Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Robyn!!

Today my only daughter in a world of boys turns TEN!!!!!!
Happy Birthday, Robyn!!
We are having her choice of supper tonight (fish sticks, curly fries and carrot salad). On Friday she is having some friends over after school for supper, cake and then off to go swimming!!! I am so proud of her and who she is becoming!! God has such wonderful plans for her life!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Living Life!

I have been a little quiet here.... busy living life! So what have I been up to??

*Easter weekend with my sister, Melissa, and her family. Plus going up north (1 1/2 hrs) for Easter lunch with family.

* Cleaning the house... laundry ... all that normal stuff!

* Bible study at church

* Running the kids to and from their events (speech, pre-school, football practice, 4-H meetings)

*Robyn's 4th grade musical was last Thursday(VERY well done)!

*Wes' FIRST (ever) football game... he LOVED it... I PRAYED a lot!! Wes is tall for 11 (5'6"), however, he is SKINNY... not even 100 pounds.

*Signed Wes up for 4-H camp. He paid for half of the fee. He will be gone 3 days/2 nights the first week of June.

*Spent Friday with Chris and the little boys. Chris was off so we ENJOYED the 70 degree weather setting up his blind for turkey hunting. It was great to spend the whole day with him!

* Sat around the first camp fire of the year.

*Went FISHING!!! Helped the kids (yes, I will bait the hooks)... the kids caught a large mess of big blue gill.... fish fry coming up!


*"Bedroom contract" with Robyn (Wes chose not to participate). Robyn can keep her room as clean or as messy as she desires (I will not say ONE word), however she has to do all of her own laundry and keep track of all of her own stuff. This contract is good for 3 months. Today she did all of her laundry (plus some others)!

*Baked celebration bread and Chocolate Zucchini cake... yummy!

* Put my "broody" hen in her own pen/nesting box.... hopefully in about three weeks we will have some new chicks!!

* Enjoying the WARM weather.... went on a walk (while the little boys rode their bikes). We have a wonderful walking park that is SAFE for the little ones to ride on.

*Thanked God for all of the BEAUTIFUL flowers blooming in our yard.

*Praised God for His constant provision! He NEVER lets us down!!!!

* Simple Family Supper

* Watched a friend's little girls (ages 4, 2, 4 months) for the afternoon. Enjoyed cuddling a baby and realized how much 'easier' my life is now that all of my children are "self feeders, self dressers, self poopers" (as my hubby calls it)!

* Visited the library... twice. We really love the library.... Books, videos, DVD's and books on tape.

* Cleaned out the Master Bedroom closet. 3 big bags of clothes to give away.

Ok, now that you have read the longest, most boring blog post in history..... I will sign off!!!
Have a GREAT week! Remember that God is FAITHFUL in all things!!!!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Growth

Spring, a time of new birth! A time of celebrating life!! Well, this week God has been stirring up in me some new life. Everywhere I turn I keep hearing the same message from God.... "Give me everything, lay down your life!" God has spoken to me in very real ways this week... through the wise words of others. I know I am not alone in this experience this week... Tammi and I have been on similar paths.

This morning as I lay sleepily in bed my heart turned to my morning prayers. I really enjoy laying there starting my day out in prayer. Today the Holy Spirit brought a familiar verse to my mind and opened up my eyes in a new way. Josh 24:15 "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Yes, we are a christian home I replied to God... The it hit me..... "serve the Lord"..... not our own desires. Are we a household that lays down our desires to serve the Lord? Do I lay my life down to serve Him and to love my family? How self serving, selfish am I? Do I go through my day focused on ME and what I want to do/have/be/accomplish? Who am I really serving????

The quote from Kay Arther I heard on Monday will NOT leave my head... God has it on constant replay! To read the entire transcript from her message on Revive our Hearts go here.

Kay Arthur: The problem is, we want this world,

and enough of the Word to keep us out of trouble.

That’s not what it’s all about.

We’re called to a cross, and we forget that. We are called to say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ [lives] in me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

YIKES!!!!! Is that me???? Do I want the world with enough of the WORD to keep me out of trouble?????????? Do I live with one foot in the world and one foot in the word?? How much of the world is in my life?

This morning I read a convicting post on surrender by David Wilkerson. Here is a quote from that article:
When we stand before God at the judgment, we won’t be judged by our ministries, achievements or number of converts. There will be but one measure of success on that day: Were our hearts fully surrendered to God? Did we lay aside our own will and agenda and take up his? Did we succumb to peer pressure and follow the crowd, or did we seek him alone for direction? Did we run from seminar to seminar looking for purpose in life, or did we find our fulfillment in him?

God is doing some work in my heart. I think I have some flesh to slay! This journey is ever so wonderful and challenging!!! Are you going through this, too?? God wants ALL of our life.... not just that parts we choose to give him!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Homemaker's Homestead

Homemaker's Homestead, my FAVORITE forum, is accepting new members. This doesn't happen very often. It is a small group of ENCOURAGING Christian ladies. If you are interested in joining, don't delay!


Friday, April 10, 2009

101 ways to CHOOSE SIMPLICITY (16-20)

Have you ever noticed that the little stresses of the day add up and then all of a sudden feel over whelming?? Well, the reverse is also true.... all the little choices you make to Choose Simplicity add up and really do simplify your life! I am saying this to encourage you because sometimes implementing a small change doesn't seem like it is really going to make much of a difference.... but it does!! Each choice we make throughout the day, big or small, does impact our life.... we can choose a lot of little simple things that add up!! To read the whole series go here.

101 ways to CHOOSE SIMPLICITY #16-20

#16: Use a family wall calendar and teach everyone to write on it!
If it isn't on the calendar it isn't going to happen in our family. This one thing will save you a TON of stress.... you will know what is going on and you won't miss important events! My oldest 2 children are well trained. At ages 9 and 11 they faithfully write down things and check the calendar. Just this morning before my husband left for work we stood in front of our large calendar together and went over the week. Flylady teaches about the power of a calendar. The calendar has been an important part of our life for years, but as the kids get older it has become ESSENTIAL to keep track of their activities.

#17: Pick a small splurge to indulge in and then savor and enjoy it!
Living a simple life is often paired with frugality. I am an extremely frugal person... I want to get the most bang for each buck I have. However, I desire to enjoy life, no be some kind of frugal martyr. Choosing a small splurge (something completely non-essential) and ENJOYING it has been a new addition to my life this winter. My splurge of choice is half & half cream for my coffee. I savor my coffee! I make my coffee at home and then indulge in the wonderful creaminess of my steaming cup! Is it essential? No, but it is a wonderful way to kick of each new day! Do I feel guilty about the little extra in the grocery cart? Not at all!

#18: Don't be consumed with MULTITASKING!

Yes, there are certain things that are easily mulitasked such as folding the laundry and listening to a great teaching message (such as Focus on the Family or Family Life Today) or chatting with a child as you go about your work. However, multitasking actually can backfire. I know, I am going completely against modern culture, but I truely believe doing one thing at a time actually pays off. Give it a whril for a day: Try doing ONE thing at a time and giving 100% of your effort and attention to that task. I am past being surprised that I can usually accomplish more in my day and have better quality results by doing one thing at a time rather than 3! Focusing on one thing at a time also gives me the chance to TEACH my children how to do that task. They can work along side me and we focus together on that thing at hand. Another side benefit to doing one thing at a time is the ability to FOCUS on what I am doing and give my 5 senses a chance to absorb life! There are a lot of little things in life to enjoy that we miss because we are trying to do too many things at once!

#19: Eliminate, Eliminate, Eliminate STUFF!

Seriously, stuff accumulates at a rate that is hard to keep up with! The mass amounts of papers that my kids bring home from school is just one of many things that can quickly get out of hand. Elimination just has to be a part of life.... We save special things and special papers, but the rest go. Another way to 'keep' the cute things that kids draw and make is to take their picture with their creation! Children will enjoy looking through a photo album of themselves with their creations more than sifting through boxes of actuall projeccts.

#20: Keep a small trash can or bag in your vehicle to collect daily trash and empty it every time you get gas.
We live WAY out in the country so every time we go anywhere it is a drive. Therefore, I do allow my children to eat/drink in the van. I also allow them to color, read and play with a few toys. My van will NEVER win a 'cleanest' vehicle contest.... NEVER. However, having a trash can in the van goes a LONG way to keeping it nice. I don't have a garage so cleaning out the van and vaccuming it out doesn't happen much in the winter..... I am a wimp in the cold! Keeping a handle on trash goes a long way!

Your turn to share! Do you do any of these things to Choose Simplicity in your life?? What do you think about multitasking?? Do you have any ideas you could share? I always love to hear from you.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It is official: My youngest two are most assuradly country boys...

This morning they were outside as soon as we finished up their home school pre-school. It was still fairly cold out (in the low 40's) so they put their insulated overalls on OVER their PJ's! (They needed baths, but why get clean before going out to get dirty, right??) OK... so they are BUSY playing, riding bikes, and playing in their straw bail fort. FUN, boy stuff!

I am in the kitchen when all of the sudden Nate (age 4.5) comes running in with the absolute BIGGEST smile on his face. "Mom, you know what we did?" I make some guesses and none of the usual are correct. "No, Mom" Nate tells me with the HUGE smile still on his face, "We POOPED in a bucket and dumped it in the cornfield!!! It was GREAT!!"

OK, I have to admit that my first thought wasn't one of horror of what he just reported, but my first thought was 'Wow, it is cold out there.... their little tooshes must have been freezing!' Then I just had to laugh.... "Next time, just come in." I instructed Nate. "But, Mom, it was GREAT!"
hmmmmmm....... They are truly their fathers boys.... Chris says that there is 'nothing like a good dump in the woods'!!!


Friday, April 3, 2009

Our Quiet Counrtry Life is not so Quiet anymore...

I live in the middle of some of the most fertile farm ground in the whole world. Nothing but corn and soybean fields stretch for miles and miles. You can see in the background of the picture how there is just field after field! It is beautiful! (I know that some would disagree, but I LOVE being able to see so far with NOTHING in the way!)

Things are in the process of changing. Not only will we be living in the middle of corn, but also now surrounded by WIND farms! Wind Turbines (hundreds of these HUGE things) will be put up all year. They have started construction and our little quiet community is bustling with dump trucks, semis, excavators and trucks.... the roads are destroyed and they work around the clock (with stadium type lights) as long as the weather cooperates. You can go here to read a news article. It is a great thing for the environment and the farmers that own the land are making great money leasing space in their fields. However, we only own 3 acres so no turb1nes ON our property... thus no monetary profit, just a lot of CHANGE!

I am struggling a little with this. Please pray for us. My husband really is not liking this and we are hoping the the value of our property does not go down. I feel bad for being upset... wind energy is so good for our environment, but it is totally changing our area!! I will post pictures as these HUGE things start going up..... Right now it is all ground work and closed roads.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

101 ways to CHOOSE SIMPLICITY (11-15)

Choosing Simplicity, one baby-step at a time. Have you ever seen your house get more organized without thought? The natural order of things left to their own is chaos. Ever seen a cluttered counter just become uncluttered without purposeful action?? Life is not naturally simple. Ever since the great fall in the Garden of Eden life's natural bent is towards chaos. If only my house would stay clean, organized and beautiful all without DELIBERATE action against chaos!

Choosing Simplicity understands that life is not in any way naturally simple and that we never get to quit "fighting the fight". We constantly have to "weed" more than our gardens! We have to weed out stuff, attitudes, words, choices, schedules, etc..... ! Choosing Simplicity means that we are deliberate about creating a simple life by eliminating as much chaos as we can.

This is part 3 in the 101 ways to Choose Simplicity series. Click here to read them all. Some of these baby-steps are practical actions that we can implement and others are matters of the heart. It is truly amazing what a HUGE impact our heart attitude has in our lives! As Proverb's states: "As a man thinks in his heart, he is." Our thoughts turn in to beliefs that flow into words and actions. Having a "simplicity" mindset is absolutely key!!

101 Ways to Choose Simplicity #11-15

#11 Have a set and specific place you keep your purse and keys.
This one thing will eliminate hours of searching over your lifetime. Ever since I implemented this a few years ago I haven't "lost" my purse or keys since. It is also easy for me to ask a family member to get if for me since they know where it is!

#12 Decide to live RICH! Decide to create an "Abundance" mindset rather than a "poverty" mindset.
I wrote a whole post on this here. We can all live RICH... it has nothing to do with the amount of money in our bank accounts! Living RICH is choosing to focus on the abundance of little blessings in our lives! It LOOKING for the simple joys, the blessings, the memories. It is enjoying life.

#13 Use the timer!
Flylady teaches this constantly and you know what? It WORKS!!! We use our timer many, many times throughout the day. In fact the timer just rang signaling that my little boys could get out of 'time-out'. Got a task you are dreading? Set the timer for 15 minutes and work till it rings. You will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes. Only got 5 minutes? Give it a whirl! We also use our timer when we are getting ready to head out the door. I will set it and tell the children that when they hear it that means to get their shoes and coats on. I set it again and that ring means load up in the van. You can even use the timer to count your blessings! Using the timer to control computer time (or any other hobby) is also helpful. I can loose all track of time while I am on the computer or engrossed in a good book... the timer keeps life in balance!

#14 Clean out your closet! The Baby-step way to purging excess clothes.
Cleaning out the closet and dressers is a HUGE job. However, by breaking it down into small bites it will get done! Everyday tackle one shelf/drawer/section and continue it daily until all that is left are things that you love to wear! I know I need to do this again... get rid of anything I didn't wear over the winter. One small area each day will only take minutes and before you know it your closet will be completely cleaned out! Eliminating excess clothes (plus the ones that don't fit) is very freeing.... overflowing dressers and closets is stressful... it makes me feel frustrated. Choosing Simplicity means only keeping what I need and love! (The same method works with other closets/dressers in the house.)

#15 Shop with a list.
Knowing what you need and getting what is on your list will save you both time and money. If I don't have a list I will not remember everything I need and I will buy things I wasn't planning on. Having a menu plan is the first step and then a shopping list to make sure you have everything you need is the second step. Keeping an on going list on the side of the fridge is essential... nothing says I love you like never running out of toilet paper. It is extremely stressful when you forget something at the store and you need that one more item for supper! Having a list keeps you focused on what you need as well as keeps you out of the store for the "one thing" trips (that never end up being one thing)! (All of the Simple Family Supper menu plan kits come with complete shopping lists) Save time and money by using and sticking to a shopping list.

I would love to hear from you! Do you do any of these things?? How do they work for you?? Do you have any suggestions??


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We know we are a 'red neck' when.....

The old toilet is sitting on the front porch and the first person to use the NEW potty got to eat dinner on the special plate!!!!! Ha Ha He He! There is never a dull moment around here!