Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thanks-*Giving*

I just finished the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Beautiful, thought-provoking book that truly opens your eyes to what is around you. Inspired, I have begun my *own* list of 1,000 gifts that God has given me...from big ones to the minutest, I am listing them all. What an abundance God lays before me, daily, and has always gone, for the most part, unnoticed! The only way to have a deeper relationship with the One Who loves me most is to thank Him, consistently. The only way I can truly give *thanks* is to notice everything around me.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~1 Thess. 5:16-18 (emphasis, mine)

I also began 2 other lists...although each just as important as the first. One is specifically focused on the *gift that is my husband* and the other, one, for the children. I find the more I list the beautiful things I love about them, the less I focus on the negatives. :) I have found this practice to be very rewarding. :)

Although I have finished the book...I do intend to read it again someday. For now, I am going to loan it out to a friend and maybe others, for them to receive the blessing God may have for them, in the words of Ann. Again, as I have before, I encourage you to read this book. Buy it, borrow it...either way...read it. You will be blessed.



Although I doubt Ann has found her way to my humble blog among the ga-zillions that are out and about in this blog-universe...I want to express my heart-felt gratitude to her for sharing her heart...every corner, exposed. Not an easy thing to do. She let God use her for His glory and I'm so thankful she obeyed His calling. Thank you, Ann.

(I wrestle in my head...Do I email and tell her I have written a bit of a review of her book, here on my blog, and leave her the link? Or do I just leave it as is...let those whose ears, or eyes in this case, it reaches and just let it be at that, trusting God will bring those to it as He wills? Yes, I think I will do just that. Leave it and if my heartfelt thanks never reaches Ann...then it will be as God wants it. And if it *does*, then may it warm her heart and encourage her in her ministry!)

Some recent things that have sent my heart a-flame with gratitude...

Mississippi, John Wayne, and the sheriff...all ready to ride off on their trusty steads...

Good books...

Beautiful blankets of snow, outside...giving me the chance to thank God for the heat He has supplied us with, in-doors....

The many, sweet, animated faces of Jaxson (who has recently gotten a hair-cut!)...




Our humble home, a work in progress, full of love and joy...

My Christopher...

Aprons...

My beautiful sister (doesn't she look fabulous?) and her precious new daughter, Eloise...

Chris and I were incredibly blessed to take a trip to visit them, after church, today! We had a wonderful time of talking, laughter and baby-snuggling! She is even wearing the new hat I knit her (since the other one I made is too big at the moment)! I was so excited that this hat fits perfectly! :)
Blessed? Yes, yes we are. Abundantly! :)

There is more...more I could write about. More on my heart and mind. But for now...I must close. It's getting late and I am exhausted. I hear my Ruthie-dog snoring in the background as I type, and I must admit my longing to be doing the same! ;)

So, I will be back again, as time allows. Until then, let me close by giving thanks to *you* for visiting me.

Joyfully,
Katy :)
He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gather Together

The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.
~ Thomas Jefferson

The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assitance, and private concern — will never be enough.
~Lyndon Baines Johnson(emphasis, mine)


My family...the greatest gift God has given me. Each member unique, and just who God made them to be. Each of us have our faults and short-comings. We don't live a life of perfection...but we *do* live a life of love, faith and joy. Lots of laughter fills the rooms of my home...but at time there are tears. There are times of correction and discipline. It takes an equal balance. The most important thing to have in your home though is love. Correct out of love, not anger. Spend time with your children. Love, Love, Love the precious moments you have with your children, for each phase in their life passes so quickly...and they grow in the blink of an eye.

A great place to gather together with your family is around the supper table! :)

Every good cook needs a good assistant...

Homemade noodles...ready to be cooked...


Beef and noodles, all ready for supper...

Green beans from the garden plus a few other ingredients makes....

...green bean casserole! A favorite in our house!

Peanut Butter Button cookies for dessert. Aren't they cute? I found the recipe HERE...

Another way to gather with your family is through educating your children at home...


Teaching, reading together, baking, cooking, coloring, knitting...education comes in so many different forms! Even if you don't choose to homeschool your children, *educating* them is so much more! The giving of your time, energy and attention is what will nuture and strengthen your family. They don't need extra stuff, gadgets and gizmos to keep them entertained. They need *you*. :)

“Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.”
~Charles R. Swindoll

What kind of memories are your children having deposited into their *banks*? What things take up most of their time? Everyone's situation is different and I don't mean to tell you how to parent. I just mean to encourage you...as I have found encouragement from others. Your children are entrusted to you by God. They don't come with instructions attached at birth...however, we do have the *best* instructions breathed from the Creator, Himself! Here are just a mere few of them...

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
~Prov. 29:17

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
~Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
~Colossians 3:21

Love your children.
Pray for your children.
Give attention to your children.
Teach and Correct your children.
Be encouraged and know that none of us are perfect...we all just keep striving to do what's best and right, each day. :)

A mother's love is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, it never fails or falters, even though the heart is breaking.
~Helen Rice

Some photos to share with you...

Wheat bread, fresh from the oven...

Another knitting WIP...

I love the Lego creations that children come up with! The imagination they put into their little creations is just fantastic!



Madelyn, reading different Psalms to us, last evening (another great way to gather together as a family)...

Xavier made his very own football outfit. (The shoulder pads are baseball gloves!) The slipper in his left hand, the football. :)

And, since the hat I knitted for my niece, Eloise, before she was born, is too big for her right now, I decided to whip up another one for her. And now that I know she is a *she*...I got to use some soft, yellow and pink yarn...

I hope you are encouraged today. I speak in love...admitting that I fall short, daily. I have a love for strong family units. We need to reach the world with the love of Christ...but we *must* start with our families first. :)

I need to go. Lots to do today. Wishing you a beautiful end of the week!
Thanks, so much, for visiting.
Kindly,
Katy :)
He must increase, but I must decrease.
~John 3:30

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Evening with Friends

This past Saturday evening, after attending a birthday party for my nephew, we joined friends for a fun time of bowling! (This was pre-baby...if you aren't sure of what I mean, please see THIS post about my beautiful, brand-new niece, Eloise!)

*I* am an absolutely terrible bowler. I scored a 78. I kept insisting that I needed to bowl on the lanes with the children, who had the bumper bar thingys up...however, Chris and our friends didn't agree. (I am happy to say, though, that 3 out of the 4 of us adults didn't break a score of 100! ;)

This was our friends' daughter's first time bowling. She was so cute. She wanted to go *with* the ball! There she goes...


Chris and Jaxson...

Jaxson, all on his own...


Miss Madelyn...

Xavier's turn!...


We had a really nice time. We all only played one game...the baby was tired. (And...I will admit, I was quite sleepy too! ;) There's my friend, Jenny, after taking her turn (she and I tied in score!)...
Chris and I are just so thankful for good friends. God has introduced many different couples over the past couple years to us. Friends full of faith, values, laughter and who share our love of God, family and good old-fashioned fun! :) Chris and I actually prayed, years back, asking God to put good friends in our path...and He heard and answered. We are so grateful. Good friends are so valuable.

A friend loveth at all times...
~Prov. 17:17a

And quickly, before I go, I wanted to share that I got the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I am halfway through. It is an amazing book so far. God has gifted her with a unique ability to beautifully describe things. If you can, I encourage you to buy it or borrow it. It is something you need to read. Let God use Ann's words to touch your heart! :)

Ann asked her readers to send her a picture of themselves with her book. Here is mine....(please don't ask me how many times I took this picture to finally get one that looked half-decent! ;)

We have been staying busy this week. Schooling, bread-making, cookie-making, housework, laundry and the like. We may take a trip to the library this afternoon. I haven't gotten to see my sister and Eloise, again, yet. But hopefully will get to make a trip to see them soon. How I love them...such a gift they are to me. A beautiful and loving sister, a caring and devoted brother-in-love and a soft, gorgeous niece....treasures. Truly. :)

I am hoping you are enjoying your week. May it be full of joy and love! Thank you, for visiting!
Warmly,
Katy :)

He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Monday, January 24, 2011

She's Here!

Every child born into the world is a new thought of God, an ever fresh and radiant possibility.
~Unknown



Oh how my heart rejoiceth! I feel as though words cannot properly describe the amount of joy in my heart. My baby sister had a **baby**! I am so thrilled to report that I now have a niece!

Perfection is not good enough of a word to describe her. Her skin is silky, soft. Her eyes were open, wide taking it in. She is a thumb-sucker...which I find to be an endearing quality since I was an avid thumb-sucker as a babe as well! ;)

I could have held her for hours. Her tiny baby-ness was such a wonderful treasure to hold. I am also thrilled to report that *I* am definitely her favorite aunt! (The fact that I will be her only aunt has really nothing to do with it ;). Oh...and when I gave the call and Madelyn found out that she had her first ever girl-cousin...she was yelling with joy and jumping up and down! (Don't tell the baby this...but X cried. He was hoping for a boy cousin. I told him that so far, he already has three boy cousins and that it was time Madelyn had a girl cousin of her very own! ;)

Her name, you ask? Oh...my deepest apologies...I just had to spend the first part of the post describing her baby-perfection! ;) So without further ado...I would like to introduce my gorgeous niece, Eloise. :)

Here is my honey...snuggling sweet Eloise. Look at her eyes. She's just taking him in. I have a feeling she just *knows* that he is gonna be the best uncle! ;)

Cory (my sister, Devon's husband) and his family...

My mom with her second granddaughter...

My dad, talking with Eloise (who listened very intently, I might add!)...

Devon was such a trooper my mom said. She did wonderfully! What a fantastic mama she is going to be! :)

Of all the joys that lighten suffering earth, what joy is welcomed like a newborn child?
~Dorothy L. Nolte

Thank you, for sharing in this joy with us. New life is such a beautiful thing, isn't it? :)
My cup runneth over!

With a glad and thankful heart,
Katy :)


He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Almost Time!

Hello friends! 


It's a gorgeous winter day in January. The sun is shining brightly and although still super cold out, it's super warm where I sit. Unlike my usual location for blogging (home), at present, I am an hour away from my home, legs stretched out on a chair in front of me with my mom's laptop on my lap. I am in the waiting room of the hospital my sister is in....where she is preparing for the birth of her first child! Oh the wonder and excitement of it all! Last update I have gotten from my mom, is that she is 7-8 cm dialated! 
I am terribly excited to meet my newest niece or nephew! What a treasured gift children are! My sister is staying strong and I am just so proud of her! :) The seemingly long trials of labor are but a mere blip on the screen of life...and the grand result of this difficult time is a gorgeous gift of life. 

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward.  ~Psalm 127:3


I look forward to when I can do an *update* post and share our joy with you! 

With joy and lots of smiles, 
Katy :)



He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Freezing Outside; Warm & Cozy Inside

We have continued to get more snow...daily! It is so beautiful to watch as it gently falls to the ground making a nice, thick blanket. It's so soft and fluffy! The children have loved it...and are out, as I type, making the most of it! Each one is suited up tight, snowsuits, coats, hats, gloves, boots and lots of layers underneath! Watching Jaxson move in his get-up makes me giggle! To a small creature he must probably look like a giant, black, marshmallow man!

The older two children have enjoyed the snow, this year, much more than Jaxson. He is more of my indoors fella, which is okay! Today, the sun is shining bright and Madelyn and Xavier convinced him of all the fun he was missing out on...and to my surprise, he decided to go out! So we got him all suited up and out he went! :)

Yesterday, my little sweethearts, X and Madelyn, were out shoveling the driveway. They love doing it and love knowing they have done something productive. Well, bless their sweet little hearts...not long after they were out doing that, then my kind father-in-love came over with the tractor to give the driveway a good plow-out for us. All their work was done-away-with. I assured them that they had done such a good job and how much I truly appreciated it, though! :)

It's much *warmer* to take pictures of the super cold snow, when indoors! ;)


We have been busy with our normal days. I found a new way that I will be recording our homeschool work. I discovered the **free** basic edition of Homeschool Tracker. I was doing everything, previously, written by hand. We are halfway through our school year and now I am inputting all the children's previous assignments/accomplishments and such, in the computer. It's been quite tedious (as I have over 90 days worth of things I have to put in!) but well worth it, I am sure. It will look so nice, printed out and turned into the school in our portfolio at the end of the year. If you home-educate your child(ren), how do you plan/record?

Tonight, we will be celebrating our nephew's 1st birthday! What a sweet little guy he is! What joy he has brought to the family! We love him so! And...we are still eagerly awaiting the newest little one that is nestled inside of my sister's womb! Soon, yes soon! It's difficult to be patient! I am so anxious to meet him or her! :o)

The nutty-nutcracker-extrordinaire...

Madelyn as a young pioneer gal, with her belongings packed up...


Tacos, for supper last night!

Evening games...


Well, I really must go...I have gifts to wrap, lunch to make, housework to finish, and books to read! I am also looking forward for the mail to arrive. I ordered lovely Ann's book and am anxiously awaiting its arrival!

Wishing you each a beautiful weekend. Thank you, so much, for visiting. :)
Warmly,
Katy :)

He must increase, but I must decrease. ~John 3:30