Monday, November 30, 2009

A proud triumph

There come moments in a parent's journey that stand out as proud triumphs: a moment of confidence seeing a conflict come full circle. Of seeing the thing through, until hearts are soft once again, and no defiance lingers. Repentance and peace.

Those moments come few and far between the times of parenting on the fly. Busy-ness and distraction lay in the way of full circle conflict resolution. All too often, I send my kids to their rooms, for my convenience, not for their discipline. I settle for short term peace rather than long term harmony.

Last night we saw it through. The girls were quick to repent and pray; to face each other and their God with their wrongdoing. My son had a rougher go of it. We waited. He balked at the idea. He said we would all have to wait all night. He would not pray. He would not repent.

We talked of Cain and Abel, of anger and sin, of God's warning to Cain to chose what was right. Sin crouches at the door, awaiting an opportunity like this. It knows a cold heart: one angry and bitter at the unfairness of life, not realizing it is often self-inflicted. God urges us, "All you must do is right, and then you will have my favor. Choose right."

We waited. And waited. I would not give up on my son. Pride stood in the way of repentance. I knew it would come with patience. I would not leave him this way, and let him go to bed angry and unresolved.

The girls gazed at him, waiting. The hour was getting late. They each sighed, dramatically. I couldn't hide my giggle, breaking the mood. Mitchell could not resist a grin.

I pleaded with him. "Mitchell, just soften your heart. Do what is right. Just say you're sorry. Say you were wrong."

 The waiting paid off. He was finally ready. He repented. His heart was restored. He chose what was right,  and we came full circle. A proud triumph.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Paper Stars


We enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving here on the farm, complete with paper star making.
These will be a cute addition to our eclectic country Christmas tree.
Here are the star making directions.

I would ramble on about other fun uses of these quaint stars, but my 8 year old daughter, pictured above, has been hovering over my shoulder reminding me that I promised we could set up the Christmas tree today. As in exactly 7 minutes. Now I'm down to six. So goodbye. I'm off to work some Christmas magic!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

for a husband who fights for my heart. for our marriage. for time with me

for a man that provides for me

for kids who are growing in understanding of truth 

for a church where friends are family. where truth is taught by example. where worship is more than songs

for friends who love me enough to gently correct and encourage. and share coffee. and vacation with

for a Godly family heritage to pass along to another generation

for sisters passionate for Jesus

for struggles that reveal my weakness so I lean more on my Savior's strength

for a country that began with prayer and fasting and confession

for a God who in his very being defines love and everything good and right

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pecan Pie

Three posts in a day? That's almost annoying!

But Thanksgiving is coming, and today is Tuesday, which I sometimes call Tasty Tuesday for the purpose of sharing a recipe. Here is a family favorite. My husband especially requested it this year.



Pecan Pie

4 eggs
1 c dark corn syrup
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
1 T melted butter



Mix above, then add 1 t vinegar

Pour in unbaked pie shell. (1 pie shell recipe: 1 c flour, 1/2 t salt, cut in 1/3 c regular crisco shortening, then add 3 T cold water, a little at a time.)

Add enough pecans to cover the top- 1/2- 1 c
Note: poke nuts down so the filling covers them or they will burn.

Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Serve with real whipped cream. I'm hungry already!

Learning to Give




I've mentioned that our family is taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class, and when I say "our family" that  means the kids too. We invested in the Financial Peace Junior kit. The kids love the Junior books that teach financial responsibility at their level with fun and witty stories.

Another part of the program involves posting chores for commission, and all the money they earn is divided 50, 40, 10,  into envelopes, teaching them to budget.
50% to long term savings- for a car (when they are deemed responsible enough to own one).
40% to spend.
10% to give.

This week I chose the Operation Christmas Child program for them to GIVE their ten percent toward.

In the past we have gone shopping, they will pick out items, and I will foot the bill. This year, the project was tempered. I took the kids shopping and they paid for the gifts with the money from their GIVE envelopes. They didn't have a lot of money, because we've only been giving them commission for a couple of weeks ( I think $8.00 between all three of them) but they managed to fill one box.

It is my hope that my children learned the joy of giving to others from their own pockets.

Let me tell you, though, I think following a program like this is harder on the parents than the kids! We are still working out the bugs in our system. At first we paid them too much, not enough was being saved, and they were able to buy a new toy each week: NOT realistic.

I explained that the adult equivalent would be me buying a new fancy camera one week. And then a Kitchen Aid.  And the next week a new ipod. We'd be in debt, big time, if I did that. So we've had to tweak our system with them, keeping it realistic, and not without some grief! Kids would rather not learn about financial realities! Come to think of it, neither do adults! But, we're making progress, and for that I am proud.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My little sis

My sister began saying she wanted to be a missionary when she was about four years old. (I was 16 then, so I remember!)  She completed her Bachelor degree in May and has recently been accepted to work with Wycliffe in Bible translation, and is in the process of being placed. Please pray for her as she prepares for this next phase of her life. She is one amazing girl!

Laura's graduation


Below is a poem she wrote while completing her practicum in the mountains of Mexico. I've added a link to her Poem blog in my header.

The Village

A cloud still covers that mountain today,
The view from its village is hazy each way.
The people there live in darkness also
Not knowing the Light that dispels every woe.
Their name means "people of the rain,"
Yet they know not the God who cleanses each stain.
They love, and yet they know not Love;
They're happy, and yet, can they know true joy?
Oh, Abba, come, touch these people today;
Break into their village, their hearts to stay-
Bring joy from above, and life from on high.
Redeem their souls, to Your love draw them nigh.

Recipe Index

These are a few of our favorite recipes. Some I've made for church events and this is an easy place to put them for friends to look 'em up!


Kristina's Nuetella Dip

Kristina's Granola with Dried Apple


Kristina's Fruit Salsa 

Pecan Pie

Pot Pie

Fudge Puddles

Mom's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mediterranean Patio Pizza

Toscana Soup

Taco Soup

Byerly's Wild Rice Soup 

Zucchini Muffins

More to come! Now I'm hungry!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Lake

While two of my kids were at piano lessons on Wednesday, I stopped by my parents house, the house I spent 21 years of my life at, and caught this scene. I first moved away from home the day I got married. How I missed waking up and eating breakfast to this view those first years! I think when you grow up near a lake, you just get water in your blood.  I've adjusted now, and am grateful to be surrounded by wide open spaces once again. But I still love to go home, a place of quiet, peace and security.
He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alphabitty Moments: Kk

First of all, I must congratulate my friend and boss (!) because she has won the Blurb.com contest with her Alphabitty Moments book! $3,000 is nothing to sneeze at! This parade is obviously a very good idea as the panel of professional judges has agreed. I am super excited to be working with her in her blog business and hope it grows leaps and bounds as a result of this outcome!!!

Here is my entry for the week. I'm not terribly proud of the actual photos, but the kids do love to fly kites. And the jacket Megan is wearing with her pj bottoms (how many times have I referred to the fact that my kids are not often properly dressed at our house?) was a gift from my aunt. It was hers and is a special brand of leather coat (which escapes my memory- typical) that my great uncle sold years ago. My aunt wore it when she was young, kept it, and thought it would be fun to dye it and pass it along to my kids to enjoy and dress up in. And Megan does enjoy it and wear it.




Now about the kite. Mitchell's chore for today included picking up the entry that is always cluttered with coats, shoes, boots, outdoor toys, dirt, grass, sticks.....kites. He was overwhelmed with the chore and in frustration, and laziness, he threw the kites in the garbage. He claims he should not have to pick up anything he did not leave out! I don't think he understands that's what I do all day! I wonder if he will retrieve the kites for future fun, or leave them and regret it later. Is this a lesson I let him learn the hard way?


Now, go to the home of Alphabitty Moments and congratulate MamaBear on her success and and check out other Alphabitty pages for the letter Kk. Happy Day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Whimsical Wednesday - the most hideous gift award




As Thanksgiving nears, and with it Christmas, the pressure of shopping, finding perfect gifts and general frantic holiday preparation closes in. Last year, in an effort to eliminate much of the hustle and bustle and maximize the peace on (our little part of the) earth, we chose to give gag gifts. Great Grandma won the prize for the best, most hideous gift! We laughed til we cried! Here is the beauteous specimen:


Beat that!

My apologies, mom, for posting a picture of you without your permission, but alas, this was the only picture I had of the little maid. I think you are lovely, though. And dad said once his favorite thing about you was your smile! Forgive me? This once?

I created this opportunity to share stories or pictures from your family that are a bit amusing or odd. They can be current or from ages ago. My goal is laughter. Lots of it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Party Time

We're finished! With Beth Moore's study on Esther that is! Our group of ladies has been awesome! I was paired with two of my best friends (I have lots of best friends, so don't feel left out) in leading this group of women through the study. It wasn't too much work. Just sit at a table and let ladies talk. Like that's ever too much of a problem! We learned wonderful truths, made new friends, enjoyed a night out each week.

Then we partied! I was left in charge because our fearless leader decided to traipse across the country to visit her newborn niece. (wink, wink) Sooo.....

I planned ahead and made my potluck contribution of wild rice soup the day before. I was already in the kitchen cleaning up our after-church turkey dinner, and while I was at it I figured I'd start the bird carcass boiling for soup, and since I'd started the soup, I may as well finish it. So. A mom's rule of thumb: While in the kitchen, get as many things done at once as possible. So I made more soup. The wild rice soup, that is.

I gathered decorations. Whatever I had out for fall was added to my bin. I also found nice clean sheets work famously as tablecloths for big round tables. And napkin rings work great to cinch up the corners.

On Monday morning I got a little sidetracked from party planning. I helped my son clean his room for two hours. Forget school. His room was driving me crazy. Did school in the afternoon.

Then I made Haman's Ears, a traditional Jewish cookie baked to celebrate Purim. (cause, ya know, Haman was hung up by his ears....well actually he was impaled, but whatever) First batch failed.(~only 4 cookies, thankfully. I had enough foresight to do a trial run.) I'd forgotten half the flour! I added the appropriate amount of flour, and filled with my homemade apple butter from my homegrown apples, they turned out marvelous!
 
 So proud! So yummy!

Party time came and we had enough of everything and I didn't forget anything.

(Except I did skip cleaning up the bottle of laundry soap that fell off the top of the washing machine during a spin cycle and spilled all over the carpet before I left the house. Whoops. Sorry honey. I'm sure you weren't happy when you discovered that little surprise.)

Anywhoooo.... everyone ate til they were stuffed.  The dinner was as lovely as the ladies that came! Love you girls!

Now run over to Leah's blog to see others with bragging rights.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Harvest


Genesis 8:22
As long as the earth endures, 
seedtime and harvest, 
cold and heat, 
summer and winter, 
day and night 
will never cease.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Birthday meditation

I'm wrapping up two things right now: a Bible Study on Esther and another year of my life.  I've learned a couple things this year, in life, and from that study.

The first is that God is still with us when the what ifs we fear become reality. Beth Moore had a great session in week four of the study that really hit home with me. What if my worst fear came true? What then? God asked Beth that question, and he's dealt with me in that area too. What would you do? What would I do? Beth answered the question as we all should. (The following is the Kristina, who has a very bad memory, version. My version lacks quite a bit of emotion and the charm of a southern accent, but you can read a little drama into this!) The conversation went (a little) something like this:

What if____________?

Well, I'd cry and scream and lay on the floor and cry some more. I would be angry. I would be crushed. I would have a big time pity party.

And then what?

I guess I'd have to get out my Bible and read some verses because I can't live a day without the truth in my life.


And then what?

Well, I'd have to find a whole lot of verses to memorize to help me deal with life. I'd have to put them on index cards and carry them around to remind me of the truth. I would need a lot of verses and cards.

Then what?

I guess eventually I'd have to quit crying, get up off the floor, dust myself off.
 Then what?
Then I'd go back to living my life, teaching Bible study, serving You.

Through the pain, God is with us and never changes. We have access to everything we need for every crisis. His grace is enough. His goodness is not reliant on our circumstances. His love never changes.

OK, that's great. (Actually, it really is.) But what about when the crisis is over, God has been faithful, and life does go on? What about the fears that return later. Fears of it happening again? Of a repeat? Of the new trust being betrayed? What about that?

Beth gets credit for this lesson too. But she gave words to a truth I've experienced.

God gives us grace to endure difficulty.

Yes, He does. And He has. For me.

But God does not give us grace for fear and worry.

He says "Fear not, for I am with you."
He says, "Do not be anxious about anything."

I can either embrace my fears in disobedience to Christ
or take those thoughts captive and banish them to the glory of God, and live in confidence of His goodness and love.

"Do not worry about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, let your request be made known to God, and the peace of God, which is beyond our understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

When I give my worries to Christ in prayer, he guards my mind against those worries.

I may not have power over all my circumstances, but I DO have power over my thoughts. Because sometimes my fear is just a figment of an over-active imagination. I borrow trouble. That means the trouble  does not belong to me. When it doesn't belong to me, I don't need grace. I need reality.

Reality is:  When____________ , then God!

So as I look over this past year, I see the faithfulness of my God. And as I look forward to another year, I am confident in Christ and trust Him to remain faithful still.

Philippians 4:6, Isaiah 41:10, 1 Peter 5:7

Friday, November 13, 2009

My life as of now

See these cute snowmen? My children made them out of clay complete with paper hats and finger-knit scarves. Yes, they are creative. For the moment. The rest of the time, recently, has been spent chasing each other around the house screaming and causing me to about lose my mind. But I haven't lost it completely yet. Thank goodness. I need it. Bad!

You see, I've started a new job. Possibly the reason my kids are unattended and running around screaming. Yes. I now edit blog books for a friend of mine. (A friend I met because she blogs. And now she's my real life friend, not just a cyberspace friend. How fun is that?)

You see all these typed words on blogs can be turned into family treasures. Professionally printed books. And now it's my job to do that for people who don't want to take the time to figure out how to do it themselves.

Meanwhile, until we figure out a new routine, my children are running wild and causing me to about lose my mind. But not quite. They do find creative things to do too.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alphabitty Moments: Jj is for Jump4Joy





This was the girls' first year to be a part of Jump4Joy, a small Christian dance group in our area. I love this program because it's relaxed, they dance to uplifting music, it's cheap, and they only meet for a couple months. Just my type of extra-curricular activity! It's just enough to give the girls a chance to move to music, hang out with other girls and at the end, they give a fun show and have a formal banquet with awards. Megan and Madison loved it!

Now, jog on over to

to see what others came up with for this weekly challenge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pink Unicorns




OK, so this post isn't fall-on-the-floor-funny, but it's the best I can do today! Some days our kids just need us to join in their fun, and give them a laugh. It doesn't take much mom or dad silliness to make a child smile. Their belly laughs come easy! So, today, join in their fun. Bring them joy. Do something silly!














I created this opportunity to share stories or pictures from your family that are a bit amusing or odd. They can be current or from ages ago. My goal is laughter. Lots of it!
The rules are simple. Post a Whimsical Wednesday entry on your blog and use the button above in your post. Link your post to mine and enter your blog address in the McLinky below. Then have fun reading others whimsical memories!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Living Grace and God's Agents

Our second Bible quiz meet was yesterday and, though I'm not a typically gushy mom, I have to gush today!
Isn't this boy adorable all spiffed up! And he's mine! Who knew he cleaned up so well? The boys voted to call their team God's Agents as in "special agents" and chose these outfits over black t-shirts!
Can you believe it!? Really? A TIE?

Here they are congratulating Andy after a correct answer.

 
 

And.... my girls team. I have so much fun with them at Wednesday night practices! Every night is full of lots of energy and girl chatter, and they are always anxious to pick out a butterfly tattoo for a memorized verse. All the girls are doing great with their memorization. Holly was a quick jumper yesterday, quizzing out once (answering the max correct of  4 in one quiz), and getting three correct in the other quiz. Great job, Holly!

 

Here's a photo with the whole team, Living Grace.
Aren't they cute too? 


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alphabitty Moments: Boyhood initiation-mowing


My son turned 10 this summer and his father deemed him old enough to learn to drive the Xmark. He takes his job very seriously and he does it well.



 






Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Hello again! Time for a funny story or picture....or something.
Today I shall reveal to you a bit of family history.
I bet this has never happened in your house!

Our family was at our cabin (which we no longer own, so don't invite yourself to it!) and my husband was preparing the kids for bed after a trip to Walmart. He began to bathe them, filling the tub with hard, rusty, stinky well water that is so typical of cabins. Yuck. As if that wasn't bad enough to give them a bath in, he decided to add something to the water. Now, usually we would add bath salts, bath oil, or bubble bath. That's what I would expect, at least. Nope, my husband was in an unusual mood. He decided to find out whether the leftover cotton candy from Walmart would turn the bath water interesting colors. So in it went. With the kids. Not sure what to think of his strange behavior, I collapsed on the sofa. I couldn't decide whether to cry because my husband had lost his mind, or to laugh because he was crazy funny. But Robb was not done. As long as the bath water was messed up and his wife thought he was crazy, why not put all doubts on the matter to rest and add potato chips to the bath? Which he did. With a smile and a laugh (at me). And a promise to clean the mess up completely. Which he did.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What I didn't do and what I did

Some friends and I threw my sister
a fabulous baby shower this last weekend
and I just have to share a few pictures!


Anitra made this darling diaper cake.



Courtney decorated.


 
 Kimberly and Courtney made yummy food.


 

After knitting thousands of caps for the babies born at St. Mary's
Grandma made one more for a special great-grandbaby!

My sister appropriately decorated a onesie with music notes.
(duh! she's a music major!)

I did not have any burdensome responsibilities
for this lovely shower,
which proved to be providential since
Mads was sick the entire week.
Thankfully her fever broke the morning of the shower,
allowing me to feel somewhat less guilty
leaving her with a babysitter!

I did not cook.
I did not decorate.
I provided...
{dramatic pause}
..chocolate and nuts!
Oh, the sacrilege!
I've lost myself!
Ahhh, my creative days have waned,
though I'm sure they'll return again soon....
when I have a few moments to myself
and my creative thoughts are not interrupted
by the sound of the piano banging
or children wrestling.

I did, however, become the event's photographer.
I guess I'm not a lost creative cause after all.

Congratulations Sara! Can't wait to meet your little one!
 



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