Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey Brine Recipe

This is a recipe for a liquid to soak your turkey in overnight (or longer) before cooking to add a wonderful flavor. We let our turkey soak 48 hours this year. We adapted the recipe to ingredients we had on hand from Gordon's recipe offered on the 700 Club.

Turkey Brine

2 gallons hot water
1 tbsp ground ginger
3 tbsp pepper
12 bay leaves
1 cup salt
24 ounces honey
24 ounces maple syrup (we used pancake syrup)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice

We mixed everything except the last two ingredients in hot water to help dissolve the salt. Heat if necessary to dissolve salt. We placed the frozen turkey inside of a clean, large, white trash bag that lined a clean cooler and poured the solution on top of the turkey. We let it soak as it thawed making sure the temperature never rose above 49 degrees to keep bacteria from growing. Use ice if necessary to keep turkey cool.

Remove turkey from brine and cook as usual.

You can not cook stuffing in a brined turkey. The turkey will release so many juices that it will leave the stuffing soggy.

Check to make sure the juices are not overfilling your roasting pan.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Troubling Holiday Trend Among Christian Mothers

I was asked to repost this, so here it is:

I love Thanksgiving! It is a busy season and one full of opportunities. It is not only a time of giving thanks for all God has worked in our lives, but also a time of family and friends. It is a time to fellowship and to also connect with those we have lost touch with over the course of the busy year.

I have found a troubling trend among the Christian groups I have had a privilege of being a part of off and on for the last several years. Many of the Christian women are not cooking special holiday meals but are serving regular day to day fare to their husband and children. Some are staying home on the holidays just so they do not have to reciprocate in following years.

Many call Thanksgiving a time of gluttony, forgetting about the many Jewish feast days celebrated in Christ's time. They are refusing to cook because they feel it will lead their family to be gluttons.

Gluttony is a sin, but it doesn't automatically go together with a celebration. One can be a glutton over a box of cookies just as easily as one could with turkey and dressing. Saying you are not cooking because you feel it encourages gluttony is poor reason not to serve your family a holiday meal. I can't imagine anyone saying they would not cook for an ill person or a family who has lost a loved one because it might encourage them to overeat since they are undergoing a stressful period. I can't imagine anyone refusing to serve the homeless because they might gorge themselves on the meal because they might not get another in a while. How come those situations are ministries, but serving our family is a considered leading them into sin? That's like saying you won't groom yourself because it encourages vanity.

Why aren't Christian mothers seeing Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter as times for ministering to their family through God's gift and provision of food and their cooking talents? Let's choose instead to see these times as opportunities to slow down and bless the beautiful people that we are so blessed to share our lives with by serving them wholesome, full course, home cooked meals. Encourage your whole family, within reason, to contribute to the menu. Take just these three days to "go all out" in the kitchen for your family.

Before each holiday, my older children ask me if I will make their favorite dish. I look forward to seeing their joy in what I am doing for them. In other words, I get blessed by blessing them! When you give a gift in Christ's name, you get one in return.

I encourage you mothers who are considering or embracing the current trend of some internet groups to stop following the flow of "holidays are for gluttons." Let's look at cooking holiday meals as a ministry to those you love. Let's not push aside our family or make excuses because of our exhaustion or laziness. The love we show them will last an eternity. If you were looking for a time to rest over the holiday, I encourage you to cook the Thanksgiving meal and cook enough to last a few days. You will still get a nice rest over the holiday, but without sacrificing the joy it gives them through the ministry of food. What better way to show our gratitude for the way Christ served us than by being the hands and feet of Christ while we serve our own families?

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" 1 Corinthians 10:31

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. Ecclesiastes 9:10
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phillipians 2:3-4

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Isabel, the hurricane that keeps on giving

When Hurricane Isabel trekked through our area three years ago, we had so many telephone poles knocked down that many people were without power for two weeks or more. (We got ours in ten days.) The power company made "temporary patches" to the poles and said they would come back and repair them properly after the crisis was past.

One of those patches was on our road and they never made the lasting repairs. When the storm blew through with high winds this weekend, the whole pole and the three sections of lines it holds up went down into the water.

When we called to report the lines down, they said they would have the repair done in an hour. We looked at the damage and knew that wasn't happening! :-D They didn't come at all that night. We were without power Sunday and Monday. The howling winds brought down many trees and several limbs.

I cooked weenies on the woodstove and everyone hung out together in the addition. We lit the oil lamps and played with the wood scraps we use for kindling. Clint hooked the generator up and ran the well pump, fridge and freezers on it for a long time before bed. Then, we settled in and watched a movie on cable in our room with the children piled on the floor and the bed, each getting a turn for snuggles and tickles from Mom and Dad.

It's beautiful here today and everyone got some outdoor playtime.

Enjoy your week!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Herbal Burn Treatment

Joshua got scalded last week when he tried to add water to the pot on the woodstove. He missed the pot and poured the water on the stovetop, which caused the steam. He got a good second degree burn on the back of his hand. I have been using my own recipe that I call "Burn Sludge." The rate of healing is amazing. There are plenty of "Wow's" each time we remove the bandages to reapply the medicine.

My Burn Sludge contains:

4 pencil thick, cleaned and peeled, fresh minced comfrey root (causes fast healing through cell regeneration, pain reliever, soothes and softens skin, cools)
1/8 cup each of:
comfrey leaf powder
honey (sterilizes wound, antibiotic, prevents scarring, helps with growth of new tissue, contains a natural hydrogen peroxide)
several capsules of vitamin E (promotes healing, reduces scarring, anti-inflammatory)

with pure aloe juice (antimicrobial (inhibits the growth of bacteria, viruses and fungus) antiseptic (destroys bacteria), speeds healing, pain reliever, moisturizes) added and mixed in until it is thick, but spreadable, much like the consistency of pudding. If I had noticed any signs of infection, I would have added goldenseal powder.

This makes enough to treat the wound several times. Keep the leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.

The first application, I squeezed 4 Vitamin E capsules on to the burned area first, then applied the sludge. After that, I just kept the sludge on it 3 times a day and kept it bandaged. I kept the sludge on it so the skin could continually absorb the medicine in the herbs through the liquid. You can removed the dried herb, but if skin is very tender, just apply on top of the dried plant matter and rebandage. When you do remove the dried herb, remove slowly to keep from tearing blisters open.

I am not a doctor and strongly encourage you to seek medical attention before trying this or any of my herbal recommendations.

Monday, October 30, 2006

For this child, I prayed

We are expecting another baby about the middle of next July!!

We are asking God to allow this pregnancy to go smoothly with a healthy baby at term and appreciate any prayers you lift up on our behalf.

After two miscarriages back to back (8/04 and 4/05), we are a little guarded, but know that God will work this pregnancy for our good and His glory no matter the outcome.

If you had told me in high school that I would have nine pregnancies, I would have laughed and said "Not me." I did not know what Scripture said about children and had been taught that a woman should "have your babies early, get your tubes tied, raise them up so then you can enjoy yourself." We are humbled and very grateful that God has led us to do different. He has gently instructed us in the way He chose for Clint and Wendy to go. Each child has been an incredible joy and we are enjoying ourselves more than we ever imagined NOW.

We are not too worried about the hyperemesis gravidarum that plagues me each pregnancy at this point. We are hoping the supplements I have been taking the last year will help prevent or lessen it.

We told our children first. In fact, the two oldest helped us read the tests. The first thing Brandon said was "Well, it's about time!" He's been wanting another little brother or sister and is hoping it is twins. Amanda is hoping for twins too. Joshua wants a sister. Caleb wants a brother. Bethany said she wants a "sis...uh, bro...no, sista!"

I Samuel 1:27-28 For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD.

Friday, October 20, 2006


This is our submission for the Carnival of Kid Comedy.

Caleb, 4: "Mom, I don't like poe-key-toes."

Wendy, 37: "Poe-key-toes?"

Caleb: "Yes, I don't like them."

Wendy: "Poe-key-toes?? Do you mean taquitos?"

Caleb: "No, POE---KEY---TOES. I don' t like them."

Wendy: "Why don't you like poe-key-toes?"

Caleb: "I don't like poe-key-toes because they bite."

Wendy: "Oh, MO-squitoes. It's MO-squitoes. MO-squitoes is how you say it. I don't like them either."

Caleb: "Yeah, poe-key-toes. I don't like poe-key-toes."

Wendy: "I don' t like poe-key-toes either Caleb."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Red dye stains removal tip

This was about 13 years too late for me-no longer have carpet-but I know other mothers will appreciate it:

Replacement Reprieve

I have a way to get stains out of carpet. I had a woman hunt
me down one day. She needed her house cleaned. When I got
there, she told me what needed to be done and then she said
she had to get new carpet. I asked her why. She had just had a
professional carpet cleaner in and he said that the stains
could not be removed. She had a really light beige carpet. I
looked and there were red Kool-Aid stains everywhere.
Normally, you can't get them out, but I can.

I got my iron, an old dishtowel and a jug of water. Put the
iron on high, get your rag or towel (preferably terry cloth)
wet, lay the rag down on the stain and put your hot iron down
on the towel. Press down with the iron in one place for a few
seconds and then just run the iron back and forth. Lift the
iron up and pour some more water on the towel and then iron
back and forth again. Keep on doing this until the stain is
gone. I have had really bad and big stains that took a half an
hour to iron out, but I got them out. I have even been able to
remove finger nail polish. I used polish remover first and
then the iron to get the rest out. It worked. It was maroon
polish on almost white carpet.

From the 9/26/2006 Dollar Stretcher
To Subscribe:
send mailto:subscribe-ds-tips@hub.thedollarstretcher.com or
visit http://www.stretcher.com/menu/subscrib.cfm

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Joshua at race (pict)

 Here's Joshua at the race with his mouthful of hot dog. He had a grand time. He made friends with the people sitting behind him who said they enjoyed talking to him. They asked him all sorts of questions and pointed out things they saw to him.

Clint and he were fed lunch and supper from the Motion Industries tent. They made out like bandits too. There were 14 (!!) cautions so the race ran late and they did not get home until close to 1 a.m. Staying out late with Dad was just an extra part of the treat!

When the race started, they had a caution right on the first lap. Cars were going around the track slowly which concerned Joshua who said "This isn't at all like I expected it to be." Later, when the cars got to racing speed, he was much happier.

On the video Clint took, he told Joshua to "Say hi to Mom." Joshua readily says "OK!". Then he looks confused, looks around and then asks "Where is she?"

Many thanks to Steve for giving us the free tickets again this year.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Poison Ivy Relief

It looks like my poison ivy is going away, PTL! It has been a maddening battle with it.

Last night, in the nearly 100 degree heat (with a 107 degree heat index), Clint stopped by Rite Aid to see if he could find anything to help with the nonstop itching I've had. We do not have a/c in our van and he had already made one stop along his commute home. It really touched me that he would stop in that heat because he wanted to see me get relief. That's love! He found Rash Relief another product by Tecnu. It has helped the rash go away as well as greatly eased the burning itch. One of the homeopathic ingredients is Plantain (plantago major). It is pricey at $14 a bottle, but did provide relief. Last night was the first time I have slept without Benadryl.

Plantain is an herbal remedy for poison ivy, insect stings, rashes, etc. It grows in one form or another all over the world. If you are in Virginia, it is probably growing in your yard. The plantago major is the broad leaf variety while the plantago minor is the narrow leaf. If you can identify it, you might want to make a poultice or tea and see if that helps you first. Between company, homeschool, projects, goat babies and errands, I have not had an opportunity to experiment with it.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Clint's Special Shampoo

Clint was in the shower this a.m. getting ready to go look for a new car. He grabbed the oddly shaped shampoo bottle and applied a liberal amount to his head. He noticed the bright orange color seemed "strange." It didn't lather like he thought it should either. So, he applied more. He noticed it smelled odd, so he looked at the bottle.

He was washing his head with Hartz Advanced Care 2 in 1 Flea and Tick Shampoo with the citrus scent.

Clint says he shrugged his shoulders and kept washing and then washed again with regular shampoo. He reports that not only is he squeaky clean, but he does not have any fleas either.

Nala, the owner of the shampoo, was not available for comment at this time.

Btw, Clint reports that his head became a little "tingly" while using the flea and tick shampoo.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Can you identify this artifact?

Amanda found this with the metal detector. There were a couple of wars and several battles fought on our land. Neighbors have found Civil and Revolutionary war cannons. Any ideas what time period this could have come from?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Our first miscarriage

...happened eleven years ago today.

Each year on this day, we thank God for the short time we had Sarah and that we were her chosen parents.

People told us that we'd forget. We prayed we wouldn't. We don't want to forget any of our children no matter how small they were or how short of time we knew them.

People told us the pain would go away when we had a new baby. It didn't. Babies aren't interchangeable. What it did do was make the joys of another infant sweeter.

While the pain has lessened a great deal, there is still sorrow. That sorrow is far overshadowed by the joy in God's promise that we will be reunited in Heaven never again to be separated!

God had a plan and a purpose for Sarah even though our human reasoning can't even begin to understand. But, if God was easy enough for our small minds to figure Him out, He would not be big enough to worship!!

If you've gone through pregnancy, infant or child loss, we are praying for you today.

Revelation 7:17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
2 Corinthians 1:2-5 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Our Unit Study on the Movie National Treasure

I have written and successfully used this unit study in conjunction with the movie National Treasure. Enjoy :-)!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cheap Carpet Spot Cleaning Tip

I saw this in the 6/13/2006 Dollar Stretcher Tips Newsletter:

Carpet Spot Cleaning

A professional recently told me that a great spot remover and stain remover for carpeting is to spray it with Windex. I went to the store and bought the original Windex window cleaner (there are several new varieties). I used the original Windex on several stains in the carpet, including a stain where my cat had gotten sick and I could not get all the stain out before. It came out easily! I used a plain white paper towel to rub out the stain where I had sprayed the Windex. It worked great! Just make sure you test your carpet in an inconspicuous area first. Dianna B. of Williamsburg, Virginia

Sunday, June 04, 2006

visit Juliana Wetmore's new site

Juliana's Nurse Jeanne wrote to let us know there is a new website for her at: http://www.julianawetmore.net/

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Caleb, 4: "Mom, I don't like poe-key-toes."

Wendy, 37: "Poe-key-toes?"

Caleb: "Yes, I don't like them."

Wendy: "Poe-key-toes?? Do you mean taquitos?"

Caleb: "No, POE---KEY---TOES. I don' t like them."

Wendy: "Why don't you like poe-key-toes?"

Caleb: "I don't like poe-key-toes because they bite."

Wendy: "Oh, MO-squitoes. It's MO-squitoes. MO-squitoes is how you say it. I don't like them either."

Caleb: "Yeah, poe-key-toes. I don't like poe-key-toes."

Wendy: "I don' t like poe-key-toes either Caleb."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Five Finger Prayer

1. Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis oncesaid, a “sweet duty.”

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal.This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the President, leaders in business and industry, and administrators.These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain.They need your prayers day and night.You can not pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, “The least shall be the greatest among you.” Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.

-author unknown
"In the sheltered simplicity of the first days after a baby is born, one sees again the magical closed circle, the miraculous sense of two people existing only for each other." Anne Morrow Lindbergh
"My mother was the making of me. She was so true and so sure of me, I felt that I had someone to live for--someone I must not disappoint. The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me." Thomas A. Edison
The war in Europe was over. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was returning to a hero's welcome in his hometown. A reporter asked his mother if she wasn't proud of her son. "Which one?" she asked.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Book review: Taking Charge of Your Fertility

While I do not care for the title of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, I do feel it is a valuable book that will help women better understand their bodies and self diagnose reproductive health and hormonal problems. While many women buy this book to either decrease or increase their odds for conceiving through the Fertility Awareness Method (this is not the Rhythym Method!!) explained throughout most of the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility goes far beyond achieving pregnancy. TCOYF can also help you self-diagnose and correct hidden reproductive and hormonal disorders as well as give you a thorough education about how complex our bodies are made. It not only teaches you how to take your basal body temperature, but helps you interpret those temperatures in a way you can understand. It can also help you get a jump start on working with your doctor in solving problems that you have. There is also a little information in this book on men's reproductive health. I have read prenatal and women's health care textbooks consistently for 15 years and this is one of the best. I have learned more about how my body works and stand even more amazed at how fearfully and wonderfully we are created! This is a book I will keep for quite a while.
"A rich child often sits in a poor mother's lap." Danish Proverb
"Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, once entertained a woman from Campania at her house. Since the woman made a great show of her jewels, which were among the most beautiful of the time, Cornelia detained her in conversation until her children came home from school. Then, pointing to her children, she said "These are my jewels." Valerius Maximus

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Stay at Home Mom Values

Salary.com has released it's annual look at how much stay at home mothers are worth in today's job market placing about $134,000 to our credit. The Mom Salary Wizard can break down some of what mothers do each day and show comparative worth in your local area with national averages.

The estimate did not look at how much we save by staying home in areas of car, gas, clothing, convenience foods, restaurants, couponing, making meals from scratch (and their health benefits and health care saving over packaged foods), daycare, etc. Salary.com also left out family historian, librarian, private instruction (for homeschooling mothers), entertainer, health care worker, seamstress, gardener, animal husbandry, accountant and many more hats we stay at home moms wear in the course of our day.

Our personal view of the worth of stay at home mothers should not come from worldly measures. Instead, we should find out what God says about the role of a mother in the home and strive to please Him. The importance He places on obedience to Scripture, the admiration of my grateful husband and the joy of knowing my own children far outweighs any salary I could receive. I often tell people who ask what career path I have chosen that I am paid in hugs and kisses. I'll take those over a paycheck any day. Some things you can't put a value on!
"Any mother could perform the jobs of several air-traffic controllers with ease." ~Lisa Alther

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Book Review: Out of Control by Young and Adams

We were asked by Mr. Saichek to do a book review for Out of Control - Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out by Ben Young and Dr. Samuel Adams. It is a 213 paged paperback book with ISBN: 0785211934 by Nelson Books. Mr. Young is a preacher at the 40,000 member Second Baptist Church in Houston, TX and leads seminars on how to build successful marital relationship. Mr. Adams, a licensed pshychologist, maintains a full time counseling practice in Austin, TX.

The book, which offers help for those who "feel hopelessly stuck on the treadmill that never stops" is divided into three sections with nine chapters followed by a short conclusion with testimonials and a helpful study guide.

Chapter One gives three areas where people feel overwhelmed. Information and choice overload is from too much coming at us from all directions. Accessibility overload is when we are too free with our time with others. Responsibility overload comes when we try to cram more into already tight schedules. In Chapter Two, you will find a list of symptoms of a life out of control. On pages 38-39, we would add excessive computer time and excessive e-mail to the self-inventory list but we are thankful we only had 2 out of 31 symptoms of a life out of control!

Basically, what this book is delving into is prioritizing how we spend our time with an aim towards wise stewardship which will reap us the blessings of peace and restfulness. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed or have heard yourself repeatedly say "I need two of me. I wish I could just stop. There are not enough hours in the day. How can I do it all? I don't know where to start!" Then, you could benefit from reading this book. It's normal to feel overwhelmed once in a while, but it should not be accepted, as it is by so much of society, as a normal way of living.

We put many of the tips outlined in this book into practice nearly 20 years ago, when we sought God's leading on how to set up our family. Warning: As you seek to reprioritize your life, it may upset people close to you who were comfortable with the status quo. If you are seeking to please people, this may be a big hang up for you. If you seek to please Christ by keeping Him first in your life and limiting distractions that are obstacles to that goal, then it will be much easier.

These same critics of how you reprioritize will likely admire the results of your choices. We are often told that "time slows down" when people visit our home. "We can rest here." People have a tendency to invite themselves over quite often so they can have a "change of pace." We have been asked repeatedly how come we are so happy, laid back and relaxed. Our lives are evidence that making changes as recommended in the book can result in a happier, healthier existence. More importantly, these changes can make you more effective in your testimony for Christ. We want others to have this same blessing in their lives and that is why we are happy to recommend
Out of Control.

It was very refreshing to read a contemporary self-help book that places an importance of the Sabbath rest. Peace is worth having and the blessings are there for those who are obedient to God's commands. (If you are wondering why you are not seeing blessings in a certain area of your life, then see if you are obeying God in that area and make changes accordlingly.) The authors also enlighten you as to what is controlling you and more importantly Who should be in control.

We encourage you to read
Out of Control - Finding Peace for the Physically Exhausted and Spiritually Strung Out to gain wisdom on how to slow down and simplify your life with practical suggestions on how to be a wise steward with your time. There are many more gems in this easy to read book than can be covered in this review, so check it out!

~Clint & Wendy

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall

A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall I just loved reading this book. In fact, I delayed reading the ending because I just didn't want to say goodbye to people I came to think of as friends. Catherine covers her husband's life in detail to give the reader a chance to know him on a personal level. Her love and admiration for him comes through every page. Peter was a very popular preacher who preached at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC (aka "Church of the Presidents.") He was also a chaplain to the U.S. Senate. People flocked to hear him speak and lives changed because he allowed God to use him. He maintained a sincere heart for the things of the Lord. His prayers were short and simple in comparison to many "great" spiritual leaders, but so heartfelt they changed the lives of those who heard them. He was a man of great faith and is a role model for Christians today. Catherine gave us a special gift in letting it be revealed that Peter was also a human being with imperfections. This makes his walk with Christ even more impacting to readers. There is a movie based on this book by the same title, but I am sure they left out many important aspects so I'd grab the book first. I am saving my copy of A Man Called Peter so my children can read about this man's life and his impact on the world around him for Christ. It will be required reading for our high school students.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Juliana Wetmore Born Without a Face

Clint and I heard about this little girl right after she was born. We prayed for her and hoped she'd make it. We were delighted to see she is not only alive, but doing well and getting the help she needs.

Juliana Wetmore was born with a severe facial deformity called Treacher Collins Syndrome which mangled what was suppose to be an adorable newborn face. She is beautiful just the same. While her face will need extensive surgery to limit problems and make her life easier, the rest of her is perfectly normal. She uses sign language to communicate because she can't speak or hear yet. She is an incredible little girl. I encourage you to catch the program Born Without A Face on Discovery Health. Our entire family watched it together and we feel very blessed to have learned more about her. You won't ever forget Juliana and your problems will seem miniscule in comparison.

Juliana has something three of our children didn't have. She has LIFE. She can receive and give love. While some would question the value of her life, her parents looked beyond the outside and saw their child. Watch their faces when she goes to surgery. The love they feel for her is so evident. She is a princess to them. The highest paid model pales in comparison to the beauty they see in their Juliana. Clearly, every bit of expense, worry and effort on their part seems a small price to pay for the joy she gives them.

There are many people who think their weight, hang nails, traffic jams, financial problems or a heel blister are worth agonizing over. They get completely wrapped up in life's small aggravations and forget they can continue to reach for and achieve goals. Then they see a child like Juliana struggling but living with gusto enjoying every moment she can. Upon introspect they suddenly realize they are the "disabled" person, not by conditions of birth, but by their attitude that limits them from being and doing more. They realize how very blessed they are, stop whining and start using what God has given them. Instead of questioning the cost to society for their medical needs, why don't we start looking at how much people with medical challenges add to our society? How many people are inspired, touched, motivated, softened or encouraged merely by knowing of their existence?

God sends us people with differences to help the rest of us learn about life and living each day for all it is worth. He gives them to us to add to OUR lives. Their contribution is an asset to society that cannot be measured and is certainly one we cannot afford to lose.

You can learn more about Juliana here:

UPDATE 6/4/06: Nurse Jeanne wrote us to let us know of Juliana's new website at: http://www.julianawetmore.net/

There were two parts of this program that particularly touched us. One was when she had to undergo a medical procedure and she reached out to her Daddy for comfort. He picked her up and gave her the love she needed. The other was when she was drooling and her mother, without a thought, wiped her daughter's mouth with her bare hand. Any loving parent can relate to these two scenes.

Our children really related to the scene where she licks her birthday cake. She can't eat and is fed through a tube in her stomach, but you could tell she liked the taste of that beautiful birthday cake when she turned her head to look at her Daddy like "WOW! Good stuff!"

Monday, February 20, 2006

Lending a word of encouragement to other mothers...

I was able to share with and answer questions for two women who were very interested in homeschooling over the weekend. This happened when one lady's children saw ours and came over to stand with us in the checkout. Both mothers were very frustrated with their local school system and one was concerned for her daughter's welfare. Her daughter was rejecting her mother for new "friends" who are leading her into big trouble. As we were leaving, we almost left Joshua. He was engaged in a very animated conversation with the three children and did not notice us leaving. Homeschooled children "lack social skills though." (That was me being sarcastic in case you missed it.) :-)

If you see a tired-looking mother with a baby in a store, walk up to them and tell them how beautiful their baby is. Tell them how very blessed by God they are and watch their tiredness disappear from their face. I did this Saturday while we were eating out and it blessed the mother so much, I'll make sure I do it more often. She went from tired, worn out and frustrated to joy-filled, proud and smiling with renewed energy in less than one minute. She looked noticeably younger also. Her baby blessed me with so many precious newborn smiles, Clint went over next to see the darling little girl. That got a man, who was eating alone, laughing and commenting on how we MUST love children as he pointed to our five. You say you are looking for ministry opportunities, well, this is a simple and quick way to minister to another mother and it will bless you too.

Giving a word of encouragement, understanding or acknowledgement of the situation works well with mothers struggling with misbehaved, tired or sick children. Just make sure your word's can't be misconstrued as judgemental by an already sensitive mother so you don't add to her problems. Saying something encouraging is a much better alternative than sitting in judgement, rolling our eyes with other shoppers at their child's unruliness and creating a judgemental, hostile atmosphere for the mother. Sometimes it will help diffuse negative attitudes in the people around the area as well. I encouraged a mother with a horribly behaved child in a store one day and by time I was finished, she was smiling and the child was standing still and listening quietly (probably taking notes :-) to the other people in line regaling their own "misbehaved child in public" stories. None of our parenting skills are so perfect that our children haven't caused us public embarrassment along the way.

I was eating out one day when I saw a child with cerebral palsy having a birthday party. His whole family was with him, but his mother was looking very self-conscious as her child clearly stood out among the other diners. Other people were looking off and on and she was visibly uncomfortable with all of the "sneaked" looks of curiosity. On my way back from the bathroom, I stopped by and knelt down beside her son's table and told him Happy Birthday and how wonderful his big family must have known he was to throw him such a grand party. Then, I told him he was beautiful and that I was glad I got to meet him. The boy was grinning ear to ear, happy someone else noticed he was having a special day.

When I stood up, the mother was in tears and expressed her gratitude. No stranger had ever made a fuss over her child or called him beautiful before. Doesn't that just break your heart? How sad that we put such limitations on beauty when God calls all of His creation "good" and tells us children are a "blessing", a "reward", and a "heritage." Scripture does not say "Children are a blessing if/until/when..." It says they ARE blessings without limitations or restrictions. We are all created in His image and fearfully and wonderfully made, regardless of our health or appearance. Shame on us for only offering a kind, encouraging word when the child meets our criteria for "beautiful." Shame on us for trying to redefine what beauty is.

Now, by nature, I am an introvert. I had a lot of rejection as a child and it costs me personally to speak to a stranger and I have to force myself to do it. Clint will often see me struggling inwardly and say something to get me moving "God put that on your heart for a reason, Wendy. Go, speak to them or you will miss an opportunity." If I can do it, you can also.

I have only had one person react negatively towards me. An elderly man in a wheelchair was being pushed through a grocery store by his daughter. She was in a ferocious mood, but he caught my eyes with his as I turned down the aisle. Being from the south, if I make eye contact with a person, I generally will nod or say hi or something as way of polite acknowledgement of a fellow human being. When I said hi to him, he engaged me in a short conversation and wished me a good day. He was such a kind man and he gave me encouragement as he uplifted my spirit.

As soon as we finished speaking, I said hi to her and then SHE started up with venom and said something very nasty to me for speaking with him. I told her she was blessed to have him to care for and walked on. Her shockingly unkind comments lost their sting when he made the great effort to turn and make eye contact with me again for I saw the shame and misery in them. I was crying for him by time I left the store. I have never forgotten him or her. I prayed for them both for years.

Clearly she thought caring for someone in need was beneath her and she was very angry about it. We have to be careful not to adopt this attitude of pride while caring for our husband and children. I think he was just looking for a kind word and a kind face. May none of us ever fall ill or frail and have to suffer abuse at the hands of the unloving and incompassionate. But, consider this....it would be far, far worse to be the abusive, unloving and incompassionate person whose soul is so void they can't show kindness to someone weaker in health.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

On being a great help meet...

I do not think I am anything great or spectacular, in fact, I feel quite the opposite. I have many of my own insecurities just as anyone else does. Clint is very happy with me and uplifts me to his friends and co-workers though. Several have told him, often in front of me, they wished they had a wife like I am to him. All of these men are married to great women. It's a very nice compliment to receive.

What do I do that pleases Clint so much and wins the admiration of his friends? It's pretty easy, I often try to go the unexpected mile.

Matthew 5:41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain (two).

In Biblical times it was required by law that a Jew carry a Roman soldier's bundle a mile. Many Jews despised this and met their obligations grudgingly with poor attitudes. Jesus taught that if you wanted to show true love, you went the extra mile. Jesus taught them to give more than expected.

Many times in our relationships we become use to doing only what is required of us. We meet expectations but rarely go beyond them. Think about what is expected of you from your spouse and then how you can exceed those limits to show them your love for them in tangible ways.

On Tuesday, I split wood for Clint with the wood splitter to take some of the burden off of him. I am pretty sure he had an idea I would since I was so keen on learning how to run it Monday night. I split enough with the children's help to keep our family warm several days.
On Wednesday, my children and I wanted to show him how much we loved him by going the extra mile. This is the new stack of wood we started and finished on Wednesday. You can glimpse Tuesday's stack in the right hand corner.
How did it work? The work involved was a very low price to pay for the look of amazement, delight and thankfulness as he looked at it the first time. He thanked us and then ordered a favorite take out supper to thank us for showing our gratitude to him. He praised the children for their hard work. He rubbed my back and couldn't keep his hands off of me all night long. He probably said thank you twenty times or more. I'd say it worked pretty well. :-)

I am not saying you should split wood all day. I had five great helpers and three of us are able to take turns running the splitter. I enjoy "girding my loins with strength" with physical labor. Not all women are able to work that hard for that long.

If you want to strengthen any relationship, including your marriage, look at what is expected of you and find ways to go beyond those expectations. Going the second mile makes being a help meet enjoyable. No longer are you meeting limited expectations or doing the same things in the same way day in and out. You start looking for ways to exceed them to express your love for your mate and to be the biggest blessing to him that you can be. It will grow you in Christ and bless your marriage.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Being a help meet...

Clint appreciated his Valentine's Day surprise of the split wood. We got a nice pile stacked for him. When he came home, we split and stacked more together. You can see pictures of our smaller children splitting wood (with guidance and safety goggles) here.

I am thankful I was able to help him with this and lighten his load. It was very difficult for me to watch him come home from a tiring day and have to go outside to split wood with the maul for an hour or so. I was just physically unable to swing the maul for long.

Being a help meet means helping your mate meet his responsiblities in whatever capacity he needs help in. That can mean having his meals prepared, shirts ironed, briefcase in the car, sermon notes printed out or cutting the grass when he's having to do other things. There is no his or her work in our home. It's "our" work and we both help each other where ever we can. When I have been very ill during pregnancy, Clint has cooked and cleaned house. If I am worn out in the evenings, he will cook supper.

Whenever a couple adopts the attitude of "his and hers" over being "ours" it becomes each person out for their own. If two horses hitched to a cart sought their own direction, they would not get very far, very fast. Their journey together would be a struggle and would end in failure. But, if two horses are pulling a heavy load in the same direction, working together, giving each other their best, they go a lot faster and are a success because they are helping each other. When one missteps, the other saves the cart from tumbling. When one is a step behind due to exhaustion or illness, the other helps take up the slack and keeps them moving forward. Having an attitude of servanthood towards each other is so lacking in Christians today, but it is what God calls for and is what will bless your home with deep, lasting peace and joy.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. -Genesis 2:18

Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. -Proverb 14:1

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. -1st Timothy 5:14

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry... -1st Samuel 15:23

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. -Joshua 24:15

Her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life ... Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. -Proverbs 31:10-12 & 28

So many women want to be called a Proverbs 31 woman, but do not want to obey the rest of what God commands in Scripture. So many husbands want to be respected and adored by their families, but they too ignore what is laid out very plainly. They wonder why their lives are such a mess and why they are so unhappy. Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Seek God's way for your life first and the blessings will follow. (This doesn't mean do whatever you want (your goals) in the name of Christ. Some people use a ministry or "calling" as an excuse to neglect their families. God doesn't ever ask us to do something contrary to His written Word.) When Clint and I married each other, we asked God how did He want our marriage set up and found the answers in His Word. God was faithful to His Word and added much more than we expected!!

Matthew 6:33 is saying-if you want God's blessings (gifts, rewards), do things HIS way and the blessings will follow. His way is laid out in the Bible.

God also has plenty to say to husbands in how they are to relate to their wives and children too. Here are just a couple...

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Ephesians 5:25

Christ died for the church and won her love. He didn't beat or verbally abuse her into submission.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

You can not do that by being an abusive tryant towards your children. Christ had an attitude of a humble servant helping those around Him.

What do you do if your husband isn't living right?

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; -1st Peter 3:1 (conversation in this verse means "manner of life.")

In other words, do what you are suppose to do, pray and let God take care the rest. Your husband's disobedience doesn't free you to live like you want. You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 NIV

Monday, February 13, 2006

Monday, Kitten/Bunny/Puppy Formula

PTL! Clint is off call until next Monday morning. My tired husband is upstairs catching up on his rest. He had 7 call-ins and 3 phone consultations last week. Most of the call-ins were in the middle of the night, so we are both pretty tired.

The housework got very behind last week, so I'll spend the better part of today trying to catch it up.

For Valentine's Day tomorrow, we are going to make chocolate covered peanuts as a family. It will be fun to have all seven of us in the kitchen together.

Here's a free online textbook on the digestive system in humans: http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/index.html

Peanut, the tiny puppy, is holding his own. We are still concerned for him because of his size, but he's gaining weight. He is about 1/3 the size of the other two. We are not sure if he is a true runt or just was conceived later in Shysie's fertile week and born earlier. A true runt is a puppy of the same size and gestational age of the rest of the litter that does not thrive well. In other words, he may just be a preemie.

We tried supplementing him, but he turned his nose up at the commercial formula. Today, I am going to try a homemade recipe that I have had good success with in the past. The commercial formula has the advantage of giving them colostrumm, but if they will not drink it, it doesn't benefit them one bit.

Kitten/Bunny/Puppy Formula
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp corn syrup
1 egg yolk (remove stringy thing for ease of swallowing and to keep bottle nipple clear)
1 can water (same can as evap milk)

Now, if you use this, you need to remember to make sure the little one you are feeding is eliminating their bowels and bladder. If you do not have the mother to do this for you, you can use a moistened q-tip to rub gently over both areas until you reach the desired results. Little animals like this can not go on their own and need the stimulation. If you don't do it, their bowels will become impacted and they will die. Puppies and kittens will usually make noise when they need to use the bathroom, which triggers their mothers to cleanse them.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Do I consider myself aged?

Someone asked me this because they saw the Titus 2:3-5 verses on my page. How "old" (decrepit, worn out) I feel depends on which day you ask me. LOL

Most women who believe in and try to follow what Scripture outlines in Titus 2 have it on their website also as a reminder to themselves and other women of what God has called us to do. I have it on mine to declare to visitors and myself "This is what I believe God has called Wendy to do: to be sober, to love her husband, to love her children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, obedient to her own husband, that the word of God be not blasphemed (showing contempt or disrespect for)." The world calls us to a different direction than God's Word does. Even many Christians and churches today try to think ways around what God has commanded. Is there no wonder the divorce rate among Christians is nearly the same as the world's? If you behave as the world does, you reap the same fruit they do.

There's a big Titus 2 fellowship among Christian women on the internet. I use to belong to a list years ago called Titus 2 where women the age I am now passed on what they had learned to me and other women. We had been looking for the older women mentioned in Titus in our own neighborhoods and churches, but were unable to find them...so the internet filled the need of mentorship.

I do consider myself "aged" in the respect I am responsible for passing on what I have learned in my walk with Christ as a wife, mother and homekeeper.

The beauty in Titus 2 is that it calls us to both be mentored (be ministered to) and mentor (minister) to share knowledge and wisdom from one another to help us in this life God has called us to. I have been the "aged women" (mentored) to women the same age as or older than myself who were just beginning their call to stay home, homeschooling, or having difficulties in their marriage. In experience, I was the "aged woman" responsible in passing along what I had learned about obeying God and caring for my family.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

You poor dear, I don't know how you do it...

Last night, we went out to eat at the new KFC buffet before we headed out to run the errands I had on the list. Clint had to stay late at work, which threw our plans off by a few hours, so everyone was ravenously hungry. We fed the whole crew for $35, which isn't bad for a hungry family of seven.

While Clint ordered, I looked carefully for a seat. I know people expect a large family to be loud and rowdy, but ours isn't. Well, we're not in public unless it is a sporting event. There was really only one option for seating since there weren't any tables that could accomodate us. We chose two booths in the corner, where two older couples were dining. I kind of winced inwardly, having had dirty looks in the past from older folks who didn't want to be seated near a group of noisy children. Usually, those same people stop by and comment on how quiet and well-behaved the children were as they leave. I greatly appreciate their heartfelt compliments and encouragement.

Well, this group gave us hard looks and I just felt my stomach flip over. I knew Bethany, 2, was about to her breaking point for waiting for food and might start to protest at any time. She hasn't quite learned the "inside voice" yet either. Seeing no alternative, we sat down and got ready for the meal. As it turned out, the four older people were much, much louder than our family. What a happy, raucous bunch they were! Most of their loud conversation centered on large families in the past who had assigned an older child to help each younger child. This came up after Brandon and Amanda took Joshua and Caleb to the buffet to choose their food and drinks.

While we were eating, we noticed several people counting our family. A couple rolled their eyes. Five children is not THAT big, but we still get a lot of looks and comments. I must be very approachable looking because have often been asked how many children I have. When I answer, they pat me on the back and say, "You poor dear. You have so much more work.You must be so tired. I don't know how you do it because I can't stand the one I have." I usually chuckle at their wrong perception and tell them that while I might have a little bit more work to do, our family works together so it is not as bad as our size seems to indicate. I have far, far less work to do than some of my friends who have two children do.

I want to tell you what having a few more children than average has done in my life. I have been blessed to experience giving birth and nursing a newborn more than mothers who chose differently. I have had more opportunities to sniff that precious newborn scent and receive those sweet toothless grins. I have more hugs and kisses, tickles, pillow fights, snuggles, and "I love you Moms." I have a stack of cards, drawings, crafts and letters in my memory box that I treasure more than gold or jewels. I have more opportunities to watch milestones be reached and hurdles crossed. I have seen the world open up in five ways different than my own perspective. I have been blessed to see spiritual awareness and godly character take root in each child's heart. God has used each pregnancy, each birth, each childhood to mature me as a Christian and develop character in me. The joys my children bring me go on and on without measure.

I love it. I could not see my life doing anything else. I wish everyone could know this kind of joy and happiness in their parenting. Being with my children gives me more joy each day than I can say enough prayers to express my deepest gratitude.

Thank you Lord for blessing someone as lowly and undeserving as me with such precious treasures.