Shopping Sweet Spot

Hey! I found a great new store! It's not new, though, just new to me. My Dear Friend Tracy took me there this week for a little "mental health night" - home school moms may have a little less mental health than the average woman out there. Gabriel Brothersis her favorite place to shop, and this store is awesome! They have some of everything: clothes, shoes, housewares, accessories - all of it at LOW prices. The best part is that it is all brand name stuff. Liz was there, Ann Taylor, too. I got clothes with brands from Macy's, Lane Bryant and Kohls - sweater, t-shirt, and jeans for under $20. Had a Ginger Rogers-type dress in the cart, but ran out of time to try it on. Rats! Could've worn that dress to clean baseboards on Wednesdays...


Heavenly Skies

This picture was taken a few summers ago on the Hilton Head beach just at sunset. I like sunset photos more than sunrise photos - hmmm.... 
My Three Boys are there in the surf, just in the center. Love them boys! Anyway, I do have a fascination with the sky. I find myself looking up, scanning, commenting about it to the carload as we're driving. Can't help it, beautiful skies always makes me think about heaven! "I'll be up there someday," I always say, in hopes that this will be something the Boys will remember that I always said. (There's a list.) Some days I want to be up there more than others...

Last year, a visiting missionary shared the Joy in Heaven website. As he spoke, the audience watched the website, onscreen, display decisions for Christ as they are made around the world. It was amazing!! At home, we've all sat around and watched the globe turn as people accept Jesus world wide. Once at a family gathering, the whole extended family crowded around the computer moniter to watch! Watch 15 minutes of the Joy in Heaven website = Bible Class and Geography Class!

Another related website: For anyone who wants to Discover God. Last one - click here to listen to "What I Love About Heaven", a great sermon by James MacDonald framed as a travel brochure on Heaven as your final destination! I love hearing what Heaven's going to be like! For part two, click here. (Sermons after introductory remarks by Dobson. Be patient - the sermons are worth it; or just click and drag the audio curser past the opening remarks.) I've "made" our kids listen to these so they will have something to really hope for, look forward to, live toward.  

"I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7


New Direction

fI'm working on some new things! These new ideas are causing me to take EXTRA long, hot showers - where ideas flow freely, of course. No one else in there  asking questions or demanding any attention. Can't hear the phone, or any bickering...actual physical fighting can be heard, unfortunately, and then all my thoughts roll down the drain.  Hate that.

Mom Among Men - I'm going to start adding posts regarding being the only female in a house of males, specifically teenage sons. It's obvious from reading other people's blogs that so many good things are shared among the blogging community. Encouragement, admonishment, advice, warnings - rich treasures! While I've gained so much (and thank you!), I've had a hard time finding other moms, like me, whose sons have stopped playing with Legos and have moved on to other interests. Sure would like some of those wonderful treasures to come my way fit for the season I'm in right now! If I can't find it, I'm going to try to coax it out by putting my own "stuff" out there and hoping to find other moms in my situation who will comment/join in. Thoughts or advice welcome.

Etsy - I'm trying to work my way through setting up an Etsy shop. For a while, my mom and I partnered to make aprons and even made enough for showing in craft shows. I've got a boat-load up there just taking up space. I'd also like to add some fun "junk" finds that will qualify as "vintage" according to the specs on the Etsy website. Thoughts or advice always welcome.


Knob of Beauty

I'm a hardware freak. At rummage sales, yard sales, garage sales, I'm the one that walks away with the shoebox full of knobs, hooks, and latches. Thankfully, My Wonderful Husband is in this fix with me, and we enjoy finding pieces to use in our house (or forget in the basement). Last summer, or was it the summer before, we re-did the upstairs bathroom. MWH put down a beautiful black and white tile floor, the walls went soft, spa blue, new lighting fixture went up, hung a mirror instead of medicine cabinet - the works! All changes/additions qualifying as bargains, absolutely. Except this doorknob. We found it at Anthropologie, my favorite wishing store. They have one of those multi-level display carousels with the most lovely knobs, hinges, hooks...I knew when I saw this door knob (angel song) that it was meant to be in Our House. However...My Sons hate these doorknobs. So do visitors. They don't turn smoothly and let you out as quickly as other knobs, so people often think they are stuck in the bathroom. Just this morning, in the dark, cozy bed, I heard My Oldest struggling with the knob, trying to get out of the bathroom. A Wonderfully Kind mother would have gotten up and helped him out of the bathroom, but you already know that I didn't. I snuggled deeper in the covers...and snickered. Slapped my knee when I heard him utter a frustrated, "Dang It!" I believe that the little quirk makes the Knob of Beauty even more valuable - in hilarity points.
(We do help visitors out if they believe themselves to be stuck.)

Sorry, I can't resist adding that there must be a devotional, or at least an object lesson  in this. Yes, certainly about how to be more Wonderfully Kind as a mother, let's forget about that, please! How about Expensive Beauty without Usefulness, and how frustrating that can be for those who are subjected to it. I'm sure there are more...
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30


Frost Show

See what you miss when you have those boring, energy-efficient, air-tight, new windows? All this beauty in an unexpected place and under not so ideal circumstances!  These windows are in our 'sun room' on the side of our house. Someday we plan to have the windows replaced, but I will miss the frost shows.
My kids were fascinated by this when they were little, and we spent time in that chilly room examining patterns left by the frost. They don't look anymore, but I still do.

You can almost see words in the frost - would the Lord speak to me this way...? Sure hope not - that would trigger a total freak out on my part. But He did speak to Moses out of the burning bush and Diane Duyser saw the Virgin Mary in her toast...


Extravagant Valentine Blessing

My Dear Husband has been my Valentine for 25 years.  We met at the YMCA when I was only 17, a senior in high school, and he was 20.  This photo was taken when we were about that age. It seems like a long time ago. He won me, at first, with his snort-producing sense of humor, his sparkling brown eyes, and his awesome red mustang. 
As we continued in our relationship, he began his relationship with Jesus, and soon after, I lost my heart to him entirely. It surely didn't resemble the careful procedure of "courtship", but that's how it went. He came to my school dances, later he took some college classes just to spend time with me, he always opened doors for me. 
He was the most kind and thoughtful of new daddies, helping me and whatever baby or toddler we had with any and every task. Nothing was too dirty or beneath him in those demanding days. Now, with teens challenging the system, we often excuse ourselves to another room, and he holds my hand as we try to figure out a game plan to deal with the ever-changing demands of parenting.
In 2007, all the wheels came off, and my health went in the can. You find out what's really inside your spouse when hardship presses in. That September, I sat in a doctor's office and heard the words 'thyroid cancer'. During the next year, My Husband showed me what Jesus looks like in skin. All the hospital visits, body scans, cuttingdrainingtestingpokingprodding - he was there, always with me, holding my hand. No one could have been more gentle, more faithful, or strong - and each just at the right time. 
I used to wish  that we'd have more money, maybe live in a bigger house, drive newer (faster) vehicles. Now, standing where I am, and having been where I've been, I know that I'm already rich and have been for some time! God  has given me the extravagant wealth of a truly loving husband and a fulfilled marriage. 

The hurt of unhappy marriages has been all around me lately. Because of this and more than ever, I feel the urging to guard and treasure this gift. If you have been given the same wonderful gift, I'm rejoicing with you and encourage you to also guard your treasure. 

A sermon series that I think is applicable on Valentine's Day - a teaching on the Song of Solomon by Marc Driscoll. It's a little edgy, and  he does very plainly discuss intimate issues - but, it is Song of Solomon, after all! I found a lot of useful things here, about how to tend a marriage:


Beloved Sisters in Christ

I love my Domino Ladies!  I've been going to play dominoes once a month at My Dear Friend's house for several years. I took My Youngest there as a nursing babe to be held and bounced by women who were not exhausted and thought him crying was an adorable sight. They've given me feedback on schooling issues, food questions, teen weirdness and marriage quirks. We've sung hymns, studied scripture, reviewed books and discussed the merits of folding underwear. I love that they will give the hard advice if you ask for it, and always in loving kindness. Around the table, we've prayed, laughed, cried, debated, consoled, then laughed some more. Some of the funniest stories I've ever heard have been given at that table covered with dominoes! They are truly my Beloved Sisters in Christ! Last night, the Dove chocolate went around - each chocolate has a clever saying on the inside (which some people add to...tsk, tsk). Anyway, the wrappers were smoothed out, turned over, and each of  us picked one to take home as a parting 'word'. This is the one I came home with. My Husband approved. 

The recipes for the cookies was requested, so here it is:
(side story on the cookies - only available for those who were there)

Church U' God Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, baking powder and salt, then combine with wet mixture until a stiff dough is formed. Chill for 2 hours, then roll and cut. Bake 6 or 7 minutes at 375 degrees. Bake only until set, not brown. (Icing - about one pound of powdered sugar, lump of butter or marg., add milk to desired consistency)


Valentine's Day Recipe

Just one proof that My Dear Husband and I are truly meant for each other: he actually likes the yellow and green SweetTarts (ack), while I live for the pinks and purples. Teamwork! The perfect Compliments for each other! Yes! 

An easy recipe for you overachieving Kitchen Divas to follow.  You won't need yeast, or candy thermometers, or your twist whisk. Thank God! Go to your nearest Something-Mart and buy a huge bag SweetTart Hearts. Get your kitchen scissors, open the bag and begin the most tedious part of this recipe: carefully set aside all the pink and purple hearts, and discard the sorry blue and green ones. Or save them for the kids - how gratifyingly evil to have them think they're scoring some of your candy when it's only the reject pile! Get yourself a big handful of Pinks and Purples and find some frivolous magazine to browse. Now I call that a holiday!

Wish I had saved some for Saturday...

**Watch out - if you eat too many, I heard that they'll wipe the finish right off your tongue!


Caption Possibilities

Homeschool - what a bonding experience.

Take off your shoes before coming in the house!

Do I smell dog puke?

That's a lie...Obama did NOT win the election!

Who got pee on the ceiling?

Only 15% off at Kohl's coupon, not 30%!

Did you just roll your eyes at me?

Who ate the last piece of Dove chocolate?

9 bazillion texts over your limit???

All those nudes at the art museum...

Marshmallows all stuck together in the bag.

Was that a tone I heard in your voice?

They say blogging can be like therapy...

(feel free to add your own caption)


Other Blogs

I can spend alot of time just clicking from blog to blog, exploring other people's lives, ideas, and thoughts on the internet. This is usually done during the still dark, in-between time, after My Oldest Son goes off to public high school and before my Two Youngest Sons wake up to start their lessons here at home. Some great stops along the way: 

*"Frosty's Friends" - a cute and easy dishtowel at Little Birdie's Nest
*Seven Prayers a Day for your children, all scripture centered at Bring The Rain
*Making your blog entries into a hardcopy book - Courney and the Boys
*All things coupon-y and money saving - Nickels-N-Dimes
*A look at the life of an English missionary living in South Africa - Little Fingers and Frosting
*Yum - a chicken soup recipe that looks SOOO good at Posy Gets Cozy
*Children, hymns, "seeing the cross in the clothespin" - A Holy Experience


Our Trees Were Made of Glass

For a few days our trees were made of glass and dusted with powder. When the wind blew through them, they made a thick, crackly sound and seemed to spark sunshine. Since we didn't lose power, I enjoyed every minute!

All around our little acre of ground, such beautiful sights! This old mimosa seed pod hanging on from last season got to be all dressed up and shine for a few bright days. There's a lot to be said, I guess, for holding on, even if all the other pods fall away... Now, sadly, it will never be noticed at all, since the ice has melted away.

Dear old Annabelle - also dressed up for a few days! Encased in slick ice-glass, it didn't get to have the sun shining through its branches for a big show of sparkly light. It's on the darker side of the house. You have to be determined to appreciate it's quieter charm.

If this just a tiny little taste of the beauty that is possible, just think of what we will see in heaven where beauty will be on stunning display at every turn! It will make these views seem like a walk through a barren desert!
"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him..." 1 Corinthians 2:9


Ever seen a man-sized snow angel? Not as adorable as a weensie baby one, like the one Kate took a picture of, but still.  It might not be adorable, but it's...impressive! And I'm glad that any one of My Wonderful Sons will still wallow in the snow to make a snow angel. NO, I didn't ask him to, I just happened to be there with a camera in hand.

Scripture suggestion for this, Anyone?


Boomin' with Other Jesus Freaks

We went with a group of our Teen Bible Quizzers to the Winter Jam 2009 at the Cincinnati Gardens on Thursday night. 
I look forward to this concert every year! Our feet were frozen after standing in line for over an hour, but we got a 
prime spot to get in the door among the first there. We saw several bands that I really enjoy, including New Song and 
Brandon Heath, who is WAY more interesting onstage than I thought he would be. The teens did not enjoy these
as much and liked Hawk Nelson better - they do NOT like Pure NRG. My favorite, though, along 
with the rest of the over-4,000 strong crowd, was Toby Mac. We saw him at Winter 
Jam two years ago and loved the show, and this time was just as good. He wrapped up the concert by running up
into our section and singing with our kids! They were THRILLED! Someone on the floor posted this video of them on
YouTube and they know they are all internet stars now! I'm not in the video - My Dear Husband and I are in the row
just above the teens, and missed our chance to be stars! I missed the entire event! After TM left the stage, all the
other bands ran on, and I was watching them thinking, "Do we have to see all of them sing again?" I could hear TM still
singing, but looked through the crowd and couldn't find him - thought he might have gone backstage. By the time I
turned to MDH, to ask what happened to TM, I caught sight of him leaving our section...To quote Cynthia Kavanagh,
"Rats in a poke!" Highlight of the night: several teen visitors in our group gave their lives to Christ! Tony Nolan gave a 
short talk that was right-on, to-the-point, and hard-hitting. It was certainly anointed. If you would, please keep these new
brothers and sisters in prayer as they begin their walk with Christ.