June 27, 2008

Taking the Plunge

Diving in so to speak, feeling tremendously out of my comfort zone :: free falling?

No, no, I sense His hands carrying me, prompting and moving me forward.

Last month I wrote about when there are times certain passions and pursuits cannot be ignored simply because they are like taking a breath :: necessary for now. Not later in a different season of life, but making room in the present. Sacrificing other things. Because my Savior is asking me to respond.

How can I refuse and not accept though the journey is unclear? Actually, who am I to consider turning down the One who shaped and spoke these ideas into my heart?

For you, O Lord, I tentatively move forward.

Monday I have an appointment with an author friend :: in order to gain more knowledge of the process of publishing, to shine light on an uncertain path. Trembling heart and hands as I think of it.

Not the writing, this part I love. Our computer memory has primary space taken for the various thoughts, words compiled through the years. The attempt at publication is daunting, yet His grace abounds. And so I take the next step...then another after that...

It's time to take a leap of faith. Here I go :: and I welcome your prayers :: thank you.

Live the weekend to the fullest. Enjoy.


June 25, 2008

If You Love Fabric...

...then you should stop by a new online fabric shop, Fresh Squeezed. Simply beautiful pieces of material.

Read about how to win some fabulous fabric here.


Tuesday's Efforts

Yesterday was FULL of food, food, food! I headed out to the farmer's market and shopped for quite a bit of vegetables and fruits as we have company this weekend. Got some of the last local and homegrown strawberries, which are very deliciously yummy. Today we'll make a bit of freezer jam and try really hard to leave them be until some cold winter day. We can do it. I think.

And then last night was my monthly cooking night, which I've come to enjoy so much! With three other friends, we get together and make as many meals as $200.00 will get us {we each put in $50.00}. A different person coordinates each time, we meet at her house, and cook the night away. Stop for a snack, laugh a lot, and generally make a big mess. But, the host's kitchen is cleaned before everyone takes off. We set a record last night with 11 dinner meals and a cake for each of us! Woohoo!!

Now that to me is bargain shopping and cooking. I came home tired, but very pleased with my Tuesday.


June 20, 2008

Messy, Messy

Okay, here it is--a morning of cooking for a friend who is in need. Rolls being made, pizza dough being rolled out, veggies for garden chowder cut up :: in general a big mess being made! Not the prettiest 'corners of my home' picture for sure. In the end it was worth it of course :: a family grateful for the provision of food at a time of crisis and a satisfied feeling of living the word.

May you be blessed with a joy-filled weekend.


June 18, 2008

Grateful Thoughts

101. for this gift from God, my spouse, and closest friend

102. a diligent provider for our family, making certain our needs are met
103. a strong defender of the faith, a man who knows, loves and serves God
104. for a father who is fun-loving, consistent and yes! who will change diapers, anytime...anywhere
105. my confidant and counsel, iron sharpening iron
106. my protector and our family's gate-keeper, who watches closely over our well-being
107. the love of my life!
picture taken Father's Day 2008


Celebrations Continue

One more big event to go! Graduation celebrations are behind us and now Jackie's blessing party is around the corner. Invitations have been made and sent~yes!

Our hope is to take an opportunity to surround our children with words of blessing, affirmation and wisdom from us and other adults at the ages of 13, 18 and before their wedding ceremony if they marry. We begin our children's lives with celebration, such as their baby dedication, first day of kindergarten, steps in spiritual growth; and we want to continue that practice beyond childhood and into adolescence & adulthood. Pausing, reflecting, taking in a little where they are in life and encouraging them toward the next step.

Celebrations were a big deal in my home growing up. I very much appreciate that we recognized not only birthdays and holidays, but also casual events or days as well. My father modeled this well and would often bring home my mother's favorite gum or candy or some little thing she enjoyed.

Just because.

My little girl heart and mind was impressed :: and it's shaped my thoughts on how I would like our family to celebrate each other. I have seriously dropped the ball on this at times and even recently--not recognizing enough the person or the event as important through their eyes. So it's an ongoing process of teaching myself to pay attention. And to take action.


June 17, 2008

Fine Motor Skills

In the last few weeks of school, Jordyn worked on strengthening the muscles in her hands. For her and at age 5, she is still a bit weak on the fine motor end. Knowing that these skills are very much needed for succesful writing in the future, we asked a friend who is an occupational therapist for a simple evaluation. Through just talking with her, it is good to know there is not a serious concern, but she gave several great tips on activities to do beyond what we've tried.

One of Jordyn's favorites has been the clothespins! For this activity, our OT friend told us it was important to hold and pinch the pin with the thumb on top & fingers in back. The string or clothesline should also be eye level. In our picture above, Jordyn is standing up, but was sitting down for this activity. She simply decided for the picture that 'everyone should see my dress and new bracelet'. That girl.

Another activity is transferring items such as cotton balls or cheerios from one bowl to another (or a plate, etc) with a set of tongs. Because Jordyn adores the flashy, the fancy and stays away from anything plain, our cotton balls are shimmery and glittery :: a great dollar store purchase!! And yes, please notice another new bracelet.

Other fine motor strengthening tips:

:: play with clay, it is harder than play-doh

:: cut a small hole in the top of a plastic container and have the child push beans or pasta through the top. the hole should be small enough that it takes a bit of effort to push the item in.

:: a hole punch! draw a simple shape on paper and have them punch around the shape. then use a piece of string to lace.

:: crumple newspaper into a ball using only one hand

:: spray bottles! let them spray plants with water or 'clean' an item using sponges, etc.

:: if you have a magna-doodle, turn it upside down so that the eraser is on top

:: obviously, if the child can use scissors, lots of cutting, cutting, cutting. Jordyn cuts out all of our coupons {later, the ones we don't use are thrown out}.

:: work at a vertical surface as much as possible~ painting or drawing w/chalk at an easel. If you don't have an easel, tape a piece of paper to the fridge. Working at a vertical surface helps to develop hand control at the shoulder, which is a pre-cursor to more refined motor control at the hand

:: and a last one...don't throw out those old broken-up crayon pieces! have the child work at coloring with a small piece of crayon (1 to 2"); this 'forces' them to use the tripod grasp needed for writing (2 fingers opposed to the thumb).


Mexitalian Lasagna

Here's simple recipe that we enjoyed graduation day!

1 [15 oz] can Hormel Chili, no beans
1 [16 oz] jar Mexican salsa, drained
1 [4 oz] can sliced mushrooms, drained
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 tsps Italian seasoning
1-1/2 cups cottage cheese
1-1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
9 lasagna noodles, cooked
2-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
vegetable cooking spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine chili, drained salsa, mushrooms, parm cheese and Italian seasoning. In another bowl, stir cottage cheese and parsley flakes. Layer noodles, cottage cheese, chili mixture and mozzarella cheese in a 9x9 baking dish coated with vegetable cooking spray; repeat to make three layers. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until lasagna is thoroughly heated. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.


More Grad Pics


June 12, 2008

I Wonder

As a child and to this day, I've often wondered what it's like to grow old. To have lived through the numerous seasons of life and to stand at the edge of it, knowing time is less than before. Each May marks another opportunity to visit with my husband's family and this year I spent extra time in noticing the older ones among us, especially his grandmother. Such a lady.

And I wonder more about her life as she spoke. In my mind's eye, I imagine her as a young woman mothering children, attending to the home, serving in the church. I hear in the recounting of long-ago stories the struggle and yet the gladness for it all. The hard work and joyful times. The children's antics that didn't sit well with her. And the difficulty of seeing loved ones and dear friends move on in their journey from life to death.

I wondered this year if she is understanding that her memory, at least the short term aspect, is unraveling a bit around the edges. We notice and stay silent. I wonder if she knows and is silent as well.

More than any other year, I took time to notice this precious woman's home. Each thing in a similiar, or even the same exact place over the numerous years we've been family. And I wonder if she likes it that way or just doesn't notice anymore.

And because I know she is very much looking forward to that day, I often wonder when He'll call her home. She talks of it, telling us not to miss her :: to let her joyfully depart, to celebrate and not mourn when the time arrives. But it hasn't yet and we laugh lightly as she speaks.

And I wonder inside if she's laughing softly as well...


June 11, 2008


Wow. I am really tired. Physically, yes...but also just needing to process the past month of life in our home and around us. We've had a busy month of exciting events, but good stress is still stress. And we've faced a few difficulties as well such as Josiah's hospitalization and my husband's brother being involved in a serious car accident.

So I pause this week to rest some. I've declared it my 'lazy week'! I know, laziness is not to be desired or sought after, and I'm doing neither. Just slowing the rhythm and pattern of routine in our life. Lots of staring out the window, reading and re-reading some books, googling random thoughts & ideas, tea...tea...tea, etc. Soaking up and refueling a bit before moving forward. Ahhh....sounds about right.

I enjoyed returning to the farmer's markets on Tuesday. We have a very, very large market{imagine a flea market style warehouse} where there are numerous vendors selling fresh produce, meat, baked goods, spices, pastas, and all other sorts of wares. I anticipate the trip all week!

Our family primarily enjoys the fruits and veggies available, though not everything is locally grown as of yet, but soon more will be. It gives me some sort of tiny pleasure knowing that we're directly supporting those who grow our food.

Yum, let me go & whip up something with all this delicious food...


June 9, 2008

Josiah on Theology

In the last several weeks of school, the girls worked on some basic foundational theology in a question & answer style. We've borrowed a bit from the Reformed reader catechism for boys and girls and have chosen the ones that we felt were essential {or that we concurred with}.

Well, Josiah had his own set of questions as well! And here he is in complete two-year old fashion reciting 'my questions' as he is fond of calling them. If you need interpretation, which you may, click on the link above! LOL!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books


June 6, 2008

She's Done!

Cooperative weather for an outdoor ceremony :: smiling graduate, yet dealing with emotions we can't see on the surface :: family members supportive, beaming :: parents so proud :: siblings not fully understanding, but excited nonetheless :: 533 other seniors, now alumni of the school :: pictures, pictures, pictures :: a very, very special day, memories created for the long-term


June 4, 2008


No, it's not encouragement on the presidential race!

But homeshooling families, have you seen the article in PARADE magazine on homeschooling? It is a short one and includes a poll asking if parents should have credentials to educate their children. Please take the time to look at this and vote with a resounding 'NO', which is currently the majority by 95%.

The California case has the nation talking....it's a small & perhaps insignificant article, but let your voice be heard. There is a place to leave comments as well.

Some Friends and a Fire

Yep, teenagers love a fire. So we found out!
Jackie's graduation party last weekend for her friends was a wonderful success! Plenty of seniors, food (menu changed at the last minute from hamburgers/hot dogs to nachos), lots of space and a volleyball net, and the stuff for s'mores and a fire :: all the necessary ingredients for a fun & l-o-n-g after 10p.m. party (the time it was sorta kinda set to end. ha!)
Today grandparents are coming in and we celebrate the BIG day tomorrow with a Mexitalian lasagna, salad and garlic bread lunch. Celebration #2!! The lasagna recipe that will be posted in Mom's site.


June 3, 2008

Same Road, New Journey

The road has not changed, no this journey of parenting is still being traveled with my eldest child. My soon-to-be eighteen, high school graduate. The wisp of a little girl turned young woman right before my eyes. In a flash it seems.

We continue to travel together, mother & daughter :: and yes, I am still the Mom {said with a bit of hmph! and emphasis}.

But the journey is new. Exciting, sad, a bit tentative and altogether the way it should be. The way it needs to be. My hands cannot clasp around hers too tightly; that's a lesson begun many moons ago and is one that I often remind myself of. Support, don't control. Advise, don't tell.

And yet, my heart speaks whispers...she needs you still. No, not for bedtime stories or cradle rocking. No longer for hanging preschool papers on the fridge or assisting with another very odd school project. Sometimes assigned by her mother, the teacher.

She will continue to lean on me for what those acts represented. Care. Affirmation. Lavish love and a bit of ongoing training as well. Just a bit.

So, I pick myself up from the position of looking into the past and wondering how this time came so quickly, swiftly :: I look ahead and with new resolve, anticipate the road now ahead of us.

93. gratitude expressed for a daughter who enjoys life!

94. for a wonderful day shopping for the 'perfect dress' for graduation {tell me, is there such a thing really? she thinks so}

95. and finding that dress at a price we both could justify. gratitude~~finances for our 'wants'

96. laughter, stories, and new memories made during our excursion

97. for a daughter who enjoys her siblings. especially after being the only for a while. for time spent with them :: reading, playing games, listening, sharing

98. a daughter who loves the One who made her and seeks to honor His ways. when failing, starting again.

99. for her faith, that is growing and being refined. for her personality, that has taught me much.

100. the opportunity to continue to journey ahead with her.

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