Thursday, November 29, 2007

In Between

I dislike this time of being in between houses, belonging neither to one nor the other. Nerves wear thin about now, when the exchange is almost, but not quite, complete. I've done better this time than last time (just 8 months ago), perhaps because I've always known this place was temporary, perhaps because I've stayed better fortified with the Word, adequate breaks, and decent food. (I lost 10 pounds during our last move and got down to pre-baby sized jeans. I wanted to make absolutely sure that didn't happen this time. Just kidding! I'm pregnant, so it doesn't matter...)

I will miss this charming old house. Our new home is nondescript 1970's style, not my favorite architectural era, but I can look at it as a clean slate just waiting for the addition of our own personality. While we are excited and pleased to be in a place of our own, it is not really what we envisioned. I'm not a fan of neighborhood life. Yet it is so clearly the place God picked out for us. Billy and I were talking the other night about how God often gives us what we need, not exactly what we want. Just following where He leads brings such freedom, because we are not constantly holding out for our own way. I believe with all my heart, like the Bible says, that God chooses the places where we live and I know that He puts us there for a purpose greater than our own. I am excited to see what He has in store for the ministry of our new home.

Here are a few things I really love and appreciate about our new place:

A big laundry room. I prayed for this. It will be a delight to work in!

A small screened in porch. I believe I prayed for this too! I can't wait to find a swing and spend time watching the kids play in the yard or just enjoying the quiet.

A large fenced yard. The kids have a place to run and play for the first time since we've lived here.

A great kitchen with new appliances. I've never had a new refrigerator, and I'm so excited. None of the current appliances worked, so we had to include new ones in our plans. They will be fun to use, I know.

A dining room big enough for our large dining room set. Our big table seats up to 10, so we will be able to have guests easily.

I also really love the layout of our new house, with a fairly open floor plan between kitchen, dining room, and living room. It will easily accommodate many people at one time.

A master bathroom. Haven't had this since our first house, years ago.

Lots of storage. 'Nuff said.

I'm sure I'll discover even more things to love about our new place as we live there for awhile. Right now I just feel thankful.

Now off of my break and on to packing!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas is Coming!

Yesterday was one month till Christmas! Are you ready? I'm not...We are still trying to move into our new house. Maybe the tree will be up by the end of the week?!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Grandpa and Grandma's Farm, Part 2

I posted about going to my parents' little farm last spring. We visited again last weekend. The kids had such fun...

Playing with big cats...

And little kittens...

Going to Cowboy Church...

Swinging on the front porch...(OK, we all enjoyed that!)

Napping on the couch with a comfy old quilt...

It was too warm for a fire, but isn't this pretty? One thing that inspires me when I go to my parents' is that my mom always combines function with beauty. There's very little in her home that is purely functional. It's pretty too.

I missed a shot of the new tire swing, where the kids spent most of their time, and lots of other good ones too. Next time!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tools of My Own!

I've wanted a pink tool set with lady-sized tools for a long time, but all the ones I found cost an arm and a leg. I even had plans to collect a small set and paint it pink. But look what Billy got me today! Is it not the cutest thing?!!! Now I will know for sure when someone swipes my hammer and doesn't return it. (Ahem!)

P.S. They have them at Dollar General for $12 if you want one too!

P.P.S. I finally updated my other blog!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I have so much to be thankful for. I planned to post a list, but I've run out of time. I'll be out of pocket for the next week, maybe the next few weeks, as we prepare to move. See you soon! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Strong-Willed Child

Anyone who has a strong-willed child knows just how precious they can be, and just how hard it is to know what to do sometimes. I stumbled across an excellent blog entry called Surviving Strong Willed Children. Great advice, and I needed the reminder!


Fully engaged mothering is exhausting!!!

I keep telling myself, "It's worth it! It's worth it!" :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007


These are two pelicans that landed near out boat when we took the kids fishing Saturday. Elizabeth felt sure (and she was probably right) that since the pelicans were there it must be a good fishing spot. Everyone who fished from the bank caught flounder, but all we caught from the boat (just a few feet away) were small trash fish. It would have been nice to catch some keepers, but we had fun anyway. The water was very clear and teeming with small jellyfish. I had never seen one before. We were careful not to stick our hands over the side into the water this time!


As I've shared before, we're buying a new house and we'll be moving out of the one we're renting. I was psyched up for a January moved, but it turns out that we are closing Wednesday and we could move as early as Thanksgiving weekend. So if I'm not around as much for the next few weeks, that's why. I have a lot to do, as you can imagine! Thanks so much to each of you who reads faithfully. I know I've been out a lot lately, but higher priority tasks have taken precedence. Hopefully once we move I'll get back into my blogging groove. (Or after Christmas? Or after the baby comes? Maybe I'd better not make predictions...)

Friday, November 09, 2007


Every time I get pregnant, I've been prone to shortness of breath. Not the baby's-squishing-my-organs kind, but something food related. With Sarah I cut out sweets (even natural sweeteners), and it helped a lot. With this pregnancy I've fudged on sweets far more than ever before, delighted that there seemed to be no ill effects. Till this week. I'd be almost gasping for breath in the middle of a meal. Billy's been saying, "Are you OK?" almost every time I ate. It's not just sweets this time, but fruit, corn, and any refined carb. And Tuesday it was so severe that I called the doctor. It felt like what I'd imagine asthma feels like. Fighting for air. But it got better. And as long as I stay away from the carbs, it stays better.

Yesterday when I saw the doctor I talked to him about it. He said he'd never heard of anything like it before. But when we went over all the details, he said it sounds like possibly my pregnant body develops a hyper-sensitivity to carbs in much the same way some people are sensitive to peanuts or bee stings. So, it's low-carb for me. I suppose if it continues it might be no carb.

The ironic thing is that a low-carb diet is the one eating pattern I swore (many times, vocally) that I could never do. I love my carbs. I NEED my carbs. ;) Never say never, right?

Any low-carb readers here? What are your favorite dishes?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fully Engaged Mothering

Today you get a re-run that I posted some time back. I've realized this week that my children need a little closer supervision, a little more focused guidance. Mothering isn't a passive activity. It requires strength and stamina to be fully engaged!


I find that my kids get into lots less mischief when I keep them busy. They play outside much of the day, in our big shady back yard where I can watch them from the kitchen or living room. They rarely get into trouble as long as they are running around, swinging, and riding their spring horse or cozy coupe. When they come inside it’s a different story, and their mischief-making is even more pronounced when I’m on the phone or the computer. Kids seem to have “preoccupation radar” and they can tell when my mind is busy with other things. Now my kids are sweethearts, don’t get me wrong, but when they know I’m not looking they will get into fun forbidden items (mom’s moisturizer, furniture polish, and spray starch are a few from this week). One of them will come running, “Silas pushed me!” “Elizabeth hit me!” and I have no idea exactly what happened. Or they disobey and each denies their involvement and blames the other. It’s human nature, and they are as likely to do it as any child.

I’ve found that I can let this happen and deal with it the best I can after the fact…When my moisturizer is all over the outside windows, when the carpet is well-starched, when one of them is crying and hurt and the other denies that they shoved and I have to try to sort it out. And this happens sometimes.

But by far the most peaceful way to mother has been to learn how to be a fully engaged mom. When I get too busy and preoccupied to notice what they are up to, it’s usually because I am selfishly insisting on “me time”. I think that as moms we need to have time to ourselves, but we also need to embrace our mothering role and be “all there” as much as possible when our kids are “all there”! I’m learning—slowly—to find my personal time when they are down for naps or before they get up in the morning. Do I do it perfectly? No way! (In fact, right now they are dancing to the stereo in the living room and I’m hoping everything stays as happy as it is right now.)

The best way I’ve discovered to do this is to keep my kids with me--in the same room--pretty much all the time (except when they are outside). I try to involve them as much as I can in what I’m doing. They help me put laundry in the dryer, empty the dishwasher, make a salad, and vacuum. They are learning vital skills and we enjoy each others’ company. And most importantly I can stop that mischievous behavior before it gets started in many cases. It’s a lot easier to say, “Silas, put the sharpie away,” than to have to discipline later for sharpie on the furniture. It’s more fun for him and me! Sometimes I think we can help our kids not get into bad habits by just dealing with them promptly and never really letting them get started. That’s not to say that their fallen nature won’t rear its ugly head at times, but even when it does, we can handle it before it gets out of control if they are with us. (I have to say that I didn't come up with this on my own. Wise mamas from many different places have shared the same general idea, and I've just benefited from it.)

I’ve been tempted to whine about having three tiny ones and no time for me. Then I have to remember a few things. One is that God says they are blessings. They are not just blessings when it is convenient or when they are big enough not to need me so much. They are blessings, period, human beings made in the image of God, and pretty darn cute too! I wouldn’t trade their smiles and snuggles—as well as their tears and dirty diapers—for anything in the world. I also have to realize that while they are gifts from God, I have chosen to receive those gifts. So in a sense having three small ones is my choice. I can gripe about the blessings I’ve chosen to receive, or I can embrace this role of mothering little ones. Third, I have to realize that we are all benefiting from being together. They are learning, and they are there for me to hug, kiss, pick up, talk to, and serve. We’ll be closer and more connected for chopping the salad or folding laundry together. I'm also more available to sit down and read a book to them, or drink a cup of tea, or play basketball or push them on the swing, when they don't have to hunt me down.

When I do, I have to consciously remind myself to be fully engaged. When they are all three underfoot, this means that I'm both answering questions and chatting with them about the details of their little-kid lives, and giving almost constant instruction. “Sarah, don’t touch, that’s hot. Silas, will you put the spoons on the table for me? Elizabeth, please put the breakable glass down.” On it goes. They are little, after all. I have to use an eagle eye and not let my mind wander to my next craft project or blog entry. At first, it’s mentally and physically exhausting, but that gets better with time. And when I realize how much better I know my little ones and how much happier they are when they feel productive and stay out of trouble, it’s all worth it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Family Update

Well, we are on the mend. Sorry blogging has been so light. This is a tough bug to shake. Elizabeth woke up this morning and said, “I’m better.” There was such relief in her voice! Fortunately the cough and congestion never turned to bronchitis. Just a nasty cough. We’ll keep dosing everyone till we’re well.

I don’t remember if I posted about our new house or not. We’ve sold our old one (in the old location) and we’re buying another! God keeps giving me big houses. I was honestly expecting and looking forward to downsizing, but since God seems to have had other plans, I’m rejoicing and looking forward to filling our new home with guests. Hospitality, what fun! We have had a lot of people over to our (rent) house lately and it’s such a joy. One night we had about 50 20-somethings. That was great.

Elizabeth has grown so tall this summer. Her reading skills have exploded and I am so happy that I now have to pry her away from books at times to do other things. Her comprehension is improving and she is starting to ask questions about what she reads. “Hey, Mama, you know the judgment? That doesn’t sound like much fun.” We have never talked about the judgment that I recall. She just read about it. She is really enjoying cooking. She plans to start a cookie business as soon as I get my act together enough to kick it into high gear. Of course we had to wait till we were well too…Perhaps in the next few weeks. In time for Christmas, maybe? The kids were chopping veggies for soup the other day and Elizabeth told Silas, “By the time you are a teenager you will know all the skills of cooking!” Hey, sounds great to me! As long as he has all the skills of cleaning up his cooking mess as well!

Silas must be on a growth spurt too. He wakes up ravenously hungry in the mornings. He just begs me to fix him some breakfast. He’s always eaten well, but not obsessively. Lately he has been HUNGRY. He’s such a thoughtful little guy and he comes out with questions that blow my mind. He is thinking through the whole salvation issue, and while he is not there yet, he is close to getting a basic understanding. The other day I was having my quiet time and he asked me to read the Bible out loud. I was in Romans 7. As I was reading he kept interrupting with questions (between play) . "Did Lazarus make the law go away?" (He meant Moses.) When I said no, he said, "But Jesus did, right? Why did Moses have to fire [burn] animals? Why did Jesus die on the cross? Jesus was not sin. But we sin." I was amazed that he made the correlation between sacrifices and the law, especially since what I read did not specifically address sacrifice, and that he grasped the fact that someone came to set us free from the law. He also grasped in some fashion that there was relationship to sacrifice, the law, and sin, although I don’t think he quite understands just what yet.

Sarah’s favorite activity is eating. When she sees that it will soon be meal time, she goes to the table and waits as long as half an hour for her food to show up. I am trying to encourage and establish healthy habits, since she loves food so much. She can be quite obsessive in a lot of areas. She will carry around the same small toy or paper for weeks…To church, outside, to bed. She keeps everyone laughing with her funny little antics. Her latest sayings are “I’m happy!” and “That’s punny!” (funny) She really is a happy little girl. It takes a lot to get her bent out of shape for more than a moment. She has an imaginary friend named Bakah (like Baker, but with ah at the end). The other day she “called” Bakah on the phone. “Hey, Bakah? Are you at your preschool? OK. I LOVE YOU!!! Bye.”

I'm feeling lots of little flutters and kicks from Tiny One. Sixteen weeks now (I think ). We'll find out if we have a little boy or a little girl next month.

Now that I’ve written about the family, it’s time to go spend time with them. School, laundry, and dishes call. We’re having steak for supper, thanks to the beef my parents raised us. Doesn’t that sound good?

Yummy New Stuff

I was so excited to see that Cherry Menlove of Tales from a Pixie Wood now has a new web site and a forum! I honestly have had almost no time to peruse it, but everything Cherry does is beautiful and home-centered. Not to mention that you get to "know" all these cute European homemakers. Check it out! (Follow the link to her blog and you'll see the buttons on her sidebar. I'm having a hard time figuring out the proper way to link to the forum.)

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Since we've been sick, hot honey lemonade has been on the menu. It tastes good and for me, works better than any commercial expectorant. Besides, lemons are pretty. (Excuse the glare. No time to crop right now.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Autumn Color

Orange is an autumn color, right? Well, we have autumn orange even in the tropics. (Or sub-tropics, not sure what it is officially.) Satsumas!

Satsumas are a local variety of mandarin orange. They are beginning to turn color, but the inside is ripe and juicy even when the peels are green. They are sold everywhere, by the bag, at little roadside stands. My kids adore them and beg for more. I see a satsuma tree in our future.