Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Peek into the Duggars

Image from

I went to a discount bookstore recently and picked up the book, Growing Up Duggar written by JimBob and Michelle Duggar's four oldest girls: Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger.

I don't know if you're a fan of the TLC show "19 Kids and Counting," but our family catches the show off and on. I thought the book, written about relationships, might be of interest to my girls, but after reading it, I think they're a little young for some of the sections.  It would be a good read for a high school girl.

I did love some of the parenting techniques JimBob and Michelle have used in their home. One of the most innovative ideas, which our kids are too old for now, is right before they have Bible time together each evening the younger kids play the "Obedience Game" with Mom and Dad. They meet at the couch and one adult gives a specific child a command, "Jennifer, run and touch the end of your bed, then touch the front door knob and come back as quick as you can!"  Jennifer stands up and says, "Yes, Sir (or Ma'am), I'd be happy to do it!"  This helps them get some energy out before they have to sit quietly during Bible time and it also helps them to practice quick and happy obedience. What a fun way to practice doing what you're asked.

I find the parenting techniques talked about in the book truly centered on Biblical principles and Mark and I will be rereading the book to see what ideas we can use in our own family.  While we may not have the same convictions as the Duggar family, I found the book to be grace-filled and a wonderful testimony for the Lord. It was a refreshing read and I think they've done a wonderful job raising their children and being a light to the world.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Lifetime Ago

Wow, since the last post in May I feel like we've crammed a whole lifetime into the past few months. We've had multiple hospitalizations for family members, a BIG move to Charlotte, NC, a change in everything for us - house, jobs, church, friends, homeschool groups, a grandmother who moved into our home, and a college son who returned home.  I mentioned to a friend that I didn't know if I would continue to blog because I still felt a little numb from all the changes and yet, I also didn't want to rehash any of it. You know what I mean? You just want to keep moving in a forward direction!

There are two women in my life, a sweet sister-in-law and a dear friend who moved to another country, who have enjoyed reading my blog and so, for them, I'm back.  There's sadness in thinking about not sharing our farm life with you anymore. There was always an adventure to be had, but we followed the Lord's leading and He is giving us new adventures!

Our first Sunday in Charlotte we hit a local BBQ joint and I knew we were truly in the south when I saw the beverages of choice. Too bad I don't like tea! The BBQ was delicious, but we haven't quite gotten used to the sweet tea choices available to us everywhere.

We were very excited when we stumbled upon Steak-N-Shake!  We used to frequent the eatery with my grandmother when we would return to Illinois for a visit. When you just need a greasy burger or a creamy milkshake, Steak-N-Shake fits the bill!

The girls have found ways to enjoy their new house - forts on the stairs!

We spent a semi-drizzly day at Mrytle Beach - our first time, but not our last!

A little rain didn't stop us!

However, our craziest adventure was when we dressed up for Pirate's Day at Krispie Kreme!

We purchased a Duck Dynasty beard for Rhett (he walked through Walmart like that!), and although we didn't sport long beards, we did our part. (even Grandma!)

It was worth it; we took 5 dozen doughnuts home - for free!
(The college class at church finished them off for us.)

Life is starting to take on a routine. 
It's all different, but we're doing our best to embrace new friends, new places and new opportunities!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Busy for What?

I'm an avid goal maker and I've kept records of monthly goals that I've set for the past two years. Don't worry, I'm not "super-something" I'm much better at making goals than I am at achieving them. However, having a plan is in my DNA so I have plans... in an organized binder. Sheezh.

Anyway, in March I looked back at the Aprils/Mays of 2012 and 2013 and found that I didn't really accomplish much. I wondered why and thought I would take 2014 to try and figure it out.

Here it is, May 5th, and I've got the answer. Everything winds down for me during those two months, every extra curricular, that is. We have parties, plays, sports, graduations, work events, birthdays - you name it, we cram it all into April/May. Usually every weekend is full and I move from one major event to the next, wondering when I will catch a quiet moment.  I start resenting all that needs done to pull of the next big thing, when I really just want to spend a little one on one with those I love. Needless to say, goals don't stand a chance.  Sure, some of the busyness is self-imposed. Spring arrives and you just want to do something!  I just have too many somethings to do!  It seems many women I know feel the same way.

We long for summer days, thinking that life will slow down, but then you'll hear us in September wondering where all those summer days went.

I have to admit, I'm kind of sick of waiting for life to slow down. Life happens and with kids it's usually at a frantic pace. The laundry and cooking are always beckoning, throw in some sickness (love ya' allergies) and end-of-year events where everyone is appreciated with a homemade gift and it feels like the pace we find at Christmas! However, in May there isn't a sparkly tree to enjoy before collapsing into bed.

I find I just want to make some meaningful memories. The typical end-of-school-year traditions help us track time, but how many award ceremonies can our photo albums hold? As adults we more than likely don't have our childhood trophies and or fabulous memories of closing ceremonies. Obviously, I enjoy seeing my kid's participate, but I don't want to fill up all my time with activity that doesn't have lasting meaning. That includes my goals, too.

I want to be purposeful and personal when thinking about what I really want to spend my time doing. I want to have friends over, make smores around the campfires, lay on a blanket and look at the stars. I want to make homemade lip gloss and play dough. I want to read books with two tween girls who snuggle their just-showered wet-heads against my shoulders. I want to turn OFF the tv. I want to ride a tractor and listen to inspiring Christian music so when I get off all sweaty and dirty, I just don't care because I've spent time in worship. I want to be brave and swim in the pool even when it feels like an iceberg should be floating by.

Life. I just want to create memories that we all will cherish. I don't want to let another month go by where I've faced all that's come at me, but I can barely remember anything that was worth cherishing.  I want to enjoy my family and friends.  I want to enjoy life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pranks and A Clearing of the Mind

Well, we survived April's Fool Day around here.

My younger two girls have really embraced the pranking on April 1st and they drew their Dad into the melee.

The first prank I came across was a new lock screen on my IPhone.

Instead of a sandy beach, I saw this.

Ugh! Shudder. 
(I actually jumped a little.)

With glee, they assured me that was just the beginning of the pranks. Great.

I took them to Grandma's/Art Class and came home for a few peaceful hours to get some work done, when taking a break I found this.

It's a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate. 
It smelled good, but looked nasty!

Of course, each of the toilets in the house were left the same gift, except their bathroom, of course.

Washing my hands was somewhat challenging. They had removed the liquid hand soap and replaced it with bar soap. The bar soap was covered with clear nail polish so it wouldn't lather! I thought that was pretty ingenious.

We were going to grill hamburgers for dinner so the girls put a large plastic rat under the grill cover. Yuck!  That drew Dad into spirit of the day!  Next thing I know Katie is getting sprayed by the sink sprayer in the kitchen; Dad had put a rubber band around the handle. 

We enjoyed a lovely dinner and watched a couple of shows together. 

At bedtime I went to grab my water bottle out of the laundry room so I could take my evening meds. I took a sip and gagged! Katie had added pickle juice. Gross!  Katie made me a new water bottle, but I had to laugh at getting pranked once more. So gross!

Soon after, I hear Katie screaming from their bathroom. Mark had partially taped the faucet and it sprayed down the front of her when she went to brush her teeth. Usually Tara beats Katie to the bathroom, but she didn't last night so Tara made it through the day without getting pranked.

Tara assured me that she's bummed about not getting pranked so we'll have to see. You don't need a special day to share your love in a tricky way, right?!

On to the song of the day.

April 2: A Song that helps you clear your head

When it's time to pay bills or reconcile the checkbook,
I put on flamenco music. 
Lyrics are too distracting,
but Ottmar Liebert keeps my head clear and spirit up.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Song that makes you Happy

Well, so much for the picture challenge in March. I have a lot of pictures on my camera, but somehow the process of connecting the camera to the laptop, transferring jpegs, editing photos and creating a post was just a little overwhelming. Sigh.

My daughter is going to try another 30 day challenge in April focused on songs.  While I enjoy music, we'll see if I enjoy it enough to keep up with a 30 day challenge. I'm going to give myself permission to participate when I feel "inspired"and skip the posting when nothing comes to mind.

I think you can learn a lot about a person by listening to the type of music they enjoy. I hope this will give you a little insight into who I am and if you have a ready answer to the prompt, please, feel free to share it in the comments. I would love to add some new tunes to my IPhone this month!

April 1: A song that makes you happy

Immediately I thought of Josh Wilson's Jesus Is Alive. I absolutely love this song!  I listen to it year-round to the dismay of my son, who introduced it to me.

One of my favorite lines: "When your tiny heart started beating for mine" (I have hand motions!)

The bridge at minute 2:04 is ridiculously awesome.
If you ain't shoutin' after that, something's wrong!

Happy Song! Yay!

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's All In The Eyes

March 14 Photo Challenge: Focusing On Eyes

Ashley's Eye!

This isn't even one of my own pics, but it is my favorite eye photo. 
She has light blue/green eyes, but used a photo edit to make them yellow.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fun Photo Edit

March 13 Photo Challenge: Photo Edit You Like

Blast from the Past: Our family in 3-D glasses 
ready for the Toy Story Ride at Disney World

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Chick in Color

March 12 Photo Challenge: Same Shot, Different Light

Here she is in all her colored beauty!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beauty In Any Light

March 11 Photo Challenge: Black and White

We have some new chicks! This little one is a beauty, 
even in black and white.
(Hint: Tomorrow you'll get to see her in a different light!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Handsome Abe

March 10 Photo Challenge: Whatever You Want

Here's our handsome rooster, Abe. 
He protects all the ladies.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


March 9 Photo Challenge: Something From A Distance

Here's the neighbor's horse farm 
(taken from my front porch.)

Saturday, March 8, 2014


March 8 Photo Challenge: Something Close Up

I zoomed in and caught a beautiful picture of our flag at church!

Friday, March 7, 2014


March 7 Photo Challenge: Silhouette

Got some sunshine on Saturday and captured myself in a parking lot.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Any in your house?

March 6 Photo Challenge: From A Low Angle

Boots, Slippers, Sneakers - you name it, we've got it!

(There's a rug somewhere back there
where the shoes are supposed to be resting.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Battle of the Dogs

March 5 Photo Challenge: Whatever You Want

Ashley posted a pic of her puppy here
I had already thought about trying to capture a photo of Biscuit, which can be a challenge. 
Here's what I got. 
(The treat just off camera helped a little.)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Never Ending Story...

March 4 Photo Challenge: From A High Angle

Not feeling very creative today.
Can you guess why? :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Your Favorite Place To Be

March 3 - Photo Challenge: Your Favorite Place To Be

Home is where the heart is...

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What You Wore Today

March 2 - Photo Challenge: What You Wore Today

Saturday, March 1, 2014

March 30 Day Photo Challenge

My daughter, Ashley, at Ridges and Ripples, is trying a 30 Day Photo Challenge on her blog for the month of March and I've decided to join in the fun!

Here's the post where she plans the challenges for 2014.

Here's the post detailing March's Photo Challenge.

Today's Photo - Yourself

Friday, February 28, 2014

How's Your Spiritual Health? A Diagnostic

I am beginning a new Bible Study on the Fruit of the Spirit and I found a wonderful article that includes some great diagnostic questions about your spiritual health.  I've included the intro; if you're interested in reading the whole article, click on the link included.

How long since you’ve had a checkup to assess your spiritual health?    
by Scott Williams

Not long ago, a seasoned marathoner had just crossed the finish line with an impressive time when he suffered a heart attack and died. From the outside, he looked to be the picture of health, but a fatal condition was hiding on the inside.
Every one of us needs an occasional visit to the doctor for a checkup to make sure everything is working alright and that we don’t have an unknown serious internal condition.
The same is true with our spiritual lives. As creatures of habit, we tend to go through life on autopilot. We often miss clues that indicate that our spirit is not enjoying the good health that God created it for.
In the same way that the doctor puts us through a battery of tests to diagnose potential physical problems, God has given us a process of evaluating spiritual problems in our lives:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

For the rest of the article, see here:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Baked Tilapia

(picture from Taste of Home)

I'm trying to tempt you to try some of my delicious recipes! If you'd like to see how I slightly adapted this quick and easy baked fish dish, pop over to my cooking blog and take a look. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

All Things Will Be Made New

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End...

This week I finished A Woman’s Heart, God’s Dwelling Place, a Beth Moore Bible study on the Tabernacle.  I can’t even begin to tell you how transformative this stuy has been in my life; it’s been amazing.
The last lesson concluded with God dwelling among the people during His Mellennial reign. Beth described Jerusalem: the city, the gates, etc. She suggested that maybe God didn’t tell us more about what would be included in the new heavens and the new earth because we wouldn’t be able to even imagine it!  He did, however, leave us with what will not be there. (verse 4)
There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying and no more pain.
If we were to write this list we probably would've written it in the opposite order so it would build for impact…no more pain, no more crying, no more mourning, and no more death. Wow, that’s going to be good, isn’t it.
But Scripture doesn’t record it like that. Instead it’s as if God is saying, “There will be no more death. (Amen!) But not only will there be no more death, there will not even be mourning. No only will there be no more death and mourning, there will not even be crying. Not only will there be no more death, mourning or crying, there will not even be pain!
Can you imagine that? The old order of things will have passed away. The weight of sin, the sadness of this life, the heartache – it will all be gone. Just take a moment and let that sink in.
He continues, “I am making everything new!” We won’t recognize this new order, we haven’t lived outside of sin and pain. How exciting it will be – how joyous, how light. We will bow and be thankful for all He has done.
He assures us that these words are trustworthy and true. Does it seem too good to be true? Don’t doubt that it’s coming! You can believe it.
The next verse, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”  In essence, He's saying, "I started this story, I’ve been in control the whole way through and I will see it to the end and the end is going to be good!”

Whatever you are struggling with right now I hope you’ll rejoice that you are not alone in it and that this too shall pass. Someday we won’t live in a world that is an enemy to us. Someday we won’t have a sin nature that we'll have to continually put to death. He will make all things new and it will be finished! Praise the Lord!