Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Something To Remember As We Enter The New Year

-by Edgar A. Guest 

I have to live with myself, and so
I want to be fit for myself to know,
I want to be able, as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don't want to stand, with the setting sun,
And hate myself for the things I've done.

I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself,
And fool myself, as I come and go,
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of a man I really am;
I don't want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect,
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.

I can never hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself, and so,
Whatever happens, I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.

I think I bears remembering here that not only should we comport ourselves in such a manner that we can like ourselves, but that we are not the only one who can see inside us.  God sees all the stuff we think, and oftentimes do, keep hidden from everyone else, and even knows about those things that we don't like (or, are not used to) admitting to ourselves; like the true motivation behind the things we do.  It's good to give ourselves heart check-ups from time to time, to make sure that even the "good" that we are doing is done with the right intention.  The New Year is a great time to do a heart check-up.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas the night before, the night before...

...and the last of the presents (except for the gifts of food, which will be wrapped as needed), are wrapped and under the tree.  This is the first year we went ahead and put the gifts under the tree instead of bringing them all out on Christmas Eve, after everyone's in bed.  I'm just not as young as I used to be, and I want to go to sleep.

I thought I might as well get a post in now because the next few days will be BUSY - as I'm sure they will at your house as well.  The first of our four Christmas dinners/parties will happen tomorrow.  There are cookies to bake, meals to prepare, gift bags to pack, the house to clean, and kiddies (and young [and older] adults) to get ready.  It sure does sound like a lot, but trust me, it's not nearly as hectic as it has been in years past.  Having older children makes the whole thing much more manageable.  Plus, time has taught me to pare down, and enjoy more - a lesson that would have served me much better had I learned it as a young, busy-with-so-many-little-people-mom.  I hate to remember how crazy I used to make myself, and the rest of my family with what I thought was necessary.  Oh well, live and learn - and try to teach your kids better.

Before I leave off, I would like to ask anyone out there listening to be in prayer for the health care bill they are trying to shove down our throats.  It's heinous that it's even being voted on in such a rushed, haphazard fashion.   We would all do well to remember what Thomas Jefferson once said;  "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."  Here, here!!!  This is an example of that at it's worst.

After praying about this, thank God for all that you do have, hug your kiddies, and/or any other loved one that you can pin down for a minute or two, and spend some time focusing on the greatest gift ever given to mankind - JESUS.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


We've had a rare, before Christmas snow!  Not that it's going to hang around until Christmas, but still - it's snow!  We seldom get snow before January and Feburary, actually, we seldom get snow at all; ice and sleet are more common.  There are years we don't get any, and there are years where we get just enough to really irritate the kids - the kind where I won't let them go out, because while there is, technically, snow on the ground, there's just enough to make a really big, muddy mess.  Then there are those rare (and I think much more appreciated because of their rarity) years where we get one or two really nice snows. 

This is what our yard looked like late yesterday.
There are three swings, but the girls are constantly
tucking two of them out of the way so they can spin
around on the one in the middle.

Self explanatory; the deck. It was snowing in
both of these shots, but it's kind of hard to tell.

This morning.

It rained and sleeted some more after the snow
last night, so there's a layer of ice on top.
That's pretty common for around here, and
certainly doesn't keep the kids from playing in it.

When one of your darling daughters steps in a
hole, the ice layer becomes more apparent.

Pictures like these, of ice coating everything,
are much easier to get around here.

A particulary pretty little spot in the stand of
trees behind our house.

And finally (for those of you who are used to seeing
snow, I'm sure you're glad I'm about done), this is a
shot of the back of our house.  Aren't the clouds
beautiful in this picture?

Once they were all back in the house, Kay made hot chocolate.  She opened a new gallon of milk and poured it in the pot before shaking it up, so ALL the nummy (as T.Lynn likes to say) cream got in there.  It was sooo good!

We'll go and try to dry the girls coats and mittens, so they can at least get one more shot at the snow before it all melts.  It's already above freezing and water is dripping from everywhere, so there's only so much time before everything is, yet again, one big muddy mess - that will freeze tonight and start the whole process of melting and freezing again tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thinking Outside the Box

"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common." - John Locke

The thing is, the opinion, or idea doesn't even have to be "new" in order to come under scrutiny by others.  It just has to have not been acted on in a generation or two, and if you dare nudge your family in that direction, you are setting yourself up for endless questions, comments, criticism, and even down-right hostile encounters.  People are so used to judging, and being judged that oftentimes you can't even offer an honest answer to a question without the questioner thinking that you are passing judgment on them for not thinking the same.
Here's the short list of things I've been scrutinized for:
Staying at home, even before we had children.
Staying at home after we had children.
Having more than 2 children.
Homeschooling (this would undoubtably be the biggest)
Wearing dresses/skirts all the time.
Believing that my husband is the head of the house (and daring to teach my girls the same).
Now ask yourself, are these concepts really new?  Nope, they're not.  Think back a hundred and fifty years or so, and you'll have to admit that most of the things I've listed above were normal then, instead of being "weird".  Schooling did have many variations, even then, but teaching children at home was still quite common.

The next thing a person should ask themselves is:  Is society really any better right now?
I don't think so.  Yes, we have more stuff, and more opportunities, and less people probably die from starvation, and (definately) less people die from easily treated infections; but has that really made us happier?  Again, I don't think so.  People are constantly dissatisfied and depressed, always reaching for more and more, and our families are in ruins.

The above quote uses the word common, and while I think it a better word to use, most people think of things as "normal", or "abnormal" (when in reality they are just common or uncommon).  I don't care about "normal".  When we were newly married, and expecting our first child, I looked around at how "normal" families were doing things and decided that I didn't want that for our family.  It was depressing to see the families struggling after so much stuff (and happiness) and the children turning out to be demanding little monsters that you really didn't want over at your house for fear of the mayhem they would bring.  I could never wrap my mind around the concept of reasoning with a two year old (they don't reason - they want).  I don't agree with the idea of children having rights (as in their right to have the newest/best whatever, or their right to privacy, except when in the bathroom).  They aren't paying for the house, so it isn't REALLY their room - hence - YOU have the RIGHT to know what's in there (and you SHOULD know - no child should have an arsenal, or drugs in their room, and you not have a clue about it).  I started watching the families that I felt were succeeding in raising their children well, and incorporating what they were doing into our family.  After I got saved, I began to see how those things lined up with scripture.  Now, oftentimes, the biggest stuggles come when I try to explain our beliefs to other Christians.

I'll leave this off with a final thought - a really sad event that happened several years ago, in a neighboring county, that sums up how society has failed when it comes to their families.  It was winter (but winter in NC frequently means it's freezing overnight, but will get above freezing during the day) and we had some nasty weather during the night.  It was the kind of day that has the school officals wrestling with whether or not to cancel, delay, or start school at the normal time (it's a no-win situation for them).  In one county, a 17 year old girl died that morning in a car accident on the way to school.  She was driving and lost control of the car on an icy patch.  I am very sorry for the loss that family endured, but as I watched TV that night, a reporter was talking to her mom, and her mother was blaming the school officals for her daughters death.  The thing that struck me the most was the fact that the mother admitted that she didn't feel as though it was safe for her daughter to drive that day, but allowed her to go off by herself anyway.  Why does this bother me?  Because the entire decision was the parents responsibility. When it comes right down to it, it's the parents job to ensure the safety of their children, and if you think a situation is dangerous, you don't put your children in it.  Period!  Parents have become so accustomed to abdicating responsibility for their children, that it has become "normal".  So, all of our hands-on, in their face, know all of their business, the kids are with me all the time type of parenting leaves us wide open for all the comments, criticism, etc. I mentioned earlier.  But that's okay - I'm a big girl, I can take.  

There are times though, that all I can really say to all of this is, "Well, we'll just have to wait and see if we did it right." 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Our co-op order came in today.  Yay!!

The weight for the total order ended up being about 2,000 lbs., so hubby took all three of the younger girls with him when he took Beenie to her guitar practice, in order to free up both of the older girls for me.  My cousin was also available to help, as were two other kids from church (one's mom was heading up the whole thing).  They were very quick, and had the truck unloaded by the time the other mom and I could get things organized to start checking and splitting up the order.  There were a couple things missing from the order, but all in all, I think it went pretty smoothly.

This was our part.  We have 75lbs. of Kamut, 25lbs. each of soft white wheat, pinto beans, and popcorn, and 5lbs. each of thick rolled oats, kidney, red, and navy beans.  170lbs. in all, and the best part is that my portion of the shipping was less than $15.00.  Again - yay!!

I set out buttermilk to culture last night so I can start baking all kinds of yummy things.
I see pecan sticky buns in our future (as soon as we shell the pecans!).


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ever wonder what happens when you play tag in a long (brand new-you know, it would HAVE to be brand new) skirt?

This is what happens.  Of course, I was informed
that she didn't step on her own skirt - the one
chasing her stepped on it.   Well, perhaps we
should wear one of our older, already worse-
for-wear skirts when we plan on running around
outside.  (But mom, we weren't planning on running
around - it just happened.)

Thankfully, it mended nicely.  Mostly the
lace was just torn from the skirt, but even
the parts that were a little shredded came
back together with just a little effort.
All things consisdered though, this was a much
easier mend than the one that got caught in the 
 bicycle chain.  As if the holes aren't bad enough,
you have all that grease to get out too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Ask any of my children and they'll tell you that I ALWAYS tell them that dreading a task only makes it harder to get it done.  And, being a (reasonably) good mother, I constantly remind them not to procrastinate.  So why is it that all I keep doing is eyeing the stack of schoolwork sitting on top of the school cart, beside the computer table - you know, as opposed to actually picking it all up and going over it?  Well, part of it is that I've been fairly busy the past several days, so it has gotten backed up into a pretty impressive pile (I hear echos of myself, telling the girls not to put things off - it only makes the job worse), and part of it is that when I did have a few minutes yesterday, I procrastinated. 
Ugghhh!!  It sure is easier to give advice, than it is to live it out.  There's a lesson in there somewhere - something along the lines of only taking advice from people who actually exhibit the things in their life that they're trying to relate to you.  Just don't tell the girls I said that until the school cart is cleaned off!
I'm going, I'm going.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It was milk day, so guess what happened - again. 
Yep, you guessed it, it rained.
Not that I don't appreciate rain.  We had quite a run of dry years there for awhile, so I should just hush up about the whole thing, but...Really?  Rain every other Tuesday in SC?  Maybe I should I should move my pick up day.

Maybe I'll find something better to blog about after the van dries out.  I'll give it a try after I excavate the mud from the floormats.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm getting Superman to set up my tree.

Yep, that's right.  Superman will set up my Christmas tree.  Seem a little wierd?  It's really simple.  Last year I bought this adorable christmas tree stand that is a little sleigh with a section in the middle to set the tree in.  It's entirely too cute, but it turns out that it is a bit of a pain to actually put a tree into.  I will add here that the tree we had last year had some knobby areas around the base that made our job a little more difficult as well.  Anyway, the girls and I struggled valiently last year to put the tree up.  It kept leaning first this way, and then that way.  We did our best to rework the screws that hold it up, twisting the tree around, and proping it in different ways.  We even took it all the way down and put it back up again.  By this time, the base was looking a little worse for wear, and I was ready to pitch the whole thing  getting just a bit frustrated.  Then dear hubby came to the rescue and suggested we put rocks in the base to help stabilize the tree.  I had just the thing - glass fish bowl beads.  Our last fish had died a month or two before, so we had a bunch out in the garage.  They worked like a charm, and on our third attempt, the tree went up without a hitch.
Now, where does Superman fit into all this, you might ask.  Well....add one smart aleck teenage boy into this mix and it might all make sense.  You see, when one of the girls was relating the story to a friend at church, he thought it was rather amusing that it should take the three of us that many attempts to get the tree up.  After he shared his opinion on the situation, I demanded sweetly asked him to come set up our tree the next year.  Actually, my response was something along the lines of, "Okay superman, if you think it's that easy, YOU will put up our tree next year".  I reminded him of this just the other day.  He doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it, but there is a part of me that REALLY wants to buy the biggest tree we have ever had, sit down on the sofa, and watch him have at it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


It's been pretty exciting here today.

Late this afternoon, while on the phone with one of the ladies that orders milk with us, we lost power.  Since the sun was on it's way down, it was pretty dark in the upstairs hallway and in the stairway.  The power was blinking off an on, some of the girls were hollering "I can't see!", and I was trying to yell over everyone to the older girls to turn the AC/Heat pump controllers off, while running through the house to get to the breaker box in the garage.  You see, we've had electric panels in AC units fry when that has happened before - I don't want a repeat.  After the power blinked off the last time, the girls lit every candle we had, and we sat around and discussed what we were going to do about supper.  When we talked about possibly going out, hubby tried to pick on us by telling us we were trapped since the van was in the garage and the door was down.  We had to let him in on the fact that we are well acquainted  with how to disengage the automatic opener so that it can be opened manually.   Enough of us were talking at the same time, that he never got around to asking us why we knew that.  We ended up deciding to have pizza delivered.  When I called in to ask about their menu, the very nice lady on the other end suggested (midway through) that I could look it all up online - Nope, sorry, no power = no internet.  We were both laughing before I hung up.

The next little bit of excitment may not be all that exciting for anyone else, but it was for me.  We are putting in our first co-op order for grain, and other organic food.  Yay!!!  I've wanted to do this kind of thing for so long, but I guess no one else in this county is interested in eating well - okay, so maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but it has sure seemed like it every time I've tried to find out about co-oping.  I go to church in a different county, and one of the ladies there does co-ops, so I have my first opportunity to get a decent deal on grain.  I wanted to order all kinds of things, but I tried to be good, and not order a bunch of stuff that I can't put in the cabinets.  I'll try to start getting some buckets, or other containers that will hold big quantities of things like beans and rice, but it will take time to do it all.  Plus, I could just see hubby looking at, oh, 100lbs of rice, or something, and going berserk.  I did order a total of 100lbs of grain, but he's seen fairly nice size quantities of that before, and right now he's just tickled that he's not having to pay more for shipping than the grain costs per pound.

Now I can go plan on some baking for this week - no more rationing my grain, since my order will be in soon.  Yay!!!