Monday, May 31, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.
~John F. Kennedy

Jaxson received his own bicycle, the other day! Technically, it is a tricycle...but let's not be technical, ok? :) I found this beautiful, vintage bike while out and about on Saturday.
My children *love* riding their bikes! Madelyn and Xavier both have their own bikes...but Jaxson has not had one to call his own. I had planned on waiting till he was a bit bigger, and getting him a 2 wheeled bicycle. However, we saw this bike and he, excitedly, told me how it was the perfect size for him! I had to agree! can even grow with him, as the seat adjusts upward, as well. He will be able to use it all this summer and maybe next, as well! :) **I must add....although I know his shirt appears to be really is red! :)

He continually tells me how much he *loves* his bike...and now, while the older two are out riding their bikes...he can ride with them! It's fantastic! :)

Someday...when Jaxson is much older, I know I will look back and completely *miss* the days he rode a tricycle! ;)

More simple pleasures... Watching the *girls* help diminish the bug supply around our home! Yay for chickens! :) Keep on eatin' girls! ...

...A big yard to play in...

...Extremely kind and generous neighbors who allow us complete usage of their basketball court (the children love to ride their bikes over there!) ... whispies flying in the wind.....

...Sweet rest after a long day of work...

...The smell of bread rising in the kitchen...

...coloring before bedtime...

...and the list goes on, another day! :)

It looks as though it is going to be a beautiful Memorial Day here, in PA. A day for rememberance and honoring those who have fallen...and are *still* fighting to ensure freedom and safety! To those of you who have served, have loved ones who have served or *are* serving... thank you!

Remember your simple pleasures today, as it helps keep the heart content and the blessings seem more abundant! :) Thanks for the visit. Do come by again sometime! :)

Blessed are those who observe justice and who do right and are in right standing with God at all times.
~Psalm 106:3

Friday, May 28, 2010

"In family life..." (Updated!) is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony."
~Eva Burrows

I really enjoy making my house a nice, cozy home for my family to live in. Of course, it's not about *stuff* but about the love that abides within the walls of each room! :) However, when you can find something functional and lovely in your's always a plus! I have been on the look-out for a nice shelf to house some of my most treasured books. Fortunately, I found one! Former neighbors of ours who we love and miss, dearly, are having a yard sale.
I thought it started yesterday, so we drove out, in the mid-morning, to their home and they had just started setting up. (I had been mistaken...their yard sale is Fri and Sat...instead of Thurs and Fri). Lovely Miss Teah said she was so happy to see us and had just been thinking how she would love to have me there to help! So her and her husband asked if I would stay to help, and I happily agreed! So we set up while the kids played in the yard. (Mr. Chris...Teah's husband...even gave the kids a couple rides on his 4-wheeler! They loved it!) They fed us lunch and gave me money to get the kids icecream on the way home! Aren't they so sweet!? :) **We left around 3 that afternoon...the sun/heat was really getting to me and I started getting a headache and not feeling well! I dread when that happens!**

So*this* morning...when the yard sale was actually going on...the kids and I drove back out to their house! I purchased the book shelf in the well as a couple small tables.

This is how I had it arranged, first......

But I moved it over here instead and I like it better.....

And set another table between the two chairs instead.....

**I updated this post with the newly arranged pics....since I didn't keep the shelf in front of the windows! :)

It's nearing lunchtime, now, so I had better get going. Everyone's tummies are growling! :) Thanks so much for coming by, I do appreciate it! I hope you have an enjoyable holiday weekend, remembering those who have fought for the freedom, we enjoy!

The runner is a gift from my mom! <3

I'll leave you with this lovely thought:

No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?
~Elbert Hubbard (emphasis mine)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dirt Angels

The other evening, Big Boss tilled the large garden we share with his parents. :) So, last evening, my mother-in-love, Big Boss, the children and I went out to start planting! :) Of course, the boys couldn't help themselves...plopped right down in the dirt and started making *dirt angels*!

We spread plastic down on one corner of the garden, for where we will plant the tomatoes and peppers. Then we covered the edges of the plastic with dirt and wood boards...

Piggies in the garden....

Above is Big Boss, using the row-maker he completely rebuilt...and below is Madelyn in the mother-in-love planting and Jaxson running toward me! :)
Despite the fact that I am not *in* the pictures...I was there....right along helping! ;)

We planted rows of green and yellow beans. :)

After gardening for two hours...the sun started getting to me and I started getting a pounding we decided to stop for the day and I brought the children home for nice, sudsy baths. After we left though, I found out later, the sun set and everything cooled down Chris and his mama did some more planting of parsnips and some other things, I believe!

After bathing the littles...we came up to my bedroom. It's the only room we have AC in. It's a fairly large the kids got their blankets, sleeping bags and pillows and camped out in our room for the night. I attempted to read...but after only a few pages...I had to close the book, turn out the lights and try to sleep. My head was hurting so much....I was so thankful for the cool air around me and the soft place to rest my head!

Today, the kids and I got the most of our chores, dishes; feeding/watering animals; general straightening up, done this morning, while the weather was still cool. Since yesterday was grocery day...and we gardened in the evening....I didn't get laundry folded that I needed to. So that will be what I am working on well as some knitting! :)

After playing outside for a bit...the kids will play some in my bedroom too cool down in the AC. They have blocks, cars and railroads to play with in here! :) We'll enjoy a nice, cool snack too! :)

Big Boss is going to a Men's Fellowship "Steak"-Out tonight. They have over 60 men planning to attend! Isn't that wonderful? :) I will make something for him to take. They are having it at my father-in-love's outdoor pavillion and fire pit! My dad and Chris' dad attend different they each are inviting men from their churches to come! And Chris and I go to a different church than our he is going, and hopefully invited some men from our church, as well! :)

I gotta go! Unfortunately, the laundry won't fold itself! ;) I hope you each have a great day ahead!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Here Fitty, Fitty!

Oh my goodness....I was *so* surprised when I got this picture of Fitty......

Isn't it great?? I hadn't realized she had stuck her tongue out when I took the picture, until I uploaded it!!! It makes me laugh! ;)

Fitty has become quite the pretty sheep! When we first got her...she had a lot of extra wool/fur. It kind of hung off her and was really unattractive. But she has now, thankfully, shed her winter coat and is beautiful! :) I love her few little brown spots ~ that I hadn't even realized she had previously!

Sweet baby Stu is doing well! She has grown so much in the past month and a half! She is as cute as ever. :) Her and Fitty seem to be comfortable with each other and I'm so glad they have each other so neither one is lonely!

The *girls* are laying nicely for us. Lots of fresh eggs for us to enjoy! We feed them...and in return, they feed us! It's a nice arrangement we have going on! ;)

All three of the children will collect the eggs...but Jaxson does it the most. He loves to do it! :) Sometimes, his overly anxious self, will run out to get them and forget the he starts carrying them in a little pouch he will make with his shirt! I always send him back out with a basket to get the rest! :)

Well, I need to get moving! Today is a busy's grocery day! I need to make up my menu and grocery list and then get groceries. I also have laundry to fold and put away, dishes to do, and floors to sweep! :)

OH! And before I go....I wanted to mention, I finished the book I was reading by A.W. Tozer (Reclaiming Christianity), that I had mentioned in my last post. I am now starting the book For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay...and, on the shelf, awaiting to be read, I have A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George! Have you read either of those? I would love to hear what you thought about them! :)

I hope you have a great Wednesday...enjoy each moment! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Loving Encouragement in Truth

Like I had mentioned in my post, yesterday, I am reading Reclaiming Christianity: A Call to Authentic Faith by A.W. Tozer. Wow! It is passionate and a definite must-read for all Christians, in my opinion.

I don't know about you...but for me, I struggle with knowing when I am acting in a righteous way or not (in some things). There has always seemed to me that there is a fine line between unrighteous judgment and righteous judgment. Of course *self*-righteous judgment is wrong. Judging by my standards is absolutely not the way God wants us to do things. However, as Tozer brings up in his book, as the church of God (I don't mean an individual building...but Christians who make up the *church*), we are to stand against the things of the world and the evil one.

Of course, we are to live in absolute love, always. However, we are not to condone, accept (or especially participate) in things that are clearly spoken of as wrong-doing in God's Word. How can it be loving, to know another is engaging in things that are not of God, and not gently and lovingly warn them? We should have a heart for restoration...not condemnation. A heart of love....that wishes good for that other person. We should not bring up their faults to make ourself look "good".

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
~Galatians 6:1

First, we must look into our own lives. Are we, in our actions and behavior, glorifying God in what we do? We must *not* be hypocritical. We should be living in authentic faith, ourselves, before restoring anyone else. But, again, I want to emphasize that if you are restoring must only be done in love, with glorifying God at the heart. It's not our job to pick people apart...but rather strive to help them because we love them and desire for them to love God and spend eternity with Him.

God has been opening my eyes so much lately. I have been praying for wisdom and knowledge on this issue. It is so important to me...because I would never want to hurt anyone...but at the same time, I don't want to mesh with the world by turning a blind eye to sin. For we are told....

For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
~Galatians 5:14

Knowing that thousands upon thousands of people die, daily, without the hope of an eternity with God....are we truly reaching out in love? Are we seeking to restore hearts to Him? If you were, unknowingly, on a path that led *away* from Christ rather than *to* Him...wouldn't you want someone to help turn you around?

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
~James 5:19-20

I write to encourage you as I am being encouraged. I am not perfect. I'm not sitting here to condemn anyone...but rather, as Tozer, I genuinely hope and pray for the true restoration of the church. I am here, a simple wife and mother....just sharing what God has layed on my heart. He loves you and desires for you to be part of His flock. He is the Shepherd. Love each other, gently restore each other and walk in the Spirit! The example of our daily living, in Truth, is a huge testimony to those around us!

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
~Galatians 5:16

I encourage you to read THIS, entitled Encouragement to Soul Winners, from Charles Spurgeon. It's quite you can skim and glean important parts or else...I hope you will set aside a quiet time to read it....if you can.

Thy Word is like a garden, Lord.
With flowers bright and fair;
And everyone who seeks may pluck
A lovely cluster there.
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine;
And jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths
For every searcher there.

They Word is like a starry host:
A thousand rays of light
Are seen to guide the traveler,
And make his pathway bright.
Thy Word is like an armory,
Where soldiers may repair,
And find, for life's long battle day,
All needful weapons there.

~Edwin Hodder

My greatest hope is that you find encouragement in these words. Imagine the beautiful revival that can start when each heart is focused on Him. :) I would love for you to share your thoughts with me!

And before I go...I wanted to share a picture of the beautiful picture my mom found for me! Although I don't have a shows the sheep and chickens, I both dearly love! :) My mom knew that I would love it, to adorn my walls. She found it for a great deal...and I was so thankful for it! :)

I appreciate you coming by. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your heart with me. :)

Warm wishes for a beautiful day, friends!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quiet Times with God

I really enjoy my quiet times with God. Mostly, they happen in the early morning hours while everyone is still asleep. Occasionally, though, they may happen numerous times through the day. If the kids are out playing on a sweet sunshiney afternoon...I will steal a few moments alone to sit and read God's word and reflect on it for a while. Do you hunger for Him? I never feel that I know enough...I am always seeking. Not because of myself...but because of my love for Him and longing to be close to Him...and know Him more.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
~Psalm 19:14

I just began a new personal bible study Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman: Proverbs 31 by Elizabeth George. So far, I am really enjoying it. :) In addition to my quiet times, I am reading Reclaiming Christianity: A Call to Authentic Faith by A.W. Tozer. It's a great book that I highly recommend! What are you reading, and using for your quiet times lately? I would love to hear what you use! Often, I don't use a book to study...I will just sit and read God's word and try my best to see what He has for me in it and then apply it! :)

While running errands the other day, I needed to stop by a local store to pick something up for my mom. While there, I couldn't help but look around for a bit. It's a store I love...always getting new treasures in. I found the crock and the enamelware mug, in the picture at the top, there. Each item was only $2! I also found the watering trough for birds there, in the above picture! *Poor birds...I haven't filled it with water yet!* ;)

Today was church, followed by a simple lunch at home and naps in the afternoon. The sun was shining and as soon as the children awoke...they hurried out to enjoy the warm weather! While Chris went to visit with his brother for a bit....I spent time doing some housework and reading my Bible. A nice, slow day to enjoy! :)

Since we had a lot of rain yesterday...once Chris got home from his brother's, he started up the mower and mowed today before the yard looked like a field! :) I love the smell of fresh cut grass!
I got busy on supper while Chris mowed and the children busied themselves outside, off and on. *I say "off and on" because every few minutes, one of the littles was running in, in need of a drink of water, a band-aid for a boo-boo, or just "stopping in to see what Mama was doing"...!*

We had breakfast for supper....fresh eggs from the *girls*, corn muffins from scratch, and bacon from the family meat market! *Yum* We are so blessed for the food God provides. We have never truly known what it is to "go without". May we, as followers of Him, provide for others around us, so they may not need to go without either. Knowing how much He loves and values us...doesn't it make you just want to share that with everyone around you? :)

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
~Matthew 10:29-31

The boys received haircuts today followed by a warm bath. I think they look quite handsome! ;)

Madelyn had a lovely time in Massachusetts. From all reports (from my mom and aunts)...she was very well behaved and a big help with what they were doing. :) Hearing your children have been well behaved and helpful is such a blessing to a mother's ears, isn't it?

And before I go....I wanted to share something that has been on my heart. :)

One of my favorite verses (although, truly, I have can you pick just one...or just a few, for that matter? God's Word is full of beautiful and wonderful things!) is Colossians 4:6, I quote it often....

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

It is my goal to live my life in a way pleasing to God. I know He loves me and that I don't have to *work* for His approval...however, I do want to live a life that reflects and glorifies Him. Speaking in love and grace with gentleness is what I have been striving for. I sincerely desire to have a meek and quiet spirit....while still having the bubble-y and joyful personality that God gave me! :)

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
~ 1 Peter 3:4

If this is also the desire of your may find these following links helpful to you! :)

Our Desire for a Meek and Quiet Spirit ~ Teri Maxwell
The Ornament of a Meek and Quiet Spirit

Thanks so much for coming by to visit. :) I really appreciate it. I hope you, through the good and the bad, enjoy the week ahead...having a thankful heart and praising Him continually! :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Abundant Blessings; Tears of Joy

I sit, fingers poised over my keyboard, unsure of how to truly put into words the joy and hope I have. I type a few things, then delete them, not feeling that I am expressing myself correctly.

I live a life full of blessings. My cup constantly runneth over. Is my life perfect? No! Am I perfect? Not even close! But Love is in my heart. God *is* Love! He is the perfect Love. And He makes me joyful. I find extreme joy in the little things...and there are always lots of sweet, easily-missed-if-you-don't-take-mental-record-this-very-moment things going on around *each* one of us.

Last night, after an evening visiting with my grandma, sister and some friends and Madelyn returning home from Massachusetts....I just felt overwhelmed and cried. I cried tears of joy. My heart was overflowing with so much joy that I couldn't hold it in. I am so blessed. Life is hard, times are hard, things are imperfect...but if you pull back the curtain of *life* and let God hold those curtains open for have the chance to peek through. Look at the things around you that are easily taken for granted...a gentle hug from someone you love; a breeze, outside, carrying the fragrance of spring flowers through the air; the laughter of children; freshly cut grass; bread baking in the oven; the sun warming your face as you step out from inside; loving encouragement from a friend; playing and laughing with the one you love; cool, clean water as you wash your hands after gardening outside.....the list is really endless. The key is *choosing* to see past the hardships and viewing the blessings that God *has* poured out on you.

I know sometimes, times are so difficult, you don't think you can see anything but the pain. I know the hurt, grief and frustration that can be felt when bad things happen. It's difficult to go through the hard times in our seasons of life. There *is* a time for everything. God said it. So know...if you are struggling with a difficult time, He is there to carry your burden. He will love you and comfort you. And know that He "makes everything beautiful in its time"......

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

~Ecclesiastes 3:1-14 (emphasis mine)

I awoke, yesterday morning, I always do. I came downstairs and in the schoolroom....I noticed this:

Chris and I have been trying to instill in the hearts and minds of our children the importance of working hard, doing things cheerfully and without complaining. Chris wrote the above verses on the board the previous a way to encourage our children. In actuality, he encouraged me! Seeing my husband use God's words to encourage our children makes my heart glad! :)

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I was doing housework and encouraged the boys to go outside to play! They did, some, but also told me that they wanted to be near to their they went and got some crayons and paper to sit in the dining room and color so they could be "near me". I thought my heart would burst! I would go in, from time to time and compliment their drawings and try to encourage them. Although when I complimented one....the other thought he *needed* to draw the same thing too. Jaxson drew a X drew a butterfly. X drew a Jaxson drew a tractor! ;)

Bread baked on loaf almost fully enjoyed and another wrapped up, waiting to be sliced, covered in butter or jelly and savored! :)

My knitting basket....I am slowly but surely still working on the afghan for my sister. I have 6 squares done (out of 20). I need to get busy on it...but it is a lot harder to find the time to work on it when the weather is so beautiful out!

And, I find it sweetly amusing. Jaxson told me numerous times yesterday that he was *not* tired and wasn't going to "rest his eyes" during rest time. I told him that was fine...I just wanted him to lay down for a bit. He didn't *have* to close his eyes. I even let him read a book for a bit. After a few minutes of looking through the book, he shut it and set it aside....he laid his little head down and attempted to fight off the exhaustion that was trying to overtake him! Within a minute or two, after setting down the book, he was out! He enjoyed a restful nap! :) **After he awoke...he smiled and informed me that he had *NOT* taken a nap! ;) He didn't realize that I had the pictures to prove that he did! ;o)

A few areas of my home that I wanted to share, before I go, that bring me joy.....

Above, a look into my dining room as the sun rises. It is what I see in the morning as I sit in the living room during my quiet time with God. :)

My kitchen sink...where I spend lots of time! Dishes are washed, drying and soon ready to be put away. :)

And a few cheerful areas in my bathroom. Decorated in a Mary Engelbreit theme. :)

I love walking in, a burst of cheer jumps out at you, as soon as you open the door! :)

I hope you have a good weekend! I appreciate you stopping by...and I pray that I have expressed my joy in a way that maybe you can take some with you. Knowing God and His love provides us with a joy that is best felt...rather than just expressed. I hope you feel it too! I will leave you with this beautiful psalm.......

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!

My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.

Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.

Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.

For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

~Psalm 84