Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Homekeeper Journal 6/30/10

In my yard…The raspberries are finished. The blackberries are beginning to ripen. Cucumbers and tomatoes are coming along nicely. The sunflowers are taller than I am now. My kids’ corn in the front yard is up to my chest, but mine in the back is barely knee high. The mint is out of control, but I’m thinking of planting it all around the house, as I read last night that it repels ants. Oh, and I’ve had one pumpkin already ripen up. What’s up with that?

On my grill…Nada! I think I’ve only used it once this year!

With my children… They seem to be growing up so much this Summer that I wonder if I will recognize them from day to day. They also are growing up literally as each one of them has added at least a couple of inches since Spring.

On my mind…I was worried at the beginning of the Summer what I would do with the kids all Summer long. Now that we are at the half-way point, I worry what I will do when they go back to school. We’re also going to have to start getting ready for the County Fair, which will be held the third week of July. The kids are Cloverbuds with 4H and really enjoyed entering stuff in our local Fair last year. The County Fair is a lot bigger and I think they’ll be ecstatic.

The book of the Bible I keep finding myself turning to lately… Genesis – creation, wonderment, rebellion, destruction – it has it all.

I am reading…Positive Discipline – so far I’ve come to realize that I don’t have a lot of the problems that are common – bedtime, bath time, etc. – and never have. This is probably due in part to my Totalitarian Regime, which is not in line with Positive Discipline. :)  However, it did say to think, “He’s so cute!” when your children are displaying age appropriate, albeit defiant, behavior. I think I’ll try that.

I am looking forward to…running off with the kids again. Last week we went to my hometown, stayed with Pa Pa, and visited some of the local attractions, like the pool and a giant mining digger thing that totally blew my mind. (see below) Next week I think I’m taking them about 3 hours away for a couple of days in a motel and at an amusement park – all by myself! I’m getting so brave. I’m also looking forward to cooler weather with less sweating.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Smooth and Green

“Cursed are you above all the livestock and the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.” Genesis 3:14

We were just getting ready to cut a few of my hydrangeas to take in the house, when my 5YO says:

“Mommy, there’s a snake in your flowers.”

“Where?” I say.

“Right there!” he says.

“I don’t see it.” I say. “Point to it.”

Pointing, very close to its head he says, “Right THERE!”

“Now I see it,” I say. “Watch him while I go get the camera!”

He was very green and slender and only had about four inches of himself sticking out of the flower at any one time. I took several pictures of him and he held perfectly still. He even seemed to be smiling in one of the pictures.

Finally, our hydrangea cutting plan nixed, I decided to goose him out of the flower, just to see how long he really was. He just kept slithering out, all two foot of him, green and slender. I learned later via the internet that he was indeed a Smooth Green Snake. Cute, but a snake nonetheless!

You always see pictures of Adam and Eve under the tree with a huge snake tempting them. I wonder how it might have turned out if the Devil had used a Smooth Green Snake instead, or maybe a common Garter Snake. I guess Adam and Eve were still enough in love with God’s creations not to issue my standard response for a snake sighting of “Get me the shovel!”

You’ll be happy to know that Mr. Smooth Green lived to eat another cricket. I’m learning not to freak out over every snake I see, just most of them. Once I knocked my youngest off the back porch while doing my snake dance and he had a scab form in the shape of a T on his head. Everyone would stop us and ask if he had to have stitches and I would have to tell them that, no, I knocked him off the porch when a snake came after us. They all thought it was pretty funny, except the baby falling off the porch part.

May your temptations be small and obvious this summer, just like your snakes!

And try not to freak out. It can be harmful to the children.

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Feeling Special

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

While doing my motherly duties as a nail trimmer the other night, I remarked to my 7YO: “You have the dirtiest toenails in the world!” He said, “Maybe that’s what makes me so special.”

So what makes you special?

I know that I’m tall and have a sense of humor. I have freckles on my nose that I’ve passed along to my children. I’m as uncoordinated as a giraffe on ice, but I can kick a soccer ball higher and further than my husband. I’m fearless in the face of bugs and I’ve sent several snakes to their graves, but I can’t breathe in total darkness. I understand when my horse tries to tell me something. There is very little that I cannot accomplish with packing tape, material or paper. My children think I’m the “best cooker in the world.” You never have to guess what I am thinking.

There are lots of things that make us who we are. Some we enjoy. Others we could live without. But the fact is we are us for a reason. So what if you’re too loud? So what if you can’t always find the right words? So what if you have dirty toenails? There is something about you that makes you special to someone. Maybe that someone is your kids. Maybe it’s your husband. Maybe it’s your best friend. Or maybe it’s just God.

Hope you’re feeling special today!

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Homekeeper Journal 6/22/10


What’s going on in my kitchen this week ….. tomatoes ripening on the windowsill and light foods for supper. We’ve been having one main item and then lots of fruit/vegetables to go with it. Last night we had chicken nuggets with peas, grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, watermelon, and tomato. Oh, and a terrible mess on the floor thanks to foam crosses and cutouts that we are making to take to my grandma’s assisted living place later in the week.

This week, I have simply not been able to get a handle on ……my housework. Leaving tomorrow to visit my dad and I’d intended to leave a clean house for my husband. Oh well. I guess it will give him something to do while we’re gone.

Its so hot here ….. that I can feel myself cooking even when I’m in the pool. Good thing too, because that tells me it is time to get out before I turn into a lobster.

If I could have a pantry built to order ….. I think I would opt for a walk-in refrigerator or freezer instead. Or maybe a summer kitchen with a commercial dishwasher and stove and a stainless steel worktable. Oh, and one heckuva air conditioner too, so I wouldn’t get hot. Or maybe just an entire restaurant where I would serve lunch and dinner, but still have breakfast available all day long. I would definitely serve Kitty Chicken – an old on-the-road favorite of mine from my bank examining days.

The one place other than where I am that I might like to live is ….. anywhere on about 100 acres that has ponds, creeks, heavy woods, hay meadows and good rock climbing for the kids, but it would have to be close to civilization so I could run to Wal-Mart. I would also love an old stone barn with a hay loft that I could sit up in and watch the sun go down. And maybe a corn field where the kids could get lost.

The most comfortable shoes I have ever had ….. were some black plastic LA Gear combat boots that I had during college. I wore those things all the time. I also have a pair of chunky soled boots that I’ve worn every winter for the past 15 years. Hard to believe, but I have pictures to prove it!

My favorite things about summer ….. longer days. Love the daylight! It is also about time to start looking for monarch caterpillars on my milkweed plants. I always save a few in the fence row so that we can raise monarch butterflies. We did this when I was in sixth grade and I’ve done it every year that I could ever since. Truly one of God’s miracles! And the caterpillars grow so fast!

I know I need to …… get the kids out more this summer, but they don’t want to go anywhere and are totally content to stay at home. I also need to work with my 5YO on learning to read and on math because he is ready, but I’m hesitant because I think he’s going to be bored in Kindergarten as it is. Boredom is not his friend. We’ve been working on drawing and crafts instead.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Amateur Corn

In the Blue Hymnal, hymn 493:

“Sing to the Lord of harvest, Sing songs of love and praise; With joyful hearts and voices, Your alleluias raise. By him the rolling season, In fruitful order move; Sing to the Lord of harvest, A joyous song of love.”

I like to garden. I’m not particularly good at it, but I like it. We are just beginning to get a few tomatoes and cucumbers and have baby pumpkins that are preparing to grow all summer. Every year, though, it seems I have a surprise crop of something. Planted by birds or kids, we never know what to expect. Last year we had okra that we presume the birds planted. By the end of the summer, we’d picked enough of just a few plants to fill a gallon size plastic bag. This year one wheat plant showed up by our air conditioner and the children have quite a corn crop coming along.

We buy dried corn on the cob to feed the birds and squirrels during the winter. We had some leftovers this spring and the kids were shelling out the corn on the front steps. It made a huge mess, so I made them pick it all up and they threw it out into the yard. Who knew it would sprout so well?

We also have a single corn plant in front of our basketball goal that will surely meet its demise, as well as several by their swing set.

The funny thing is that their corn patches seem to be growing better than the corn I planted on purpose, in rows, in the back yard.

No one is more excited than the kids to see their corn growing. They make me look at every single plant they find and know right where they planted it. Mine is in three short rows near my lawn chair. They are amazed by their corn’s growth. I am content to sit with my back to mine. The corn in the front yard is almost as tall as they are now. My corn is barely knee high.

Perhaps my corn is suffering from a lack of enthusiasm. Or perhaps God is planting a seed for a love of gardening in my children. Either way, there will probably be plenty of ears for us and the birds this year!

“For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” Deuteronomy 16:15

Friday, June 18, 2010


Tonight, since it is late and I’ve been really bad at keeping up this week, I’m going to give you a short spill on friends. You need them. I need them. We can never have too many. Even those in the animal kingdom seem to know we need each other.

Roany Pony got in trouble tonight for rubbing his rope until it loosened itself, and breaking away from the post I had him tied to. Yes, I should have tied him better, but the farrier was coming and I thought he could be trusted. Roany used his freedom to dump over the bucket of sweet feed that I had sitting by a tree that was meant to be split between him and Scooter as their after-hoof-trimming treat, and ate all the food himself! So, after I caught him again, and determined the farrier would have to reschedule as it was almost time for supper, I tied Roany Pony up again and let Scooter eat in front of him. It was only fair, after all!

After he was finished eating, I was going to let Scooter back out into the pasture. Roany can’t go out there because he is a big pig and would eat himself to death if I give him the chance. Read all about his gluttony here: Groany Pony.  But Scooter, being the good horse friend that he is, wouldn’t leave his pony. Even after I untied Roany, they remained together.

So I left them to have their horse sleepover, and muttered something about them being worse than two kids!

Here are some more animal friends that I took pictures of at the zoo last week:

Flamingoes need friends...

Bats need friends....

Parrots need friends...

And otters need friends. 

Even Jesus needed friends.

Now get out there and make time for your friends this weekend!

It just might do you some good!

"A friend loves at all times..."  Proverbs 17:17

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Homekeeper Journal 6/15/10


What’s going on in my kitchen this week ….. Not much! We’re eating dinner at church every night through Thursday before VBS, and I’ve got one kid at Indian Camp eating brown bag lunches all week, so it is definitely not a big meal planning week! I did manage to make myself a homemade ham, cheese, and pickle pizza yesterday, but I may be eating it the rest of the week.

Every time I try to ….. get something started this week, something else gets in the way. This will probably be our busiest week of the entire summer, so I’m just giving up! I’ll catch up next week. Maybe.

Thinking very heavily on this right now … how God gives us just what we need when we need it. My 7YO started Indian Camp yesterday and got to do arts and crafts and go to the aquarium. Today they were going bowling and roller skating. He’s having a ball and feels grown up. My 5YO wasn’t old enough to go this year, but said he was happy to be home alone. Today I took him to see a movie, and his entire class from his old daycare was there to see the same movie. He got to see all his buddies and be part of the group for the movie. I think he was afraid I might leave him with them though, because at the end of the movie, he came and sat by me. Oh, and yesterday he got a birthday invitation from his one of his other little girlfriends from the daycare and he’ll get to see some of the kids from the other class he was in at the party on Sunday!

I wish my Mother or someone had told me that ….. hanging out with the kids would be so much fun. I might have started doing more volunteering sooner!

I am determined to ….. get the kids to bed before 10 pm the rest of the summer. I’m able to have some quality time reading before passing out when this happens, I’ve realized this week. And apparently reading is very important to me and my mental health.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trials and Agitations

Please turn your red hymnals to hymn number 210, as we rise to sing: “The strife is o’er, the battle done; Now is the Victor’s triumph won; Now be the song of praise begun. Alleluia!”

Yesterday, we experienced the death of our washing machine. In the aftermath, I would like to share a few things I learned during the process:

1. There are videos on YouTube showing how to take your washing machine apart.

2. Those videos make it look much easier than it really is.

3. The entire top of my washing machine could be flipped up like a car hood.

4. Under the agitator are little screens for catching dirt and lint that may be in your laundry.

5. We have a lot of dirt, lint, rocks, gravel, hair pins and plastic tags in our laundry.

6. Removing the inner tub off the agitator spindle requires you whacking the agitator spindle with a big hammer and a protective block of wood while your husband tries to rip the tub out with his bare hands.

7. Your washing machine may have started building its own sandbar in the bottom of the outer tub.

8. This may be as close to the beach as I get this year.

9. When your husband is getting into the shower and you run into the room yelling, “It’s running all over the place!” and grabbing every towel in the bathroom, your husband will go ahead and take his shower.

10. A large load of laundry, completely submerged, equals about 15 gallons of water.

11. I can throw a large load of wet laundry out into a basket into the garage, try siphoning with a garden hose, retrieve pitchers and various water collection items from the kitchen, grab a bucket and the shop vac out of the garage, throw every towel we own on the floor, use the pitcher to bail out the washing machine, throw buckets of water out the front door, and eventually shop vac the rest of the water out of the washing machine, in less than five minutes.

12. When hearing his mother screaming for backup towels, a 7YO child will try to help. A 5YO child will not, because he wasn’t born first, and this is his way of getting back at you.

13. After all the action, your husband will emerge from the shower.

14. When hosing off various washing machine parts in the backyard, make sure you turn off the hose when you’re finished or your backyard will be flooded.

15. I really need to get a clothesline.

We’ll be picking out a suitable replacement for our nemesis machine this evening. I’m spending the day spinning out my partially soured laundry from yesterday and drying towels outside. Hope your Friday is a happy one, and may all your appliances behave themselves. But if they don’t, try to look at all the good quality family time you’re having!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2-3

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Homekeeper Journal 6/8/10


This is my definition of “Homekeeping” ……… a necessary evil of trying to keep up with the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and repairing for the family, all the while trying to teach the children to do these things so that I may someday work myself out of a job. It’s a dream I have. Don’t wake me.

My favorite place to practice the profession of homekeeping is ….. the kitchen, or the living room, or the bathroom, wherever the biggest mess is where I feel like I can make the most headway. Oh, and I like to fold laundry in the bedroom since it means I can watch TV for ten minutes or so on a channel that has never heard of SpongeBob.

I do/do not find joy in keeping my home and I think the reason is ….. I don’t really enjoy it. I always find there is something better I could be doing, like taking a nap. Plus, the children and I are the greatest enemies of a clean house. I’m fighting a losing battle. I do however, like to clean the carpets occasionally just to see how gross we really are. I always feel liberated once all that dirt is down the drain.

At this point in my life, this is what I believe my children, husband and/or other family members think about our home…. It is just good enough and it fits us. Our house may be messy most of the time, but a lot of fun is had by all.

The things I wish someone had told me about homekeeping when I was young.… I didn’t have a great housekeeping example growing up, so I wish someone had told me that the condition of my childhood home was not a reflection of me! That said, no visitor is ever turned away just because I haven’t cleaned the house. I have a little sign on the mantel that says, “I cleaned the house last week. Sorry you missed it.” Most times it is true, but the window of cleanliness is very small. I also have another sign that says “When I get the urge to clean house, I lay down until it passes.”  Sometimes it is true too. 

The messages that I received about homemaking and being a wife/mother when growing up were ….. negative. I truly enjoy being a wife and mother and wouldn’t know what to do otherwise, but not everyone feels the same way.

6 blessings that God has given me this week are …. a/c, a swimming pool, ornery children, an understanding husband, plenty of food, and lots of sunscreen!

Home Work

“The greatest work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own home.” – Harold B. Lee

I got a book of cross-stitch patterns from my Grandma over the weekend. Although I’m not much of a cross-stitcher, I can dream and looked through the patterns last night. One of the patterns was for a Kleenex box cover on which a little house and the above quotation was stitched. I don’t know who Harold is. Probably a great cross-stitch patternist or husband of a compulsive cross-stitcher. I must say though, that his quotation stuck with me through my slumber.

This week I’ve been teaching my children to paint. Not that they really needed a lot of instruction, as most children can pick up a brush, dip it in water and paint, and then drag it across a piece of paper, but most of their works have been abstract and required more than a subtle title to tell the whole story. And I’ve also not been teaching them by instruction, I’ve been teaching them by example. I took it upon myself to make two Egyptian banners for decoration for our VBS next week. I’ve been drawing bugs, eyes, pharaohs, birds, etc., and then filling them in with paint. I am NO artist. But my kids think I am.

They also think I’m the “best cooker ever.” They’ve told me over and over when I serve them anything from their favorite of macaroni and cheese and hot dogs to my homemade cinnamon rolls. My husband jokes that we’ll never get rid of them because they won’t be able to find a girl that can cook like me. I tell him they’ll be the ones doing the cooking because I intend to teach them. No one should go through life being unable to cook at least a few favorites for themselves.

My children also look to me to clean up messes beyond their scope, mend stuffed animals by sewing them up, and plant and grow flowers and such in the yard. They come to me with bloody wounds they need me to bandage, dead animals they want me to bury, and inflatables they know I can amply fill with hot air.

I’ve also tried my best to pass on my faith to them. They ask about God and how to look things up in the bible. They weave heaven into their pretend stories while playing. They know that earth is only their temporary home, and think perhaps it may be so too for their stuffed animals.

So even though I’ve held work positions that, at the time, seemed very important, I think Mr. Lee’s quotation holds a lot of truth for me.

I have come to realize the trade off for my working was paying others to do my family jobs. I want the kids to have great memories from their times at home. I want them to remember that they were always loved by their parents. I want them to remember me taking care of them. And for that to happen, I have to be there.

Plus, they are my ticket to a nice nursing home some day. I need to stay on their good sides!

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Like Pulling Teeth

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’” Matthew 5:38

I heard a commotion in the kitchen. I knew what the conversation was coming to. “Quick, get me a paper towel. It’s almost out!” As I hide, little brother obliges by climbing up on the countertop to reach the paper towel dispenser to aid his brother in one of life’s more gruesome moments – the pulling of teeth.

Now I haven’t always felt this way about baby teeth. When I had a full set of my own, I used to enjoy getting them to where they were barely dangling in my mouth. I used to show my friends how I could flick them with my tongue and sometime I could even feel the underside of the rim of the tooth that was the telltale sign that the tooth was ready to be dislodged. I remember twisting and turning them and how sometimes they would make a crunching sound in my head. My mom and stepdad used to get in on the action and we used floss, doorknobs and handfuls of paper towels. Whatever it took to pull the tooth out!

I also had several that had roots clear to my ankles that had to be extracted by the dentist. They gave me a little plastic tooth saver and I proudly wore my teeth around my neck like some kind of tribal member (I am Cherokee, for the record, but I’m not aware of any tooth customs). And then, of course, the Tooth Fairy would come and leave me a quarter or fifty cents under my pillow, or maybe she wouldn’t for several weeks. The Tooth Fairy was kind of hit-or-miss at my house. But she always left me my teeth.

I put them in a little ceramic container that I kept in my desk. Every now and then, I would get them out and take a look at my teeth. There was one silver capped one, four with long roots, a couple with fillings, and the others. I don’t know why I kept them, but years later when I had my wisdom teeth removed, I brought along a baggy to take my teeth home, even though the Tooth Fairy had long since taken me off her visitation list. I guess I needed a souvenir for the pain and suffering. Plus, I wanted to see what they looked like! They were a part of me, after all. I grew them!

So, you would think that after all my tooth experiences, I would be immune to dental aversion. Nope. Something about having my own child pull out his own tooth makes me ill. His even talking about it occasionally makes me need to lie down with feelings of faintness. And the bloody pearl that is the final outcome goes straight into a sandwich bag and right under his pillow so that this Tooth Fairy doesn’t have to look at it all day.

My son’s Tooth Fairy does, however, carry on the tradition of saving baby teeth, even though she is disgusted by them. My medicine cabinet currently contains eight frontal baby teeth of my 7YO all in their own individual plastic baggies (I’m not touching them) just in case it turns out that my son wants to look at them later on.

I can’t imagine him ever asking for them.

Maybe I’ll save them for his wedding gift.

“But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 8:12

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

6/01/10 Homekeeper's Journal


Just in case you've not heard of the Christian Homekeeper Network, it is a site where fellow Christian ladies give practical and everyday advice concerning living a Christian life. The Network includes blogs from mothers around the country, journaling their particular journey through life. One of the features offered is the Home Keeper's Journal, in which several prompts are given to get you going and then you finish in your own words. Even if you've never blogged or written much before, this could be the start of your introspective journey. Check it out:

In my kitchen ….. bloodshed and purple stains. Bloodshed from my 7YO pulling his eighth tooth this morning (which I think is gross EVERY time) and purple stains from all the mulberry jelly I’ve been making lately.

My marriage or relationship ….. June is the anniversary month for when my hub and I first met and went on our first hot date. And when I say “hot”, I mean in temperature. We went fishing at my grandpa’s pond which is surrounded by chat piles.

With my children ……second full week of summer vacation, and I’m working on getting them out of the house more with less resistance. All they want to do is stay in the house and play with their toys. It may be a long summer, but at least we’ll be cool!

I feel so relieved when ….. I wake up every morning and have absolutely no place to be but right where I am.

My spiritual life is (choose one) flourishing, declining …. (and talk about why)…I think it is flourishing. I’m surrounded by good Christian people, more so than I have been in the past 10 years while I was working. Also, starting my blog makes me look for biblical lessons to apply to my everyday life and has me reading my bible more. I’ve run across many verses that I once knew, but had forgotten.

If I am honest, the thing that keeps me from praying as much as I should is ….. sleepiness. My prayers go like this, “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...”, so I’ve started praying in the middle of the night when I wake up and can’t fall back asleep. Which happens quite frequently. Should I be worried about menopause?

I see God moving in (a particular area) and ……my old church and I see people resisting change. They have a new pastor after thirty years and some of the members are having a hard time accepting that this man is the one they prayed for. God doesn’t make mistakes, so he is the answer to their prayers, whether they like the answer or not.

This is in the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind, but should be moved into the light …. are all the transgressions of others that I tell myself I’ve forgiven them for, but that I just can’t seem to purge from my memory. I think it may be hereditary. Could I be related to an elephant?