Friday, January 30, 2009

planning parsimoniously

Yes, I did borrow the thesaurus to find a word to make my post homiletically correct! Part of my adventures in wifehood include finding way after way to make my husbands hard-earned cash go a bit farther. I have seen ladies do some amazing things with coupons. After seeing what Courtney did with about $12, I just had to ask. God bless her, she is working on sharing some of her secrets! I'm pretty excited about learning how to do this. I'm just hoping that I can.

Along those lines, I was glad to learn that the Piggly Wiggly doubles coupons up to sixty cents. I don't care at all for the Pig, but it's a great way to use up those "cents-off" clip coupons.

Another pretty good deal that I landed was this: I keep my eyes on eBay, to buy homeschool material at a cut rate. The readers that John needs for next year retail over $100 at Well, I got them all for $30. A pretty good deal, I think. I saw other offers for a cheaper price, but I think these books will hold up for all the children if we take care of them.

Just sharing a photo I thought was cute.

And, by the way, this celebrates my 100th post!

Lydia can be a bit unstable on the trampoline, so the boys have to play gently with her. Sometimes they take it to an extreme. I think here they had made up some game where if she even walked near them they pretended to fall over as if she knocked them down.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beauty in Simplicity

I have no idea where this thought came from because I haven't seen one of these things in years. But last night, I was thinking to myself (which I do a lot) about a cameo that my grandmother had years ago. When I was a teenager, I didn't at all like it. It seemed too old-fashioned and so un-trendy. That said, part of me was also captivated by it. I remember looking at it, wondering who the woman was, or who was she modeled after, what stories could she tell about her life, how pretty and feminine she looked.

Now when I look at a cameo, I see beauty in the simple. I think that there are few things more beautiful than simple femininity. That goes in for more than just jewelry, it goes into most every aspect of life.

Monday, January 26, 2009

On my mind

Pastor briefly mentioned this Sunday and it's been on my mind. Several miles from my home, but still somewhat local, a casino has recently opened. The casino is located just north of the city of Atmore, Alabama. Now, why this filth is even worth mentioning is something that Pastor mentioned as he was warning us about this place. The subject went along with his message, "Devices of the Devil." Apparently, there is a restaurant that many people are excited about. Yes, the restaurant is certainly part of the casino, although it is in a separate adjacent building. I'm sure the food is exquisite; The devil would have it no other way. What concerns me is that I have heard a handful of people in town mentioning this new restaurant. At first, I wasn't aware that it was at a casino. When I asked where we could go to enjoy this place it was told it was at the new casino. By my reaction (of eyes widening and quickly explaining that we would not be going), the people I would be talking to would seem to quickly defend the restaurant by saying, with a wave of the hand, "Oh, it's in a separate building. You don't have to acutally go inside the casino." As is that made a tremendous difference. As Christians we are called to be different. As ambassadors for Christ, how could we properly represent Him to that lost co-worker or family member who saw us turning our car into the casino? I do not want one penny of the money that God has entrusted us with to be spent at such a place. Even if I could order from the phone and have a meal delievered, I could not have peace with it. If we are going to give an account of our lives, that would certainly include how and where we spent our money. What sort of answer could we give Christ for the money spent at such an establishment?

I did not really plan on posting my feelings on this, but once I read this post by Michele at Whatsoever Things Are Lovely, I really felt that I needed to. As I read through this "checklist," I kept thinking of the reasons why I should not go to a casino, even to get a steak. From what I read, supporting this restaurant (profits from which would most likely go to the casino as well) would break several points on this "checklist" written by Pastor Steve Sturgeon.

Whatsoever Things Are Lovely: Rudiments of Biblical Christianity: A Christian's Checklist

From what I can tell, these points are in violation:
#1 - Is it right?
#2 - Does it bring me near some temptation?
#3 - Does it give place to the devil?
#4 - Is there anything in Scripture contrary to it?
#7 - Will it cause someone to stumble?
#8 - Does it appear evil to anyone?
#9 - Would the Lord Jesus Christ do this?
#10 - Would this please God?
#13 - Does it edify?
#14 - Am I being selfish? (I don't think this would always be true, but certainly with some Christians who went there)
#15 - Am I denying the flesh?
#16 - Am I putting Christ first?
#17 - Is it expedient?
#18 - Will it bring glory to God?
#19 - Am I deceiving myself or being deceived?
#20 - Do I know better? (again, not all Christians would "know better," but certainly some would)
#21 - Am I searching for an excuse to justify what I do? (One of the most applicable points)
#22 - Do I have to hide it from anyone? Sneak around?
#23 - Did I handle the Word of God deceitfully? (this would apply in some circumstances)
#24 - Will this in anyway defile God's body? (guess that would depend on what your ordered! haha)
#26 - Can I do this in Jesus' name?
#28 - Have I prayed about it?
#29 - Will it increase or hinder my prayer life?
#31 - What does my Pastor think about it?
#32 - What do my church brethren think about it?
#33 - Would I like to be doing this when Jesus returns?
#34- How will this appear at the Judgment Seat of Christ?

I know I don't often get the number of comments that would offer much in the way of discussion, but I would like for you to look over the points and see if I missed any.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook - January 21, 2009

I actually made this post this morning, but as I went to take the picture at the bottom, my battery in my camera needed charging and, here I am now getting around to finishing this Daybook entry.

FOR TODAY January 21, 2009

Outside my window ... sunny and pretty, but bitterly cold at just 40 degrees.

I am thinking ... I can't believe that Lydia will be two in just 2 1/2 weeks. I'm making mental notes about plans for a very small scale birthday party.

I am thankful for ... God loving me, when I'm so unlovable.

From the learning rooms ... usually I put a lot of stress on the boys since they are actually homeschooled. I work with Lydia just as much as the boys though. After all, homeschooling never really begins or ends, it simply "is," right? I was proud today when she pointed out red, green, and blue. She counted to twenty for me today. She's also memorizing scripture passages along with the boys. The boys are memorizing John 3:16-21. She misses out on words here and there, but it's amazing to me that she, who is not yet two, can memorize a passage that lengthy.

From the kitchen ... Jeremy asked for 15 bean soup when I was making out my week's menu. Bean soup is not my forte, but I'm trying it nonetheless. It smells wonderful and the broth tastes fantastic. Cornbread will be baked to go along.

I am wearing ... purple turtleneck knit sweater, black knit skirt, my trusty tennis shoes and hair pulled back in a headband.

I am creating ... nothing officially yet, well, nothing creative or crafy. I'm about to start on a jumper for Lydia for her birthday. Soon I'll be looking at Easter dresses for the two of us also. And I'm hoping that I don't need much belly-room by mid-April.

I am going ... to church tonight and looking forward to it. I'm hoping that the organ is fixed. It's old and needs repair. Sometimes it will cooperate, and sometimes will not. I've enjoyed filling in with the choir, but I very much miss playing it. I've had many, many people ask why I've not played and said they've missed it as well.

I am reading ... Matthew with the youth group, Proverbs and Psalms. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

I am hoping (praying) ... for my children, that they will fully surrender to the Lord's will for their lives just as soon as they can comprehend what it means. Especially praying for John, who seems to have the Lord knocking on his door for salvation. He knows it all as a head-knowledge, but does not yet apply it to his heart. I believe the Lord is starting to show him personally that he needs a Saviour.

I am hearing ... the clothes in the dryer tumble, the clothes in the washer spinning and that is all, as the children are napping before church tonight.

Around the house ... the children have cleaned up their toys from the living room, but the kitchen floor badly needs to be mopped. That is my plan after I finish this!

One of my favorite things ... things that smell good! See picture below.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... visitation is Thursday night and maybe we'll get to go see my Mom Saturday night. I'll be trying my hand at making my own laundry detergent by Friday, hopefully. I was able to get everything to make 100 loads for $6. Not a bad deal, I'd say.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...Yesterday Momma came to visit. Earlier that same day my dearest friend, Melissa, called and said that our favorite candle store was going out of business. All of her stock was at least half off. Momma was so sweet and she bought this beautiful tart warmer and gave it to me! I think it's soooo pretty. Once we work on that home TLC I've been talking about, it will match perfectly.

follow-up: you can see that the doily I used here is way too big for that spot on the piano. My grandmother made it (several actually) and she liked them on the bigger side. Well, I found one in the bottom of my hope chest that fits quite nicely. It's sort of Battenburg lace sort of doily, but Nannie didn't make it. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our Teenagers

I was noticing that it has been forever and ever since I posted about the teenagers. Yes, they are still out there. They are still a huge part of our life. I have no idea why I've been so long in letting everyone know what's been going on in the youth ministry.

First off, sort of a prayer request and answer to prayer. One of my teenage girls, initials T. B. (I usually post initials because I don't know how parents feel about names on the web), was out en route to play softball with some friends. On her way she happened to fall. Poor dear broke her ankle! When she was taken to the emergency room, they wanted her to see an orthopedic specialist. So they just wrapped it up good and sent her on her way. She was in very much pain Sunday, but came to church any how, which I was very proud of as long as she was "up to it." Well, the big answer to prayer is this: the specialist isn't ordering pins or a cast or anything like that. They're just going to fit her for a walking boot and keep a watchful eye on the healing progress. Even through everything she must have been feeling Sunday, she wore a smile and never once complained about the pain, not being able to get around, or not being able to be with the rest of the teenagers in Sunday School (Our classroom is up a flight of steep stairs).

Something else that we've been doing is this thing...well, I'm not sure what you'd call it other than S.O.A.P. It's a program to read through the New Testament. You read a chapter a day (Scripture), find a verse that the Lord is speaking to you about (Observation), write down how the Lord spoke to you (Application), and ask the Lord to help you to remember and apply the verse (Prayer). I was very happy to see many of our teens do the assignment and say that they wanted to do it all the way through the New Testament. We're praying that all of them will participate. I was particularly proud of one of our teenage boys who, although he was gone on a Christian cruise with his senior class from his Christian school he attends, did the assignments anyway!

Another praise is our attendance Sunday. It wasn't an all-time high by any stretch, nor were all of them there, but it was the most youth we've had in a long while. We had 16 (if I remember right) teens in our class, including Jeremy and I.

The hardest trouble that I personally have as a youth worker is remembering that these kids come from all different walks of life. Some of them are our pastor's kids. Some of them are preacher's kids. Some of them come from a long line of faithful servants of the Lord. Some of them come from broken homes. Some of them have never been to church before, and come from families who are now faithful. There are teens who come from all points in between. It can be hard to know how to minister to each one, even when praying for the wisdom. There are a lot of struggles that I feel, but I don't want to divulge too much of it here! What I can say though is it's sure been a blessing to see these teens grow in the Lord.

A photo from our Christmas party. You can't see everyone, but it was the best
angle I could get. Here are our teens listen to Bro. Marcus preach.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Just a quick little post...

...before the day gets started good. I mean, I've already done a few things here and there, but you know what I mean.

Yesterday after we had our school-time, John wanted to call his Paw-Paw (Jeremy's dad) to ask if they could go hunting. John's been out in the woods plenty of times with Paw-Paw, but they've never seen a deer. As we were waiting for Paw-Paw to come and get John to go hunting, John and I were sitting on the front porch while the younger ones were still napping. He said to me, "Momma, I sure hope we see a deer today." *pauses and looks thoughtful* "But if not, maybe we could see a few turkeys."

Well, he got what he wanted yesterday. Here's a Polaroid he brought home.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

So Much More Nervous This Time

Last time I went to make a post similar to this one, I was so excited that I think I posted about it well before I had gone to the doctor. Well, because of the outcome of the last pregnancy, I've been very hesitant to say anything this time. But, Jeremy and the children took me to the baby doctor yesterday and it looks that I'm about 8 weeks along with #4. The Lord may quite possibly take this one at any time, but this one has made it farther than the last one, so I'm trying to be optimistic. My last pregnancy measured about 6 1/2 weeks, but I didn't start miscarrying until 11 weeks. The Lord was very good to me, in that I didn't have to have a D & C, which I very badly didn't want.

Well, our smallest family member measures exactly to the due date from my LMP. The heart rate that (s)he had is 170 bpm. My doctor was pretty optimistic.

I'll share also that I feel 100% pregnant...any sort of food just makes my stomach turn. Weeeeeeeell, that is unless it's something sweet!

Oh, and last night at our church's ladies meeting I shared with everyone our news. Well, my friend Holly had brought Chex Mix as part of the refreshments that she brought. There was a bag that was unopened. I completely love Chex Mix (alother weakness). She gave it to me and told me to "feed that baby!" I totally thought that was precious! I haven't mentioned Sam and Holly moving back. Well, moving back for Sam, that is. But I am so very glad to have them here.

I would really covet prayer. I am honestly pretty apprehensive about this first trimester. I have about 4-5 weeks (depending on how you count them) until I'm into the second trimester. I'll be glad to get rid of this morning sickness too. Although I had really bad morning sickness until I was 6 months along with Lydia.

I'm sharing one of my ultrasound pictures. It's pretty clear, especially for only 8 weeks. The big round circle at the top is the yolk sac. I've never had a good picture of it before. But you can see little arms and legs developing.

(click to enlarge)

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. --Isaiah 49:1

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rolling With the Punches

I began my Wednesday night routine like any other. I started with Lydia's bath at about 3:30. At 4 the boys took their baths, each in a different shower. At 4:15, I started cooking a simple supper of tuna helper and collard greens. No, it doesn't sound good together, nor does it sound like it matches, but hey, tuna helper is about the fastest thing in the earth to make. Since the greens came out of the garden, all that I had to do with them was thaw them and warm them. Because of everything that had happened with Granny Bessie, Jeremy's day off was moved to Wednesday instead of the typical Monday. So, I'm thinking we can get supper done early and get to church in comfortable time instead of feeling like we're running with all we have. As supper is really coming together, about 4:45 Ethan comes in telling some sort of story that doesn't really make a lot of sense. Not to mention that I'm pretty busy and am sort of doing that "Mom thing" that kids can't stand. You know the one. Where they're just telling you this story and doing all they can to make it interesting and exciting and you're really busy with something that just can't wait. Well just to pacify them you randomly say "oh wow" ... "that's interesting" ... "uh-huh" and the like, but you have no idea what's going on.

Well, he started talking about the toilet, which definitely peeked my interest. See, Ethan doesn't have a great bathroom history. When he was about 2 1/2 or 3 he flushed a plastic Dixie cup down the toilet which got caught in the trap. Jeremy spent all of a night getting the thing out. He took off the toilet, got the cup out, and put the toilet back on. Well, when he anchored the toilet to the floor he barely overtightened the nuts and cracked the toilet all the way to the tank! So when Ethan talks toilet trouble, I should listen.

Unfortunately, I didn't listen to his story. After we discovered a very backed up toilet, we began to investigate further. Turns out that all the drains in the house were backed up...even the kitchen sink! Jeremy is fuming and tries to get out of Ethan what on earth he could have put in the pot. Well, Jeremy did a fantastic job of keeping his cool while talking to Ethan. Ethan admitted to putting something in the potty that was big ... blue ... and plastic. That's all he could tell about it. So, Jeremy gets to work and decides that whatever he flushed is in the main line to the septic tank and is blocking the whole house. After making no headway, he calls this man that does sewer/septic on the side and I take the kiddos to church.

Well, trying not to get bogged down in details, turns out that from what they can tell, Ethan didn't put anything in the toilet at all. Instead the septic tank is completely full because the field line are not draining. Right now it looks like we are going to have to have our drain field redone.

I'm not complaining about it at all, I'm just sharing. Our front yard is all dug up right now. But really we've not had a lick of trouble with out house since we moved here in 2001. Guess it's just our turn!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. --1 Thessalonians 5:18

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

2008's Reading Checklist

Here's what I managed to read in 2008. I wish it were a longer list, but it's not. I am thankful for the time that I did have to read.

  • "Women of the Bible, vol 1: Helpmeets and Homemakers" by Shirley M. Starr
  • "Unspoken: Bathsheba, Lineage of Grace, vol 4" by Francine Rivers
  • Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Terri Maxwell***
  • Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald***
  • To Train Up a Child by Michael and Debi Pearl
  • The Trail of Blood by J. M. Carroll***
  • "Unveiled: Tamar, Lineage of Grace, vol 1" by Francine Rivers
  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  • "Unshaken: Ruth, Lineage of Grace, vol 3" by Francine Rivers
  • The Romance of Redemption: Studies in the Book of Ruth by M. R. De Haan
  • The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust by Mark I. Pinsky***
  • Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family by Steven Maxwell
  • "Unafraid: Mary, Lineage of Grace, vol 5" by Francine Rivers
*** Highly Recommended

I highly recommend The Gospel According to Disney, but only with the stipulation that I don't fully agree with everything he says. He's not a far-right conservative and when I read a title like that, I expected him to be. The book, however, is extremely helpful if you read the facts he presents and draw your own conclusions. Unlike the authors home, our house is nearly Disney-free. Every great once-in-a-while we'll watch some of the preschool programming. Lord, help me never to let my children watch that trash like Hannah Montana or something like Aladdin or Mulan. This book was extremely helpful.

"The old man needed a miracle, supernatural intervention to give life to his little boy, slumped motionless across the room. So the white-haired woodcarver did what might be expected under the circumstances: he folded his hands on the windowsill, and turned his eyes to heaven. Then, in his soft Italian accent, he did not pray. Instead, Geppetto wished upon a star. ... The Blue Fairy advised the marionette to 'let your conscience be your guide' to 'choose right from wrong' so he could earn 'the gift of life.' Pinocchio is not an exception."

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? --Jeremiah 17:9

The Simple Woman's Daybook - January 6, 2009

Outside my window ... the weather is very yucky. It's a very muggy 70 degrees (mind you, it's only 8:30 am). The clouds look rainy.

I am thinking ... that I could have slept for another hour or two this morning!

I am thankful for ... God loving me, even when I'm not lovable.

From the learning rooms ... today starts school back after our very long vacation.

From the kitchen ... tonight I plan on fixing pork chops (probably fried, for a change since our grill is broken), tomato gravy and rice, and probably some Brussels sprouts from the garden. I hope to make a loaf of bread tomorrow. I've been buying it from the store since I've been so busy through Christmas.

I am wearing ... this perfectly hideous purple and pink knit dress. I'll spare the rest of those details. My faithful tennis shoes and barretted hair.

I am creating ... I have no crafts or sewing projects in the works right now, as I'm still recovering from Christmas.

I am going ... hopefully no where else the rest of the week! Except for church Wednesday night and visitation/soul-winning Thursday night. Oh, Saturday night I'm taking the children to a birthday party.

I am reading ... The King James Bible, specifically the book of Micah. Relationship and Fellowship by Stephen Baker.

I am hoping (praying) ... for a good week and the ability to keep my flesh under control, since I have felt very badly all week and last.

I am hearing ... Lydia playing with the books on the bookshelf and calling them all Bibles. I hear the boys in the distance who are outside hitting golf balls.

Around the house ... I plan to work on the wash, as always. The living room is in need of tidying, but the children's rooms look good.

One of my favorite things ... was to hear John this morning read from the book of John. It was wonderful to hear him say, "Mommy, will you help me read the Bible?" He can read very well for five, but there is still so much he needs to learn to be a good reader.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... I already mentioned that I need to get back to baking. I also want to make cupcakes with the kids later this week. Other than that, just planning to settle back into our routine.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing ... I have not taken any pictures since Christmas, so here's one from the spring. In the garden, I sowed seeds of my favorite flower, zinnias, and was able to keep cut flowers on the kitchen table all summer. This bouquet had a stow-away!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Welcome to 2009

What a busy Christmas season this year! We are breathing a sigh of relief that it's over and then looking back wondering how it went by so quickly. We did indeed have a very blessed Christmas and got to be with all of our family.

I'm try to be brief because I have a thousand irons in the fire right now, but I wanted to share that at church we had a watchnight service. It included lots of great singing and preaching, along with supper!

On a bittersweet note, I also wanted to share that a few days ago, my husband's grandmother died. She was a Christian who loved the Lord very much and had a very painful road before she went on to Glory. I have no doubt that she's now in heaven. I will not be making any lengthy or fantastic posts anytime soon, so please bear with me. :)

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. --Psalm 116:15