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Feasting

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Looking over the last year, the Lord has taught me about gentleness,  priorities, trading anxiety for quiet peace. I can see a thread woven through each month.  All the lessons learned have a common source, that of submitting more of myself to my Heavenly Father.  He has drawn me into a deeper submission.  It is a total surrendering of self.
The effect has been a richer, more vibrant and joyous walk with the Lord. It is as if I have been feasting, relishing, yet more and more, the goodness of the Lord.  This feasting has made me stronger.   It has deepened my faith, and brought out in me a gentleness I did not know existed, a measure of quietness that I previously could not seem to obtain. There is now new meaning to the verse in Philippians 1:21...
"For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
The real American Idol is SELF. You have seen it, read it, heard it- "It's all about ME" But living for self, putting ME on the throne, where God should be, does not make one h…

Squanto

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Inspired by the story of Squanto,  Ben came up with this costume and has been busy at play for days.  He was a bit put out that he couldn't find any feathers  to wear in his hair, though. I was impressed and greatly entertained by his exuberant dancing.
Ben  has always enjoyed dress up and imaginative play.   It is a portion of a boys life that doesn't last long, aahh, but the memories of the cuteness of it will remain long in my heart.




For Rednecks Only

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Our son John is a woodsman.  There is nothing he likes better than tromping around in the deep woods,  whether looking for antler sheds in the spring, scoping out the big game  or foraging mushrooms in the summer, hunting in the fall, or trapping in the winter.   He started bow hunting critters like ground squirrels and rabbits  when he was 10, and trapping when he was 12. 
In our neck of the woods, there is plentiful game.  Beavers are a nuisance, chopping down apple trees in folks' yards.  Bobcats, like this nice one he got on the trap line today, are prolific,  and the hide will fetch a very nice price at the fur traders. Last week, John discovered Pine Marten tracks   near a creek behind the home of some of our friends.  So, he made a set and sure enough, caught this cute little weasel-like critter who very well may have been  the varmint feasting on our friend's chickens last fall.



As our culture progesses rampantly toward the Romanesque, I am glad there are still a few…

Day Journal 2

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Today it was 17 degrees when we got up.  The young boys are stacking wood on the porch that their big brother split.  The baby is sleeping next to the fireplace.  Daddy is working in the church office.   Anna is preparing to start a new study with the young ladies in our church, "Before You Meet Prince Charming."  I am eating chocolate.

I am thinking about the many friends we just sent Christmas cards to, the family we will not get to see on Christmas this year,  and Christmas's past.

God is teaching me about being gentle when the boys are going bonkers, and how easy the house falls to shambles when mama is unorganized.


I am thankful for a sun-shiney day, giving us plenty of power through our solar panels, my husband who has been in charge of laundry these past three weeks -bless his heart!  A warm house on a chilly day, the slobbery kisses of an (almost) two year old,   neighbors who come and plow your driveway when  your snowplow won't start, chocolate, my family, and a savio…

Kangaroo Care

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Today, Olivia is three weeks old.  She is struggling a bit with her weight and staying up to temperature.  Our method of treatment for these difficulties is Kangaroo Care. 

Kangaroo Care is a method of skin to skin contact used to encourage parent/infant bonding,
especially for premature babies.  It is the practice of holding an infant dressed only in a diaper next to a mother’s bare skin. 

Humans were created for relationship.

Just the grasp of teensy fingers around a finger seems proof of that. Therefore, idea of skin to skin makes a lot of sense.
The research to promote the concept of Kangaroo Care  shows that babies have a biological need for skin to skin contact, and most amazingly, a mother’s body responds to that need.  In his study, Dr. Bergman concluded that a baby’s stress hormones, blood pressure, oxygenation, temperature and heart rate stabilize with skin to skin contact.   The most startling fact he found is that a mother’s chest temperature  changes to meet her baby’…

A Candle for the Angels

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This fourth Sunday of advent we light the candle of the angels.
Our little blonde girlie was an angel in the  Christmas play this morning, the young brothers were the wise men and King Herod.   It was fabuously amusing with a solid gospel message. Unfortuantley, the camera battery went dead right as it all began, so the memories will remain in our hearts as one of the best plays ever.
It all got me to thinking about angels,  not the cute as a bug type in the Christmas play,  the the real, majestic beings who are  worshippers,  messangers,  wariors.
This afternoon was spent making one of our Christmas breads to have for tea this evening.  I have no name for this bread, but we make it every year.  I start with a batch of cinnamon roll dough, rolled out into a big rectangle, just as we would for cinnamon rolls,  all the while thinking about angels.


Then I spread on a cream cheese mixture down the center of the dough only, 2, 8 oz cream cheese, softened 1 Tbsp sugar 2 tsp vanilla mixed …

A Wintertime Walk With Big Sister

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"May I PLEEEase go on a walk with you, Rose?"









"I'm tired now, Rose, I want to rest."



And so big sister took her home,  where mama tucked the chilly little blonde under comforters and quilts  next to the wood stove, and there she succumbed to long winter's nap.

Day Journal 1

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Today we are watching the snow falling silently and steadily, covering the ground once again.


Reading “One Wintry Night”  while nestled in the deep cushions of the couch.


Eating popcorn, apples and oranges,  sipping Preacher’s Passion Tea.


Thankful for a warm and cozy home,  My family, And the many blessings God has bestowed upon us, Especially His great love.

Thinking that because of His great love, we, therefore ought to live more patiently, kindly, thoughtfully, less selfishly, and more like we are deeply grateful,  to the point of overflowing, spilling forth His love, joy, and forgiveness, abiding in contented peace that only comes from  dwelling in Him,  and on Him.

This is the essence of Advent.
Dwell in him this season.


What's for Lunch

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When it comes to lunch at our house, the thought is something simple to get us through till dinner, our big meal of the day.  As I considered our dinner menu plans, and learned that it is by far the most expensive meal in our day, I was no longer able to rationalize leftovers for lunch.  This would mean that lunch would be just as expensive as dinner, and I needed to get our lunches under our dinner costs of $5.00/meal in order to be able to purchase some snack items, and have a little leeway for company and special meals.  I will confess up front that our family does not eat enough vegetables, something I hope to remedy by raising our own garden again.  That said, Here is what I came up with for our fall/winter lunch menu:
Quinoa- (pronounced keen-wah) is called the golden grain of the Incas.  It is a high protein grain perfect for gluten free diets.  It is simple to prepare, similar to cooking rice, and can be flavored in a variety of ways.  Don't let the cost scare you @ $3.00/…

Shepherds Candle of Love

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We listen, eyes wide open, as daddy reads the Advent story. We hear and understand what he is teaching us tonight  through the words of his sermon from a year ago.  Shepherds.   Love. A genuine Response. 
Amazing that God would bring word of the coming of The Messiah to bunch of scruffy, unwashed shepherds. Ordinary folk. Like you and I.   Yet it was these he chose, and these who responded in faith,  with joy went forth and proclaimed to the World the good news.


How has looking on the face of Jesus changed your life?  Have you, like the shepherd, responded with faith and joy?  

He tells us this story:
When a traveler in the early days of the west came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was sheeted over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it,  not knowing how thick it was. Finally with infinite caution,  he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard—yes, he hea…

Beans and frugal cooking

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Feeding a large family on a budget can be challenging.  Sharing ideas and strategies with others is a very helpful way for us all to make ends meet in economically challenging times.

When our oldest was a senior, doing a consumer math project, we estimated the cost of all our usual meals; breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We found that dinner is the most expensive meal of the day and that having dinner leftovers for lunch the next day made lunches more expensive.  So, we stopped doing this and started having cheaper lunch options and saved leftovers for dinner, or the beginnings of dinner, for the next night.  We also found that, even a more "expensive" grain that may cost as much as $3/lb, could make an inexpensive lunch.  As was the case with Quinoa (Keen-wha) which expands greatly when cooked.  We have found that a pound will feed our family. How good is a meal for 11 that only costs $3?

In order to stay within our grocery budget a meal needs to cost less than $5.  An occas…

Feeling Blessed

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We are blessed by my mom,
known to the grandchildren as “nanny“, visit for a few days.
It is a delight for us all.  Thoughtfully, she brought with her a box of goodies for the children, not to be snatched, grabbed, and tossed,  but to take out one item a day and enjoy.

Tonight, with all the big people gone to Bible Study except myself and nanny,
we brought out a story on CD, the color books,and made popcorn.   With rocking chairs pulled up close to the fire, keeping our wee bundle warm, children sprawled all through the living room,  we listened in cozy silence.


Toddlers always need an extra measure of attention  and nurturing to keep them secure when a new babe is brought into the family.  Gabe is taking to Olivia well.  He speaks of her as “my baby,” and loves to stroke her minky soft hair.
 He has been sick all the last week with canker sores in his mouth, poor little guy.  He is learning that he sometimes needs to share mama’s lap with Olivia,
 but if she is sleeping, mama will g…