The Son is always shining, regardless of the weather

Transforming blue jeans into a skirt

Posted under Love To Learn, Sew What? - Sep 6th, 08 - No Comments

Yesterday we started a project that we have been wanting to start for a long time…making matching skirts! We are having a lot of fun. Sometimes making a mess is considered fun by me, especially when the good outweighs the bad. We are recycling jeans, learning a useful skill, and saving money. Yes, it’s worth having fuzzies and fabric all over the floor and our clothes too.

I think Paige and Michelle will be blogging about what we did right (and wrong) in their blogs. Paige has been taking pictures! Bc says I should categorize this one under “Sew What?”. So today starts this new category. Well, we are ready to sew again, and the twin in me is absolutely loving it (the matching clothes and all)!

Don’t worry, we aren’t making any skirts for the boys. However, Paige mentioned possibly making matching ties!

In Tim’s heart there sings a parody…

Posted under LOL, Poetry - Aug 29th, 08 - 1 Comment

Yesterday, a friend sent an email encouraging me to laugh at a Christian comedian on some “youtube” links. He was homeschooled, and he was a very funny writer, singer, and performer. His name is Tim Hawkins, and he really made us laugh. He specializes in parodies, and reminded me of Weird Al, but not quite as weird. He did a great song called “A Home School Family” sung to the tune of “The Addams Family”.  Here are the links if you need a good laugh:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VM6uqj0_jQc This one is the homeschool family. The rest are great too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYaTSbCGY50&NR=1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkLq1j1kOaU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jdWH9N-JXI&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4a6I1bJtBg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv3WrT-h9H8&feature=related

There are others but these were some of the funniest! His site is http://www.timhawkins.net/

Have fun!

Thanks Make-A-Wish!

Posted under How God Provides - Aug 28th, 08 - 1 Comment

The Make-A-Wish “Wish Teen” pilot program provided summer fun for the whole family! We can’t thank them enough. Sunday was our last Wish Teen event of the summer. We had a lot of fun at Lifetime Fitness and Cold Stone Creamery. Wow! The LORD not only provided us with some great activities to do with our kids, but gave us opportunities to show love and compassion to some very physically-challenged Wish Teens as well! We haven’t really had any prior experience interacting with kids with special needs. This summer we had some wonderful experiences laughing and playing with them! It was great to be a part of it. I especially enjoyed talking with some of the kids who were going through chemo.(and their parents), and encouraging them not to lose hope.

Make-A-Wish was so wonderful to us back when we first started planning for Paige’s trip. When the volunteer from Make-A-Wish asked Paige (age eight) where she might want to go, she said, “Antarctica?” She was crazy about penguins, but bc and I weren’t too crazy about freezing (as I recall our jaws dropped open). She wasn’t too disappointed when the volunteer from Make-A-Wish said Antarctica wasn’t an option right now.

She quickly came up with the perfect wish. She absolutely loved reading the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She actually read the exact set of books that G.G. had given to my sisters and I when we were Paige’s age! G.G.(Paige’s great-grandmother) was also a big fan of Laura, and had traveled to the many homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She shared her postcards, pictures, and great stories with us. I think this really started Paige’s interest (Thank you G.G.). Paige especially liked the fact that these were based on true stories (although not everything was; her books were classified as autobiographical fiction). These stories were about the pioneers and the hard times they faced, as well as the fun times they had with family, friends, animals and music. It recorded Laura’s (and her family’s) faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through these tough times. It was absolutely encouraging to read these books when we were going through our own difficult times. We also enjoyed most of the episodes from the “Little House on the Prairie” t.v. series (Pa and Laura could always make me cry). We really felt like pioneers ourselves…struggling to survive (literally…Paige; financially…us; emotionally…all) yet always hoping to the end. But it wasn’t all bad…we were able to laugh during this rainy time, and we saw the grace of the Lord everyday! So with all that said, for her “wish” she asked if she could see the homes of Laura in De Smet and drive a covered wagon.

We had so much fun! The ladies at the LIW society outfitted the girls in prairie dresses and cotton bonnets, and the boys donned cowboy hats and boots. My mom had also made the girls some dresses with aprons, and even made me one. (I think there is still a little bit of Laura in all of us.) Being a child of the seventies, I actually wore a Holly Hobbie dress, with matching bonnet, to school in third grade. I loved that dress (also lovingly made by my sweet mom…thanks mom). Even bc joined in the fun by wearing boots, jeans, suspenders, and a hat. We called each other “Pa” and “Ma” all week. We took tours of the houses and museum. We also had a scavenger hunt which involved going to all of the historical places Laura fans would know about…and ended with each of my girls receiving a “Charlotte” doll (replicas of the beloved Christmas present Laura received) , and my boys receiving toys. A special gift to Paige was a replica of Ma’s china shepherdess doll. Paige loved it.

We had so much “hands-on” fun at the Ingalls Homestead as well! That was where Paige drove her first covered wagon! Paige and Michelle were able to be “extras” in the outdoor play that the town of De Smet puts on each summer. It was great seeing Paige and Michelle out there having fun acting like school children…jumping rope, misbehaving in class, laughing and twirling around in their dresses. I remember crying tears of joy and thanksgiving as I watched my little girls enjoying themselves so much. I remember after the play, some of my little ones (with their cute cousin) were circle dancing around and around until they were too dizzy to stand. It was wonderful to witness everyone with such huge smiles! It seemed like their tiny precious faces couldn’t contain all their joy! These are memories I’ll never forget.This little town was so full of community spirit, much like we read about in Laura’s books. (We had felt community, within our own community, through love in action from so many kind people from churches, schools, doctors’ offices, organizations like Make-A-Wish, and Relay for Life.) We also have never been able to thank our family and friends enough! We love you all dearly!

We also really enjoyed Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and the Prairie Homestead. I’d tell you all about it, but this is long enough for now. Make-A-Wish is so wonderful. It gave us the thrill of looking forward to something fun while going through chemo. (something not fun).Thank you again Lord for all of your wonderful blessings for we know they are from you! What an awesome God!

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Highlights on Whistling

For years we have received Highlights magazine for kids, but it’s not just for kids. One day (about ten years ago) my husband taught himself to whistle very loudly by reading a page in this magazine. He taught himself in one week by practicing a little each day! I wondered at the time, how this could be a good thing to know. I mean, it was ear-piercing! He would do this all the time. And besides, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be whistled at. Well, over the years, I have witnessed many benefits of his loud whistle!

As I stop to think about it, whistles really have been a source of help. I used one when I was a lifeguard. My brothers use them when they coach. And we have police friends who use them as well. When we need to get everyone’s attention in a large group, I love asking Bc to whistle. When our children need to come downstairs, he whistles. If the children get too far ahead of us, when we are riding bikes or hiking, he whistles.

Just a few days ago, we all went to the store. I was the only one who went inside because I only needed one thing (I ended up with four). So, Bc dropped me off, and then he stayed with the children in the suburban. When I came out of the store, I had no idea where our suburban was, and then I heard it…the whistle. I felt like a baby lamb who was recognizing the mama’s voice or the shepherd’s call. Don’t get me wrong, I felt like a very cared for lamb, and I was thankful again for that amazingly loud whistle, and how my amazing husband always looks out for me! He reminds me of someone else whose voice I know…my Amazing Savior and my Good Shepherd…Jesus Christ.

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

P.S. If you hear a lot of whistling coming from our house today, don’t worry, we will just be practicing our whistling while we work! BTW (by the way, not blow the whistle), watch out for spitting and hyperventilating! This how to whistle page was also helpful! It explained two ways to whistle, and mentioned the added benefit of being able to hail dogs and taxis!

Bowling Can Be A Ball!

For a long time now, I have been been known to dislike bowling. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the first time I remember going bowling (high school), I think I bowled 150. You might be saying to yourself: “What’s wrong with that? 150 is a pretty good score.” Well, I happened to be on a double date with my sister and two other guys, and she and I beat them all! They accused us of lying when we told them we never played on a bowling league (oops, they did). Come on, I was shooting granny shots! Anyways, that day I learned about beginner’s luck, and that boys can act like losers when they are losers (they never asked us out again).

I remember another terrible time I went bowling, and I was pregnant with our third child. One of our “powerful” toddlers bowled (or should I say rolled?) the ball, and it actually stopped probably eight feet out. Well, not being familiar with the rules, I very carefully walked out there to retrieve the still ball. My brother-in-law still talks about my insane moment! No, I did not fall, but it was very slippery! In my ignorance and embarrassment, I remember asking: “Where are the signs? They should really post warnings about how slippery that floor is!” I guess in war and bowling there are certain lines that should not be crossed!

Well, the first time we took our six kids bowling was Spring Break of 2007. We all didn’t know what we were doing (myself included, Bc excluded). Faith wanted to know why she had to wear old shoes when she had a perfectly good pair. She kept asking me when she could put her shoes back on because she thought they were possibly not going to be returned to her. The kids were choosing bowling balls based on color, not bothering with the fit of their fingers or the weight of the ball. Then Benjamin “dropped the ball”—the bowling ball—on my right foot. Just as the pain was starting to subside, one ball fell out of the ball return, and landed on my left toe. We were just getting started! The kids seemed to think the ball return was a cool place to be and hung out there waiting for their shiny borrowed toys to return. They returned with a vengeance. Faith smashed her finger when another ball smashed into the one she was holding. At this point I questioned Bc on why we had decided to take the kids bowling for fun. I had no idea it was this dangerous! I had only bowled gutter balls, so I can’t say I was really enjoying myself. After Bc won the first game, he told me how I might better control the ball. I then made a strike (bad in baseball, good in bowling). I was smiling as I asked him, “How come you didn’t tell me that before?” His honest reply (with a smile) was: ” I wanted to win!” Yes, boys can still be competitive. But, he was honest.

Anyways, Wish Teens had planned a free bowling event last week. I wasn’t sure if anyone even wanted to go, but some did. So we had fun, but we had no real form or knowledge (except Bc) about bowling. Bc would bowl a strike, and I would ask him, “How did you do that?” He would then reply: “I’m not sure”. He explained about force and motion. Also, the importance of dropping the ball low to the ground (we had been dropping them more like cannon balls than bowling balls). However, I still bowled gutter balls. And then the screen would tell everyone, just in case they missed it, that I had a gutter ball. The kids were using gutter guards, and having a lot of fun! Paige bowled over a 100! The way they were bowling reminded me of the old pin-ball machines (back and forth). So, I asked bc if I could use gutter guards, and I was having a ball banking all my shots. Until…my fun turned into feelings of cheating, as I looked around to see that not many adults were using gutter guards. Is that really allowed? I was thinking I really needed to read the rules of this game. However, I admired bc’s bowling ability. He had a lot of power and accuracy. He was a natural (notice the form in the above picture) bowler.

So, what did I do? I “Googled”: “how to bowl”, and we learned some bowling tips. Tips like… pick a ball that is 10% your body weight. Then, we learned how to hold the ball, bring it back (while keeping your elbow close to you) and follow through. We were fast learners as this took about ten minutes. So, we were ready to bowl again on Saturday (also Wish Teens). We got there and had a great time. No broken toes or fingers. Bc and I bowled over 100. The kids had fun, and the man in charge of Wish Teens told us that our family ought to join a bowling league. Yes, it was fun to teach an old dog (me) new tricks. I was thankful for Google too.

When we don’t know what something is or how something is done, “Let’s Google it!” is a common phrase used in our home. However, I was convicted today of looking to Google for answers instead of looking to God who has all the answers. I was reminded of the importance of looking to Jesus everday for help. He is always found in the Bible if I am looking for Him. He is always available when I call on Him. If every time I said, “Let’s Google it”, I would remind myself to seek Him in the Bible or through prayer. And then, not forget to thank Him for His answers!

Dirty Jobs

Posted under Things I Love About My Husband - Aug 14th, 08 - 1 Comment

We recently visited The Snake Farm in New Braunfels. The man feeding the alligators told us that they were featured on a show called Dirty Jobs, and they had to clean out the alligator pond (Is it me or does it look like it may be cleaning time again?). I have never seen this show, but it made me think about my handy Bc.
Way back, when we started holding hands(1989), I thought his hands were handsome. However, his willingness to use his hands made them even more lovely.
My dad told me bc was a “keeper” when he offered to lend a helping hand to my dad with a dirty job: cleaning out our pool after the floods in 1989 (our house had flooded several times that month). Anyways, there were toads, dead fish, algae and green pond scum (slimy stuff that would make your skin crawl or is it… “make you crawl out of your skin”?). It was a nasty, yucky, smelly clean-up job. I was so thankful for bc’s willingness to help out and get his hands dirty. Some people may not find dirty hands appealing, but I did and still do. I have witnessed them with car grease, baby b.m, and blood, to name a few. Life can be dirty. On the other hand, he does wash his hands with soap on a regular basis, and I also find that appealing.
There is another man’s hands that I also love dearly…the nail-scarred hands of my Savior Jesus Christ, who came down here for a dirty job to clean up…me! He took away my dirt and made me clean. I am thankful to be in such good hands!

The “LOL Game”

Posted under Games We Love To Play, LOL - Aug 7th, 08 - 2 Comments

Earlier this year, we bought a computer, and reentered the computer world…with all of it’s strange codes to decipher. We have even made up our own for some of our sicknesses: LOLBAV (That’s computer talk for “lots of loose bowels and vomiting”). Anyways, I just recently learned what “LOL” means. Maybe I am the only one who didn’t know, but it means “laugh out loud”. We have also decided that it could mean “lots of lies”; “lots of love”; “lots of links” “lots of luck”. We have had fun trying to think of all the LOL possibilities. Mom’s and Dad’s have LOL: lots of love; lots of laundry; lots of lethargy. Some toys have LOL: lots of lead; Our yard has LOL: lots of leaves. Our schools have LOL: lots of learning. And hopefully we will never have LOL: lots of lice or worse…lots of leprosy. Bc knew the real meaning “Laugh Out Loud”, but we all had fun with the “LOL game”. If you think of anymore “LOL” possibilities, please comment and we will LOL or possibly… ROFLOL..I think this means “roll on floor laughing out loud” or does it?…
LOTS OF LOVE,
CC

Computer Kids

Posted under LOL, My Kids Make Me Smile - Aug 2nd, 08 - No Comments

Earlier this year, Bradley (age 5) woke up one morning with a question for me.

“Momma, can we go to dot com?”

I think he was thinking it must be like Disney or something! LOL!

Then, a few days ago, I heard my boys in the bathroom making gargling noises.

I asked them what they were doing.

Bradley replied, “We’re gurgling!”

Then, Benjamin tried to correct him and said, “No, we are googling!”

Isn’t vocabulary development interesting? LOL!

Getting Older

Posted under LOL, My Kids Make Me Smile, Poetry - Jul 31st, 08 - 3 Comments

As I begin my 37th year,

Some things in my life are really clear:

Trials begin with every rising sun.

Life can be hard, and work never done.

But, I love to laugh and enjoy each day.

My troubles just seem to fade away!

The Lord gives me grace each day I’m a mom,

And keeps the “sea” inside of me calm.

I feel a tug at my heart. Is it true?

Am I living each day, just for You?

Soften my heart. Is there a callus there?

From friction and stress, will You repair?

Well, it’s official…I am old. I received two Ped-Eggs for my birthday from some very sweet, uncalloused (meaning they are really not insensitive) people. If you don’t know what a Ped-Egg is, don’t worry…I just found out a month ago, and I’m going to tell you all about it. It is an egg-shaped, cheese-grater-like tool that you use on your foot calluses. You know, the thick skin that develops on your heels from the stress of walking, shoes that rub you wrong, science…friction?

Do you think my family was trying to tell me something? I got two! Benjamin said, “I guess you will have one for each foot!” The other day when that piece of glass went through my heel, I was only so thankful to have thick calluses! However, I do like soft things, and my heels were not in the soft category. I was excited about using this gizmo, and I told the girls they could have my extra one. Well, after looking at their soles, not a one of them had a callus…pretty, young feet. I felt pretty old again.

Then, we tested it out on a balloon (because there was a picture of it claiming to be that gentle). I must say, most of us thought the balloon would pop, but it did not. It is a gentle tool, and my heels are feeling young again. Do I sound like a commercial?

Well, as I was using this nice pampering gadget on my sole, I started thinking about my heart (and soul). So many times I have read, “Don’t let your heart be hardened” in various scriptures. What causes this hardening? Is it friction and stress? Is it time? Getting older? If so, I want the LORD to use the Ped-Egg on my heart!

Obstacles of the day

Today was one of those days we decided to really clean and declutter our house. The problem was we were having company over for dinner. No, that wasn’t the problem, maybe the motivation. The problem was deciding to do this on the same day company was coming! We started cleaning up early on, and spent most of the exhausting day doing just that. There is never enough time, and obstacles always come up!

Our first obstacle was cleaning up broken glass. There is nothing scarier than seeing broken glass all over the floor. It is right up there with seeing a shark in the ocean. Someone in our family, I won’t mention who, unintentionally knocked over a glass. (Why do we even own glass? Plastic should be all we use). That was a good hour and a half of clean up. Here is a play-by-play of my experience on how I cleaned up the glass, and instructions on what to do and not to do when cleaning up glass:

First you carefully pick up the big pieces. Then you sweep, and you sweep again. Next, you use old bread or cotton balls to pick up the tiny shards that you missed. Next you mop. Then you find a piece of glass eight feet from the point of contact, and do another spot check. You make a discovery…there still seems to be little pieces of glass all over the floor! You obviously aren’t very sharp! Yes, you did the right thing by putting shoes on, but after you cleaned up the kitchen, you should have cleaned off all the bits of broken glass that were on the bottom of your shoe! So, you clean your shoes off and re-sweep and mop again, but with a different mop because the last mop has glass in it. Meanwhile, you have yelled out to the kids a million times several times, “Don’t come in the kitchen! There is broken glass!” You have even set up trash cans and chairs to block entry. After all that work, you still end up with a piece of glass in your heel, and so does one of your daughters. So adequate first-aid is administered.

During my clean-up campaign, bc was out getting his first-aid at a doctor’s office. Earlier today, an obstacle (being that of a rusty nail) went deep into his heel. Ouch! He is in pain from the nail today, and will be in pain from the tetanus shot tomorrow. Yes, it has been one of those days. Daddy has often demonstrated (much to our children’s delight), his rendition of what lock-jaw might look like. Personally, I was glad he was getting a shot.

Speaking about lock-jaw, did I mention (in our rush to get to the store for tonight’s menu items), we got locked out of our house? I locked the front door (by turning the knob), and I thought the kids had the keys because they were already out and inside the car. Well one of them had brought the keys back inside and said she had mentioned it as she hung them on the key rack. Well, I was looking for my shoes, and I guess I didn’t hear her. We were locked out. Well, my son Benjamin was a quick thinker. He said he knew how to climb the locked back fence door, and maybe the back door was unlocked. So we gave it a try. He went over the fence door and we were still standing there, peeking through the slats, when he came running around behind us with the keys in his hand and smile on his face! Boy, he was fast—30 seconds or less!

When company came, we were tired, but we all had a nice time together in our clean house. The kitchen floor sparkled like glass (hopefully I got it all), injuries really were minor (bc doesn’t have to get that shot for another ten years), we could have been locked out of the house for a longer time (we don’t normally leave our back door unlocked), and my son was able to demonstrate his helpful problem-solving skills.

My son probably takes after bc. When I was a senior in high school, my sister and I broke into our home by breaking a window. We didn’t want to be late for work, and nobody was answering the door. Funny thing was, my other sister was actually home at the time, and was in the shower. Talk about cleaning up broken glass! Well, don’t get me started…The LORD knows what we can handle (or not handle) in one day! I guess those are the breaks!