinking about boredom? I don't have time to get bored!!! I have so many things to learn and I am truly enjoying all the things I am being exposed to just from the benefit of being a stay at home Mom. My work was never as varied as home. Take for instance this week alone...there is laundry, cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, reading new books aloud to my children, learning to sew, learning to quilt, reading books about the agrarian lifestyle, and the list goes on. And then there are also the unique tasks that fall to me. I mean, who would have thought that I would have actually spent time bathing a rodent?

If you had told me while I was a school librarian that I would later spend a part of my day bathing a guinea pig in the kitchen sink...I would have laughed out loud!
Now, tell me what CEO can claim such diversified knowledge as to say they have given a rodent a shower?

No, a stay at home Mom is qualified in more areas than one can ever imagine.
I think I enjoyed the experience more than she did. What interesting things do you do from home?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Parent's Responsibility

"Parents! I do hope you are all endeavouring to bring your children to Christ by teaching them the things of God. Let them not be strangers to the plan of salvation. Never let it be said that a child of yours reached years in which his conscience could act, and he could judge between good and evil, without knowing the doctrine of the atonement,without understanding the great substitutionary work of Christ. Set before your child life and death, hell and heaven, judgment and mercy, his own sin, and Christ's most precious blood; and as you set these before him, labour with him, persuade him, as the apostle did his congregation, with tears and weeping, to turn unto the Lord; and your prayers and supplications shall be heard so that the Spirit of God shall bring them to Jesus."~ Charles Spurgeon
Let us remember the awesome responsibility we have as parents, to bring our children up in the nurture and knowledge of the Lord. Keeping them forever grounded in the word, praying for their souls fervently and never tiring of training them in righteousness is far more important than a great education, extracurricular activities and landing that perfect job. These other things are not bad in and of themselves, but if we keep an eternal perspective about our parenting, they pale in comparison to the reward our children will receive through godly discipling.
"Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Wonderful Husband

Well, here he is. In the desert of Afghanistan, far away from those that love him terribly, yet always managing to take part of my heart with him wherever he goes. I love this man. My whole being aches when he is away from me. I count months, weeks, and days, always trying to encourage myself that the time is getting shorter and his homecoming closer. I know that with my head....but my heart keeps longing to see him now, today, this very minute and it is hard to keep it consoled. What do I love about this man? Well, in one word, everything. What do I miss about him? Well, same word, EVERYTHING. At times I think I should pinch myself to see if this is all a dream...that someone so wonderful would partly belong to me. God is indeed a giver of great and wonderful gifts...and His mercy gives them to the most unlikely recipients. I feel that way about my husband. And I feel that way about my God. One of the things I love most about my husband is his undying commitment to me. In a world where people take commitments so lightly, he has chosen to love me through it all. Have we had difficult times in our marriage? Sure we have...doesn't every married couple if they stay married long enough? But, he has told me that love is not a feeling, but a commitment and that he has commited to love me. I have made the same commitment to him. I know in our society that probably sounds so very unromantic. But, I believe it is just that commitment to our God and to each other that has also kept those "feelings" of love alive for us. I can truly say that I love this man more today than the day I married him...and I truly didn't think that was possible. So, I continue to wait and pray and thank God for keeping him safe. I never get used to being without him, and it never gets easier. It is just one of those things in life that God has ordained and as His child it is not my place to be kicking and screaming back to my Father at what He has done. I do not always understand His ways, but I trust them...and it is only that which keeps my sanity during this trying time. I think of how much I anticipate the return of my husband. My whole life revolves around his homecoming. I long so to see him desperately. It convicts me when I think of how I should always be looking for my Savior's return with the same longing. May He give me that same zeal always for His return!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Words to Live By

"Brethren, if you wish to give your children a blessing when you die, be a blessing to them while you live. If you would make your last words worth the hearing, let your whole life be worth the seeing. " ~ Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reflections on Emerging Womanhood

My oldest daughter Joy is approaching thirteen years of age. It is a bittersweet time for me as her mother. I miss the "little girl" things she used to do, but am enjoying so much this new relationship of a budding young woman. I am so thankful for that girl. She is such a big helper to me, especially now that her father is gone. She is the one who helps to clean up the kitchen, take out the trash, make oatmeal for the little ones if I have had a hard night and didn't sleep well, and the list goes on! She is becoming a woman right before my eyes.
She still has the playfulness of a child too. She loves to run, jump, climb with the best of them. She is beginning to care about her appearance more before she leaves the home, but doesn't "fuss" over it. I like that. There is a proper balance when growing up to be more concerned about your appearance, but not so much that you become vain and focus too much on the "outside" rather than developing the godly character on the inside that matters most eternally.
We spend a little time in the evenings together after the little ones go to bed and it is so refreshing to hear her talk about wanting to be a godly, feminine woman. She decided long ago to dress in just dresses before I ever did! And though we do not in any way believe wearing pants is a sin, Joy has always wanted to set herself apart to be different in the world. She wanted to be an example of feminity in a world where so many woman dress immodestly to get noticed in the wrong way. I thank God for that. I pray she always embraces the calling that God has placed on her life.

Joy is my crafter. She is the creative juice running through the family. She has convinced me to take a quilting class with her! And although I may never do as well as she does, it is a special treat to do something like this together. And as we learn this new skill, I am learning so much more. I am learning how precious this time is. I am learning to relish this new season in our lives. I am so enjoying talking about Biblical things with her on an adult level and seeing how that excites her. Sometimes we enjoy some of my favorite movies together, "Pride and Prejudice" and "North and South." And as I look across the room at her, I see more and more the light of this new woman illuminating my life and less and less of the little girl that won my heart more than twelve years ago. She will always have my heart, but just now, she begins to forge a new of a best friend as well as a daughter. What a blessing children are!
"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Children at Play

My six year old daughter Joanna was playing Mommy today. She showed me her "baby." I guess that would mean that I was the grandmother.

I had to take a closer look.
I know all grandparents are supposed to rave about their "grandchildren" and then tell how much they look like "their" side of the family.

I am not quite sure I am ready to do that with this little girl. What do you think?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Letting Go

As a mother, I know so many of the unique characteristics of each of my children. God gives mothers such a privilege to know those special traits and habits that others may never even notice. I love that about mothering. Joel is my five year old. He is my fourth child, my second son. He has had some of the worst health issues of all five children, but God has brought some amazing healing to bring us slowly along the road of recovery. Joel has a raspy voice. He loses it a lot because he is constantly trying to be a creature and he will put a strain on it sometimes. He is my finder. Whenever I have lost anything in this house, Joel is the one who gets it for me. I don't know what I would do without that boy! I was always a little afraid of having boys, growing up a girlie girl myself...and an only child to boot! But, God knew exactly what He was doing in giving me both girls and boys. I celebrate their differences.

I have been concerned about Joel since his Daddy left. The other children have been able to voice their concerns, let out their cries, write their notes and draw their pictures for Daddy. Joel tried to push it all aside and hide his pain. For three months I have watched and prayed for him...wondering when he would break....wondering how long this vigil of silence would last...wondering how often he would choose to stand off from me for fear of getting hurt again...wondering about how it was hurting his father when he didn't want to speak to him on the phone. I knew what it was...but I was unable to reach inside his soul and touch him. So, I hugged him and prayed for him and told him that I loved him. His behaviour did a nosedive when Daddy left. He was angry and he showed it multiple times a me and to his siblings. I knew what that was all about too, but it was exhausting to deal with the anger day in and day out without his father. Then, on July 4th, when we were having one of our "discussions" about his telling him what the Bible says....that I love him regardless of what he does...that I want him to grow up and be a godly man and that is why I correct him. He just looked at me...eyes blank again as if he heard but he wasn't letting it reach him. I could only leave the results to God. I left the room...and within minutes I heard such sobbing. I went to see what it was all about. He was laying across the couch, half on, half off, his body shaking from the sheer pain. I asked him, "Joel, what is it honey?" He looked up, red-faced and tear streaked, "It's Daddy. I miss my Daddy! I want my Daddy to come home!" I took him in my arms and held him...feeling his weeping, wet with his tears and I cried with him. He was beginning to let go. Three months of waiting for this moment, and it had finally come. I thanked God and cried.
We sat there for a long while, holding each other, crying, while the other children watched in amazement and silence. It was hard, but good. Since then, Joel has been different. He still deals with the hurt, he still aches, he stills acts out! But, he has opened himself up to let me close to him again. And I am so thankful for that. These are the scenes most people have no understanding about when a soldier leaves. Not from fault of their own, but just the fact that until you walk in these shoes, it is hard to know. Life is like that. I hope this helps me to be a little more insightful of the pain of others. It is so easy to "appear" to be put together on the outside. It is so much harder to be "real." Joel was "real" to me that day...and he is teaching me so much.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

Today officially marks the three month mark for our family's deployment! I say our family's because even though we are not in the desert physically, we are very much there emotionally. On this day marking our nation's independence, let us remember what this day stands for. In an age of government bailouts and corrupt politicians on both sides of the political aisle, may we realize that our true independence comes only through our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He is the only change we can truly believe in. And in an age when our President and Congress would choose to strip every freedom from us and rewrite our constitution, may we remember the words of Calvin Coolidge speaking of the Declaration of Independence.
“It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning cannot be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.”
Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Enjoying a Beautiful Day!

While my in-laws were visiting with us for a few days, we went on the post at Fort Bragg to visit the 82nd Airborne Division Museum. Unfortunately, it is closed on Mondays, the day we chose to go. But, that didn't damper our spirits or our fun. There were airplanes to look at and a helicopter to climb inside and have a picture taken.
The children probably wouldn't have enjoyed the day anymore had we actually been able to get into the museum. They ran from aircraft to aircraft looking at many of the types their Grammy Poppa had jumped out of when he was in the military.

While we were there, a C-130 plane flew overhead and little Julia looked up and wanted to know if her Daddy was in that big plane. Even now when we call on her to pray, her prayer is always the same, "Daddy no deploy. Amen."

I know exactly how she feels. We are closing in on 100 days without Daddy. I like to look at how far we have come instead of how far we have to go....especially when the to-go part is so much more than the already gone part!
My comfort continues to be the fact that the Lord never allows anything in our lives that does not go through His authority first. No matter how bleak or harsh things can seem...just like in the book of Job...God is in control. And whatever He does if for His glory and our good.

"I can in all states cast my care upon God, cast my burden upon God, I can commit my way to God in peace: faith can do this. Therefore, when reason can go no higher, let faith get on the shoulders of reason and say, ‘I see land though reason cannot see it, I see good that will come out of all this evil.’ Exercise faith by often resigning yourself to God, by giving yourself up to God and His ways. The more you in a believing way surrender up yourself to God, the more quiet and peace you will have."-The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home Happenings

It has been a while since I posted. Partly because we have been busy in our home...and partly because my computer died on me! It is nice to be up and running again and feeling connected to my cyber world! My dh's parents came in this past weekend and spent some time with us. We had a great visit with them. It was sad to see them go. We are already looking forward to the next time we get to see them. It was a wonderful respite from all our "normal" tasks. The children had a great time you will be able to tell by the pictures. Here they are wrestling their Grammy Poppa. He is much braver than I am that's for sure! Joanna is doing her cowgirl pose here.
And what were Grammy and I doing while all this was going on? Why, relaxing on the couch and talking. We know when to stay away from all that energy!

They were such a blessing to us while they were here. They worked almost the whole time doing things for me that I couldn't do for myself. It was a reminder all over again of God's goodness and grace even in the midst of difficult times. Have a blessed day!