Monday, March 29, 2010

The Bribe to Quit

Breaking news: Madison has decided to quit sucking her fingers!

I have often hoped she would outgrow this habit, but still worried she would be ten and still have two fingers in her mouth and one in her nose. I imagined the teasing she would receive from friends, and how she would be scarred for life if I didn't exert some motherly power over her, or at least bribe her so she would quit.

So, I did bribe her a few months ago. Then, as the conversation progressed, I felt the need to clarify that she would not qualify for the bribe unless she quit for at least a month. At that point, she said she would rather keep her fingers in her mouth.

I can only guess at what has made her change her mind. Last weekend she did have a weird bout of swollen fingers, almost as if she was bitten by something- and on those exact two fingers. She cried and cried and said they felt funny and hurt and were fat. But for the life of me I couldn't figure out what had happened to her favorite fingers.  It's still too cold here for any biting bugs to be out. I think perhaps they got cold on our maple syrup tour and were tingly as they warmed up. But that doesn't account for the swelling. Hmmmmm.

That night she told me she was done. And as much as I watch her, I can't catch her with those fingers in her mouth.

Thank goodness.

And the bribe? Remember that one thing I swore I would never buy for my girls? I did not promise her that. Nope. Not gonna admit it.

OK. Fine. I did. I broke my own rule for real this time. It's a small price to pay to avoid my daughter being scarred for life.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Purposed Prayer and Filed Under Grace

This month I spent a lovely bit of time with ladies from church at our annual retreat. We ate plenty, worshiped, prayed, quieted ourselves, learned and listened.

We practiced what I will call purposed and intentional prayer. The process I learned (in my own words) is as follows:
  • Identify an area that needs prayer. I began by listing things that have burdened me recently. Ask God to lead you to the thing He wants you to focus on.
  1. kids fighting, disrespect
  2. negativity in our home
  3. overcoming despair, feelings of failure
  • Simplify the current area. A word jumped out to me as an answer to my list: JOY.
  1. I desire joy, in my own personal walk with Christ, in my family, in our home
  2. My Bible study homework this week highlighted joy, and I felt that confirmed this to be God's leading to pray for joy.
  3. My middle name is Joy! How appropriate!
  4. If I am seeking Joy in Christ in all things, that above list should just take care of itself
  • Gather thoughts and words pertaining to the area for prayer.
  1. I looked up joy in Scripture
  2. I studied books (in this case my weekly Bible study homework on the subject)
  3. I listened to what the Holy Spirit made "pop out" at me as I researched.
  • Write out a prayer, using the research, words, truth you have found. Make it personal and powerful, claiming promises God has given you.
  • Pray knowing and understanding that God will do things in His own time and way, but continue to pray with confidence in what God has led you to pray, until resolution comes. 
I love this! I took the time given during the retreat, resisting the pull to discuss and visit, and quietly listened and dug into my study. Praying like this, with purpose, yet letting God lead, helped me be more specific in my prayer time.

And I am now joyfully watching as He answers. It seems no matter what I read lately, I keep stumbling onto this topic of joy. I'm listening and He is increasing my joy.
This process is derived from the teaching of Graham Cooke. 

This month: Filed Under Grace
Our hearts have been with some new friends who have been experiencing a financial squeeze since the husband lost his job a while back. He was able to find some temporary work, and we hired him to do some work for our company, but it was just not enough, especially considering they are expecting their first child. As is God's way (Never Late, but Rarely Early) our friend just landed an awesome job in his field of choice!

 As far as our family goes in this area, being self-employed and all, I consider every month we can pay our bills an answer to prayer! More than a year ago, the company we do business for was letting droves of its people go, and we were unsure what that meant for us. As whole floors of their cubicles emptied, we braced for the worst. A month went by, then another, then another. And here we are today, debt free and just fine. Worry profits nothing. Faith, everything I really ever needed. It's all grace.

 Matthew 6
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
    28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

How has our Lord been answering your prayers? Have you even been asking and watching for his answers? Do you have a story of His grace to share? For all the details of how to participate, read this, then come back here and link up! 

If you  have an answer to prayer you'd love to share, but don't have a blog, post your story in a comment. I'd love to hear it!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Sheep are We

During our daily Bible reading this morning we continued our Journey to the Cross. We've been learning about Passover and how Jesus was the Lamb of God. Today, Jesus was presented as the Good Shepherd.

Mitchell was concerned. "Wait, Mom. Which is it? Is Jesus the Lamb or the Shepherd?"

"Well, actually, he's both." I responded. "He is the Good Shepherd, watching over and loving all us silly sheep. But then He became a sheep just like us, and he died as the perfect Passsover lamb, sacrificed for our sin. He is the Shepherd and the Lamb. He is God and man. He is both. He's just what we stray sheep need."

Mitchell's response?


I linked this post to Conversations with my Kid hosted by Moms Without Blogs. Thanks Lee!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Gift of Moments Past

Many years ago, more than ten, at least, a grandmother lovingly wrapped yarn 'round needle, 
tenderly tucking bonnets and sweaters away for great-grandbabies she would never know.
Those quiet moments of needlework give way to these, 
the few moments of her little life, when Victoria will don tiny bonnet and sweater 
and be wrapped in her great-grandmother's love.

Today's You Capture theme is A Moment, hosted by I Should Be Folding Laundry.

And....if you have an answered prayer you'd like to share, 
Come back and link up on Saturday, alrighty?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reflection on the First Walk of Spring

Winter clings, yet cannot maintain it's grip on a world succumbing to the power of the Son.

The old and dead, those things we wish weren't, but were, 
give nutrients, richness, insight, maturity to a fresh start. 
When given to Christ, they become useful.
They grow faith.

The love of this Son compels us to reach, reach, upward, 
toward Light and growth. New life. The old is gone. The new has come. 
He promised.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

This post has been shared at Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped

Today, I am also buzzing over to A Soft Place to Land and sharing my post from last week when I shared my Easter Tree with you all. To see other DIY projects visit her every Tuesday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Organizational Quirk

I like to think I'm a pretty clean person. I know "clean" is a relative term. Everyone has their own clean threshold. When I complain about my house being messy, my friends laugh. Well, the dirty ones do, anyway. Yes, most main areas are kept pretty well picked up, and I try to stay about an hour of work away from being company presentable, not counting bedrooms, of course. But like most people I have my organizational quirks. The other day I noticed a peculiar habit I've developed:

Does anyone use windowsills as shelves for things found on the floor while vacuuming or for general purpose storage? 'Cause I certainly don't. Yeah, not me.

This has been another episode of  Not Me Monday. For more click here:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Resurrection Eggs

I discovered one more thing in my small stash of Easter paraphernalia: a treasure I found at a garage sale last year, new in the box. I love that!

These eggs each have a small item inside which help tell the story leading to Easter. A small devotional book comes with the eggs, explaining the significance of each trinket. This morning my kids loved passing the egg between them, guessing what was in it.

They are available at Family Life.

Or you can make your own. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Easter Tree

I did it! And I love it!

I printed off Ann Voskamp's Trail to the Nail Tree pictures and devotions,
one for me, and one for a friend, 
and while our kids played outside in the glorious weather today, 
we cut and pasted and chatted. 

And then we took our girls to dance,
and took a walk, enjoying the weather for ourselves, 
and then I cut these branches off her bush 
and came home and tied ribbon and hung pictures and eggs.

And now I'll go to bed,
happy to have something new and pretty,
that I made with my own hands.
But especially grateful for friends
and spring,
and the 

For more DIY projects, visit A Soft Place to Land for DIY Day every Tuesday.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Easter Preparation

Things I am doing to prepare my heart and ponder this season:

Are you doing anything about Jesus? Do share!

Photo credit: Ann's Easter Tree,

Monday, March 15, 2010

Revamped Front Porch

My porch is red. This color goes way back, to another generation and another family who lived in this house. The porch was a playroom, and the mother thought her children would enjoy playing in a red room. When the family remodeled this house a few years ago to prepare it for new renters (us!), they kept two colors original. The porch stayed red and a wall in the living room stayed green. I love the history that comes with old houses!

Well, needless to say, I had nothing that coordinated with a red room when we moved in. But we weren't planning on staying that long, so I made do. Now we've been here three years, and I'm slowing tweaking as my old decorating obsession returns!

I tried arranging this room many ways, and finally decided to use one half for an entryway and the back half for exercise equipment. We have no other place to house a treadmill and elliptical, so this was the best option. My mom gave me a screen for my birthday, and the process was underway!

This screen used to be green with a colorful floral print. I painted it and made new fabric panels. I even switch them out for Christmas panels during the holidays.

The screen hides our workout space, see?

With two doors into the house from the porch, each end becomes it's own room.

 I recovered this coffee table turned bench a second time and added bins under it for kids shoes.
So there, you have it. My entry is lovely and coordinated and my unsightly equipment hidden.
Now if the spring mud would just stay outside, I'd be all set!

For more projects check out DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.

Granola + Fire Extinguisher = Not Me

It's Monday....time to tell what I've NOT been up to!

I did not foolishly leave the kitchen to go change out laundry loads while preparing to make popcorn and come back to too hot oil. I did not take the lid off the pan, giving the hot oil oxygen and it did not POOOF into flames. I did not do that! Not me!

I did not calmly think the situation over, reach for the fire extinguisher, and forget to move my homemade granola, still in the pan, to a safe distance. Not me. It did not get spray on it. I did not leave it sitting on the counter for days because I didn't have the heart to throw my homemade goods away. I did not make my husband do it for me.

I did not spend considerable time cleaning and spraying and scrubbing my burnt pan when my husband told me to just go buy a new one. I did not waste my time on a hopeless pan. Not me!

I did not just post this for my landlady to see. Not me!

(Note to Liz, our landlady: No worries. No damage. Just to my pan. Thanks for the new fire extinguisher. It worked like a charm.)

For more "Not Me" fun, click over to MckMama.

And to read about my other experience with a possible fire, click this.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Glimpses of Home

I've been reorganizing, taking a fresh look at how my home is arranged and making little adjustments. Call it spring cleaning. Or boredom. Or following too many home decor blogs!

I took this picture after I split the bookshelf in half. The wall needed balancing, so the bottom half stayed and the top half got turned upside down,(so the trim on the bottom of the shelf mirrored the other) and put on the other side of the window. It works. The tops are unfinished so I need to add a table runner on top of each, but with generous littering of pictures frames, the rough finish is not too noticeable.

This picture sums up the sources of all the furniture in my house.

Table: garage sale
Chair: gift from my parents when Mitchell was born. It was my nursing chair.
Bookshelf: free from my aunt

I'm sure I could find more to say about my decorating style, and why I still have a flowered couch, but in an effort to keep this short and sweet, I'll end it there!

For more Glimpses of Home, visit Chatting at the Sky.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

You Capture: Quiet

That's what I love about country life.
For a while now quiet has looked like this:

The wind whispers. The soft sound of snow blowing, drifting can almost be heard.
This profound quiet will soon give way to a peaceful drip, drip, dripping. 

And after the mud has dried, the sun returns and gives this country blooms.

The world will venture out of hibernation and the echos of cattle grazing across the fields will return.
This place is still.  Peace and quiet.

This is the last day for entering my giveaway
for a chocolate and cinnamon mill
to add flourish to your favorite drink!
Your chances of winning are good- only 16 entrants so far!
SO.... head on over and enter. NOW!

PhotobucketThis has been another edition of 
You Capture: Quiet 
hosted by

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Unwrapping the Beauty of an Egg

On the way out of dance last week,
in the hustle of crowded hall 
filled with girls exchanging slippers for boots, 
a friend approached 
and handed me a grocery sack wrapped gift. 
A simple gift, given out of her surplus. 
And now, when I open that egg carton, 
I wonder at their simple beauty, 
their color, 
and the joy in little gifts.

Don't forget to check out my giveaway!
Where one of you will receive a gift to unwrap!

This has been another edition of:

To read of others' simple gifts unwrapped, visit Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Party On {Top}

We try not to be snobs, but some days we just can't help it. Especially Sunday mornings, our default mode is coffee snob mode. We know lovely people have worked hard to prepare coffee for the church, but our van drives, almost as if it had its own will, straight for the lovely local coffee shop. It's only a few blocks out of our way, and they have this heavenly drink of Rooibos red tea, white chocolate, honey and whipped cream with a sprinkle of cinnamon.


If I could, I'd go there once a day. I'm not sure, but I think my husband succumbed to the lure daily in the not too distant past. We are trying to do better. We took Dave Ramsey's class. We know a daily coffee shop trip is not in our budget's best interest.

Knowing this, you won't be surprised at how thrilled I was when my friend gave me a gift of Tazo's Organic Vanilla Rooibos Tea Latte Concentrate. It tastes almost exactly like my favorite $4.00 drink. All I have to do is add milk and heat it up. Of course whipped cream on top never hurt either. I can grab a mug of happiness and pretend I'm at the Mill, enjoying their brew. The environment is not to compare, my house being considerable louder, and much less decorated, but my taste buds are more easily fooled than my other senses. And the price is just right.

When I was given the opportunity to do a little shopping for my readers, and offer a giveaway, you can now understand that after I looked at all the options, the kids bedding, home decor, etc., my eyes were drawn to's chocolate mills.

Aha! Just the thing I would love for making my favorite drink at home! My mug of happiness lacked flourish. A party on top. Chocolate flakes sprinkled on the mountains of cream! 

Much better!

Except I'm not keeping these lovely gadgets. I'm giving them to one of you. So YOU can concoct your own mug of happiness. With a party on top.

Ways to enter:

  1.  Leave a comment on this post telling me what you like in your mug.
  2.  A tweet about this contest that includes a link to this post and an @ktinajoy. Leave a comment here letting me know you did.
  3.  Any new followers will also be counted as an entry. Come back and tell me here so we can be friends!
This giveaway will end Thursday, March 11th at 8pm. The winner will be chosen at random, using an integer generator and I will announce the winner that evening.

Thanks! And Party On! {Top}

I am being compensated in no way for this post. The compensation is going to the winner. Because that's way more fun!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday Evening Blog Post


Want to share your favorite post of the month? I do! 
because it's a favorite memory .....and I love the pictures! 
If you'd like to share too, head over to Elizabeth Esther's  site and link up!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Morning Dose of Hope

I wait for the LORD,
my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.

Psalm 130:5

Guide me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:5
More on hope here.


This post includes a {very}subtle hint about what I'm giving away next week.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I can't help it.

 I'm a doting aunt now.

In other news: I've got a giveaway coming up soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Smile: Take 2

I Heart Outtakes

So....I showed you pictures of our little indoor beach vacation a while back, but I've saved the "best" for last. Ava took a while to warm up to that lens in her face. 
These are my first shots.

Of course, children aren't the only ones who act a little funny with a lens nearby.


My last one of the day. Who can resist the face of sweet Victoria, my niece?
I love the age of little eyes trying their hardest to focus.
Almost every picture is an outtake!


For more outtakes, weekly photography challenges and resources, check out