Saturday, December 5, 2015

Weep with them that Weep

    The season of Thanksgiving and Christmas has been an unusually sad one this year.
    A friend lost his mother, another sweet family said good-bye to their day old baby boy, and yesterday another family lost their four year old son.
    Our hearts hurt for them, and we weep with them as they grieve their loved ones.
     In all this there has been one unsettling theme that kept arising.
     For the friend that lost his mother, Mr. Pepper was talking with him when a woman approached to share her sympathies and almost immediately started talking about how it was when she lost her father years ago, by the time she was finished talking our friend was the one trying to comfort her instead of the other way around.
     I've been amazed at the comments I see on Facebook to the family who lost their baby. A lot of them are sweet, comforting, weeping with the family. But then there are others ..... one lady said. Be thankful you could hold him and say good-bye to him. My mother lost one of her twins and never even got to hold or say good-bye to her. The funeral was over before she was released from the hospital.
    There were similar comments made to the family that lost their four year old. We have experienced the same. Some people simply don't know what to say to those who are hurting.
     I think there's a reason the Bible says, "Weep with them that weep", instead of share all your sorrows and opinions with those that weep.
     And it's a good idea to do just that. Weep with them, pray for them, give them a hug. Simply be there. Maybe someday in a year or two you can both talk about your experiences, but right now the grief is theirs, making it about something else is never a good idea.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook


For Today...  November 16, 2015

Outside my window... the sun is shining brightly and the heavy cover of frost we received last night is beginning to melt and fade away.

I am thinking... that today looks like a perfect day to wash all the windows on the outside before winter arrives. Who wants dirty windows until spring? Not me.

I am thankful... that the children seem much better this morning. The youngest two had been sick since Thursday.

I am wearing... my favorite charcoal skirt, and a gray T-shirt that I won thanks to a competition I had entered for The Great American Bible Challenge. Their logo is very prominent across the front of the shirt.

I am creating... some potholders to replace the worn out ones I have been hanging onto. Actually I think this will be more of a teaching moment as I plan to have our youngest daughter make them. She is learning to sew and these should be an easy project to practice her skills.

I am going... to a fruit market and then the post office. I have a package to mail to a dear friend for her birthday. I'm already running a few days late for that, but hopefully she won't mind too much.

I am wondering... what the weather will be like for Thanksgiving next week.

I am reading... I was doing a Bible study with my sister-in-law on tempting God after she brought up the question wondering exactly what that is since we're not supposed to tempt Him. The study was quite eye opening and convicting.
 
Other than the Bible I have not been reading anything this past week besides school materials and recipe books.

I am hoping... to get started on Christmas gifts soon.

I am learning... to let go.
 
In my kitchen... I have some fruit that I'm candying to make a fruitcake later.
 
A favorite quote for today... Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. - Henri Nouwen
 
One of my favorite things... Seeing splashes of color and beauty in the middle of what otherwise is a drab landscape.
 
 
 
You too can join the weekly Daybook linkup here.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Who Needs Fancy Cars?

"What's a Lamborghini?" our oldest daughter asked. She had been reading a book and somehow a Lamborghini had been mentioned in it.

"It's a fancy car," I told her.

End of conversation. She went back to reading and I went on with what ever I had been doing.

As we started on our way to church yesterday morning Mr. Pepper tried cleaning the back window of our 13 year old Honda mini-van. It was caked with dust from driving on a dirt road all week. Instead of the usual spray of water and some vigorous swiping of the little windshield wiper, all that happened was a small trickle of water ran down over the window and the wiper feebly tried to swipe at it but got stuck in the upright position.

Mr. Pepper pulled off the side of the road and went back to put the wiper down in its resting position. Getting back in we drove several yards and the wiper again swiped upward and got stuck. After the third time of stopping and putting the wiper back down he gave up and we continued on our way a little faster than usual.

From the back seat, our daughter was feeling amused at what had just happened. "Who needs a Lamborghini when you have a van like this?" she asked.

Somehow that tickled all of our funny bones.

But so true, I would much rather have my trusty little mini-van with its stubborn malfunctioning rear windshield wiper than an overpriced, impractical car.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

http://thesimplewoman.blogspot.com/p/httpthesimplewoman.html
For Today...  Monday, October 5th

Outside my window... there is a gorgeous sunrise turning the sky lovely shades of pink.

I am thinking...  that it is nice seeing the sun again after all the rain and fog we have been having.

I am thankful... that the roadwork that has been going on by our house finally seems to be done.

I am wearing... a purple paisley top, and my favorite pair of jeans.
 
I am creating... a bag for my laptop so I can take it with me a little easier when I leave the house.

I am going... to the post office later. I sold a few things on ebay that I now need to ship.

I am wondering... how it is possible for teenage boys to have such a dreadful bedroom, when I had just cleaned it last week.

I am reading... my absolute favorite series of books for probably the twentieth time. I really don't think I'll ever get tired of them.
 
I am hoping... that we can open the drain in our basement without having to dig up pipes in the yard. Right now doing the laundry causes the basement to flood, and everything else water related makes water bubble up out of the drain. Things like washing the dishes, taking a shower, brushing your teeth, etc. etc. Not a fun problem to have. So far it always seeps away slowly, but it definitely needs to be taken care of.

I am learning... the history of our town. It's something we decided to research as part of our homeschool, and I've been enjoying learning right along with our children.

In my kitchen... it's Mexican night, tonight. I have some ground pork thawing for the quesadillas I'll be making.
 
A favorite quote for today... I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. ~ Anne Shirley

One of my favorite things... October. :)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Web Wanderings

   Every week I find things while either on Pinterest or simply doing searches online that I really like.

   This week was no different, so without further ado, here are a few of this week's favorites.

   A recipe for an Apple Pound Cake with a caramel glaze. We have been blessed with apples this year and my searching for apple related recipes turned up this keeper.

   Our youngest daughter loves all things crafty, and while looking for some fall craft ideas I found this tutorial on how to make some pretty leaf shaped suncatchers.

   Then there are always those posts that are food for thought. Reading about "Biblical" Phrases Christians use that are man-made instead of Biblical made me stop and think. Every one of them I have heard before, and I myself am guilty of using three of them. I want to strike those phrases from my vocabulary now.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Things That Annoy Me: Changing Languages in Books

   To all authors out there ..... for the love of all that's good and kind, please, please stop throwing words from another language into your books. I beg of you, please!

  I love reading. Curling up in my favorite nook with a good book, a snuggly blanket, and something to sip on is one of the best things in life.

  As I begin getting lost in a whole other world unaware of my surroundings I turn the page again and ... BOOM .... I'm hit with a sentence written in a foreign language. It's like being rudely hit on the head, or maybe a better way to describe it would be strolling along happily and tripping over something. It breaks me out of the pleasant flow I had been enjoying and it takes a few minutes to get my reading legs back again.

  So please, quit harshing my mellow. I don't have that much time to simply read for pleasure, and when I do I don't want that pleasure interrupted because you added a language the majority of your intended readers can't even understand.
  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

School Days

   This is our tenth year of official homeschool or twelve if you count pre-k and kindergarten. We're in week six and so far I'm happy to say that I think it's our best year yet. Somehow everything is flowing smoothly, we're loving the curriculum and the additional studies we're doing as a family researching history.

   Even our three year old is soaking up school and loving every minute, or at least he was until we got to a picture of an apple he was supposed to color in one of his pre-k books.


   "It's too big Mama," he declared wearily after starting to color it. He does well with staying in the lines in smaller pictures, and since I remember how much I used to detest coloring big pictures I didn't ask him to color the entire thing. No need burning out on school by insisting huge pictures need to be fully colored.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Roadwork

Roadwork is like a thorn in my side.

Yes, I realize it's necessary, and that the roads are better once it's done, but the process itself is about to drive me batty.

The road that goes by our house has needed to be repaired for the past five years already, and every year the potholes kept getting larger until it was getting to be rather interesting traveling on it. Somewhat like an obstacle course of sorts trying to dodge the worst places on the road.

After someone lost their bumper on their car after hitting one of the bumps in the road several different neighbors took it upon themselves to start calling the state an complaining about how hazardous it is trying to travel our road.

It must have paid off because the road crews arrived. We're happy that the road is getting fixed, but the speed at which they work ...... I really don't see how it would be possible to work any more slowly. And the noise, well, it's about to do me in.

The worst was when they were grinding off all the pavement from the bridge. The entire house was vibrating, I could feel my brain bouncing in my head, and my ears were popping. I wanted so badly to get out of the house, but it was raining and that meant I couldn't simply load up the children and head a few miles up the road to the park to get away from it, and I didn't want to barge in unannounced at some friends, so I simply suffered through it. By the time they were done I was sick.

They're paving this morning, and I'm looking forward to the day when they're done and we're left with a nice road. Maybe then I'll say all this aggravation was worth it.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Thoughts and Ponderings

There is hardly anyone not aware of things that are happening, and how it seems as if the whole world has gone crazy.

As Christians this shouldn't surprise us. Jesus told us we shouldn't be surprised if the world hates us, because the world also hated Him.

However given what happened a little earlier this week I couldn't help but think that things could have been different had these verses been heeded.

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. Proverbs 22:3 It is repeated in Proverbs 27:12

Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. Proverbs 23:9

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. Matthew 7:6

What should we then do? Should we forsake our convictions and standards? Absolutely not.

I do think it's time for Christians to look at themselves, and not worry about the rest of the world. We can't force those who are of the world to conform to Christian standards and morals. It can not and will not work.

If those who are called by His name would humble themselves and repent of their sins, then we would see change in our land.

Unfortunately it's easier to point our fingers at those living in blatant sin, not caring at all for the things of God and thinking it is all their fault, if we could only get them to change their ways, change their way of thinking.

That is going about it wrong. Evil will always be evil, and we as Christians should begin the change we would so like to see, right here in our own homes, in our own lives, by seeking first His kingdom, His righteousness and living our life in faithful service to Him. How many seem to ignore Jesus' teachings in the gospels, while expecting the world to conform to what they think they should do.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Musical

Plink, plink, plink ...TWANG!

I cringe silently as the noise resumes. Plink, plink, plinkity, plink. Plink, plink, plink.

I'm almost breathing a sigh of relief when TWANG! and I cringe yet again

This is the life of a mother, encouraging her child to learn to play a new musical instrument.

 
 
Day by day, it gets a little better. The TWANGS are getting fewer, but no less jarring when ever they occur.

I really must love these little people, because there is no way I would sit through all this otherwise.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

100 Questions

    I surprised myself when I discovered I remember my password for this blog. I know, I know, I've been horrible at updating, so to ease back into blogging I thought I'll answer a list of fun questions I happened to stumble upon.

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? I do both. I like them closed because the room looks neater that way, but occasionally they will be open.

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels? I don't.

3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out? Tucked in. I don't use them as a cover though.

4. Have you stolen a street sign before? I have not. Never understood why anyone would do that.

5. Do you like to use post-it notes? I love using post-it notes. Such handy little reminders.

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them? Unfortunately yes. I hardly ever remember to use coupons I've clipped.

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? I would probably die from either attack,, so which ever would involve the quickest death I suppose. The thought of a slow painful death does not appeal to me.

8. Do you have freckles? I have some freckles, but they have really faded as I have grown older.

9. Do you always smile for pictures? I don't. I hate having my picture taken. I don't have a pretty smile, my upper lip curls upward and makes me look very gummy.

10. What is your biggest pet peeve? This one is hard. I have enough pet peeves that I could do a blogging series on them. One is when people stand at the door holding it open to talk rather simply stepping inside. I don't like flies getting into the house.

11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk? I do all the time. Especially when I go up and down the stairs.

12. Have you peed in the woods? Really? Um...... yes.

13. Have you ever pooped in the woods? Double really?!! Again ..... yes..... years and years ago when I still thought camping was fun.

14. Do you ever dance even if there's no music playing? I don't think so.

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils? Ew!!! No!!!

16. How many hours have you slept last night? Six.

17. What size is your bed? Queen

18. What is your song of the week? I Will Be by Stanfour. One of my favorites!

19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink? Sure, why not if they want to? In fact did you know there was a time when pink was the color for boys and blue for girls? To me colors are colors. Why is there a need to assign them a gender? And by the way why aren't people wondering if it's okay for girls/women to wear blue? Seems a little unbalanced to me, if pink is for girls and blue is for boys why pitch a fit at men wearing pink, but not when women wear blue?

20. Do you still watch cartoons? I do occasionally with our three year old.

21. What is your least favorite movie? I'm not sure about my least favorite. There are a lot of bad ones out there though. We recently watched Gone Girl, and I certainly will never watch it again. The entire thing was awful, and then the ending was just ...... huh? what? really?!! What a waste of time.

22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some? Under a large tree in the back yard.

23. What do you drink with dinner? Water.

24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? Honey mustard,

25. What is your favorite food? I really love Italian food.

26. What movies could you watch over and over again and still love? I can and have watched the I Love Lucy show countless times, and love it.

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you? Mr. Pepper

28. Were you ever a boy/girl scout? No.

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine? No, no, no, no, no!

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper? Earlier this week. The children and I are pen pals with friends living in another state.

31. Can you change the oil on a car? I have never had to try.

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket? No.

33. Ever ran out of gas? No.

34. What’s your favorite kind of sandwich? One that's called an American Grinder.

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast? Eggs and bacon.

36. What is your usual bedtime? 9:00

37. Are you lazy? No.

38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween? No.

39. What is your Chinese astrological sign? I have no idea.

40. How many languages can you speak? Two fluently, and a third that I still need to brush up on a little before I can call myself fluent.

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? Yes, the Taste of Home magazine, and the Food Network magazine.

42. Which are better: legos or lincoln logs? Legos

43. Are you stubborn? I can be occasionally.

44. Who is better: Leno or Letterman? No idea. I don't watch either one.

45. Ever watch soap operas? No.

46. Are you afraid of heights? Absolutely terrified.

47. Do you sing in the car? I do.

48. Do you sing in the shower? I do.

49. Do you dance in the car? Um..... no.

50. Ever used a gun? I shot a gun once, fifteen years ago when we were visiting friends and they talked me into trying it. I didn't enjoy it, and really don't care if I never see or touch a gun again.

51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer? Never.

52. Do you think musicals are cheesy? Some of them are. But I do like The Sound of Music and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

53. Is Christmas stressful? No, I love Christmas and really don't find it stressful.

54. Ever eat a pierogi? I have.

55. Favorite type of fruit pie? Cherry. No, wait .... peach. No .....apple. Aw forget it I'll eat a homemade cherry pie any day.

56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid? Teacher.

57. Do you believe in ghosts? Ghosts as in dead people, no. Ghosts as in spirits and unexplained happenings, yes. I grew up in a 'haunted' house, and could tell you stories that would curl your hair.

58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling? Yes.

59. Do you take a vitamin daily? Yes.

60. Do you wear slippers? No.

61. Do you wear a bath robe? No.

62. What do you wear to bed? That's my secret.

63. What was your first concert? The Downings.

64. Walmart, Target, or Kmart? Walmart

65. Nike or Adidas? Neither.

66. Cheetos or Fritos? Fritos.

67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds? Sunflower seeds.

68. Ever hear of the group Tres Bien? I have not.

69. Ever take dance lessons? No.

70. Is there a profession you picture your spouse doing? Yes, and he's really good at it.

71. Can you curl your tongue? Yes.

72. Ever won a spelling bee? Yes.

73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy? Yes.

74. Own any record albums? No.

75. Own a record player? No.

76. Do you regularly burn incense? No, never have.

77. Ever been in love? Still am head over heels in love.

78. Who would you like to see in concert? Chris Tomlin, Toby Mac, Skillet,  Selah and a bunch of others.

79. What was the last concert you saw? The Downings.

80. Hot tea or cold tea? Please spare me. Neither!

81. Tea or coffee? Neither, though coffee is a hundred times worse than tea.

82. Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Sugar cookies.

83. Can you swim well? Nothing other than the basic doggie paddle.

84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose? Yes.

85. Are you patient? Yes, and no.

86. DJ or band at a wedding? DJ

87. Ever won a contest? Yes, I've won several different contests. Cooking, writing, and more.

88. Have you ever had plastic surgery? Nope.

89. Which are better: black or green olives? That's not fair. I love both. I think my favorites are those big green ones stuffed with feta cheese.

90. Can you knit or crochet? I can do simple knitting.

91. Best room for a fireplace? Living room. Though I hate the mess a wood burning fireplace creates.

92. Do you want to get married? No, I'm already happily married.

93. If married, how long have you been married? 16½ years.

94. Who was your high school crush? I had plans of living in a little house with tons of books, plenty of ice cream cones, and the companionship of a few cats.

95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way? I do not!

96. Do you have kids? Yes.

97. Do you want kids? Yes, I love them, and would be absolutely devastated if something were to happen that I couldn't be their mother.

98. What is your favorite color? Shades of blues and purples. I like basically every color except yellow and orange.

99. Do you miss anyone right now? No.

100. Who are you going to ask to answer these questions next? No one, who ever wants to is welcome to, but I won't be asking anyone to do it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

God's Love

     I'm sitting in church, beside me our three year old leans his head against my arm and places his little hand in mine. My heart swells with love for this little guy, and expands even more as I look at the rest of my family sitting around me. I breathe a silent prayer of thanks for all God has done in my life and for giving me Mr. Pepper and our four children.
     The pastor is standing and repeating things, much in the same way he does every Sunday in his low monotone voice.
     "God loves you," he says. "You are special to Him. He delights in you. When he looks at you He says well done. He's proud of you. You are worthy!" He keeps speaking more platitudes of how awesome we are, and how much God loves us.
      For a long time these types of sermons have bothered me, and the more I thought about and tried to decipher my feelings the more confused I felt, because what he says is true. God does love us, His children are special to Him, but something is missing. Something is off, and quite frankly, wrong.
     I was pondering all of this again and I think I have come to a conclusion.
     It is true, God does love us. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us, but God is also a Holy God, one whom we should worship in fear, in awe, and with great thanksgiving.
      Somehow along the line the focus has become on us. How great we are. We're awesome, just look at me I'm worthy. Even God thinks I'm great. When instead our focus needs to be on Jesus, on God. We serve a Holy God, a just God, a God of love and mercy. Without Him we are nothing. Our righteousness is as filthy rags. When  God looks at me I want to stand covered in the righteousness of Christ, not in the illusion of thinking I'm something so special and wonderful.
       God's love is a life-changing, redemptive love that reorients the soul from self gazing to staring in awe at our wonderful Saviour.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hodgepodging

 
1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.

It's summer and Bible school time. As a family we choose not to send our children to VBS and church camps. Doesn't mean we don't love God, it just means we don't see the need for our children to be put into uncertain situations without Mr. Pepper and I being present.

2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?

The Bible.

3"Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith) 

Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

I agree. I think as a whole we need to be more tolerant of each other, and opposing views. That doesn't mean we have to simply accept everything, or change our morals and convictions, but there is never a need to spew hatred.

4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?

Cooking and baking with my mother. I loved it! She included me, and I think enjoyed my help with every meal she made as far back as I can remember.

5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.

I spent a lot more time outdoors unsupervised. Our children enjoy being outdoors, but we don't allow them to roam the neighborhood like both Mr. Pepper and I used to do in our childhood. Times have changed so much, and we don't feel it's safe.

6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?

At a beach somewhere. Preferably somewhere in the north.

7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.

I Can Walk on Water by Basshunter. Maybe not my favorite water song, but I do like listening to it occasionally.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Taking evening walks on the different hiking trails in our area is pleasant this time of year. So many flowers blooming. I love seeing them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Christmas in July

     Scrolling through the channels on the TV last weekend trying to find a little something that was actually worth my time to watch, I happened upon the Hallmark channel and discovered they are playing Christmas movies.
     Most Hallmark Christmas movies are so predictable and about all I can do to stomach them even during Christmas season, that I was about to scroll on, but then I saw A Princess for Christmas was going to play. I had to record it. It's one of the few movies that I will watch more than once.
     Tonight, as Mr. Pepper and our children are out playing a game of catch, I'm going to prop up my feet, sip a glass of lemonade, and enjoy myself a little Christmas in July.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Verse

     When our oldest son had just got a good grip on reading he could be found with his nose in a history book or the Bible. He didn't care much for fiction books even though we had shelves filled with books I had hoped he would enjoy someday.
     When he was eight we got him his first quality Bible and he was thrilled. For the next several months when ever someone stopped by our house he would wait for an opportunity and proudly show them his Bible, and then read his favorite verse to them. Proverbs 7:27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
      The first time he read that verse to someone I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me. When it didn't I simply pasted a weak smile to my face and managed to steer the conversation to more pleasant paths.
      I wrestled with what I should do. How do I tell my son not to have that as his favorite verse, and why did he choose that one to begin with? I decided not to address the specific verse and instead try to get him to appreciate some more appropriate verses as his favorite. I didn't want to in anyway put the thought into his head that part of the Bible is not good.
      Fast forward seven years. He still loves reading his Bible, and last night when Mr. Pepper and I were heading to bed I paused for a moment outside our boys bedroom door where I listened to our fifteen year old son read a few chapters of the Bible to our three year old son, and then explaining what he had read. I had to blink back tears of joy as I heard our three year old say, "More, read more!" when his brother announced it's time to go to sleep.
     Seeing them love God's Word makes this Mama's heart glad. And so happy that I didn't squash his love of the Bible back when the verse he loved most embarrassed me to no end.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

To My Children

     One of the things I always made sure to buy when I found out I was expecting you was a beautiful baby book. I had these great intentions of recording all your important milestones, all those fun firsts, all those little details I wanted to remember, always.

     I'm sorry to say I have failed you miserably.
     With you, my dear oldest son, I did the best. I completed most of your first year, but the rest of your book is blank.
     With each of the rest of you, I took great care in filling out everything I could those first few weeks, but after that the pages remain blank.
      The pages of your books aren't blank because I wasn't proud of you, or didn't love you, or wasn't rejoicing and enjoying each of those precious firsts and important milestones.
      I might not remember which tooth you got first, but I do remember your first word. "Papa!" I was the one that birthed you, nursed you, changed 95% of your diapers, and all four of you said Papa as your first word.
      I don't remember the day you enjoyed your first solid food, but I remember how you used to love when I brought out your little baby food grinder and how you used to sit watching me prepare it, waving your arms and kicking those little feet of yours in eager anticipation of the yummy food you were about to get.
     I don't remember the day you were weaned, but I remember how you used to tuck your foot under my chin and held the corner of your blanket as I fed you.
     I might not remember the exact moment of your first smile or laugh, but I do remember how you used to giggle when we played Peek-a-boo with you for what felt like hours on end.
     I might not remember the first book I ever read to you, but all four of you loved the Clap Your Hands book. Both your Papa and I can still recite the entire thing by heart because we read it to you so often.
    The pages of your baby books might be mostly blank, but my mind is filled with precious memories from those days. I was so busy enjoying those moments I didn't have time to pick up a pen and write them down at the risk of missing part of those moments.
    I hope someday you will understand.
    Love,
    Your mother
    

Monday, May 4, 2015

Before and After

     One evening, not very long ago Mr. Pepper asked me if we still have a certain book, and if we do he'd like to read it again.
     "I think it's in the storage room," I said quite carefree. Since we have hundreds and hundreds of books, I offered to go get it for him.
      I traipsed up the stairs quite happily and opened the door to the storage room. At that moment my carefree happiness flew right out the window.
      For longer than I care to admit when ever something needed to go to the storage room I sent the children to put it in. Likewise if I needed something I sent them to retrieve it, so I was not prepared for the nightmare that greeted me as I opened the door.

      The past five days the girls and I have spent every afternoon cleaning and organizing, and it's once again the pleasant place I had in mind. I will be checking it every so often because there will not be a repeat of that mess again!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Singing

     I love singing, one of my favorite parts of church services is the singing. However once in a while some songs get sung so slowly I simply can't sing along.
     This morning it happened again. A hymn I love was nearly dragged to death and I was left feeling weak, almost unable to breath, and I had to work hard to not sigh and get all twitchy.
     I came home and found my favorite version of the song, which just happens to be the oldest known hymn, written in the 8th century in Ireland, and translated to English in the 1900's.
     The band 4Him is one of my favorites, and I love singing along to them.


Friday, April 24, 2015

Vision

     It was a beautiful Sunday in May, I was eighteen and newly engaged, and also recovering from an accident I had been in several weeks earlier.
     Our church house was plain, with none of the comforts a lot of the newer church houses come with, like ceiling fans and air conditioning. Instead when it got too warm the windows were opened to allow fresh air inside.
     Because of my accident, I couldn't sit in the usual pew. Instead I was propped up in a chair right next to an open window, and somehow my attention wasn't being held by the sermon, and I found myself gazing out the window.
     How this next part unfolded I can't explain, but suddenly I saw as clear as day some beautiful lush green grass in front of some majestic pine trees, and a creek winding its way next to this. In this lovely setting there was a blanket spread on the ground. A twelve year old boy with almost black hair was sprawled out on the edge of the blanket reading a book. Two girls, about ten and eight had their dolls and a tea set and were talking and laughing as they played on a large corner of the blanket.
     On the other corner of the blanket, Mr. Pepper and I were sitting with a little baby boy sitting between us, and I was feeling overwhelmingly happy.
     I soaked up this scene and then returned to reality and tried to focus once more on the sermon that was still going.
     I got home from church that day, and wondered what all that had been about. I had often daydreamed of how life was going to be once Mr. Pepper and I got married, but I had never had anything that vivid and unintentional before.
     I didn't tell anyone. Instead I wrote it down and hid it in my little locking jewelry chest.
     Life went on. Mr. Pepper and I got married. After a year we welcomed a baby boy into our family, two years later a baby girl joined us, and two years after that another baby girl. More years passed, and it seemed that our family was complete, and I wanted to accept that.
     When our oldest was eleven we were given an opportunity we thought we couldn't turn down and we moved. One of the first things I noticed when we got to our new home was this patch of lovely lush green grass, tall majestic pine trees, and a winding creek. I realized that I already had three children that matched the ones I had seen so long ago, and I wondered ..... was that a true vision? Would I really have a baby boy before long?
      As it happened I became pregnant soon after that and we welcomed a baby boy into our family. And I'm just as happy as I had felt that Sunday.
       I still have no explanation on what that was. I have never experienced anything else like that. But to this day I am amazed at how perfectly I saw something, that I would see for the first time many years later.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Teenagers

     So far having teenagers has not been as scary as I had feared. In fact I'm rather enjoying this phase of life.
     Conversations with our teenagers can cover almost every imaginable topic. Serious discussions about the Bible and their faith, hopes and dreams, feelings, everyday life, and everything in-between. Sometimes their insight and maturity surprises and humbles me, while other times I still see the little child in them.
     I haven't quite decided what category to place this little conversation I had with our thirteen year old daughter this morning.
     Daughter wistfully: I wish I had a pretty laugh like heroines in books, all musical and sweet.
     Me: I like hearing your laugh.
     Daughter: You like it because I'm your daughter and you feel obligated to like the sound of my laughter. You know I sound like a hyperventilating walrus.
      Well I've never heard a hyperventilating walrus, but the comparison made me laugh, even though I snort like a horse when I really laugh. Women in my family have never had a musical laugh, and it appears she has inherited that gene.
     I really do like hearing her laugh though, it's a happy joyful sound. Musical in its own way, and beautiful to me.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sweet

A basket of lovely flowers was hand delivered by Mr. Pepper.

I was so surprised, even though it was my birthday. I am now carrying it from room to room so it can be where ever I am working and I can enjoy the beauty as much as possible before they start wilting and fading.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

http://thesimplewoman.blogspot.com/p/httpthesimplewoman.html


For Today... March, 17, 2015

Outside my window... It's still dark, but I can hear a few birds singing in the tree in front of the house.

I am thinking... I really need to scrub the basement floor. I've been pushing it off for a long time already.

I am thankful... that spring seems to be arriving. Even though I love winter, it is really nice to not have to deal with the dirt our coal furnace creates.

I am wearing... A comfortable maternity top even though I'm not pregnant, and my favorite pair of jeans. They have a dollop of silver nail polish on them, but that just gives them a bit more character.

I am creating... some lapbooks for our homeschool.

 
I am going... grocery shopping later this week.

I am wondering... if I want to get some duck breast when I go shopping. There's a special occasion coming up and my Orange Duck recipe seems to be begging to be used then.

I am reading... Anna's Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It's an Amish historical fiction of how they came to America on the ship Charming Nancy. For Amish fiction this book is different, and quite interesting.
 

I am hoping... we get our tax refund soon. I'm already looking at curricula for our next school year.

I am learning... to not set unrealistic goals for myself.

In my kitchen... I have some cream cheese softening to make a layered pudding later today.

A favorite quote for today... “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”   -Emerson

One of my favorite things... Watching the moon rise.
 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Life with a Toddler

   I'm not sure at what age you begin to call a child a toddler. Maybe once they begin toddling? I also haven't figured out when it's no longer fitting to call them a toddler. Our youngest no longer toddles, his preferred mode of movement being a healthy run, and he just had his third birthday, but I still hang onto calling him my toddler.

   Life at this stage can be, and usually is interesting. You would think with this being our fourth child to be going through this stage of life I would have learned to be suspicious of long periods of quiet.

   A few days ago I caught him with a bottle of glue and little foam pieces. The living room walls, the window, and some furniture were all decorated.

 
 
 
 
   At this stage they also take everything very seriously and when one of his siblings introduced him to this little box his reaction was video worthy.

  
      It is sound activated upon which the box starts vibrating furiously and shouting, "Excuse me, excuse me, can you let me out of here?"

    He was sure there was something caught inside that box and was absolutely terrified. His siblings thought this was hysterical, so for now this little box will have to remain hidden until he's old enough to realize it is only a harmless little toy.  No need to cause a source of nightmares, or possible future need of therapy.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pathetic

     We live in an old farmhouse. By old, I mean built in the 1800's. I'm sure back in the day it was considered to be quite a lovely house, and spacious too during that time. In today's world it isn't quite so lovely. For the most part it's comfortable, even though the floors are uneven and creak when you walk, the closets are sadly lacking, and the floor plan was not well thought out. Most days all of that doesn't bother me in the least. There is a draw back to living in an old house that is bigger than any of those reasons. Somehow mice seem to get in easier.
     We have several cats, multiple mouse traps, and for the first time since we moved in here I thought we were going to make it through an entire fall/winter season without any mice trying to move in.
     This morning I was happily going about my morning routine. Getting up and getting breakfast for Mr. Pepper and seeing him off to work, and then enjoying a few minutes of quiet time before the children get up. Everything seemed to be perfectly normal. Mr. Pepper left for work and twenty minutes later our dog wanted to be let in. I let him in and as embarrassing as this sounds, I went to the bathroom, still perfectly content with my life. When sitting there all vulnerable a mouse darted out of the closet and came running toward me. I shrieked, and lifted my feet. The mouse turned and disappeared into the closet while I whimpered in terror. I had to get out of here immediately. I kept my eyes on the spot where the mouse had disappeared and got up, but before I was able to make my escape the mouse darted back out and I found myself perched on the vanity, with another shriek echoing in my ears, and basically hyperventilating.
     The mouse seemed quite oblivious and ran around the room exploring. I managed to get up and balancing myself on the very edge of the vanity I succeeded in my attempt to stretch far enough to unlock and open the door and then launch myself out of the room.
      I was reduced to a pathetic pile of trembling hysterics and quickly emailed Mr. Pepper to let him know how my morning had taken a horrifying turn. He replied as calm and reassuring as ever, but it's still looking like a really long time before he gets home tonight, especially since I know that somewhere in this house, a mouse still wanders free.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Soul Mates

     People seem to be fairly divided over the topic of soul mates. Over the weekend one of my brothers and I had an interesting discussion concerning the concept. He doesn't believe soul mates exist, in fact after having been burned a number of times he has achieved quite a dark view on love and marriage in general.
     I'm not exactly sure where I stand on the soul mate issue either. Is there really only one perfect person out there for everyone? I don't quite see that. Mostly I think that if two people fall in love, get married, and are committed to giving their all they become each others soul mate.
     On the other hand, sometimes ........ sometimes I wonder. The story behind Mr. Pepper and I getting married is an interesting one. If it were written in a book there are people who would sigh and shake their heads wishing that things like that actually happened in real life.
     He is my soul mate. Did I know it the first time I met him? No. Neither did he, but with time something changed and one day it was as if a piece of life's puzzle clicked into place. From our very first date, to now more than twenty years later we both are convinced it was something more than us that brought us together. God was directing it, He knew what both of us needed. Because of that I'm hesitant to say that there isn't something like soul mates, because I know I have found mine.
***
   There was this certain pastor who started a church, his dreams and goals for it were something my parents were impressed with when they heard about it and several months later we located to a new state so we could be part of this church family. I was only a little girl at the time, so I didn't understand exactly why this church seemed to be so important. We hadn't been in a habit of going to church regularly before.
    This new church grew fast. The pastor was well liked, and more and more people flocked to it. As with any church though, especially those with any size, there seemed to be cliques, or classes of people. The pastors family of-course the elite, and our family, well, it happened to be in the lowest class there.
    Because of the way our home life was, I had vowed to never, ever get married. I had plans made to move out as soon as I was of age, a few years at a job until I saved up enough money and then I'd be going to Alaska. In the meantime I watched in disgust as girls basically threw themselves at the pastor's youngest son. He didn't seem to enjoy their attention, but it didn't keep them from trying. I couldn't even imagine trying to talk to him. Our worlds were totally different, he came from a well-to-do family that every one liked, his Dad a pastor, and everyone seemed to crave their approval. My little world, we were a homesteading family, by no means well-to-do, and people treated us as such. So how did it happen that with the huge difference between us on top of my vow to never get married, that the pastor's son (Mr. Pepper) chose me? 
     I can only say it was God. He knew we were meant to be together and somehow He orchestrated things to make us see that.
     So do I believe in soul mates? Kinda, sorta, yeah I do. After all I have found mine even when I wasn't looking, and life, well, I can't imagine life could get any better.
   

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Things that Annoy Me Thursday ~ Pinterest Comments

    Several years ago a friend introduced me to Pinterest. "It's a great way to organize all your favorite links," she told me.

    My list of things I had favorited was already quite long and with only titles it was easy to forget what I had or difficult to find what I was looking for. I gave it a try, and fell in love with it. Not only was I able to finally organize all my favorites in a pleasing and easy to use way, but I also found tons of other things, recipes, homeschool materials, crafts, DIY projects and a host of other things.

    I had/have my Pinterest account for me, and no other reason. I was not, am still not looking for followers on it. It is a happy place for me where I keep track of yummy recipes I want to try, things I want to print out for something extra for our homeschool, crochet patterns for my oldest daughter, household cleaning tips I want to remember, it's all there and more. Every pin selected because it meant something to me. I have had thousands upon thousands of repins, a ton of followers, which I don't mind as long as they only repin and follow, but when complete strangers start leaving comments on my pins and clutter up my boards, I find it annoying, and, well, those comments get deleted.

    Back when I started Pinterest I could only have three secret boards, so I have a lot of public boards. As soon as they changed that I created well over a hundred secret boards and most of my pinning gets done to those boards now.

    Maybe I'm not doing it right, but to me Pinterest feels much more private. If I want to have social interactions I'll head to Facebook, Twitter, or my blog where every comment is fun and welcomed.