Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Two Little Blondes

Had you been a fly on our wall a couple days ago, you would have heard this conversation:

Me: "Did y'all see that little black and white dog that came in the yard awhile ago?"

Elizabeth: "What color was it?"

Silas: "Brown."

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

End of the Year

I'll be taking a few days to spend time with my family, and evaluate, plan, set goals, and pray about all I have to do in this new year--home, homeschool, organization, church, and friends. So I won't be blogging till late this week or possibly even next week. Have a happy New Year!

Family Update

We had a somewhat rushed but still wonderful Christmas. On Friday night we went to Billy's mom and dad's and spent the night to have Christmas with them on the 24th. I admire my mother-in-law's stamina more all the time. She stayed up all night cooking on Friday and woke up after a couple hours' sleep cheerful as a cricket. She's a better woman than I! Now I see where Billy and Elizabeth get their amazing ability to keep on going and going and going and...Anyway, it was a sweet day. The food was delicious, the gifts were thoughtful, and the company was great. I'm blessed to have married into such a wonderful bunch.

We opened gifts at home on Christmas morning. Silas and Elizabeth got bikes from Santa, and lo and behold, Santa brought me a bike too, the sneaky joker! There is even a seat for Sarah to ride. I was so happy. Santa must love me a lot. Either that or I was just extra good this year, who knows. Sarah was so excited about opening gifts. Of course she didn't really care that much about the gifts themselves, but I think she sensed the other kids' excitement and had fun with all the shiny paper and boxes.

We went to church and then dropped by to see an elderly homebound couple before heading to my parents' where a yummy Christmas dinner was waiting. Whew! We finally got to slow down for awhile. We opened presents with them after dinner. My mom made Elizabeth a Raggedy Ann doll and got Silas an old-fashioned top, and they were so excited that they could have cared less about opening any more!

We spent the night with Daddy and Mama and then spent the day Monday with them as well. A special treat was that we got to go horseback riding. The kids have never been and I haven't been in years. It's funny how something can feel both so foriegn and so familiar at the same time. Riding Levi's gentle horse Matt was the highlight of Silas and Elizabeth's trip. Silas had a frozen-on grin--we couldn't get him to stop smiling as long as he was on the horse! When it was time to stop they acted as though the world had come to an end.

We got home last night, tired but happy. My little homebody, Sarah, looked around the bedroom for a minute as though to say, "Yep, we're home!" and then laughed out loud. She is easygoing and loves to visit family, but she is always ecstatic to be home.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!!!

Hope your day is filled with sweet moments and the joy of Jesus!

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Island

Last night Billy and I put the kids to bed early and watched The Island. What a great show affirming the preciousness of every life! Not without its moments of obejctionable content, but a great movie nonetheless.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another insane week...

So light blogging. However, Barbara at MommyLife never seems to have these weeks and churns out posts regularly. One of her best was this week on teachability. Boy did I need to read it too!

This week has been mostly consumed with organizing Christmas for a family of 8 who will otherwise have a pretty bleak one. Although it has taken a lot of time and effort, it has also been one of the best parts of this Christmas. There is no better way to celebrate, in my opinion, than blessing someone who's struggling. After all, God has done that for me in my salvation and He has used the Body of Christ to bless me in my times of need (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual). It's a joy to be able to pass it on. The generosity of our church toward this family has been a sweet spot as well, and as for the family we are helping, they are hard working and have a great attitude. That makes it all the more special to be able to help them out. If you haven't done something for someone in need this Christmas, seek somebody out. There's nothing like it to fill one up with the true Christmas Spirit.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I have been. I've made all sorts of crazy threats this evening, including to kidnap my family and move to a cabin in the mountains and become a hermit family. If you feel the same way then maybe a couple quick Christmas tips will help you out like they have helped me this weekend.

1. I don't remember who gave us the cut glass cake plate with glass dome for our wedding, but I have used it more this week for parties than I have used it in our married life. I discovered that everything from sausage balls to cheese ball and crackers looks more appealing on a pedestal. Even the ordinary looks nicer on glass. Great for parties.

2. Being unorganized as I am I hadn't bought any Christmas cards, and being the cheapskate I am I could hardly justify the expense--besides, I didn't have time. So I took some blue cardstock (the only color I had that was remotely Christmasy), cut each piece in half with my olfa cutter and folded it into card size. Then I found a clean sponge under the sink and cut it into a triangle. I found some green craft paint in the kids' school box, dipped the sponge in the paint, and stamped a green triangle on each card, assembly-line style. Then I made a little cross on top with silver glitter glue (although a sequin, sparkly bead, or glitter would have worked just as well)--voila, a Christmas tree! Then I wrote "Merry Christmas" inside and signed our names. I have to confess that I can't take credit for this idea. I read if somewhere, I think in a review of a card-making book--but I'm not sure. It just stuck in my brain.

3. In the new issue of Notes from Toad Hall that came yesterday (too lazy to link, I will provide that in another post sometime), Margie Haack suggested giving granola as a Christmas gift. Brilliant. I made a batch of chunky peanut butter granola this morning and asked Billy to pick up some M&M's, peanuts, and pretzels. When he came home with 3 big bags of M&M's, 2 bags of pretzels and a big canister of nuts, I thought he had way over-bought. (I also added a box of raisins.) God knew better though. I had way under-planned, and this super colossal batch of Peanut Butter Granola Trail Mix measured out just right for all the kids' Sunday School, Awana, and Choir teacher gifts. Whew! Billy had bought just right.

Now it's late and I still have a lot to do to get ready for tomorrow. Good night!

If it Needs to be Done

Here's something I wrote a couple years ago, which is, in the final analysis, about service.


The other day as I stretched to reach above the doorway, I heard my three-year-old say, “Here, I got the stool for you, Mama.” She had carried the step stool (bulky and heavy for her) all the way from the other end of the house, because saw that I needed it.

I hugged her. “You saw what Mama needed and you did it without being asked,” I told her. “Your Grandpa would be proud of you. Do you know that when I was a little girl, Grandpa told me lots of times, ‘Honey, if you see something that needs to be done, just DO IT!’ That’s what you did. Thank you!”

I don’t know how many times my brothers and sisters and I heard those words growing up. I suppose the reason we heard them so often is because we weren’t doing that, and we needed the reminders. Nevertheless, repetition bore fruit and as we grew into teenagers, we automatically pitched in wherever we were to wash dishes, sweep the floor, pick up trash, watch little children, or any other job that presented itself. It became such an ingrained habit that I never thought of NOT doing it. It’s something I see common in older generations, but not as much in younger ones. I guess those old-fashioned lessons are one of the boons of having older-than-average parents!

Now that I’m married and I have little ones in tow, it feels strange to not always be the one available to clean up after a church pot luck, or volunteer my time to help an older lady. It really feels strange to have a young girl say, “Can I help you with your babies?” Wait a minute, that was me a few years ago! I wonder if I was as much of a blessing to the mothers I helped as these girls are to me.

I have to guard against irritation when I see young people standing around when something needs to be done, and to have to ask them to lend a hand. It doesn’t help when they drag their feet, act bored, or do a poor job. Then I have to remind myself that they obviously don’t have parents who drill into them, “If you see something that needs to be done, DO IT!” Rather than being critical, I should feel badly for them. They’ve been denied a wonderful gift that would take them a long way in life. That’s why I’m already trying to instill in my little ones how important it is to pitch in and help even when it’s “Not my job” or “No one asked me to”. I’d be honored if their trademark expression became, “What can I do to help?” or better yet, if they became known as young people who could be counted on to observe the needs of others and jump into the job without being asked. I want them to know the joys of serving others for reasons other than reward, and to know the joy of honest hard work. I read the words of a wise mother who cheerfully tells her children, “We love to work hard!” Now I tell my little ones the same thing.

“Look at Elizabeth wash dishes! What a helper! We love to work hard, don’t we Elizabeth? God made us strong so we can do our work and help each other!”

“Look at Silas! He is such a good boy to pick up his blocks! Silas, you help Mama so much when you work hard! We love to work!”

I remember watching my mom wash dishes at church after pot lucks when I was very small. I remember my dad doing chores for neighbors when they were on vacation, and helping friends with other jobs. My parents modeled the lifestyle of voluntarily serving others, and included us kids in that. My husband and I try to model the joys of work and helping others to our children as well. I hope that by example and encouragement, they will become another generation of people whose delight is to help people without being asked. Of course, I’m sure it won’t hurt if they frequently hear, “Honey, if you see something that needs to be done, DO IT!”

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cheapest, Funnest Toy Ever

On a whim Billy made these for the kids the other day. He took an 18-inch dowel rod and taped a 3-foot piece of floaty sheer ribbon to the end. (It was actually ribbon I had cut for gifts :)) These have been the most-used toys at our house ever since. They have been used for everything from dancing to whips for Santa's reindeer. It's amazing how differently Silas and Elizabeth play with the same toy. Elizabeth uses hers in all sorts of girly ways (dancing, twirling, making circles) and Silas uses his in all sorts of boy ways (popping the end, driving imaginary reindeer and horses).

Remind me again why we buy them toys?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Almost No Sugar Buckeyes

These are the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup equivalent of the "healthy dessert" world. Now don't get your hopes up, they don't taste just like Reese's...But for those of us, like me, who have had to give up our sugary treats, they make a fine substitute. This is one of my favorite "healthy" Christmas treats.

1 c. natural peanut butter (I use Smucker's)
1 T. honey
1/2 c. nonfat powdered milk (or enough to make "dough" stiff but not crumbly)

Mix together. Form into balls the size of large marbles and chill.
When cold, melt 1 12-oz package unsweetened carob chips (I use Sunspire) in a double boiler over low heat. Dip each peanut butter ball in the melted carob and place on wax paper on a cookie sheet. When all the balls are dipped, put them in the refrigerator or freezer to harden.

You could add basically anything you want to the pb mixture...raisins, sesame seeds, coconut...And you could sprinkle the outsides with chopped nuts or coconut or some such...But I like them just plain...Mmmm, yummy!

Family Update

It's been a challenging ministry week. We've dealt with five deaths among church members'/attendees' families, some tragic and unexpected. Billy assisted with a funeral Monday and attended another Saturday. We have dear friends and church members undergoing serious medical difficulties. It seems like these kinds of things always happen more at this time of year. In addition, we've lost staff (one retiring after many faithful years of service and the other recieving a call to another church). We have faith that God will fill those spots, but we will miss the work of these servants as they transition into another stage of life and ministry.

On the family front, things are going well. We are in the midst of many church Christmas celebrations and activities. We are trying to carve out time for family Christmas activities too. I promised the kids that we would make gingerbread men this afternoon, which is one of their favorite projects. Yesterday we spent the afternoon at our camp, and the kids had fun throwing rocks into the lake (well, a little puddle in the lake bed--the lake is temporarily drained) and playing hide and seek, ball, and riding their bikes down the trailer ramp. They were sleepy children when we finally got home.

Elizabeth counted to 100 this week, and she knows vowels and consenants, nouns and verbs, the names of the first president, our current president and vice president, and she is working on other members of government. This week we are focusing on continents, oceans, and planets. She is fascinated by geography and science, so this is something she enjoys.

Silas counted to 10 this week and he is making huge strides in his potty training. (Just what you wanted to know all about, right?!) He has also been singing Christmas carols. He is a musical little guy and he loves to sing.

Saturday we had Breakfast with Santa at church (Santa came a read the kids the Christmas story) and Silas went right up to him and shook his hand. Elizabeth, on the other hand, jumped in Billy's lap and put her arms around his neck so tight he could hardly breathe. That was before she hid in the kitchen. However, when it came time to sit in Santa's lap she was fine. Santa didn't bother Sarah at all. She kept looking at him as if to say, "Who is this funny looking guy?" I guess we are lucky that she didn't pull his beard.

We finished packing our shoebox gifts to send to Pine Ridge. We ended up collecting about 30 boxes of gifts for needy children on the reservation.

A bunch of people in our church are working on adopting a family for Christmas in our community. The daddy was in a car wreck and is unable to work much, and then their house burned. Their are six small children in the family and the mama is working as a waitress to make ends meet. The thing that has impressed us the most is their wonderful attitude in the midst of trial. It is a joy to find ways to help their family. If you have an opportunity this Christmas, seek out a family in need to help. Giving is so much more blessed than recieving. This is what Christmas is all about!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

For Knitters

For my birthday my mom got me a wonderful knitting book called Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. It is a jewel, full of wonderful quick and simple knitting projects. I can't wait to try some of the hats for my kiddos.

Missionaries and Fiber Artists

Well, the two don't necessarily have anything in common, but I found two great lists.
Here is a list of missionary bloggers from around the world, and here is a list of fiber blogs. (For those of you who don't know what a fiber artist is, that's someone who spins, knits, weaves, felts, dyes, or otherwise works with textile fiber.) Maybe these will keep you busy reading till my schedule slows down.

Hmmm, neither link is working. I'm not sure why. If you go to the missionary blogger one, though, and click on the blog link in the sidebar, it will take you to the right page.

Busy, busy

No time for even a quick post the past few days. Sorry about that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Portsmouth Tea, Part II

I finally got a tea ball and was able to brew some of the Strawberry le Creme I got from the Portsmouth Tea Company. Yummy! It was good hot, and I think it would be even better iced. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift. Mmmmm...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Family Update

Late again. Oh well.

One of the funnest things we got to do last week was to visit my parents on Monday. They raised a hog for us (we payed for feed and processing) and it was ready to be picked up. It was a great excuse to spend the afternoon with them. We were all sad that we had to leave so soon. Elizabeth and Silas were glad that they got to help feed chickens and milk Hildi, the Jersey cow, before they left.

Friday night some dear ladies at church hosted a parents' night out for us busy moms and dads so that we could have a date and do some Christmas shopping. Billy took me to a lovely seafood restaurant and we went outlet mall shopping afterward. We found some great gifts as well as some badly-needed towels on sale.

On Saturday we put up our Christmas tree. I love a fresh tree, at least as long as I remember to water it...The kids enjoyed decorating and it looks so pretty with the lights on. Elizabeth is my biggest helper when it comes to hanging the lights.

Sarah decided to start crawling this week, which is so adorable, but also interesting timing now that we have all these Christmas decorations up! It was a week of milestones for her. She has also pulled up to a standing position and given her first on-purpose hugs. She's such a daddy's girl. When she wakes up in the morning, if she is in bed with us (which happens more often than not) the first thing she does is flop over to see if Billy is still there. If he is, she harrasses him unmercifully until he plays with her. Then she is happy. She saves her very biggest smiles for him.

Sunday night was the adult choir musical at church. It turned out beautifully. Our director and others worked so hard to put it together, and all their efforts payed off. At the last minute, Sarah was chosen to be a live baby Jesus instead of the doll we had planned to use. I was so nervous, especially since I was a soloist and couldn't have slipped out to take care of her if she cried. She did great though. In fact, she fell asleep, even with music booming around her. I'm sure it helped that our Mary is one of her favorite people, and a very gentle, nurturing person at that.

The Chrismas season is so busy, and this week is shaping up to be a crazy one. We try to remember, though, in the midst of the busyness, not to lose our focus and to keep the joy of the season in our hearts. I hope all of you have joyful weeks as well!

My Parents Are Weird

My parents have always been ones to buck the system, to live outside normal. And I’m glad.

If I had normal parents I wouldn’t have been born, considering my mom was of “advanced maternal age” when she started having kids (me, at 36). I wouldn’t have had any of my four brothers and sisters either, since normal people don’t continue having children until age 49.

If I had normal parents I wouldn’t have been homeschooled at a time when the homeschool movement was just getting off the ground and homeschool parents had to fight for every inch of ground they gained. Hardly anybody homeschooled when we first began. Homeschooling was not just weird, it was almost unheard of.

If I had normal parents I might not have been raised in the country and would not have learned all sorts of old-fashioned crafts and skills like how to make butter in an antique churn, spin wool, and grow wheat for flour and corn for meal. I wouldn’t have known what it was like to have baby goats and chicks living in our kitchen because it was too cold outside for them. I don’t think normal people keep goats and chickens in their kitchens, even baby ones.

If I had normal parents I would have spent hours in front of the TV instead of hours reading. I would have missed out on hundreds of books that sharpened my vocabulary and writing skills. It also gave me a sense of history that makes me realize how we in this era of technology are not normal either, considering how people have lived through history and how most around the world live even today.

If I had normal parents they would never have thrown their support behind my relationship with a man ten years my senior with a radically different background, who turned out to be the most awesome and perfect husband for me. (I love you, Billy!)

If I had normal parents they would not have given their blessing to my sister’s unorthodox meeting with a man, also ten years her senior, who turned out to be the perfect husband for her. (We’re glad they let you into the family, Stephen!)

If I had normal parents, they wouldn’t be starting the same cycle all over again with their grandkids.

Like I said, my parents are weird. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

No Sugar at Christmas?

Since Billy and I are hypoglycemic, we had to give up sugar and sweets long ago. For several years I just substituted honey or fructose because they both raise your blood sugar more slowly, but even they made me crazy. And I mean crazy. Sugar affects me (and I'm sure lots of other people) not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

Most of the time skipping sweets doesn't bother me. I do miss my mom's chocolate dump cake and fudge brownies. But I honestly reached a point where I would so much rather be well and stable that sweets don't usually tempt me.

People ask me all the time how I do it. I'm not obsessive. If something doesn't taste sweet I eat it, even if sugar is listed in the ingredients list. I also satisfy a craving for sweets with fresh fruit.

I made the change fairly gradually. I had experimented a lot with "healthier" desserts before I discovered that I was hypoglycemic. Another good thing to remember is that desserts made without sugar are not going to taste like the sugar dessert they are replacing. I think keeping that in mind keeps disappointment at bay. For example, I use carob instead of chocolate, but I don't expect carob to taste like chocolate. Billy and I have had to be patient with ourselves and acquire a taste for some foods over time. Also, I had to reassign the place food, and especially dessert, had in my life. It had to take a place of less importance. I had to learn not to care so much about sweets. That was hard, because I have an insufferable sweet tooth. But the less sugar I eat, the less I crave, and the easier it is to replace dessert with other nice things, like tea and a magazine. It's a fine line, because on one hand I have to think *more* about what I eat, make wise choices when I eat out, and so forth...But I have to *care* less about food. It's something that I do imperfectly and I'm sure I always will, but it goes a long way in managing my diet.

It's hardest around the holidays. However, I've come up with a few recipes that are good alternatives (I think). I splurge a bit this time of year and eat a little honey. As long as I behave myself most of the time and eat in moderation when I do splurge, it seems to be OK. I also make fruit juice sweetened desserts that I actually tolerate much better. I'll be posting a few of these over the next week or two. Unfortunately most of them are high in fat, but they are easier on blood sugar levels. Remember, moderation in all things, even "healthy" desserts!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Cranberry Sauce

Billy and I are incurable fans of the traditional Thanksgiving/Christmas feast. We buy turkeys on sale and cook 4 or 5 throughout the winter, always with cornbread dressing and this cranberry sauce. I like it because you can't tell that it's made with honey, and it's so easy. Plus it's much better than the jelly kind you buy in the can, at least I think so!

Honey Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

1 12 oz package fresh or frozen cranberries
1 c. water
1 c. honey
1/2 t. orange peel (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook on med-high till it starts to boil and the cranberry skins start to split. Reduce heat and cook for 20 minutes or till thickened. Be sure to stir frequently and check it often so it doesn't burn. Also, if the heat is too high it will foam badly. Let cool and chill. Yummy with turkey!

New blog...

My brother-in-law now has a blog! Go check out Sharp's Corner Ministry to read about Stephen and Leah's mission work on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. From my sister's perspective, read Life at Sharp's Corner.


My kids were first introduced to the idea of superheroes earlier this year when we saw The Incredibles. Then we got some old Superman movies which they have watched over and over again. More recently they have started to understand the concept of heroes in general. Last night Silas saw a TV ad that mentioned a hero. His face lit up and he smiled from ear to ear. "Hero, Mommy! Hero!" This morning when he did something especially kind to Sarah I asked her, "Is Brother your hero?" He grinned. "I a hero!" And then when the kids were watching The Sound of Music, Elizabeth asked, "Was the Captain a hero?" She says that God and Daddy are her heroes. (Awwww...)

Billy and I have a goal to hang out as a family with godly pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and other Christians who will encourage our children in the faith. We look for books that tell about Christian heroes. I know that they will admire people from many walks of life, but my hope and prayer is that their true heroes are those who exemplify godliness and inspire them to become heroes to someone else.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TV, Part II

Don’t get the idea, though, that I reject TV in and of itself in some sort of knee-jerk reaction. Ransom Fellowship first awakened me to the idea that movies are the stories of our culture. Every culture has had its stories, once told around the flickering campfire at night, now told on a glowing screen—but we still have stories that not only entertain us, but impact and shape us as well. As disgusted as I get with some aspects of TV, as determined as I am to not make that a part of my children’s lives at an early age, the limited amount of TV that Billy and I have allowed into our lives has been beneficial to me on many fronts. Most notably, it’s given me a window into our culture and how people in our society think and why. After all, a postmodern culture will tell stories that reflect its values. I don’t expect non-Christians to write Christian stories, and the stories they tell and treasure help me to understand them.

It’s also enabled me to better live in the world without being of it, to be a better friend and a better witness to those who live outside Christianity. I know something of what my neighbors watch, what forms their values, what touches their hearts, what makes them tick, why they are the way they are. It’s broadened my thinking and enabled me to see the unbelieving world as people, not just ideologies. It’s provided me with another way to converse with and identify with those next to whom my tent is pitched. I’d even go so far as to say that one it’s difficult to effectively be a missionary to our postmodern Western society without having at least a rudimentary understanding of pop culture. That’s something I work on constantly, and watching limited TV and movies with discernment is one way I’ve been able to move toward greater understanding.

Honestly, I love movies, both for their artistic and entertainment value and for the insight I gain from them.. I just don’t want them to replace real life, real relationships, real activities. I don’t want my children to become reliant on them for entertainment or to have their values shaped by TV and film, which too often (not always) present life in a way that violates all the values I hold dear. But I’m grateful that it’s something I can experience from time to time now that I’m mature enough not to be controlled or shaped by it.

One of my favorite writers, EB White, (author of Charlotte’s Web) wrote about TV in a newspaper piece entitled “Removal” in July 1938. TVs were just becoming available to families at home. I found his insight amazing. He accurately predicted what TV would do to our culture, long before time had proven him correct. He said this:

“…I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television—of that I am quite sure…Clearly the race today is between loud speaking and soft, between the things that are and the things that seem to be, between the chemist of RCA and the angel of God. Radio has already given sound a wide currency, and sound ‘effects’ are taking the place once enjoyed by sound itself. Television will enormously enlarge the eye’s range, and, like radio, will advertise the Elsewhere. Together with the tabs, the mags, and the movies, it will insist that we forget the primary and the near in favor of the secondary and the remote. More hours in every twenty-four will be spent digesting ideas, sounds, images—distant and concocted. In sufficient accumulation, radio sounds and television sights may become more familiar to us than their originals. A door closing, heard over the air; a face contorted, seen in a panel of light—these will emerge as the real and the true; and when we bang the door of our own cell or look into another’s face the impression will be of mere artifice.”

So I encourage those who might have considered drastically reducing or even eliminating TV in their homes not to hesitate, particularly if they have small children. Of course, when they pull the plug on the TV, the kids will be bored for a few days, and the grown ups might be too. But don’t worry, that passes. In short order the family does more together, the kids are more content and creative, and relationships with each other are richer. For those who feel hesitant, why not try it for a month? If family life isn’t better, just plug the TV back in.

For those who choose to continue to watch TV and movies, it’s important to watch with discernment, a healthy critical eye. We must watch in a way that enriches our spiritual lives, allow it to be a window into the values of the culture, and measure it against the Word of God. As missionaries to our culture, we can use it as a springboard for discussion.

Either way, we’re challenging the cultural norm. I feel it’s safe to say, though, that we won’t be sorry.

TV Part I

From the time I was 3 or so, I was raised without TV. No cable, no network channels, no movies, no videos. Film was an almost non-existent part of my growing up.

It was one of the best choices my parents made. I didn’t miss TV. I watched a movie every so often at someone else’s house and enjoyed it, but TV wasn’t something I craved. I had more fun and creative things to do. I loved to read and read hundreds, probably thousands, of books. I wrote, drew, played imaginative games with my brothers and sisters, and learned crafts like sewing, embroidery, knitting, spinning, and quilting. I took care of the animals on our little homestead and wrote letters.

I was spared the gradual hardening that comes with watching shows that become ever more casual toward evil, more graphic in violence and sex, more disrespectful toward authority, more antagonistic to Christianity, more objectifying of women, more disdainful of men, month after month, year after year. And to be honest, I think I was also spared a lot of stress. TV is so much a part of most of our lives, I don’t think we realize how stressful it is to be inundated with the drama of the lives played there, or how over-burdened our minds become with the intensity of what we see on the screen. The first time I saw Star Wars I felt such sensory overload that I couldn’t sleep. The same goes for the negativity in the news. I’m all for being informed, but we weren’t meant to see the same horrible images, hear the same horrible reports, replayed again and again and again. It wears on the soul, especially of a child.

When Billy and I got married we lived so far out in the country that we didn’t even get the fuzziest network channel, and our local video store had a very limited selection. We watched a movie every now and then, mostly miscellaneous films that Billy had somehow accumulated during his bachelor years. For awhile we tried Sky Angel Christian programming, but it was for the most part so unappealing that we cancelled after a few months.

(On an aside, I’ve heard it lamented that Christian films and television are typically so poor quality, so cheesy, that they probably drives unbelievers away. It’s sad that non-Christians reflect more of the creative nature of God than His own children do, as a rule, at least in the arts. Of all people, His should be the most creative, the most artistic, the most able to reflect His glory before the culture. I hope the tide will turn, or maybe is slowly turning, in that direction. I’ve heard that Sky Angel is much better now than it was those years ago.)

Once we moved, we had more available and watched movies more often. Usually during football season we get rabbit ears so Billy can catch a game or two on the networks. Every now and then we turn on the TV and catch another show. It usually takes only a few times before both Billy and I have seen enough garbage that we are ready to put a hammer through the TV. It’s become a standing joke because I know that sometime before winter’s end we will get so disgusted that the rabbit ears will go into the trash—again.

As a rule, the kids don’t watch TV at all. They have seen a couple episodes of Clifford, some holiday specials, the Rose Bowl Parade, and of course football. They watch Boomerang at their grandparents’. Mostly we stick to movies, and I try to keep that to one 30 minute Bible movie a day. (My goal is to make it more like one a week.) Even with that limited fare, I can see how easy it would be for them to become addicted to TV.

It’s a sacrifice. Play dough, drawing, and puzzles are messier than TV. Reading aloud, playing board games, and letting them help me as I work takes more time than TV. But it’s worth it. I try to keep in mind how much more creative they will be, how many more things they will know how to do, how much better our relationships will be, and the early influences they’ll be spared if I keep them from most TV.

What a Week!

I'm a day late on this week's family update, but Oh Well. It's been so insane I think I'm entitled to an excuse!

On Monday of last week, Billy was at the hospital very early because a friend's baby was having surgery. While there, he got a call that his dad was having emergency surgery. So he was at the hospital till late that night.

Shortly after he got home, he came down with a stomach virus and was up all night with the less desirable symptoms.

Tuesday, in his words, he "wasn't worth shooting".

Wednesday, Elizabeth tried the laws of gravity by jumping off the couch and flapping her arms to see if she could fly like a bird. Afterward she couldn't put any weight on her foot and we were sure it was broken.

That night she and Silas had the virus and we were up most of the night taking care of the less desirable symptoms.

Thanksgiving Day we had planned to be with Billy's family since the whole family was together for the first time in quite awhile. However, since the kids had been sick all night we decided that as much as we wanted to go, we'd better not expose everyone else. Besides, since Elizabeth's foot was worse, we took her to the ER to get it X-rayed.

We learned late in the week that a very dear friend had a massive stroke and has only been given a few days to live.

The good news of the week is that Sarah and I escaped the virus, that Elizabeth's foot was only very badly bruised, our friends' baby came through surgery successfully and Billy's dad is on the mend.

Friday we decided we'd better get out of town (or "run for your lives" as one of our friends said), so we spent the night at the camp and had a nice restful day. However, it will take more than one day to recover from the mountain of laundry we generated in the past week.

Nevertheless, we have a great deal to be thankful for. Friends and family, a wonderful home, and abundant grace even in the hard weeks--and that's just a start.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Support our Troops

I'm thankful for our military men and women all year, but especially at the holidays when they make even more sacrifices than usual. This weekTenn reminds us to stand behind our troops.


Some of my sweetest childhood Christmas memories involve our Advent celebrations on Sunday nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We took turns lighting the candles, sang Christmas hymns, and read Christmas stories. Since Billy and I have married, we've celebrated Advent a little differently each year, some years more successfully than others. It's always fun though, and this year our children are old enough to really enjoy and understand the season. Barbara at Mommy Life has great ideas for Advent, and Tulip Girl provides links for Advent readings. If you've contemplated celebrating advent with your children, these are great places to start.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be grateful for...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Spotlight on Tenn

Speaking of best homeschool blogs, I'd like to share with you one of my personal favorites. At School@Home, Tenn shares a plethora of wonderful ideas from her very creative homeschool, as well as lesson plans and resources. In Tenn's home, learning truly seems to be a way of life, not limited to school hours. I've gotten so many ideas from School@Home. I love Tenn's straightforward style and I've been blessed by the love and commitment that she shows her family. Reading what she writes has inspired and challenged me many times. I've used a lot of her ideas in my own beginning homeschool, and Tenn has broadened my horizons on many fronts. Thank you, Tenn!

Homeschool Blog Awards, Anyone?

Spunky is considering hosting a Homeschool Blog Awards. Drop by and tell her it's a great idea! I'd love to know more about the best homeschool blogs out there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Portsmouth Tea, Part I

My Strawberry le Creme Portsmouth Tea arrived by UPS yesterday. If my experience is any indicator of their customer service, it is excellent. The beautiful loose leaf tea comes in an elegant tin and smells amazing. I'll post Part II after I get a tea ball and actually taste it, but I'm sure I won't be disappointed. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone who's hard to buy for (or who just loves tea). But I think I'll keep mine all for myself!


Tulipgirl's 9-year-old son wrote a psalm that could be mine today!

Psalm of Exhaustedness

Praise Him, praise Him!
I’m exhausted, I’m tired .
Please let me sleep soon,
Lord of my heart,
please let me sleep.

Lord, may I go to sleep now?
Lord, I’m exhausted.
Lord, let me sleep.
Lord, let me go to sleep, Lord let me go to sleep.

Lord of the earth, I love you!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday's Family Update

Early in the week I decided to throw this garage sale together that I've been trying to have since April. Between new baby, Billy's surgery, and other things, I haven't had a weekend that would work. This Saturday didn't work either, but I figured if I didn't do it this week it would be far too late in the season. I just did it on Thursday and Friday, put out lots of signs and advertised on a couple local email loops I belong to. All in all I did really well, and I think I made even more on Thursday than Friday, which was a surprise. I don't have that much stuff left.

Billy's sister got married this weekend, so we had the rehearsal Friday and wedding Saturday. Billy was an usher and Elizabeth was a flower girl. She was so excited to get to wear the princess-y flower girl dress. This is her third time to be a flower girl, so she's getting to be a pro. The wedding was beautiful and we're so happy for the bride and groom!

Last night we had our community Thanksgiving service. Each year our church, the local First Baptist church, the Methodist church, and the Nazarene church all get together for a special service. This year it was Billy's turn to preach, and if I can brag on him a little bit, I thought his message was phenomenal. We're very blessed to live in an area with so many wonderful pastors, and it's a treat to get to see them and their congregations at this time of year.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What's Trackback?

Come on, experienced bloggers, help me out. This is one blog term that I've can't figure out. What's trackback? Does it mean that when you link someone from your blog, you let them know? Is this blog etiquette?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Little Pigs on the Prairie

By Elizabeth, age 4

Once upon a time there were 3 little pigs at a fair. A pig eater started to chase them. They were fast pigs and they runned home fast as a pig can run, 28 miles, and told their mom and dad. Then they ran out into the woods and hid in a bush. They crawled under the bush and they didn’t squeak or nothing. The robbers looked under all the bushes but not the one that had piggies. So they goed outside and sneaked up, but the house was in the woods somewhere but they didn’t know where it was. But they sneaked up on the little pink house and there were the mom and dad pig. Then the pigs chased the robbers away. The end.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Spotlight on Wittingshire and Christian Aesthetic

I'm reviewing Wittingshire and Christian Aesthetic together, because I read them both for the same reason: they are beautiful! Actually, I should say that I don't actually read either of them consistently...But I do check each regularly for the amazing, artistic photography. I grew up in the country and I live in the city now. I miss being out in creation daily. When I see pictures like the ones posted on these two blogs, it turns my heart to the Creator with gratitude for the beauty He's provided for us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

With the Lord

Adrian Rogers' preaching was an incredible help to me in my spiritual life during my most struggling time. Years later, Billy and I visited Bellevue Baptist Church the day after we got married. I'm sad to know that this great man of God is no longer with us. My prayers are with all those closest to him who will miss him most.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In Lieu of a Thoughtful Post

I've taken a few minutes to update my sidebar.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its' fragrance,
There is solace in its' taste;
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

_Taken from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Teatime Tales and Rhymes


And originally I got the poem from Tenn.

Portsmouth Tea Company is offering a free large tin of tea to any blogger who links their web site between now and Wednesday. Tulip Girl sings the praises of Portsmuth tea and tells which are her favoites. Quick, before it's too late!


Barbara at Mommy Life has had some great posts lately on teaching children to work and serve. I was blessed to be raised in a family where teaching us kids a good work ethic was priority. We were expected to tote our share of the family load, helping out at home and on the farm. We did the dishes, cleaned, took care of the animals, took care of younger brothers and sisters, and worked in the garden. When we were guests in the homes of others, we were expected to help serve and clean up if our hostess would let us.

My parents modeled industry and service to us as well. My mom was always the one to clean up after church suppers and my dad was the first to volunteer to help a neighbor who had a need. Work was considered a good gift from God, and because it was part of our lives from a very early age, we never thought twice about it. We never felt put upon when we were asked to help with a task--in fact, it became second nature. I remember my dad saying many times, "If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Don't wait to be told." or "You work because you're part of this family." Today I see a lot of young people struggling as teenagers with their first jobs, because they have never worked before. I'm grateful that I was raised in a family that taught us to work. I seek to reinforce this to my own children. Go check out what Barbara has to say.

Monday's Family Update

This week we got to take the kids to see excerpts from The Nutcracker. The local ballet was performing at our library, and selling tickets, of course. Elizabeth really enjoyed it, but she wasn't as enamored as I thought she'd be. We've talked about going to the Nutcracker for years, but at this point, the excerpts were probably enough ballet for now.

On Friday and Sunday nights we were also able to attend a huge area-wide evangelistic crusade. Because of Billy's surgery and subsequent recovery we weren't able to be as involved as we would have liked, but it was still wonderful to be able to go. Several people in our church sang in the 1500 member choir or were counselors. Last night there were about 8,000 people there. Although the primary focus was on non-Christians, it was refreshing for the rest of us as well.

Sarah is sitting up well now and she is army crawling. She can get into pretty much whatever she wants, it just takes a lot of effort.

Silas' language skills have leaped forward in the last few days, especially his pronunciation.

Elizabeth's vocabulary is growing too. Her new favorite word is "ridiculous".

That's all folks!

Home Sweet Home School

Friday, instead of our usual kindergarten book work, we just had an informal learning day. I created a treasure hunt in about five minutes, writing clues with simple words highlighted that Elizabeth can read. For example, "The next clue is on Silas' *bed*" and she would read "bed". The clues led all over the house until she found her prize--a ding dong, something she never gets normally. It was far more fun for her than struggling with words on a list.

We also read and worked alphabet puzzles. I look forward to using more creativity in teaching. It's something that doesn't come naturally to me, but I know that children learn much better when a variety of approaches are used. Since Elizabeth seems to be a tactile and auditory learner--very little visual propensity--I'm forever on the hunt for ideas to help her learn in that way.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Spotlight on TulipGirl

I first "met" TulipGirl almost 5 years ago on a secular parenting board, before she was TulipGirl. I always looked for her posts because she had been homeschooled, like me, and I appreciated the grace with which she represented Christ in a largely anti-Christian forum.

After awhile I stopped visiting the site and moved on to a Christian board. One day as I was reading a post, I thought, This sounds really familiar. I emailed her and asked, "Are you ____ from the other board?" Well, she was! She was such an encouragement to me, prayed for me, and wrote me notes of encouragement during my second pregnancy. She had a cool web site that I loved to read. Then we lost touch again.

One day while blog surfing, I noticed her first name on a blogroll. Surely we haven't bumped into each other online *again*, I thought. What were the odds of that happening? But it was her. Now she had a blog, which was even more fun than her web site. She wrote about her family's life as missionaries to Ukraine, thoughts on mothering, homeschooling, breastfeeding support, and gracious living.

Now TulipGirl and her family are back in the states, but she's still blogging. I continue to value her insight and encouragement, and I know you will too. I have just one question for her though. If I'm not Reformed, will I get kicked out of the blogosphere? ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2005


"Until God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus -- perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly."

Imitation of Christ
Thomas a Kempis

For the whole chapter, entitled Bearing With the Faults of Others, go here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

I love Christmas. I love to give gifts. I have a lot of people on my gift list. And that can add up.

Every year near Christmas, Billy takes a special tree ornament to church and shows it to everyone from the pulpit. He made it out of the credit cards he melted a few years before we got married! The point:it's not worth going into debt for Christmas. It's possible to have a great holiday and give awesome gifts without breaking the bank.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to save money on Christmas gifts.

1. Buy throughout the year. Don't let Christmas sneak up on you and end up looking for the perfect gift on Christmas Eve. Then you spend more money than you intended to on an impulse purchase.

2. If you have any craft or creative skills at all, use them to make gifts. Again, start early enough that you aren't pressed for time when Christmas is almost upon you. This could be anything from clothes sewn by hand, to handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, to stories written for your children, or favorite books read aloud on CD.

3. Shop discount or closeout stores like Marshall's, Big Lots, or Tuesday Morning. Also check out local individually owned discount stores. You might have to sort through some junk, but you can find great buys at discount stores on everything from name brand clothes to stationery to housewares.

4. Buy in bulk and divide into inexpensive containers, such as pint jars tied with a ribbon. One year I gave freshly ground whole wheat flour from my kitchen with a muffin recipe. I bought the wheat in 50 pound bags, so it didn't cost much--but everyone loved it.

5. Family and friends who live far away love to receive photos, especially if you have little ones in the house! Use acrylic frames or pretty little photo albums.

6. Don't feel like you always have to buy full priced, new off the shelf items. If someone on your list is a biliophile, find a first edition copy of a book by their favorite author at Bibliofind or Ebay. You can often find items new with tags on ebay or at garage sales. Someone else payed full price for them, but you get them--still new--for a song! People frequently sell items in perfect condition that were probably never used. Add to someone's collection with beautiful but inexpensive antiques from garage or estate sales. You might even find something brand new for free on Freecycle. But shhhhh, it will be your little secret!

7. Give the gift of time. Offer to rake leaves, babysit, or fix a meal for someone on your list. Make a certificate for a special tea time with your daughter or a fishing day with your son.

So you see, it's possible to give a lot of gifts for not too much money. Use your imagination! You'll find ways to save at every turn.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Spotlight on My Sister

I hope to frequently spotlight some of my favorite blogs. Life at Sharps Corner is my sister Leah's. Obviously I like to read it for personal reasons, because it's great to keep up with their family news and pictures of my adorable nephew. I also like to read it for inspiration. Leah and her husband Stephen are missionaries to the Sioux Indians in South Dakota. On her blog, she tells stories of their experiences and posts ministry updates. She also shares thoughts on mothering and homemaking, recipes, poems, and songs. I especially love to read her posts about Christmas! She's a gifted writer, a great wife and mom, and most of all, an authentic apprentice of Jesus. Her blog lifts my heart, not just because she's my sister, but also because she's my sister in Christ.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday's Family Update

I'm going to try to post family updates on Mondays, so if you are reading primarily for family news, check in early in the week.

This was the week for bargains. The first and most significant is that God blessed us with a 2002 GMC Yukon XL for a truly amazing price--a beautiful vehicle that we never would have ordinarily been able to get. We have been trying to decide what to buy for months, since the Explorer (which Billy has had since before we married) is no longer reliable. We considered everything from trucks to small cars, and we were willing to downsize if necessary, even if the whole family didn't fit. Each time we thought we had come to a decision, something prevented us from pursuing it and we coudn't get a peace. Then the Yukon came available, far above and beyond what we ever dreamed we would be able to purchase. Our whole family fits with room to spare, we have ample cargo space, and we would be able to pull basically anything we would ever need to.

I'm still driving the wonderful van that God provided last year. He truly blesses us beyond our wildest dreams.

This weekend we also ran into bargains for books, clothes, and Christmas gifts. God's provision amazes me!

We spent the night at our camp Friday night. Years ago when Billy talked about buying a camp, I couldn't fathom why we'd need such a thing. I didn't even know what a camp was. For those of you who are in the dark like I was, it's not uncommon where we live for people, especially if they live in town, to own or lease small hunting or fishing camps near lakes or rivers. It's usually a small plot of land with an old trailer on it. We were fortunate and found one with a tiny but real house on a slab. It's been a wonderful ministry retreat and a place to have the best family time ever. It didn't take me long to figure out that
Billy used great wisdom in looking for a camp. The kids always cry when we have to leave, and they can't wait to get back. We rest, play, fish, go for walks, read and study, plan, and watch eagles, herons, and other wildlife. Our camp is where we are truly able to get Sabbath rest.

This time we just had fun walking and relaxing Friday afternoon, as well as looking for fossils and arrowheads. Billy spent Saturday morning in study while the kids played outside, and we headed home after lunch.

On other family news, Silas drew his first real person this week. He said it was Daddy. Elizabeth also had a first. She made a list of numbers in order up to 8. She would have gone farther, but she ran out of room on her paper! As for Sarah, she has learned how to make a horrible-sounding growl and she thinks it is great. I'll be glad when the novelty wears off and she is back to her sweet cooing sounds again!

That's it for family news this week.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's the Letter of the Law That Counts...

At least with Silas.

The other night he pulled his usual stalling-bedtime stunts, calling my name again and again. "Mommy! Mooommmy! Moooommmmmyyyy!"

Finally I said, "Silas, if you say 'Mommy' one more time you are going to be in big trouble!"

I didn't hear anything for about 10 minutes.

Then I heard his small voice: "Stephanie!"

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I've been knitting since I was a little girl. When I was about 12 I bought an Ashford spinning wheel kit, which stayed in the box until I was in my late teens. By the time I finally got it stained and put together I wasn't that interested in spinning any more.

That was before I visited a group of handspinners in the area where I lived at the time. They met monthly to share food and spinning time. I hadn't known what to expect, but I found a group of warm and talented women who were willing to share their knowledge with me, my mom and sisters, and others who wanted to learn. Their meetings were charged with creativity, and I soon discovered that their expertise went far beyond mere handspinning--these ladies were fiber artists. Their interests ranged from knitting to felting to dying to weaving. Many of them owned fiber-bearing animals, which included llamas, alpacas, angora goats and rabbits as well as sheep. In addition to fiber arts, some of them enjoyed soapmaking, cheesemaking, and antique collecting. I had stumbled onto a goldmine of knowledge and inspiration.

Spinning became one of my favorite activities. The gentle pump of the pedal under my foot, the quiet hum of the wheel, the transformation of a pouf of wool into a twist of yarn, all these things were the ultimate stress relief. I knitted a few things from the yarn I spun. My greatest achievement was the gray socks I knitted for Billy the Christmas we were engaged.

After we got married I didn't have time to craft for a long time. I spun sporadically. Recently, though, I've been able to carve out a few minutes here and there to engage in fiber arts once again. I'm a busy mom, so my projects are simple. Right now I'm working on a chenille wrap for chilly evenings and I recently ordered needle felting supplies. For my birthday my mom got me a book of quick knitting patterns that I can hardly wait to try. I'm planning a craft day and a one-day knitting camp for our home school group.

We're made in the image of God. Because of that, we are all creative beings, whether we feel like it or not. For me, fiber arts are one area where my creativity really blossomed. Billy talks about the importance of nurturing all of ourselves--body, soul, and spirit. Creating beautiful things nurtures my soul. It feels good to be creative again.

God provided a group of wonderful teachers for me when I least expected it. If you long to be creative but don't know where to start, ask Him! He has made you to create, and He will enable you to find that creative part of yourself.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wise Words

Yesterday a veteran preschool teacher told me this.

"I always tell the parents of my little preschoolers, if you dream of doing something with your child, do it now. Make those memories. If you don't, you will never get around to it. Daddies, if you have dreamed of going fishing with your son, pick up the fishing pole and go now. Don't wait. If you don't do it now you'll always look back and wish you had."

Family Update

For the first time in several months this week has felt something like normal. For those of you who don't know, September 1 Billy had major emergency surgery. (For those of you who did know and prayed or helped, thank you!) Since neither of us has had anything like that before, we didn't realize how long recovery would take. He's just now feeling close to healthy again. It's good to see him back to his usual self, full of energy and enthusiasm. When he wasn't constantly writing, planning, or generating ideas I knew he was a long way from well.

We've both learned a lot of things through this. One, don't take advil every day. It eats holes in your stomach.

We also have a new sympathy for the ill and their caregivers. We know better how to minister to those who are going through similar things.

I knew I was blessed to have Billy, but the prospect of losing him made me realize even more just how much I treasure my guy!!! That's just a start of all the things we've learned in the past months.

As for the rest of us...Elizabeth and I have been busy with her home school kindergarten year. She's a joy to teach and she loves to learn. She would do school all day if it were possible. We're focusing on learning to read, basic math, and other early-grade skills. She keeps a nature journal and she's also learning to sew by hand and knit a little bit. Some dear friends got us a family membership to our local interactive children's science museum, so I know that will be on our list of frequent field trips. We joined the local home school group. Since Billy has been sick we haven't been able to get too involved yet, but I'm hosting a craft day and knitting workshop for the group later in the winter.

Silas is potty training and learning his colors. Elizabeth is his best bud. He loves boats, fishing, guns and anything that happens outside. He also loves animals in general and reptiles in particular. During church he stays quiet if I take a notebook and draw pages and pages of frogs, alligators, snakes, and turtles. He has a great sense of humor and loves to tease. He's also very observant, mechanical, and people-savvy.

Sarah is 6 months old and the happiest baby I've ever seen. She cries only when she is sleepy, very hungry, or needs a diaper change. Sometimes I pick her up and carry her around just because she is completely content nearly all day. She rarely fusses to be held. This is a new experience for us! She's a roly poly little thing and she's learning to sit and crawl. Nothing makes her happier than playing with her Daddy or brother and sister.

Our children are such a joy to us and we feel so blessed that God has given us the marriage and family that He has.

Hanging up the Nicknames

No more nicknames for us. Calling Billy "the Preacher" is just too impersonal. My blog will still be called Charity Grace because I love the concepts of God's love (charity in the KJV) and His grace. But we'll just be ourselves.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Comment me!

If you've stopped by, please leave a comment so I know you've been here!

Html for Dummies?

OK, experienced bloggers. How do you put a link in a post? Oh, wait. I see the Edit Html button. Is that it?

Yay, it worked! I figured out how at Dave's Site.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Just in Time for Christmas

If your family enjoys movies like ours does, you very well may get frustrated with the language in most films. A few years ago we discovered a solution: Curse-Free TV. This little gizmo plugs into your television and reads the closed captioning, bleeping out or substituting unsavory words. CFTV not only removes cursing, but also potty talk and other words you might not want your children repeating. In one film I remember, the movie character's CFTV-edited line was, "She just doesn't have any *hugs* appeal."

CFTV has been a boon for our family because it's allowed us to enjoy films we'd otherwise have to pass on because of the language used. I liken it to the magic marker work my mom did in books when we were little. The stories were just as good with the bad words blacked out.

You can buy CFTV at Wal-Mart or Lifeway Christian Stores for under $100. It would be a great gift for your family or someone else's this Christmas.

Let Your Kids Name Themselves

Once when we were trying to decide on a name for one of our then-unborn munchkins, an adoptive mom friend joked, "Just let your kids name themselves. That's what we did."

I thought of that this morning when trying to decide on blog nicknames for my children. I asked the 4-year-old oldest, "If you could be named anything in the world besides your real name, what would it be?"

"Princess Buttercup," she said. (What is it with little girls and princess obsessions?)

When I asked my 2-year-old middle child, he said, as he's told us before, "Alligator Guy." (What is it with little boys and reptilian obsessions?)

We call the baby Missy Boo (just one of many delicious nicknames) at home, so I guess that will be her name for here as well.

As for the Preacher and me...Well, we're easy to figure out.

Well, Finally!

I've started a blog at last. I've had friends and family encouraging me along for several years, but I've hesitated for several reasons. First is time. With 3 little ones 4 and under, I don't think I need to explain that one. Second is privacy. I'm cautious, maybe over-cautious about sharing personal information on the web. Third is motive. What's the real reason I want to start a blog? Fourth is that blogs can be so one-dimensional in showing what someone is like or what her life is like. Obviously a blogger can selectively share about herself and her family, which has the potential to create an inaccurate picture. So I've been hesitant to start a blog myself.

But as time has gone by I've become more and more frustrated about trying to keep so many people updated on what goes on in our lives. I intend to write, then can't decide who I should write first, and then if I write more than one person I just end up repeating myself. I really miss sharing and hearing news from others, and I especially miss the fellowship and spirited discussion that I used to have through letters. It's my hope that a blog might make up for some of that.

So I'm forging ahead, hopefully using caution and good sense, but also sharing something of our day-to-day lives and thoughts with each of you.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


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