He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9



Snowy Daybook

November 19, 2014

::Outside My Window::
The snow has melted a bit today and the brown leaves and grass are poking through.

::I am Listening to ::
 The sounds of Kayla's cello coming from the library downstairs.

::I am Thankful For ::
 A 10-year-old who loves to distract her fussy baby brother with piggy back rides while momma works (Thanks, Karissa!)

::I am Pondering ::
Whether I am less productive than I used to be, in my earlier years of mothering.  How in the world does normal upkeep take up so much time?!

:: I am Remembering ::
1.  That it is okay to take some down time in this non-stop job of homekeeping.
2.  That just because I am not doing things according to my beloved routine, work is work and it's okay.  That doesn't make me bad.  

:: I am looking forward to/Dreaming of ::
Getting a few big projects done around the house. 

:: Some of what I've been reading::
 Slowly making my way through "Say Goodbye to Survival Mode"
It is good, but mostly repeat/reminders so far.

::From the Kitchen::
 My friend Lucy brought the most wonderful savory winter squash soup today for our lunch together.  I'm using Emeals right now for meal planning and I love it!

::I am Thinking::
How happy I am that we finally got an appointment with the Indiana lead risk assessor.  Christian had a very high lead level, and we are having the house tested for risk areas.  They say it is almost inevitable that a house this old will have lead paint somewhere.

::I am Creating::
A fabulous Christmas open house for our church.  Many of them helped us work on the house but have not seen it since we moved in and got settled. Plans are happening. : )
:: Towards raising hungry learners::
 Working on a project for family devotions.

::Towards Rhythm and Beauty::
 This week, beauty trumped rhythm!  We're talking some serious Christmas trees around here!  We went a little crazy this year. Loving all the sparkle and warmth they bring to all the rooms.

::To Live the Life ::
Was reminded last night in a very tangible way that God is in control of my life.  He's got the details...big and small. 

::I am Hoping and Praying::
 For some miracles....

 :: In the Garden::
 I love winter because I dont' have to feel guilty about the frozen, snow-covered garden.  Yay for less guilt!

 ::Around the House::
 Been burning lots of candles.  Hoping to get the Christmas and Thanksgiving tubs carried back downstairs soon.

 ::One of My Favorite Things::
Seeing the huge sparkly Christmas tree through the French doors of the library.

::The Kids::

Kayla:  Rises promptly at 6:30. Dresses, eats breakfast and is practicing piano before 7.  She does things so effortlessly.  It is a mercy for this busy mom.  lol
Karissa:  Bubbling over with life, love and other mysteries. 
Caiden:  Managing his anxiety attacks very well.  He had a couple while we were in Canada but was able to recover very quickly.  Conscientious, with a strong heart for God.  
Corin:  Homeschooling kindergarten until after Thanksgiving.  I love having him at home with me!!
Christian:  Has had 3 weeks of speach therapy.  He has added new words and is getting a little braver at trying new sounds.  Sometimes he does great, sometimes what he tries to say sounds far from the actual word.  But he is getting more comfortable with trying.  Making progress!  And we love his speach therapist.

:: The Man of the House ::
He is a Dr. now!  Turns in the final revisions for his dissertation next week.  Graduates December 18.  He is in San Diego this week for a theological conference.  Lucky him.

::A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week::
 Wednesday:  housework, kids klub, financial peace university
Thursday:  Teaching all day
Friday:  projects & pick David up at the airport

:: Love this Quote! ::
 "God never wastes anything"  (In reference to difficult things in life).  ~ Heidi Wetherald

:: A Picture from our world::
It's puppy time!  Not gonna lie - I did my breeder jobs today with a less-than-joyful spirit in this freezing/melting/snow/mud today.  Gotta work on that attitude.  Don't let their cute, clean faces fool you.  They are evil when covered with mud.


Looking forward to Thanksgiving....

This is a repost from the archives.  It may seem a little early to be posting, but it doesn't hurt to think and plan ahead, especially if you are interested in getting some new resources before Thanksgiving arrives.

I've been reading a lot about how Thanksgiving gets lost in the early-Christmas-shuffle.  I think it's actually neat how the two holidays complement each other.  And we have found some small things that help our family to really honor and celebrate Thanksgiving. Familylife has some really wonderful resources.  They have a Thanksgiving bundle on sale right now.  Another fun thing we do (starting this year) is set up a "harvest tree," which is a second (craigslist) Christmas tree full of autumn harvest bounty. 

We have done different Thanksgiving dinner traditions for sharing our gratefulness.  But usually, we simply go around the table and share something for which we are grateful.  Each year in our family, it seems this time is made more poignant by the perspective gained by the losses and difficulties of the year.  This year my sister-in-law's (Garen's wife Crystal)  mother went to heaven on November 9.   Her father and family joined us for Thanksgiving.  There is something powerful about purposefully being thankful while looking full-faced at the painfulness of life.  One person said, "I'm thankful for God's answers to prayer that come...no matter what they are."  We reflected on the various painful changes that the past year has brought, but with such deep perspective that all 21 of us at the table want most of all to meet again in Heaven.
You can't wrap those memories up and put them under any tree.  Priceless.
Family Journal
This is one of our favorite traditions.  About 5 years ago we bought a big red blank journal.  We pass the book around at Thanksgiving (and other special gatherings) and let everyone sign it.  It is a treasure to look back and see a record of who was at our celebrations and their thoughts on family, gratefulness, and blessings.  Yesterday the kids and I read through the entrys from this year so far and the kids added their entrys.  I was in tears.  It is a priceless keepsake.  It even has an entry - shaky and beautiful - written by my Grandma Wolf before she went to heaven.
Thanksgiving Day Cards from Familylife

I LOVE this book!  It is a little book full of big stories about people who were grateful in spite of very bad circumstances.  We read the stories aloud, then fill in the blanks provided with difficult or bad circumstances for which we are thankful.  It has been good for us to talk together about how we can be grateful for everything - even the hard things This book offers convicting and inspiring perspective.  (When we purchased this it was a softcover version. Now they offer a nice hardcover edition for $9.99!)

Let's Talk Turkey (Name cards & conversation starters from familylife)

The Legend of Squanto - Audiobook
We are crazy about audiobooks

Thanksgiving: A time to Remember - Book and Audiobook
I was a little confused before I ordered these a few years ago about what was what here, because the book comes with a CD and there's also a separate audiobook.  So here's the summary:  The book is full of Thanksgiving history, facts, stories and ideas. There is a CD of Thanksgiving music included in the back of the book.  The separate Audiobook has a dramatized version of the Thanksgiving story.  They are both awesome!  My kids even ask to listen to the audiobook throughout the year.  ("Mom, where is the CD with the pumpkin pie on it?")

Another favorite book:  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  You have probably heard me mention this heart-and-mind-shaping book.  In short, living a life focused by thankfulness helps us to renew our mind, fight the enemy, worship in wonder.  It is a transformational way of living. Not easy, but life-changing.  This is one of those books that has been like a foundational building block for me. And God keeps confirming and adding to the message in my heart and mind over and over in some pretty exciting ways.


Corin Boy

July 15, 2014


July 21, 2014 - House Progress


Ice Cream Truck!

July 23, 2014
The kids and I were working hard hauling loads over to the new house.  Somebody heard the ice cream truck!  We splurged on a rare treat.  It was a happy break from our work.

July 23, 2014

Blinn Avenue


Reading with Daddy

Pictures:  February 5, 2014
Blinn Avenue

Conner Prairie & Kirk's Crossing

June 28, 2014

We have been wanting to visit Conner Prairie again.  It was Kayla's summer-fun choice.  This time we went straight to the old prairie village.  The kids spun a wheel on a cart to get their jobs.  They had several assignments on a card.  Once the assignments were completed, they officially received their titles.  

Caiden was a Hunter.  He had to make plans to purchase a gun, talk to local hunters, research how to make or purchase animal traps, etc.
Who even knows what this clown was doing...Oh I remember! He thought the wheel sounded like a motorbike.  So he had to demonstrate.  : )  Never a dull moment with this boy.
Karissa was a scholar.  She had to do things like talk to the townsfolk about their education, find out about the schooling, etc.

Corin was a Craftsman.  He had to measure a pound of nails, etc.

Kayla was a naturalist.  She had to draw a picture of a plant or animal, identify 3 bird calls, 3 wild plants and 3 cultivated plants.

Kayla and Corin were research buddies.  They took off exploring on their own and Kayla helped Corin to fulfill the assignments on his card.

We spent a lot of time in the general store.  We had a lot of assignments that were fulfilled there and the storekeeper's son was a great help (and a great actor!)

Caiden asked for and got a job sweeping floors for the Doctor.  He earned a 1/2 cent.  So we promptly booked it back to the general store to SPEND that half cent!  Caiden bought 2 muddies (handmade marbles).  The storekeeper's son taught him how to play the muddies game.

One of my favorite stops was the Inn.  They had a marvelous innkeeper who was out working in her herb garden.  She spent a lot of time with us, showing us around her garden and letting us pinch and smell the various herbs.  Our favorite was lemon mint.  It was scrumptious.  We ate sweet, ripe mulberries right off the tree.  The kids helped her do the weeding.  And we talked about bleaching whites in the sun.  She taught me that if you lay your linens on the grass in the sun (instead of just hanging them on the line) there is a reaction with the grass and the sun that causes things to get extra white.  Awesome new tip.  I have a ton of white laundry.

Grandma Fry picked off a stalk of rhubarb and ate it raw!  A memory from her childhood.  Yikes!  I can hardly even eat the stuff with sugar in a pie - much less a raw stalk!

After the kids had completed their assignments, turned in their cards, received there celebratory sticker and spent their hard-earned 1/2 cents, we moved on.  Most of the group went to the air conditioned museum.  A few of us went to the Civil War historic area.

An old historic house was taken over by the soldiers as a temporary base

There were cool interactive touch-screen computers built into the "antique" table.  The kids could explore the areas of Indiana that were affected during the Civil War.

Exploring the interactive computer maps....

While mommy captured the late afternoon light.....

The boys were recruited.  The guns were as big as them, but they learned to march and turn.  Corin was hilarious.  Every time the group turned one way or the other, he was half a turn behind, craning his neck to see what in the world he was supposed to be doing.  With his big, blue bewildered eyes....

The indoor pay museum just re-opened after being redesigned

It was time for the adults to chill while the kids played in the air conditioning

It's Blurry - but I was lucky to get this one!

His "I'm-really-tired-but-I-don't-want-to-leave" face

Next - we stopped by Kirkland on the way home to visit "Kirk's Crossing" - a small town festival.  We poked around in some antique shops, bought $1 lemonades, participated in the cake auction (bought garden green beans and homemade apple fritters), jumped in the bouncy castles, ate corn on the cob and chili fries.

Grandma Fry didn't need a wheelchair. : )  We had it to give Karissa's foot a break throughout the day.  She had a huge stack of drywall fall on her foot at the new house and she is very sore.

The big event of the evening was the horse pull.  It was very interesting.  For the first hour.  It was very long.  Next time I want to go for the last 15 minutes. : )

 It was a very very happy summer day - Well spent.


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