Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our Prayer

Build Your kingdom, Lord
Through our children, Lord
May this generation know You more

Raise up men of God
Who stand upon Your Word
Filled with integrity, whose hearts are pure

Draw our daughters to
A life of trusting You
Servanthearted, wholesome, devoted and true

Give us Wisdom, we pray
As we train them each day
With the vision of leaving a legacy of Your ways

Emmerse us deeply in You
So that it's You that shines through
And by Your grace we will see
Our children's children praise Thee.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day Journal 8

Today began just the way I  like best, 
my dear husband bringing me a cup of coffee to wake me up.  
Soon, the majority of the family was off to church with Daddy, so
Olivia and I enjoyed our quiet time on the porch in the sunshine.  
I gave myself until 9 am to be still; time to think, pray, and read the Scriptures.
Then we set off to do a bit of housework.

After the first 8 children,
our original backpack baby carrier gave up the ghost.
  I am glad to now have an Ergo baby carrier. 
It is quite comfortable.
An Ergo can be worn front style as well as backpack. 
Olivia likes it. 
She is one of those people- persons, and would prefer to be doing something with you
than on the floor by herself-
an extravert at almost 7 months old.

After the initial housework and laundry, it is time to make granola. 
I have already posted this recipe, but will do again anyway. 
I have tried several different recipes and this one is simple, 
takes less weird ingredients, and I like the results better. 
I always make a double batch, of course, and it goes quickly enough.  
Very  frugal and easy to make:
In a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups wheat or oat bran
8 cups oatmeal
1 1/2 tsp salt
In a saucepan:
1 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Heat to a boil, pour over oat mixture, spread in cookie sheet.  Bakes for 20 minutes at 325, cool, add dried fruit if you wish, and you are done.

Now Olivia is at the stage of development where she needs to be taught to sit still. 
This kind of training we begin for short amounts of time everyday, 
then increase the time gradually as she gets the idea.  
We call this blanket training. 
It has come in so handy with all the other children.  
From a very early age they will sit well on a blanket 
at church or when ever you need them to be in one spot for a while,
contentedly playing for up to an hour. 
She is still getting used to sitting up,
and all went really well until she lost her balance and tumbled over on her head. 
We will try again tomorrow.

Next I was off to begin dinner plans while Olivia was napping.
  My husband loves sourdough bread, so I had a round loaf all ready for dinner.
But it looked lonely and kind of plain. 
Bread is good for you, I am thinking,
so it must be extra good for you with a half pound of butter, a head of garlic- chopped, 
and some grated cheese, right?
First I sliced the bread one direction, not quite all the way through,
then I turned it the other way and sliced it nearly all the way through again.
  Then I stuck the cheese in all the crevices while the butter melted on the stove with the garlic in it. 
When that was complete, I poured the butter over the bread 
and popped the whole thing in the oven to toast up a bit. 
The results were fabulous, although slightly artery clogging. 

 After dinner, we enjoyed the beautiful evening with a stroll down the driveway. 
Soon enough it was time for daddy to read "We're going on A Bear Hunt" to the littles,
and then bedtime.

From our home to yours, or where ever your abode is tonight, 
Grace and Peace be upon you.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Psalm 63

"O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee;  
my soul thirsts for thee, in a dry and weary land 
where there is no water. 
To see thy power and thy glory,
so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. 
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, 
my lips shall praise thee. 
Thus will I bless thee while I live: 
I will lift up my hands in thy name. 
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; 
and my mouth shall praise thee
will joyful lips."

10 things I am thankful for today:

The sense of smell that our Creator thoughtfully bestowed upon us.

The gift of music, unexplained outside of Purposeful Design.


The Bible, ever fresh and inspiring, applicable, relevant.

God's mercy and grace poured out upon us every day.

His love and atonement generously given through the death and resurrection of His Son.

Loving family relationships that give us a glimpse of our relationship with Him.

God's faithful provision in our lives.

The friendships of dear ones far and near.

The delight of food!  (You knew I wouldn't leave that one out).

Leona agrees.

This life:  a journey to learn, to laugh, to love.

"Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, 
my lips shall praise thee."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another Rainy Weekend

 Another rainy weekend. 
We must wait for summer patiently, as we did for spring.
  It will come,
but for now, we need to remain content 
with another day of 50 some degree weather and rain. 
I do love rain, and bad weather in general.  
However, as the first day of summer draws near, 
we are all expecting that it might warm up and look
 like summer soon.
Keeping the troops engaged happily indoors day after day
when they are longing to be outside can be tricky, 
but in general they are good little troops, 
and if I keep my attitude in good order, they are more apt to also keep theirs.
When I exemplify this before my children, 
when I live it, 
then I have earned the ability to teach them that boredom is a form of grumbling, 
so they need to amuse themselves cheerfully,
for it is training their heart to be satisfied with what is.
A new set of WASHABLE markers for Gabe keeps him deterred from more destructive 2 year old antics. 
This idea came 
he painted his whole self with red fingernail polish..
it...was NOT washable.

The boys never tire of legos. 
We have declared a whole room upstairs to lego mania. 
Here the boys spend hours creating, building, and playing while listening to audio books. 
Some of their favorites are the Chronicles of Narnia, any G.A. Henty, and Jonathan Park,
all available at Vision Forum.  
Thus a rainy day, or season, is passed most pleasantly.

 The kittens provide indoor entertainment, 
as well as reading books aloud,
playing with the baby, 
and enjoying food, a favorite pastime here at our house.

  We are not entitled to good weather, 
or life on our terms. 
Sometimes we need reminded of that.
To give way to the "if only's" is to enter into the temptation to grumble and be discontent.  
I have been thinking lately that such ways don't make any sense 
when we have the unconditional, glorious love of a heavenly Father,
whose grace and mercy flow abundantly.

Yesterday, Brian shared a passage in John 6:27-35. 
The people were following Jesus, but they did not hunger for him, 
as much as they wanted stuff from him.  
They really never had an appetite for Jesus,
only an absorption in themselves,
and in the end, they turned away from him because their sinful desires were never satisfied. 

If it rains every day for a year, 
I pray I will be content with my Jesus,
my happiness not being determined by my circumstances, 
or by the obtaining of everyday desires,
but on my relationship with my Savior. 
That is the real meaning of life, I think.  
That is what I aspire to,
to hunger and thirst for Him, above all else. 
For Jesus to be the bread of life from which I am satisfied. 
Then, there will be an end to anxiety and discontent, come what may.

Friday, June 17, 2011

22 Reasons

Today we celebrate 22 years of a covenant that has gotten stronger, deeper and sweeter through it's length.  Today, I am giving my husband 22 reasons that I love him more today than I did on our wedding day in 1989.

1.  He loves the Lord more than he loves anything else.
2.  He is humble and teachable.
3.  He displays his priorities of God, wife, children, job, others consistantly.
4.  He protects me.
5.  He is a loving, fun and discipling father.
6.  He likes pretty things.
7.  He is romantic.
8.  He strives to understand his complex wife.
9.  He doesn't take me to the hardware store.
10.  He gets up at 5 am with the baby.
11.  I can trust him.

12.  He still pursues me.
13.  He leads.
14.  He falls asleep reading bedtime stories.  :-)
15.  He is thoughtful.
16.  He is a servant leader.
17.  He has a big heart.
18.  He has a beautiful singing voice and a heart of worship.
19.  He makes the BEST coffee.
20.  He is my best friend.
21.  He is ruggedly hansome.
22.  He is the real thing; genuine, transparent, truly a godly man.

The Lord has blessed me beyond measure.
  Not me only, but our children as well.
Today, I am rejoicing in my dear sweet husband, 
thanking the Lord for bringing us together 
and celebrating the love of my life.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Little Touches

It is often the little touches of beauty 
that add grace and an air of a special occasion to every day life that I enjoy the very most. 
Having no landscape here at Providence Lodge yet, 
I sent my daughters out to scavenge lilacs from obliging neighbors. 
We now have bouquets all over the house, filling the air with their sweet aroma. 
Each handfull sits humbly in a quart jar, 
proving that nothing expensive need be purchased to make your abode a special, beautiful haven,
just some thoughtful and creative touches here and there....
a pat of butter served in a heart shape on your sweetheart's pancake,  
a few yards of fabric ironed and laid on the table for a luncheon cloth,
a handful of picked wildflowers,
or a candle from the dollar store.  

I do truly wish you could smell the lovely lilacs just now. 
Such a small improvement, but huge in influence. 
Even so, I think it is the small acts of grace that have the most profound impact on our loved ones..
a caring note in a lunch, 
a goodnight hug and I love you to your teen,
a smile when your spouse walks in the door.  
Little touches. 
Big effect.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Family Portrait

It may seem simple enough,
but gathering the large family for a portrait is no easy feat. 
First, you must choose a time when everyone is home.
  Second, I desired that we were all in fairly good shape, no black eyes, large scrapes on our faces, etc.  
This is harder than you might think,
especially when one has 5 boys.  
Third, everyone's clothes must all be clean at the same time. 
Fourth, and hardest, all eyes should be on the camera, 
which is virtually impossible, as seen here. 
After countless shots, you are finally reduced to just hoping everyone has their eyes open
Getting a good smile is not as difficult,
as daddy is known for making random comments that easily produce smiles and grins.  
One and a half hours later, an acceptable photo is produced, and everyone sighs in relief.  
They were all good sports, and it was a fairly painless experience this time.

It was all done in the nick of time, 
as John was shipped off to fight fires in New Mexico the next day.
  He could be gone for up to three weeks. 
By that time, Rose will be on a plane bound for Uganda, 
where she will spend the summer in ministry  with Next Generation Ministries. 
Anna will be absent most of the month of July counseling at camp,
something she takes great delight in. 
She still writes to a few of her little girls from last year. 

It will be so strange to only have 6 children at home for the summer.  

As we scatter for a time, my prayer is that the memories we have made day by day 
will be so tender and precious that each person who goes out of our doors 
will carry the blessing of home and family upon them wherever they go;  
The melody of our homelife will be a song whose voices of love and prayer
inspire them as they are far away,
comfort them when they are lonely, 
and continue to whisper love and truth to their ears.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tea Time

 I love, love, love, to have friends over for tea.  
The whole act of tea time....
taking extra special measures to exude grace, beauty and the best of linens, china dishes, 
flowers, candles, and the most delectable foods, with a steaming cup of tea....
along with the non hurried afternoon to visit extensively... 
joins the essence of fellowship 
and the beauty of hospitality in harmonious communion 
to create the sublime.

 The new Taste of Home's 100 best recipes magazine was more than I could withstand, 
I just had to have it, and began trying new recipes right away. 
Caramel Praline Torte,
Chicken Bacon Cresents,
Pesto Cheesecake with homemade crackers, 
and strawberries, which are outstanding this year, 
finished off the menu. 
I served our favorite herbal tea, Preacher's Passion, along with the standard English breakfast.

Whether it is one special friend, or a group of six, 
the aspect of nurturing a special time to share together is one of my delights in this earthly life.
  Although I dearly love food, I relish watching others enjoy the dishes I have prepared even more, 
and tea time is an opportunity to pull out all the stops and go over the top 
with all those super recipes that we don't usually have. 
Collecting the linens and pretty things is also part of the fun. 
Most of the china I have has been given to me, and none of it matches, 
so I have an eclectic table joined by colors of yellows and pinks. 
The table never looks the same twice that way.

When we gather a group together for tea, 
everyone brings food for the children ("locusts") which they may partake of on the porch, 
then run off to play with friends they, too, do not get to see so very often.  
The older daughters usually join us, observing and learning from our conversation, 
take the babies on walks, and help with the locusts if need be.
  Older boys who do not have work for the day may be found tramping through the woods together, 
or holding babies as well.   
Is there anything so sweet as a young man holding a little one?

All  have a wonderful time, and ask when we are having tea time again.  
Again next month, Lord willing, is the answer----
and until then, I will have my nose in the recipe book planning and devising, 
and yes, praying that the anticipated day will be
a blessing to all.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

J.R, Miller

Sometimes, we get swallowed up in the day to day activities and events of life 
and therefore lose sight of the beauty that God intended for us to enjoy within family life. 
Piles of laundry, a sick baby, a hectic schedule 
can blind us to the joy of the Lord and the beauty around us, 
then we find ourselves empty of joy
and questioning, 
or irritable.  

Sometimes we listen to the world, begging for our attention, 
which then grabs us and convinces us that a distraction from real priorities is actually good for you.  
There are so many options to tear your heart away from home. 
Nowadays, with the internet, 
 you don't even have to leave home
to be distracted 
away from home.

I asked a friend for a description of her mother, 
here is part of the startling reply:  
"My mother was always fully present with us.  
I could bring her a big pile of books and she would always read the whole stack to me.
  If I went to get more, she would read those too. 
She always had time for us."

Fully present.  
That has stuck with me.  
Too many times my answer is, "just a minute honey", or "not now dear."  
As if whatever task I am occupied in is more important than my own dear children.

Sometimes slowing down, saying no to good things, but distracting things, 
and focusing in on our loving Heavenly Father, 
our home,
and our family 
is what is needed to restore and recharge a weary or overwhelmed soul. 

if you slow down and listen, 
you can hear Father calling you to simplify, 
purify your priorities, 
and turn your heart towards home.

  "Sisters, Brothers, Husbands, Wives- 
Homelife is meant to be beautiful, ennobling, and victorious!"  
God intends for each person, from parents to child, 
to play a role in family life,
the ultimate goal of which is 
the transformation of the individual
the home 
and the society
for the glory of God.." 
- J.R. Miller- Homemaking

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Life at our House Today

 Life at Providence Lodge is usually a peaceful, relaxing, happy place.

Once in a while,
life happens; 
accidents, relationship problems, etc.
and in such cases, 
we tend to huddle.

We've been in that huddling state since Sunday, 
when Ben burned his arm and leg badly.
We are now tending him and his burns, 
keeping him quiet and entertained, 
and thanking the Lord it wasn't any worse. 

We are also thankful to have had the influence of my dear friend, 
who over the past several years has prompted us to purchase a burn kit with lidacaine
to use in just such accidents. 
This we did, and mercifully, it saved Ben a  trip to the ER, and gave him faster relief from the pain. 

He is a good little patient
and, thanks to many prayers, coping with it quite well.
Still, a mama's heart breaks for her little one when they are hurting,
and all must be done to ensure he is loved and nurtured and happily distracted.
Thus, it feels like life is a little slower.
Everyone is keenly aware of helping Ben. 
There is one less whirlwind running through the house. 
A current of gravitas wafts through the atmosphere of the home when such pain is  endured.

We see God's hand of mercy so evident through each day:
Ben tipped a pot of hot water on himself, but less than half of the water made it out 
before someone righted the pot. 
We were right at hand and got him to cold water immediately. 
We had the proper medications to help him.  
We had a Dr. with us at the time of the accident, 
along with many other people who began praying for him at once. 

What could look like a terrible ordeal, has actually been a bolstering of faith for our family,
little ones included. 
Lessons are being learned on being prepared,
how to treat a burn, 
caring for someone ill or in pain,
and the more important one of Jesus, 
who is the healer of our souls, 
not just our flesh.  
He will bring forth new life from the dead, rotting debris in our lives. 

His Holy Spirit is the comforting salve to which we should administer to our wounds and scars.

  Blessed be the Lord, to lovingly give us such vivid pictures to stamp his Truth on our hearts, 
and pour forth grace upon Ben in the process.

God is good.  All the time.

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

Popular culture has a decidedly feminist bent.  Recent movies, tv shows and prominent women  are displaying heroins as   to...