Monday, April 8, 2019

"Do all the good you can...

...By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can, 
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can, 
As long as ever you can."

~John Wesley

Good morning! It's warming up here in Western PA and we are over-the-moon happy about it! The cold gets old after a while. Sometimes I want to move to Alaska to just be more secluded...and then I remember the long cold season there...I definitely couldn't do that! I love that as it warms up we get to spend more time outside! Plus, if we were more secluded it would make it much harder to share the gospel! We need to run *to* people and not away...even when society around us seems to be falling apart at the seams! 

In our "pantry" room...

“Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us—a crucified God—must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world.” 

~John Piper

It's not even 8:30am yet and already I have had a good start to the day. The bed is made, laundry is going, I've done some tidying and sweeping, emptied the dishwasher and have pork in the crock pot (with a mixture over it that I made to make pulled pork. I've never made pulled pork we'll see how it goes!). I also make Chris's coffee and lunch every day and send him off to work. :) I am not trying to fluff my own feathers, so to speak....I guess I just want to share the joys in taking care of our husbands and homes! Starting the day right helps make the rest of the day go better!

My desk...

I am participating in a month-long triathlon at our local Y. You have a month to bike 112 miles, run/elliptical 26 miles and swim 2 miles (or for those who don't want to can use the rower and go 12 miles). We are only a week in and I am excited to report I am done with the running part and only have a mile left to row before I am finished with that part (I can swim...but I'm not big on lap I decided to row instead)! I need to get more biking in but that'll happen as I teach my spin classes for the month. They count as 12 miles each. :) It's really motivating and fun to do! It's fun to challenge yourself! I always workout every day....but to try and meet certain requirements makes it fun to do! Seriously, exercising becomes addicting! :)

Do you have an Instant Pot? Chris's parents got us one for Christmas and I love it. I use it to hard boil eggs weekly. We also use it for other recipes! I like making homemade chicken noodle soup in it and many other things! If you have one, I would love to know any of your family favorite recipes you use!

I have a busy week ahead...helping friends by babysitting, personal training a lady at the Y, homeschooling, exercising, normal housework, cooking and chores around the home, and it's our week to clean our church! So I best wrap up this post and get busy doing some more around here! One more thing I wanted to share (so sorry for the blurry pictures! I used my phone to take them rather than my camera...and they just didn't turn out that great)...

I've been reading lots of books when time allows (along with my Bible reading) and this one is the one I am reading right now...Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi...(I linked to it on amazon...but if you are interested in buying it, you may find it cheaper on ebay! Always check there too!)

“I could not put the Bible down. I literally could not. It felt as if my heart would stop beating, perhaps implode, if I put it down.” 

~Nabeel Qureshi

It is a great read so far! Nabeel has actually passed away a terribly young age...from stomach cancer ~ but oh, he is with his Creator now! He is with Jesus! His conversion from being a Muslim to a Christian is amazing! It is absolutely beautiful to read how the Lord worked in his life!

“While I was wallowing in self-pity, focused on myself, there was a whole world with literally billions of people who had no idea who God is, how amazing He is, and the wonders He has done for us. They are the ones who are really suffering. They don’t know His hope, His peace, and His love that transcends all understanding. They don’t know the message of the gospel. After loving us with the most humble life and the most horrific death, Jesus told us, “As I have loved you, go and love one another.” How could I consider myself a follower of Jesus if I was not willing to live as He lived? To die as He died? To love the unloved and give hope to the hopeless?” 

~Nabeel Qureshi

Although he has passed away from this earth...Nabeel was able to participate in the making of The American Gospel. It's a movie about how the prosperity message has distorted the true gospel. My family watched can see the trailer to it linked above. If you can watch it, I highly recommend it. If you scroll down from the trailer, there is a place where you can watch an hour of the movie for free. I think it's a 3 hour movie total. It's worth watching the whole thing at some point. Share it with loved ones too...especially those who have bought into this Word of Faith movement that is heretical and wrong.

Well, friends....thanks so much for dropping by here! I gotta get moving and shaking...I hope your week is full of God-glorifying moments and over-flowing joy as you walk through them...despite suffering and trials. Let the tears fall if you are hurting...but let the joy of the Lord take its place in you...for it *is* your strength!


Sunday, March 31, 2019

It's Been a While! A Look at 2019 So Far...

 Life has been busy here in Western PA for the past few months. Homeschooling, homemaking, church, co-op stuff (I'm in charge of graduation this well as a few other important things!), teaching classes and doing some personal training at the Y (as well as exercising on my own)...among other things have kept me on my toes! I'm doing an indoor triathlon in the month of April....and preparing to kayak in an *Adventure Race* with a friend in June! I still have my etsy shop too! I fill orders as soon as I get them, if possible, so I can ship them quickly!

Chris has been working as usual, taking care of our family and providing for us. As weather allows when he is home, he has worked on things around the house. He works at auctions with our brother in law a couple times a month and has been leading men's bible study at our church a couple times a month. He is also a deacon at our church and is responsible for things there! He turned 40 in March. (I'm still trying to process how we have aged so quickly! I feel like high school was just a short while ago! Although I'm *still* in my 30' I haven't quite hit that "middle age" milestone yet!) He's still a wonderful husband and father. He is truly my other half...and I praise God for him daily! I love when he can make it into the gym with me and we workout together! We still flirt with each other...I love that! Almost 19 years of marriage and we still flirt! In September....I will have been married just as long as I was single!

Madelyn has been working a lot...she helps at my dad's garage (doing paperwork stuff) and cleans there too, works at a local pharmacy/gift shoppe, babysitting, and helps for a couple hours of child care at the Y (as well as fills in to help with swimming lessons for little ones). She also works daily to get her school done, attempts to do her chores....and practices playing the piano (as she plays at church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings).

We went dress shopping for our homeschool co-op's formal that is coming up later this month. Madelyn put on a hat and glasses and she looked so cute I *had* to snap a picture! She saw it and thinks she looks awful...but I think she looks beautiful and adorable! My pretty baby girl is all grown up!

A few pictures of silliness after church one day (Madelyn drives separately because she has to go to church early to get ready to play the piano for worship...she and another girl play). Although you can't see it, I do wear a head covering for church (1 Corinthians 11)...

 My boys are doing well. They are growing much too quickly for my liking! X is taller than both Chris and me! I can hardly fathom how he will be 16 this summer (and Madelyn will be turning 18!!). Xavier has been working 3 afternoons a week at my dad's garage still. He learns a lot and gets a lot of experience. It's good for him and really helps my dad! He still practices his banjo and enjoys playing.

I love this picture of Madelyn and X at my dad's garage! They are both mid-laughter and it makes my heart smile big...

Jaxson has been drawing a lot in his free time. He is still our artistic one! He loves to draw and sketch! He put a piece of artwork in our homeschool co-op's academic fair this past weekend and won 3rd place over all the high school entries! So fun! He also enjoys making videos to put on youtube. He still takes guitar lessons and enjoys playing as well!

Here is Jax with his award at the academic fair:

I've been trying new recipes when I can. I received an instant pot for Christmas from Chris's parents and it is *awesome*! A friend let us borrow her air fryer to try too....and we've been having fun with it as well! :)

Here are some mini meatloaves I made...but I used a different recipe than my normal one:

And a new cheeseburger soup recipe I tried:

Our cats and dogs are doing well. As soon as my head hits the pillow, I have cats all over me (see below)....Ok, I'm being a bit dramatic as we only have TWO cats...but those two always have to be laying *on* me. It drives me bonkers...but I kind of love it too...

Cash and Mickey (below) enjoying their bones and basking in the sunshine. Spring is coming here...soon...I'm sure of it. We've had a few spring-like days...but right now we have a small layer of the white stuff. I'm looking forward to nicer weather when we can be outside enjoying God's creation!

Last...but definitely *NOT* sister's come to town some and I snapped some pictures of my nieces and nephew...unfortunately...I didn't take ONE picture of Eloise! Bummer! She was always off playing Legos or at an appointment while I watched the younger ones!


Dusten (with my aunt's dog who I was dogsitting for that day. She was away and her little Spencer gets terrible anxiety when he is alone)...


And I *love* this picture! Dusten and Audra...

So there is the last few months in a nutshell. hasn't been all butterflies and rainbows 'round these parts. I've had muscle injuries and pain. We've been dealing with some extended family troubles and sadness, as well as trying to be burden-bearers for dear friends who have been going through some terrible trials lately. We've had head colds and coughs....and just the normal ups and downs of this thing called life. God has been gracious to us through it all though. We keep our prayers to Him and constantly remind ourselves that He is our constant source of joy and contentment. Busy schedules (and we don't even have our children in activities like many families do nowadays...I can't imagine the running that would entail!) can cause stress...but we take one thing at a time.

My lack of posting is because of life...and because my children, although still beautiful to me, aren't wee little ones anymore. Life seems to keep going quicker and quicker. I miss it being slower when they were little....when everyone didn't have jobs to run to and responsibilities to fulfill. Well, Chris and I did...but my children were just that....children. They played and enjoyed their lives. Sure, they helped with chores and such...but it was all just *slower*. Now there is schooling, working, chores...and fun activities when they can get fit in! Oh my! Don't get me wrong...I am thankful for this season of life. I just miss that one too! ;)

I've also seen the Lord work in me as I have gotten older (and hopefully wiser). I've also seen Him work in Chris which is a beautiful thing. Chris has become a good leader of our home...and I trust that he makes good decisions for us. We're both still being in progress...but there is beauty in the growing.

Before I go....I wanted to share some things I listen to while I'm doing cardio on the elliptical. It can tend to be I enjoy listening to podcasts from Apologia Studios (the link is to their youtube channel but you can look up their podcasts on itunes if you want). You can also find Desiring God's podcasts on there too! On can watch some videos from the Headcovering Movement if you are interested in why I cover in public worship. And videos from Living Waters (Ray Comfort) are always encouraging and good too!

OK...this post is incredibly long...and I know I rambled. Please forgive that...I wish I would have sat down earlier to put more thought into it all....but here it is...after 10PM and I am exhausted with a busy day and week ahead of me. I'm still a homemaker/housewife and homeschooling mama....and as mundane as that may truly isn't. I seek to honor the Lord by serving others....and to do that, I keep busy! :) I want to head to bed and spend some time in prayer before nodding off to sleep!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I would love to hear how you are doing!


Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas Memories 2018

Although I am not a huge fan of "Christmas" because of the pagan background etc etc (I won't get into it) I am not a *total* scrooge. We still do gifts...even if we don't have a tree. We still get together with family as well. These pics aren't really in order...but that's ok. Above is from Christmas morning...the kids all hopped on their dad to kiss him and I had to get a pic! :) 

Below is one of the gifts I received....a beautiful hand-carved spoon that Chris made for me!! The pictures don't do it justice! It is so pretty in person! It feels just lovely too!!

We spent a few hours on Christmas Eve at my sister and her husband's house. We had a delicious meal (made by was seriously so good!) and then exchanged gifts. The first pic is kinda blurry but Dusten loved his new trike!

My sister had this awesome shirt made for me! I love it!! It's some of my favorite theologians!

Me and Madelyn...

Dinah saw me taking a picture and I love how she stood up and smiled like this...

Jaxson got these fun light-up glasses!! He wore them most of the night!

Xavier and his funny duck face (being a goof) and my sweet hubby...

Dinah and Chris watching X open a gift...

Me and Jaxson...

Christmas morning...we had brunch at my parents' house and opened some gifts from them. 

Me and my honey...

My three *teen*agers! Yes...they are all teens now and I'm not sure when they all got so big and tall...but wow ~ they are such blessings to me! They are treasures and I am so thankful to be their mama!

The month has been super busy with deer processing at the meat market, me taking (and teaching) classes at the Y, housework, schooling, gift buying and wrapping, music lessons, and the normal grocery shopping/meal making etc.

My parents got us a dehydrator for Christmas! And Chris's parents got us an InstaPot! I can't wait to give them both a try!! Do you have one or both of these? If so, I would love to hear how you use them or some of your favorite things to make with them!?

Thanks so much for visiting me here! I know I don't post like I used to. This season of life is just different than previous years. I hope you each are doing well! I wish you a very blessed upcoming new year!


Saturday, December 1, 2018

"I heard a bird sing in the dark of December...

...A magical thing 
And sweet to remember:
'We are nearer to spring 
Than we were in September.'"

~Oliver Herford

That quote pretty much sums up my feelings of winter! I try to remember that, Lord willing, spring is not too far off! Don't get me wrong, I love a beautiful snow fall...cozy warmth in my home, candles lit and even the longer nights aren't too bad for a little while. It's when the snow and cold (and mud and muck) linger for months on end...and the shorter days make me lack the sunlight I desperately want (and need!) ~ (Thank goodness for the gym though! Truly, exercise helps the winter blues *so* much!).

If you have visited me here for a while you will know we don't really *do* Christmas anymore. I follow Christ and praise Him for coming to the earth to save us, redeem us and love us. I don't do a ton of decorating though...and we don't really do a tree inside. (We still purchase or make gifts to give though....I do try to have a generous spirit). I did put our little tree out on the porch though...and it looks cute. I also made that wreath on our door...but I'll explain more on that in a bit!

First...after a food-filled, joyful Thanksgiving with friends and family...we (as goes our annual tradition) decorated one of my dad's trucks (he owns a garage with wreckers and flatbeds etc) to go through our local light-up-night parade! My grandpa was not doing well (my dad's dad) so Chris drove the truck through and two of my cousins rode with him while my children walked alongside and threw candy!

Although's a pic of my three treasures...Madelyn, Xavier and Jaxson (all three almost Jaxson turns 13 in just a couple days!)...

Some of the pics are dark because I wanted to be able to see the lights on the truck. They can be kind of blurry as well because sometimes the truck was moving...

We made the back look like a pretty tree using strands of garland, a star on top and lights...

Going through town on that cold, cold night!

Afterwards, some of my cousins and we got together for supper at a local pizza place and warmed up. After that my family took the truck back to my dad's garage and had to take all the decorations off (although it doesn't take long, that's the not-so-fun part)!

 I have been busy since mid-November. A friend of mine has been making wreaths for the American Cancer Society for 30 years (and she also makes some to sell at a craft show...which we were at all day today...and as gifts) and she wants me to take over doing it for next year!! She trained me on how to make fresh wreaths (and how to decorate them), handmade bows...and how to make sprays and grave blankets too. She gave me some of her leftover stuff to make them (and practice). I have made some and given them as gifts to some different friends and family! Here are a few I have made...

On the left is a centerpiece I made and a wreath on the right...

The centerpiece on my island (kinda dark I know)....

And another wreath I made (I'm still practicing my bow-making skills)...

I really enjoy doing it and hope I can do a great job and keep up with the orders/demand next year!! I am not a nail-biter...but if I was...I wouldn't have fingernails left because of my nervousness about it! haha!

Homeschooling, Working out/teaching fitness classes at the Y, making wreaths, housework, meals, shopping for gifts (which I do mostly online!), and our homeschool co-op have kept us super busy lately! Plus, it is deer season...and my Father in Love owns a meat they have been busy too! I am excited to report that Xavier got his first deer last weekend and Madelyn got her first this weekend! I'm so proud of them! We will have lots of venison to eat (and gift to friends who don't hunt)!

I know my posts are so few and far between. I don't mean for that to's just that life keeps going by and before I realize it...a month has passed! I always intend to do better..then I look at the date of my last post, hang my head, and realize I am still falling short! :) I hope you are well and that your Thanksgiving was filled with love and joy (and a lot of giving-thanks to the One all praise is due!). Thanks so much for coming by! I hope to update again sooner rather than later!

Grace and Peace to each of you!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

"Be thankful. Dwell on the good...

...and lovely. Live a life of service to others. Rejoice. Count your blessings. Learn contentment in God's good, and acceptable, and perfect will for you! Never allow discontentment to kill your marriage."

~Lori Alexander

The quote above is from The Transformed Wife. You can find it on THIS post. I encourage you to read it if you are married or plan to be married one day! Such wisdom there. I don't always agree with Lori 100% on things (for instance I am more Reformed in my thinking doctrinally...and she is not ~ although she'll quote Spurgeon, MacArthur and Piper who, like me, are believers in the Doctrines of Grace!)....but for the most part, I do. She is a sister in Christ who loves the Lord and is doing her best to mentor young ladies who read her blog. If you haven't read there warned, she will step on your toes ~ but for the most part she is *right* and women need to hear what she has to say. Be sure to check out past posts too....there's a lot to choose from and much wisdom to be gleaned from her words!

Can I just throw in here....this is two posts this month already! I am on a *roll*! Haha! 

It is a super cold, windy Saturday here in Western PA. There is snow/frost on the ground and it's almost noon. Chris has been working at an auction all morning and I taught a spin class at the Y. Now I am home and showered and have some housework to do. I get to meet my newest niece today (Chris's brother has two boys and just had his first girl!). I am very excited! Her mom says she is the most "angelic, sweetest, content baby ever". *smile* I can't wait to snuggle her all up! I may not be able to give her back! ;)

Tonight, our local Y (where I workout and teach classes) is having an auction to raise money. People have donated items from all over town! There are 92 things to auction off (and some are multiple things put together!). I have been helping prepare for that and will be helping at the auction tonight as well. The theme is "Clue" (remember that board game?). It should be fun...and although I'll be busy ~ I think I'll still have a good time! They do these annually...but I have never been to one before. So, we'll see how it goes! :)

So, I have things to do and places to time to sit here any longer! :o) I hope you have a fantastic weekend....and if you haven't yet (and if you *want* to) check out my post from just a couple days ago!!


Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Welcome sweet November...

...the season of senses and my favorite month of all."

~Gregory F. Lenz

Well, again another month has gone by...and I only posted once. Now that my children are older, things just seem different. I'm not posting all about their cuteness and such anymore! But life still goes I should try better to record it! :)

Instead of typing it all out...I wanted to share the link to the Crock Pot Cheeseburger Soup I had mentioned in my previous post! You can find it HERE. If you try it out, I'd love to know what you think of it! I have a few other cheeseburger soup recipes I have tried as well!

Our days have been filled with homeschooling (and while the kids work I pick a room to clean from top to bottom), chores, fitness/exercise, and our homeschool co-op days (which I am in charge of the set-up crew each morning, lead a parent meeting and am in charge of graduation plans for this year!). The weather is much chillier and has been super wet here in PA. Yesterday was nice so Jaxson and I were able to get some mowing and leaf raking done in the front yard (X was working at my dad's garage and Madelyn was working at Chris's dad's meat market)! It's suppose to be nice again today! I am so glad! We have numerous things to accomplish today ~ and it is so much more enjoyable to do so in sun-shine-filled weather, don't you think?

Madelyn has her license and has her own little truck now too. She paid for the whole year's insurance for it and pays for her own gas. She has been doing great and I am so proud! She loves having a bit more freedom and it has been a blessing to Chris and I as well...since now we don't have to drive her to the places she needs to go. I pray for her often when she is out on the road. It's a bit scary to know my little girl is growing up and is out on the road by herself ~ but my hope and peace are in the Lord and I trust Him in all things! (If you have been reading here for a bit....can you even believe she is 17 and driving!? I'm still not fully able to grasp that realization myself!)

Homeschooling my children is *such* a gift. a blessing? Yes! I seriously wouldn't have it any other way. Jaxson and I do his history together. We are using The Mystery of 2 (which covers the Reformation etc) and I am really enjoying it! I read it to he seems to understand it better that way ~ and I really love learning about all these things along with him!

I am so excited because I finally got a few things hung on the one wall of my living room that has been bare for a few years. I just couldn't find what I wanted to go there. Joann's was having a sale recently and I got the wreath for $12 (it was originally $40!)...and the tin star was cheap as well (and it's paintable if I ever decide what color I want it). The "Keep Life Simple" sign was bought inexpensively at TJ Maxx! I always love getting a good deal (clearance deals are definitely my favorite!)...and this wall was cheap and looks just how I wanted it!

(Sorry the pictures are a bit blurry. I used my phone as it was easier than grabbing my camera...and it doesn't take the best pictures!)

These little munchkins came to town to visit the day before Halloween. As you probably know ~ I don't *do* Halloween...but my sister always loves to make costumes for her children each year. She always does such a great job! This year was no exception! The *made* these awesome butterfly wings for the girls! From left to right: Eloise, Dinah, and Audra...

Aren't they so fantastic? The wind was really blowing that day the wings were just flapping everywhere! Dusten was made into a gnome! He was *so* cute...but wouldn't turn to face me so I could get a picture. That's ok...since he looks like the perfect little gnome below...

My sister's and my aunt works in our local courthouse and she takes the kids to see her each year...I go along to help out! Look at those wings!!!

Chris has been super busy with work, church and deer season (which always keeps them busy at the meat market in the evenings) but he tries to carve out time to do some things around the house when he can that I truly appreciate! He got the backhoe and was able to do some fixing on our driveway the other day! He's so great....I love watching him work. Good grief...if you put *me* in a backhoe I wouldn't even have the first clue what to do! Chris is always able to do whatever he puts his mind to. I always truly admire him!

And finally....these two...*sigh*. Life's rough....isn't it? ;) Mickey and Cash....our crazy dogs!

The kids are working on book work....and I need to get some wood stacked and some chores done before I head into the Y to exercise. We have things on the agenda this afternoon as I best get moving! :o)

Thanks so much for visiting. I know my lack of posting is ridiculous and hopefully I can do better!
I hope you are doing well and are having a lovely autumn!


***I am selling a few things on ebay if you are interested and want to take a look ~ you can find them HERE! :)