Monday, December 29, 2008

My Kids Will Remember

After my 4 hour nap on Sunday afternoon....
yeah... seriously... FOUR hours..
(thanks to Chilly who just let me sleep while
he cared for the boys)...

I realizing that Christmas was fun,
and we did so many things together,
made memories,
shared the love of Jesus with many,
and used our collective creative juices often! BUT...

Now... I'm looking at the house.
It's a mess...
it's unorganized with a thick haze of craze hanging over it.


But that's OK.
My kids won't remember the dust monsters
(they're WAY past "bunnies")

My kids will remember the crazy laughter and silly fun we had
making new stockings together.

My kids will remember singing on the stage at church on Christmas
Sunday morning, and that their parents were super proud and
our next door neighbors were so kind to come watch them, too.

My kids will remember tromping around after a huge snow-storm,
jumping from the swings into huge snow mounds.

My kids will remember making gifts for each other this year...
using fabric, supplies and materials we already have to
invent a present that the other brother/sister will hold dear.

My kids will remember dancing around to Christmas music and
making a ridiculous amount of yummy desserts and treats to
consume and share with others.

My kids will remember that Daddy read them the story of Baby Jesus
on Christmas Eve before they went to bed... and we all enjoyed it.

My kids will remember having 23 people crammed in our small house
and playing the new games we opened that day.

My kids will remember the chocolate mint cake we made for Jesus
and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus before we ate all those desserts.

My kids will remember that they made gifts for their friends this year
and had a blast doing it.

My kids will remember staying in our jammies past noon on the day AFTER
Christmas just to play games & have fun with the new toys.

My kids will remember that Jesus loves them; that Mommy & Daddy love them;
that they have amazing siblings; that their family, friends & church are awesome!

Dust monsters.... who cares.

Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women
By Susan Hunt

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh, the horror!... and huge MIRACLES!

Oh... the horror!
This is Hershal... and he just embarrassed me... AGAIN!
You just never know what that guy is gunna say! :)

Yesterday was so much fun... kids' Christmas program... and
Hershal went downstairs to talk to the kids afterwards! I LOVE
REAL CHURCH ... and I wanna post a few pics from that
later. My husband has some great updates & a pic on his
blog today!

and the MIRACLES!.....
Our offerings this weekend were, um... well even less than our
usual inner-city church offerings. But then, a young lady told a
friend that she didn't want to receive a Christmas present from him
but would rather have him donate it... and yeah... so he wrote a
check to the church in her honor! God knew!

ALSO... despite our efforts to be frugal, creative and wise, money
has become kinda scarce. On Saturday I received a Christmas card
from my Aunt and cousins.... it said that they decided to forgo presents
to each other this year in order to bless our family/ministry! Needless
to say.... I cried as I read it.
I cried several times that evening.
I cried yesterday during church as I thanked Jesus.
I'm crying now!
Thank you, family!

It's so humbling and wonderful to have family members who are willing
to change their plans and give... that's so like Jesus!

Thank you, Jesus..... Thank you for thinking of us during YOUR
BIRTHDAY! I'm honored to serve Him!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Give'n away the book

So, I have to admit, it feels kinda weird to give
away a book that's #3 in a series, but hey, that's
what the publishers sent me... and I truly enjoyed it.

Mary Beth said her daughter likes books like this,
so ... she wins. Marybeth, I'll be mailing out the
book to you.

Thanks for reading my blog.... it's cool. It's an honor
that you wanna read what I have to say.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It was Snow Fun!

Our afternoon in the Winter Wonderland...

aka.... The Backyard!

See yesterday's blog to win a free book...
AND... my husband is giving way a great book that i just
started reading, too. Click here!

Currently Listening to...
Handel's Young Messiah

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Frame It

This season we're trying to make more gifts and
be more creative and personal. It's fun... and to be
honest it can be a little stressful. But it's still better
than the stress of over-spending & angry malls.

Although I can't show you all that we've made,
(the recipients don't have them yet..shhhh)
I will show you the picture frame we made as a B-day
gift for Max's friend, Amir. Max helped with the cutting
and gluing.

We used cardboard from a box, an old pair of jeans and
school glue. The result? A picture frame that holds a happy
memory of two good buddies!

Also, I'm still giving away this Book:

If you're interested, please tell me how you're expressing
love for your family/friends this season. I'll give it away
on Thursday, Dec. 18th.

Happy, creative Christmas!

Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women
By Susan Hunt

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I grew up with several friends who were at one time
part of the Mennonite Community... their families moved
from Kansas to Colorado when they were young.
They left their Grandparents, many Aunts & Uncles,
cousins, friends, church, traditions.

After arriving in Colorado, the ladies/girls worn only dark dresses
with little prayer caps and the men had beards and dark pants.
Over timethe dark dresses turned into cheerful skirts with not caps and
eventually they dressed like all the rest of us "Englishers."

Some of these girls were among my closest friends and I
have a few memories of their conversations about rarely
getting to see their Grandparents...
and when they did see them they weren't allowed to eat at
the same table as them because they'd left the church long ago.
It's so sad because they all loved Jesus... but there was so much
hurt, sorrow and tradition that separated them.

I recently read a book I received for FREE that was along
the same topic. Although the book is fiction and deals with
the Amish community, not Mennonite, it portrays the hurt
and pain that family, traditions and "religion" can inflict.
And shows the beauty of God's grace, forgiveness and mender
of torn relationships.

The cool thing for all of YOU is this...
the publishers that gave me the book also gave me copies
to give away!

This book, WHEN THE SOUL MENDS, by Cindy Woodsmall,
is the third book in a series called Sisters of the Quilt. I hadn't read
the first two books, so when I got a little confused I just referred to
the list of characters in the front of the book. No biggy. I enjoyed
reading it and couldn't wait to get to the end to see what choice
she would make.

If you'd like to have a FREE copy of this book, please briefly tell me
how you're planning to express love to your family this Christmas

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sleigh Ride!

20 years ago this week I went on
the BEST sleigh ride ever!
My sweet man blogged about it...
click here

(and later this week I'll be giving
away another book!...
so stay tuned!)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More Cookies, Please!

I have a soft spot for cookies...
well, I guess it's just for sugar in general!
ha... ugh.

Last night some of the ladies from our church had
a cookie swap... (really just an excuse to get together!)

Several magazines have recently featured Jam Thumbprint
cookies and it took me back to childhood... making them
with my Mom, who used to make a zillion cookies every
December! So, I made a few batches of them. mmmmm

Then, feeling creative, I changed a recipe
for Oatmeal Cookies
and turned them into Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Cookies with
a Cranberry Cream Cheese filling.
(They tasted yummy but looked kinda... um... different!)

It made me think about my relationships with friends and those
around me.... many I've known for several years and find such
joy and safety in your friendships.
And there's others around me who are future friends...
someone new,
someone who has a different combination of experiences,
someone who can add something wonderful to my life!

I want to keep adding friends to my life -
never getting tired of
reaching out,
opening up,
being vulnerable
and enjoying to thrill of "new & different."

I don't wanna always be the same... as temping and secure as it feels.
There's new cranberry walnut cookies out there!
There's more people that should be moved from "acquaintance" to FRIEND!
I'll have more cookies, please!

Connecting with God's Family
By Brett Eastman, Dee Eastman,
Denise Wendorff, Todd Wendorff,
Karen Lee-Thorpe

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanks & Giving

A Thankful heart
is a
Giving heart!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A book with my Name on it!

Yeah! I just read a book with my name on the cover!
Well... sorta.... my LAST name is on the front cuz
it's a historical novel about one of the pilgrim girls

Of course it's fictional, but based on historically
researched facts.

Every year during the Thanksgiving season I'm
blown away at the sacrifice of the pilgrims;
the strength of body, mind & spirit.
They risked it all to live in a land where they could
live & worship God freely. Truly amazing!
(and we still hold out hope that we're related to
Mr. & Mrs. James Chilton and their daughter, Mary!)

I'm so thankful to live in this country!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Need Glasses, too

Our sweet little two year old boy got glasses yesterday.

He's adorable. He's being a good sport about it.
I'm sad and just want to kiss his little face continually.

But, one of his little eyes persists in doing it's own thing.
So, the glasses are a welcome answer to prayer.

Doing "our own thing" isn't always a good thing, is it?

Sometimes Jesus must gently make us aware that He's
going one direction and we're trying to go another...
-and it's not getting us anywhere
-and it actually hurts (Chasey says, "It huts")

Sometimes I need spiritual glasses...
a realigning of my heart & focus so that it's looking
in the same direction as the heart of God.

It's not easy.

If only my spiritual correction could look as cute as a
little blond boy in his new "gasses." (as he says it)

Friday, November 14, 2008

THANKFUL for the Kitchen Table

Our kitchen table is FAR more than the place we sit to eat a meal.
On my 40th B-day, my family gave me a cool Ikea table...
and I'm so THANKFUL for it!
(It's long & narrow and makes our small kitchen much
more efficient. The picture isn't the exact table, but it's close.)

It serves a zillion purposes.... here's a few!
(in no particular order)

-plan menus & grocery shopping list each week
-grade homeschool papers & record grades
-Zoe's homeschool desk
-cutting table for sewing projects
-sewing table that hold the sewing machine
-painting easel for pudding artists
-craft table for all sorts of crafts & projects that make huge messes
-game table
-food prep station since cabinet space is limited
-computer desk
-playdough station
-crayon creation station
-puzzle place
-bill paying desk
-weekly organizing desk
-homemade mini pizza production line
-letter writing desk (yes, I still do a few of those)
-gift wrapping counter
-Memory Verse review center
-Conversation circle (well, it's a rectangle, actually)
-Serving Counter when large groups come over
-Quilting Corner for pinning & sewing large projects

-Oh...yeah... we eat 3 meals a day at this table, too!

I'm THANKFUL for my cool, black long & skinny TABLE!

What other things do you use your kitchen table for?

God Rocks! Living Stones
By God Rocks!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When they're sick...

Recently a Mommy with an adorable little one-year-old
baby girl expressed to me what we as parents all experience
at some point: the sadness of a sick child!

These simple reminders came to mind.
Perhaps they'll encourage you... EVEN if you DON'T have kids.
Basically love, patience and lotsa cuddling can solve alot of
problems in a lot of areas of life... not just kids!
(Well, the "cuddling" part might not be as versatile as the others.)

Keep these in mind:
- You didn't do anything to bring on or prolong the sickness.
The fact that you're so concerned shows that you're a
wonderful parent.

-Although it's so hard to see them just lying around,
take advantage of those precious times when all they want you
to do it hold them, cuddle them and snuggle
(even if it's all night long in a recliner).
It's the best comfort we can give them.

- You know your baby/child best, so follow your instincts.
Our doctor in Youngstown (Dr. Anne Stover) was so good
about reminding me that no one knows baby like mama does.
Trust yourself. God gave her to you and He's instilled in you
that special "radar" to know when something isn't right.

- During times of sickness, I don't worry about housework or
even ministry demands, baby comes first.
Ironically, it's been during these times when I just dropped off the
face of the earth for a week or so to care for my children that
the girls/ladies in our ministry will comment that they're so
encouraged to see me prioritize and live out my highest calling -
being a wife & mom!

Simple thoughts, yes.
But instead of always trying to "give someone the right answer",
maybe that person- child or adult- in our path today just needs
love, attention and compassion!

(We don't have these DVDs listed below, we just watch'um on TV...
love the music and how it gives music education. Hmm, maybe I
should have the big girls watch it, too!)

Currently Watching
Little Einsteins: Fall 2008 DVD 3 Pack
By Little Einsteins

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted

Wow... my husband and our oldest daughter just
blogged similar thoughts...
neither of them knew about the other's.
  • They are SO GOOD.

    Why are you still reading this...

    click on their names!

    Read THEIR blogs!!!!

    Currently Reading

Friday, October 24, 2008


Many years ago... when we only had 2 girls
and lived in Y-town Ohio... we started a weekly

Not any old finger-food, however...
our favorite is Homemade Pizza!
I started making the dough, then
the kids shape it and add their own
ingredients. Or sometimes we just
make two big pizzas!

Over the last 10 years I've changed the
recipe to suit us.

Here's it is... mmmm.. .and Heathly, too!


(you'll need a "dough" beater on your
mixer... or you can use this in a bread
machine, too!)

2 ¼ C warm water
3 T olive oil
3 1/3 C whole wheat flour
3 1/3 C flour
1 tsp. salt
oregano, basil, garlic powder
3 tsp. dry yeast (approx. 2 pkg)

Add the ingredients to the mixing
bowl in the order they're listed above.
Mix with dough beater until well
blended. Cover with a clean dish towel
and let it raise for about 1 1/2 hour.

Pinch dough into 2 parts and spread
onto 2 pizza pans
(or even a cookie
sheets with work).
Add toppings & bake for 10-15 minutes
on 425 degrees.

Our favorite topping:
-olive oil (no tomato sauce)
-pizza & pasta seasoning (Aldi)
-sliced black olives
-diced green peppers
-fresh spinach
-sliced tomatoes
-tiny bits of broccoli
-diced onion
-TONS of mozzarella cheese

Give it a try... add the toppings you like..
or experiment with new ones!

I'd love to hear how it goes!

Currently Listening
Juice Box Heroes
By Imagination Movers

later tonight...

Later tonight I'll be posting my own
recipe for homemade pizza dough
and the toppings, too.
But... I have to go eat it first!

mmm, can you smell it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Apple, Donuts & Peddle Tractors!

Apples, Donuts & Peddle Tractors!

Yesterday we enjoyed our annual trip to the orchard!
Here's a few pics.
Later this week I plan to post a few of the autumn
crafts/decorations that we've been making!


Currently Reading
My Name Is Russell Fink
By Michael Snyder