My cup of tea...

I saw this meme recently on a blog I read regularly, and it seemed like a fun and easy way for those of my readers whom I do not know personally to have another glimpse into what makes me....me.  It's so much more fun to include pictures with these sorts of things, and Pinterest makes that so easy.

1. If you had a time machine, where or rather when would you go?


While I wouldn't want to go back in time with the purpose of changing anything, I have really fond memories of several summers during my teen years, particularly the time spent with my younger brother, and I would go back to those summers just to re-live them...no changes made, though.

2. Diamonds or Pearls?

I have to say I'm a diamond girl...while I love pearls, I'm a sucker for something that sparkles. :-)

3. What's your favorite movie?

While You Were Sleeping.  I joke that I could quote the entire thing...and while that is not entirely true, I can come pretty close to it, while it's playing...not from memory of course.  But, my family and close friends have many of the one-liners memorized and we banter back and forth with them regularly.

4. When you were a kid, what was your favorite television show?

Full House.  Some would argue that the {when you were a kid} part could be removed and the answer would remain the same.  Yes, I do own ALL 8 SEASONS on DVD, and yes, my daughter loves them now too.  Oh, and can I just say how cool it is that Candace Cameron Bure (D.J. Tanner) now has her own ministry and website?!?  Love it!

5. Let's pretend you found $50.00 in your couch cushions, what would you run out and buy?

No, I wouldn't run out and BUY coupons...I prefer to get my coupons for FREE.  But, I would run out and buy things WITH coupons...  See, I'm kind of competitive...okay, I'm a LOT competitive, so much so that I compete against MYSELF.  Always trying to find a better deal than last time.  So, I would try to stretch that $50 as far as I could to see just how much I was able to get out of it. 

6. What is your favorite color?

I guess there are some people who have a favorite color and stick with it for their whole lives.  Not me.  I go through seasons...  I love color in general though, which probably comes from my grandfather who was a paint contractor.  He loved color too.  I'm rather fond of lots of colors, and polka dots. I've had seasons where I liked aqua, purple, and blue/yellow -- currently I'm rather fond of pink or coral...but it's a season and soon I'll be on to a new color. 

7. Why did you start your blog?

Because she was born, and we live in a different town from our family.  I started out with a Xanga waybackwhen, switched over to blogger, then started a second blog for homemaking stuff, made this blog private for family only, then decided I couldn't keep up with all of that, so I shut down the homemaking blog, made this one public and erased all prior content, and now I write about whatever I please, whether personal or homemaking, etc.  

8. What is your favorite home decor store?

Crate and Barrel....I think.  I almost put Goodwill and Yard-sales here, though, because that is typically where I pick up most of my home decor and then I fix it up. But, I love looking through C&B for ideas. 

9. Name one thing in your makeup bag you cannot live without.

I could certainly LIVE without ALL the items in my makeup bag...but I prefer not to be without my Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black-Brown.  Once I started wearing eyeliner, there was no going back -- I always feel like I look very tired without it. 

10. What TV show are you currently hooked on?

I'm not currently hooked on any TV shows, but everyone is talking about Downton Abbey, and I think I may end up getting hooked if I can ever find the time to start watching it.  I recently found out that the first season is available on hulu, and the second season is pretty cheap at Costco...  My demise?!?

Okay, well that's it -- hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into my life.  I'm not into tagging people to participate, but if you want to do it, go ahead and leave a link to yours in the comments. 

PS -- I guess because of all the pictures, I've had some trouble with the formatting in this post -- my apologies.  I am no expert when it comes to this sort of thing.
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Book Review: Building Her House

This book was a Christmas gift from my parents, and I recently finished it.  It's a short and easy read, with each chapter being just 2 or 3 pages average.  Nancy's writing is very practical and to the point -- she doesn't spend a lot of time with unnecessary details.  I came away with some really good things that I hope to implement in our home, and I wanted to recommend the book to any mothers out there.  Whether you just had your first baby, or all your children are grown and you have grandchildren, or even those preparing to be mothers -- this book has something for you.  I don't want to spoil the book or take away from it, so I hope that by sharing the things that I do, you will be interested in reading the rest of the book and not just these few things.  The book is only about $10 through amazon, and you should be able to click on the picture above to go straight to amazon.  (As a side note, many of you may be familiar with the book Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic -- this book is written by Rachel's mother.)

The book is broken into 5 sections, with a few chapters in each section:

The Table
Sabbath Feasting
Mac and Cheese
Perfectly Domestic
Loving Labor

Family Relationships
Courtship Blues

Young Wives
Big Stinking Tangles

Family Stories
The Postpartum Mother
Your Baby Has a Soul
Mothers and Sons
Mothers and Daughters
Sons and Sports
Daughters and Sports
The Tomboy
Sons and Flattery

Pursuing Virtue
Chick Flicks
Contentious Women
Criticism that Kills
The Pricklies
Rainy-Day Blues

It looks like a LOT of chapters, but the book is only 113 pages long, and it really is not bad at all.  So, don't be scared.

Below are some of my favorite things gleaned from the book -- I realize that we will not all find the same things helpful or encouraging, but I am sharing this in hopes that some of you will find it helpful, as I did.

Life should be generally predictable for {children}.  This gives them security and makes them feel loved and cared for.  But the schedule should never become more important than they are.  Wisdom knows when the schedule needs to be ignored, stretched, or thrown out all together.  

Life in our homes should be characterized by joy and thanksgiving so that children are taught and nourished in a way that takes their souls into account.

Christian women (whether childbearing or not) are required to be patient in affliction, to cast their cares on the Lord, to trust Him in all their ways, and to honor and respect their husbands.  These are moral issues that matter to God.  

Childbirth is something women are equipped by God to do.  He has promised to keep His people, and He will certainly not abandon His children at a moment when He is bringing a new covenant child into the world.  Birthing is such a glorious privilege and high calling.  We must embrace it with wisdom and hardheaded obedience.  The eternal God is our refuge at all times, particularly as we fulfill our calling by bearing children.

Parents are the means God has established to nurture these little souls, and mothers share this tremendous privilege and responsibility to see that, by God's grace, all the children in their charge are flourishing, both body and soul. 

The wise woman understands that children are a source of joy and blessing entrusted to her by God, and she is to be a good steward of them, seeing that she takes care to dedicate her children to God and train them up as God's own.  

Laying aside our own plans in order to rock a baby or comfort a child is a soul-prospering work, not an annoying interruption.

The mother is designed by God to be a source of great blessing to her husband and children; she is to be the "very soul of the house."  

Listening to your children, taking them on your lap and talking with them, and being affectionate and loving to them will of course take time.  Just as preparing and serving good food takes time, so feeding our children's souls takes time.  God uses all these things we do, when we render them unto Him by faith, to strengthen, nourish, and grow our children up into men and women with fat souls who will then be able to nourish their own children and grandchildren.

Our sanctification, being an ongoing process fitting us for heaven, requires our diligence, by means of the Holy Spirit, in pursuing righteousness in our thoughts, our speech, and our lives.  A virtuous woman is one who is known in the Christian community for her high moral standard; she believes the Bible and applies it to herself.  She does not cut corners, make exceptions, or excuse sinful behavior.

A virtuous woman is eager to be taught God's Word, to learn wisdom, and to apply all she learns.  She wants to know, she wants to be virtuous because it is the means of glorifying God.  So a virtuous woman is a learner and a doer.

When wisdom is at home, home is a delight.  So it follows that a pleasant home is one that has a wise, virtuous woman in the center of it.

When the wise woman speaks to her husband, it is nourishing.  When she talks with her children, they are blessed.  She becomes a source of strength to her family, rather than a drain on their joy.  

Mothers (and fathers) who glibly criticize their children are driving them away.  There is NO EXCUSE for parents to share negative things about their children to anyone else.  This springs from a self-righteous "I have been wronged" attitude that is looking for pity.  Sometimes it can come from a desire to lord it over our children or to try to maintain some kind of control, but it can never come from a charitable, merciful, gracious spirit.

We know that only the Spirit of God can bring real joy and happiness to our souls.  But when we find that joy challenged by dreary circumstances, we have an obligation to overcome it with a wisdom grounded in faith.  Put away any murmuring about the weather.  It is unworthy of a Christian and a waste of time.  Not only that, but it is a setup for other sins like laziness, self-pity, or envy.  It only makes things worse, it distracts us away from our God-given duties, and is mighty unproductive.

Linking up at The Better Mom
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Thankful Thursday: In sickness and in health...

As I write this post, I'm sitting at the desk, with the windows open and a lovely breeze blowing through the house -- this gives a picture of SO many gifts...one of the main ones being that a certain little girl who hasn't slept much recently is resting peacefully in the SECOND HOUR of her nap this afternoon...this is a huge gift to mommy and daughter alike. :-)  Thanks for your encouragement, friends, and your prayers are a blessing.

Gifts #143-163
- preparing food for my family
- being able to minister through music
- laundry to be washed, folded, put away
- notes from him
- cards from family
- shapes on a page that form beautiful music
- fellowship lunch with church family
- dinner with family and friends
- a Sunday afternoon nap
- the provision of (free) cold medicine to keep this mommy going
- making arrangements with him
- jars from a friends for a project
- laundry separated to be washed,
- milk for our cereal
- clean paper that she uses to draw and create
- painting nails to brighten the day
- the gift of a mother's intuition
- antibiotics
- the mug of coffee waiting for me every morning (made by him)
- a deck on which to play and live life outdoors
- breezes blowing through my open windows in February

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His Strength is Perfect...

My facebook status from earlier today said:

This mom stuff...it's hard.  

It's one of those statuses that I (almost immediately) regret posting and contemplate deleting, for fear of being misunderstood.  But, today I had didn't have much time to spend thinking about it after I posted it, as I had a sick little girl needing my attention.  Fast foward through an afternoon spent at the pediatrician's office followed by the pharmacy, and she is now resting comfortably (temporarily?) and I am taking a few minutes to chill before tackling the disaster area that is my kitchen.

In responding to a friend's encouragement, I decided to just post the note here as it seemed blog-worthy...

Thank you. I really appreciate the prayers. I always regret posting a status like that, and this time I think I was misunderstood, although I didn't really give any details by which to be understood. 

C has had a cough/congestion since last Monday, and on Thursday I called the doctor and after talking with a nurse about her symptoms, she called in a Rx cough medicine for her. That definitely helped with the cough, but her symptoms were still lingering, and G and I started getting some of them too. We weren't really sure if we were all suffering from allergies or a bad cold or what. The pear trees across the street are blooming, which always gets me, and people at G's work and church have been sick with this crud and it's hung on for about 2 weeks, so we were waiting it out. Last night, C would only sleep for about 30-45 minutes at a time and then wake up crying. Same thing this morning, only she was pulling on her ear. SO, I called the doctor again and they were able to see her this afternoon. Her right ear looks pretty bad the doctor said, and the left is not too bad. Her throat looks like strep, but since she was already getting an antibiotic for the ear, she didn't bother with a strep test b/c it would take care of it anyway. And, she has some "crackles" in her chest -- NOT pneumonia, but she's treating her aggressively in an effort to prevent pneumonia. We stopped by the pharmacy on the way home and picked up the antibiotic and the Mucinex she prescribed, and I was able to get both doses in her before she fell asleep on the couch, which is where she is now. 

The mom stuff being hard status comes from dealing with an up and down sick child for over a week, battling sickness myself, and feeling inadequate to do everything I'm supposed to do. My world kind of stops when she's sick and she wants to be held and I want to hold her so I do and I care for her, and meanwhile, all of my other duties pile higher and higher (literally in some cases like the laundry. ;-)) In addition, being the firstborn and overachiever that I am, I want to make sure I'm doing everything perfect and right the first time...emphasis on EVERYTHING and PERFECT. So, this mothering stuff comes with constant questions -- should I give her medicine or wait it out? is it serious enough to call the doctor or wait it out? is she getting dehydrated or just tired? questions, questions, questions....constantly I'm asking myself questions. It's exhausting. So, I had hoped that by going to the doctor today it would relieve some of my anxieties, and while I'm glad to have a diagnosis and be treating it, now I'm asking myself -- did I wait too long to go to the doctor? should we have gone sooner? blah, blah, blah. 

SOOOO....what it all comes down to is that His strength is perfect when our strength is gone, He'll carry us when we can't carry on, held by His spirit, the weak become strong... the SCC song goes something like that. I CAN'T do this mothering thing on my own and I am utterly dependent on Him to carry me through...even through the emotional struggles.

That's a long explanation, but hopefully you have a clearer picture of what's going on in my mind and heart and you can continue to pray for us.

I know that C is my priority before the housework and church work and all of that so I don't mind letting it go, but after a while the thought of getting "caught up" begins to look a little daunting. But -- one day I know I will look back and wish I could just sit on the couch and hold her on my lap, so that is what I'm doing. The sun continues to rise and set regardless of whether my dishwasher is unloaded or we have clean laundry. 

linking up at Women Living Well


Monday Musings: Begone...

begone: to go away, depart.  used especially in the imperative.

Begone Unbelief

Begone unbelief, my Savior is near,
And for my relief, will surely appear:
By faith let me wrestle with God in the storm
And help me my Savior, the faith to adorn
And help me my Savior, the faith to adorn.

Though dark be my way, since He is my guide,
'Tis mine to obey, and His to provide;
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail,
The word He has spoken will surely prevail,
The word He has spoken will surely prevail.

Why should I complain of want or distress?
Temptation or pain?  He told me no less.
The heirs of salvation, I know from His word
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord,
Through much tribulation must follow their Lord.

Since all that I meet will work for my good,
The bitter is sweet, the medicine food;
Though painful at present, will cease before long
And then, O! how glorious, the conqueror's song!
And then, O! how glorious, the conqueror's song!

Begone unbelief, the Savior is here
Begone unbelief, the Savior is here 
Begone unbelief, the Savior is here 
Though cisterns be broken, and creatures all fail
The word He has spoken will surely prevail
The word He has spoken will surely prevail.

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Poppyseed Muffins...

Since having surgery at the beginning of the year, I am enjoying citrus foods again, after not being able to eat them for over 2 years.  I was in the mood for some Lemon Poppy Seed bread the other day, but decided to go with this recipe instead, as I had all the ingredients on hand.  They were quite tasty.  We actually didn't put the glaze on them, in hopes that they would keep longer, and they were very yummy, even without it.

Printable Version
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/8 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze: (Mix in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons butter, melted

Beat together the eggs, 2 1/2 cups white sugar, and vegetable oil.  Add in milk, salt, baking powder, poppy seeds, vanilla, almond flavoring, and flour.  Mix well.  Bake in paper lined muffin cups at 350* for 15-20 minutes or 50-60 minutes for loaves.  The tops should be browned, and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Remove muffins as soon as you can while still warm, and dunk tops into glaze.  Turn right side up and cool on a wire rack.  For loaves, pour the glaze over the bread while still in the pans.

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Thankful Thursday: Behold What Manner...

Gifts #119 - 142
- my husband doing the dishes, laundry, and making waffles from scratch (all before 9am)
- tickling my girl
- watching TV with my man
- listening to her say, "you put it on your wipth" (lips)
- order restored to chaos
- discovering new space
- God's provision through DIY projects
- for others
- for good providence that seems bad
- in the midst of heartache
- closets filled with clothes
- her delight in making things
- being able to purchase treats for loved ones
- wisdom to be a mom
- gentle reminders we are not our own...
- and they are on loan to us
- pounds disappearing
- new websites
- conscious, intentional living
- yellow roses and sunshine after clouds and rain
- sweet sleep for tired and weary souls
-"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

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Chicken Broccoli Supreme

This was a recipe that I found on pinterest (of course), and while it was very good, it kind of reminded me of one of my favorite movie lines...

More is not always better...sometimes it's just MORE.

This casserole is kind of a combination between Chicken Divan and Poppyseed Chicken...both of which we love, but this combination of the two didn't seem to be as good as either of them would be individually.  But, that's just OUR opinion.

The recipe can be found here if you'd like to try it for yourself.

It did remind me of a cooking tip that I could share -- maybe all of you have already thought of this or discovered it, but I only recently learned about it...  A lot of casseroles have Ritz cracker toppings...and they often call for 1 sleeve of crushed crackers (or 2).  You can gently crush the crackers in the sleeve, taking care not to puncture the ends...and then the mess is contained in the sleeve!

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Monday Musings: Praying for our Children...

I recently finished reading {for the 2nd and probably not the last time} Ginger Plowman's book, "Don't Make Me Count to Three."  Like most parenting books, it was great and I didn't agree with everything but came away with a lot of good stuff.  But, it was an appendix that really struck me, and that is what I want to share with you today.

To pray for our children directly from God's Word is to pray in harmony with God's perfect will for their lives.  It is to bind up our shallow and vain desires and unleash the wisdom and power of our mighty Lord.  When we pray from God's Word, we surrender our foolish misconceptions of what is best by acknowledging that God's ways are not our ways.  To pray from the Scriptures is to seek the will of the Father rather than the will of the parent.

Why should we pray?

Prayer is a command of God - "Be joyful always; pray continually; giving thanks to God in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Prayer draws us near to God - "What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?" (Deuteronomy 4:7)

Prayer releases God's power - "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." (James 5:16)

I have talked before about how I like to write out Scripture for the purpose of meditation and memorization. This would be a(nother) good list to write out...

What should we pray?

Pray that our children would come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  
1 Timothy 2:3-4

Pray that they would honor and obey us as their parents as well as those in authority over them.  
Ephesians 6:1-3
Hebrews 13:17

Pray that the Lord would surround them with godly friends and role models.
2 Corinthians 15:33
Proverbs 13:20
Proverbs 27:17

Pray that the Lord would implant into their hearts a hunger and thirst for him.
Psalm 42:1-2

Pray that the Lord would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they might know him better.
Ephesians 1:17

Pray that the eyes of their hearts would always be enlightened in order that they might know the hope to which he has called them.
Ephesians 1:18

Pray that they would always follow the truth and reject the lies of Satan.
Proverbs 22:3
Titus 2:11-12

Pray that they would bear much fruit for God's glory.
Galatians 5:22-23
Ephesians 2:10
1 John 3:16-18

Pray that they would flee temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13
2 Timothy 2:22-26

Pray that they would use their gifts and talents to honor the Lord.
Proverbs 16:3
1 Corinthians 10:31

Pray that they would have freedom from fear as they trust in the Lord.
Psalm 56:13
2 Thessalonians 3:16
2 Timothy 1:7

Pray that they would keep themselves pure for their future mates.
1 Corinthians 10:8
Hebrews 13:4

Pray that the Lord would bring godly mates into their lives.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16

Pray that they would take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Philippians 4:8

Pray that they would become more like him.
Romans 8:28-29

We must realize that every blessing, every trial, and every heart-breaking event has been filtered through his hands of love.  We must have full confidence in God's sovereignty.

Study your children and know what is going on in their lives so you will know how to pray specifically for each one of them.  Ask your children how you can pray for them.  Pray the Word of God for your children.  Pray out loud with them.  Pray often.  Pray conversationally as though you are talking to someone in the room with you.  Pray everywhere - indoors, outdoors, driving in the car, feeding the cat - so your child realizes his Heavenly Father is always available.

Prayer will not only draw you closer to God, but it will draw you closer to your children.  Encourage your children to pray about everything.  Assure them that God will faithfully meet their every need!

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Saturday mornings...

are for waffles.

especially when Daddy makes them...

and playing with cars...

and taking naps. 

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