Tuesday, September 30, 2008
(This photo of tobacco was taken at the beginning of September when Marty and I went to the cabin. We had seen a beautiful yellow field from a distance and decided to drive to it to see what was growing there. We had never seen tobacco this color OR this tall - Marty stood beside it and it was over his head!)
"The results need not end with our earthly days. Should Jesus tarry our works will follow us . . . God may use, by reason of the wonderful solidarity of His Church, the things He has wrought in us, for the blessing of souls unknown to us: as these twigs and leaves of bygone years, whose individuality is forgotten, pass on vitality still to the new-born wood-sorrel. God only knows the endless possibilities that lie folded in each one of us!"
-- quote by Lilias Trotter from "A Passion for the Impossible - The Life of Lilias Trotter" by Miriam Huffman Rockness
Monday, September 29, 2008
Armed with a coupon and a gift card, Eli hit Michael's Craft Store a few weeks ago to stock up on products to make soap. Though I don't care for the texture and smell of "homemade" glycerin soap, Eli enjoys making it and using it in his bath. It's not difficult to make - the directions are on the 2 lb. bricks of clear glycerin soap sold at most craft stores. The 2 lb. brick goes a LONG way - you just use a few small blocks of it for one batch and it melts easily in the microwave. You can also get fragrance to add, as well as coloring and some molds. This particular batch contains pearberry frangrance and lavendar coloring. Eli also likes to put "add-ins" in his soap - little beads, a small leaf, or a little plastic animal are some of his usual "add-ins." This type of soap-making is a fun activity to do with kids and can be a great gift idea for children to give.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
"On the very same day Noah and Noah's sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark - . . . So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in." -- Genesis 7:13 & 16
"Then God spoke to Noah, saying, "Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you." -- Genesis 8:15
The boys and I have been studying the life of Noah over the last two weeks during our morning devotions together. After every chapter we've looked at, the boys and I search for things in the lives of those mentioned to see what things we can learn from those in the past that would help us to love the Lord God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourself. We've found many lessons and applications - God is good.
One thing we discovered comes from the verses above. In reading them, you'll find that God called Noah into the ark and God called Noah out of the ark. We discussed the fact that this very thing happens to us as well. God calls us into trials and God calls us out of trials - in His timing.
In the middle of these two verses, you would find Genesis 8:1 which says, "Then God remembered Noah . . ." That doesn't mean that one day God thought, "Whoops! That's right! I left that guy down there in the boat. Maybe I better check on him!" Rather (as the note in my Bible suggests), "God's remembrance in Scripture is a determined action rather than a mental process; when He remembers He acts mercifully to save."
I praise God that trials take place at His command, in His timing. He sends us in and brings us out at the proper moment. And He NEVER, NEVER forgets us.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
When the boys were younger, I cross-stitched a bunch of Christmas ornaments that I had bought as small kits. For whatever reason, the boys were enthralled with watching me hand-sewing the little ornaments. Each of them asked if they could help me, so I showed them how to do it. Caleb so enjoyed it that he would periodically sew little kits of his own that we picked up at yard sales or thrift shops. Now he's graduated to doing his own design and sewing it. He'll often find a photo in a book and plot out how he wants to do it. He does a remarkable job, and it reveals his detailed, graphic-oriented mind. If you've never tried cross-stitching, it's easy and is a calming hobby. Introduce yourself or your children to a simple kit and go from there -
Thursday, September 25, 2008
"Instead of going through a day in the way we sometimes drive to work or the grocery store (on autopilot), what if we really paid attention to landmarks, events, sensations, and experiences along the way, as well as the feelings generated, thoughts triggered, and memories evoked? And what if at the end of the day, we listed the things we had experienced and expanded on each with a sentence or two, taking care to mention how something felt, tasted, sounded, looked, or smelled? Imagine the evidence of a rich life we would have by the end of a week.
But so many of the things on this list might appear to be such small things. Why bother to pay attention to things so small? . . .
In life . . . the little things are what the big things are made of. A pageant of discrete happenings, ideas, conversations, facts, images. Considered individually they enrich one's experience; considered together they create a life. Pay attention."
-- From "Just Think - Nourish Your Mind to Feed Your Soul" by Nancy J. Nordenson
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Several years ago a friend who has 4 boys introduced my boys to the stories of "Hank the Cowdog" by John R. Erickson. Hank is a funny, lovable, big-headed dog that heads up "security" on his Texas ranch. For years we have enjoyed having Hank and his friends with us on our various car trips. Ben and I had the privilege of meeting the author, Mr. Erickson, at a homeschool convention. Mr. Erickson is a soft-spoken, humble Texan - it was great fun to watch him read one of his books, doing all the different voices and facial expressions! A few months ago, Eli discovered a stack of Hank books on the library shelves - now he's slowly reading his way through each one. Of all the boys, Eli is especially enamored with the Hank series - so much so that he recently made a board game of Hank's adventures. Recycling a used piece of foam board, he drew out a game board (with a little help with spelling from me). He did a great job, and we enjoy playing it together in the afternoons or evenings after the dishes are done. Especially if you have boys, make sure you look up Hank at your nearest library.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
"But when He (Jesus) saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd."
-- Matthew 9:36
I went to visit my newest nephew yesterday for the first time. He is so tiny and so utterly beautiful. He is also totally helpless. He is need of his mother to care for his every need. Without her constant care, he would die. As I thought on these things this morning, I realized that I, too, am utterly helpless apart from my Father. Though I often don't act like it, oh, how I need Him. The stark reality of that baby's helplessness mirrored my intense and total need for my Father. I could not have any spiritual understanding or growth apart from Him. I am dependent on Him for every beat of my heart, every breath that I take. I am in dire need of every drop of forgiveness, mercy and grace that extends from His hands. I - we - are an incredibly needy people. So why do we go around acting like we can take care of ourselves? Pride. Realizing and acknowledging these truths means having to humble ourselves before a righteous and sovereign God. Not easy for our arrogant hearts - but absolutely necessary. And praise God, He is willing, able and happy to be our All-In-All. Thank You, Father.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Eli wanted to do a craft the other evening, so he, Caleb and I made some fabric balls for autumn decorations. We made two styles of the balls. Starting with a stryofoam ball of the size of your choice, cut small pieces of fabric with autumn colors and/or prints. Using a small knife, press the edges of the fabric gently into the styrofoam ball. Place another piece right up against the piece you just pressed in and work those edges into the ball. Keep working until the ball is completely covered, and you will have a ball of fabric that has a quilted look to it. Another option is to simply cut long, narrow strips of fabric and wrap around the ball - securing with either glue or pretty pins. Keep wrapping with more pieces until completely covered. This will give you more of a country-style, rag ball look. You can display your fabric balls on a plate, in a bowl or attach a length of ribbon with a pin to hang.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
(Photo by Eli of Jett the calf)
Memory fighter verses for weeks of 9/21 & 9/28:
Hebrews 10:11-12: "And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This isn't the best photo as it was taken on a dark and rainy day, but I wanted to share the lollipops that my sister-in-law made and gave us. To make them, place 1 tsp. of peanut butter on a vanilla water, press a popsicle stick into the peanut butter, put a bit of peanut butter over the stick and place a second vanilla water on top. Put on waxed paper and place in freezer for 7 minutes. Melt some dipping chocolate and dip the lollipops until coated. Place several mini M&Ms on top to decorate then freeze again for 5-6 minutes. Store at room temperature in an air-tight container. Yummy and clever - great for child's birthday party.
Friday, September 19, 2008
(Photo by Eli of the front porch steps which he lined with Jack-Be-Little pumpkins)
" . . . Go to God and see what HIS priorities are for each and every day! Everything can be on paper and still not work. If there is one thing that I have learned DEEPLY this year it is that each day is truly the Lord's day. He has a perfect schedule for each day. While He wants for us to have our days ordered, He still wants complete surrender to Him for those days that He has a special "lesson" for our whole family (including Mom!) to learn! Sooo, most importantly go to God each and every day with your schedule on the altar! . . ."
-- From "Homeschooling The Easy Way! Volume Two Reprint Book" by Cindy Rushton
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Eli's been into bats lately. He's been reading about them, hanging out in the barn and watching them for hours, planning how to build a bat house. When he saw this idea for turning a pumpkin into a bat in "Family Fun," he decided to adapt the directions a bit and make it up himself. He simply painted one of the Jack-Be-Little pumpkins from the garden with black acrylic paint then hot glued wiggly eyes and foam wings and ears onto it. Ta-da - a bat that's actually allowed in the living room.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
-- Mathew 11:28-30
Yesterday morning I read this passage and spent some time thinking of and praying for several people I know who are right now in need of rest - physically, mentally, emotionally. Later in the day, Eli showed me a photograph of two oxen yoked together. The image flashed through my mind of being yoked together with the Lord - how I thank God that He takes the weight of the yoke for me. I LOVE it when the Lord puts a visual image of Truth right in front of my face.
Monday, September 15, 2008
This is a little sewing project that Eli came up with by himself one afternoon. He just used the sewing machine to sew a design on some felt and then colored in the spaces with magic marker. It might be a fun, simple project for young ones learning to use a sewing machine -
Sunday, September 14, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
"Of his studies prior to his conversion to Christianity, Saint Augustine wrote in The Confessions, "What profit was it to me that I . . . read and understood by myself as many books as I could get concerning the so-called liberal arts? I enjoyed these, not recognizing the source of whatever elements of truth and certainty they contained. I had turned my back to the light and my face to the things it illuminated, and so no light played upon my own face, or on the eyes that perceived them."
"To think with your face toward the light, as Augustine later learned, is to learn and think in the direction of God. It is to recognize God as the original source of wisdom and knowledge. It is to go about all you do, all you learn, all you puzzle over, positioned with your attention toward God and enlightened by the knowledge and wisdom of God. It is to see the thread of God in everything, to be aware that "the whole earth is full of His glory."
-- From "Just Think - Nourish You Mind to Feed Your Soul" by Nancy J. Nordenson
Saturday, September 13, 2008
This May we decided to plant a new variety of strawberries called Seascape which we purchased from noursefarms.com in Massachusetts. They are ever-bearing which means they produce into the summer and fall instead of the typical few weeks in mid- to late May. We read that they've been successfully grown in the northeast and so decided to give them a try. Well, they've been a success all right - I can't tell you how wonderful it is to pick fresh, delicious strawberries right from the patch in the middle of September! Marty mentioned that they would be great dipped in chocolate, so last week I made a batch of chocolate-covered strawberries. I microwaved some dipping chocolate (either Mercken's or Wilbur's bought at Weaver Nut Co. in Mountville) and dipped and swirled the berries, holding onto them by their stems. They dried on some wax paper and certainly didn't last long!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Last week my mom and I had the opportunity to visit the Hans Herr House in Willlow Street, Pennsylvania. The house was built in 1719 and boasts being the oldest, still-standing dwelling in Lancaster County and the oldest, still-standing Mennonite meetinghouse in the Western Hemisphere! We enjoyed an hour's tour through the beautiful sandstone Pennsylvania-German home, as well as learning more about the historical background of the Amish and Mennonite peoples. We spent some time wandering around the property - viewing the apple trees of antique varieties that we've never heard of, visiting Rosa & Floyd (the resident pigs!), and peeking in the barn and blacksmith shop. The Hans Herr House offers special events throughout the year - including the apple snitz fest in October and candlelight tours at Christmastime. For more info., visit hansherr.org.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
On vacation in Tennessee, Ben visited a used book shop and bought "Conquer the Cube" by Jeffrey Varasano for $2. Shortly after arriving home, Ben spent his spare moments with his Rubik's Cube and this book. After several sessions of following the formula, there was great rejoicing as the Cube appeared before my eyes in six squares of color. Behind it was a handsome face grinning ear-to-ear annoucing that that was the best $2 he ever spent! Ever introduced your kids to the elusive challenge from the 80's?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
When Marty and I were in the mountains, we bought a container of "Rainbow Flame Crystals" from a little hardware store we came across. One evening we had a campfire supper and tried out our new flame crystals - as you can see from the photo, they worked great! The crystals gave off lovely flames of blues, greens, and purples. Flame crystals such as these can be found at hardstores (usually near their fireplace and woodstove supplies) and can be used in fireplaces, woodstoves and campfires according to the container. Your kids will love it!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
"Through six long years she had hoarded every penny, denying herself the little indulgences which the poverty of her life must have made doubly attractive to someone so young. She had continued her visits to the farm-house and, while she studied her Bible lessons for school there, her desire to possess God's Holy Book for herself grew almost to a passion.
What joy it would be, she often thought, if every day she could read and commit to memory portions of Scripture, storing her mind and heart with immortal truths. "But the time will come," she had added, "when I shall have my Bible. Yes, even though I have waited so long, the time will come." Then on her knees beside her little bed she had prayed aloud, "Dear Lord, let the time come quickly!"
Convicting, isn't it?
-- From "Mary Jones and Her Bible - A (True) Story of Courage and a Young Girl's Dream to Read God's Word in Her Own Language" by Christian Focus Publishing
Monday, September 8, 2008
(Last month at the cabin, Eli and I took a combined total of about 50 photos of this hummingbird at our feeder until we got one that we liked!)
Memory fighter verses for weeks of 9/7 & 9/14 - REVIEW & CATCH UP WEEKS
Jeremiah 32:17: "Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who has made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you."
I Peter 5:9-10: "Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
Proverbs 29:1: "He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing."
Romans 12:10: "Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
Saturday, September 6, 2008
In the evenings at the cabin, Marty and I rode our bikes to a spot and stopped to watch for the family of bears that came out to play each night across the creek. As we sat on the bank of the creek quietly waiting, I noticed a bee gently and carefully going about his bee business admist a grouping of yellow wildflowers in front of us. This calm and quiet fellow was seemingly unworried and uninterested in the fact that he was surrounded by hundreds of such flowers. He could have been thinking, "How much work I have! I'll never get it all done. I'm so overwhelmed - how can I possibly be making any difference amongst all these flowers? What to do? What to do?" And yet - I saw no bit of nervousness or anxiety about him. He simply and diligently did his work - moving amidst each petal of each flower.
A little later my quiet friend flew off to a near-by plant - buzzing around it, looking very confused and fussed-up. After a few moments, he zoomed back to the original plant on which he was working, calming down to do what was laid before him.
How like that bee I need to be! Calmly and diligently going about the work in front of me instead of flitting here and there, concerned with what I'm not doing, worried that I'm missing something, preoccupied with something God never intended me to do.
O God, help me to rest in You, to trust in You, to simply do what you lay before my face to do in obedience and faithfulness - not flying away in my mind, heart and body to places out of my path.
Friday, September 5, 2008
"A Passion for the Impossible - The Life of Lilias Trotter" by Miriam Huffman Rockness inspires me every time I read it. It's the telling of the life of a would-be famous artist who chose instead to use her gifts and talent to minister to the Arabs of North Africa in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Miss Trotter loved beauty - in nature, color and words. Even more so, she loved the God who created beauty. The excerpts from her diaries and journals reveal a heart in love with God - who learned countless lessons from His handiwork and who poured what she learned into the lives of others. Reading of the life of Lilias Trotter causes me to hunger after a deeper walk with God and spurs me on to "Taste and see that the Lord is good."
"Stamped on every page of her journals and diaries is a woman fully immersed in the practical realities of everyday living even as she is totally engaged in assimilating those realities through an eternal perspective."
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Over the holiday weekend, Marty and I had opportunity to attend the Lock Haven Boat Regatta on the Susquehanna. We had such a good time sitting by the side of the river watching the different boat races all afternoon. There were a variety of small speedboats which raced - including larger ones which sounded like sprint cars and reached almost 100 mph! Many families had canopies set up along the water stocked with chairs, food and snacks for the day. We plan on keeping our eyes open for a boat regatta in the future to take the boys to as we're sure they would enjoy it. If you ever have an opportunity to attend a boat race, check one out - it makes for a relaxing day along the river . . .
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Eli has chosen this T-Rex cake for several years now. I'm not sure why he loves it the most - because it's a dinosaur or because it's decorated with candy! You'll find the how-to's for the cake at www.dominosugar.com (type "dominosaurus" into the search box). I didn't use the recipes they listed - just a box cake and my own decorater's frosting recipe with green food coloring added. Eli used Jujubes and Runts candies to decorate. Happy Birthday, Eli!