Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Teach us, Good Lord, to serve Thee... Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to ask for any reward save that of knowing that we do Thy will. Through Jesus Christ our Lord."

~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

I have been reading "The Stay at Home Mom" by Donna Otto. (I am also reading "Let me be a Woman" by Elisabeth Elliot and "Amillenialism" by Kim Riddlebarger (for the 2nd time)...I seem to read too many books at once). It is just chock *full* of great info. It was written in the 90's so some of the statistics and things she writes in it are outdated, but the scores of wisdom penned on each page is just wonderful!

I keep my highlighter handy at all times while reading so that I may highlight things I want to remember! I will share a few of those with you here today so you can at least have a taste of the wisdom in what she shares...but if you can, I encourage you to purchase your own copy (It is incredibly inexpensive to purchase on Amazon). You could see if your library carries it...but if you can buy it I encourage that more because then you can underline/highlight as you desire and can refer back to it at your leisure! All quotes you see below are from Donna Otto in the book I linked to above...

"No matter what you say about Christ, your children will learn more about Him from you as they catch your contagious spirit for serving Him. In everything we do we should be leading them to Christ."

I desire to serve well as my husband, children and those around me. I often find, though, to my chagrin that *self* always has a way of rearing its ugly head. Self, Self, Self. Oh how I despise the fact that I can so easily lose my focus on serving others and instead look into serving myself. It is a daily, annoying battle. But the Lord is teaching me...every day...each moment. Struggling with it keeps me humble and completely dependent upon Him. *He* needs to be my focus.

"As you seek to know Christ better, you will begin to imitate Him as you minister to your family. As you learn to sacrifice and suffer loss, as you learn to set aside your personal desires, as you are willing to pray for your children and put them first, they will see what it means to serve Christ. They will see the invisible Christ in your visible example."

"The greatest problem among women today
 is unhealthy comparisons."

Do you do that? Compare yourself to others who have more or less of this or that? If I just had...or if I just looked like...or if I could just...*on and on* we go...why do we do that??? All it does is make us discontent with the life we have.

"Yet, you have no reason to be discontent. The God of the universe created you individually and equipped you for your good and His glory. What a personal affront it is to Him to complain about how He made you by saying, 'If I only had...'"

"You must decide who will be the director of your life as a mother: the Lord or others around you."

I need to remember my worth comes from Him. He has made me His and now, I just need to follow His direction...given to me in His Word. I know I will always fall short of His perfection...thus why I *need* Him. Only Christ's perfection could save me (and you). I will continually strive to serve how He served and love how He loved.

"Be strong, stand still, and listen to the voice of the God who created you and called you to stay at home. Do what you can do in the way you can do it. Don't compare yourself to anyone. Don't worry about your identity now that you are a stay-at-home mom. You are a child of God, and He can use everything you are to minister to Him and to your family. Rest in your identity in Christ. Receive the full measure of His love because "perfect love casts our fear" (1 John 4:18). The fear of failing in your new role will vanish as you trust in Him and rest in Him."

"Fill and nourish your soul with high notions of God which yield you great joy in being devoted to Him."


It all makes perfect sense and seems so simple...and yet, when the trials of life pop up, it's terribly too-easy to veer off the path of serving others and onto the path of self. This is a place where I need to spend a lot of prayer and study in my Bible.

"So I find it to be a low that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliveer me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." 

~ Romans 7:21-25

New (to me) books!! Yay!

I pray your heart is encouraged here as we learn to serve our families and neighbors with loving hearts to honor our Lord! May we continue to strive together to please Him in all things and put ourselves *last*! May you know you are not alone as you struggle to be the best wife and mama you can be! :)


Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Monday, September 15, 2014

Walking for our Nephew

This past weekend, we attended a Hemophilia Walk in honor of our almost-two-year-old nephew who is a hemophiliac. It was a chilly Saturday...but we all dressed appropriately! 

There was a Sheetz truck there giving (yes, giving..not selling) out coffee and smoothies! (I sure wanted a smoothie-but unfortunately, those are chock full of sugar so they are a big no-no for this gal!)...

Some of our group...

Chris with our niece and Eli...

After the walk, they let all children have free shaved ice! All the sponsors were handing things out for free! It was amazing to see the support there!

I believe over $30,000+ was raised altogether to help in hemophilia research...which is now something very near and dear to our hearts as we hope something can be done to completely fix it one day...for this little guy we love and all the others who are living with it....

For those who are not aware of is a genetic disorder where the blood fails to clot normally. It can be quite a scary thing...comfort lies in knowing that our God is sovereign though! Thankfully, although our nephew's more on the extreme side of it, they can give hemophiliacs 'factor' which helps their blood to sister-in-love and brother-in-love are becoming experts in it all...and we all are learning as they teach us so we can all be properly prepared if anything is necessary while caring for our sweet Eli. You can read more about it HERE if you are interested.

We were thankful to help raise money and awareness for this disorder and support our nephew and his parents! Do you have anyone in your life or family who has this genetic disorder? What has been your experience?

Thanks so much for sharing in this special time with us!
I pray your week is going well!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Slow & Quiet Day...

It rained today...and we decided it was a good day to just be lazy. Sure, we still did chores and necessary things (like practicing instruments etc.)...but mostly, we watched videos/documentaries to remember the events of September 11, 2001. My boys were not yet born....and Madelyn was only two months old. What a scary time that was for this new mama....

Madelyn and I have done some knitting. The boys have put together legos and supper is in the oven. Later this evening, Madelyn will play the piano and Jaxson the guitar at a local assisted living home. I need to get supper finished...but before I do so, here are a few things to hopefully make you smile, as they do me! 

My boys....oh, how they make me smile...a lot! Although they are definitely making my hair turn gray much sooner than I had hoped, they are also *such* a joy in my life!

Below is a card Madelyn  made for me when I was under-the-weather. She was actually not feeling well herself but took the time to make *me* a card! Isn't she thoughtful?

As the temperature drops, my time spent knitting goes up! Hooray for getting things accomplished!

Another *must* during the fall months (I decided long ago that autumn starts on September 1st...not a day later!) are candles....the scents and look of the flickering candles against an evening atmosphere brings me such happiness!

As supper cooks in the oven (and smells delicious)...I realize I must get the rest of the meal ready to go as well! :)

I pray your day has been a time of remembrance in whatever way works well for you. For us, it was slow and quiet. Thank you for taking time to stop for a visit.

With a quiet and grateful heart,

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Glimpse Through the Week...

I have been down with a head cold this weekend. I am not sure where I picked it up...but Madelyn had a bit of it as well. It's not fun...but I am hoping it wears off soon. I am going to attempt going to spin tomorrow morning (and hopefully sweat out the germs). Although, this weekend I have been sleeping in until after 6am...which for me is terribly unusual. My body must need the rest!

With this extra down time, I thought I would take a few minutes to share bits from our week...

Xavier and I mowed at my Great-Aunt Jo's earlier in the week while Madelyn and Jaxson played tic-tac-toe...

Playing frisbee...

Playing with Lee...

You can see in this picture below how Lee is really a black/brown striped cat (but from a distance appears to be black)...


 Some yard sale finds (including blank calendars...which I thought would be fun for the children to number and decorate for the upcoming year!)...

 Smaug (the dragon from The Hobbit movies) made by Madelyn and Jaxson....

I think they did a fantastic job with it...don't you love the imaginations of children?

More from home (my favorite season is about here...autumn!! I love pumpkin, cinnamon, spice, vanilla type scents)...

I am hoping to kick this cold soon so we can jump into the new week with all our energy! There is schooling to do, lawns to mow, childcare (we are watching the young son of friends of ours during the week), housework, knitting, wood to stack...and the list goes on! Not much time to be down with a head off I go to get some rest.

Thank-you, so much, for dropping by! I always look forward to the comments and emails you each send! :) One negative thing is all the spam I get through "anonymous" commenters...but oh well. I have never quite figured out why people want to take the time to create spam bots...I mean, what really are the point of them (other than unkindness and annoyance?). I have thought about taking the anonymous option away from the comments...but many of you legitimately comment under anonymous so I hate to take that away. So, for now, I will continue on deleting all spam!

May your day be filled with sunshine and smiles!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Our Newest Love

This little fella has joined our family! He was a stray that friends found. They were looking for a home for him. After asking Chris, he agreed we could take him. He is as sweet as sweet could be.

Although he appears black, he is actually a brown/black stripe. He has a darling face that reminds me of my Jack-Jack (who passed after having him for 16 years). He is still a kitten and tiny. The children and I love him immensely! Chris seems to like him too...he just has that personality. Some cats are distant and almost arrogant-seeming....does that make sense? He is not that way at all! He is easy going and *quite* lovable!

He is named after a beloved family friend but online, I'll just refer to him as Lee. :) He comes a-runnin' when we call and loves the bed area we made for him in the garage. He sleeps there at night and we have found him napping there some in the day as well! It's lovely to just sit out on the front porch and pet him. Madelyn had her knitting basket outside and when I looked out, Lee had crawled in there to take a rest! I hurried off to get my camera and was so glad he didn't try to run off before I could take a photo!

We are certainly enjoying this new addition!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Homemaking: Gratitude

It's so easy to take our luxuries for granted, isn't it? The day after my birthday, our washing machine died (after 14 years of good service to us). I am a homemaker that does at least one (or two) loads of laundry a day. To be without a washing machine was awful! I would be willing to give it a try "the old fashioned way"...I'm not opposed to hard work, however, I don't have a wringer and squeeze the wet clothes out as much as I like and they were still dripping and absolutely soaked. It would take them *forever* to dry out on the line. 

Chris is amazing and can fix almost anything. He was going to take a look at it...but we found it to be a motor issue. Rather than spend the money to fix a 14 year old washing machine, we decided to put our money toward a newer, more efficient one. We went to Lowe's together and found one that we liked and could afford (as we praise God that we had some money in savings for such a time as this!). It took a few days before they could deliver in the meantime I did a couple loads of laundry at my mom's house and also did a couple of loads at one of the local laundromats (which cost $2.00 a load! Can you believe that? I think that is super expensive!).

Above, you can see our new washer...look at the difference of white next to our 14 year old dryer! ha! You will also notice the walls behind it are terrible-looking. While we had the old washer out of there, I took that opportunity to finish peeling old wallpaper behind there and up on the walls all over. All I have left to get is some wallpaper up close to the ceiling that is difficult for me to reach even standing on a chair (we have 9 ft. ceilings). Then I will be able to get the walls painted. They are ugly plaster walls and need some repairing done as well...any holes that were made in it chip away and make bigger holes. It's not fun! ;)

Enough complaining this post is devoted to an attitude of gratitude! I am so, so thankful that the Lord, in His provision, allowed the old washer to die while we had enough money in savings to afford a new one! I have been putting this new washer to good use! One great thing about it is that we have a gas hot water tank and it is said to only cost us $10 a YEAR for that...and the kWh use with our electric was drastically lower than other washers we looked we will save money on electric as well. It is *much* better on its usage of water as well! Although we didn't purchase the cheapest washer...we should save in the long run on all the other costs a washer entails. For the homemaker trying to use her husband's hard-earned money wisely, this is *such* a blessing!

We are still getting use to the different settings, noises and ways to use this washer! One thing I absolutely love about this washing machine is that there is *no* agitator in the middle! In the winter, my hands get so dry and cracked from doing dishes, laundry, washing my hands etc. It can be quite painful. Doing laundry, I often bashed my poor knuckles upon that horrid agitator while taking clothes out of the washing machine! I am so terribly excited to not have that with this one! It also leaves more space to wash clothes...

Laundry is probably not most people's favorite chore...but oh how good we have it! These washing machines are just wonderful and helpful inventions. Although, now that women aren't scrubbing clothes by hand anymore, we need to make sure we exercise our arms other ways! :)

As I sit right now, listening to a load of laundry being washed, I am filled with gratitude to a husband who works hard to provide and a God Who gives him that strength and ability!

With a heart of thankfulness,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

May I ever be simple & content...

A rich young man came to ask of Christ:
“Good teacher, will you tell me
What must I do for eternal life?
I’ve kept your laws completely.”
“Sell all you have; give to the poor.
Then heaven’s treasure shall be yours.”
How hard for those who are rich on earth
To gain the wealth of heaven.
Now Jesus sat by the offering gate
As people brought their money.
The rich they filled the collection plate;
The widow gave a penny.
“Now she’s out-given all the rest;
Her gift was all that she possessed.”
Not what you give but what you keep
Is what the King is counting.
Oh teach me Lord to walk this road,
The road of simple living;
To be content with what I own
And generous in giving.
And when I cling to what I have,
Please wrest it quickly from my grasp.
I’d rather lose all the things of earth
To gain the things of heaven.
Yes, I’d rather lose all the things of earth
To gain the things of heaven.
Written by: Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Stuart Townend (emphasis: mine)

I love the song above. You can hear it beautifully sung by Kristyn Getty HERE. You'll enjoy it! I promise! How it reflects the desire of my heart... to truly be content and live simply ~ all to the glory of God!

He is no fool who gives what he cannot 
keep to gain what he cannot lose. 
~ Jim Elliot

A little bit of simple...

Sunny days usually mean that laundry is outside soaking in the sun...

We are still working on preparing for winter...

Simple spots around the house...

I found a fantastic way to store the school books we are currently using...

 On top are my files for each child that keeps any completed papers done this school year. In the box (which my parents got me for Christmas years ago) I keep our binders, answer keys, handwriting books and the like...

My window stars are getting quite faded...I'll have to make more soon...

More corners of my home...

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
~ Philippians 4:11-13

My hope is that you can be content in whatever your situation is right now. Whether in want or in plenty...that you may keep your focus directed on Jesus Christ. Life's circumstances can keep us focusing on the flesh. To keep our focus on Christ can only happen if we spend much of our time in His Word and prayer! Hide His Word in your heart! One way to do that is through SEEDS family worship. My family and I love their CDs and I just ordered a couple more. Their songs are a GREAT way to memorize scripture!

Keeping it simple,