Thursday, November 29, 2012


Allison: "Mommy, are you over 40?"

Mommy: "No."

Allison: "Are you 40?"

Mommy: "No, I'm not there yet."

Allison (with smile and a gleam in her eye):  "Well, when you turn 40 you can get on the Amberen program."

Thanks, you lil' stinker!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Decor Update!

Last weekend, we had LOTS of company!  Ok, so it was only nine guests, but after just getting settled in it seemed like there was a lot to do!  I was happy to get some decor on the walls before they arrived.  Although things are far from finished, I'll give you a few bits of the scenery to this point.  Keep in mind, decorating isn't my strength, but I want my house to feel warm and inviting, and it is working so far.  :-)

This shelf was an old window valance that a friend of mine sold
me for $5.  Ryan helped my tear off the front board, and I
sprayed it black.  It's not perfect, but primitive loves imperfection. 
I need to add something under the shelf, but I'm not sure what.
It can't be something that sticks out at all, or it will get bumped.
There was a corner shelf in the dining room (probably for a TV),
and I told the guys to keep it when we were remodeling.  It is a little
awkward, so I'm not sure that I'll keep it permanently, but for now
it holds Kaitlynn's favorite little Pilgrim figurines and some harvest decor.
Love this built in cabinet in the living room. 
It's full of a bunch of random stuff, but at
least it's not in complete chaos...this part of it anyway!'s the chaos.  :-)  I think I will buy white cabinet doors
to go on the front of this.  For now, it's a bit of a heap.  Hehe!
Getting rid of the mint green front door has to be a priority this
week.  I am not looking forward to doing it, but I know I'll be
thrilled when it's gone!
Kid's bathroom, which also serves as the main bath.
The one item in my home that makes me smile every single time I see it!
The southern half of the living room - it is more narrow than
the other half, and I haven't done much with it yet.  Alli
loves the remote controlled ceiling fan.  :-)

A not-so-great photo of the dining room, but you get the idea.
There is oak moulding waiting to go around the ceiling, and wall
decor will come eventually.  I have my eye on an ever-so-amazing
table and chairs that will seat more than six, but that might not be
happening for awhile. Depends on what kind of a lucky deal I find!
And that's it for now! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

Can anyone believe that Christmas decorations are popping up all over the place?  When we moved, my mom encouraged me to just go ahead and decorate for December, but I love fall and Thanksgiving so much I couldn't possibly think about skipping the mums, the scarecrows, the gourds, the pumpkins, and the leaves and going straight for the holly, the ivy, and the mistletoe!  However, it really hit me yesterday...just as I'm almost finished putting the final touches on my fall decor, I'm gonna have to tear it all apart and bring out the Christmas tree!  *Sigh*

About a week ago, I began my Christmas shopping, and those gifts were delivered to my front porch this morning.  I scratched four names off of my list in about 30 minutes and didn't have to darken the door of a retail center.  I think I'll be doing a little more of that this Christmas.  :-) 

I love how the holiday season reaches out and grabs each of my senses.  The sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and textures of November, December, and January make these my favorite months of the year {although June, July, and August rival a close 2nd for any teacher  :-)}, and I wish that we could just slow the calendar and add more hours to these short days!  Since that is impossible, we have to focus on making every moment count.  For us, this will mean prioritizing carefully and squeezing memories out of every occasion, being grateful for the ordinary parts of our days, finding ways to reach out to those who are less fortunate or hurting, and cherishing every breath that we take as a special gift from the God Who has blessed us with an abundance of good things.

How are you kick-starting your holiday season?  My prayer is that you are able to avoid the rush, the busyness, and the noise to find a quiet, tranquil oasis of celebration and worship this year! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Morning After...

***I composed most of this post November 7th, but it didn't make it past draft.  I felt that I should go ahead and share it even though it's late.

Apparently I didn't have that nauseating feeling in my stomach all day yesterday for nothing.  My confidence in the American voter was weak at best, and I'm not surprised that, as a nation, we are getting what we deserve. 

Yes, I'm sad and fearful, but I'm also fired up to stand for freedom and continue to do what I'm doing every single day, only with more passion and more commitment. 

But this time I'm going to follow the admonition of 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV): "First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may live a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way."

How am I going to pray for President Obama?  Here's my list:
  • that God will soften and change his hardened heart
  • that he will come under conviction for his sins
  • that in his sleep he will have nightmares of aborted babies pleading for his help
  • that he will waffle back to his 2008 statement that marriage should be between a man and a woman - and then quit waffling and develop a firm belief
  • that he will feel the need to be truthful with the American people about his past
  • that he will have an awakening to truth - something with which he hasn't been too familiar for most of his life
During this presidential campaign, I really came to appreciate (from afar) the Romney family and their contribution to this nation.  Although I'm saddened that we will not get a chance to see what a President Romney could do for this country, we must move past our disappointments and prepare to stand for righteousness, freedom, truth, and justice - maybe in a way that takes much more energy than ever before.

This election season has been a huge learning experience for my kids.  Because they are blessed to be able to learn real history (rather than some humanistic text writer's twist), they are relating what they learn to what is actually happening right now, and connecting the dots rather easily.  Ryan is studying FDR, and he is blown away by the similarities in principle and policy, and he is learning how history, unfortunately, repeats itself.

In the recent edition of the Answer's In Genesis newsletter, Ken Ham relates the words of an atheist who visited the Creation Museum in 2009:  "For me, the most frightening part was the children's section.  It was at this moment that I learned the deepest lesson of my visit to the Museum..."  He added: "It is in the minds and hearts of our children that the battle will be fought!" 

Let's face it, people, the enemy knows that if they win this battle, it will be through the minds of the children.  After 40+ years of brainwashing in education, we are reaping huge consequences.  Adolph Hitler wrote, "He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future."  And that's exactly how he did it. 

Most importantly, the thing I always knew but now know better is that spending effort convincing someone to vote for a candidate may have short term benefits; however, leading them to Jesus Christ and allowing Him to change their hearts will not only shape their values and world view, but it will also create a positive impact on all of those that their life is able to reach. 

The greatest privilege I have had in recent days is to lead someone to the Lord Jesus Christ.  My prayer is that each of us will be able to reach another, and through that effort truly turn our nation back to Christ.

I close this post with the word to a hymn that my husband led in worship Sunday morning -

God of grace and God of glory,
On Thy people pour Thy pow'r.
Crown Thine ancient Church's story;
Bring her bud to glorious flow'r.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
For the facing of this hour, for the facing of this hour.
Lo! the hosts of evil round us
Scorn Thy Christ, assail His ways!
Fears and doubts too long have bound us;
Free our hearts to work and praise.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
For the living of these days, for the living of these days.
Cure the people's warring madness;
Bend our pride to Thy control. 
Shame our wanton, selfish gladness -
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom's goal, Lest we miss Thy kingdom's goal.
Set our feet on lofty places;
Gird our lives that they may be
Armored with all Christlike graces
In the fight to set men free.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage
That we fail not man nor Thee!  That we fail not man nor Thee!

~H.E. Fosdick, 1930~

Friday, November 2, 2012

Proud. Free. American.


This season has my red, white, and blue blood running a little thicker and warmer than usual.  I love America, and contrary to some, I believe she and her God-given foundation and values are worth a fight.  And to me, this last political year has felt like a fight.

Both of my grandfathers served in WWII combat, and they made tremendous sacrifices physically, emotionally, and relationally to protect and defend the USA.  They actively loved our country, and because of them and a host of others, our great nation is free and has been the catalyst to helping others find or retain freedom.

Few things are more stirring and exciting to me than political rallies.  Yep, I've been to more than a few:

Gerald Ford

Ronald Reagan

George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
I love hearing from men who have a passion to lead our country.  Yes, they all have faults.  They aren't talented in every single one of the areas that they are depended upon to lead.  Who is, really?  But when a man comes along who is willing to lead by example, uphold our Constitution, and keep America safe, he is a hero to me.

John McCain
I even took my four kids (which included a 9-month-old) to see this patriot.  I wasn't ever really hyped about the possibility of him being our president, but tears were rolling down my face as we sat inside the civic center and listened to him tell stories of American heroism, and the promise of our country's history and its future.  I hoped that my sons would one day have the courage of Mr. John McCain.

Today, America is in a time of crisis.  After the 2008 election, I completely lost hope for our current generation of voters, and the integrity of the ballot.  This spring, as the primary election came and went, my hopes didn't rise as much as I would have liked, but I began to sense an undercurrent which has since become a tidal wave of voters determined to do their part to bring America back to her liberties.

Because of our move this fall, we did something unusual and voted early.  Although it was a little anticlimactic (who wants to wait several weeks to hear the results?), it felt good to exercise my rights as an American woman at the ballot box.  I hope you'll do the same sometime between now and November 6th. 

Today our current president is giving a speech seven blocks from our house.  Although I respect his office and it's historical to be in the same room with a president, I'm so saddened by his disrespect for our country, his disdain for Christianity, and his neglect of human life - whether military, elderly, or unborn -  that I have no desire to be within a country mile of the place. I won't sit and argue about it...facts are facts, and what I know scares me.  What scares me more is that there is plenty I don't know.  So, I'm gonna go ahead and get political here...whatever you feel about electing a Mormon, etc., please get on your knees and pray, become educated about facts, and vote for the man who most closely aligns himself with the principles of God's Word.  Our children's future is at stake...and that's not just a political talking point, it's the dead honest truth.



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tips To Try Before You Toss!

Several years ago, I bought a crock pot from a department store. I rarely used it because I rarely cooked and the lid latch was very annoying and unhandy. One time I had made Hormel chili dip in the crock, and the plastic part of the lid cracked releasing the two tiny metal pins that were holding it in place. I had a ton of dip in that crock and didn't want to toss it, so I spooned through all of it to find the two tiny pins. For the next year and a half, that crock took up space in our garage with all the little parts in a zip lock bag just waiting for a solution. The crock pot was several years old, I didn't have the receipt, and I didn't figure there was much hope for it. When we moved, Greg asked if there was a need to keep it. I told him to pitch it because I couldn't use it without a lid, and it was just taking up space. He leaned toward hanging onto it, so I inspected the bottom and found an 800 number. After spending just a couple of minutes on the phone with a very nice CSR, she informed me that a new lid was on its way. All I had to give her was the model #.  A week later, I have a new lid and it didn't cost me more than 2 minutes to make the phone call.

Back in 2001, my parents helped me purchase a digital piano. They had previously loaned me their upright, but with moving and wanting to use the piano at different venues, a lighter weight digital seemed like a good solution. The Clavinova has served me well for these 11 years, but a couple of years ago (about the time the kids started practicing on it) it started to develop some sticky keys. I figured it was because of the extra wear and tear. After awhile, it became frustrating to try to play, and having to practice for weddings with sticky keys was no fun. I checked with a guy from church who knows quite a bit about electronics, and keyboards in particular, and he didn't seem to think there was much hope for it. I knew it wasn't something that I wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on, since the whole piece only cost $2,000 eleven years ago. I called our local Clavinova dealer, and the owner informed me that Clavinova had done a keyboard recall because of faulty keys and that my model might be eligible. Within just a couple of days, he and another employee came out and removed my old keyboard and installed another from the factory. After he put it all back together, he began to play it and noticed some squeakiness in the pedals some excess stress noise, so he and the other guy flipped it over and tightened all of the bolts for me.  Works like a charm now!  And all for a $100 trip/labor charge. 

If you have something that isn't working quite right or has broken without abuse, check the product or the internet for a phone number and call the service dept.  I can't guarantee it will always work in your favor, but these two items made it well worth it for me to do a little checking!