Wednesday, April 29, 2015

To Explain Away a Miracle

When I wrote "Choosing to See," I was expressing my surprise over reactions to LG and the miracle of his hatch.  The thing is, this is something that I've heard time and again.  I think it runs deeper than one might think.

God answers prayer. ---> God does miracles. ---> God cares. ---> God is there.

These are all things that are easily dismissed when we attribute a miracle to something else, like a soul-less Pheasant.  I've had the healing of my husband's shoulder dismissed to "time," as if the body could heal itself if God wasn't involved.  I've had God's miraculous protection dismissed to "coincidence" or "close calls," as if His angels and His hand had nothing to do with it.  I've had God's timely provision dismissed to the "nick-of-time generosity" of others, as if they gave to me out of the blue without God's prompting. 

Sometimes, it's just really convenient to explain away a miracle because it explains away God.  If God isn't there, you certainly aren't responsible to Him.  You don't have to serve Him.  If He isn't there, you don't owe Him anything. 

To recognize a miracle is to recognize the Almighty God. 

What would come after that?  Dare we ponder that our lives are owed to Him?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Choosing to See

Two weeks ago, I was knocking off items from my to-do list.  I loaded my sewing machine into the truck the night before our weekly co-op day.  Nonchalantly, I threw in the power strip that my machines are normally plugged in to.  By the next afternoon, I greeted my daughter's puzzled expression with a look of horror.  I had unwittingly unplugged the incubator that housed 19 Pheasant eggs - a homeschool project and family micro-farm venture. 


(The Blossoms evidently felt compassion on my remorse and took it remarkably well.) 

My Mom said to pray over them and while I normally pray over many things, on this particular day, my faith was more in the arena of I-will-smile-and-be-pleasant miracles instead of hope-for-Pheasant miracles.  In any case, I did eventually pray, and evidently, so did Blossom1. 

Nine days later... yes, NINE days later, the Blossoms came tearing up the steps to inform me that an egg was wobbling and cheeping.  A short while later, "L.G." (short for Little Guy or Little Girl, pending our discovery of its gender) emerged. 

And, the Blossoms can't stop telling people about the miracle.  The responses have really flabbergasted me.  (seriously)  One person said, "That pheasant must've really wanted to hatch." 

As opposed to our version, in which, an Almighty God had mercy on a tired mama and anticipating children and caused them to see the miracle of an egg hatching, even though it was long past the hatch dates. 

We chose to believe in the miracle, rather than the "determination" of a soul-less pheasant. 

We chose to see. 

Today, wherever you are, you can look around you and choose to see the order and beauty created by a loving God, or you can choose to believe in an accident or some other such nonsense. 

What will you choose to see?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Tippy Toes, Doggie Nose and Five Years

It's like I always say, "If you're gonna have 'helpers,' it doesn't mean you're gonna get your work done quicker, but you'll have good company (and cute company) along the way."  (Additionally, you're investing in the "workers" of tomorrow!)
That's not to say I gleefully remember that every day.  Certainly I'm trying to remind myself of this lately.  Blossom3 wants to be a "restaurant girl" when she grows up and is displaying intense interest in all things kitchen-related.  She's been enjoying it and I'm reminding myself to just slow down and savor the moments with her.  (Yikes, she's FIVE already!)  It IS delightful to see this dream blossoming in her.  So, if you someday see a sign along the road that says, "Blossom3's Diner: Their food is good, but ours is finer," you'd better stop in for a bite!

Somehow or another, we ended up with one less egg for dying than we started out with.  Not sure how it happened or where it went, I just hope whoever finds it months from now, doesn't try to eat it!  (Around here, that is a legitimate concern.) 

Since Daddy was carrying Blossom4 in the pack for our hike the other day, Blossom3 was hiking with me.  It was like a mini Mommy date!  Watching her savor nature and just talking "life" with her, was so nice. 

Eventually Blossom4 had to practice being a big Blossom.  It's funny how little obstacles were big for her.  It kinda makes me think that in life, there are things that I might not find to be difficult, but I have to help the girlies navigate those obstacles, for they may appear larger in Blossom eyes.  Things like dealing with the fear of a thunderstorm or the anticipation of a performance.  Helping them know the Scriptures that brought me peace as a child (and STILL bring me peace) are the steps that will make the obstacles no big deal later on in life.  Plus, when they can trust God in the face of a thunderstorm, they can trust God in the face of anything.  Oh. so. necessary.

Rory-Bear is growing... and growing closer to us.  Though his chubby little puppy legs eventually grew tired near the end of our hike (he was missing his couch!), he plodded on, prodded by his love for being near us.  We like our dogs to have heart!

Next Friday is our last day of school.  The girls have been plugging along getting those loose ends tied up.  Yay for perseverance! 

Have I ever mentioned how much I love homeschooling?  I'm just so thankful for the opportunity to do this with our children.  I look back on the last five years and I smile - seriously.  I'm also a little surprised.  I hadn't really thought about how we've got five years under our belt as of next week!  The quality time I spend with them every day... The joy of scaling the mountains and valleys of learning with them is priceless to me! The investment every day in the things that we deem important is comforting in those oh-so-tiring night-time reflection sessions.  The togetherness... the reading aloud... the meals together... did I mention the togetherness? 

There is so much I love and am grateful for in this journey. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Some Real Life

It's real life here.  Blossom3 is tickled pink because I got out the "big girl" stuff out for some math work yesterday.  She was hounding me this morning to get to it again. 

I don't usually send the littlest to another room to play.  They prefer to be right there in the mix.  So long as they are obedient, I am good with this.  (I've got a little secret for you: I actually like it this way.)  While Blossom3 tackles basic addition, Blossom4 solemnly works on her fine motor skills, as well as unknowingly absorbing numbers from Blossom3. 

It's neat to watch Blossom4's creativity with the math manipulatives while I supervise the addition and flashcard work. 

When she grew tired of the little blocks, we switched to some pasta!!!  It's another great activity that isn't so ordinary and is perfect for fine motor skills. 

It's important to me to let the little girlies work on fine motor skills, as it helps immensely when they learn to write.  I don't obsess over complicated activities every day, instead, I like to let them play with things that are small, things that I'd be tempted to keep put away because it requires too much supervision on my part.  (I'm convinced that successful, intelligent children are allowed to really play, touch things, get dirty and explore everything, especially what is usually inconvenient for mamas.)

Blossom3 victoriously finished her flashcards and we moved on to some Hooked on Phonics. 

Lest you think life is always smooth sailing here, Blossom4 descended into a crying fit because something eventually just didn't suit.   It's real life and we keep going.  A homeschool day isn't a failure because someone is crying.  We resolve the issue, discipline accordingly and continue plugging away.  That a whole lot like grownup life.  You might cry, but you just keep movin' on.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Confession for Today

Sometimes there are seasons of needful things.  On a vacation a few years ago, the Lord helped me to write this daily confession for myself.  I'd been starting out the day with "stinkin' thinkin.'"  With that, the day would quickly go awry.  For a season, I read it and prayed it over myself daily, helping my mind to think the Truth of the Bible, rather than my own tired, emotional ups and more frequent downs.  Then, for a season, it wasn't needed.  It had done its work and whiled away its time glued to the inside of my journal.  This morning, as Blossom4 awoke *very* early, upset and easily set off by the slightest things, I sought the Lord, with many interruptions and a tired body, mind and heart.  And the Lord took me back here.  I barely made it past the first three points, but thank God for things that He resurfaces at just the right time to strengthen us.  I thought you might like to have a look at it.  Perhaps you will be encouraged as your mind thinks God's Truths.


v  Today, Lord, I thank You that You are with me, so I am not afraid of evil.  (Psalm 23:4)

v  Today, I thank You that I shall not be in want of any good thing.  (Psalm 23:1, 34:9-10)

v  Today, I am strengthened by You.  (Ephesians 6:10)

v  Today, I receive mercy and grace for my time of need.  (Hebrews 4:16)

v  Today, I do not grow weary in well-doing.  (Galatians 6:9)

v  Today, I prosper and am healthy, just as it is in my soul.  (3 John 2)

v  Today, I do my husband good.  (Proverbs 31:12)

v  Today, I submit to my husband, as I do to the Lord.  (Ephesians 5:22)

v  Today, I discipline diligently and my children regard reproof and receive discipline. 

(Proverbs 15:5)

v  Today, I serve the Lord with my whole heart.  (Colossians 3:23-24)

v  Today, I love my husband, children and all others with Your love and I believe with Your faith. (1 John 4:7, Mark 11:22)

v  May Your will be done in me today.  Amen.



You can access this file here for printing.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Sometimes I think that things just need a little tweaking.

As in, T-W-E-A-K-I-N-G.  (Did you get the "You've Got Mail" quote!)

I noticed that I would make a blanket correction toward the Blossoms.

"Girls, GET busy." 

Blossom2 just so happens to *usually* be the only one working.  And hence, she would be upset because she WAS doing what she was supposed to be.  I'd usually respond to her,

"Blossom2, I wasn't talking to you." 

I got to thinking, how is she supposed to know that?  I'd say, "Girls" because it's the quickest thing to get out.  (We all know that rattling off four Blossom names and hopefully not two additional dog names mixed in there, isn't quick.  Don't look strange at me.  If you have multiple kids and a menagerie of animals, you mix their names up too, I'm sure of it.) 

So, I'm tweaking.  Yes, T-W-E-A-K-I-N-G. 

Rattle off the right names (difficult for my frequently befuddled brain) and address the offenders.  I don't need to be creating resentment for children in trouble when they really aren't. 

What do you need to "tweak" in order to more accurately correct your children? 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Keep on, keepin' on!

I was inspired to "keep on, keepin' on" with our repertoire of reading aloud to the Blossoms when I recently read an article on  "How to Read Aloud Every Day" outlined how reading only 5 minutes a day would amount to 30 hours a year.  You could read the entire set of the Chronicles of Narnia in that time!  #worthwhile

Don't give in to mom guilt.  (Many moms think this is just one more thing they *should* be doing.)

You don't need to commit to huge lengths of time.  We can all swing 5 minutes of reading aloud here or there.  The benefits are many - increased love of reading, better vocabulary, healthier imaginations, good quality time together and so much more. 

Product Details

We are currently reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder and What Would Jesus Do by Helen Haidle.  It's a revision of the Christian classic, In His Steps, by Charles Sheldon.  I picked it up at the library, knowing that the classic was inspiring to me personally.  The girlies really took to that book!  I appreciated some of the questions at the end of each chapter, thus inducing them to think about what Jesus would do.  (Quality conversation and discussion!!!)  Blossom2 kept swiping it to read further, until I assured her that it was fine to take to afternoon quiet time so that she could finish it without having to stand at the kitchen counter. 

Product Details

If you're having trouble making 5 minutes a priority, tell yourself you're investing in your children and then turn off your phone and start reading.  :)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Best Parenting Advice I've Heard Lately

I was recently sharing with a friend something I'd noticed in my own life.  As a mom, I feel tempted to think that if I could just be more creative about consequences, I would SEE more progress in my children.  OR, if I could just say something really profound or utilize a new strategy, I would NOTICE the changes in my children.  I realized though that this isn't true.  The parenting advice found in the Bible is straightforward and simple, so uber-creativity isn't a part of that and neither are super profound fancy strategies and slogans. 

I've also noticed that parenting is very much like "I can't see the forest, for all of the trees."  Because I am so much involved with the day to day (trudging) of parenthood and discipline, I only get brief glimpses of progress now and then.  Because we can't see (or feel) any progress, we think we've gotta change something; we need a better stategy or to be more creative.  We are somewhat deceived because what we really need instead is to just keep on, keepin' on. 

Keep on loving.

Keep on being consistent.

Keep on hammering away at that character issue.

Keep on patiently correcting.

Keep on being there. 

Keep on staying with the simple. 

Keep on, keepin' on.

I was at my in-laws house the other day and picked up a book by Phil Robertson, in which he describes his (very concise) parenting philosophy. 

- Rules are made to be broken, so make few rules.
- If they break the rules, give 'em three licks.

Honestly, while many of you are probably squirming, I appreciated his frank simplicity.  Truly, you might find that that lines up with Biblical principles more than most parenting books out there right now!  We spend so much time thinking, "Ok, she mouthed off.  What should I do now?  Maybe a talking-to.  Ok, this time, maybe a spanking.  Ok, now what?  Losing privileges...."  A few quick smacks on the hinder consistently can make all the difference in the world.  (For the record, that's what the Bible recommends.)  It's quick. It happens with surety and it is discipline that actually happens. 

I'd like to note that a lot of folks think that they have to smack the kid to high heaven to make it work. 

Spankings work because of their consistency,
not because of their intense physical pain. 

A few quick licks consistently can help more character progress to occur than the rare overly demonstrative spanking sessions can.

Maybe you need to just keep on, keepin' on or maybe you need to get back to Biblical basics with a"three licks" approach.  I know I've been challenged lately to do a little bit of both.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring Hike - Hurray!

Recently we took a gander on a new trail.  The snow is/has melted around here and the temps are rising.  Trails like this remind me how close most folks are to a nice little hike.  Seriously, we drove 5 minutes down the road, pulled off and got our "hike" on, which really means, unfold the jogging stroller, make sure everyone's coats are zipped up and hats are on.  Oh yes, and hang the camera around Mama's neck! 

The trail started out near a shale "cliff."  We "dinged" around here for a little while.  Blossom2, of course, had to collect rocks, ahem, I mean specimens.  She was smart enough to stow her bag of rocks so that she could snag it on the way down, rather than carry it the whole hike-long.  

 You all know that Blossom4 has an innate need to be up high.  Perhaps this is why she has bonded so well with Rory, our Bernese Mountain Dog.  The breed is originally from Switzerland and although we've only had Rory since February 15th, we've noticed how much he really loves to climb.  This is comically different from Jake, who adores water.  So, there we are with Jake, sloshing through the creek and Rory climbing the inclines on our left, higher and higher. 

I've never attempted a jogging stroller on a hike.  We always went the "pack" route, which when your little ones are two-ish or older, can get pretty heavy, pretty quickly.  It gives me more respect for all the times my dad carried my brothers on LONG hikes (including carrying my brother on his shoulders the entire way through Carlsbad Caverns.  My little brother even fell asleep and stayed asleep a good portion of the way!)  In any case, the stroller was a terrific solution and you can bet we'll be using that method of transporting Blossom4 again!  (Real men push zebra striped strollers!!)

The girls were delighted with all the ice formations they kept discovering. 


Daddy and I agreed that it was so good to be out and getting our blood moving in the brisk, fresh air.  (We both have been reading AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller, which has only strengthened our inspiration for hiking.) 

Something about being in nature immediately turns one's thoughts to the Lord.  I take a deep breath and gaze at the evergreens and the icy brook.  My Creator made this.  He ordered it.  He designed it.  It refreshes and blesses me.  And God called it good.  I'm inclined to agree.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Blossoms, Beauty and the Berner

The days are busy here, but so long as they are God-directed days I am happy with that.

I do love a little spontaneous Blossom playtime.  Those Disney Twinsie dolls just so happen to be Blossom4's favorite little activity.  After being blanket-trained to stay and play on the blanket during school time, she sometimes asks for a blanket to be spread out on the floor to play on.  Maybe boundaries are comforting... who knew?!

After assigning Blossom1 the job of prepping veggies for our supper, she surprised me with this.  That's what I'm talkin' about - girlies in the kitchen, complete with creativity!  I'm finding more and more that girls have a thirst for beauty.  My job is to help them know how to express that beauty and appreciate it in wholesome and Godly ways. 

Speaking of beauty, rustic mornings are astounding in their beauty, at times.  It reminds me of that quote, "A creation points to a Creator." 

And hey, I'm pleased to have finally snagged a decent shot of the "hundts" (affectionate Pennsylvania Dutch pronunciation for "hounds").  Jake and Rory are turning into pals!  I am glad that a Berner (Bernese Mountain Dog) and a Golden (Retriever) get along so well!  They've been adding a lot of "flavor" to life lately.

Well, there's a little photo glimpse into our past couple of days.  Keep the faith, my friends!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The WITH Principle

Thanks for joining me on a journey to evaluate our social media usage.  Does the Bible really have anything to say about this internet age and how it relates to me?  Read on to find out!

How are your social media habits affecting your family?  How much are you giving your family the glazed look?  Jesus spent countless hours WITH His disciples and this is how they learned from him.  That very principle, what I call the "WITH principle" ought to be applied to parenting.  Wouldn't you agree that social media out of control interferes greatly in our child-rearing and family relationships? 

I challenge you to read the Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert Coleman.  This book greatly impacted my parenting philosophy.  Being WITH your family will communicate Jesus to them.  But certainly not if you're giving them that glazed look when you glance in their direction. 

And, that's not even considering how you are training their internet habits.  What kind of gossip, busy-bodying, idleness and such are they learning from watching you on Facebook and the like?  You are training them in sin.

We must remember that the avoidance of temptation may involve drastic sacrifices.

When you're taking a look at your social media usage, ask yourself these questions.  It just might open your eyes.

- What does it make you think about?
- Are there too many words?

 - Are you reading gossip or gossiping?
- Is it slander?
- Is it unwholesome?
- Is it unfit for use God’s use?
- Is it foul, filthy or coarse?
- Does it grieve the Holy Spirit?
- Is it silly talk?
- Is it a word fitly spoken?
- Are you busy-bodying?
- Do you blab your good works?
- Are you wasting time or being idle?
- Is it first world drama?
 - Is it bad company?
- Is it the appropriate medium of communication?

- Is it promoting “WITH” for the best interests of my family?

What will you do now?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Person to Person

Thanks for joining me on a journey to evaluate our social media usage. Does the Bible really have anything to say about this internet age and how it relates to me? Read on to find out!

Have you ever noticed how people really shy away from person to person contact now?  As a Christian, that actually bothers me.  I know there are some situations where a text, a tweet or a personal message can get the job done just fine.  And I certainly won't throw the baby out with the bath water by trying to say that God is anti-media.  That'd be incorrect.  God used media to reach us.  The Bible has many books that are letters - a form of media! 

In general, I would say that person to person contact is usually best.  You'll notice "GO" in these verses, implying a personal conversation.

Matthew 18:15 says, “If your brother sins, GO and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.

Matthew 5:23-24 says, "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and GO, first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering."

I will say this.  If you read, 1 Corinthians 5, Paul passed decisions and judgment via letters!

I conclude that there are some situations (long-distance situations, for example) where emails may be appropriate for communicating to people.  In general though, wouldn't you agree that even a phone call would be a better choice? 

What I'm trying to point out is that some folks are hiding behind their keyboards and computer screen.  They've become social media cowards, typing things that shouldn't be typed and sent. 

What will you do to change your social media habits?

Take a look at the rest of the series here:

- What does it make you think about?
- Are there too many words?

 - Are you reading gossip or gossiping?
- Is it slander?
- Is it unwholesome?
- Is it unfit for use God’s use?
- Is it foul, filthy or coarse?
- Does it grieve the Holy Spirit?
- Is it silly talk?
- Is it a word fitly spoken?
- Are you busy-bodying?
- Do you blab your good works?
- Are you wasting time or being idle?
- Is it first world drama?
 - Is it bad company?
- Is it the appropriate medium of communication?

- Is it promoting “WITH” for the best interests of my family?