Monday, December 22, 2008
Carrie and her husband Bill are caretakers of my all-time most favorite spot on all this earth: Maranatha Bible Conference in Worthington, PA. I attended as a camper there for the first time when I was 11 years old. I grew up there in a very real sense. My first summer job was in that kitchen. My first experience as a camp counselor was in one of the log cabins on the hill above the main camp grounds. It was at that camp that God saved me. There I also met my husband, and became engaged. The whole of the rest of my life would never have been the same were it not for that place and the many godly people I've met there over the years.
I finally got to meet Carrie last August when we went down for a conference. She's a sweetie with three adorable little boys. She's a beginning home schooler, with all the same struggles as the rest of us stay-at-home, home schooling moms--namely, how to juggle schooling, housework, quiet time with the Lord, and quality husband-time, while still staying connected with extended family and the rest of the outside world.
Well, I've got my own little boy to put to bed now. When you get some time, check out Carrie's notes.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I used to bake on Saturdays, baking enough bread for the whole week. We froze it to keep it fresh till we needed it. But freezing destroys some of the vitamins in whole wheat flour, so now I bake bread every other day or so.
I just put today's batch of bread in the oven. Just recently I changed my ever-evolving bread recipe--again. Last week we bought a used grain grinder from friends of ours. My wheat grinder works well, but only for small grains like wheat, rice and barley. I needed something for larger grains like corn and dried beans. (No, beans aren't a grain, but they do go well in bread.)
I still had some dried sweet corn from two summers ago, so when Josiah brought home the new grinder, we tried running that through. It made good cornmeal, but not as fine as I wanted for bread flour. So we ran the grindings through my wheat grinder. It turned out well.
There is a pleasant sense of satisfaction that comes from baking bread using corn you plant, hoe, water, pick, husk, dry, shell and grind into flour yourself. Sort of like the Little Red Hen. Next we're going to try field corn Elijah and Ben gleaned from a nearby corn field. Like Ruth and Naomi.
So here's my current recipe, which is subject to change. If you don't have a grain grinder or a friend with a grain grinder, just use all wheat flour.
Whole Grain Variety Bread
Makes 4 loaves
5 cups very hot tap water
1 cup rolled oats
4 cups whole wheat flour
Add unbleached flour, 1 or 2 cups at a time, until the dough is stiff enough to knead. Scrape out the dough onto the table. I use a hard plastic scraper to get as much as I can out of the bowl and off the mixing spoon. Then I use flour to rub off the rest. This eliminates a gooey mess in the sink.
Knead in more unbleached flour until the dough is no longer sticky, but still just a little bit tacky. Too much flour makes a drier, more crumbly loaf; not enough makes the dough too sticky to handle well.
Pour about a couple tablespoons of oil in the bottom of the mixing bowl. Put the ball of dough in and turn it around so that all of the dough is coated with oil. Cover loosely with a lid or damp dish towel. Let it rise until it's at least doubled. I usually get busy with other things and forget about it, only to turn around and see the dough lifting the lid and bulging out.
Dump the dough out on the table and punch it flat. If you have little children in your house, let them wash their hands and punch. They love it. They can also help you grease four bread pans with butter. (Oil doesn't coat the pans well enough.) Divide the dough into four pieces and roll them into loaf shapes. When you do this, make sure you're getting rid of any air pockets. Put into pans and put into the cold oven. The oven rack should be one notch lower than middle.
Turn the oven on to 350-375 (depends on how hot your oven is--the temp. should be 375, but my oven heats hotter than the setting, so I set it for 350). Set the timer for 40 minutes. The bread should be done when the timer goes off. You want a loaf that is nicely browned all over.
Turn the bread out onto a wire rack to cool. You can slice thinner slices after it's cool, or you can slice it thicker and enjoy wonderful fresh hot bread right away.
The cry of "Fresh bread!" will bring your children, your neighbours' children and the friends who just pulled in to see the work being done on your house flocking around. Don't be surprised if one or two loaves disappear before your very eyes. Take it as a compliment and start the whole process again the next day.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
There is a problem with two of the messages in that for some reason you don't get the whole thing, but there is enough of it there that they're still worth listening to.
Courtship, Part 1
Courtship, Part 2
Monday, December 01, 2008
In the sermon we listened to yesterday morning, Bro. Washer said that we cannot influence our culture by being like the culture in dress, music, speech, etc., but by being radically different. How do you be radically different?
This morning I decided to start reading through Luke. The very first family mentioned was the ideal Christian family. Read Luke chapter one. You will find three verses that say that so-and-so was "filled with the Holy Ghost." Their names are Zacharias, Elisabeth and John. And they were radically different from even their seemingly righteous Jewish culture in at least three instances. And these three instances were "little" things.
1. Zacharias and Elisabeth insisted on naming their son John, when there were no other Johns in the family. This just wasn't done in those days. But God said to name him John, so they named him John.
2. John wore clothes made out of camel's hair, held in place with a belt made of leather. Quite different from the fine priestly robes he could have worn as part of the family of Aaron. But John came in the spirit and power of Elijah, and even dressed like him (see 2 Kings 1:8).
3. John ate locusts and wild honey. He could have feasted on the best that the land had to offer of the part of the sacrificial foods that were set aside for the priests and their families.
Food, clothes and baby names. Not what the average Christian today generally prays about, submitting their choices to the Lord for approval. Actually they didn't even do that. God didn't look over their choices and say, "Oh, that's a good choice; yeah, do that." No. They didn't offer their choices to Him. They just listened to what He said, and obeyed. In the little things. In everything.
They were not the average family. They were radically different.
They were Spirit-filled.
Friday, November 28, 2008
We left home at about 9:15. The van stalled out a couple miles from home. Josiah was able to start it again right away, so we kept going. It did not stall out again while we were still in Canada.
We dropped off Nate's passport (he went with our friends the Underwoods, so he got to enjoy the day in New York) and stopped at Walmart to pick up a few things and take little children to the bathroom.
We got TO the border at about 10:05. We got THROUGH the border at 10:50. No problem with us, we just got in a slow lane.
We traveled about 20 minutes, with the van stalling out about 4-5 times. As it got progressively harder to start each time, we called our friends to tell them we weren't coming, and were going to try to get the van back home.
Heading back, the van stalled twice before we got to the border. Josiah noticed that it would go into a stall when he pressed the brake, so he drove slow enough through Massena that he got all the green lights and didn't have to stop. Once he got a red light, and he was prepared to make a right-hand turn rather than stop, but the light changed just as we got to it.
Then, as we turned onto the road leading up to the border, the van stalled out. We were in a turning lane, blocking traffic, so the boys had to get out and push the van uphill and off the road. This time we could not start it again. After waiting about ten minutes, it still wouldn't start.
Tom decided to take Sarah, John, Abby, and Lizzie home in the car, pick up his tools, and come back. We sent one of the nut pies home with them, and kept one to eat ourselves. So Tom dropped those four off at home and got his tools. But then when he tried to leave home, the car wouldn't start! So he had to work on that. He got it running and came back to see if we could start the van.
Meanwhile, I was not wearing snow boots, and with no heat in the van, we were all quite cold. I kept getting out and stomping around to keep the blood moving in my feet. By this time it was close to 2:30 I think, and we had been waiting there for about an hour and a half. I was getting more concerned about Timothy. His cough was worsening, and I had forgotten his puffer. I could hear him wheeze more, and wished I'd sent him home with Sarah instead of Abby.
Tom came back, and the van started! I drove, in case we stalled at customs and Josiah would be needed to push. We got to the top of the first bridge crossing the St. Lawrence. Just as we started down the other side, the van stalled. I was able to coast into customs. We stopped at the window, showed our passports and permanent resident cards and answered all the normal questions. I told the guard we were stalled and the boys would have to get out to push. He asked if I needed help. I told him my hubby was in the car behind me, and we'd be okay. So the boys pushed us through customs into the parking lot, and the guard waved Tom through without asking for ID or any of the normal questions.
This time there was no starting the van back up. I took everybody but Tom and Josiah home in the car. At about 3:15 we got home. Almost as soon as we got home, Tom called and asked me to come pick them up, that they were going to have to get the van towed to the shop. Thankfully, the car has not been acting up anymore. But we had just gotten the van back on Monday, after almost three weeks of being in the shop.
We have the money for another van, but we had hoped to replace the CAR not the VAN. The car is not a big enough second vehicle for us.
So that was our day. My feet finally thawed out, and the Underwoods were sweet and brought turkey leftovers to us last night.
Hope the rest of you had a good day!
Monday, November 10, 2008
"The Christian family was the bulwark of godliness in the days of the Puritans; but in these evil times hundreds of families of so-called Christians have no family worship, no restraint upon growing sons, and no wholesome instruction or discipline. See how the families of many professors are as dressy, as godless as the children of the non-religious! How can we hope to see the Kingdom of our Lord advance when His own disciples do not teach His gospel to their own sons and daughters?" --C. H. Spurgeon
"Every Christian family ought to be a little church, consecrated to Christ and wholly influenced and governed by His Laws." --Jonathan Edwards
"It is difficult to see how Christianity can have a positive effect on society if it cannot transform its own homes." --John MacArthur
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Edited to add: Here is a great link with a lot more info on cloth diapering, with lots of other links to help you find what you need and how to save money by making some things yourself. http://allaboutclothdiapers.com
I buy pre-folded cloth diapers at Wal-mart in the US. As far as I know, none of the Wal-marts in this section of Ontario sell cloth diapers. (They do sell diaper pins and plastic pants; go figure.) There are a number of things that are cheaper/more available in Wal-marts in the US, so we tend to shop there whenever we are in the States.
If I had the money, I would order diapers over the internet. Several companies offer different sizes of prefolds, to better fit newborns up to toddlers. And if I had a lot more money, I'd buy woolen "soakers" to use instead of plastic pants. If I had more time, and a good source for quality wool spun "in the grease" (for softness and waterproofing), I'd knit my own. Some people use diapers/diaper covers with velcro closures, but I don't like them. I can never get them fastened tight enough, and the hook side of the velcro gets clogged with lint too fast.
I like to start with 5-6 dozen diapers. I used to keep as many as I needed to go through a whole week without washing diapers. But now I have a smaller diaper pail, so I wash them when the pail is full. When I've had two children in diapers, this could be every other day or so. With just Sam, it's more like every 3-4 days.
The packaging for the diapers usually has diagrams that illustrate how to put the diaper on the baby. Borrow a doll to practice on. (Little girls always used to do this when playing "house," but modern baby dolls come with disposables.) A newborn can wear one diaper, folded over in front to fit. As Baby grows, you will sooner or later need to double the diaper (putting two on at a time). When Baby starts sleeping through the night, you may need to triple the diaper. I usually keep the inner diaper(s) folded in, opening out only the outer diaper so I'm not pinning through so many layers.
When pinning, keep the fingers of your other hand under the diaper, next to the baby's skin. That way, if anyone gets pricked, it'll be you, not the baby.
When putting the plastic pants (or whatever diaper cover you use) on, make sure the diaper is completely tucked in, all the way around, at the waist and at the legs. The tiniest bit of cloth diaper (or even the tag in the back of the plastic pants) will wick wetness out and get Baby's clothes wet.
When changing Baby, I like to use Huggies brand of wipes. However, I rarely want to spend the money for them. Instead, I use washcloths. I like baby washcloths for this, since they're softer, but when I don't have them, I use a cheap package of regular washcloths. I wet the washcloth with warm water and add a squirt of baby bath. I bought one bottle of (expensive) baby bath with a pump-squirt thingy on the top, and refill it with cheaper baby bath in the regular bottles. After using the washcloths, they get thrown in the diaper pail along with the diapers.
With babies that are only (or mostly) breast-fed, I put the messy diapers in the diaper pail without rinsing first. When they are eating more and more solids, their messes are nastier, and need to be rinsed out in the toilet first. I think it's more efficient to do this by hand than to use one of those diaper ducky things. I like to use rubber gloves for this (and clean them by washing my hands with the gloves still on), but my children like to play with rubber gloves (and lose them). So I buy a box of disposable vinyl gloves and throw them away after using.
Unless the plastic pants are messy (from bowel movements) or overly wet and smelly from overnight use, I reuse them for the next diaper. They come cleaner in the laundry if you turn them inside out before putting them in the diaper pail.
There are official diaper pails available. Tom got me something different, though, that I like better. It's a flip-top trash can that you open the lid by stepping on the pedal thingy at the bottom. It has a bucket liner that you lift out when you need to empty it. It's easier to use because when you have the baby in one arm and the wet diaper in the other hand, you can use your foot to open it, and it shuts by itself.
When laundering diapers, I dump them in the washer, add detergent and turn the washer on. Lacking a washer (a memorable event once when I had two in diapers), I dump them into the tub, add water and detergent, and wash by hand. If I can hang them on the line outside, I use cold water. Otherwise I use hot. Hanging them on the line on a bright sunny day bleaches them. Leaving them out in the rain, or overnight in the dew softens them. If you do use a dryer, remember this: plastic pants last longer if you do NOT put them in the dryer. Hang them up instead. Also, bleach weakens the fibers in the diapers.
Diaper rash: I use zinc oxide cream now. When I lived in the US, I could get a little bottle of vitamin E oil that worked wonders. Here, the vitamin E oil is thick, sticky, hard to use, and -- no surprise -- expensive.
That is all I can think of right now. That seems like a lot of information, but once you get going with it, it becomes second nature. And you save tons of money, even if you have to pay for your water. (We have a well, and sun and wind are free.)
Monday, September 29, 2008
I tried to start home schooling after Labour Day, but there's just so much to do around here we haven't had time. We're hoping to start by the end of October. Right now we're experiencing real-life education, which is, in many ways, more important than academics.
I am hoping that by the beginning of November I can start posting on this blog at least once a month. I want to start by putting on a lot of pictures...
- stuff we do with free pallet wood
- Sam, growing by leaps and bounds (he's six months old already!)
- me, smaller by a significant number of pounds
- the goat barn
- all Sarah's rabbits (maybe two dozen or so?)
- Sarah's ducks (sorry, but the pig went to the butcher today)
- the new roof and porch
- the new bike shed/lean-to we added to the side of the garage
Got to go do laundry, rake leaves and finish making supper. We're having chicken leg quarters tonight.
Love to all my friends and enemies! (You know who you are :) ) Anonymous, if you still read this, know that I pray for you, but I couldn't let you communicate with me anymore. Hope you're doing okay.
Cathy for all the gang.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I am not even going to print out my friend Rand's Friday Night Notes for our church bulletin board. I'm going to pass that job on to my son Josiah.
Pray for us this summer. Our church Bible conference runs July 30 - August 3. Our very dear friend Pastor David Dickerson is coming all the way from Georgia to preach for us. We are so looking forward to his coming, and pray that the Lord will bless it and begin to send us the revival we have been longing for (but not longing for nearly enough).
August 11-15 we will be attending the Bible conference at Maranatha in Pennsylvania. Our oldest son Nate was able to get time off from work to go with us. Please pray that God will awaken him.
The Sunday after the Maranatha conference we hope to be in Mount Vision, New York, visiting our friend Chris Ellis' church. I'm looking forward to seeing them again, and visiting with his wife, and his daughter Esther. Mount Vision is just about half-way between our house and Pennsylvania, so we've been sometimes stopping there to break our trip in half.
I am concerned about us living in a neighbourhood setting. On the one hand, I see such an opportunity to share the gospel with our unsaved neighbours. But on the other hand, I see my children more and more negatively influenced by those lost children. Pray for us about this. I don't want to try so hard to win my neighbours for Christ that I lose my children to the world. But I don't want to so close my family in that we neglect our neighbours, either. I don't know where the balance is, but I do know that my first and primary responsibility is to my home and family.
Part of what's hard about living in a neighbourhood is when all the neighbour children congregate in my yard. This is fine sometimes, but often they're all here way too much. If none of the children are outside, they'll come to the door and ask if they can play. I like that. But if the children are already outside, they won't ask my permission. They'll just come into the yard and start playing. I'd like to find a way to stop this so that my children are not with the world's children hours upon hours every day throughout the summer. I don't think it's fair to make my children stay inside until I am able to be out there with them. I'd like for them to be able to go out without having the neighbours in my yard, too. If any of you have any suggestions for how to deal with this, let me know.
As I get the money, I am ordering schoolbooks for this fall (the only other internet use I will justify for myself right now; a money order costs five dollars!!!). I am looking forward to starting up school again. I am thinking of doing home school more or less year round with breaks for gardening, conferences and family days. That way I don't have to try to cram all the lessons into the short months between Canadian Thanksgiving in October and Victoria Day in May like I have been. (That's between the end of harvest and the beginning of spring planting.) And it will help some with keeping my children occupied without the neighbourhood joining in.
That's it for now. Have a great rest-of-the-summer.
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Here is Part Two.
And now for a closer look at one of the controversial figures in the New Testament: Martha. Of all the women in the Bible, I believe I identify most with Martha. She is the in-charge type, who likes to control the situation, and who gets pretty frustrated when things don't go her way. She tends to take her frustrations out on people, and she tries to get other people to take sides--her side--in every argument. When she is hosting an event, she likes to have everything just right. The food, the house, the arrangement of the furniture, the clothes her family members wear, the way everyone has their hair combed--all has to be just right.
Martha has a very hard time "going with the flow" when something disturbs her idea of perfection. She likes to orchestrate everything and everybody, and she gets all out of sorts when people and things don't perform up to her standards.
I have just described Catherine Margaret Smith Newton. Somebody out there in blog world has just said to themselves, "So that's why she's always defending Martha! She's really just defending herself!" And that's how it was when I first started to study Martha 18 months ago, when a dear friend preached about her. I did not like the picture he was painting of me, so I decided to do some word studies connected to both accounts of Martha and her beloved sister Mary.
Almost everybody I know who as done any kind of devotional or sermon or article on Martha and Mary focuses on one against the other. Martha this BUT Mary that. Mary worships BUT Martha serves. Mary progresses in her worship BUT Martha continues serving. And this is how I usually saw myself. Wanting to worship BUT being stuck in the nursery. Wanting to spend hours in prayer and Bible study BUT having to work with my children. Wanting to sit and feed on the Word in the adult Sunday school class BUT having to teach a class myself. What I most resented was that I saw no way possible for me to "choose the better part" because there was no choice for me. I HAD to serve.
When I took a good hard look at myself 18 months ago, I saw the truth about myself in a way that I never wanted to admit before. The truth is this: given the choice, given the wide-open door of opportunity to "choose the better part" without distraction, guess what? I would still find some way to be "encumbered about much serving."
So here I was, embarking on a journey, setting out to prove to the world once and for all that it is okay to be a Martha. That we all have different personality types, and God can use us all within our different personality types. Martha can serve while Mary worships, and God will bless us both. And I fully expected to have people, even the best commentators, totally disagree with me. And I was loading my guns in preparation for fighting back.
So I started tooling around with my wonderful E-sword, and to my surprise, most of the commentators were sympathetic toward Martha! Well, that sort of took some steam out of me. And in wondering how to interpret the two Martha-serving passages, I proceeded with my word study.
Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they [the Lord and His disciples] went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
This is an interesting verse. Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus lived together in one house. Yet it was not Lazarus' house, it was Martha's. Normally single women lived with their father, brother, uncle or other male relative. But here's a case where the home is owned by the woman. Now, I want to be careful not to read too much into this, but based on the following verses I think it's safe to say that Martha was an "in charge" type of person. She was the boss of that house. There is no way for us to know which sibling was the oldest, but I can imagine it might have been Martha. She sounds like she was used to running the show. Even her name means mistress!
Verses 39 and 40: And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was encumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
And here the contrast is drawn: Mary sitting in peace at the Lord's feet, Martha bustling about, becoming more and more agitated to the point of actually giving orders to the Lord Himself!
What is Martha actually doing here, that she thinks is so important? The phrase is "encumbered about much serving." The first three words emphasize each other in relation to the amount of serving this woman was doing.
Encumbered: To be over-occupied, too busy, about a thing; to be mentally distracted.
About: In excess, with completeness, through and through.
Much: Many. Large. (As in, "the hostess with the mostest.")
The picture in my mind is this: Days, maybe even weeks, of preparation. The best food in town purchased for this one meal. Perhaps servants are sent to nearby Jerusalem for items Bethany doesn't have. The house cleaned from top to bottom and beautifully decorated. The cushions arranged for maximum comfort. The dishes of food carefully prepared and exquisitely garnished. Each course exactly timed so that nothing is too hot or too cold when set before the guests. And she certainly would not have neglected the common welcome of the day as one Simon did. She would have had plenty of fresh, warm water, the best soaps and the fluffiest towels for washing her guests' feet.
In other words, Martha went WAY over the top with this one meal. And for what purpose? Why all this effort? Something I read once suggested that Martha was showing off. I don't think so. I think she saw the Lord as Someone very important, and she wanted Him to have the best she could offer. But her best was too much. It encumbered her, distracting her and drawing her away from simply sitting at the Lord's feet and fellowshipping with Him. He didn't want all that fuss and bother. He wanted her. He would have been perfectly satisfied with a simple meal such as they normally would have eaten, in order for her to have time with Him.
Verses 41-42 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Careful: Anxious, troubled.
Troubled: Disturbed, troubled in mind, disquieted.
The Lord used two synonyms to describe Martha's mental state. He wanted to make sure she got the point, like when we caution a child by saying, "That water is boiling hot." It's not enough to just say boiling or hot; we have to say boiling hot. So the Lord says careful and troubled.
Now let's fast-forward a year.
John 12:1-3 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
On the surface, it appears as though Martha has not learned anything. Lazarus is sitting with the Lord, Mary is worshiping Him in a way that suggests she understands perfectly that He is about to be killed, but Martha is serving again. I'm going to suggest that she did learn something, something essential.
Martha was probably a wealthy woman. Matthew Henry suggests that she was possibly a widow, which would explain why this is her house, not her brother's. Perhaps she came from a poor family and married a wealthy man. This might explain why Mary and Lazarus lived with her: maybe their father had no property for them to inherit. The point is, Martha most likely had many servants ready to do her bidding. In Luke's account, Martha was overseeing a huge feast. There was way too much for one, or even two, women to do. Servants would have been bustling back and forth with wash basins, cushions, appetizers, etc. Martha would also have been bustling about making sure everything was going just right, driven to distraction by the mental strain of it all.
In John's account a year later, there is a startling difference.
They made Him a supper. The main meal of the day, one that would take a little extra effort than for breakfast or lunch, just as many of us do for our own families every day. In other words, nothing more or less special than normal, everyday fare.
And Martha served. Martha. Not her servants. Martha herself brought the Lord His food and set it before Him. She served in His presence, and without the mental distraction of the previous feast. She had learned to use the gift of hospitality God had blessed her with to serve with simplicity and in quietness of heart out of love for her Lord. I quote Matthew Henry:
Christ had formerly reproved Martha for being troubled with much serving. But she did not therefore leave off serving, as some, who, when they are reproved for one extreme, peevishly run into another; no, still she served; not as then at a distance, but within hearing of Christ's gracious words, reckoning those happy who, as the queen of Sheba said concerning Solomon's servants, stood continually before him, to hear his wisdom; better be a waiter at Christ's table than a guest at the table of a prince.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Take one pound (or so, I didn't actually weigh it) of Monterey Jack cheese that really needs used up today. Think about that for a minute to determine the best way to incorporate that into a meal. Remember that when the groceries came today, your husband left the hamburger out, at your request. Think a little more about how the cheese and the meat will go best into some sort of casserole that your family will love, if only because they're tired of the same-old-predictable-same-old that you've been serving. While you are thinking about all this, start a pan of clean dishwater so you can clean as you go.
Ask your 9 year-old-daughter to pull six green onions from the garden. While she's doing that, pour some (maybe about 2 tablespoons) olive oil into a small frying pan. Turn burner on low to heat the oil while you cut most of the stems off the onions (leave about six inches). Realize that you could have saved olive oil and frying pans by cooking the onion with the hamburger. Say "oh well" to yourself, and start browning the hamburger in the large frying pan.
Make sure that you are using the side of the cutting board marked "onions". Clean and slice the parts of the onions that you keep, putting the rest into the bucket for the pig. Stir the hamburger. After you've sliced four onions, look at the pile of slices. Realize that the green onions are getting bigger bulbs now, so you really didn't need six. Put the two remaining onions into a dish for your husband, who loves garden-fresh onions. Put the slices in the frying pan with the hot oil. When it all spatters and spits at you, realize that you have the burner too high and turn it down. Stir. Stir the hamburger.
Pull three cloves off a garlic bulb. Cut the the little bits off at the root ends and remove the papery covers. Stir the onions. Chop up the hamburger to make sure it's all in bits, with no big lumps. Look on the nice magnetic knife holder your friends gave you, for the chopping knife. Notice that it's not there. Glance into the dish drainer. When you don't find it there, say "oh well" to yourself and get a different knife. Chop each garlic clove into bits, pausing after each to stir the onions. After each clove has been chopped, gather all the bits into a pile and chop again. Scrape the whole pile into the frying pan with the onions and stir. Stir the hamburger.
Stir the onions and garlic again. Remember the book you read recently that said garlic does not need to cook very long, or it will start to not taste so good. Turn the burner off and set the frying pan to the back of the stove. Check to see that all the pink is out of the hamburger. Drain fat and juices into glass measuring cup. Not because you want to measure it, but because it was handy. Turn off hamburger burner and set that frying pan on the stove.
Wash all utensils, etc., that you've used so far. Wipe down all counter tops. Call in your 9 year-old-daughter and your 5 year-old-daughter. While they are coming in and washing their hands, melt 1/4 cup butter in stock pot. Measure 1/4 cup flour, and set it aside. Measure 2 cups of milk, and set it aside. When the butter is melted, use the wire whippy to stir in the flour. Slowly add milk, stirring all the time. Occasionally set the milk down and give the mixture a good, thorough stirring, to make sure no lumps are happening.
By the time the milk is all poured and stirred in, the girls should have their hands washed. Have them start making a salad. While they are working, monitor their conversation to make sure it is characterized by peace, love and joy. Correct any speech that does not qualify. Note that this time, most of it does qualify. Smile about that.
Meanwhile, unwrap the cheese and slice it into the milk mixture, stirring till melted and smooth after every 5-6 slices. Be thankful for the cheese slicer: it works much nicer than a knife for this kind of cheese. Try not to remember that you were irritated with your husband for "wasting" money on it, when a knife would work just as well. While you are slicing the cheese, your daughters will crowd around and say, "Mmmm. Looks good. What is it?" Instead of doing the "Food" - "What kind of food?" - "Yummy food" bit that you usually do, confess the truth: you don't have a name for it because you're making it up as you go along. Announce that there will be a contest at dinner to see who can come up with a name for it. Remind your daughters that they are supposed to be making a salad.
After the cheese sauce is done, turn that burner off. Stir in the hamburger, then the onions and garlic. Get an inspiration, and stir in two cups of frozen corn. Wash all utensils, etc., that are dirty, and wipe all counter tops. Notice that the dish drainer is getting full. Draft 9 year-old-daughter to dry and put away. Show 5 year-old-daughter how to cut the "trees" of broccoli off the "trunk" to add to the salad. Be thankful that she has learned to use the sharp knife safely and is being such a big help. Tell her that she is being a big help.
Grease two 13X9 glass pans with butter. Portion the hamburger stuff evenly between the two and smooth it all out. Do the washing up routine again. Get the cookbook out and open it up to the drop biscuits recipe. See what temperature to set the oven for, and do that. Look for the big white mixing bowl. Realize that the girls are using it for the salad. Look for the other big white mixing bowl, being thankful that you have two. When you don't find it, ask the girls if they know where it is. 9 year-old-daughter will tell you that it's in the refrigerator. Ask what's in it. When she says, "Salad. Lots of salad," say, "oh, boy." Look at that salad. Notice that there are white wisps of cottony-looking mold growing on it. Wonder to yourself, "When was the last time we had salad?" Don't bother answering the question because it doesn't matter. You were gone all day yesterday, and before that you don't remember because everybody's been sick--again. Decide not to think about that.
Send the moldy salad out with 9 year-old-daughter to give to the pig. Be thankful that you have a pig, the pig you hadn't wanted because your neighbours went ahead and got it for you without asking, and you had to get your family scrambling to build it a pen for it right in the middle of the Saturday night bath routine, and it got loose early the next morning (which was a Sunday), and set the dogs to barking at 4:30 AM, which woke up your visiting parents, but you didn't know why the dogs were barking until several hours later, and everybody had to go out and chase the pig back into the pen when they should have been eating Sunday breakfast and getting ready for church, and somebody had to wake up those neighbours because their pig was loose too, and....... Decide not to think about that anymore, either.
When the bowl comes back, wash it, and mix up a double batch of drop biscuits. Spoon the dough onto the top of the hamburger mixture, portioning it so there are exactly 12 relatively evenly spaced blobs of dough on each panful. When there is one blob left over, break it up into bits and add them to the other blobs. Open the oven to put the pans in. Notice that you forgot to move the oven rack back to the middle after baking bread earlier. Move it now. Put pans in the oven and set the timer.
Now 9 year-old-daughter will tell you that the baby is crying. Call 16 year-old-daughter in to do the rest of the washing up. Just as she gets there, notice that the baby has stopped crying. Decide not to pick him up just now, but help the younger girls with the table setting, instead. As soon as everything is ready, call everyone to dinner.
As all the children gather around, listen to them exclaim about how good it smells, and what is it, and how good it looks, and can I have two helpings please, etc. Announce about the naming contest. Serve everybody their portions.
During dinner, 9 year-old-daughter will announce the name of this new recipe. Remind her that there will be a vote. She will ignore you, and explain how the recipe got its name.
Cor for corn
Che for cheese
Me for meat
Good because it's really good
Only at our house.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
The Greek word translated service means worship. We are to offer our whole selves up as a sacrifice in worship to the Lord.
Rom 12:4-6 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...
We each have a different gift of service (worship) to offer to the Lord. The following verses describe some of those gifts, including this one:
Rom 12:7 ...or ministry, let us wait on our ministering...
The Greek word translated ministry/ministering (same word) is also translated ministration in Acts 6:1 (the account of why deacons were chosen), minister in Hebrews 1:14 (about angels ministering to the saints), relief in Acts 11:29 (aide sent to help the suffering saints in Judea) and serving in Luke 10:40 (the famous "Mary and Martha" passage)
It is a word used to describe the work of meeting both the physical and spiritual needs of others, and stems from the noun form which means servant.
Rom 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation....
Literally, let your benevolence be without hypocrisy. The word for love is agape, the ultimate giving kind of love.
Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another...
Literally, cherish one another as you would members of your own families with brotherly kindness; showing that you highly value one another.
Rom 12:13 Distributing1 to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
This verse is self-explanatory, but I found the word given interesting. The Greek means to chase after, or pursue, like someone running toward a goal. The goal in this case is loving and entertaining strangers.
So here is a whole passage dedicated to teaching us that we are not alike in the way we worship and serve Christ. We all have different gifts enabling us to worship and serve Christ in different ways. And the act of meeting the physical needs of others, both Christians and strangers (and Christ Himself while He was on this earth) is just as much a legitimate act of worship as any other.
So what was the difference between Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42? Not so much in what they did, but in their attitudes. Both were engaging in legitimate acts. But Martha did not have a legitimate attitude.
A severe thunderstorm is rolling in, so I am going to have to finish this later. I promise to finish this thought before I take my summer blog break. :)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I am going to finish what I started about the servant's heart (Mary and Martha) later this week. After that I am going to take my cue from my daughter and take a blogging break for the summer. Meanwhile, we have our own Bible conference coming up July 30-August 3. Tom and I also hope to take the whole family (Nate, too!) to Maranatha Bible Conference (in Pennsylvania) in August (please pray that God will work out the details for this).
We are also building a small barn, Sarah is starting a babysitting job AND a meat rabbit business AND getting goats in the fall, I'm getting a Jersey cow, and there's all the gardening to do. We need to clean out our cellar and build a cold room down there, to use as a root cellar. We have a whole bunch of junk to haul away to the dump, and scrap metal to sell to the scrap yard. Our neighbour gave Elijah a trailer that Tom wants to fix up and get tags for, so that we can use it for hauling stuff. Stuff like several loads of hay, if the rain will stop long enough for the farmers to cut it!
AND, we're getting a new roof put on! We are getting a grant for this, so we had to submit two bids for the job. The inspector who approved our grant decides who gets the job. Pray that our friends Jon U. and Michel C. get the job. They are just getting started in their new construction contracting business, and we want to help them out. Plus we know them, and know that they will do a great job.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Tom says I've not been getting enough sleep. I don't know. I go to bed no later than ten, and lately I think I've been sleeping pretty well. Samuel has been sleeping all night, anywhere from 8 to 11 hours. During the day I lie down with him when he needs nursed, and sometimes doze off. I did go through about a week or so of not being able to sleep, no matter how hard I tried. But that hasn't been the case lately.
It is hard for me to stay focused. If I am interrupted while writing, I have to read the whole paragraph, sometimes the whole blog post over again to try to remember what I was writing. Sometimes I totally lose my thought and end up deleting the half sentence I just wrote because I have no idea what I was trying to say. That is why I haven't been blogging lately.
I have not gotten the garden finished yet. I just can't keep my mind on it. I go out to do some planting, and find I can't think what I am supposed to do. Same for a lot of other chores, like laundry or sewing or cleaning.
I've got my children worried. Last night Elijah asked if Alzheimer's runs in the family. And Sarah remembered reading about a woman who began to be easily confused, especially about where she was, when she was younger than I am. I am 42.
I don't know what the problem is, but I ask you to pray for me. I don't think I have anything major on my conscience. Fellowship with the Lord has been sweet lately. I do think I am too busy. I am gone from home a lot, but haven't been able to help it. It's all been necessary, mostly related either to ministry or shopping I absolutely had to do. I did mark on my calendar all the days I want to STAY HOME for the rest of this month.
Monday, June 02, 2008
"Let not a widow be taken into the number under three-score years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. ... I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." --1 Timothy 5:9-10, 14
"Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did." --Acts 9:36
"I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: that ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also." --Romans 16:1-2
"Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles." --Romans 16:3-4
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." --Luke 10:38-42
"There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." --John 12:2-3
For years I have had the impression, and heard it preached, that we should be Marys and not Marthas. That you can't be both. That Mary chose the better part, and so should we. That we should be in the presence of the Lord all the time, and not be serving. That Martha did not learn her lesson the first time, that she didn't grow, that she's still stuck in the serving mode the second time a year later.
If all that is true, then what do we do with the other verses in the New Testament, the ones that clearly teach that we must work and serve? What about all those women who worked and served, and were commended for their working and serving?
All this time I've thought that the difference between Mary and Martha was in what they did. I now believe the difference lay in the attitude of the heart. We all have different gifts and abilities. I believe Martha's gift was serving. She just needed to adjust her attitude about it.
There is a major difference between Martha's first service in Luke and her second service in John. More on that next.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Who's the fairest of the all?
Not the girls with hateful heart,
Poison tongue like stinging dart.
Fairest she, who sheds forth love,
Gentle thoughts from God above,
Beauty blossoms in the face
When the heart is filled with grace
Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Who's the fairest of the all?
Not the girl with sullen eye,
Pouting lips that fret, defy.
Fairest she whose moods are bright,
Happy rainbows of delight.
Faces wreathed in joy declare
God's own beauty dwelling there.
Mirror, mirror on the wall...
Who's the fairest of them all?
Not the unchaste, brazen maid,
Flaunting, flippant, unafraid.
Fairest she whose heart is pure,
Manner modest, grace demure
Virtue crowns this girl a queen
For her life shines true and clean.
Mirror, mirror, tell me who
Can my countenance renew?
Jesus Christ, God's righteous Son,
Altogether Lovely One!
Fairest of Ten Thousand! Yes,
He can give you loveliness!
"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 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 3:3-4
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
This place begins to look more and more like a little farm. I didn't really want a pig, but our neighbours thought Sarah would love him. They wanted a pig, but couldn't get just one. They bought two for $10 each, and gave Sarah the extra one. The next day, after both pigs got loose and ran around in our back yard (on a Sunday morning), the neighbours decided they didn't want a pig after all. No, we did not take it.
Anyway, Hammy (also known as Porky) is destined to bless our table come fall. Yum.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Here is a seed company I like to deal with. They are a Christian company with good service and generous quantities of seeds. With this company, you get a lot more seeds for a lot less money than you would at your average garden center. Plus, they are open-pollinated, meaning you can save your own seed from year to year. And they tell you how to do that, in case you're a beginner at seed saving, like I am.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Flip-Flop Factor: Why Day Care Kids Don’t Play Outside
Outdoor play at day care centers is often stifled because a child arrives wearing flip-flops or without a coat or because teachers don’t feel like going outside.
Those were some of the surprising findings from a new study of children’s physical activity in day care settings. More than half of American children between the ages of 3 and 6 are in child care centers or preschools.
Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center held focus groups with staff members at 34 area child care centers to learn more about how kids spend their time in day care and the reasons they may or may not spend time outside.
Many of their answers were unexpected. Day care workers keep children inside if they show up in flip-flops rather than sneakers or if they don’t have a coat on a chilly day. Sometimes, the entire class is kept indoors if one child doesn’t have appropriate clothes for outdoor play. One problem is that parents who don’t want their child going outside on a given day will intentionally keep the child’s coat so he or she will be kept indoors.
One surprising problem the researchers learned was about the mulch used to landscape playgrounds and outdoor spaces at day care centers. Staff members complained that kids eat the mulch or use it as weapons, or it gets caught in their shoes, making outdoor play troublesome for teachers.
“It’s certainly not something that we had anticipated as an issue, but judging by the amount of and intensity of the discussions among child care teachers, it really is,'’ said Dr. Kristen Copeland, assistant professor of pediatrics and the study’s lead author.
The feelings of teachers and parents also influenced whether children played outside. Although children learn important gross motor and social skills on the playground by learning to kick a ball or negotiate with another child for a turn on the swing, teachers said they felt pressure from some parents who were more concerned with children spending time on academic skills like reading and writing.
Some workers said outdoor play is too much trouble because it requires time to bundle up kids during cold weather. Other staff members just said they didn’t like going outside.
“Finding out what the barriers are is the first step in addressing the problem and getting more kids involved in more much-needed physical activity,” Dr. Copeland said.
The research, which was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, was presented Monday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Honolulu.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I collected and printed all sorts of things, organizing that information into categories: activities for preschoolers, recipes, things to do as a family, gardening ideas, how to care for and then butcher all sorts of farm animals, how to tan hides, etc.
E-mailing was exciting. I could keep in constant touch with all the friends I ever left behind during our many moves from state to state (and later from country to country). No more waiting for the regular mail to come.
Then I discovered forums. What fun! Talking to total strangers about anything and everything. Now I was addicted.
I heard about women who were becoming virtual moms and neglecting their homes. Tom and I even counseled with a couple whose marriage eventually fell apart because the wife was online so much. I thought, those people are crazy to throw away their real lives for a virtual dreamworld.
Can anybody spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E?
All that seems ridiculous to me now. All those ideas? I actually used a very tiny fraction of them. E-mailing is almost as bad as snail mail, for all the replies I actually get. And forums became so much boring gossip.
I am free now. I'm free because God convicted me of sin in this matter, and made me see that my real, flesh and blood family is my priority--and not a drudgery, either, but a great, wonderful blessing. I'm free because I told Tom about my struggles and he very kindly disconnected the internet for me for several months to help me get past my addiction.
And now I must get off my computer. I've gone past my allotted time. We're ready for Bible time and breakfast, then we'll do some quick straightening up, make the beds, and go outside. We're hosting a picnic for Victoria Day next week, and we've got some yard work to do. Also, my garden is calling me. I want to start planting this week.
So if I'm not on here for a while, picture me outside with my children and wish me a happy spring.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Should I cry? Rejoice? Do a happy dance? Get a longer apron string to tie him with? Send him off with a big shove to make him hurry?
Here are my random thoughts:
**He should stay home until he gets married, and continue being part of the family.
**He should move out and prove that he can stand on his own two feet before he gets married.
**He should move out for now, and then later move back home again. He will have proven that he can live independently, but will have decided he doesn't like living on his own.
Most families go through a transition period called college. The child goes to college, but comes home for breaks and summer vacation. By the end of college, the family has adjusted to life without the child, and the child has gained independence and/or a spouse.
But for us, things are a little more sudden. Last night he was living with us full-time. Tonight he will be living on his own full-time. No transition, no adjustment period.
Okay, I'm happy for him. This will be good for him. But I want my little boy back.
Monday, April 28, 2008
"No, Johnny. Finish your ice cream first. Then you can have more olives."
Those quotes both came from a parent (I won't say which one). The following quote is even better. It came from another child.
"NOOO, Timmy!!! That's MY broccoli!!"
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Elizabeth has been public-schooled her entire life, including some of her college training. On the surface, she appears (to those who don't know her) to be a career-minded person currently working on her doctorate in music. She is very talented in piano and is working toward the goal of being a concert pianist. She is also teaching piano. She is single, she travels the world, and has the world at her feet, so to speak.
But there is another side to Elizabeth. Actually, I don't think it's "another side." I think it's the real Elizabeth. You don't have to spend too much time with her before one characteristic begins to stand out: she is very family oriented, and would love to have her own husband and children with whom to love and serve God. If and when God chooses to bless her with a godly husband, she plans to be a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom. I asked her recently why a public-schooled kid would be so positively FOR home schooling that she would be against any other kind of education for her children. Here is her answer:
#1 I want my children to learn about God, Jesus, the Bible, and to not feel afraid to pray out loud, and worship God as we were created to do. And I certainly don't need the school principal suspending them because they have infringed on their peers "freedom of religion"
#2 While every child needs to know how to function and get along in the real world, there are a few things I think my kids can go without learning about until they are older. Such as? Well, violence, sexual promiscuity, bad language, etc. I can share several stories of children saying things to me as a kid that caused me to learn about things no child should be learning about. In fact, at one point, a group of boys I went to school with were threatened to be suspended from school because the things they said to be on a day-to-day basis were so terrible. I remember HATING waking up in the morning and going to school because if I stood up for myself, the teachers would reprimand me, instead of the people verbally abusing me.
#3 Children have a right to wake up, go to school, learn, and never be afraid that the school might blow-up because someone brought a bomb to school. Think I'm exagerating? No! I have memories of sitting on the school hill-side in Michigan, on a regular basis, because of bomb-drills, waiting to make sure the school wasn't going to blow-up, before we could go back inside. About 6 years after that I was living in WV where book-bags were either not permitted, or only those that were see-through or mesh. We also had a team of police officers that swatted us down as we entered the school doors, to make sure we weren't armed. And when we did have actual bomb or other violent warnings at school, we were not permitted to call our parents and be picked up. Instead, we got out of classes early to sit in a gymnasium for a pep-rally, led by the school principal, to convince us that whomever was making the threats couldn't scare us or keep us from going to school...not very comforting!
#4 Kids don't need to wake up at 6am, go to school from 7-3, and then spend all night doing homework. It makes more sense to me to teach school, and get the homework done by evening. This way you can actually spend family time doing other things..church, music, going to a museum, taking a walk, doing things kids like to do, like going outside to play!
#5 The home-schooled people I have known have always been smarter, on average, than most public-schooled kids I have known. I think it's fair to say a lot of home-schooled seniors (in high school) are smarter than most college grads I know. They also seem to have better work-ethic when they are on their own. Maybe part of this is because many public schools have eliminated having to read entire books, and writing essays. Everything is so dumbed down that many college students don't even know how to write a college-level paper.
#6 Home-schooled kids are only sheltered if parents make them that way. They can have social skills equal to public-schooled kids, as long as the parents make an effort to involve them in church activities, home-school umbrella groups, and other activities. They get to develop social skills without parents worrying as much about their kids picking up un-Godly habits.
#7Children spend less time sitting in class while the teacher struggles with the "troubled students" and more individual attention, helping each child meet their potential.
#8 More flexibility with scheduling. If the family wants to take a vacation, have a reunion, or whatever, we can take our work with us, and pick up when we need to. We don't have to worry about driving to school on bad snow days, or getting behind on school work because of it. We can work things around our schedule, instead of the other way around.
I probably sound very idealistic explaining my feelings. I realize that kids will pick up bad habits, do things they shouldn't, and just be kids, no matter where they go to school. But, if I can do something to assure that my kids grow up happy, healthy, safe, and with a knowledge of God, they have a greater chance of being happy, healthy, and most importantly, Godly, adults. And while I was public schooled, and yes, obviously had to work through my issues, there are many things I wish would have been different from my school-days. The grass is always greener on the other side, but in this case, I think the grass actually IS greener.
Oh yeah, lastly, #9 I think home-schooling will be fun, and educational for both them and me!
I couldn't have said it better myself. If you want to learn more about Elizabeth, visit her blog here.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Are there better things to do with my time than being on the computer? That depends on the time of day. I have chosen to allot a certain time each day to be on the computer, rather than being on randomly throughout the day. This way my computer time does not interfere with what I should be doing in my home or with my family.
This specifically regards internet use, since that is where I tend to spend a lot of time. You probably know how it goes: you're looking something up for some specific purpose. Maybe you need a recipe, or you're doing some type of research, or you're ordering something from an online company. Somewhere in the process something catches your eye and you click on a link. That leads you to another link, and another, until suddenly you realize that an hour has gone by and you've gotten totally sidetracked from your original purpose for being on the internet.
If you visit my blog regularly, you've probably noticed that I did not post at all last week. I was on the internet some, but never really had time to post. My priorities are shifting from inside the house (the winter mode) to outside the house (the spring clean-up-the-yard mode). I am also determined to finish school ON TIME this year! So I decided to limit my computer time to 15 minutes a day. The rest of the day is filled with normal every day stuff (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.), home school, and spring cleaning. Also, it's that time of year again when I go through everybody's clothes and list what we need to buy/sew before summer. Oh, and let's not forget all the time it takes to nurse a hungry newborn!
On that note, I leave you with this verse, that states what our very first priority should be:
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." --1 Peter 2:2
Sunday, April 13, 2008
We were running late tonight, so I was not really happy to hear the van make a strange, not-good sort of sound when I started it up. Tom came out and listened to it, looked over the engine, checked the dash to see if any warning lights were on, and decided we'd probably be okay. So we left for church. We went a different way than Tom because we needed to pick up three sons who had started walking. Tom went on the freeway.
We were almost to Cornwall when suddenly I could no longer accelerate. In fact, when I pushed on the gas, the van actually went slower. So I just sort of drifted along, thankful that there wasn't much traffic. I was trying to get closer to town so that we wouldn't have too far to walk to get to a phone. Then the engine just stopped. The steering went stiff and I couldn't use the brakes. So I pulled off the road and coasted to a stop.
Josiah offered to go call Tom, and Sarah and Ben decided to go with him. They got out of the van, and Josiah said, "Hey, Mother, you have a flat tire!" Right. When do you get a dead engine and a flat tire at the same time? I hadn't even noticed any thumping. It must have gone flat just as I was pulling over. Maybe I ran over a nail or something.
So those three left to go find a phone while Elijah and I stayed with the three little boys at the van. Elijah decided to try to change the tire while we were waiting. Meanwhile, I got Samuel out of his carseat and fed him. While I kept watch for Tom, I noticed a silver car pull into the park behind us. It turned around and came up behind our van. A man got out and asked if we needed any help. There wasn't anything he could do, so we started talking. The conversation went like this:
Man: "Are you a Christian?"
Man: "I just wondered because I noticed your long hair. Are you Pentecostal?"
Me, chuckling a little: "No."
Man: "Well, what are you?"
Man, his face lighting up: "Really? What church do you go to?"
Man, interrupting me: "Calvary Baptist Church?"
Man: "On Pitt Street?"
Man: "That's great! I'm on my way there; I wanted to visit tonight."
As we continued our conversation, he told how he had called the church but got the answering machine. He tried to find our church, but couldn't figure out how to get there since part of Pitt Street is one way. So he was wandering around, trying to decide what to do. When he stopped to see if we needed help, he was way off course. As I was trying to give him directions, Tom pulled up.
It was getting too close to service time, so Tom decided to leave the van there. He had picked up the three who had called him, so there was no way to get everyone in the car. Our visitor graciously offered to take some in his car. Between the two cars there was exactly enough room.
Why does God do things this way? I mean, He could easily have gotten our visitor there the normal, quiet way visitors usually come to a church. He could have held our van together and not let the tire go flat. We could have gotten to church without any mishap, just like usual. Why did He arrange our paths to cross this way?
I don't know why. But I am rejoicing that God has a sense of humor. I love to see how God works this way. Some day I'll tell you how God used a bumper sticker, a can of beer and some missing laundry detergent to get us into Canada in the first place. But here's another little story I just thought of.
Some years ago while we were living in Texas, a man visited my dad's church in Pennsylvania. My dad got to talking with him and found out that this man was from Texas. My dad said, "Really? My daughter lives in Texas. What town are you from?"
Well, as most people know, Texas is huge. The odds are very slim that this man would be from anywhere near where we lived. So the man answered, "Oh, I'm from a really little town in Texas that you probably never heard of: Elmendorf."
My dad says, "Oh, that's the very town where my daughter lives!"
As it turned out, we knew this man. He went to our church.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Go here to hear the story.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I don't necessarily care that this was done, but I wonder: Who put the link to my blog on the YLCF site?
To my brother Clyde (and anyone else who wants to know): If you want a stat counter and a way to know who visits your site, I use www.statcounter.com. Go there and follow instructions for setting it up on your site.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Several thoughts come to mind, which I'd like to think about more in future posts.
1. Are there better things to do with my time than being on the computer? That depends on the time of day. I have chosen to allot a certain time each day to be on the computer, rather than being on randomly throughout the day. This way my computer time does not interfere with what I should be doing in my home or with my family. (Note to other bloggers: if my IP address shows up on your visitor stats more than once or twice a day, kindly remember that other people in my family use my computer for internet use. :) )
2. Does visiting other blogs and/or websites count as "wandering about from house to house" as described in 1 Timothy 5:13? I'm going to suggest that depends on what your purpose is in visiting all those sites. It also depends on what you could (or perhaps should) be doing instead, as mentioned above. And I think we need to consider the particular women who were doing the wandering, and why they had that opportunity to wander, whom Paul was addressing. In other words, we need to look at 1 Timothy 5:13 in its context.
3. Is this an area that requires "balance" and "self-control" or is it an area that should be completely cut out? I think we'd all agree that each person needs to answer that for herself. Personally, I find it much easier to be an "all or nothing" kind of person (either feast to the max or fast totally) than to exercise self-control (eating neither too much nor too little). Yet self-control is what I need most to practice.
These are thoughts I plan to explore in future posts. I am not sure which I will tackle first. Stay tuned, if you wish.
Friday, April 04, 2008
Have computers changed the way we communicate? If so, is this good or bad? Here are a couple of observations:
- I don't get very many snail-mail letters anymore. I don't send very many, either, since usually it's all old news by the time the letter gets there.
- Certain children I know don't bother much with learning to spell since either they use spell check, or they figure everybody knows what they mean anyway.
- I asked God to help me communicate better with my oldest daughter. We started exchanging thoughts and observations and even a few apologies via blog-land. This proved to be a good stepping stone, and now we communicate face to face very well (in my opinion).
Recently my good friend Twinklemoose gave me something else to think about. Like a lot of women, I have a list of blogs I visit regularly. If you're like me, here's a question to think about:
Could wandering around the internet count as "wandering about from house to house" as mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:13? More about that in a later post.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Here's the trailer:
Saturday, March 29, 2008
"What's he going to do now?" I ask.
"Well," Tom replies, "The System tells him not to worry about getting a job right away. He should just go on welfare and slowly ease himself back into society."
"That's ridiculous! He'll just ease himself back into crime!"
Of course, Tom knows this. That's why he intends to set up an intense discipling program with this particular young man. Please pray for him, and the young man. If God's grace does not intervene he will very likely be back behind bars all too soon.
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. --Ephesians 4:28
And along the same lines, do you have any idea just how many people are in need of intense, one-on-one spiritual counseling? I will tell you that I can give you a list of names too long for Tom and me to handle. (Especially Tom, since my priority is for my children. I only have one on my list.) So while you are praying, consider this verse:
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. --Luke 10:2
Friday, March 28, 2008
Altogether the meds cost close to $150, but that's not so big a deal when you consider that our taxes cover the cost of doctors and hospitals here in Canada. The paper said today that the average overnight hospital stay in Canada is over $7000! When we lived in the States, we could not afford health insurance. At that rate, we'd have had bills totaling no less than $91,000 just for all the hospital stays our family has had since last October. Add in the doctor/midwife fees, lab fees, ultrasound, and other miscellaneous things....I'm quite happy to pay $150 for Timmy's meds.
Abby, Ben and Elijah worked really hard these last few days getting caught up in their math. We need to work on history and writing. We never did get any science this year, although I did try to have them do a few nature studies reports related to the geography that correlates with their history. Thankfully, Sarah has been keeping up with her schoolwork on her own, though she has gotten behind some since helping me.
Another thing to work on now that Samuel is born: being active outside. I told Abby that as soon as I am completely recovered I am going to race her to the end of the horse farm driveway that borders part of our property. She says she'll beat me. She probably will--at first. But just let her wait, I'll beat her before the end of the summer. That and biking, gardening and hiking are going to get me back into shape. Last year I wanted to get one of those buggies for children that you hook onto the back of your bike. John and Timmy would love it, but Samuel will still be too small. I'm going to make a sling for him, though, for when we go hiking.
More of the ground shows through the snow. The drifts made by the snowplows are still about three feet deep, and there are mountains of snow piled up in parking lots all over town. Behind the hospital there is a whole field where they dumped the whole winter's worth of snow from the hospital parking lots. That's all going to take a while to melt. But more of the geese are coming back, and the air smells of spring.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
What I know is that Timmy is a lot better and should be coming home tomorrow, Samuel's bilirubin count is too high so he is under ultra violet rays for now. I don't think its anything serious, my mom says that is "normal" for early babies. But he should becoming home tomorrow as well after another blood test. Sorry to everybody who heard his bilirubin count was too low, I was busy when my mom called so I didn't really catch everything she said.
But thats whats up, thanks for your prayers.
Last night Samuel's nose started running, and I listened to him sneeze and snuffle all night. Since he was bundled into bed with me all night, his temp this morning was 36.5 Celsius, which is what it should be. But because his diaper leaked onto his clothes, I had to completely change him. I tried to hurry, but just doing that brought his temp down to 35.7! For those of you who are used to Fahrenheit, that means he went from 97.7 down to 96.3 (measured under the arm) in about 5 minutes.
Tom is getting the van warmed up, so I need to get Samuel ready to go. Will let you know more later.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
If you have time, take a look. In my opinion, the African American/Canadian family has suffered more than any other from the attacks of feminism and Marxism. The Church has been so duped by the same ideologies that she has been unable or unwilling to affect any lasting change on this or any other culture.
I recently read a book called So Much More, written by two teenage sisters, that exposes the lie of Marxism/feminism and shows how it subtly infiltrated the Church during the 20th century. The book, which is thoroughly researched and well written, is meant to show Christian daughters how they can "rise above their God-hating culture and change it for the better." I highly recommend it. If you're interested, you can order it here or here.
We also got the DVD put out by the same sisters, called The Return of the Daughters. From the back of the DVD: "This highly-controversial documentary will take viewers into the homes of several young women who have dared to defy today's anti-family culture in pursuit of a biblical approach to daughterhood, using their years between childhood and marriage to pioneer a new culture of strength and dignity...and to rebuild Western Civilization, starting with the culture of the home." You can view the trailer for this film here. I believe this is another must-have for any family, even if they only have sons.
I hear, however, that the same family is working on something for the guys.
Originally Tom planned to have Josiah stay overnight with him, but decided against that, thinking it better to have a parent there at night. Timothy gets worse at night, which is why he was flown to CHEO the last time. Thankfully that did not happen this time. This morning the doctor said Timothy will need to stay another night, so Josiah is staying with him now to let Tom come home to sleep.
Samuel is doing well. We have to keep him bundled up to help him keep his temperature up where it should be. He is wearing a long-sleeved undershirt, a short-sleeved undershirt, a pair of socks, a light-weight sleeper, a heavy sleeper, and a hat. He is wrapped burrito-style in a blanket and tucked into my bed under a flannel sheet and two quilts. This keeps his temperature between 36 and 36.5 Celsius, which is where it should stay.
John, Elizabeth, Abigail, Benjamin and Sarah all have cold symptoms ranging from sore throat and nasal congestion to full-blown coughing-all-the-time cold. My throat is scratchy. And when Tom called this morning it was hard to tell if he is stuffed up or just groggy from lack of sleep.
Spring is "officially" here according to the calendar, and the snow is melting bit by bit every day. The days are warmer and usually sunny. And although the snow is still pretty deep most places, there are a few bare-ground spots showing through here and there. Give us another few weeks and hopefully we'll have flowers starting to poke through. I planted a lot of daffodils last fall, and also dug up and divided an iris clump. I'm eager to see how they all do this year. I've got other gardening plans in mind that I can't wait to get going on.
We also hope to do our roof this spring, and start getting the inside of the house renovated. Josiah has plans to help with that, including setting money aside to help pay for it, instead of paying rent like Nathanael does. I've actually been setting aside some of Nate's rent to put toward all that, also.
That's it for now. Thanks to all who have been praying for us.