Friday, February 29, 2008

Girl's Night Out

My kids are constantly asking for "dates". This is a time alone and out of the house with mom or dad. They each keep a record of the books they read. When they complete 25 books they get a date. But sometimes they just need a break and some time to relax. This is especially true for my older girls whose days are consumed with school work and helping at home. Sometimes, they just want to have an uninterrupted conversation. I can respect that.

This past week I sensed a real need for the two oldest to have a date. They are getting to the age where shopping is fun and they were in need of a few things to finish off the winter. I dug through my stash and found nothing.

I had a Khol's gift card that I had been holding on to for some time and decided to take Hannah shopping. We had the best time thumbing through the winter clearance. I loved hearing her opinions on the clothes and having my own personal fashion show. I wasn't spending any money and felt able to relax a bit. It was so much more rewarding then going shopping for myself!

A few days later Lydia and I went out. First we went to Goodwill to look around. She's an artist and a treasure hunter so Goodwill suits her just fine. We found two adorable dresses and two brand new pairs of shoes just her size. All of this for under $15!!
The Target in our town is across the street from the Goodwill. All the clearance that doesn't sell is donated to Goodwill. Brand new shoes for $3.99!! Then we headed on over to the pet store and spent an hour holding and petting the puppies and examining the beautiful fish. She wants to be a vet someday.

I love knowing them. I love making them smile. I love being their mom. I love teaching my girls that there's a lot of fun to be had without spending a lot of money.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If I had another daughter I'd have to name her Lilly

You may ask, "Why ever in the world?" I've been waiting to write this post for some time now- four months to be exact.

My beloved husband applied for a grant from Lilly (the pharmaceutical company) last fall and we were informed today that HE GOT IT!!!!!! The big white envelope arrived in our mailbox with a letter of congratulations and news that the $8,000 is on its way.

The grant is specifically for teachers to explore an area of interest that would inspire and renew them personally and professionally. It's called the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program.
His proposal is titled "Fifty Years of Space Exploration" and for those of you who know him it fits the bill.

We will be spending the month in June living here...
(pray for this one please)

and touring here...
and watching many of these...

and going to Family Space Camp where I will finally be weightless...

and in control...

We'll have lunch with him...

and maybe even get to see this!!

We'll also be spending our days here...

Learning about these cute little guys...

And getting some exercise in the great outdoors...

And the rest of our time? We'll be doing a lot of this.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Innocent as Doves- Part 1

I'm writing an ebook. I know, when do I have time for this? Well, it's been rolling around in my head for some time now. I've been talking to my girls about it now for a few years and now I'm going to put it down in print so that hopefully others can benefit. I've always wanted to write a book and been encouraged by some to do so- so here goes (gulp).

I'll be posting portions of each chapter as it comes and would LOVE your comments, questions, encouragement, concerns.... to help me clarify and develop the material further. My plan is to follow up this ebook with a practical guide. It will contain a series of four lessons that families can do together to talk through this topic, ask questions and come up with a plan of their own.

Statistics predict that one in four girls will be sexually molested or compromised in the childhood years. The median age is 9 with 50 % of assaults occurring before 12 years of age. Coming from a family of four girls, that means that at least one of us should have be victimized. Thankfully, we did not have this life changing experience and until I went to college I had never known anyone who had.

I attended a small Christian college with what some would call the “cream of the crop” spiritually speaking. But as I began to watch my acquaintances and friends struggle in the area of relationships, many of them revealed to me that they had been molested as a child in one way or another and that their lives had been radically changed. Some of them had informed their parents who responded in different ways. Sometimes it had been acknowledged and other times not. Others had kept the secret for years and were only beginning to realize the devastation. Sadly, I have found the same reality to be true in my adult years. Many of those I love have been victims of molestation and worse.

Having five girls of my own this is a special concern of mine. If statistics ring true then my own children are at risk. How can I possibly be everywhere at once? Should they just stay at home where we can watch them every second? Would it be right to tell them everything there is to know about sex at a young age so that I feel they are protected? When should this subject be addressed and by whom?

I remember when my oldest was invited to a friend’s house for the first time to spend the night. She was seven and the typical responsible, mature firstborn girl. She had known this friend since preschool and we were well acquainted with the parents. I had no particular concerns about her behavior, but suddenly I was struck with a panic that I had not spoken to her yet about her own personal safety.

I looked for some material to guide me and found nothing. There are countless books about parenting, praying, mothering, but I was coming up empty handed in this area. It weighed heavy on my heart. I teach my children to protect their heads with a helmet. I make certain that they are buckled in the car correctly. I take them to swim lessons to prevent drowning. I do my best to restrict their exposure to provocative media. Why would I not equip them properly to prevent and/or respond to the indecency of others?

This has been an unfolding journey for myself as I continue to send my children out slowly and carefully. The media has caught on to the problem and nightly there are shows centered around the abuse of children. If I let it, this can drive me to fear instead of faith. God is all-seeing, all knowing and above all powerful to intervene on behalf of my children. But I have also been given the responsibility to raise them into adulthood.

It is my desire in this book to put into the hands of parents some of the tools that God has provided me in discussing this delicate issue frankly with my kids. I am not an expert in child psychology nor do I intend to dictate standards for your family. But I pray that the information put forth in these chapters will serve your family well as you send out your children into the world remembering to be prayerful, to be careful, to be modest and to be honest.

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”Matthew 10:16

Thursday, February 21, 2008

God's Covenant

As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,

cold and heat,
summer and winter,

day and night
will never cease.
Genesis 8:22

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Decorating International Style

I am not a collector of things, nor do I enjoy decorating with knick-knacks. That would require extra dusting and monitoring my children. However, I really admire these things in other people's homes, but it is not my personal style. I'm more a bold color, keep-it- simple kind of girl.

However, I have found myself with a small eclectic mix of items from around the world. Some of these are from missions trips or gifts from missionaries or international students we have worked with. There are items from Spain, Latvia, Ukraine, Chile, Korea, China, Haiti, Thailand, Mexico and Russia.

When my friend Cindy decorated her guest bathroom a few years ago so wonderfully I stole her idea and went with it. I blew up some of my favorite pictures and placed them in black frames. We installed an inexpensive glass shelf to display some small items. Ever since we have continued to add to our collection.It is always a conversation piece for guests and a reminder to continue praying for those around the world.

Visit Works for Me Wednesday for lots of great ideas!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh so cute!!

A little background: The kids have been playing Upwards basketball this winter. At the end of each game the players are awarded a colored star based on how they played.

Me: Betsy, now pick the very best "A" that you wrote today and give yourself a star.

Betsy: I'll give this one a red star for best defense.

As I was combing through the rats in Betsy's hair (which usually produces a red face and lots of tears) she commented:

"This is bad. But can you imagine what it would be like if I were Rapunzel?"

This one takes the prize for the week-

Joseph: Mom, can I have a drink?

Me: Sure.

Joseph: Who will get me a cup... a new cup of the covenant in somebody's blood?

(And I thought I wasn't listening in church:)

Monday, February 18, 2008

A very good night

Well, for how the day started it couldn't have ended more perfectly.

Sean got off work early and happily announced that he received a Best Buy Teacher Grant award today toward his classroom technology supplies! This is quite an honor and I am so proud.

My sister and brother-in-law took the kids for the evening so we could go out for my birthday. I'm turning 36 this week and tonight was the only night for the next 10 days that was completely open.

We went downtown to the most wonderful library ever where I got to peruse at my leisure. This to me is the ultimate treat. I was actually looking at books outside of the children's section and not once had to shush anyone.

Afterwards, we went to Yat's. It's a small Cajun restaurant downtown with just the right amount of spice and atmosphere. It hit the spot on this cold winter's night.

Now we are off to watch a movie together and call it a night. A very good night.

Not one of my better moves

Our electricity has been going on and off this weekend. Who knows why. It was probably something to do with the high winds.

This morning I got up early to send out the weekly homeschool group newsletter. Of course the computer had to reboot and asked a number of questions about this and that. I'm an agreeable person so I pushed a lot of "Yes" buttons. I know now that "cancel" was the correct response.

Well, I deleted a lot of stuff important to my life. All of the files for our homeschool group from the past year, our downloads of music and pictures, some passwords that I now can not remember for the life of me, my record of our budget and spending.... Very unsettling.

It can't go just nowhere, right? It has to be trapped in this little tower screaming to get out.

Apparently I am not yet ready for computer independence.

Tell me I'm not the only one (please).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

February Frugal $400

I think I'm going to send a personal thank you card to Kroger's manager. I've found the Manager's special marked down prices in my town's Kroger to be an awesome way to cut down on our grocery bill.

Needing to purchase some staples for the remainder of the month I decided to drop by this afternoon and found everything I needed and then some. My favorite of these being Pamper's which I was able to get for $3.00 because they were 1/2 off and I had a coupon!

I spent a total of $36.60 and saved just over $60. To stay on budget I have $68.34 left for the last week of February. Time to buckle down and get it done.

2 pounds of pork chops (Manager's special $5.00)
6 pounds of chicken breast ($1.67/lb)
Jumbo pampers ($3.00)
3 loaves organic bread ($.99 each)
4 dozen organic eggs ($1.25 each)
4 packages of English muffins ($3.00 on sale w/ coupon)
2 liter of diet soda (free with coupon)
3 Huggies travel wipes ($.99 each)
5 gallons of milk ($.99 each)

Still on the menu for this month:

Taco soup
Azuki bean tacos
Quiche/blueberry muffins/hashbrowns
Lentil Sausage Soup/ bread
Homemade pizza
Turkey pot pie and biscuits
turkey tetrazinni/ broccoli
chili/ corn bread
baked potato bar/ dinner salad
Italian chicken and rice/brocolli
Egg rolls and stir fry veggies

This frugal thing is getting easier and I'm beginning to realize all the more how blessed we truly are. I was reading over at Cindy's today about compassion international and how $34 a month can change a family's life. Could it be that God is allowing us to save all this money a month in order to pass it on? We're praying about it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Do you know the Chocolate Man?

I fear I have a serious problem on my hands. I noticed it starting to develop a few years ago but laughed it off and turned a blind eye. I mean, he's just a little boy with big brown eyes. I would wipe back the brown crumbs from his cheeks, kiss him and send him on his merry way.

But now? I have a growing boy who can not keep his hands off the chocolate! He can smell it from a mile away. He salivates that the sound of the word. His big brown eyes grow even bigger (if that's possible) when he sees it.

The day after the M&M incident he found more M&Ms and ate them the next day. Later, our friend, Jenny, came over to baby sit. I sat him down in her presence and explained the situation.

"Joseph, I'm leaving now and I'm trusting that you will not get into any chocolate. If you feel like you want some you must ask Jenny first. If you do not, you will be punished. Now, can I trust you to do this?"

He looked at me most sincerely, thought for a second and said, "I think that you should have Jenny watch me closely."

Now there's a man who knows his limits.

Well yesterday we made Valentine's cookies and in the process I found one lone cherry cordial Hershey's kiss in with the sprinkles. The instant I found it Joseph was looking over my shoulder asking, "Where did you get that? Who gets to eat that?"

I explained that since it was Valentine's Day and that it was Daddy's favorite that we would save it for his dinner. Everyone agreed (though I think that I was asked an additional 12 times).

Well, that didn't last. The boy ate the chocolate again! The minute I saw his face I knew it to be true.

Big tears and cries of regret poured fourth, "Monica (he's taken to calling me this lately)....I mean mommy, I'm sorrrrryyyyyy....... Now I'm going to get a spank!"

It was sad and he got spanked. Really, I thought he was cute (though I didn't crack a smile) because I understand. I've been wanting to eat that chocolate all day, too.

The Story of Us- Part 3

My dreams of marriage to the exceptional young man were shattered when he unexpectedly broke off our relationship. It remains somewhat of a mystery even to this day as to the reasons why.

It was a difficulty hard to overcome especially since our campus was small and our circle of friends close. I retreated at that point to a few close friends and leaned hard on the Lord. I was lonely, no doubt. I was physically sick for some time. Most of my friends were in serious relationships or married. I was forced to confront some difficult questions regarding my own faith and faithfulness to continue on the path I had promised to follow. It was probably the lowest point in my life.

During the next two and a half years I changed my major to nursing. My interest in medicine had not changed, but I discovered that my giftedness was more in hands on caring, counseling and education rather than in organic chemistry. I also grew to know myself and became completely enthralled with the Lord and His Word. There were many Saturdays spent hiking in the hills of Tennessee and hours of piano playing. I learned to be by myself and came to like it actually.

I decidedly did not date during these years, though there was an occasional interest. I had come to recognize some of the mistakes I had made in giving my heart away so easily the last time. I was not willing to do the same again.

Soon those four years of college came to an end and those closest to me were moving on to jobs, families or grad school. I, however, due to my change of major, had two years left to finish. I had come to college at 18 and I wouldn't be finished until I was 24. Watching my friends pack up their cars and graduate was excruciating for me. Again, I felt alone wondering where my path might lead.

For that summer I had an internship back at my home church. It didn't pay much, but I thought that the experience would be priceless in preparing me for future work. I was to be the youth and missions intern which would entail a week of church camp, Bible studies, and a missions trip to Mexico and Latvia.

The first day on the job I was talking with the youth pastor, Rick, in his office. I was sharing with him my sense of loss and was of course was crying. Then there was a knock on the door. I was slobbering all over myself when in walked a tall, bright blond haired young man with piercing blue eyes. Sean. With the same fire and passion that I remembered, there he stood. He had just graduated from college in Florida and was home in Indiana. He just stopped by to ask, "Is there anything I could do this summer to help?"

We never technically dated. We just spent the next two months working side by side. Looking back we laugh at these instances as we see clearly how from the start God was working and our relationship was sealed. I think the most important aspect about our early relationship was that we got to know each other in the context of serving and spent nearly all of our time talking. We weren't trying to impress each other. Nobody looks good when they've been sweating for a week and have only bathed out of a bucket. Those close to us say they could see it coming a mile a way. We just knew that we had found love and for the first time felt at peace.

Here's just a picture of how our story unfolded the summer of 1995:

The first task of the summer was the get ready for church camp. Of course, I needed him to turn the pages of music at the piano as I sang.

Then there was the great assistance I provided while sitting on pieces of wood in Mexico while Sean sawed for the house we were building. This was followed by a therapeutic hand massage I provided to his strong hands. This is team work at it's best.

There were late talks around the campfire when everyone was in their tent.

Back home we spent many, many more hours of talking and laughing at my parent' s house until the sun rose as we shared our lives and dreams. Sean's dad once commented about how convenient it was for him to go to work at 6 am because his car was already warmed up and ready to go.

Our first kiss was at the end of June on a blanket in a park where Sean first confessed his love and I responded likewise.

Having not slept for six weeks, Sean became very sick. I jumped to the occasion to help him research grad school applications. In the end he had two good options and one of them was a state school about 5 miles from my college in Tennessee. Which one do you think he picked?

When I returned home from Latvia my dad's truck was packed with our belongings. Sean had been accepted to grad school with an assistanceship to pay his tuition and found an apartment.

Life had changed dramatically in the span of 8 weeks, but the Lord had it planned all along. It was His preparation, His purposes and His perfect timing that brought us together. Sean asked my dad for my hand in marriage over Thanksgiving break, we were engaged the next month and married in May.

And so begins the story of us.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Fire Station Fun

Did you know that you can schedule a birthday party at your local fire station for free?

A fire station is considered a community building and oftentimes has a meeting room that you can reserve for the party. Afterwards a real fireman will provide a tour of the station and a truck. They even have hats and coloring books for party favors! You just need to call and get on the schedule. Of course your party could end quickly if they have a call for a fire, but wouldn't that be exciting for a group of little boys to see?

Check out more ideas at Works For Me Wednesday!

*Just to note, the meeting room can be reserved for other purposes as well.*

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Learning to Acclaim Him

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD.

They rejoice in your name all day long;
they exult in your righteousness.

For you are their glory and strength,
and by your favor you exalt our horn.

-Psalm 89:15-17

Yesterday with my twenty minutes of waiting in the car I spent some time in prayer and reading Scripture. This Psalm served as the reminder that I needed.

What do I really want to teach my children? It is our job to equip them with an education that will carry them into whatever realm of service God calls them to. We desire that their excellence in study be an indication that they honor the Lord who made all of this world and that they are driven to "take dominion" of their corner of this world for God's glory. Therefore, we take academics seriously in preparation for post high school education.

Yet this Scripture reminded me again of our first aim. We want our lives and our instruction to point them to the Lord so that as He calls out to them that they hear Him and respond to His voice and call on their lives.

My interaction yesterday did nothing of the sort. I am thankful for forgiveness, your encouraging comments and a new start today.

Due to the weather, our schedule has changed to keep us home today. We will continue on the trek to catch up on our eight days lost with renewed energy and a softened heart. Sean did all of the laundry last night so I don't have that overwhelming chore staring me in the face. And to top it off it is International Pancake Day so I won't be having to spend time fixing dinner. This is all God's grace to this homeschooling mom. And I bless Him for it.

Is is possible to be this loved?

Sean, realizing the sort of day that I had yesterday and recognizing that our laundry had been unattended since before last Monday, took these piles of clothes last night (against the cold and threat of ice) to the laundry mat and did our laundry. I did not ask him to do this, mind you. He just announced that he wanted to. Bless that man!!

You see, every time the temperature gets below freezing our washer's drain pipe freezes at the bottom. So when the water drains it backs up and floods the laundry room floor. It was frozen before my surgery and again as of yesterday, so we were left with virtually no clean clothes.

He used the huge washers and dryers- one 6 loader and three 4 loaders. That's a lot of laundry, folks!

You want to know the irony of it? Yesterday I posted over at Crystal's about my laundry system. Just so you know, this is not it.

But I'm thankful this morning for a husband again who loves me so practically and selflessly. He's done it again. Give that man a crown!!

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Homeschool Blues

Today I actually asked one of my girls to get the phone book out so I could look up the school's number and give them a call. What is wrong with me?

My children are clearly unmotivated. I'm uninspired. They are not understanding the material well. And everyone is fighting.

From the wedding, to sickness, to my surgery we are about 8 days behind of schedule and it is overwhelming. I need some time to take my attitude before the LORD and confess what is really going on in my heart. Usually, I can keep it contained, but today it is showing up in my words and actions toward these precious children. Somebody stop me.

When one of them asked me why I was crying I said, "Because I don't think that I do well enough at teaching." Her response? A pat on the back and the most sincere, "You're doing better than last year." Sigh.

I have 20 minutes here to wait in the car during Speech Therapy and I'm thankful for it. I have no doubt that homeschooling is God's best for our family, I just know all too well that I am not the best at it.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Story of Us: Chapter 2

I spent my college years in the hills of East Tennessee at a small Christian college. I went with my best friend, Carrie, by my side and aspirations to become a missionary doctor. Against all odds, we did remain roommates and best friends during our four years there.

Moving far from home and going to a college of less than 900 was an amazing atmosphere. My professors knew me by name which produced a lot of academic accountability. I had the opportunity to play collegiate tennis. Being quite conservative, there was an atmosphere of safety from the party atmosphere of the typical college lifestyle. Not to say that one couldn't find it, but there was plenty to do instead. It was an incredible amount of fun. I would liken it to living in the world of Seinfeld where everything is an inside joke and the people so closely knit together that it seems surreal. In some ways it was like being at church camp for adults. Most people dated around initially and then became engaged and married.

My sophomore year, I found myself on that very track. I believed that I had found the love of my life. A strong Christian guy, highly admired, studying premedicine and called to missions. It seemed perfect to us and to everyone else.

Although I lived eight hours from home, I would catch a ride whenever I could. I enjoyed our long winter breaks and getting reacquainted with old friends, though I spent my summers on campus working or doing a mission's internship overseas. There was something quite comforting about coming home to a place where little had changed.

On one winter college retreat I noticed that something had changed. That quiet young man, Sean, who had graduated and moved to Florida was different. His hair was longer, that was for sure. He talked a lot more. But more than that, he appeared free somehow. He spoke with conviction and excitement about God. He seemed driven to pass on what He had been learning. It was apparent that there had been a transformation in his life.

I remember him striking up a conversation with me on a bus ride to a retreat. He didn't beat around the bush. "So, tell me, what has God been doing in your life? What is He teaching you?" His blue eyes were intense and listening.

Frankly, I felt a little put on the spot. The first thing that popped into my head was some trite answer. "I'm learning to trust Him more." I really don't remember what I said, but I do remember being a bit saddened with the realization that I didn't have a good answer. My life, energy and emotions were pretty well consumed in my relationship and hopes of upcoming marriage. It was unsettling, but I let it go at that.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Frugal Finds

Early in our marriage we used ground turkey instead of ground beef because it was what we could afford. It was in no way healthier in that it had 16-20 grams of fat per serving. But it was always $.99 a pound.

I discovered that WalMart is now carrying rolls of Honeysuckle White Fresh ground turkey 93/7 for $1.87/lb everyday! 8 grams of fat per serving. No additives. Substituting this for lean ground beef saves us dollars per meal. I'll admit that the taste is more mild and the texture finer, but we like it.

I've also been running out of spices recently. I went to the dollar store and found nothing I needed, so I went ahead and bought Kroger brand for $2.50 and up. However while going through the aisles at CVS the other day I discovered that they have a large selection of spices for $.99. Of course I saw all of the ones that I had purchased recently. I know what I'm going to be getting as fillers on my next order:)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I'm getting excited!

I was going to take a picture of my stove, but I see someone already has.

With my leg propped up in the air yesterday and no little kids at home, I did our 2007 taxes. I know that we are supposed to claim so many exemptions that we would never receive a return, but as of yet that has never happened. We already claim 12. I don't know.
Are you allowed to claim 20?

Anyway, the return will be deposited on the 15th and we will be debt fee except for our van payment and mortgage. We plan to have our van payed off in the next 24 months and to remain out of debt otherwise.

But do you know the most exciting thing? We will be able to purchase a new stove! I love my stove which just turned 8 years old in January. According to the experts, it was never intended to survive so many years. I have used the poor thing daily and it has served me well. But it is seriously in bad shape.

The broiler has been removed because it kept turning itself on in the night and self cleaning the oven. No kidding. It all started one lovely postpartum day when I was cooking a meatloaf. The broiler flipped on and got so hot that the oven went into lock mode. It incinerated the meat. We could see flames shooting out and all that was left was a charred brick. I had a real reason to cry that day.

The burners are, well, barely functional. If you jimmy them just a certain way to get the connection to spark then they may or may not work. Needless to say, I've been using our microwave a lot.

And recently its been taking a long time to bake. I have proof that you can bake a cake in the preheat mode, but it will require an extra hour or so.

What I need is advice. We will be buying an electric range and I need to hear from you. What would you recommend? What should I avoid? If you have an electric stove, what do you like about it or what would you change?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Story of Us- Chapter 1

I went through my teenage years not tangled up in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. It was not that I wasn't interested or didn't dream of such things. There was the occasional crush and short lived romance. But nothing truly serious. I guarded my heart closely.

I knew that I would be going out of state to college and felt no pressure to be tied down to my small town. I used this as my excuse to keep any and all males in my life as good friends. It was just a lot of fun.

I attended the same church all throughout my years at home. It had a large youth group, 50 or so. As in any teenage culture, there were the usual cliques. My junior year of high school a young man was invited to church by his schoolmate. He had bright blond hair, blue eyes. I remember him as tall and thin, with a lot of energy. He didn't talk much, but smiled a lot. He kind of stood outside the group looking in.

I remember vividly the Sunday morning he walked forward during the invitation and was baptized. I heard his name was Sean.

Sean continued attending church during his Senior year even though his friend had graduated and moved on. He spent time with our youth pastor, Rick, helping out whenever needed. On one occasion Rick took me to Sean's school play. Knowing virtually no one, he went on the Senior spring break trip to Florida. I payed little attention, but I do remember that he owned the first CD player that I had ever seen and that he was reading a book written by Einstein.

I heard that he was going to college in Florida to study engineering.

Monday, February 4, 2008

February's Frugal $400 plan

I planned our dinner menu and purchased all the ingredients to start this month. For some of these I will double the recipe and freeze for a later meal. All of these meals are tried and true winners in our home. I'd be glad to post any of the recipes you request at The Full Table.

Based on the frozen turkey and ham in the freezer we'll be having:

Chicken Cilantro soup/ rolls
Taco soup
Azuki bean tacos
Sliced ham/ sweet potatoes
Scalloped potatoes and ham/ green beans
Quiche/blueberry muffins
Lentil Sausage Soup/ bread
Northern white beans and ham/cornbread
Homemade pizza
Turkey biscuits pot pie
Sliced turkey and stuffing/ dinner salad
turkey tetrazinni/ broccoli
chili/ corn bread
baked potato bar/ dinner salad
Italian chicken and rice/brocolli
Lettuce Wraps/stir fry veggies
Egg rolls and stir fry veggies

Spent $130.45 for these ingredients and breakfast/lunch for 2 weeks at WalMart and Aldi
Spent $36.20 for monthly diapers/medicine at CVS

$233.35 remaining for February and $16 ECB to spend.

I plan to use $30 a week or less for picking up CVS deals or sale meat for March, $130 or so for remaining weekly grocery or household needs.

I'm also joining Angie's challenge and saving back all the change to purchase compact light bulbs for our most frequently used lights. Hopefully by the end of the year we'll be completed converted over and saving even more money:)

Wedding Scripture Reading

I prepared this responsive Scripture reading for the wedding and several asked to have it posted. Please feel free to use it. I began by researching the "classic" wedding passages and was reminded again at how well God uses His Word to provide commentary for understanding and application on other Scripture. I think that you'll see this here as well. If you have a chance you should read it aloud with male and female voices. God's Word is beautiful.

Normal type- male voice

Italicized type- female voice

Bold type- voices together

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."

So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the LORD.

A wife of noble character is her husband's crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives,

Love is patient,

and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life,

love is kind

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her

it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud

to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Therefore, as God's chosen people,

holy and dearly loved,

clothe yourselves with





and patience.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.

Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Gen. 1:26-27,
Gen. 2: 8, 21-22 ,
Gen. 2:24,
Prov 18:22
Pr 12:4,
Eph 5:7,
1 Corinthians 13:3-7,
Colossians 3:12-14

The Big Day

The Marriage Celebration of
Vanessa Gail Click
Christian Andrew Nelson
February 2, 2008

at ten thirty in the morning

Vanessa moments away from wedded bliss.

It was classic right down to the wedding cake.

Joseph had to sneak back to see Aunt Vanessa before the wedding

Christy and Charla, Vanessa's best friends

Chris sees his bride for the first time.

Brother-in-law, Mike sang For the Beauty of the Earth and Arise my Love.

Mothers, Trudy and Nancy light candles.

Betsy was moved to tears of happiness. Pure Joy.

The get away car

Paul sharing the love with our sister, Barbara

Cousins- Sarah, Hannah and Miriam

Carrie, my life long friend, and myself

It was a good, long day. Rebekah is done.

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the LORD.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised.

-Song of Solomon 8:6-8


The surgery went well. I'm sure that the doctor told me all about it but I seriously can't remember. I heard that I was snoring and drooling instead. The anesthesia worked well. I was a bit nauseous after (I'm a puker) , but thanks to phenergen I was able to sleep instead. The procedure took just over an hour, but it took my 3 hours to open my eyes. I felt like I got hit by a truck!

I'm home now with my leg propped and pain medicine in hand. The older girls will be here with me. The little ones went to my mom and dad's house. Tomorrow I will start ambulating every hour and be back to the doctor Wednesday. He said I could consider serious mobilization on Saturday.

My only regret is not having my camera with me. The doctor marked my many veins with a Sharpie. I'm just sure that it could have sold as art work!

Thank you for your many prayers.

Going Under

Wow, what a whirlwind this weekend has been! My sister, Vanessa, is happily married and now on a beach in Mexico somewhere.

I, on the other hand, am getting ready for surgery on my leg this morning. I've "gone under" for surgery two other times. Once was an emergency during Rebekah's birth and the other last year. Being "put out" is my least favorite part of the whole thing. It must be my micromanaging self that gets a little freaked out to think about time and events happening while I'm unconscious.

If I think about this rationally I know that this happens every night when I'm asleep. The world does keep going even when I'm not participating. Unbelievable, I know. If the doctor had to he could wake me in an instant. I try to logic myself through the anxiety, but know in my heart that it is a trust issue.

The Lord never sleeps or slumbers. He is my Good Shepherd and His watch never ends.
So this morning I'll be mediating on Psalm 139, the chapter that He has used in so many ways throughout my life:

1 O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.

2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.

3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

4 Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.

5 You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.