Friday, April 11, 2014

Meet Maizey!

Thought I'd share a bit about the newest addition to the family: Maizey.
we got her in early October, and immediately we were smitten.  Below: her first night with us.

She's a lover!  She didn't house-train easily, but she was so sweet and sorry when accidents happened that we couldn't be too irritated with her.

I'm afraid I'm to blame for Maizey's love for the comfy couch.  From the time she was teeny, we made a habit of snuggling on the couch together every night.  Below:  she gets in on the Kindergartners' day.

Here's the little sweetie just last week.  She loves going for walks and flying all around the yard. She's crazy!  She needs lots of training in obedience and gentleness, but she's a loving dog... and a great watchdog!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

New Favorite Treat

Apparently there's a new "thing" with chocolate:  spicing it up with chili powder or chili extract.

Okay, it's probably not all that new.  But as I'm always behind the times, I've just now gotten around to trying it.  I love chocolate, and I love spicy foods!  Why not?

 I ran across this beautiful chocolate bar at Aldi this week, so into my cart it went.

Let's just say... I "get" it.  WOW!

The chili gives it just a subtle little kick, and of course the dark chocolate is perfect.

Next up:  I think I'll try pairing chocolate with bacon!

New Running Getup

Hey, whaddaya know!?  I guess I can upload photos if I don't blog through the app, but directly through the website instead.  Who knew!??

Got me some new running digs this week.  I TOTALLY run faster now.
Not really.  

But I do FEEL better, and I don't get irritated by flapping pant legs or bunchy tops.

compression pants:  $12.97 at WalMart
dri-fit style top:  $5 at WalMart

Thursday, April 03, 2014

I haven't been able to post photos since that last post... blogging on a phone stinks!  I kinda think it's a bummer to post without pictures, but that's my only option right now.  Oh, well.

I'm back on the running with a friend for a 5k on the 4th of July.  I'm doing the Couch to 5k program (c25k), which is a slow and steady running program for non-runners.  :)  First couple of weeks were pretty easy-peasy, and now I'm in week 3.  Since we live on the top of a hill, running is quite a bit more challenging than I'm used to.  I'd show you a photo, know...

I've lost about 13 pounds since we moved up in August.  I've come to realize that the battle I have with food is a spiritual one.  With the Lord's help, I hope to get back to a healthy weight, but more importantly, He is showing me how I have allowed food to control me.  I'm seeing the tight grip it has had on me, for many years now, and I've been stunned and sobered by the strength of that stronghold.  But God is very kind!  I never want to laugh at the sin of indulgence...  i.e., "I'm addicted to chocolate, haha!"  But if it grieves God (and it does), then I want it out!  I'm grateful for this work He is doing.  It isn't about being fat or thin, but about having mastery over my body and its cravings.  I may never battle drug or alcohol addiction, but getting victory in this area?  Seems just as daunting and difficult sometimes!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


I'm sorry.

I really am!

I left y'all for a fling with Facebook, which is easier than blogging but not necessarily better.

It is really difficult to blog from a phone, so posts probably won't be lengthy or regular until we get a working computer and internet.  But I will do my best!

In August we moved to northern Michigan.  Nate took a promotion, and we relocated to this spectacularly beautiful part of the state.  We love it here, even though the winters are colder and longer.

God in His great provision sold our home in a timely fashion and provided a super temporary housing situation.  We're in a country, small-town setting with acreage and water close by.  We added a furry new member to the family in October.  Maizey is typical.  Naughty, adorable, energetic.

The girls are doing well, growing and changing every day!  We continue to homeschool and enjoy it.

Olivia turned 7 in September.  She's in 2nd grade and reads everything she can get her hands on.

Ellia will be 6 this June.  She's an excellent reader, too, so she breezes through her Kindergarten lessons.

Brienna was 4 in September.  She does a modified Kindergarten with Ellia but mostly plays and draws.

I'm learning and growing so much in this new setting.  The Lord is a precious Friend way up here, during these times when I experience loneliness or fear.  We thank Him for His continued direction and provision!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In which I would like to burn this into my memory...

Is there anything in the world sweeter than a child with a heart for God?
I think not.

Trusting faith in Him and a love for His Word--these are always gifts, but they're exceptionally precious when He plants them in the heart of a child.

It's late.  8:48 p.m. on a Wednesday.  We don't do much at bedtime, since they've just spent the evening at Wednesday night Bible study.  It's quick kisses and hugs, and lights out.

Tonight she asks, "Can I read my Bible to my sisters for a couple minutes?
(We've been making our way through Proverbs together at bedtime.  Just finished chapter 2.)

"Sure," I say.  "Six minutes, okay?  Read a few verses and pray, and then lights out at 8:55."

I sit at the bottom of the stairs, unseen, as she reads through verse 10, giving simple explanations along the way.  My mama heart swells as she tells her sisters, "...that means God will be pleased with your actions... and this means God will help you through all your life... shun evil means--well, it must mean not to do wrong things."

And her prayer sent me running for the Kleenex box.

Dear God,
Thank you that you give us wisdom.  Thank you that all we have to do is just ask you for wisdom, and you give it to us.  You are mighty and strong, and you can give whatever you want.  Thank you for always taking care of us.  Help us to honor you.
In Jesus' name,

Book Review: Really Bad Girls of the Bible

Liz Curtis Higgs is the award-winning author of the Bad Girls series.

In Really Bad Girls of the Bible: More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect-Women, Higgs takes a fresh look at 8 more of the most infamous women of the Bible:  Jael, Bathsheba, Tamar, the bleeding woman, the adulteress, Athaliah, Herodias, and the medium of EnDor.

Higgs places each of these women in one of 4 categories:
  • Bad for a good reason (Jael & Tamar)
  • Bad, but not condemned (the adulteress & the bleeding woman)
  • Bad moon rising (Bathsheba & medium of EnDor)
  • Bad, and proud of it (Athaliah & Herodias)
Each chapter begins with a modern-day version of the historical account.  These proved very effective in bringing an ancient dilemma into perspective.  

I liked Higgs's writing style; she takes a sort of "girlfriend" approach that's very conversational.  You get a good feel for the kind of woman she is: a hilarious straight-talker, who spent her share of time in the pit before the Lord rescued her.  

I appreciated her attempts at digging deeply into the cultures and customs of the women she described.    It was evident that Higgs had "done her homework."  

Each chapter ends with 2 sections--"Lessons we can learn," and "Good girl thoughts worth considering," though the latter are nearly all questions to promote further introspection and study.  I found these helpful.

While she did take care to admit on several occasions that the Bible was not clear about such-and-such (for example, we do not know Bathsheba's thoughts or intentions when King David summoned her), I was a little concerned about some of Higgs's commentary about these women, with Tamar being the most blatant example of this.

After God took the lives of Tamar's first two evil husbands, she seduced her father-in-law in an effort to get pregnant by him and thereby secure her future and maintain her dignity.  It seems Higgs can't really make up her mind about Tamar.  Higgs calls her "brilliant" and "clever."On page 220, Higgs says, "Her method wasn't noble, but her motives were.  In God's economy that counts for something, simply because none of us gets either the actions or the motivations right much of the time."  

I was shocked when she said plainly, "Her sin was deliberate... That reality does not make her actions "good," but it does make her motivation clear.  Sex with her father-in-law was a necessary evil to produce a necessary good.  (It goes without saying, the rules have changed.  Don't try this at home. Ever.)"

But then, three pages later, Higgs again says plainly, "Tamar sinned too."  Higgs cautions us, "Yet if we allow the fact that she is in the lineage of Christ to excuse her "badness" in the situation, we lost the ability to learn a lesson from her story.  Tamar is not to be praised--God is."

Higgs's desire is to display God's sovereignty in each situation.  I believe she could have accomplished this without seeming to condone or excuse sin, whether intentionally or not.

I'd give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging For Books review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, February 22, 2013

On Christian Friendship

A big drink of cold water, that's what she was yesterday, and she's just a little thing.

A busy little mama to 5 kids 8 and under, who invited us in for 3 hours.  We kept her baby from napping and got out every single toy and toppled the tee-pee over.

We ate up her mini-muffins and I slugged her coffee and asked her one question after another about her home school, her chickens, her garden, and those precious kiddos.

She's just the kind of friend I need, and the kind you need, too.  She's the kind of friend I want to be.

It's been a long time, and many things have changed.  We do make a little small talk, but life looms large and in every corner of it is God, after all.  There is no small talk.  The Lord's been teaching her, patiently leading her to trust Him and to obey Him in all areas of life.  She says it over and over, "God, He's been so gentle with me."

There is so much I don't know, so many ways in which I need to grow.  She is gentle, too.  She must sense the hunger I have for deep fellowship and friendship, because she asks a couple of times with concerned eyes, "Do you have anyone?"  Goodness, I must seems like a woman dying of thirst.  But I know what she means.  Iron can not sharpen itself.  It is not so easy for one lone flailing mama to pick herself up and go on.

What a messy job this is, motherhood.  In all its elation, ugliness, wonder, and challenge, it is rewarding and messy work.

We agree that nothing sanctifies so intensely as this, us nervous, pecking mother hens trying to train up all these little chicks.  

She points out the window, "See that big hen there?  We think it's because of her that the others won't lay."  I learn that hens only lay eggs for about three years.  

She also tells me that chickens are big-time suckers for peer pressure.  Since this old hen has stopped laying, the others in the brood will not lay either.

The solution was hard and also easy:
The big, tough one has to go.  If you want any more eggs, the bad one has to go.

Oh, how I want to be an encourager to others... to my husband, to my children, and to the rest of the Body.   I pray for continued fruitfulness that spurs others on to love and good deeds!  

Any day of the week.

"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel."
Proverbs 27:9 ESV

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yay for the Library!

We love our local libraries.  Love them!

The girls used to run off to play with the dollhouses and toys and thingamajigs.
Now they grab an armful of books and sling them onto the closest surface they can find.

We actually have two libraries, and we love them both.  The smaller, older one has a giant cart in the children's section, with stamping supplies, coloring books, and a stack of fresh, blank paper.  GLORIOUS.

This week we found a whole slew of books by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
She authored our beloved and very popular Jesus Storybook Bible.  

Did you know she also wrote such adorable picture books as 

"No one will marry you if you don’t ever brush your hair and it looks like a bird’s nest back there.  And never get married when it’s dark, because you might not see the groom, and marry the wrong person.  When you have found your Own True Love, you must ask permission.  'Can I marry you please?' you say.  'Yes, please,' he says."

We will soon be walking into our library not with a tote bag, but with a giant Rubbermaid tub and a dolly.  These girls are voracious readers, and I couldn't be more thankful!

**Sally Lloyd-Jones doesn't know me, and she didn't pay me to promote her books.  We just love 'em!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A few thoughts on Aging

32 is not old.  I know this because 
(a) I am 32.  And 
(b) I am not old.  

Those mathematical postulates and theorems and other various Whatnot did not fall on deaf ears during 9th grade Geometry.  I'll let my solid B-minus speak for itself.  

But it is worthwhile to note the following:

#1:  I do not tolerate the cold very well anymore.
 And we haven't even had much cold weather in the past couple of winters.  This photo gives me the chills, and I'm already wearing my bathrobe and slippers.  Yes, yes I am.

#2: I fear for my personal safety while doing perfectly normal and not-dangerous activities.  Like descending the basement stairs, all 7 of them.  Or navigating a corner whilst carrying a laundry basket.  

#3:  Olivia has learned how to knit recently, and I have been begging her to let me do a few rows now and then.  It's really not that hard, and it is a nice thing to do while you listen to music in the evenings.  I might ask my friend to teach me how to cast on, so I can work on a project of my own.  (I don't even know myself anymore.) 

#4:  I often want to linger out-of-doors and breathe in the fresh air, enjoying the beauty of God's handiwork which proclaims His glory at every turn.  So maybe this means I'm merely maturing, and not OLD.  Right?

#5:  I am turning into a Homebody.  5 days out of 7, I would rather be home, puttering around the house and yard or snuggling with my punks...than out-and-about.  I never thought I'd say that.  But it's true.

#6:  I think to myself every single day, how quickly the time is passing by.  These children are such a precious loan from God, and they are sprouting up right before my eyes!