Sunday, December 27, 2015

Be Generous with the Mana

"What does it mean to glorify the Lord? Well, it means showing off Jesus and His generous nature! Talking about Him, thinking about Him, singing about His goodness, pointing people to Him, letting all His attributes and character qualities shine through your life. That's what it means to glorify Him. But I think we glorify the Lord best when we freely and richly give to others. By God's grace, you are His manna to your neighbors and friends. You are His light shining in our dark world. You are the vessel through which His grace overflows to your spouse and to your children and grandchildren. And out of you flow streams, even rivers of life touching a desperately thirsty world around you. God’s charge today to you and me is to freely and richly give all things for others to enjoy. So if you love Christ – and I think you do – watch for opportunities today to touch those who are wounded, encourage those who are helpless, strengthen those who are weak, bless those who are hopeless, and help those who are faltering, because you were once wounded and helpless, weak, hopeless and faltering. But you have been saved by a generous God whose blessings do not stop and start based on your performance. No. John chapter 1, verse 16 says, “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” And it’s all so that you might extend those mercies to others in need. Give freely and richly because it’s what Jesus has done for you." Joni Tada read more at: Sharing the Mana

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry CHRIST-a-must 2015

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Back row: Joshua 16, Brandon 23, Amanda 21
Middle row: Bethany 12, Caleb 14
Front row: Hannah 7, Emily 8

May the Love of Christmas be abundant in your home and heart!

I John 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Movie Review: Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas


The debate about how our Christmas traditions got started will never end. The legalism some impose on themselves and other will continue to suck the joy out of families year after year. After weeks of watching friends debate about how Christians must celebrate or should definitely not celebrate, Saving Christmas is a breath of fresh air! 

Let me share something that will seem outrageous to the legalistic crowd: it really doesn't matter how the traditions got started. 

If you abstain from all Christmas celebrations and fast and pray all day while wearing sackcloth and ashes because it makes you feel holier than others, it is in vain. If you wrap everything in tinsel and hang 50k lights to outdo your neighbor, it is not for God's glory, but your own. God says He looks to the heart. (I Samuel 16;7) It's WHY (or maybe I should say WHO), not how, you celebrate that matters to Him. Our own humility is crucial to honoring the Lord in our celebrations of what He has done. 

No matter whether you watch this movie or not, Christmas is what you choose to make it. That's right! It's a choice. You will either let the symbols of the holiday point you to remember dead pagans or point you to glorify a living Christ. 

This movie is a little goofy at times and isn't in the same league as other Christian productions. That doesn't take away from the importance of the message. It takes each element of traditional celebrations and attaches Christian symbolism. Some of the symbolism was the same as our family has chosen to celebrate for decades and some was new to us. I love what it has done for my children! It has taken simple symbols and even the time of year we celebrate Jesus' birth and given a deeper, faith based meaning. 

Saving Christmas will help those who want more Christian symbolism in their faith filled Christmas celebration. It returns joy and helps us escape the legalism of the "it's a pagan holiday" crowd. It's not pagan at all if your heart is filled with your need for Jesus, the wonderful Gift of Redemption God gave us, and sharing the good news with others! 

Brandon at His House

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Brandon, Ford, Girly
in their new home

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Joseph, Jesus' Foster Father

Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

"Just or righteous," in Jewish tradition is often interpreted as a person who as a person who is a devout follower of the law. If Joseph were "righteous" or "just" in that sense, he would be forced to accuse Mary of being unfaithful and then let her suffer the consequences of her sin--both shame and punishment. Certainly, that is not the understanding of "righteousness" that Joseph exemplifies. Joseph's actions suggest that a righteous person is not one who blindly lives by the letter of the law, but one who in following the intent of the law is able to show compassion for the other." -Justin W. Tull

Joseph had every right to accuse and seek justice for what he assumed was a personal betrayal and breech of the betrothal contract. He didn't because he was a man who showed compassion while obeying the law. What better man was there than Joseph to be the foster father to Jesus? In these few words found in Matthew, I see a foreshadowing of the greatest story every told! For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Our Boys and Girls

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By time I got to these pictures, they were tired of 
having their pictures taken. They have all grown so much!

Friday, December 18, 2015

It's Worth the Effort

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I've had a rough year health wise. Looking back at our miscarriage, the deaths of many friends and family, and the big work load, I attribute much of it to heartbreak and stress. Just three weeks ago, I looked like I was near 60 instead of 50! I am looking better and am thankful for a body that can heal itself. 

During the long months I struggled to keep going, Amanda, 21, has come home and frequently looked at me, felt my forehead for the telltale low grade fever, and told me to go to bed and rest. 

Bethany, 12, has often asked me, "Mom, can I get you anything?"

Brandon, 23, buys me gourmet chocolate or some type of special treat every so often. He use to hide them in my room to surprise me until he moved out. When I thank him, his eyes mist up, and he says he's just watching out for me. 

Now that my health has improved, I am back at the treadmill. However, I gave Brandon my display cabinet which is where I set my ice water mug. I casually mentioned to Caleb, 14, that I was worried I'd fall when I bent down to get my cup off of a 5 gallon bucket. He found two shelf brackets and made me a perfectly sized shelf for my cup! As my strength has improved, I've been able to walk a lot longer. Caleb noticed and has come to check on me to make sure I was OK. I thanked him for looking after me. "Mom, you look after everyone else so I figured I'd check in on you."

On the 12th, the children were gathered to watch Ant Man, so I decided to sit with them and cut the sausages for the next day's meal to redeem my time. Joshua, 16, who has been waiting so eagerly to watch the movie, quietly left while the movie was playing. I looked at him curiously as he left. He came back with a knife, grabbed sausages from my large stack, and began slicing. I choked back tears as I said, "Thank you, son."

Keep teaching your children, mamas. I know, when you have been up with the baby all night, have chased toddlers all morning, have dealt with one bad attitude too many, are trying to recover from a virus, and catch up the housework, you don't want to do anything else. In fact, the thought of adding one more thing makes you feel like you will collapse! I've wrestled inwardly with my tired flesh and got up and taught the child who was misbehaving that self control is possible and a trait worth having. Imagining a spoiled, sassy child was enough to get me up to give instruction. Keep teaching them by your example. When they are having a hard day, help them accomplish their chores. Minister to their hearts because they need not only your example but to also feel the effects of it. Correct bad behaviors, and teach the importance of self discipline. Don't shelter them from the world so that sin takes them by surprise and ensnares them. Call sin you see in the world around you out and list possible consequences of it. When you fail in deed or attitude, stop, admit it, and apologize for it. Real parenting is tiring work that stretches and grows us, but it is so important. 

I am seeing the gardens in my children's hearts, which I tended so carefully and prayed over so sincerely, bear fruit. Not only do I see God's work in their lives, but I am touched by it as they now minister to me. This has been surprising because I didn't expect to receive anything in return as I mothered them. I kept at it because I wanted them to know the Lord and do what was right. All my weary and often flawed efforts combined with God's grace has turned around and is blessing me in so many ways. Keep going, mamas. I know the road is rough, but it's worth the journey.

Galations 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Simple Meal Ideas (Free Kindles)




A crock pot is a busy mom's ace in the hole!
Grab these quick because prices can change hourly.

Homeschooling Character Lessons

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I was held up during my early morning routine, so the girls started playing with their dress up box. When I came to do their lessons, I found Optimus Prime and Elly the Elephant ready to read! I know academics and strong values are the reasons most choose to homeschool, but please don't discount the value of experiences like these and the wonderful memories they create.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Swagbucks, or How I Earned $300 in Gift Cards in 4 Months

I thought everyone was crazy for "Swag-bucking" until a friend of mine told me she purchased all of her Christmas presents for her four children with her year's earnings from Swagbucks. I had to look into it after that testimonial!

I learned you can earn Swagbucks by using their search engine, taking surveys, using coupons on grocery items through their site, fulfilling tasks, taking educational quizzes about health issues, shopping through their site at one of many stores, interacting with ads, playing games, by trying new apps on my phone, watching movie ads on my phone through SwagBucks TV and EntertainNow TV, watching videos through the Swag Button, etc. Each Swagbuck was worth 1 penny.

I asked myself if I saw a penny on the ground would I pick it up. Yes, I would.

So I tried it..almost certain it would be a failure. I earned $25 in 10 days just running videos while I folded clothes, peeled vegetables, and cleaned rooms. Instead of listening to the radio, I let the videos play while I was cleaning the kitchen. I ran videos about the latest movies on my phone while waiting in the checkout lines or while riding as a passenger in a car. I reached over and clicked to the next video while walking on the treadmill. In other words, I don't let it take time away from my family or duties. I made Swagbucks fit into the things I already do.

Some of the videos I did not like at all, but I only had to watch 27-30 seconds for credit before it told me I could move on to the next. If I can not tolerate the 30 seconds, and there are those I refuse to watch based on their titles, I skip that set of videos and go to the next. Even better, I can give my opinion of the videos through their rating system.

Pennies add up fast.

From April to August, I made $300 in gift cards, and it was as easy as picking up pennies. Mostly, I ran the videos on my phone and computer while I was doing other things. I also used the search engine and shopped at stores I already shop at through their website. I also took a few surveys which led to manufacturers sending free products to our home for testing and reviews. One gave me $10 for the 5-minute review in addition to the $3 for the 10-minute survey in Swagbucks and the free product. I signed a nondisclosure agreement about the product.

Now, it isn't a lot of money, and I don't see how anyone can make a living off of it. However, it gives me some "fun money" to spend on extras or to help out with the weekly shopping. I have used gift cards to buy gifts for family members or like a "big coupon" to save off our grocery bill.

There was one unexpected bonus. I started ordering from Lowes, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart online using their free shipping or in-store pickup so I could get the Swagbucks for my purchases. I am thankful to Swagbucks for getting me to finally try these convenient ways of shopping. It has been an incredible time saver!

If you decide to try Swagbucks, please use my referral link: www.swagbucks.com/refer/MamaSwag1992 I will earn 1 penny for every 10 cents you earn. Right now, I am saving Swagbucks to buy my boys more lumber. 

A word of caution: With this and other activities, in general, I encourage you to find ways to make it fit into your life. Be aware of how you are spending your time and be disciplined. Don't lose something far more valuable while going after a little extra cash.


I have several friends using the receipt apps where you earn money by scanning your receipts. There are a few and you can use them in conjunction with one another. Meaning, you can scan the same receipt into each app and earn money on it. I gave the tip to Joshua and pass my receipts to him. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Busy

We unexpectedly had to make a lot of space in our already very filled freezers, so I am busy preparing four large turkeys and about two dozen whole chickens for processing in the pressure canner. I am also sewing new wise men bags (Christ centered version of stockings) since ours did not survive storage from last year. If you need us for something, you might want to call Clint, Brandon, or Amanda.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Poison Sumac

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No good deed goes unpunished!

As those who have asked after with our family know, Amanda had a bad encounter when she volunteered to help Brandon with his flower beds. She took precautions, thought she had avoided the poison sumac, and bathed three times with a special soap, just in case. It got her anyway! She's understandably frustrated. "I was so careful! I'd hate to see how bad I'd have it if I hadn't tried to avoid it!"

The rash is a week old in this picture. She still has one rock hard lymph node, and her face is more swollen than what you see here. She has temporarily lost the use of one hand due to the swelling and oozing. She isn't having trouble breathing or swallowing. Please lift a prayer for her. She's gone through every remedy in the book. She is ready to get back to normal! Thank you for the prayers and many suggestions.

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before her good deed was punished


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Society is Turning Us Mothers into Sarah Connor

Proverbs 27:12 A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

Proverbs 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 
Hard times do not surprise the Proverbs 31 woman because she has considered the situation, planned ahead, and prepared for it. Albeit, she didn't have to worry about bombs at public events, but her world was a safer place. With 353 shootings in the US in 2015 alone, we do have the concern of mass shootings. We need to make a conscious decision on how we will react to this threat to our families. We can react with fear, or we can react with faith and wisdom. 

One of the questions frequently asked on the Christian women's forums I am on is "How can/should we prepare our families to survive terrorist attacks through mass shootings or through our food/water supply chains?" As I read through the responses that range from the simple "we can't" to the very extreme, I can't help but think society is turning us mothers into Sarah Connor. The signs tell us a storm is coming. We sigh "I know." Then, we keep moving forward while preparing our families the best way we know how. One way we can do that without spending any money is through situational awareness.


Situational awareness is a higher awareness of what is going on around you in any given situation. It is a life skill that can help you when working with large animals, to driving, to walking in the forest, to keeping the baby from getting into harm's way, or being in a crowd at a sporting event. You probably already use situational awareness in some way or other. It is easy to build upon something you already use. Like most skills, it takes time and practice to become proficient. Even a small improvement, like learning where all exits are located in a building as soon as you enter it, could be a deciding factor to survival in a natural or man-made disaster.


Clint and I don't teach our children with fear but with the attitude that we can help ourselves and others by learning to be more aware. Our faith is in the Lord, but like the Proverbs wife and ant, we know it is prudent to be prepared for difficult times. Dad might act a little suspicious when he gets home from work. If you don't identify the abnormal behavior before he tags you with a sticky note, you are out of the game. Mom might be hiding a water bottle in her pocket, and if she squirts you before you identify the threat, you are the most unaware. If you do identify it, you win! We may ask if it a man or woman who dropped a can on the floor in the grocery store? What aisle where they in? If there is a poacher* in our woods while you are working out back, what objects will you stay behind as you make your way to the house? What was the make and model of the car that was weaving as the driver was texting? We can teach our children how to a play board game that entertains, or we can have fun while giving them a skill that will help them in many of life's areas.


The hard truth is that there are evil people in this world who want to harm others. The Bible says it the simpleton (a foolish or gullible person) who ignores the danger. Just as we practiced "stranger danger" with our young children so they would not only be prepared, but also have a practiced plan, we are teaching them to be aware in every situation and to plan ahead. We may not be as desparate as Sarah Connor, but many of us parents are acknowledging the trouble on the horizon by preparing our children for the world they are inheriting.


* a very real threat for us We've had one shoot through the yard as Brandon was coming to the house from feeding animals. We had another shoot into our barn. 

Monday, December 07, 2015

Free Homeschooling Kindle



This book is free at the moment. Grab before prices change!

May We All Fight as Hard

We need to not only fight sin in those who misuse the gospel for their own ends and in society but also in our own hearts as we seek to become more Christ-like.

“Listen, I'm against sin. I'll kick it as long as I've got a foot, I'll fight it as long as I've got a fist, I've butt it as long as I've got a head, and I'll bite it as long as I've got a tooth. And when I'm old, fistless, footless, and toothless, I'll gum it till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition.” ~Billy Sunday

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Nitty Gritty Love

"I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” -Dorothy Day


John 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Romans 10:12 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Outdo--go big, repeatedly! If we obey (put action to) on the last part of Romans 10:12 big things happen! I've seen it! 

Friday, December 04, 2015

New Direction in Alzheimer's Disease Research

Alzheimer's Disease Research is Pointing in a Very Surprising New Direction

"New research suggests that fungus could be perhaps the culprit of a much more sinister disease: Alzheimer’s. Scientists at the University of Madrid found evidence of fungi in every single brain tissue sample taken from cadavers and none in non-Alzheimer’s-afflicted persons. Does this mean fungus could be the root cause of dementia?"

Difficult People

"The people whom you find most difficult to deal with can also be your most valuable teachers. For your problems with them are not really due to how they are, but rather to how you respond to how they are. Learn to deal successfully with difficult people, and you learn valuable lessons about yourself. Work to relate positively to difficult people and you develop skills that can serve you well in many other challenging situations. People are the way they are. Get past the need to try to change them, past the need to judge or condemn, and look for the value they offer. Sometimes that value is deeply hidden, and when you find it you’ve found a real treasure, something few people take the time to uncover. In every difficult person you encounter, make a point to look past the difficult part and focus your attention on the person part. The other people with whom you interact are mirrors that help you to see things within yourself. With some people, that mirror can be difficult to view, yet when you have the courage to do so, the rewards can be many and great." Ralph Marston

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Imagine the Happiest You've Ever Been...There is Better Coming!

“The most rapturous delights you have ever had — in the beauty of a landscape, or in the pleasure of food, or in the fulfillment of a loving embrace — are like dewdrops compared to the bottomless ocean of joy that it will be to see God face-to-face (1 John 3:1–3). That is what we are in for, nothing less. And according to the Bible, that glorious beauty, and our enjoyment of it, has been immeasurably enhanced by Christ’s redemption of us from evil and death.” Tim Keller Walking with God through Pain and Suffering


Psalm 138:6-8 
Though the Lord be high,
yet hath he respect unto the lowly: 
but the proud he knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
thou wilt revive me:
thou shalt stretch forth thine hand a
gainst the wrath of mine enemies,
and thy right hand shall save me.
The 
Lord will perfect that which concerneth me:
thy mercy, O 
Lord, endureth for ever:
forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

An Opportunity?

Brandon went to Indiana for a system initiation in October. While he was there, he was able to work directly with the "big bosses" in his company. They were very impressed with his knowledge and skill set. Since then, they have continued to offer him a position that would take him to Georgia. 

He doesn't need the money. His starting pay was $40+k but that does not factor in his big cash incentives or his raises. He has just purchased a home and settled into a routine. He has plans to travel Europe this spring that would be affected if he moved to a new position. He sees us every day so he is able to keep up with the ebb and flow of our family. He would also have to give up his dog. (He informed me later that he makes a good bit higher than this and also has a good side business going with the potential for growth there. The point is, the extra income isn't a factor in his decision because his needs are more than met where he is. If you are wondering, yes, Brandon knows this is posted. I don't post any info about my children without their consent.)

However, this job is more along the lines of his interests and will be two pay grades above where he is now. That's a pretty big opportunity for a 23 year old man! He refused the job, but they have continued to call and talk to him about it weekly. They have offered to sell his house, help him find a new place to live, and will pay for all of his moving costs. The deal keeps getting sweeter. The pressure is definitely on!

Right now, he is a sys admin over two local plants of a multinational company. He is responsible to help solve issues at other plants if called upon. It is very demanding, and he has already mastered much of what he wanted to learn there. The company is very slow about integrating new technology which would allow him to run things more proficiently.

I love that he wants to keep close especially since Emily and Hannah are still so young. However, I also don't want him to miss out on something great God has in store for him because of us. My mother's heart wants to hold onto him, but my head says to let go and let God lead him. So, I am praying for God to guide him. I want what is best for Brandon whatever that may be even if it pains me.

I am very thankful God led Clint and I to homeschooling which has fostered a great love of learning in all of our children. It is because of homeschooling that Brandon was free to pursue his interests and become proficient in his field at such a young age. It has been a joy to watch this interest spark, grow, and then become a raging passion in my son.

I am also very thankful we listened to God instead of the family members who told us they felt homeschooling was "child abuse" that would "never get them a college education or a good paying job." Man, the pressure people put on you when you are young! Whew! I think we homeschooling parents get some of the rudest comments ever but, we can learn from them too. Harsh opinions serve to tear down individuals, tear apart relationships, and quite possibly, to distract others from God's leading. It would be better to hold your opinions while praying for God to bless the person with wisdom and guidance. Then, trust God to do His job in their life.

Boredom is up to you...



A bored person is a sign of a dull mind. You will find each role in your life as interesting as you make it. 

You either embrace a task with a thankful heart that the Divine has seen fit to give you something to do and the ability to do it. Or, through ingratitude, you display unthankfulness with complaining and lack of interest. A good and faithful servant will give thanks for his task and will also find joy in simply being able to serve.

Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. John 16:13

His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21

Sunday, November 29, 2015

How We Celebrate Christmas and Why

We don't tell our children there is a Santa (or Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy). We celebrate Christ's birth in such a big way there isn't any room for Santa. The only Santa you will find in our home is one kneeling in front of a manger worshipping the best Gift the world has ever seen.

There is still wonder and excitement! Our children still count down the days and announce how many are left each morning! They take a long time to write wish lists! They still eagerly anticipate and can't sleep the night before. We make Wise Men Bags instead of stockings. We have a cake for Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Him. Every year, we make ornaments which reflect our beliefs. We view light shows keeping in mind that Jesus is the Light and encourages us to walk in truth. We attend events and worship in music all month in our home! Clint reads the Christmas story from Luke to us every year.

I make Christmas morning special by appealing to all of their senses. I use homemade potpourri to scent the house. I have Christmas music playing low. Sometimes I light candles. I have warm ham and turkey croissants on the table. The decorations are lit and the presents are arranged around it. Santa is so engraved in people's minds for Christmas due to our culture that they can't believe Christmas can be special without him!

We have taught them about the real St. Nicholas. He was a quite a passionate man! We feel feisty old St. Nick with his strong beliefs would have slapped people in their face, much like he did Arius, for how they celebrate him in Christ's place today. 

They also know about the difference between the myth of Santa and have been taught by us to respect other's beliefs and ways of celebration. They know of the accusations and hatred from other Christians that has been aimed at their father and I for celebrating Christmas with Christ and without Santa. Our children have repeatedly thanked us for making a stand for Truth over tradition.

As young parents, Clint and I felt this was the way the Lord was leading us to worship on Christmas. Our goal, every year, is to place Christ first and foremost. When Clint and I stand before the Lord, we don't want Him remembering how we squeezed Him in alongside something else but how we gave Him ALL of the room in our hearts and home. 


I Peter 3:15 But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,


Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect

I John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Little Closer

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I turn 47 today and am celebrating it joyfully with my loved ones while I count my blessings. I am blessed with good health and am not on any prescription medications. I am approaching the day for it but currently do not wear glasses. My teeth are all intact and in good condition. I am physically active working in our home and on our farm. My marriage and family are whole. Our finances are in order, and our home is solid. I am abundantly blessed with all I need plus enough to share with others. My God given talents were perfectly tailored to allow me to serve those placed directly in front of me. I feel and see evidence of God's Hand on my life. For decades, I felt lower than every other human being but escaped those chains and found my value in the Gift God gave to me. To God be the glory for every single bit of it! I am blessed far, far beyond what I ever imagined for myself. I would not trade my life for anyone else's. I am His, and He is mine.

Today marks another year closer to realizing what is behind the veil. I am a bit closer to meeting "the One Who loves me more than all others combined" face to face. My mind struggles to comprehend casting off this mortal form and stepping into eternity much like a caged bird would struggle to comprehend the vastness of the great outdoors. Birthdays are simply mile markers in this journey that has a glorious ever after ending.

I Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"

Friday, November 27, 2015

Shutters

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second story window

We finally shuttered the front of the house. We only had room to paint those ten at one time. We will do the sides next. Painting the trim will have to wait until next spring. 

Eventually we will wrap the trim in aluminum. The money that we could have used for that went to something we value more than possessions--loving on God's people. So we will wait patiently for the Lord to provide knowing He will at the perfect time and in the perfect manner.

Free Kindle on Oregano Essential Oil



Grab quickly! Prices change often.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 
from our home to yours!

I am writing this the day before Thanksgiving. I am enjoying cooking in the kitchen with my beautiful children! I thank the Lord for these wonderful opportunities to experience life, make memories, and bond closer to each other. Now, at almost 47 years old, I even rejoice in the chaos, mess, and my own weariness because I know that is evidence of the blessing of a large family. 

We have much to be thankful for this year! Our family has grown in grace and knowledge of the Lord. We are still here and healthy. God has brought some awesome people into our lives who have impacted our family for the better. We have had many opportunities to serve others and rejoice in being God's hands and feet in this troubled world. We have seen an improvement in a broken relationship with external family. We have filled our freezer with homegrown foods. Our home and farm has undergone many positive changes. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are healthy and have the skills to do it. Brandon has not only purchased his own home but has excelled in his job. He has impressed upper management enough that he has been offered a very nice job two pay grades higher than what he is making in Atlanta. The rest of the children have made strides in their education. We have been blessed with the opportunity to increase our income. 

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, but even if we didn't, we could still give thanks and rejoice because our God is worthy to be praised!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Free Christmas Activities Book


I post some free Kindle books as I find them, but that does not mean I have read them.  Please preview the books before you read them with your children to see if they line up with your core beliefs.



Free Christmas Stories Kindle Book


Free Kindle of Christmas stories. 
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Article: Shut Down the Homeschool Fight

"1. Oh, I don’t like to debate my family’s choices. This one works on everything from cloth diapering to why your child can’t watch PG-13 movies with Grandma. I find it most effective when stated in a very relaxed way, because I’m not looking for a fight — I’m looking to be all done with that particular topic." - See more at: http://simplehomeschool.net/fight/#sthash.Du8JGln1.dpuf

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Article: Homeschool Mom, Give Yourself A Break

"Let’s start with not being so hard on ourselves.  I think the homeschool mom is more critical of themselves than most other moms I know.  We worry if our kids are getting a superior education, are we missing something, proving how awesome homeschooling is to our family, friends and strangers.  And we still want to keep a clean house, cook healthy meals and lose 10 pounds."--read more at: HOMESCHOOL MOM – GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Armful

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Please Pray for Our Friends (Transplant Day!!!)

Today is the day Bunny and Kara undergo surgery. Please lift them in your prayers.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Chicken Lover Gift Idea

An acquaintance of mine was given a unique gift. She really likes chickens. A thoughtful relative of hers took a worn out cupcake tin and painted it to look like a stack of nest boxes with chickens on straw nests in each hole. A ribbon was added to the hole for hanging. It turned out really cute. It was oooo-ed and awwww-ed over by the chicken crazy ladies.

No, I do not want one. Hannah might in 20 years though. :-)


Thursday, November 05, 2015

Spare your germs from others as you would like them spared from you!

Common courtesy says you stay home until you know you aren't contageous. Spare your germs from others, as you would like them spared from you! If you are a large family who has experienced the stomach virus at the same time, you know, the struggle is REAL, people!

For the Love of All That’s Holy, If You’re Vomiting, STAY HOME!

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Article: Successful Cancer Treatment

"They used heat and oxygen to kill it, and then vitamins, minerals and amino acids to strengthen the immune system, which kills the cancer as well. It turns out cancer cannot survive in certain environments, if you starve it, it has nothing to feed on and killing it becomes relatively easy. " -read more at 

So . . . It Turns Out Cancer Can Be Killed After All



Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Chicken Boots Made in the USA

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I bought them just to see Hannah smile. She said, "Oh, they are so adorable!" over and over. I wish Sloggers made them in children's sizes! 

They are very comfortable and made from a soft, flexible rubber unlike any I've seen on a rain boot before. The boots do not come up as high as I'd like so I'll wear these around the farm and buy a pair of waterman's boots for mud and heavier work. 

If you order a pair, you might consider going up two sizes. I wear normal width shoes. I went up one size hoping to fit a thick sock in them. These fit me perfectly while I am barefoot. I will not be able to get a heavy wool sock in them for winter wear. I do love the feel and look of these cute boots though! I may get a pair of the comfort shoes next spring to wear in the garden.

Monday, November 02, 2015

A Benefit of Homeschooling I Didn't Anticipate

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I am so thankful that homeschooling fostered a deep love for learning in our children that has carried over into early adulthood. In this picture, Brandon has sought out Clint and is listening eagerly to learn more plumbing tips and repairs during a break while we were helping him unclog a pipe at his house. Caleb is listening and learning too. Both of them asked Clint many questions.

We can either look at the clogged pipe as a difficulty or an opportunity. I am thankful both my husband and sons seized the opportunity to be together, make memories, learn together, and to share and receive knowledge. I am glad they let me hang out so I could help a little. I had some big "Praise the Lord" moments realizing how precious these moments were as I observed them interacting.

If you are waiting for perfect moments filled with lots of fun and entertainment to make memories, you might find out too late that you don't get that many perfect moments. 

Make each moment count...even the imperfect ones.

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Study on Delayed Kindergarten Effects on ADHD

“We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11, and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

"The study’s findings also align with other research that has shown an extended period of early childhood play – such as in preschools – yields mental health developmental gains. As a result, Dee said he hopes his research will lead to broader examinations on how kindergarten is taught. It could be pedagogy pointed more toward play rather than structured academics." Study finds improved self-regulation in kindergartners who wait a year to enroll


Lawmakers require puppies to stay with their mothers and littermates for 7-8 weeks, and there is a push to extend that for the better health of the dog. The thought behind it is that longer periods with their mothers/littermates will prevent unwanted behaviors that typically land dogs in shelters. Why do we give so little thought to our own children, who should be valued so much more, and who also develop mentally and physically at a much slower rate? 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Kidney for Bunny

I am so excited! Clint's and my friend, Bunny, from high school is getting a kidney from her sister, Kara! Please keep them in prayer for successful surgeries, quick healing with no complications, and that their expenses will be covered. 

"Bunny has been in a health fight for many years, due to complications with an autoimmune disease known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus. SLE, or Lupus as it is commonly called is a disease in which the body fights itself and breaks down the body's immune system. This disease, with no cure, can also attack major organs and organ systems within the human body. In Bunny's case, her lupus has severely attacked her kidneys, placing her in End Stage Renal Disease and having to go on Dialysis. She has been on Dialysis for 3 and a half years and though she has been responding well, her only hope is a Kidney transplant.   On September 16 of this year, Bunny found out that her sister Kara, was a kidney donor match. Hallelujah!!! The family's prayers were answered.  The two sisters will undergo donor/transplant surgery on November 10th at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.  This fundraiser is to assist with their medical costs, transportation to and from doctors appointments, and to assist with any financial needs that may come up during this process, as both will be out of work.  Those who know Bunny know that she is caring, compassionate, and thoughtful...a dedicated mother to her beautiful daughter Naleah (age 14), very active in the church in which she attends, and is an incredible Registered Nurse at Sentara Obici Hospital.  Those who know Kara know that she is kind, a wonderful mother to her son Christian (age 7), also active in church, and is a very giving person.  She works as an Admixture/Pharmacy Technician with Virginia Oncology Associates.  

Please, with a sincere heart,  help the sisters, along with their family to achieve this goal. May God bless each and everyone of you and hope that you can assist. No amount is too small!" To see a picture of these beautiful sister and consider a small donation, click here.

For Parents of Addicts

I am friends with several mothers who have confided in me that their child fights the battle of addiction and have shared the anguish it causes them. These mothers are my former Sunday School teachers, bus drivers, neighbors, classmates, and a few internet friends. Among them are some of the most gentle, sweet, and sincere Christians I know. Interestingly enough, some of them know each other but do not know that they are facing the same battles. I won't break their confidence. It is their story to share or hold back as they feel is appropriate, but I often think that if they just knew their friend was facing the same struggle, how much help and comfort they might be to one another. 
"When addiction grabs a child, it chokes a parent. I know the life-draining squeeze of its grip. I’ve never felt so incapable and helpless, so sad, so lonely. Such fear. My child has been stolen from me—stolen from himself—and I mourn Joey’s loss and suffering from a very lonely place.
There is no broad community empathy or support for the families of addicts. There is no rallying cry of solidarity, no pretty ribbon brigade, and none of the comfort that so often gets baked into meatloaf and muffins. Instead there are closed doors and mouths and minds and hearts.
I want addiction to be understood, not misrepresented, misjudged, and mishandled. Not hushed up or hidden away. Nasty things grow most freely in dark corners; the scourge of addiction needs to be dragged out into the light.
So, I share my story of love and loss and learning. And surviving my son’s addiction while coming to terms with the fact that he may not." read more Interview with Sandy Swenson, Author of The Joey Song