Monthly Archives: February 2009

Something fishy’s going on!

We have a lot of pets, but until recently we never had fish. The boys have asked for them, but Tony and I tend to prefer cute furry pets that you can actually hold in your hand and DO stuff with.

Nonetheless, Tony came home with an aquarium and two fishies the other day so now we are proud fish owners.

The orange one is Gomer and the more spotty one is Iggy.
Cool fish names, huh?

I still prefer a more cuddly type pet,
but I’m thinking the fish are pretty fun to watch too.

They just can’t cuddle on the couch with you and keep you warm though.

P.S. – 3FoldCord Julie, the comment settings on your blog changed and I can’t comment there anymore. I was going to try and email, but I’ve lost your email addy too. I’m still reading, but I just can’t comment now.

The Treasure Tree

I was just poking around on my bookshelf and found one of my favorite kids’ books and thought I’d share it with you all. The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personality by John & Cindy Trent and Gary & Norma Smalley.

It’s a picture book that tells the story of four animal friends (Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever, and Beaver) which beautifully illustrates the four personality styles, their strengths and even some of their struggles. It even has a handy personality checklist that can help you and your child identify their own personality style.

I’m pretty sure that my house if full of otters and golden retrievers!


Trusting in a New Season

Thanks for all of your fun encouraging comments on my highlights post with Mary Jane. I’m hoping that I’m going to be able to get back to blogging a bit more often. I’m kind of going through a season of change, and although I’m kind of resistant to change, the Lord has been using many things (like your comments) to affirm that I was following Him in the right direction.

I’ve been wearing a lot of hats at TOS for the past few years as a writer for the magazine, editor of The Homeschool Minute, and also the Director of Marketing. It was pretty much a full-time job in addition to homeschooling and although it’s been a HUGE blessing in so many ways, the time has come to step away from the Director of Marketing part of it. And I don’t know about you all, but stepping away from things is NOT my forte!

God had been calling me to soak in the blessings on our farm and just take time to focus on my health for awhile, but I just kept rationalizing all of the reasons why I didn’t “have” to give up that part of my job in order to do those things.

I mean it’s all about balance isn’t it? And I just kept thinking that I was going to get things back in balance again – right after the next big project. But really I was doing more juggling than balancing, and after wrestling with God for some time about it, I felt like He finally asked me if I trusted Him enough to lay down that part of my job.

Did I trust that He would provide financially?

Did I trust that I He knew what was best for me?

Did I trust that He really could say that it was ok to work less?

Did I trust that I would still have value even though I was giving up a title?

Did I trust that He would give me another opportunity when the time was right again?

And I wrestled and I wrestled. My husband and my friends kept reminding me that I needed to take better care of myself. I knew that God wanted me to, but I really felt like I should be able to just manage my time better. I kept trying to figure out how to do it all. I kept reminding myself that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me! But then it was like God hit me with a frying pan and I realized – maybe God isn’t asking me to keep doing ALL of these things.

I had started to feel so consumed by all of my responsibilities and like I was falling apart, but it was still so hard to make a change.

Can any of you relate?

That’s why I’m sharing this on my blog at all. I’m still going to be writing in THM and the magazine so you all probably wouldn’t have even noticed the difference, but the whole giving up something was HUGE for me. I know that many of us get a lot of our self-worth from what we do for others and even though God had taught me years ago that His love and grace wasn’t based on all that I DO, it’s still sometimes hard to put that into practice.

Matthew 11:28 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

And then Deb Wuehler reminded me of another great verse. Lamentations 3: 21-25 “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”

So, now you know why things have been a little quiet on the blog. I’ve been kind of busy wrestling with God and battling exhaustion and pain. But truly He is patient and persistent and stuck with me while I wrestled. His mercies are new each morning and His compassions do NOT fail (even when we wrestle). I am SO thankful.


Comparing highlights

After months of muttering about it, I finally broke down and made a hair appointment. And  while I started out going for hair kind of like Bonnie Hunt or Deidra Hall, I realized that my color most closely matches Mary Jane’s.

Trying to get her to pose with me for a picture wasn’t very easy though. She’s such a diva.

Look at the camera Mary Jane.
Look that way. Look at Jake!

Hank looks at the camera.
See? It won’t hurt.
Just smile.

Not feelin like it today? I understand. We can do it another time.
Sometimes I don’t like having my picture taken either.

I’ll just go inside and see if I can find some yummy goodies for Hank.
Hank likes to pose and get yummy goodies.

What’s that?
You’d like another chance?

Hey, don’t pull me down!
There’s mud all over the yard.
Seriously Mary Jane, I was gonna wear these pants again tomorrow.

You really are a pushy dog sometimes.
I don’t care if you are a natural blonde. That’s no excuse!
Look at how nice Hank is.
Why didn’t I just try to take a picture with him?
He has really good hair too.

But I love you no matter what.
Us girls gotta stick together…

Lessons Learned from the Ice Storm

Well it’s been a bit exciting in our neck of the woods what with the Ice Storm of the Century and all. Our area was coated with ice and although it was quite perty. The trees couldn’t bear the weight – so they came down – and so did the power and phone lines!

We actually had some really good warnings that this might happen though and when they started saying that this could even be worse that the storm of 94, my family started getting things ready.

We already had a kerosene heater and a little bit of kerosene, but Tony went ahead an filled up 2 more containers.

He had the boys dig through our camping supplies in the garage to get out the cookstove, extra containers of fuel, and flashlights.

Then they made a last minute run to stock up on a few things – mainly batteries.

I must say that I thought Mel would have been proud of how we weathered the storm.

  • The kerosene heater did an awesome job of keeping our home warm & cozy. Tony and the boys *did* get more kerosene when we started getting low, but then our electric came on the very next day. 
  • If you live where it gets cold, buy yourself a nice kerosene heater when they’re on clearance. And then buy 2 kerosene containers, fill them, and store them safely on your property.
  • Learned something kind of interesting. One afternoon there were lines and lines of folks waiting close to an hour to get gas & kerosene. Just a few hours later after dark, no lines. If your roads are clear enough that you can be out after dark, you might save yourself quite a bit of wait time. Of course, people were afraid that the kerosene (or gas) would be all gone by then. It wasn’t though and since our situation wasn’t dire, we were able to wait and avoid the lines.
  • The cookstove and extra tanks of camping fuel – Awesome to have on hand. We could have used our grill for cooking if we had to, but instead we were able to just set up our cookstove right on the countertop – easy-peasy. We had spaghetti one night, oatmeal & toast most mornings, mac & cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, canned soup, etc… We were warm and we had food to eat. It made the frustration of not being able to flip on the TV easier for my gang. Ha!
  • Campfire lantern, oil lamps, fuel, flashlights & batteries. We love them. The lantern was awesome for lighting up a whole room and even put out a fair amount of heat. The oil lamps definitely help light up the area, but aren’t quite bright enough to read by (at least not for me). Every person in our family was assigned a flashlight and kept up with it for the whole week. Tony & Joe had mag lights, while Jake, Jon & I had small led flashlights. All held out the whole week. The smaller ones are easier to misplace, but those led lights sure were nice and bright. I liked being able to keep mine with me at all times. At night it was so dark, you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. Even when we would run to town I kept it in my purse so I could shine it as we went into the house. VERY handy!
  • The scanner – Awesome for being able to *hear* what was going on around us. We aren’t able to pick up radio stations well from our home so it’s really our only way of judging how things are progressing. We could definitely tell that this was a HUGE issue and not to expect the lights to come on any minute. Likewise we were totally impressed with our emergency response folks, police, dispatchers, fire departments, rescue squads, weather spotters, volunteers, electric linemen, phone guys, etc… Hearing how they were cutting their way through the streets to get to people even with lines down all around reminded you that there are heroes among us everyday.
  • The portable radio/weather radio – ours didn’t get a good signal, but it kept us occupied trying to hear things. Ha!
  • The portable CD player – By day 3, we were able to get back and forth to town so we went to the library and checked out some audiobooks on CD and regular books. The only problem was that the CD player took 6 C batteries and Wal-Mart was totally sold out. We looked at grocery stores, dollar stores, etc… Finally found some at Walgreens. Apparently not everyone else had thought to look there yet.
  • Animal feed & hay – Fortunately we had just stocked up before the storm hit. The animals were mighty grateful for that too. Nobody had to go without and Jake was able to chip through the ice and give them some fresh water each day. 
  • Boys – Really wouldn’t want to go through something like this without them. They did a great job of keeping kerosene in the heater, the animals fed, and our food at the right temperature.
  • As our refrigerator started to lose its chill, we put the refrigerated food in a box with ice and moved it to a bedroom that we weren’t heating, opened the windows and made that room into our walk-in refrigerator. We boxed up the stuff from our freezer and took it to a friend in town who had extra room in his big ol’ chest freezer. That was such a relief not to lose all of that meat!

The storm really wasn’t that hard on us. Not being able to use the phone was probably the worst since we don’t get cell signal at home and couldn’t get in touch with family or each other when some were in town and some were at home. We did still have water. Not hot water of course, but it was easy enough to warm some water on the stove to wash your face with etc… Plus, we were able to drive into town and go to a friend’s hosue to do some laundry, take showers, use the phone, etc… (Although Tony did even buy a filter in case we had to get water from the creek.)

Overall it was a kind of fun family adventure. The dogs enjoyed spending so much time in the house and we appreciated their extra body heat. We laughed a lot at flipping the switches as you would go in or leave a room just out of habit – even though they hadn’t been working for days. We cuddled up together, played cards, talked a lot, and read some books.

Again, I just want to express my appreciation to the folks with the electric company, road crews, phone company, and volunteers who worked tirelessly in the rough weather to help get the power back on. They definitely rose to the challenge and did an awesome job!

Please remember to pray for the folks who are still without power. Folks not too far from us might be without power for (get this) up to a month! I can only imagine how difficult things are for them. I am MIGHTY thankful that our *little adventure* was less than a week!