Building happy childhood memories…

19 Jun

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Camping on Madeline Island, picnics with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles and cousins, sunny afternoons at the beach… I am thankful Momma and Daddy planned fun traditions for our young summers days.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or take all day to create fun memories. We happened to notice that Baskin Robbins has $1.00 kids cones on Tuesday nights. Since they are only about 5 minutes from our house, we have become summer time regulars.

I would love to hear from you – What are some of the favorite simple summer pleasures your family enjoys?

when the kids come home…

18 Jun

Busy with preparations, the music plays.

My heart soars in anticipation.

Randomly, I hear the cars approaching the drive.

Piled into the kitchen, like sardines in a can, we crowd …

Chopping veggies, bumping elbows, weaving through the maze of family to find the salt.

The music changes with each person’s taste.

My heart again full, as one more – unexpected, arrives. His plans have changed.

Behind the voices the music continues.

Sounds of laughter in the yard sing through the window.

The smell of the smoker lingers in the air enticing the men, tall and small, to monitor the meat.

Finally, we gather.

Hand in hand, thanking God for His provision.

The music replaced by the steady hum of voices and the clinking of dishes.

Pockets of conversations filter through the air.

Caring words of concern,

Thoughts of passion and zeal,

Surface chatter of insignificant things.

The sun begins to set.

Reluctantly the day comes to a close.

Silently, we rest.

But the music is still heard as a memory…

Covering the Soil

15 Jun

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I had so much fun yesterday! I spent almost the entire day in the garden. While the older half of the family was out working hard, my day was spent playing with the kids. I felt a little guilty to be enjoying the day so much, until I remembered that weeding, mulching, raking, laundry and cooking is actually work. I just happen to love my job!

The first picture above shows how my soil looked at the beginning of the season. After a dear friend sent me the link to a website called Back to Eden I started to re-evaluate my plans. If you happen to be interested in gardening, I highly recommend taking the time to watch Paul Gautschi’s film. He has a free version on his site.

I am blessed to have a son that delivered two loads of mulch to help me get started, a great crew at home to help me spread it, and plenty of mouths to consume the harvest!

Oh! I almost forgot. Yes, that is a bed frame you see in the garden! It is our creative way to tie up the tomatoes rather than buying a ton of tomato cages. We’ll see…

Learning to Listen to God

14 Jun

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Looking into my child’s eyes, with his cheeks resting in the palms of my hands, I answered the question – for the third time. “Each time you asked I replied, but you weren’t listening.” I continued, ” You need to learn to be still for a moment and listen!”

I stopped and reflected on my own words. How am I doing on listening? How many times do the children speak before I hear them? Do I quickly take care of something my hubby may have asked me to do, or do I procrastinate?

Mark repeatedly has done a character study with the kiddos, beginning when the older were the younger…

Part of it includes something like this:

True listening means paying attention with your ears, eyes, mind, and hands.

1. Ears: Try to block out any other noise, and focus on what is being said.

2. Eyes: Give full eye contact, not looking away, distracted by something else.

3. Mind: Embrace what is being said, thinking it through. Mull it over in your mind.

4. Hands: Put into action what you have heard.

In my recent post In a world full of contradictions… , I referred to gaining wisdom by seeking God. Learning to listen to God can be just as hard as teaching our children to listen to us, but it doesn’t have to be. The same principles apply to both situations.

1. Ears: Take time to be still, quiet before the Lord. (As a busy mother of young children, sometimes the only semi-private moments are in the bathroom!)

2. Eyes: Take time to read the Word of God, even just a verse or two if time is short.

3. Mind: Ponder what you have read, applying it to your daily life.

4. Hands: Don’t just forget and move on. Put it into action.

These are lessons I am still learning. In fact, I am sure it will be a lifetime of learning. But, I have seen that the more I practice listening – and put in to practice what I have heard – the better listener I become.

Important Plumbing Update

13 Jun

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Just a quick update for everyone that has been on pins and needles waiting for a update on our plumbing…

While we were out playing, setting our feet into this refreshing water, the nice plumber man sent his crew to our home. Everything is in working order once again!

Good things do happen when we are patient! :)

In a world full of contradictions…

12 Jun

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“Take the blanket off your poor baby, it’s much too hot! He needs air!”, were the bold instructions Mark and I received as we began to walk through the church parking lot. It was the first Sunday morning of our newborn’s life. Before reaching the entrance to the building, we were admonished again, this time for not having him covered better. “He’ll catch a draft if he is not wrapped!”

The nurses at the hospital sent us home with strict instructions to feed our baby every three hours and no sooner! By the time our fifth and sixth babies were born, the view on feeding had changed dramatically. “Feed on demand.” When our later babies came… well, I guess I really don’t know what the advice was. We did what we thought was best for each child.

Should we put our children into public school, private school, home-school? Should we choose a classical curriculum, unit studies, text books, work books, co-ops, or simply un-school????

In a world full of experts and contradictions, I need wisdom!

At the end of the day, it’s not the well meaning people in the parking lot, the nurses at the hospital, or the latest books on education that are responsible for our actions. We, as parents must make our own sound decisions.

Seeking God personally, as a couple, and as a family has consistently been our greatest resource.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

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she looked up at me, stunned

8 Jun

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Sitting next to my eighth grade lab partner, we attempted to conquer the day’s assignment. The frog was placed before us.  Our job was to dissect the unlucky creature. How we had ended up as partners, I don’t remember. What I do know is that I was glad she got along with me. I had seen how she treated her enemies, and it wasn’t pretty.

During the course of our science experiment, we chatted together about our classes, people, likes and dislikes… I have no remembrance of what I may have said, but at one point she looked up at me stunned. “Becky, I have never heard you speak poorly of someone else before!”

At this point, I was stunned.

First of all, I was amazed that she would have even noticed or cared. After I processed her comment, I was ashamed that I had been guilty of the accusation!

This fellow student, who was known for treating others harshly, left a lasting impression in my mind.

The words we speak are powerful, possible of tearing down or building up. As a family, our goal is to always speak well of each other. Even when criticism is necessary, it should be given in love, never spoken of behind another’s back.

A family is a great place to begin the process of learning to treat each other with respect. What a delight to hear a wife carrying on about her wonderful husband or a brother speaking highly of his sister. It takes making a deliberate effort to change our habits – to relearn, but it is worth the effort as harsh words should never be allowed!

Since that day in the science lab, I wish I could say I have never made the same mistake again. Unfortunately I have, but I am thankful my “friend” took notice and confronted me. Because of her, I guard my words more closely.