Tuesday, August 18, 2009


From now [August 2009] on, I will be posting at our new blogsite:


**Birthday Photos will be up soon!**



so...deleting photos from Picasa, apparently didn't erase all the pictures off my blog...nor did it allow me to post pictures...it's still telling me I don't have enough space...hmm...any other ideas?


Ok, well, I really want to post pictures, but I still can't figure out how to free up storage. Is there a way to save my blog onto a disk and then delete it and start fresh?? I tried making a new blog, but it still won't let me upload picture, b/c I've exceeded the quota. Could I delete all my pictures off of Picasa? I'm really clueless as to how all of this works. Any one know??? Help!


4:54 a.m.

At 4:54 a.m., August 18th, 2005, I became a Mom. Today is Samuel Justice's 4th birthday. We've already sang "Happy Birthday" twice. Later we will make his cake. He wants chocolate. :) For supper, he wants pizza. I'm so thankful that God has given Samuel to us for 4 years. Wow, time flies!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On Motherhood and Profanity...by Elisabeth Elliott

On Motherhood and Profanity by Elizabeth Elliott

"OK now, which one of you clowns put that bag of M 'n' Ms in the grocery cart?" The mother looks harried.

Two boys, maybe five and seven, eye each other and race away toward the gumball machine near the supermarket door. There is an infant strapped to a plastic board on top of the groceries, and a two year old occupying the built-in child seat in the cart. The mother picks up the M 'n' M candy bag and starts toward the aisle to return it. The two year old screams and she relents, throws the bag in with the rest of her purchases, patiently waits her turn at the check-out, fishes five ten-dollar bills from her purse, receives her small change, and pushing the cart with the babies in it, herds the two boys through the rain to the station wagon in the parking lot.

I go with her in my mind's eye. Jump out in the rain. Open the garage door. Drive in. Close door. Babies, boys, bags into the house in how many trips? Phone rings. Answer phone, change baby, wipe muddy tracks from kitchen floor. Feed baby, put groceries away, hide M 'n' Ms, start peeling vegetables, take clothes out of dryer, stop fight between two older children, feed two year old, answer phone again, fold clothes, change baby, get boys to:
1) hang up coats,
2) stop teasing two year old,
3) set table.
Light oven, put baby to bed, stop fight, mop up two year old, put chicken in oven, answer phone, put away clothes, finish peeling vegetables, look peaceful and radiant--husband will be home soon.

I see this implacable succession of exigencies in my mind's eye. They come with being a mother. I also see the dreams she dreams sometimes--write a novel, agents call, reviews come in. TV interviews, autograph parties, promotional traveling, a movie contract--preposterous dreams. Try something a little more realistic. Cool modern office, beautiful clothes, make-up and hairdo that stay done all day. A secretarial job perhaps, nothing spectacular, but it's work that actually produces something that doesn't have to be done over at once. It's work that ends at five o'clock. It means something.

I know how it is. I have a mother. I am a mother. I've produced a mother (my daughter, Valerie, has a two year old and expects another child soon). I watched my own mother cope valiantly and efficiently with a brood of six. ("If one child takes all your time," she used to say, "six can't take any more.") We were--we still are--her life. I understand that. Of all the gifts of my life surely those of being somebody's wife and somebody's mother are among the greatest.

But I watch my daughter and other mothers of her generation and I see they have some strikes against them that we didn't have. They have been told insistently and quite persuasively that motherhood is a drag, that tradition is nonsense, that what people have always regarded as "women's work" is meaningless, that "roles" (a word we never bothered much about until a decade or so ago) are changing, that femininity is a mere matter of social conditioning, that it's time to innovate. If the first-grade readers show a picture of a woman driving a hook-and-ladder and a man doing a nurse's job, see what happens to the conditioning. Abolish the stereotypes and we can abolish the myths of masculinity and femininity.

I hear this sort of claptrap, and young mothers often come to me troubled because they can't answer the arguments logically or theologically. They feel, deep in their bones, that there is something terribly twisted about the whole thing but they can't put their finger on what it is.
I think I know what it is. Profanity. Not swearing. I'm not talking about breaking the Third Commandment. I'm talking about treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning. Treating as common that which is hallowed. Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design. Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.

When women--sometimes well-meaning, earnest, truth seeking ones say "Get out of the house and do something creative, find something meaningful, something with more direct access to reality," it is a dead giveaway that they have missed the deepest definition of creation, of meaning, of reality. And when you start seeing the world as opaque, that is, as an end in itself instead of as transparent, when you ignore the Other World where this one ultimately finds its meaning, of course housekeeping (and any other kind of work if you do it long enough) becomes tedious and empty.
But what have buying groceries, changing diapers and peeling vegetables got to do with creativity? Aren't those the very things that keep us from it? Isn't it that kind of drudgery that keeps us in bondage? It's insipid and confining, it's what one conspicuous feminist called "a life of idiotic ritual, full of forebodings and failure." To her I would answer ritual, yes. Idiotic, no, not to the Christian--for although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration. It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God.

But this is what we so easily forget. Men as well as women have listened to those quasi-rational claims, have failed to see the fatal fallacy, and have capitulated. Words like personhood, liberation, fulfillment and equality have had a convincing ring and we have not questioned their popular definitions or turned on them the searchlight of Scripture or even of our common sense. We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry.

This is what I mean by profanity. We have forgotten the mystery, the dimension of glory. It was Mary herself who showed it to us so plainly. By the offering up of her physical body to become the God-bearer, she transfigured for all mothers, for all time, the meaning of motherhood. She cradled, fed and bathed her baby--who was very God of very God--so that when we cradle, feed and bathe ours we may see beyond that simple task to the God who in love and humility "dwelt among us and we beheld his glory."

Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven't an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.

The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.

To modern mothers I would say "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . ." (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips).

It is a spiritual principle as far removed from what the world tells us as heaven is removed from hell: If you are willing to lose your life, you'll find it. It is the principle expressed by John Keble in 1822:

If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

"Anything, if offered to God, can and will become your gateway to joy."
Elisabeth Elliott

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chaos and Order, and Main Things...

It's amazing to me how fast things go from order to chaos. I was just reading that the natural tendency of everything in the universe is to move from order to disorder. I believe scientists call it "the law of entropy". How true it is with housework and even relationships. It's amazing how much of my day centers around keeping things orderly in my home and the relationships herein. Actually I would say that 95% or my time is spent on my house, my children, and my husband. Those are my priorities and it's amazing to me how much time, energy, thought, and effort those things take!

I get a free little magazine each month from Focus on the Family. It has great articles. Dr. Dobson was replying to a question about the natural progression of a marriage heading toward being more distant instead of more intimate. Dr. Dobson answered explained about the natural principle called "the law of disintegration" He writes..."the natural tendency is for husbands and wives to drift away from each other unless they work at staying together...it is as though they were sitting in separate rowboats on a choppy lake. If they don't paddle vigorously to stay in the same neighborhood, one will drift to the north of the lake, and the other to the south. That is exactly what happens when marital partners get too busy or distracted to maintain their love. If they don't take the time for romantic activities and experiences that draw them together, something precious begins to slip away. It doesn't have to be that way, of course, but the currents of life will seperate them unless efforts are made to remain together. I wish every newly married couple knew about the law of disintegration and actively protected their relationship from it."

How true it is. Life sometimes gets in the way of what is most important. Having Christ at the center of marriage is really the key to true unity and oneness...but even that takes work from both sides. Walking in communion w/ Christ and our spouse takes some forethought and consious effort...especially as life gets busier. Taking time to talk, even, takes T-I-M-E! Adding children and long work hours makes it especially pertinent to focus on those main things.

I've been more conscious the past couple days of really focusing on my children and the Lord, especially. Walking in communion w/ the Lord throughout my day has been something I'm seeking to do. I don't have lots of time to read. Somedays I'm able to snatch some time, if I wake up before everyone, but instead about getting distressed about my lack of Bible-reading...I've decided to look for a solution. For this season of my life, it's having the frame of mind to focus on Christ, regardless of whether I have my devotion time or not. Some days, it just doesn't happen. I don't always need more information, I just need to live out what I already know. Living in continual communion w/ Christ is my goal. Praying w/out ceasing(mostly silently), memorizing the Word and singing w/ my children has helped me set my focus on the Lord throughout my day.

I've also been reminded to really require first-time-obedience out of my kids. It is saving my sanity and my patience. I don't have to yell or get mad. After the first time they don't listen, or disobey,or whine...then I can calmly point out their disobedience and hand out the consequence. I've seen a lot of improvement just after a few days. But goodness, that takes constant diligence and lots of patience! I think a lot of times I get so focused on the job at hand, I don't notice that Samuel didn't obey what I told him to do and Madeline is into the "no touch" items again, and William is usually off getting into something. :) Reminding my 4 and 2 year old 5 times, get's old really fast and grates on me. It's that ability to prioritize my kids over the ever-important job I'm doing. "People over Projects", right?! Well,I'm working on it. ;) Easier said than done!

I'm also really been working w/ them on picking up after themselves and having them "help" me w/ housework. They think it's way more fun than playing w/ toys by themselves, plus I have the hope that they'll be doing these chores by themselves in a few years. I was explaining to Justin that to accomplish any given task takes twice as long and makes twice as much mess! That's ok, I'm wanting to teach my kids to have fun working and hoping to tie heartstrings w/ them at the same time.

Deep cleaning the bathroom was on my list to do this week. I had the shower and the floor left to do. I gathered 2 old coffee containers, filled them halfway up w/ water and put a scrubbrush in each one, and told the boys that they were going to help me wash the bathroom floor. They had a blast. We had lots of water on the floor, but it did get cleaned and they had fun "helping" me in the process. We did the same thing when I cleaned out the car. Goodness, I cannot believe how much stuff was in my car, that didn't belong there! While I vacuumed, the boys and Madeline washed the floor mats w/ the same containers and scrub brushes. It was nice to have them occupied and not wandering off in 3 different directions while I was in conquer mode. I think sucessful mothering is 75% creativity and thinking ahead.

My house is in continual need to cleaning and organizing. I pretty much stay up w/ the cleaning and tidying. It's the organizing part that really takes some time. I love to be organized and have everything in it's place. Right now, my closets and drawers are disasters. I keep thinking I'll go through and organize everything once the weather turns cold. I'm just not sure I can wait that long. It really eats at me. I guess I just haven't made it a priority because it makes a huge mess to organize and go through stuff and we've been doing lots outside. Keeping up w/ my garden and freezing sauces has kept me busy...too busy to organize closets or blog. Some months it's good if I have time to balance the checkbook and organize my pictures and write out checks!

So...here's to being disciplined enough to add the elbow grease it takes to manage a home well, train up children, and invest in marriage...all w/ God's grace and help.
*Happy Weekend* Monday's a new week! Yeah!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I luv date nights...

...because I get to be w/ the guy I love most in the world! Tonight was a significant date night b/c I wore the dress I bought in Mexico on our honeymoon 4.5 years ago. Haven't fit into it for one reason or another. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it fit! I thought that I would end up wearing sundress #2...but I guess not! We even ate Mexican...yes, corny, I know...but I think it made Justin smile at the effort. What we do for a fun memory! Date night #479 was exciting...ate Mexican, shopped at Walmart and spent double of our grocery money budget(oops...I didn't just say that, did I?), got gasoline, and got a root beer float at dog-in-suds...I just like hanging out w/ my hubby...doing something exciting or fancy isn't always necessary. Talking and just being together is fun. Laughing like teenagers and being goofy is fun too! We were cracking up at Walmart. Hee... When we got home, it was back to reality. The babysiter-who will remain anonymous-took William's diaper off and forgot to put another on back on, and thus the puddle that happened on the desk while Justin and the boys were watching a video on you-tube. And just general chaos after arriving home w/ lots of groceries and 3 kids overly excited to see you. William acted like I'd been gone for 3 weeks...maybe I should leave more often. ;)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Madeline's 1st Birthday...

Baby girl turns 1 today! I still remember my Mom waltzing into our house in the wee hours of the morning today of last year singing "Happy Birthday" to herself. She was thrilled that Madeline would mostly likely be born on her 49th birthday! Besides labor taking all day, everything went smoothly and we welcomed our little girl to our family at 5:04 p.m. August 7, 2008. Madeline has been such a delightful addition to our family. I love having a little girl around the house! It's caused me to be more aware of my example to her.

She woke up bright and early this morning. She doesn't have a clue that today she turns one. She and I have had some 1-on-1 time. The boys are still snoozing. :) We're going to a petting zoo and the sprinkler park today w/ some friends. Then, this evening when Justin's home, we'll have a lil' b-day celebration w/ just our family.

I'm still trying to figure out Madeline's personality. Sometimes she's very sober, and other times, jibber-jabbering and sociable. She plays very well by herself, and is entertained and toughened up by the boys. Her name means "strong woman"...Justin always says that w/ feeling, and a "watch out" attitude! I suppose w/ 2 older brothers, she will learn to be tough. ;) However, I pray that she will be a "strong woman" on the inside. That she would be made of real-stuff...strength and beauty that comes from knowing and walking with Christ. It's our prayer for Miss Madeline, that she would come to know Christ as her Savior, and follow Him all of her days. I have a feeling, that to survive w/ the Lord in her generation, she'll need supernatural strength to live for Truth and Righteousness. It's tricky in this generation and culture to live out godly womanhood...I can only imagine, then next!

I had these verses on my mind this morning, so I'm claiming these promises for my little girl, and praying that she will be an example of such things when she grows up...
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your heats, to the which also you are called in one body; and be ye thankful." Colossians 3:12-15

"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindeness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8

**I have some adorable pictures to upload, but I'm out of space...so if anyone knows how I can free up more space w/out paying $$...I'd be happy to know!**

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Random thoughts

Yesterday, we took the boys and Madeline on a near-2 mile hike, right before supper. Justin would't allow the boys to slow down or give in to a piggy-back-ride. William's short legs walked that whole way. And, you know what?? He went right to bed...well, only tried to get out once. After that, he conked out and slept soundly till 8:30 this morning! Hmm...I guess I need to do better at wearing him out! Those of you who know William, have heard of what a night owl he is. We're still trying to figure out how to induce sleep w/ him. He seriously goes and goes, then crashes and is out for 10 hrs!

Oh, while I'm on this random-subjected entry, I was wondering how other Moms organize their pictures. I seriously feel like pictures are hanging over my head! I like to get creative w/ "photo shoots" of the kids. I take a lot, and get so behind either blogging them, or uploading them to walmart.com and printing them. I got caught up in January. I was only 18 months behind! I did really well, till April...and haven't printed since then. It also gets expensive! So, what are your tips??

I made a big batch of spaghetti sauce today and a gallon of V8 Juice. (all homegrown, except the carrots and celery) I suppose I should say I made V7 Juice, since it had 7 different veggies, instead of 8. ;) I discovered the trick to making spaghetti sauce. Mine is always too watery. So, I drained the tomatoes overnight in colanders in the fridge. There was alot of clear liquid that drained out! (they were skinned and chopped) So, anyway...I put several gallon ziplocks in the freezer tonight.
I ordered another 40 lbs of blueberries. So I'm planning to go pick those up tomorrow as well as some goats milk, for William and Madeline. We're hoping next year we'll get some strawberries and blackberries of our own! We love growing our own food. It's nice to know where it came from and that it hasn't been sprayed. I'd like to make salsa...my cilantro is kinda over, though. My peppers are a little slow this year. Hmm...maybe in a few weeks. It was so rainy this year that some of my tomato plants didn't do too well. My Roma's are doing great. The plants look a little brown and wilty, but the tomatoes are great!
Hmm...well, that's pretty much all that's going on here. I'm trying to be consistent w/ exercising. It helps to have a walking partner or two. :) The kids and I are starting to memorize Psalm 23. We've been enjoying summer...and actually got to go swimming today, since it was hot enough! Bye for now!

anyone know?

ok, so i'm not allowed to upload any more pictures, b/c my Picasa storage quota is filled. anyone aware of how to correct the problem? can i erase my pictures from Picasa? and get more storage that way? i didn't know blogger was connected w/ picasa. hmmm..any hints? oh...and i don't want to pay money to acquire more space. ;)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

St. Louis Adventure...

So, here are some picture from our St. Louis trip. Blogger is not allowing me to upload anymore, for some reason. I feel like I'm wasting my time to keep trying! But anyway...enjoy the new pictures!

Last weekend, Justin and I were still mostly asleep and he said to me, "Hey, let's take the kids to the St. Louis Zoo today. What do you think?" I was still trying to wrap my mind around Justin being so spontaneous, and said, "Sure, why not?!" Usually he's the one who has to research thoroughly, plan out the trip, etc... He also is a home-body on weekends, since w/ work, it's always GO-GO-GO. So, anyhoo...we packed up the kids and were on the road 50 minutes from when we woke up. That's pretty impressive for us. ;) It was a pretty quick trip, but it was fun to get away, just as a family. Justin had a full week, and the kids hardly saw him. We rode the train and the carasol, and hit the "majors"...the monkeys and the lions...and a few in between. We hit "Old MacDonalds" (the kid's fav) on the way home and the kids had a long nap on the ride home. We rolled in around 5:30; just in time for FPU!