Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Penn's Cave ~ Homeschool Field Trip

Before I start this post officially...I just have to say how flabbergasted I am that my computer/blogger still says the word "homeschool" is misspelled because it doesn't recognize it! Seriously!? It's a WORD! :o) 

OK...onto the post at hand...the boys and I, carpooling with good friends of ours, went to Penn's Cave for a fun field trip yesterday! We had to travel a bit...which was a nice time of talking with my friend! The photos are from my phone (so I didn't have to lug around my camera as well) so that's why they are sized strangely. 

Except for the references to "millions of  years" in the explanations of the rock formations (too bad it wasn't from a Creationist perspective) was nice! The boys really thought it was great! I had been there previously...many, many years ago on a 6th grade field I knew what to expect.

Although I couldn't get a good photo of it...we even saw bats hibernating...hanging from the ceiling of the rocks. It was pretty neat! :)

When we came out of the other side of the cave...this was what we saw...

 We had to return the way we came but it was so interesting to see things when coming the opposite direction!

A dark cave photo with Xavier...(we obviously didn't know where the lens was...haha!)...

 We had a fun time. It is a bit expensive for a little cave tour but the boys enjoyed it and we don't do a lot of field trips and it was worth it! :) Madelyn had to work Tuesday so she couldn't go with us.

Have you been on any field trips/ vacations lately? I'd love to hear about it!!! :)
Have a great rest of the week!


Friday, March 24, 2017

"The principle of submission in marriage is... acceptance of God's created order of male headship. Rebellion against this order is rejection of the biblical legacy of womanhood."

~ The Legacy of Biblical Womanood by Susan Hunt & Barbara Thompson 
(All quotes in this post will be from this book!)

We were created to be helpers. That is our design. It's not a bad design since it comes from the perfect Creator! Feminism has taken this beautiful design and beat it, smashed it and thrown it away. Now the role as helper is seen as something to be ashamed of...when a woman is a stay at home wife ~ fulfilling her role as helpmeet to her husband and managing her home ~ it is often looked down upon.

"...God's world was not complete without man and woman. The woman was not a clone of the man. God made one who was equal but different from the man. The God of glory created woman as a helper. Our redemption frees us and compels us to glorify God by fulfilling this helper design in all seasons and circumstances of life. This is our calling as redeemed women."

Girls are automatically expected to go to college after high school (with a career oriented mind-set!). Most of these girls want to get married and have a family but they find themselves in debt and in a "must work outside the home" situation after college. I am definitely not against higher education. I am against debt ~ which the Bible warns against as well (Proverbs 22:11, Romans 13:8).

"The helper proclivity of women is crushed in a culture of individualism and independence. Women are encouraged to pursue self-fulfillment and self-actualization."

I remember watching Reading Rainbow when I was younger (which I am not against that program...I had always really enjoyed it) ~ but the theme song told me I could "be anything". Thoughts swirled in my head of being an astronaut, a marine biologist, a school teacher and more. None of these are bad! However, when thinking of what "wonderful" thing I could "be" ~ "just" a mom and wife never seemed as exciting as all those other careers. My mindset was on **myself**. How I could fulfill *me* I could be "great". I was not set on thinking of how I was created as a helper. I wasn't having the Christ-like attitude of a servant. Thankfully, the Lord did a great work in me...opening my eyes to His truth and although I still fight that "self" heart is set in the right direction. I have a desire to glorify Him through my role as helper.

"When the Lord God breathes new life into our dead souls and makes us disciples of Jesus, our helper heart will overflow in life-giving covenantal ministries. We will be gifts to our churches. Community life will be richer. Compassion will flourish. The kingdom will be extended.....We disobeyed, and Jesus was cursed. He obeyed, and we are blessed. Such grace compels us to obey from a heart of gratitude and love."

Thankfully, as I was finishing high school, the Lord put it in my heart: all I truly wanted to be was a homemaker, wife and mother (I still didn't totally comprehend my helper role...but over the years ~ the Lord has opened my eyes to so much!). I went to college for a year since that was "what you do" after high school...but I just picked a random major because I had no particular desire to go to school for anything since my heart was *at home*.  From there, the Lord continued working in my life to put everything in order for me to fill my helper role. Chris and I got to know each other more and soon, fell in love. We were married in fall of 2000 and 10 months later, we had our daughter! :)

So, back to the reason for this post. Submission. It is a scary word to a lot of people....but it is what the Bible requires of us all (wives to husbands and husbands to Christ. All of us are to be submissive to governing authorities etc.). We find the Scriptures telling us to be submissive to our husbands in Ephesians 5:22 and 1 Peter 3:1. Submission is *not* a threat to redeemed women.

"The redeemed helper is not threatened by male headship. She values male and female distinctiveness because she knows that they are God's design and order. She knows that submission has nothing to do with status. Submission has to do with function and is a reflection of the ontological equality and yet the functional difference in the Trinity. Submission is built into the way God has ordered life in the kingdom, and it is good because He is good. Headship and submission are God's ordained order for achieving oneness in marriage and unity in the church....The redeemed helper knows that submission does not restrict her; it actually frees her to fulfill her life-giving mission." (emphasis mine)

Are you really being submissive? It is a question I have to ask myself often. Sometimes I *think* I am being submissive...but if I really am honest with myself...I realize I'm not. I have a bad habit (or should I just say "sin") of trying to convince my husband that my way is right. Submission does *not* come easily or naturally to me. I have to work at it. I always think I'm right (ok..not always...but often) . I have improved a lot through the years but still have a ways to go! I often have to humbly tuck my tail between my legs, apologize and admit that I was wrong. In some circumstances, I *am* right...however, the way I go about expressing it and fighting for my way is wrong. I often have to remind myself to be "submissive in all things". I am reminded of the garden...who was deceived and then convinced her husband to follow suit. We know how that turned out!

Do you have a teachable, meek, quiet spirit? Humble and loving? These are things I am constantly asking myself and praying for. I strive to glorify the Lord in the way I am submissive to my husband, a helper to others and in training up my children. I fail....which makes His grace even more beautiful to me. As I continue to be sanctified by Him...I can look back in my life and see how He has been working. Sometimes I cringe at things I have done and then I praise God for His grace and lovingkindness towards me despite myself.

Submission, God's created order, a servant's heart and a helper's spirit are things that are very important to me and I am passionate about. In a culture where people are calling right wrong and evil good....I think it is important for God's people to keep things in order. God made males and females. He did not make one better than the other...He just made a system of order. He is a good God who does all things well. Women don't have to fight to be like men or to be as strong as men. We need to be women...the helpers God made us to be. :o)

A couple good reads (from trusted sources) that you might enjoy and glean much from:

23 Things I've Learned in 23 Years of Marriage ~ a post by Michelle Lesley

What does it mean for a wife to submit to her husband? ~ a post from CARM

This has been a bit of a longer post....and indeed...I need to get moving. My morning is flying by and I have much to get done! Thank you for taking the time to read and hear my thoughts on this. I'm sorry if they are a bit scattered. Sometimes organizing my thoughts is difficult (especially when I am helping with school work, answering phone calls, and more all while trying to write a post). :) I would love to hear your thoughts as well! Please share your comments and emails with me! I would most certainly love to hear them (even if you don't agree). If you don't agree...I do just ask that you talk in love and respect to me as I will to you! :)

I have just intertwined some pictures from home in this post! I hope you have enjoyed them!

A letter from the child we sponsor through Compassion. I treasure these letters! They are just too sweet...

Although super cold outside...we are enjoying some sunshine...

Thanks so much for visiting! I encourage you to be a helper to those around you. If you are married...after your relationship with the Lord...remember your husband comes first. Be submissive (even when it isn't easy) and you will honor the Lord in your behavior!

I really gotta run! This is why my posting has lessened over the just takes so much time and thought to post! ;o) I hope you will bear with me! Have a great weekend friends!


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Boy and His Dad

Jaxson is working on an "invention" for his Inventions class at our homeschool co-op! The amount of boxes (that he "might" need) and cardboard in my home drives me crazy...but I remind myself this is only for a small time and that it's *ok*!

The one day, Jax asked for his dad's advice on some was so enjoyable seeing them work together. I love how Chris will make Jaxson think. He doesn't just give him answers or tell him how to do something...he will help him to figure out the answers on his own! They were measuring and thinking and coming up with ideas...

I love this pic below...they were figuring things out on paper and I love how they're both crouched down...

We are in Western PA and although we braced for a ton of snow, we only got some. Nothing unmanageable...although the wind is quite bitter out there! I am optimistic though as I know spring is right around the corner! I have seeds ordered (and some have already come in) and a greenhouse to put together to grow them. I will be sure to post about that when the time comes! :)

Along with trying to keep warm (keep the outside wood stove chugging along) we have been doing the same things around here...schooling and housework, spending time together, cooking meals (trying new recipes) and for me ~ working out at the Y, planning and keeping up with my shop's orders. Madelyn has been fighting a bit of a cold virus but thankfully, no one else has gotten it (yet).

My aunt got Jaxson a fish. Oh dear! He named it Dexter. It's the last thing we need...but he is quite happy about that brings joy to me! :)

I did go bowling last week with some sisters in Christ. One woman we love was moving back to NC and it was a "going away" time together for us all! I bowled terribly...but we all had a lot of fun and that's what matters most. I am not sure that any of us broke 100! haha!

We've been playing church volleyball every Friday evening. We don't win much....but we laugh and truly have a ton of fun! This Friday will be our last time playing for the year.

So...that is a little of what has been happening around here (in a nutshell). I need to be better about picture taking. I want to better document our days as I used to. We all love looking back at the yearly blog books I have had made.

I need to get going. I have a few more chores to get done...then need to start supper. Then I am off to teach a spin class at the Y followed by a hot shower and then relaxing with my family! :) I hope you are having a lovely week! Thanks so much for dropping by!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Making Cleaning Easier with my Favorite Products!

Before I start...I want to quickly say that this post is not sponsored or affiliated with anyone officially...I am earning no products or money for this! I am truly just sharing with you some of my favorite products because I find them wonderful and really useful!:o), I'm not sure if you have heard of Norwex products before or not. Let me tell you...they are the real deal and just fantastic! I don't really host "parties" at my house...I have done a few over the years but I'm not really into them. I never want people to come and feel pressured to buy things. That being said, I *have* gone to a couple Norwex parties in the not too far past. They are microfiber cloths that only need water! No sprays, no chemicals! 

Now at first I thought, Oh great ~ over-priced cleaning products. But oh my...these are *so* much better than I had anticipated! :) For something to be considered "microfiber" it has to be at least 1/6th of a strand of hair. Norwex microfiber cloths are 1/200th of a strand of hair!! They pick up everything....bacteria, germs, etc. The consultants at the parties even did a demonstration with chicken juices (and using protein swab indicator tests). Not only did the Envirocloth  pick up the juice and leave the surface clean but when it was rubbed on another didn't transfer any bacteria!! To clean it all you have to do is rinse it under warm water, squeeze it out and hang it to dry. It has silver in it which gets rid of any of the bacteria that was left in the cloth! You only need to launder it every blue moon (aka: once in while) because it is self-cleaning!

Now, some of the products seem quite pricey. The prices kinda scared me off at first....however, you have to take a few things into consideration. First ~ you don't have to purchase sprays, cleaners etc. All you need is the cloth and water! Second ~ you are getting rid of nasty chemicals in your home! *And* here is how I got over $300 of products for free....I hosted a party! It was easy...we had a lot of fun laughing, talking and seeing these awesome products! If you have a consultant near you...I encourage you to look her up and see if you can host a party! They are *very* generous to their hostesses! I couldn't believe how much I got! :) 

If someone sees me in person and we start talking about Norwex products I get all excited and share with them all the stuff I said above! And I don't even sell the stuff! I just truly love it and want others to know how they can clean their homes safely and save money in the long run! :) 

Here are just some of things I received (I forgot to photograph some of the other items!): 

Pictured below is a netted dish cloth. I thought it was a super-strange dish cloth and wasn't going to get one...but I had free hostess money to spend so I got one! I am so glad I did! I *love* doing dishes now. I am not sure exactly *why* I love it so much now but this thing is amazing! It's like a cleaner and scrubbie in one and because it is netted it doesn't hold on to bacteria etc. You can hand wash it out a bit and let it dry and don't have to launder it between every single use! It gets my dishes super clean (without the extra work!). 

Below is the Envirocloth. It is a sort of multi-purpose cloth. You wet it, wring it out, and wash everything! Then you rinse it out under warm water and hang it to dry until you need it the next time! You can wash windows/mirrors with it as well and then use the window cloth (the pink one hanging behind it) to dry them to a beatiful streak-free shine! :) The ones I have pictured here are for bathroom cleaning. I use it do wash cupboards, the sink, walls, mirrors etc. (Although I could use it on the outside of the it would be perfectly fine to do so...I can't wrap my mind around that and then still use it on other surfaces. So I would like to get another envirocloth specifically for the toilet)...

Next I have a bathroom scrub mitt. I like to use it on washing our claw foot bathtub...

These things are for the body. A scrub mitt and a back scrubber/washer. I haven't used them I still love using my nicely scented soaps and shower gels. With these Norwex mitts, you don't use soap and I haven't been ready to give them up yet...

The next two pictures are of cloths for the body...specifically for make up removal! It works perfectly and is self-cleaning! I love them!

Below I am showing my kitchen cloths. Oh how I love these things too! I am an avid counter washer! I like my counters to be clean. I use these self-cleaning cloths to pick up all the germs and bacteria on my counters and cupboards...then rinse them out and hang them to dry! Easy peasy!

I keep some of my other Norwex cloths hanging in my cleaning closet...

This is the duster mitt that works beautifully...

Below is a polishing cloth. I haven't used this yet...but am glad to have it for when I need it!

They even sell wonderfully safe laundry detergent! I already use eco-friendly stuff but I earned this stuff from my party and plan on putting it to good use as well. They say this stuff is the best to use when you launder any of your Norwex cloths from time to time....

They sell dryer balls (I already have some from a different brand that I use), toothbrushes, crystal deodorant (which I got and am trying!), mops, toilet brushes, dish soap and so much more!

Seriously...I don't sell Norwex and am not earning anything from telling you about it. I just love their products and get excited to share it with others! I love things that are safe for our families, the environment and save money! Don't you?

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I will try to answer in the comments in case others want to read about it too! :)

A clean home makes me happy! If you have tried any Norwex stuff and want to share about it, I would love to hear about it! Is there something else I should try!?

Happy cleaning friends!

Linked up at: Strangers and Pilgrims (link in right sidebar) and The Modest Mom Blog

Saturday, March 4, 2017

"With mirth & laughter...

...let old wrinkles come."
~William Shakespeare

Today, my Christopher gets another year closer to 40! That's not a bad all! I have been blessed to be joined to him for almost 17 years and I love growing old with him! It *is* quite hard to fathom though. I feel as though I was just in my 20s and 40 seemed so far away for both of us. Now, here we are....inching towards "middle age" and we have teenagers! It's just difficult to really wrap my mind around. If you have been following me on my blog since the's been a decade of words and memories already! My teenagers were wee ones when I started this blog! Isn't it just crazy how the time goes by so quickly!? I am *definitely* not complaining though. I praise the Lord for the gift of Chris! Let the wrinkles and gray hair come (as it already has begun)! We are growing older together and I love it! :o) 

As per usual, when someone who works at my dad's garage has a birthday...they get a wee party after lunch time with the family and some of the guys! Chris was no exception! My sister and her girls (plus the bun in the oven) came to celebrate with us! The children all had fun trying out the new crane machine...

 The girls' uncle Chris joins the fun...

Jaxson and Eloise were having fun in on a taping themselves...haha!

Audra wasn't too happy here (it was definitely approaching naptime!)...

Eloise got the red ball (her favorite color!)...

 I don't know *why* but there is this silly little skeleton that hangs around the waiting room at my dad's garage. I don't know where it came from or anything about it except that Chris named it "Tommy" and the children all think it is funny! Audra had fun chasing Madelyn with it...

Then Audra found out that the head can come off (teehee)...

 Xavier...who used to fit perfectly on the trikes at the garage is now much too big but that didn't stop him from giving El a fun ride around...

Then Eloise took Dinah for a ride (aren't those smiles just the *sweetest*?)...

Then it was time to sing to Chris and for him to blow out his candles (X couldn't resist helping). He knew I would snap a photo so he put these funny skiing goggles on for added fun effect (he always makes me smile)...

Father and son...

Time to open some gifts! I didn't take many pictures at this time...but this was just so cute. Dinah used to be afraid of Chris (not sure if it was the beard or what!?) and that day...she ran right up and gave him birthday hugs and helped him open his gifts...

She layed her hand on his knee and left it there for a bit. It was just too precious! :o)

Today is Chris's *actual* birthday. I have some fun planned for this afternoon and evening! :o) He and I are both battling headaches but I am determined to make it an enjoyable day either way!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend! If you get a chance, check out my shop! I have some new listings up! :o) Thank you for coming by for a visit!