Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Daybook: 9

Makin' time . . .


Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook!

Outside my window... it's a cool, crisp morning but the sun is shining!

I am thinking... about how I miss reading and writing. I haven't had much time for either lately and I'm having to be intentionally about getting back into it.

I am thankful.... . . for our family being in one place again. Daddy was on a business trip last week and Mommy (most especially) did not like that. I'm glad that he does not have to go away very often.

In the kitchen... there is food to eat. I'm just going to have to be creative in putting stuff together for the next day or so. ;)

I am wearing... "sweat pants" (not the 80's variety) and a t-shirt.

I am creating... a "lesson plan" of sorts to carry us through the Olympics which are set to start on Friday!

I am going... nowhere today.

I am wondering... why it is I can so quickly lose sight of what is really important.

I am reading... The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis. I'm not sure if I'm going to recommend it at this point - not because it's BAD but because it's redundant. So far anyway. We'll see. I'm still reading.

I am hoping... to decorate the house for the Olympics today.

I am looking forward to... having our family pictures taken later this week. I'm also simultaneously NOT looking forward to this. (I hate having my picture taken.)

I am learning... to keep my mouth shut. (I'm always learning to keep my mouth shut.)

Around the house... children are learning how to talk and how to make each other laugh.

I am pondering... the best way to make the S. Korean flag with construction paper.

A favorite quote for today...


"Courage, friends," came Prince Rillian's voice.
"Whether we live or die, Aslan will be our good Lord."

See the rest of my thoughts on The Silver Chair by clicking HERE.


One of my favorite things... fellowship with good friends.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Haircut, church small group, family photos, OLYMPICS!

A peek into my day... I'm planning to keep things calm around here and prep for the Olympics (which, um, obviously are a focus) and we're also going to get started reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader which is where Bookworm1 left on in the series. I love Narnia.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Together on Tuesdays: 3



Annette @ This Simple Home and Dorie from These Grace Filled Days are hosting a meme for the summer months called Together on Tuesdays. I'm going to participate because, well, I know and like Annette very much! :) And because I think they've picked some fun topics to discuss over the course of the next few months, when we're all traveling and feeling a bit more laid back in the blog-o-sphere. (To learn more about Together on Tuesdays, click the title I just linked to and you'll see the list of topics to be discussed.) LINK UP your own post at This Simple Home.

The question the lovely ladies are asking today is:

What is your favorite book or film?


I feel like I've answered this question a good time or two and my answer hasn't changed at all. When it comes to movies, I like Anne of Green Gables. When it comes to books I like anything by Montgomery, Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia series and The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Since I've given those answers many a time, I thought I'd just share a few songs from movies that I particularly enjoy. When I was growing up I was very fond of musicals. I devoured musicals. Classics and musicals were definitely up my alley and they still are! And there are some songs you can just never get out of your head. Like the following four:



from Here Comes the Groom with Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman



from Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire



from Three Little Words with Red Skelton, Vera Ellen and Fred Astaire



from Singin' in the Rain with Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds

Favorite actor from the 40's and 50's?



Favorite movie of mine that he was in?



Nobody quite does comedy like Cary Grant. Nobody. I miss movies that were made before I was born.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Together on Tuesdays: 2



Annette @ This Simple Home and Dorie from These Grace Filled Days are hosting a meme for the summer months called Together on Tuesdays. I'm going to participate because, well, I know and like Annette very much! :) And because I think they've picked some fun topics to discuss over the course of the next few months, when we're all traveling and feeling a bit more laid back in the blog-o-sphere. (To learn more about Together on Tuesdays, click the title I just linked to and you'll see the list of topics to be discussed.) LINK UP your own post at This Simple Home.

The question the lovely ladies are asking today is:

What is your favorite food or recipe?


Well, my favorite food is Chick fil A's chicken sandwich but, unfortunately, I live no where near a Chick fil A. This might be a good thing, actually.

As for my answer to today's question, I think I'll re-share my favorite summertime sandwich recipe, which comes out of Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism Cookbook (which is linked to my previous review "way" back in 2010 when I was still watching The Biggest Loser).

*****


CHICKEN SALAD WITH RED GRAPES AND TOASTED PECANS
(Makes about 4 cups salad; enough for 6 salad servings or 8 sandwiches)

Health Benefits: Heart Healthy, Boosts Metabolism, Improves Mood, Digestion, Strong Bones, Healthy Skin, Miscellaneous.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, poached and cooled
1 cup halved red grapes
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

For 1 sandwich:
2 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
1 butterhead lettuce leaf

Use your fingers to shred the chicken into a large bowl. Add the grapes and pecans and toss gently to mix the ingredients. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, celery, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chicken and toss to coat. Store the salad in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving.

To make a sandwich, toast the bread, if desired. Place 1/2 cup chicken salad on 1 slice. Top with the lettuce leaf and the other slice of bread. Slice in half and service.

Nutritional info per 1/2-cup serving of chicken salad:
Calories: 118.6 kcal
Fat: 5.1 g
Protein: 12.9 g
Carbohydrates: 5.6 g
Sodium: 93.8 mg

*****


I typically only make this recipe in the summertime as it makes for tasty sandwiches to take on summer hikes. I've also used it for lunches after church when we need to have something quick and easy to put together. Every time I've served it, it has received a positive response. It's awfully tasty and easy to make! (Especially once you've made it a few times.)

Again, it's really easy to serve this on a hike. Just put the chicken salad into a portable dish (tupperware or what have you), pack a loaf of bread and a utensil for spreading. You're all set!

Hope you find some opportunities to explore the outdoors this summer! (Here in Oregon this is the best time of year!)


A picture that we took on a recent hike.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Becoming More Excellent

I've been ruminating on this post by Sally Clarkson for a few days now. I particularly like the following statement which she made:

It is only in being intentional and purposeful about your life that you will grow. But in growing, your heart and soul will become more fulfilled, because God’s will, which is to become more “holy”–set apart for His purposes–is indeed good and acceptable and perfect.
The idea she presents in her post is that in order to grow spiritually - to become more mature and wise in our faith - we need to surround ourselves by people more excellent than ourselves. This is definitely a thought that is counter-cultural! What we typically want to do is surround ourselves with people who are worse off or somehow "lesser than" ourselves so that we can shine. We want to be thought well of, have many friends, and generally be thought of us as quite refined and successful.

We also all know that, to varying degrees, we are "faking" our way through life - hoping that no one else will realize what we know to be true. That is? We are not perfect. In fact, we have a lot of growing up and maturing to do just yet! If you are still alive and breathing, there is still more work for God to do in your life!

But we don't like to work very hard, do we? We are inclined towards the status quo. We'd like to just chill and relax exactly where we are at now. Not much is required of us right here, right now, and we can just coast. To think about intentionally surrounding ourselves with people who are more skilled than ourselves in any given area is enough to frighten us. (I know it frightens me.) It does require a great deal of humility to say, "I need to work on this area of my life" and then be willing to spend time with those who can teach you how to go about doing that. Whether it's learning how to be a better listener, learning to garden, learning to scrapbook, or learning how to train up children or love your spouse well - it is very important to lower ourselves in our own estimation so that we can hear the advice of those who are more excellent in these areas than ourselves. But not only should we ask for advice - we should be ready to take it! (There is a clever distinction there!) It is good to be wise when listening to the advice of others, and it is good not to be too quick to dismiss. Even as we say that they are more excellent in certain areas than ourselves, we need to be ready to own that and accept that they have something worth sharing.

Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, 'Friend, we have a better place for you!' Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. Luke 14:10
Come to the more excellent and learn and observe. Watch and converse and then let them praise you for the areas where you have succeeded at making progress.

Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:7


It is imperative for our spiritual growth that we do not go around thinking that we have it all together. I am not saying that we should deny that we have gifts and talents (for we do and it would be equally sinful to deny that God has already begun to work in our lives) but we should not boast in them, but glory in Christ. Recognize there is always room to grow. Don't be afraid to seek out those who might be viewed as being better equipped than you. Humble yourself to heed advice.

Most of all, praise the Lord that He has seen fit to surround you with faithful ones who can encourage and strengthen you in your Christian faith. You do not have to walk this path alone for He has provided His own company, and the company of His other children to brighten your path, lighten your load and encourage you to grow stronger! What a beautiful thing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Inclusion of Children in the Church

I have to confess to you that I really want to make this post all about the importance of children in all of society but we'll start with the church, where they are currently being ousted from the pew for the sake of peace and quiet.

Since I am now the mother of three small children (ages 1, 3 and 5) I am now entering into the joys of a society that does not want to see children. It seems no matter where we go, what we do, or what we are involved with, we run into people who have very negative reactions to young people. (They seem to forget that they were also 1, 3 and 5 at one point in their personal history!) Children are not valued as having any net worth. Rather, they are viewed as inconvenient things which should be put aside where we cannot see or hear them, or be bothered to remember them. If we are at a gathering and a child of any sort makes a peep to remind the other adults that they are in the vicinity, we are instantly informed that the party would be much better off without them there.

What an atrocious attitude to have!

Worse though is when this attitude is expressed within the Body of Christ. I have heard many a time that a baby fussing (even quietly) is disruptive. "Children are distractions." "They are too noisy." Essentially, they are generally unwelcomed and unloved. It breaks my heart (and frustrates me endlessly). For good or for bad, I've had to start informing my oldest that it is very important to be quiet at group events because noise bothers people. But what I'm really saying is, "YOU bother people." And it bothers ME to say that to him! That is, in fact, the very message I am communicating to him. It is not a biblical message at all and it's one that I think I ought not tell him because it has disastrous ramifications. (He's already a silent boy. But I feel like I have to request TOMB silence from him least we hear negativity from those around us after the fact.)

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— Duet. 4:9

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Duet. 6:6-9

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Ps. 127:3-5

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 12:13-14


Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Ages 8 and up.
1 Corinthians 12:27


I made that last part up. And so did the rest of modern day Christendom who believe that children should be tucked away as they are "distracting" instead of "filled with worth" and designed to engage with the Gospel message. They were created with great purpose in mind. God did not segregate people by ages and neither should we.

Now, I recognize that there are arguments to be made for nurseries and Sunday School programs but I'm not addressing those issues with this post. I'm merely declaring what I believe to be Biblically true and accurate - children were made to worship and glorify God and it is the adults in their midst who must teach them to do so. They will learn how to do this by watching and receiving instructions and explanations. They will not learn this if they are tucked away where we cannot see them and they, in turn, cannot see us.

They will learn to be a part of the Body of Christ by being included in it! They will learn by attending weddings, going to Christmas parties, participating in baby showers, and being interacted with by those outside of their immediate family. Including them in special events and occasions builds in them a sense of confidence and self worth. To know that you are valued and welcomed can do wonders for your sense of peace and belonging. Just as you and I, as adults, can sense when we are not welcome, so can children. Perhaps more so. Instead of expressing their feelings with words though, they tend to become incredibly quiet or they will cry. They do not know how to tell us that they are uncomfortable, but this is a feeling of theirs which can be discerned by anyone who is actively paying attention and reaching out to them.

Exceptions of really bad behavior in children aside, we need to not dismiss the entire childhood race because of a "few bad eggs" in the bunch who are unfortunate enough to have parents who do not care enough to train and instruct them on how to behave in public. I get that not all parents do this. That is sad and is an issue that also needs to be addressed. However, regardless of this, we must look to scripture and determine the worth of the child and I suggest that scripture is clear that children are a blessing and have proper standing before the Lord, just as you and I do.

We should be ashamed of our quickness to remove them from the teaching of the Word of God. We should be mortified that we have kept them from understanding the sacraments so that they might participate in them. We should be disheartened that we have given in to societal demands that children not exist (except in back rooms where they are tended to by people who are not their parents).

My children know when they unwanted and unloved and it bothers me that they know this. It confuses and baffles them to be told that they cannot participate in certain activities because they are too young. (And my kids can sit still and be quiet when told to!) I hate that they are already being imprisoned in the church that is being influenced by the society of death which surrounds us. Instead of being quick to dismiss children as "inconveniences" - why do we not welcome them in? Children are capable of a massive amount of love that they are ready to spill out all over you if you would just let them. They desire to please and are happy to feel that they are important enough to be counted among the Body of Christ.

Why do we not let them in?

There is a serious need for repentance on the part of Christian adults who have sought to block children from entering the sanctuary and participating in the life of the Body of Christ as a whole. They are our smallest members, yes, but this does not decrease their levels of importance. In fact, it should cause in us a desire to rise up, surround and protect them. Instead, we seem to find it easier to cast them from the assembly, so that we will not be "bothered."

I would sincerely ask that you read through the following verses and begin to think of children as being a part of the Body of Christ. The next time you are tempted to not allow them access to the body, in essence telling them that they do not belong and are not wanted, think of these verses.

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27


And yup, this is Steve Green back in the day but it's a simple song that we adults might need to spend some time memorizing.



Surely we can learn to accept what God Himself not only accepted, but designed, created and decreed to be good.

A few books to read on the subject:

* Parenting in the Pew (linked to my review)
* Children in Church (linked to my friend Shonya's thoughts)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Together on Tuesdays: 1



Annette @ This Simple Home and Dorie from These Grace Filled Days are hosting a meme for the summer months called Together on Tuesdays. I'm going to participate because, well, I know and like Annette very much! :) And because I think they've picked some fun topics to discuss over the course of the next few months, when we're all traveling and feeling a bit more laid back in the blog-o-sphere. (To learn more about Together on Tuesdays, click the title I just linked to and you'll see the list of topics to be discussed.) LINK UP your own post at This Simple Home.

Today is an introduction, of sorts. Apparently our job today is to introduce ourselves! So, without further ado . . .

Who am I? That's actually a hard question to answer in an online forum. But here is a little snippet, for any newbies:

I am a stay-at-home mom to three children, all under the age of five. I have two boys and one little girl. I refer to my children online as the "bookworms." Why? Well, because we love to read and Living Like a Narnian is an outgrowth of that love. My original "home" on the web is Reading to Know: book reviews from a Christian worldview. Reading is indeed my passion and I relate much of life through the books I read.

Favorite reads:

* The Mysterious Benedict Society (linked to review)
* any book by Lucy Maud Montgomery
* The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis

Every July I host the Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge. That's comin' right up and I invite you to join in! You can learn more about it by reading last year's introduction post. I hope you'll consider it.

Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge


I do blog most regularly at Reading to Know. Living Like a Narnian is an extension of every day life which flows out of thoughts and/or ideas from the books I've read. Are you getting the idea that I value books?! If these two sites were not enough, I also am a staff contributor at 5 Minutes for Books. I blog about books with a team of other women over there.

I recently celebrated seven years of marriage with my husband, Jonathan. That may seem like a small number, but we've packed a lot of big stuff into those seven years! Most recently, we were smoked out of house and home for a few months during the early part of this year. That was an adventure, to be sure! Here is a picture of us that was taken a few weeks ago, during a rare overnight getaway:


When I'm not reading (and blogging about it), I spend my time with my children and tending to home. I love to cook and bake. Our family has also planted our first garden this year! Most of the plants we are growing on our deck (for fear and threat of deer), but they are doing rather well. I've been using something called the EarthBox. (Ever heard of them? As a friend of mine likes to say, they are "a-MAZE-ing." They work wonders on plants.) Here's a picture of my snap peas, which exceeded the cage trellis I put in for them. They are mass producing these days, which is just fabulous! I love eating the fruits (or vegetables) of our own labor! It's an incredible feeling.



First and foremost though, I label myself a Christian, as Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. If I want you to know anything about me at all, it is that. It is the most important thing for you to know, as my belief and worldview will generally tell you all of the details of me which I have left out. I am not perfect and do not claim to be. I am a sinner in need of a savior. I am grateful to have been saved by grace and I purpose to follow Christ in all that I say and do. (Some days I succeed more than others, but I press on.) My favorite musical artist is Steven Curtis Chapman and this is my favorite song of his which reflects my own feelings on this topic.



And that, my friends, is a general snapshot of the things I like and care about. In the spirit of Together on Tuesdays, I'm now off to learn about some of you! Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Daybook: 8

(I can still do this. It's still Monday, right?!)


Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook! I've rather missed this, really.

Outside my window... the window is blowing the trees around and there is a stiff, cool breeze. O Summer, Where Art Thou?

I am thinking... about how to organize my time over these next few hectic (but fun!) weeks.

I am thankful.... . . for a fun family getaway this past weekend. Absolutely nothing went as planned (and if you know Jonathan and I - you know that we like to plan!) but we had a very adventurous time and it was good.

In the kitchen... there is a mess. But my wonderful husband will help clean it AND he's making dinner tonight.

I am wearing... my usual uniform of jeans and a t-shirt.

I am creating... blog posts. (Perhaps not exciting, but it is what I am doing.)

I am going... to enjoy the next few weeks.

I am wondering... why the year is flying by so very quickly.

I am reading... Life Without Limits. I am having a hard time being excited about it.

I am hoping... to re-organize the house a bit.

I am looking forward to... family coming. First, we start with Jonathan's family who will all be coming to town and (I think?) staying at our house. It will be a full house but a fun one. We are all very much looking forward to this!

I am learning... that it's ok when plans fall apart.

Around the house... one child is still taking her very long afternoon nap. She has a lot of sleep to catch up on after our busy weekend!

I am pondering... how long it's going to take before all of the cherries on my cherry trees ripen up.

A favorite quote for today...

The general tendency we have in our society to want entertainment. If we see the gathering of the church body as a time to be entertained with great worship music and a dynamic message, we might not want to be distracted by the responsibilities of parenthood. If, however, we see the gathering of the body as a time to worship, to remember the Lord's sacrifice, to build one another up, and glorify God, we might be more likely to bring our children alongside us so they can witness our worship and learn to worship Him as well.


~Shonya, at Learning How Much I Don't Know who talked about having children in the church service in this blog post. (I want to read this book/let.)

One of my favorite things... tuna quasadillas, made by my wonderful husband!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Fellowship with a friend, hiking with other friends, and it's Jonathan's birthday and we have a few plans surrounding that which we are looking forward to!

A peek into my day... It's been rather calm and quiet, actually. I got through some laundry, started teaching one child how to tie shoes and read another chapter in The Hobbit with him as well.

Now, let us leave one another in song:



Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Entertaining

About a month or so ago I picked up a Fruit Infuser Pitcher at our local Target store:



(I found a cheaper, more simplistic version at Target. I can't find it online or else I'd post the link to that one instead! The one I got was about $8 and works perfectly well.)

I absolutely love this pitcher. It's a fantastic way to "spruce up" regular water, especially when having company over. During a season when we're picking a lot of fresh berries, it's nice to be able to pop these into the infuser and have berry flavored juice. (I use frozen berries in mine as well. This works great - I just have to remember to stick the berries in several hours before I want berry juice-filled water!)

It's tasty and it's fun to come up with different combinations. Highly recommended for the fun and the flavor!

Also, a few months back I picked up this Dark Chocolate Quinoa candy bar (because it was on sale) to try out:



I'm not normally a dark chocolate fan but I thought this tasted delicious! It rather has a Nestle Crunch feel to it. (I love Crunch bars. Haven't had one in years but boy those are yummy!) However, the Alter Eco Midnight Crunch bar itself runs around $4 - which I find to be ridiculously expensive. There is no way I'm going to pay that much for a candy bar. I just cannot bring myself to do that. So, instead, I bought a whole bag of dark chocolate chips for $4 and melted them down with a 1/2 cup of butter. I threw in a dash of cinnamon and about a cup(ish) of quinoa and then spread the mixture out on a pan to harden. I cut my quinoa bites into small squares which look, more or less, like the candy bar I had originally purchased. Only far, far less sophisticated. (Hey! We were going for taste. Not appearance. I'll improve on that part later.)

I store them in the fridge and after meals I've been known to pull out the container and offer a piece to my family. It's a nice, small after dinner treat and the amount I made has lasted us for weeks! We definitely got more bang for the buck this way! (Bonus: since it's not milk chocolate I don't devour it as quickly which is also nice. I am learning to like dark chocolate. It's sort of like learning how to like coffee, only better. I haven't learned to like coffee yet.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Daybook: 7

(I didn't totally disappear, honest! I just need to settle into a calm groove again.)


Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook! I've rather missed this, really.

Outside my window... Cool air and warm sunshine. That's hard to beat!

I am thinking... about how we should be spending our time this week. We have a rather insane schedule for the next few days.

I am thankful.... . . for a fun time of fellowship with family this past week. We had Jonathan's (local) siblings over and we watched Disney's The Rescuers) (which Bookworm1 had been waiting to see). Then after the kids went to bed we adults enjoyed playing a game and catching up on life. Very fun.

In the kitchen... there is a line of jars of freshly made strawberry jam. This past Saturday was spent making: strawberry chips (dehydrator), strawberry lemonade concentrate, strawberry jam, strawberry pie, strawberry butter, strawberry hazlenut muffins and strawberry popsicles. That's in addition to about 6 tubs of strawberries that we froze for future use.

I am wearing... jeans and SHORT SLEEVES! (Another taste of the coming summer.)

I am creating... opportunities for play today. I think.

I am going... to be hosting a "Grammy Baby Shower" this Thursday. (A friend of mine is "finally" becoming a grandmother and I promised we'd host a fun shower whenever that time time. It has come!)

I am wondering... how to set things up for the shower.

I am reading...A Girl of the Limberlost for the Reading to Know book club. I'm actually having a hard time enjoying it. (Gulp.)

Reading to Know - Book Club


I am hoping... for gorgeous weather this weekend!

I am looking forward to... an upcoming family getaway.

I am learning... to remember to be friendly to all, but select friends with few (as discussed midweek last week); to choose friends wisely and well.

Around the house... children are playing and plants are waiting to be planted and set out on the deck.

I am pondering... blogging. (As sort of described in my post at Reading to Know today wherein I set the summer schedule.)

A favorite quote for today...

Re: re-reading classics and older works

Somebody who only reads newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else. ~ Albert Einstein


One of my favorite things... weekends.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Grammy Baby Shower, cooking and baking, spending time out of doors hiking a few trails with the family and generally soaking up some sunshine.

A peek into my day... It's calm and quiet and I'm hoping it will mostly stay that way. The guy who has been working on our yard (carving land out so that we can put in a retaining wall) will be back this morning, giving the boys a huge tractor to watch. Just kind of a lazy day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let's hear it for the boys!

This is a meme hosted by the MOB Society. The point of this is expressed in their opening sentence:

In a world where it’s way too easy to see all of the negative about our boys, we want to help you intentionally look for something to brag on…


I really do love my boys. They are fun, silly, smart and all-around enjoyable. They do have their moments though when they seem to be none of the above. This past week they both woke up on the wrong side of the bed and were complaining and grumbling against one another in a big way. By 8:30 a.m. I had had quite enough! And so we instituted the idea of Team Day. Everything that happened, all day long, would have to be done together. They were told they would walk together, eat together, and play together all day long. The tattle-telling was to come to an end and if I heard a peep of it, they would also be punished together.

The experiment began at 8:30 a.m. and by 8:00 p.m. they likely had no memory of their previous disagreements, whatever they might have been. They were walking around the house, holding hands and laughing. Bookworm2 fake read a book to Bookworm1 using all kinds of silly voices that had his older brother in stitches. I saw them hugging one another. They played Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf, calmly and happily taking turns at being the wolf. There was peace and harmony and they made the day a pleasure.

I do think it is important for siblings to be friends and I hope that they will continue to be just that! Not only is it a blessing for them, but also for the entire family. More so though, I hope they learn how to be friends generally, knowing that getting along requires commitment to the word of God, first and foremost!

Learning to set aside frustrations and differences can be hard. (Ok, let's face it -- it's always hard!) We're all different, with our own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Trying to be the same never works. But holding hands, speaking God's word and HIS requirements into the situation is worth the effort. My boys learned this lesson, subtly, the other day. I love that!

Bottom line - this is, essentially, what they did:

They listened to their parents' advice and accepted instruction and correction. We pray that they will hold on to that so that they can gain wisdom for the future. (Proverbs 19:20)

Great job, boys!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Inspiration

I read a great many blogs (rather, I used to read a great many more blogs than I currently do!) and every so often I come across something that I think is interesting and I want to remember it. Here are a few blog posts from other authors that have caught my attention in a significant way lately:

Do You Think Everyone Should Have Many Children? at Life as a Mother . . . of Many.

I found this blog through the Ultimate Blog Party at 5 Minutes for Moms. I confess that I (like others, I am certain!) subscribed to a few feeds and then whittled them down after a few weeks once I had gotten a feel for their regular writing style. Life as a Mother . . . of Many caught my attention, not because I'm a member of the quiverfull movement (whatever that is anyway!) but because I like the idea of having lots of kids (even if I only have three myself.) I thought this post was well-balanced and reasonable.

As an aside, I have been completely taken aback and surprised by how many comments I receive in having three children. Everytime I take them out I receive comments like, "Wow, you brought the herd with you!" or "Well, I see you have a whole lot of helpers with you today." (I love it when they assume that we're all done having children and say so.) I have to curb the snarkiness in that moment. What I WANT to say isn't what I ought to say. (Mostly I'm thinking to myself, "There are only THREE! We're a small family!" Apparently this is not so.) I'm in the process of training myself to respond politely and in support of the children who are hearing the remarks for themselves. "Yes, and they are very good helpers!" It requires a lot of discipline for me to respond this way. But I'm working on it.

~~~~~~


My local "real-life" friend shared about her favorite gardening books over at Beautifully Treasured. I picked up a copy of The Backyard Homestead at her recommendation. Actually, I first picked up a copy of Backyard Homesteading at Costco first, thinking that was the one she was talking about. They are both good in their own way and I plan on reviewing them both side-by-side on Reading to Know. As I'm learning more about gardening, the advice is helpful!



~~~~~~


I really liked this post entitled Cherishing Motherhood by Sally Clarkson over at I Take Joy. Now, I have to confess that her post feels more like a hodge podge of ideas rather than one truly coherent thought but what I took away from it was the need to teach our children to be a safe haven for each other. We all know life is rough and it's easier to weather the storms if you know you have family who surround, love and support you. This is an incredible thing to "accomplish." (I say that with full awareness that God is actually the one who blesses and gives these relationships.) It is hard to build and maintain safe and loving relationships. (Please note: when I say safe and loving I do not mean one in which the truth is never spoken and sin issues are swept under the rug in an effort to avoid conflict. I mean one in which the parties involved know it's safe to have fun and deal with deep spiritual matters without fear of being rejected.) Did I mention this was hard? (It's amazing to me sometimes to realize how many people think this is easy!)

This past week our boys were not getting along at all. With the idea in mind that they need to be a team we tried a little experiment which I plan to talk more about tomorrow. For now, I'm mulling over thoughts about how it is that I specifically foster a safe environment for our family in which we are close to one another and honoring to the Lord as well. Those are some pretty big thoughts to wrestle with, but that is where I am at, at this moment.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tag, You're It!

Ok, every so often someone tags me for a game that I feel like playing along with. I like this one because through it I got to know Bluerose's Heart better and I'll return the courtesy. (Perhaps to my detriment?!)

*****


I'm going to change the rules a bit (because I do that) and not tag anyone else in return. However, if you'd like to play along, please do. Just recycle the questions that Bluerose created for me to answer.

*****


First, I'm supposed to share 11 Fun Facts About Me. I'll try to think of something to share that I haven't shared already.

1. I used to be a member of The Official Star Trek Fan Club. I had a uniform and tricorder and everything. I was a Trekker and not a Trekkie. I feel the need to say so. I also feel the need to let you know that I was 14 at the time. Or thereabouts.

2. I dislike stories set in hot or tropical locations because I hate being hot. I have a hard time working up the interest to read The Jungle Book for instance and I cannot watch Lawrence of Arabia or even Ben Hur because they are so hot and dusty looking. Too much sweat!

3. I like the idea of being out on the ocean but I can't hardly stand actually being on a boat. Every time I get one, I spend almost the entire ride thinking about the Titanic.

4. Up until this year I have hated avacados and cucumbers. I purposefully set out to like them and I have recently been able to enjoy them!

5. I am a black and white sort of person. There is no gray in my world. Occasionally someone reminds me that gray exists but I can't always see how it factors in. There is only black or white. Why are we even discussing this!?

6. When I was a teenager and my brother was a tween, we really liked to watch Whose Line is it Anyway? The only problem was that we were not allowed to do so. However, our parents conveniently left the house for regular meetings on the night of the week that the show aired. We would sneakily watch it (and laugh hysterically) with one of us standing guard at the window to make sure we saw when mom would come home. She'd drive into the driveway and we'd turn off the tv and SPLIT! They never discovered us.

7. When I was younger I said I wanted to have seven children because that is the number of completion. The older woman I told this to nodded at me in a very sage manner and told me that I was a very interesting person. (I have three children currently.)

8. When I was a teenager I used to wear vests all the time. No. Seriously. Like every single day. I had a closet full of vests. And I wore them. Every day. I was noted for this.

I do not wear vests anymore. (I cannot.) But I still don't really have a very good sense of fashion.

9. I saran wrapped someone's car once. I didn't know them. And the wrapping didn't stick so it was basically a waste of good saran wrap. But it was fun at the time.

10. When I was young I said I wanted to be a zoo keeper. I have a very low tolerance of animals these days so I think that's probably never going to happen.

11. I really like York Peppermint Patties. But the best (and only) way to eat them is to freeze them first, then eat the sides off and work your way to the middle. I'm just letting you know.

~~~~~


And now for the questions Bluerose asked me to answer:

1. What is something that never fails to make you laugh?

Hank the Cowdog. (He's on the brain these days, as we're reading the first book aloud.)

2. If you could meet any FICTIONAL character from a book/movie, who would it be?

Ha! Anne of Green Gables. Except wait! She'd talk a lot and so maybe I'd go with Lucy from the Narnia series. I think I would like her an awful lot.

3. What's your #1 "go-to" movie?

Anne of Green Gables.

4. What is your comfort food?

Chocolate.

5. You get to grab 2 books(in addition to your Bible) off your shelf. These are the only books you will have for the next year. What do you grab?

Anne of Green Gables and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. (I'm very predictable like that!)

6. Who is you favorite music artist/group/composer?

Steven Curtis Chapman!

7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Prince Edward Island. (I tell you I'm extremely predictable!)

8. You get to step inside any book for a day. What book would you pick?

Umm....? ;) Well... Anne of Green Gables!

9. You get one super power. What do you pick?

I wouldn't. Because it would too easily be used for evil instead of good. I do not trust myself.

Oh, unless of course I could have A Green Thumb which can magically produce fruit on any tree and an abundance of vegetables. The ability not to kill plants would be very nice indeed!!!

10. What is one thing you never leave home without(besides wallet and keys...and kids, if you have those)?

A cell phone.

11. What is the closest thing to a phobia you have? (spiders, clowns, etc)

Slugs. *Shudder*

And now it's your turn, if you'd care to share! Thanks, Bluerose, for the fun!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Daybook: 6


Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook. And I'm getting back into the swing of things around here. I hope.

Outside my window... SUNSHINE! Sunshine all week!

I am thinking... about how I need to order the rest of my day, which has already started off in something of a chaotic manner.

I am thankful.... . . for fun fellowship. We had some people over after church yesterday and just had a great time of fellowship with personal stories and laughter. It was very fun.

In the kitchen... lunch clean-up is happening.

I am wearing... jeans and SHORT SLEEVES! (This doesn't happen often where we live, so it's notable.)

I am creating... order! I unpacked another box today. Box by box our house will eventually be put back into place (or cleaned out.)

I am going... to make quiche for dinner. I think.

I am wondering... how I'm going to make room on the bookshelves for the other box of books I just found.

I am reading... A Woman's Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything, by Lydia Brownbeck. It. is. awesome.

I am hoping... to clean off my desk. *Hysterical laughter*

I am looking forward to... a week of sunshine.

I am learning... to slow down. (It's a constant process.)

Around the house... there are messes and people learning to get along with one another. There are tomato plants waiting to be planted and a little family of worms hopefully making some useable compost.

I am pondering... the same things I am thinking about.

A favorite quote for today...

Re: motherhood

It's a choice that's countercultural. It flies int he face of everything the world tells us to hold on to and pursue. But make no mistake - it's not about nurseries, tiny clothes, or your personal timetable. It's about the gospel. That reality makes children a choice worth making. ~ Erin Davis


This quote is taken from the book Beyond Bath Time which is written by Mrs. Davis. I just finished reading this title last week and posted my review for it over at Reading to Know. (The title is linked to my review.) I rather recommend it!

One of my favorite things... listening to my children re-enact the story of The Three Little Pigs. The boys were taking turns being the big bad wolf. They were building houses out of couch pillows and knocking them down.

A few plans for the rest of the week: hazlenuts (I hope), gathering with friends, and mostly just enjoying calm days at home underneath the brilliant sunshine which I keep referencing.

A peek into my day... actually it's been a doozie. The boys woke up squabbling and that didn't set the mood well. We've been working on attitudes and team spirit but paying attention to the attitudes does seem to be paying off. Mostly we're just teaching and learning that good relationships take work and don't come easy. Even if you are related.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Daybook: 5


Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window... the sun is shining brightly! There are new shoots on the branches of the tree which makes me infinitely happy!

I am thinking... that I rather dislike Twitter feed from a courtroom. There is a case happening right now that I care very much about and there is live feed coming out of it. I seriously doubt that anyone unfamiliar with courtroom procedure (possibly including the Twitterer) understands courtroom procedure or why certain things are being said/done as they are. I question whether or not this Twitter feed is a truly valuable service to the community (or world at large.)

I am thankful.... . . that we can pray for situations that matter to us, even if we are several thousand miles away.

In the kitchen... breakfast clean-up is happening.

I am wearing... jeans and SHORT SLEEVES! Also, I'm sporting a nice sunburn from yesterday's SUN!

I am creating... a clean pantry today.

I am going... to do some grocery shopping.

I am wondering... about society's need to Twitter EVERYTHING. (Sorry. Watching the news feed despite my irritations.)

I am reading... Summer Lightning, by P.G. Wodehouse as part of the Reading to Know online bookclub!

Reading to Know - Book Club


I am hoping... to have enough sunshine to play in today! It's supposed to start raining at some point this week and won't clear up again until next weekend. Gotta enjoy the sun while it lasts around these parts!

I am looking forward to... time with a friend this week!

I am learning... how to garden.

Around the house... Legos are being built, books are being scattered about, and babies are crawling less frequently and walking with more regularity.

I am pondering... how to best tend to my clay soil.

A favorite quote for today...

I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don't know what I did before that. Just loafed I suppose. ~ P.G. Wodehouse


One of my favorite things... summer-like days with the family. Just piddling around indoors with the doors and windows open, taking long walks and finish them up with snow cones, and enjoying sunshine and breeze.

A few plans for the rest of the week: time with friends, meetings, errands, continuing to unpack boxes and put the house back in order and reading!

A peek into my day... same as last week: rather unpredictable as it involves three small children.



This picture was taken on our first hike of the season - which we went on this past Saturday. Loved being out in the woods again! Bookworm1 picked the trail which took us further up the mountain than we've ever been before which was fun.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday's Favorite Five



Time for another Susanne's Friday Fave Five and this time I'm rarin' to go!

We had a great week celebrating my baby girl's first birthday. She's been on the upswing of an ear infection and so was in a state of improved happiness by the time her special day rolled around.

#1 - I'm appreciative of friends and family who were able to come and join in our birthday celebration. We had such a wonderful time visiting while celebrating the life of our little girl. Super duper blessed by deep conversations and genuine fellowship.

#2 - Great books! Really, where would we be without great books?! I hear a lot of people say that they would like to read but just can't seem to find the time. I think it's important to make the time. Prioritize! Books provide nourishment, encouragement, private chastisement, and inspiration! How can one possibly live without them?!

#3 - A date night out with my middle child. All of my children are in the "I want to talk to you ALL. THE. TIME!" stage and it's hard to distinguish between their voices sometimes. It was good to get out with just the one and spend some time relaxing and enjoying him. We even went to McDonald's which is something I have never done with him before. (My children have no idea what McDonald's is.) He was intrigued. And his double apple sticks (as opposed to french fries) were a perfect delight. (Although, quite frankly, I ate one of his apple slices and I thought it was the driest, most hideous apple I had ever eaten in my life.) He was happy. So therefore I was.

#4 - Positive well-baby check-ups. Poor little baby cakes had to have some more "pokies" but she and Bookworm2 both "passed" their doctor's appointment with flying colors. Healthy children are such a tremendous blessing.

#5 - My husband. He's a hero because he lives with me (and for a few other reasons as well.) He works so hard to provide for us and takes care of so many of the details which order our lives. He is patient and steady and is the center piece of the home. We love him so much and are grateful that he is ours!

That's a wrap for this week! Looking forward to a hopeful healthy and beautiful weekend here in Oregon! Sunny (partly cloudy?) and 70 degrees. I sincerely believe that cannot be topped!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

She is One



It felt as if the girl would never be born. I was going to be that lone freak of nature - the woman who stayed pregnant for all eternity.

I was given two choices for a birth date. I chose April 18th. Our Spring baby was finally coming!

Spring has generally been an unpleasant season in our family history. We've suffered three deaths of close family members all within the first few months of Spring. While other people are generally excited about new life, we've relived memories death and its consequences. Several springs went by and our thoughts and memories were about struggling through painful anniversaries, remembering and knowing what we've lost.

Then came April 18th.

God took a season of our lives that had been filled with many tears, and gave us a cause to celebrate LIFE again! Our little spring baby - a baby that doctors had told us not to hope for.

Spring is always coming. And in Christ we have confidence in our hope. He makes all things new. Our period of mourning will fade away (although we will always be left with lingering thoughts) but the mourning will not dictate our present and the new joys will effect our future.

This little hoped-for blessing came into our lives quietly. The first few months with her were a blur not because I was sleep deprived (because she slept about 18 hours or more out of every day!) but because we spent time at home, letting her sleep while I focused on healing from her birth.

She hasn't stayed quiet. Having two older brothers encourages a little loudness. She is never bothered by their play and what would likely startle another baby, only serves to make our baby laugh. She has recently learned that she has the ability to make others laugh and she is working hard to develop this talent. She knows exactly what she wants and is not easily distracted from her personal goals. Sometimes she wants Daddy and only Daddy to hold and comfort her. Other times, no one but Mommy will do. There is no use trying to convince her that she doesn't know her own mind. She does!

She is beautiful and is learning to be kind and gentle. She is proud of her accomplishments and wears a big grin as she walks across the floor. She hates most food and I fear she'll still be drinking bottles at age five. (Not really, mind you, but it feels like it.) She loves to be wherever the brothers are and no toy is thought to be half as interesting as the one in the hand of a brother.

She challenges us. She loves us. She does indeed makes us laugh.

We are blessed beyond measure and are reminded that God does renew and transform even the ugliest and most painful seasons of our lives. Sometimes we have to wait a short while to receive comfort and peace and sometimes we have to wait a long while. But spring is coming!

Then the world was broken, fallen and battered and scarred
You took the hopeless, the life wasted, ruined and marred
And made it new

You make all things new
You make all things new
You redeem and You transform
You renew and You restore
You make all things new
You make all things new
And forever we will watch and worship You!

You turn winter into spring
You take every living thing
And You breathe Your breath of life into it over and over again





The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Ps. 94:19

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day. I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" Lamentations 3:22-24

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2-5

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12


Hear the birds start to sing
Feel the life in the breeze
Watch the ice melt away
The kids are coming out to play

Feel the sun on your skin
Growing strong and warm again
Watch the ground: there's something moving
Something is breaking through
New life is breaking through




Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Girl! We are beyond blessed to have you join our family - at the precise moment in time when God chose to place you into it! God delighted to give you to us and every day we delight in the gift!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Daybook : 4


Time for another The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window... it is raining. I'm glad we spent a good amount of time out in the yard yesterday!

I am thinking... that I can't believe almost a year has passed since my daughter was born. Wednesday is her first birthday! (Thanks for praying for her cough, by the way! Turns out it was all related to an ear infection!)

I am thankful.... . . for antibiotics when you really need them!

In the kitchen... there are a lot of bananas which have been being turned into banana chips, banana bread and morning smoothies.

I am wearing... slacks and a short sleeved shirt. It really ought to be a long sleeved shirt.

I am creating... blog posts.

I am going... to put together a one year old birthday celebration.

I am wondering... when we'll see sunshine next.

I am reading... a really, truly FABULOUS book on Proverbs. Proverbs: Wisdom that Works is from Crossway's Preaching the Word series. This book should not in any way intimidate a single soul by its appearance. It's hard hitting, truthful and very motivating in a convicting sort of way. (Highly recommended.)

I finished The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict. I linked that to my review/giveaway!

I am hoping... to have a peaceful day at home.

I am looking forward to... a BIRTHDAY!

I am learning... how valuable real relationships are.

Around the house... books are being read, boys are playing and a baby is turning into a little girl.

I am pondering... whether or not I want to make a loaf of bread or hamburger buns today.

A favorite quote for today...

Jesus and His wisdom are dangerous like fire. It is our own folly that is dangerous like poison. That is why Wisdom says here in [Proverbs 1:22] - we hear the urgency in her tone of voice - "How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?" We do not have to tell ourselves "I hate wisdom" to miss out on it. We only have to be okay with the way we are. ~ from Proverbs: Wisdom that Works, by John C. Ortland Jr.


One of my favorite things... spending time as a family. Last night we hung out in the kid's room and built Legos, encouraged baby girl to walk (or, just watched her do it, really), read books and just generally relaxed with one another.

A few plans for the rest of the week: birthday parties, fellowship with friends (I hope), errand running, baking and cooking and restocking the pantry, learning more about gardening and a lot of resting at home.

A peek into my day... all I can tell you is that it involves three small children. What that will involve is anyone's guess at the moment.



Here is a flower that peeked up from the ground in our yard this last week. Anyone out there know what it is? I have no idea. But it's pretty!

Friday, April 13, 2012

We Rock. Sometimes literally.

The day is only half over but so far it's been awesome.

The boy's had their Friday babysitter friend come over to play for a few hours this morning. They went downstairs and I stayed upstairs and caught up on some computer stuff while baby got some much needed, restful sleep!

Our friend left and the delivery truck showed up, delivering a huge box on the front porch. I was in the middle of coaxing baby to eat, so I told the boys that they could open the door and work together to bring the box inside. This was a comical affair, as the box was really too big for them. Yet they managed!

I complimented them on their team effort.

Mommy: You did a great job working as a team! You should come up with a team name. That way when I need to call you to come down for dinner or something, instead of calling out each of your names I can call the team name and you'll know I'm talking to both of you.

Bookworm1: Ok. We'll be the "weam."

Mommy: The weam? Um, why the 'weam'?

Bookworm1: It rhymes with 'team.'


After lunch we turned on our Disney soundtrack and played The Guessing Game. (When a new song comes on, we try to be the first to shout out which movie the song is from. I usually win, unless the movie is Mary Poppins. If I pause long enough, they are quick to shout out the title.) We had a rousing group dance event to 'Be Our Guest' and Disney's Electrical Parade. Everyone was laughing and having fun.

I've just put The Weam Team down for their naps and now I'm going to cozy up and finish THIS:



Happy Friday indeed.

Friday Favorite Five



I have something to confess. The past few weeks I didn't participate in Susanne's Friday Fave Five because I was basically in a bad mood. (Well, last week I was just plain busy.) But wrapping up moving into our house produced a variety of stresses and it was hard to see beyond them. I kinda felt I ought to be participating in FFF but at the same time, well, I just didn't.

These verses comes to mind:

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20

But Job replied, "You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?" So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. Job 2:10


Whether good or "bad" I need to thank God for it. It is all for my good. (It's admittedly easier to say this after the fact and usually not during the trial.)

Things I am grateful for:

1. That my daughter, who has been very sick with a bad cough, does not have RSV or whooping cough. (She was tested for both.) She has an ear infection though and so we're down for the count on antibiotics. I'm very grateful re: whooping cough in particular as several of our family friends have it and it just sounds absolutely harsh, terrible and frightening!

2. I had an absolutely fantastic time with my friend last week. She came with her baby girl and we had a few extremely fun days with one another. We talked and talked and talked and enjoyed each other's company very well. I loved it.

3. Our oven works and doesn't smell like smoke! Every appliance in the kitchen had to be replaced but we were able to run the cleaner on our oven and it works! In a celebratory gesture, I made brownies with peanut butter chips. They were yummy.

4. When I was in my early 20's I bought a bunch of Disney song soundtracks. (Don't ask me why. I really don't want to confess that much about my personality.) At any rate, this past week my children have been thoroughly enjoying them. My oldest sits riveted next to the music player listening to the songs and memorizing them. My two boys together belt out, "YO HO! YO HO! A Pirate's Life for MEEEeee!" in unison. It's very funny in person, if not in writing. Apparently I made a good investment in the lives of my future children when I bought those CD's. It might be argued that they are being enjoyed by an appropriate age group now but really. . . ! Who DOESN'T smile when you hear, "You can FLY!"

5. It is a weekend. And for that I am very, very grateful!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let's Hear it For the Boys!

I started following the MOB Society (Mother of Boys blog) after reading a post that Barbara from Stray Thoughts linked to. (It was this article on Combat. It was awesome because I like things quiet and I need to sometimes realize that quiet is not what boys need.)

Apparently every Thursday they host a meme in which we're encouraged to brag on our boys. Face it, boys get a bum rap in today's society. Whenever I mention I have two of them (and only two . . . I mean, come on!) someone usually comments about how hard I have it. When I was pregnant with my daughter strangers everywhere coo-ed and said, "Ohhh, you are finally going to get your girl. I bet you are so glad!" (I was glad. I did want a girl. But my contrary nature almost willed her to be male whenever someone assumed that having a third boy would somehow be over the top. I'd already learned that boys are quite fabulous.)

Boys are awesome!

Yes, they are louder. Yes, they do crazy, unexplainable things. They take risks. They leap off of tall things in an attempt to fly. They love to create "bad guys" to pretend fight against. Sometimes it does get a little loud, but they are still awesome.

I am not persuaded that just because a boy is a boy means that they can be disruptive and disobedient. I'm not interested in having two wild hooligans under foot all of the time. I believe that boys can be kind, loving and respectful all while being adventurous and daring.

Now that I've had a girl, I love that my boys have the built-in opportunity to learn how to treat a sister and a female. We can talk about the differences between boys and girls (because yes, there are differences!) and they are learning how to include her in their fun, and protect her from some of their own fun.

This past week my little girl has just been quiet the sick and miserable little Babycakes. (That's my hideous nickname for her, by the way.) Her brothers are feeling much better than she is and have been roaring about the house leaving her sniffling next to me. However, when she and I really need them to come and help out with her, they both deliver.

My oldest boy, age 5, is very kind and thoughtful. Today I put him in charge of trying to get her to drink some apple juice. (She wasn't taking any of it from me!) He has learned that frequently she will be more inclined to do something if she sees one of her brothers do it first. Without any input or guidance from me, Bookworm1 got out a glass of water, stuck a straw in it and drank it in front of her. All the while he was telling her how yummy his drink was. Sure enough, she was intrigued and promptly took to her own cup and straw and drank a little bit. (Not very much, but still - he was creative in motivating her and it worked!)

Meanwhile, my second born son (age 3) is a complete ham and goofball. He really likes making people laugh. Yesterday he discovered that baby likes trying to do somersaults after watching him do them. Today he did a round of somersaults and "creative dancing" all about the bedroom which made her offer up more than one chuckle.

Sustenance, laughter, fellowship, care and love is what my sons have offered to their sister today. It's been very encouraging to watch them nurture her when she is really not feeling well at all. I always wanted an older brother growing up. My baby girl is very blessed to have two. Those are some pretty fantastic gifts and blessings in her life and I hope she'll always know it.