Monday, April 29, 2013

Joy Dare: 3 Gifts in Dirt

I found a beautiful page and blog that has inspired me. And even though I am a procrastinator and didn't find it until a while ago AND still have not done much with it besides look it over, today's joy dare was just too perfect to ignore. SO... I am going to take some time and be thankful for all God has given me.
First things first, here is a link to the page:
A Holy Experience
Her name is Ann Voskamp and she has done a tremendous job of setting up a way for you to easily count 1000 blessings in a year. Even as much as a procrastinator as I am there is no way for me to "skip" it...

So 3 Gifts in Dirt:

I am a psudo-hermit. I love the outdoors but I an not OUT IN IT often enough, or often even. I am not really afraid of work, but to work outside is something I have to force. I hate the heat... a hot day takes it all out of me. I melt... "wicked witch of the west syndrome" has hit me all my life except it is the heat not water that sends me into a puddle of a mess on the ground.

My husband, stretches everything from his patience, time, money, and strength to make our house a home and that includes the outdoors. Every year he changes something to make our tiny yard MORE. This year he decided to once again change the shape of our flower beds.

This year has been an odd one (or maybe not so odd maybe it just seems that way). We have had several short but powerful snow storms through April. This weekend however was just beautiful. I was called out, persuaded to weed, dig, plant, sweat, and play with everyone. My 3 gifts were found easily as I read the Joy Dare this morning due to our weekend activities.

1. New plants in fresh beds ready to grow and give us beauty as well as food to harvest (some for years to come.

We made our strawberry bed bigger to give us more room. We moved one strawberry to fill in the hole of one or two that died. Then we added a raspberry shrub, a tomato plant (cherry this time), hot peppers to add to the hubs BEST EVER green chili, and a sweet red bell pepper plant to help us top off my sons delicious deep dish pizza.

We also increased the size of my flower bed in the front that holds my orange day lilies. I spaced them out a little more so for this year to fill it in we also threw in some wild flower seeds that are supposed to entice hummingbirds and butterflies to the yard. We have an old push plow that has been sitting in the garage, it now has a new home amongst the flowers in that bed. And although I had planned originally to put it near my roses I added a stepping stone given to me by a friend after the loss of our last baby, as a remembrance stone. I can't wait to see the beauty of all of our new plants spring up. I do not like the looks of a bare flower bed.

2. The delight in the kids as they rolled around in the grass explored the "spring" in everything from watching the robins sit in our little crab apple tree to frogs climbing out of the crawlspace.

For the last few years we have had a robins nest in our tree, quite an experience given the history of our little tree. When we moved in it was so small, and we had two children 2 years and 9 years old. The tree was shorter than me. We nurtured it as we added to our family and made the house our home. About the third or fourth year we had a heavy wet snow that split the tree nearly in two. We thought maybe she was done, but hubs put a bolt through her, and wired her trunk back together, in an effort to save her. It worked. She has endured 6 children climbing on her, peeling her bark, tugging on her limbs and chasing the dog around her. She has flowered beautifully every year and with her hardships has grown strong and beautiful, given us shade for activities such as picnics, playing dolls, wrestling, and homeschool lessons.

The tree and the robin pics are from last year. See the Y at the bottom, that is where she split, the bolt is still there, she just grew around it. The limb on the left was almost completely separated.

3. For a hard working husband and best friend who is forever stretching EVERYTHING from patience to money to his strength to make our house a home.

He has moved the sprinklers many times over the years to accommodate our many changes. We have broken lines and let them freeze, but he has fixed them and improved on everything. I think he has dug up the yard several times over the years, planted, weeded, poured cement, moved bushes and moved them again... Each time I have a new idea he tries to persuade his "clean looking yard" brain to my "beautiful mess" ideas. He does it because he loves the physical work, but also because he knows the value of having us all work together to make something we can all enjoy together, here, at HOME. We make memories with our children in the things we do together in the work we accomplish together. As the head of our house, as the leader and protector he does all he can to keep our children close to us, working with us, learning the important lessons from us AND with us.

We learn as much from our children as they do from us sometimes. Last summer he laid a sidewalk, and in that we have the hand prints of all of the kids except the oldest. He is away at school, West Point. But it did not "feel" right to any of us not to have him present in this task. So the other kids found a set of wings he had earned in his first or second year. We placed the wings in his place. It was a lesson I learned from our children that time. That no matter where we are in the world, how far apart physically, we are all still together. I do believe my husband has been instrumental in making that happen, HE has made this family what we are, he has ensured that we are always thinking of one another, learning from each other, relying on each other and supporting each other. We have our fights, and arguments (6 children in a three bedroom one level home - how could we not) but we are a family that loves unconditionally and I believe that is what will sustain us even when we are spread to the four corners of the earth. And I believe that is what will keep my children close even in their adulthood.

I told you this one was easy. There is so much to be thankful for, but some are easier to list then others. Some days make our blessings easier to see, the trick will be to find our blessings on the days that are not easy, on those days when you are surrounded by annoyances. Those are the days when I believe I will benefit the most from this project.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Five Minute Friday - Friend

It's that time again, if you'd like to join in on 5 minute Friday's just follow the link and jump on in. It's fun, easy and interesting to see what everyone else does.
Five Minute Friday

Today's word:  Friend

To my children - I am not your friend ...

you know the poem and it is so true. I want my children to know that there is a difference between mom and friend, but a mom should be MORE. And so I aspire to be.

To my husband - I am your friend...

but usually of the worst kind. The kind of friend we should be to those closest for us is often farthest from the truth. But a wife should be a BEST friend.  And so I work and aspire to be.

To my friends - I am your friend...

but sometimes time, duties, life gets in the way, and sometimes I am not the kind of friend that is available to help as I should be. But to be a good friend one must be available. And I will make an effort to be more so.

To be more than a friend to my children, a best friend to my husband, and an available friend to my friends ... these are the things I hope to be remembered for being. These are the things I want people to say about me when I am gone, because if I am these things this will be my legacy. I need to remember this more. I need to put this at the top of my to do list each day.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five Minute Friday - JUMP

It's that time again, if you'd like to join in on 5 minute Friday's just follow the link and jump on in. It's fun, easy and interesting to see what everyone else does.
Five Minute Friday

Today's word:   Jump

Jump into this project... I've no ideas.
Jump rope, jump in with both feet, jump-ing jax, jump from a plane.... yeah, nothing.
Although, I think it might be fun to jump from a plane... but I might chicken out of that one... I can imagine that the freedom is amazing once you get out of the plane, the sensation of being OUT there, watching as the ground rushes up at you, but maybe not as fast as you thought it would, until you are closer. But the initial jump, and then the moment just before you pull the cord to open that life saving parachute and you say a little prayer that it just opens...

Then it does, and you sail to the ground, with a surprising thud... not as easy as you thought.

Just like life.

Unlike skydiving - life gives a world of second chances.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Birthdays... Wordless Wednesday ... or Thursday

Wordless Wednesday, brought to you by the letter L - as in LATE (because it's really Thursday) and the number 3 because that is what we celebrated.
She's 3
Birthday gear.
From Brother.
The traditional kiss for daddy!
From Sissy.
The cake...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Submissive Wife

Today my Facebook exploded with THIS story. In short Gabrielle Reece, volleyball star, announced that becoming a submissive wife saved her marriage. What came after was an onslaught of controversy. Of course.

My comment on Facebook was this:
Beautiful! People who think it is controversial for a wife to be submissive to her husband
A: does not understand the biblical principle of marriage,
B: is not going to do well in marriage,
C: needs to think and do research before arguing this with me and
D: (a repeat because it is just so very true for men and women both) they ARE NOT GOING TO DO WELL IN MARRIAGE!

 I thought that was pretty clear, but apparently not.

I want to stress that a submissive wife is not a door mat. God has given us well defined roles as men and women. I am not saying that we can't "evolve" to some degree, I do not believe we have to stay barefoot and pregnant (to use a term I hate).

You see, it isn't just a submissive wife... husband and wife are supposed to submit to EACH OTHER. The husband is supposed to be the leader, but any good leader knows how to take suggestions from others. The husband is supposed to love his wife like Christ loved the church (people). Christ DIED for the church. That is a pretty big responsibility.

Being a submissive wife does not mean the husband is the BOSS. He MUST treat her "far more precious then treasure". He must respect her, cherish her, revere her. She is the mother of his children, the heart of the family, his help mate. Those things he must do, even when she is being crabby and cranky, and looking a wreck after a long night with a sick child.  

I try to be a submissive wife...
I fail...
a lot.

But, when my husband and I are following God's commands on how we should behave, that is when our marriage is at it's best. Really though it has nothing to do with faith, or religion, or submissive vs. not... It has to do with how a husband and wife SHOULD be with each other, to support each other, to use our roles to make our life together work even through the stress. And when we are at odds with those "natural" roles, then we are at odds with each other and with our children. God has given us a blueprint to follow, and my husband and I believe that with everything we are, but I have seen people with no faith have very good marriages. Because they follow those natural laws in a marriage. Not because husband is boss and wife is a wimp (or doormat) ... but because they sacrifice for one another, the love unconditionally and they commit FULLY to one another and to their marriage.

I want my children to look at the marriage of their parents and know that we loved each other, AND that we loved them enough to fight to live our lives as God wants us to. And I want them to know that when things were not so good, it was because we went against Gods plans.

Ephesians Chapter 5
5 Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. 6
Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.
For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body.
As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her
to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
"For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
In any case, each one of you should love his wife as himself, and the wife should respect her husband.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Here

Here: At my cluttered table, in front of my computer.
Here: On Lisa-Jo Bakers blog finding my Friday prompt.
Here: Listening to my kids fight after a restless night.
Here: Come here I say to the littlest, because if I don't she won't stop screeching.
Here: In my life, filled with chaos, joy, blessings, love, unexpected surprises. Despite the chaos (maybe even because of it sometimes) there really is no place I'd rather be. And that is the trick isn't it? In this life, the key to being happy? To find ourselves here, to BE here, to LOVE here for what it is, and to learn from here.
So many times in our life we are so concerned with being "there" that we forget to enjoy where we are. There is no more clear example of this then a kid in highschool who just can't wait to be done. And when they finally are, and they have moved on to what ever is next, and then they realize - that was a really good time, and they missed out on some of it because they were in a hurry to leave, their minds were somewhere else.
Today I ask My patron Saint Mary Magdalene, and the Saint of lost causes St. Jude, and Mother Mary to pray WITH me that I might find a way to ALWAYS be present, always enjoy and always learn the lessons of HERE.

There it is unscripted, unedited, 5 minutes.

Want to join along on this 5 minute Friday project? Click here:
Five Minute Friday 

Do you remember Paul Harvey and his famous "and now you know the rest of the story"?  Well the days events require me to put up "the rest of the story" even though that will take me over the 5 minutes (you can still see where that too me, just stop above the 5 minute friday tag. But since this is still my blog, I'm going to finish what I started.

After the first part of this blog post, the kids got more chaotic, I got angry, then more angry. I certainly didn't want to be "here" at the moment. Even though I had this post fresh in my head, even though I know I should still want to be here, that I should still be here... so then along with words, and screaming and melt down I listened to someone I trust, and even though I might not have liked what he said, I still listened. Even though I didn't agree, I listened. Turns out that *I* might have been the problem in my "here". Imagine that. So I said I would go figure it out. I guess I expect people to read my mind. I guess that even after all the chaos and words and anger I still expect people to take what I say at face value. That might be unfair.

More anger, more words, I felt hurt because I was not trusted. I felt hurt because I knew that I played a part in this mess, and I felt frustrated that my words were not taken at face value. So... I left. I was not "here" anymore. But sometimes God uses our stubborn moments to gently remind us of our sinfulness. This time it was not my God smack to the back of my head that I so often get and deserve. It was gentle, a whisper. Let me show you what I mean.

Here is where I realized where I was headed. ^^
The mountains, foot hills really.
Here is where I started to remember why I was headed there^^
For the same feel as when I was a kid, and after at the beginning of my marriage when we would spend time surrounded by pine trees, when everything seemed perfect. Because you could not look around and see much of anything

Here is a little building, one that reminds me of where I have always thought would be perfect... in the middle of no where. (even though this one is clearly within sight of "town"). The beginning of me walking it off. To save gas I should have walked away from the chaotic "here", but I would not have found the rest.

Here is where I sat on a rock. And wished my family were here with me. Imagine that... I went from leaving "here" (home with the kids and family) going to here ^^ only to wish my family were with me anyway. Because as always no matter what else goes on, my family is always where I want to be. So I sit and cry and try to figure out what it is I need to do to get rid of the anger. How do I make things less chaotic. That is my job and I have failed - at least today I have failed.

Here is where I realize that my household is much like the forest floor, full of junk. And while that might be ok for the forest it is not ok for my family. We need to de-clutter before the family is choked out by the attitude, hurtful words, and chaos.

Here is where I am on my way home. Here is where the music I have been listening to reminds me that life is not easy, but when you are with the right people you can make it. When you trust in God, when you remember to ask God for his assistance when you deal with your children He will give you direction. Here is where "If I didn't have you" came on. And it's true... if I didn't have them - the children, the husband, the God - I wouldn't make it very far. 

Even though here (back home) is where I am and where I belong, God whispered to me, He told me that yes, I had failed this day. Was I wrong about the kids? no, they need to work on how they talk to me and to each other, but I need to work on how I tell them that. I need to work on showing them how I expect them to behave. I also have a lot of work to do in the trust department. When I say that I am going to take someone else's criticism and advise, I need to work on how I deliver that. Me saying "ok I guess I'm going to figure out what is wrong with me" is obviously now the right thing to say. I need to make sure I've done this enough so others may trust that I mean what I say.

So Here, is where I sit, to go over what has happened today. To sort it out and to remember the lessons God whispered to me. And I need my happy place back. And I need my music. And I need my peace.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - What happened to spring?

I am really enjoying these link ups. Today's link up is Wordless Wednesday and is brought to us by:


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nicole - A Multi-Talented Artist

Nicole is another friend I met because we are both West Point moms. Incredible how that one little detail has brought so many into my life.

Anyway, Nichole is talented in so many ways: humor, knitting, painting and positive thinking in general. It's Nicole's paintings inspire me so very much. Every time another goes across my screen, I am in awe. They do show the humor and positive thinking too.  I am sharing a several, because it was hard to pick just one or two, because her work is not all the same, which reminds me of HER.

I have not known her long, BUT in a couple short years over Facebook I have seen that she has gone through some pretty amazing things and her attitude is OUTSTANDING. She is an inspiration in so many ways, to know her - even just on Facebook - has been a blessing to me. Nicole probably does not even know how many times her posts and art have inspired me to make changes in my own life.  

Enjoy these paintings! :)

^:This is my favorite.^
^And what mom does not 'get' this?^

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Five Minute Friday - After

After, starts with before.

I wished for a prince charming.
I have a real man whom I am proud to say is truly my Knight in Shining Armor.

I knew the love my mother had for me.
I know I that a mothers love is all encompassing.

I knew Jesus loved me because the bible told me so.
I know Jesus loves me because I have felt his arms holding me up at my weakest moment.

I knew my heart was as big as my fist.
I know that the capacity of the heart, for both joy and pain, is so much bigger.

I knew the world was perfect and life was good.
I know the world is imperfect and I choose a good life.

I knew that there were some who would die in war.
I know that some choose to sacrifice EVERY THING including their last breath for others.

Life was simple, fun, and all about me.
Life is complicated, fun, and all about US.

I knew that the sun set, and the sun rose.
I know that the sun sets, and pray that the sun rises.

I was a mess.
I am a mess. With a husband as good as they come. Children to raise with love and understanding. A God who loves me no matter what. A heart that swells with pride, breaks when others are hurting, hardens when I forget what is important and heals when I remember. A complicated yet good life. Respect (and now also pride) for those who will sacrifice every thing for others. And a person who is learning to be thankful for all the day had to offer as the sun sets, and grateful for yet another day as the next sun rises.

Five Minute Friday
Join in the fun with 5 minute Friday.

Coleen Sharp - Beading Branches

My friend, and partner in crime (ha ha), has a great eye for color. We have put our items together on the Beading Branches website. I love her sense of style! Her heart is as big as Texas too. She has been ill for quite some time now but in doing the beading she is hoping to start a not for profit to help others in her position, kind of a beck and call helper service for those days when everyday life is just too much for sick moms.

Coleen has been an inspiration to me in her strength through weakness, faith, and her ability to make time for others in need. I have received gift baskets from her at some very bad times. Heartfelt, thoughtful gifts that let one know they are loved and thought of and valued. I know there are times when she feels helpless and tired but she does not give up nor give in.

We do have a Facebook Page too, where you can see custom items that are being made as well as newer items, contests, and general information. Come check it out. And do me a favor say hi to Coleen, she's not had an easy time since Christmas between her normal illness and added little colds and such.

Of course we have a permanent link under "My Jewelry"
----------------over there, towards the top------------>

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Carol Okst - Origami Owl

Another crafty friend and fellow West Point mom, Carol, puts together these incredibly, awesome and unique living lockets that tell the story of the owner with beauty and fun. I have not ordered mine yet, but it is planned out in my mind (which btw has a hard time sticking to the same choices).

Here is an example of one locket on her Facebook page. Beautiful isn't it? And there is a wonderful story behind it too. You will have to go see for yourself.

Carol's business page is where you can see all the choices they have available for stunning, personalized lockets. There are 5 steps, all laid out from picking your charms, lockets, chains, plates, and dangles. Getting yourself a beautiful expression of who you are or a gift for someone else to tell them what you value in them is as easy as 1,2,3 ... 4,5.  And Carol is a joy to work with!

Of course when I get mine, I'll have to add it to one of my own beaded creations, the perks of being crafty myself, but they have some beautiful chains from which to hang the lockets.

If you loose track of Carol, I will have a permanent link to her store under "Sites Worth the Visit".
------------OVER THERE----------------------------->

Crafts by Manuella

Yes, I have some crafty friends some of them sell, some just craft. I want to take some time and show them some love and appreciation for their craftiness and generous hearts.

Manuella - Is a fellow West Point mom who does fantastic knitting of all kinds. She actually is a West Point mom AND a Naval Academy mom. You can see that in some of her work as she works hard to outfit us Military Academy moms in pride filled spirit gear.
I got a scarf from her and love it. :)

Please visit Her Etsy Site and take a look at her collection of the cutest doll clothes, baby clothes, baby blankets as well as the wonderful scarves and hats. Her work is fantastic. You can tell she loves to make people happy.

You can keep up with her new items and news on her Facebook Page.

If you loose track of her I will have a permanent link to her under "Sites Worth A Visit"
--------------------over there----------------------------------->

Sunbutter Kudos

I have to give a shout out to THIS company. They make the best peanut free alternative to peanut butter. I miss peanut butter. I have a son who is allergic to peanuts / tree nuts and we are very careful not to allow those things in the house... well except that I had some cookies given to me that I was going to pass on to my soldier of the month (long story for another blog).  Anyway, today they asked on their Facebook page how you like your Sunbutter. I made a comment that I LOVE IT, but unfortunately the price makes it more of a "treat" then the pantry staple I'd like it to be.

Yes, I know I should have thought of it myself, but I didn't. One of the helpful people over there on the Facebook page pointed me directly to the coupon request page. So at the very least my next purchase of Sunbutter will be made online (so I can get the HUGE bucket if possible) with a coupon.

Some bigger companies could take lessons from some of these that have not gotten too big for their britches. Customer service, it counts!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Abortion Alternatives, Help, and Healing

This photo came across my facebook today.  I wanted to use it as I focus on something that gets overlooked sometimes as I speak against abortion.I do not "hate on" the women who have chosen this action. Abortion is a sin, it is a monstrous act upon our smallest and most defenseless and I will not change my mind on that. I do believe it is murder, no doubt.

There are two victims directly involved in abortion. The child, of course, but also the mother.  Far too often she has been sold an excuse as to how this will be the "best" choice. That it is "safe", "quick", and "easy". They are told that there are no "side effects" and that this child is not a child but a blob of tissue.

Here's the rub. This is a child and just as any of the "dumb" animals in our world know instinctively that they must protect their young (at least one parent) so do we. It is ingrained into our whole being. The woman who has been told this is the "best" choice will more often than not regret it, forever. There are physical scars as well. It has been proven that abortion increases a woman's chances of cancer. This is not something the abortion providers want to believe nor recognize and will outright LIE about. MOST women who choose abortion will go through depression, and a large number are severely depressed. The procedure itself can cause a woman to become barren. Many women have died from botched abortions. Babies who survive abortion attempts are often placed in a closet or directly into the trash to die, or killed in some other horrific manner.

When I talk against abortion, I speak out FOR the mothers as much as for the CHILDREN. Just as we do not allow someone who "cuts" to continue just because they want to, because it makes them "feel better", because they feel it is a "solution" so I will not stand by as a woman aborts her child and destroys her health because she feels it is a "solution", because she thinks it will make her problems go away, or because she feels it is her ONLY option.

There are other options, there is more information out there then an abortion provider will give you, there are people out here who will help you completely through your situation. From beginning to end. Abortion is not an answer, it is a path to more problems. It is not an "easy fix" to a "mistake". It is unhealthy, dangerous, and yes... murder.

We can move on from our mistakes, we can be forgiven, but first we must acknowledge that we have sinned. We must admit to ourselves that it was a mistake to begin with... if you've had an abortion and you have issues that stem from that STOP making excuses as to why it was "for the best", acknowledge that it was a mistake and then begin the healing process. If you are thinking about getting an abortion, seek truthful information. The people who want to provide your abortion have financial reasons to encourage you to that end... but before you go get ALL the information first, this will be the difference in how you deal with your unwanted baby, and how you heal from such a life changing event.

Here are a few links to places that can help you.
There is a comprehensive list here:
Priests For Life

If you have already had an abortion, do not think you must suffer in shame, or try and just forget. There are places available to help you too.
Rachel's Vineyard Ministries