March - in like a lion, out like a lamb. In like a lamb, out like a lion? This year I believe it is in like a lion, out like a lion. The fierce roar of winter is still being felt here across the Dakotas. Thank the Lord we were spared again down in our little southeastern corner. Sure, we had a bit of snow, it's cold, the sun hasn't been shining for a bit, but we're dry. No flooding in our neck of the woods, no blizzards to report, and green grass and flowers are on the horizon. Okay, maybe the distant horizon, but they'll be here, I know they will.

Today was the day to install the work computer - YEAH! Brad was able to get his displaced computer moved back to his office and the new one is ready to be up and running at the front desk tomorrow. Thank goodness for tech support to load our business software, hook up our printers, and get us ready for the day, all through remote access to our computer. That is so bizarre to click on a name on a screen and have them assume control of the mouse and just sit and load information onto your hard drive. I guess it is a good thing we trust these guys as they are accessing important and confidential information! But, I so appreciate them and know that my work with them is not done. Tomorrow, they will continue to add a few more components so I can hopefully do billing and insurance payment entry by the end of the week!

My goal this afternoon was to also get to a stack of folders, and I have to say that I successfully filed a nice little stack. It was enough to give me a sense of accomplishment to a small degree, and keep me motivated to continue to plow through the piles. I also was able to pass along the bathroom cleaning duties at the office to a new person today, so the stress of figuring out how to get them cleaned sufficiently a few times a week has now been lifted as well. It inevitably happened that the day after I would clean the bathrooms, we would have rain, or snow, or something to cause the floors to get all muddied up and ruin the overall appearance. It shouldn't be that difficult to get in to town and find the time to clean them, but between teaching and other work responsibilities, that seemed to always weigh heavy on my mind. I trust now that the job will be done more thoroughly and timely, so I am pleased with the outcome of this change.

School has seemed to suffer the past few days as we sort through the details of all our responsibilities, and fight off the spring/cabin fever. As we wind down and finish a few of our subjects, I have a hard time adding in double lessons or something else to keep us on track. My goal by the end of this week is to map out the rest of our year, see when we need some time off, and work our schedule around it so I can feel good about completing our subjects in a timely, but thorough manner. Jacob finished Teaching Textbooks, Math 7 today, so I am reviewing the TT Pre-Algebra program - but it is spendy! Yikes. I don't want him out or away from math too long, so we will be incorporating some daily practice after giving him the rest of the week off for a job well done.

That's the wrap up for the day - my computer is on backorder so it was delayed yet another week, so we'll just sit tight for awhile where we're at.

Hope you all have a good night!
I've decided to try a new thing today and see if it is a better fit for me. While I do like Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook, I thought I would try Sandra's for awhile. I like that it lists some things that I can reference back to, plus adds the prayer list and scripture verse element. So, without further ado...

On my bedside table:
Taste of Home magazine
The Love Dare

On my TV (to be watched...):
Dancing with the Stars - recorded (we've only watched one episode!)

On the menu for tonight:
Chicken Saltimbocca

On my To Do List:
Set up work computer tomorrow
Continued organization of office/schoolroom
Sort through bathroom closet on main floor
Research summer programs for kiddos

New Recipe I tried last week:
Oatmeal brulee with ginger cream

In the craft basket:
Mending some overly loved stuffed animals
Remaking long pajama pants into pj shorts for momma

Looking forward to:
Getting through what is hopefully the last snowstorm of the season

Homemaking Tip for this week:
Have you ever noticed that there are little tabs at both ends of your saran wrap? Push them in to hold the roll in place so the roll doesn't come out when you pull out the wrap

Favorite Blog Post of the week (mine or other):
I really enjoyed the scripture reflection by Barbara this week

Favorite photo from last week (well, actually a couple of weeks ago):

Lesson learned the past few days:
Jesus was betrayed by Judas by a kiss - one of the most intimate forms of communication; We are often betrayed by the ones closest to us, but Jesus knows how this feels. He also showed grace to his enemies by immediately repairing the ear of the servant to the high priest immediately after it was cut off. I, too, need to show grace to those who hurt or wound me.

On my Prayer List:
Flood victims of North Dakota/Minnesota
Baby Stellan
Our church leaders

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
I John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

For more Happy Homemaker posts, please linke back to Sandra!
Have a great day in the Lord!
Why do the weekends go so fast, especially when you have so much to get done? I am sitting in my office/school room and staring at what seems like a hundred manila folders strewn about on the floor. Oh, it looks like they are organized in nice little stacks, but unfortunately being stacked does not mean they have been sorted through. The vast majority of the files are work related, and consist of reports, billing, follow up insurance needs, pending responses, unpaid claims, unpaid accounts, and so forth. Throw in some school work to be filed, a bunch of recipes I have printed from a number of your sites (thank you!), future bible study papers, art work by kiddos, and I have a menagerie of items to complete. Now, what you must understand is that earlier today, this was ALL on my desk! It was in piles that were defying the laws of gravity. The reason they were on my desk is because LAST weekend I put them on the floor to work on, and my wonderful dh decided on Thursday that he wanted to vacuum the floor in this room. Now, seriously, who can fault a man who wants to vacuum???? So, I picked them all up and put them on my desk, mirroring the Leaning Tower of Pisa x 2, and now today, meant to scale and conquer the great mountain of paperwork.
It has really gotten away from me. That tends to happen by this time of the school year. So now, I have the itch to get it all put away - before the computer comes, before I lose any more floor space, before the carpet needs to be vacuumed again.

Now. I know what you're thinking...this really doesn't look all that bad, right? Notice how I did not scan the room, how I strategically placed my chair to cover the remaining piles on my desk, how I did not use a wide lens to capture all that is wrong with the picture. I could have been one of those cartoons, in which you count the ten things that are wrong...but the number would have been too high.

So, anyway, you will be UNhappy to know that all of these file folders have been now neatly stacked and are completely organized (into one pile) back on my desk, where they came from in the first place. There is too much risk of keeping them in the semblance of order they do have with a full school day on deck tomorrow. I decree, however, with a bit of luck, and a Tuesday afternoon and evening solely devoted to work this week, these papers will diminish. Somehow, someway, I will prevail!!!

Until then, off to view the weather and see if that snowstorm is still heading our way.

God bless!
Well, again, the overwhelming urge to finish a job that had been started, not completed, deleted, thought upon, and analyzed completely encompassed me this evening as I move to a new blog design. And, while I decided I couldn't give up until I was able to figure this out, I am giving up now and will add more buttons, gadgets, and fun tomorrow.

All good things must come to an end, and thus, my evening is now over.

So much for the book - but, at least I have something else to look at now...
Tonight I thought I would try my hand at following some directions to change my blog to something more "me". Sure, I changed a few things, got a new background, but realized a bunch of stuff was out of whack and I'm too computer illiterate to figute out how to fix 'em. So, I reverted back to my old blog (thank goodness for saving it!) and all the blogs that I follow were gone. I had to recreate and find all of you again...Of course, somewhere along the line, I want to try this again, but how do I keep that list from deleting?

Anyway, at this point, boring is going to have to do. I am sure I missed a few of my faves, so hopefully I can find you all soon.

In the meantime, I'm off to bed with a book...
The sneezing from the overload of dust has subsided, and the spring cleaning frenzy is underway. My dh was originally planning on taking a golf trip with some of his friends this week, but due to weather conditions, an eye infection, and a number of other commitments, he decided to stay put with us. While I am sad he didn't get to go play golf, I am so happy to have him home with us and we made the most of it yesterday as he took a mental health day and worked on some projects.

So, we tackled the elusive master bedroom closet. We sorted clothes, made piles for Goodwill, added rags to the rag bag, and threw away a lot of worn out shoes! It is amazing what we keep over time...I find I wear only a few outfits during the week, unless I have to leave the house! I hate to admit it but some things had been thrown in a bag and left for naught deep in the recesses of the closet, dating back to breast feeding days. So, if you want to do the math, my baby is 6 years old...Yikes! I'm not going to say that my closet hasn't been cleaned in that amount of time, because it has. It has been vacuumed, dusted, resorted, and reorganized. BUT, I'll admit, I have always thrown the bags back under the clothes because I didn't want to sort and deal with the contents. NOT THIS TIME! Nothing will go unsorted or without a home. A proper home. I will organize and conquer.

I'm without a car today so I have no choice but to stay put and get 'er done. My plan is to finish the master closet and my dresser drawers (the top two are left to sort out - HATE those two drawers....) :) My other biggest nemesis - jewelry. I don't have a special drawer available or anthing to lay out my necklaces, so I'm trying to find a creative and efficient way to store them. Any ideas would be appreciated!!

For today, then, I am going to finish our bedroom, and hopefully move to my office/school room. Once again, it is WAY out of control. Maybe I'll snap some before and after pics, but I might be too embarrassed to post them.

Need to finish up some schoolwork first before I can be free to be cleaning. All that stands between me and my dustrag are some cell processes, composition memoirs, spelling tests, and a literature discussion.

Have a great day everyone! God's blessings for a day filled with joy and contentment.
Do you ever feel like things just hit you one after another? Like once you start the snowball, it's hard to stop the momentum from carrying you away? Once the sadness hits, or the frustration, you can immediately fall into a "poor me" cycle, and fail to see the joy and beauty all aound?

Seems like some days are like that. Satan wants to hit us when we're down. We have the joy of Jesus in our hearts, but often times we feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Praise the Lord that Jesus has overcome the world by his death and resurrection. Now, it is our role to CHOOSE joy. It is a choice to make. We can wallow in the depths of our despair, or we can cry out to Jesus to uplift and uphold us.

We are not struggling with life threatening issues...we are simply being hit with the day to day mundane items of life which afflict us all. But, I am choosing joy today. I am choosing to find the good in the bad. I am rejoicing in health, happiness, having enough, wanting for little, the love of family, forgiveness, freedoms unlimited, choices, opportunities, peace, and plenty. I am standing on the promises of God, my Savior. He is consistent, never changing, all-knowing, and ever faithful. He is our rock, our strength, our everything. I love the verse in II Corinthians 2:20-22, where Paul states, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ...He annointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guranteeing what is to come." In this crazy economy, and with all the harm the world is seeking to put on our children, we can be assured of this...The deposit of the Holy Spirit will not go unredeemed. This is something we can bank on.

Now that is security in an unsecure world.

Praise the Lord for that!

As I close, please join me in fervently praying for little Stellan and his family as they travel through this journey, moment by moment. They are a witness to many despite the burdens they are bearing at the present time. May God continue to bless and keep them in his care, and all of you as well.
So, last night it is POURING rain and I need to get the insurance billing out from our office in town. I head in, and as I do, I think to slow down signficantly as I don't want to hydroplane out of control and die. I control my speed, keep safe, and drive cautiously. No problem. Safely arrive at work place.

After work I realize that I am going to have to get a few staples to get us through the next day at least, so I head to the grocery store just down the road. Again, still pouring rain, but luckily I have my coat along to throw over my head (an umbrella at this point would have turned inside out more than once due to the wind!) Upon my return, I jump into my van, look behind me, start backing up, when SMACK!, I get hit on my side back bumper from a gentleman in a pickup truck, backing up from the other row.

First thought: I'm fine, didn't get hurt
Second thought: Great, there goes my car insurance rates
Third thought: I don't want to get out in this rain to check the damage
Fourth thought: My sensors didn't go off - I was out further than he was
Fifth thought: What the heck am I supposed to do now? Get a phone number? Call a policeman? Get insurance info?
Sixth thought: Witnesses? Witnesses? This is so not my fault!
Seventh thought: (As I'm driving out of the parking lot) Oh shoot! I forgot to get my groceries at the drive thru.

All in all, it is not a huge accident, I am fine, but my van has a bit of damage. The bit of damage, which looks to me like it would cost $150 to repair, will most likely end up costing upwards of $2000. That is my guess, of which will be confirmed one way or another tomorrow. My rates will most likely go up, as the agent this AM stated, "In situations such as this, we usually call it mutual negligence by both parties." Huh? I was backing out, the other guy told me he isn't sure he even looked, and the other guy doesn't have a scratch on his truck! That doesn't sound like mutual negligence to me! (Insert frustrated tone here...)

So, bottom line, we'll see how this plays out. I was hugged and greeted by my whole family upon my return home, and my youngest summed it up so nicely: "Mom, I am really glad you're okay. We do get bored of you, but it is nice to have you around." Gee, thanks for the glowing endorsement.

I am thankful that it wasn't worse, that I didn't hydroplane and die, and that I made it home safe and sound to my family. The Lord continues to have a plan for me, and if it includes an increase in my car insurance, I guess I'll have to go with that! :)
Outside my window...blustery, very windy, rainy day, but the grass is showing very early signs of turning green

I am thinking...I am hoping to have a very productive day today, so need to get on it soon

I am thankful for...not being injured in a little parking lot fender bender last night.

From the learning rooms...composition, spelling, history, science, literature, and math on the schedule today

From the kitchen...chili today with bread

I am pants, pink workout shirt, and gray sweatshirt

I am creating...a clean office/school room to prepare for my new computer

I am get JT back on track with his piano lessons this week

I am reading...just The Love Dare (yes, still!) but I am desiring a good read for later this week when Brad is gone

I am hoping...Brad has a safe trip as he takes a few days with his friends to try and do some golfing. I am also hoping the weather is conducive for golf in Missouri

I am hearing...nothing - peace and quiet and solitude at the moment...ahhhhh.

Around the house...I'm giving myself a week to get everything back in order including the storage room. Hopefully, this time next week, the house will be in top notch shape

One of my favorite things...soup on a cold day

A few plans for the rest of the week: estimates for the van repair, new bible study with friends, church, hanging out with my kiddos while daddy is gone

Here is picture thought I am sharing...sorry, no picture today - laptop isn't up to the strain! :)

Have a blessed week!
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Happy Anniversary, spousie!

I cannot believe it's been fifteen years. The time has truly flown by, and when I look back, I am amazed at how our threads of love have woven a story far beyond my wildest dreams. The paths we've taken, the challenges we've faced, the gifts the Lord has blessed us with, all make us the couple we are today. I thank and praise Him for bringing you into my life. You are my earthly rock, my support, my light in the darkness. I know you have limitations and faults, but I am keenly aware of how masterfully God has worked in your life, and how he continues to mold and shape you in his image. I love you for who you are today, and I am excited and eager to see what God has in store for us in the future. I pray we will have many, many more years to share and grow together. I love you!

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This has been floating around on Facebook, so I thought I would give it a try. I figured it would be interesting to have the same questions answered by an 11, 8, and 6 year-old. I made sure to interview them all separately so as not to influence their answers. So, without further ado (from oldest child to youngest)...

What is something Mom always says to you?
JD: JD, I need you. JD, can you get (something) please?
JT: Time for school.
TJ: Thank you.

What makes Mom happy?
JD: Books, seeing her children
JT: Her kids obeying her
TJ: When we give her a present or if we love her which we do

What makes Mom sad?
JD: Us fighting
JT: Her kids not obeying her
TJ: When we do something bad

When does Mom look pretty?JD: When she has her hair back and when she's on vacation with her sunglasses on
JT: Whenever she thinks she's pretty
TJ: When she wears a pretty dress

What do you think Mom was like as a child?
JD: A little darling, white dress with little curves on the bottom
JT: Well disciplined
TJ: Happy, playful

How old is your Mom?
(They all got it right - so, no need to post the info!)

How tall is your Mom?
JD: 5'9"
JT: 5'8"
TJ: I'm not sure

What is your Mom's favorite thing to do?
JD: Read books
JT: Snuggling up in a bath, reading a book
TJ: Staying with her kids

What does your Mom do when you're not around?
JD: Work and read books
JT: Have tons of fun without us
TJ: Eats popcorn with daddy and watches "Top Chef"

If your Mom were to become famous, what would it be for?
JD: Cleaning the house and great K12 seminars
JT: Her homeschooling
TJ: Her heart

What is your Mom really good at?
JD: Cleaning, fixing computers, and cooking
JT: Making tator tot hotdish
TJ: Loving her kids

What is your Mom not very good at?
JD: Playing what I like to play, and sometimes gets a little crabby
JT: Telling me who to play in Madden
TJ: Holding her temper

What does your Mom do for her job?
JD: K12 seminars, clean the house, and be a good mom
JT: Goes on sessions and teaches us school, and helps dad with work
TJ: Homeschools her kids

What is your Mom's favorite food?
JD: Casseroles, going to Bahama Breeze in Florida
JT: Fresh shrimp with a tinse of lemon juice, toasted just right
TJ: Tator tot hotdish

What makes you proud of your Mom?
JD: Just being my mom
JT: She's the best mom in the world
TJ: When she spends time with me

If your Mom was a cartoon character, who would she be?
JD: Olive Oyl
JT: Popeye
TJ: A queen

What do you and your Mom do together?
JD: Dates, eating at a restaurant, going for ice cream, school
JT: A lot of things
TJ: Dates

How are you and your Mom the same?
JD: Both have blue eyes
JT: We try to do what's best for the family
TJ: We;re girls

How are you and your Mom different?
JD: She's older and a girl
JT: I like video games better than she does
TJ: One's older and one's younger

How do you know Mom loves you?
JD: She teaches school when she doesn't have to and when we fool around in school she tries to be as patient as she can
JT: The things she does for me
TJ: Because she shows it

Where is your Mom's favorite place to go?
JD: Bahama Breeze in Florida, her bed to read a book
JT: Caribou Coffee with her kids
TJ: The coffee place

Thanks to my precious children, who were honest, but not brutal. :)

Love you all...
My dh is a March madness freak. He loves this time of year, watching basketball games, predicting winners, and enjoying the thrill of having his teams advance. This year, he set up a little "ice cream pool" for our children. All of them made their picks on the tournament brackets, and now we can all experience the victories and defeats together. Winner of the pool gets free ice cream, courtesy of all the losers. And, they can order ANYTHING they want! As Jeff Probst from "Survivor" would say, "Worth playin' for?" A resounding "yes" from my kiddos - they'll take ice cream any day!

So, JT was helping TJ make her picks, and I hear her say, "Well, I'm certainly not going to pick a team that I can't even pronounce!" Sounds like a good strategy to me. Yet, she somehow ended up picking Gonzaga to the final four. Could happen I guess!

Brad and I are planning a dinner out tomorrow night to celebrate our anniversary. We don't typically exchange gifts, but I want to do something special. Have to think and ponder that for the day.

We're looking at another beautiful day here, so I'm off to get school started and finished so we can spend some time outdoors again. Need to enjoy it while it lasts because I am sure we'll get one more blast of cold before it's all said and done.

Okay, I've resorted to talking about weather, so it's time to close. Bear with me. One of these days it will be worth your time and energy to stop by. :)

Have a great day in the Lord!
Wow, days like this make suffering through the whole winter worthwhile. Well, pretty much. Well, maybe a little. We have had a string of good weather and it has plans to continue through the weekend. Springtime is such a time of new beginnings, and I am already getting the itch to plant my garden. Frost will prohibit that for at least 6 weeks or so, but there is no reason why I can't plan! My FIL gave me an extra gardening catalog yesterday, so my plan is to sit on the front porch for a brief respite sometime this afternoon to peruse through it and daydream a bit.

Last year, our garden bounty was based on:
Tomatoes (Roma, heirloom, Early girl, Better Boy, pear)
Peppers (yellow, red, green)
Pea pods
Green beans
Yellow squash
Zucchini squash
Acorn squash

This year, I'd like to add carrots, onions, and whatever else I can fit in without too much extra work - ha. I also have herbs in planters, and I would like to find a spot for a bed to have a dedicated herb garden.

The children are out on lunch break right now spraying all the boxelder bugs that have emerged with a soap water solution. This seems to curb the population somewhat, but my children find daily amusement in trying to stifle and wipe out the burgeoning colonies. I'll take boxelder bugs anyday if it would prolong the emergence of the ticks and the gnats. Gnat season is a hard one to reckon with, and it is so severe (in my eyes) that it drives me inside. It typically coincides with late season garden planting, so I can count on extra visitors accompanying me to the garden plot. Thank goodness for the SD winds that typically pummel us and keep them at bay for a time.

Well, the droning of this boring and uneventful post must come to a close. If you survived to the end of my rambling, I'm sorry you had to suffer through it. I'll try to recharge my brain and create some exciting entries in the near future. :)
You know, ones of the woes of trying to buy two computers, making sure you have all the right options, and still get it as cheap as you possibly can...

I'll save you the agony. It's done, over with, and hopefully they'll be shipped soon.

May God bless your day!

Outside my window...Sunny and BEAUTIFUL! 63 degrees now in the middle of the afternoon!

I am thinking...How nice it is to have a change of scenery every once in awhile

I am thankful for...a safe trip to Omaha and back again

From the learning rooms...a spring break day, so to speak - we spent some time yesterday learning about trains, and their effect on expansion to the West at the Train Depot museum yesterday

From the kitchen...macaroni and cheese for lunch; Tator tot hotdish for supper

I am wearing...exercise pants, white top, pink sweatshirt, shoes, socks

I am creating...nothing significant at the moment - although I am still working on my Food Saver frenzy :)

I am going...nowhere the rest of the day; maybe a walk if I can fit it in

I am reading...The Jewel of Gresham Green by Lawana Blackwell; a last minute grab at the library

I am hoping...we can decide on the computer purchases today as we are getting further and further behind due to work software being down here at home

I am hearing...kiddos getting ready to head back out into the sunshine

Around the house...have laundry started and general pick up and put away from weekend trip

One of my favorite things...spending time with my dh and kiddos, hands down.

A few plans for the rest of the week: meetings, school work, work, Lenten service,

Here is picture thought I am sharing...wish I had one, but with my computer down, I am not going to upload pics to a new one

Have a great week everyone!
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We've been desiring a bit of a getaway for awhile now, and haven't quite been able to fit it into our schedule. Sometimes, last minute is best. So, we are going to take a short 3 hour trip and head south to Omaha for the weekend. We love the zoo, and hope to get in a quick trip to Whole Foods as well. (Correction, there is no such thing as a QUICK trip to Whole Foods). The kids will get a chance to swim in the pool, and a change of scenery will do us ALL good. I have a few books to bring along, which will, most likely, sit beside me the whole way but never be opened. I am hoping to have some good conversations with my dh and kiddos in the car, and just a fun, relaxing time. They don't know we are going so when I wake them up bright and early tomorrow, they will be surprised! I can't wait.

But, a lot to do between now and then. Secret suitcases to be packed (it helps when all the clean laundry is on my bed half folded!) and final household arrangements to be made.

So, I'll be back in touch on Monday. Until then, hope you all have a good weekend, and I'll update you when I return!

Until then, God bless!
So, we had this 30% off coupon for Kohls, and really, who can pass up a good sale? Talk about pressure to go out and buy something - hate to see the 30% ones go to waste, know what I mean?

Anyway, we've been thinking about a food saver vacuum packaging system for awhile, and with all of my canning for the garden in the summer, we thought this might be a good alternative and a sure fire way to save some of the nutrients that get boiled away during the process. Also, I find I don't buy meat as much when it is on sale because I am so tired of freezer burn despite being packaged in freezer bags.

We bought the basic model and I feel like we got a really good price. Now, I am in the process of rethinking how we do things - canning, leftover storage, mass cooking (I don't do that much), etc. I am looking for any and all suggestions for those of you who use one - websites, tips, tricks, cost saving techniques, how you use it, etc. Can you help me out? I want to make the most of my purchase and find ways to save money in this crazy economy.

I'd say there is something in it for you, but there really isn't. Well, other than helping out a fellow human being who is trying to find her way into the unknown freezer universe when she has previously reigned supreme in the pressure cooker/water bath kingdom. Your assistance will be much appreciated.
TJ -

This morning we spent a little time rocking in our big green recliner. I had a wonderful moment thinking back to when you were just a 4lb, 15ozs baby girl. We had to have you up every couple of hours those first weeks to make sure you were getting enough to eat. We would work to rouse you from your sleep, only to have you fall asleep again while you tried to eat. What you loved though, more than anything, was to sleep on my chest. You arrived early and needed that extra cuddle time to feel warm, safe, and secure.

Sometimes, you still need that cuddle time to help your mood, or just to feel loved. I pray I will always find time to spend it with you. Today, it was in the form of rocking with you on my lap, head on my shoulder. Before long, you will no longer fit in that position. I love that you are growing, changing, and learning, but I will miss our snuggle time.

I love you, TJ. I look forward to many special times together.

Outside my window...colder, dreary day with a slight bit of drizzle. Temperatures are predicted to drop with freezing rain and snow on the way. Good day to stay indoors.

I am daylight savings time initially makes me feel "off"

I am thankful for...our furnace, which is back in working order after chugging along through a good part of the winter

From the learning rooms...lots of tests to still correct from Friday. Same items classes today minus grammar for JT as he finished that Friday - now we move to composition for remainder of the year

From the kitchen...chicken enchiladas for supper tonight

I am wearing...slippers, socks, exercise pants, white long T, gray zip up sweatshirt

I am creating...not much - in a creative slump right now as organization is at the top of the priority list again right now

I am Kohl's this week to use my 30% off coupon before Wednesday

I am reading...The Scribe, by Francine Rivers. I still have the last in the Mark of the Lion series to read, but I am saving it for when I have some long stretches of time (when will that be????)

I am hoping...we can possibly pull off a quick winter getaway/hotel night yet for a change of pace around here

I am hearing...propane trucks, garbage trucks, all doing their Monday morning routine

Around the set up a mini golf course in the living room so that needs to be put away! Typical Monday chores - laundry, general clean up. I do need to vacuum as well.

One of my favorite stainless steel bowls that are in the front of my rollout shelves - I never realized how many times I used them and now that they are more easily accessible, I feel like it is one of life's little pleasures! Simple organization goes a long way!

A few plans for the rest of the week: Kohl's, church, meetings for Brad

Here is picture thought I am sharing...This girl LOVES her daddy!

Please join host Peggy and other daybookers through the button on the right.

Have a great day!
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Hopefully this works, because you can't get a simpler, more matter of fact, child's view than this...In anticipation of Easter, just take one short moment to view this clip...

Have a great day in the Lord!
Ahhh. Sleeping in. Something I love to do and rarely get. But, I love the relaxed feel of a Saturday morning. The casual awakening, the snuggling in deeper under the covers, the lounging on the pillow, and the first cup of coffee, either in bed, or in my fuzzy bathrobe. I am amazed by how much I miss this when we have some Saturday morning activities.

My only sadness this morning is that I couldn't share it with my dear hubby, as he decided to go in and see some patients today. He has been fighting off a cold this week, so adjusted his schedule here and there to allow for some rest time, and today he makes up for the patients he couldn't see during the week. He only works a Saturday here and there, but I sure miss him when he does. I love that man, and love his dedication to helping people.

Plans for the weekend? Lots of cleaning and catching up to do around the house. Brad and JT are going to hit the Summit League basketball tournament tonight, so I am trying to plan what would be fun to do with the others. Might take in a movie at the cheap theater if we can find something decent, which is hard to do these days.

Hope you all have a good weekend!
Well, lucky for all of you, we have now hit the final installment of Sarah's dissertation on Marriage and Relationships. :) The last session we attended was given by John Trent, entitled "Small Changes, Big Results."

Bottom line, don't wait until things get bad to make the corrections that need to be made now. In your married life, we go through stages and phases, and it becomes easy to become status quo, ordinary, predictable, and comfortable. While all these things can be okay, it also doesn't provide for growth and stability in your marriage. If you are not moving forward, you're actually going backwards. How can that be? How can holding steady be a bad thing?

Well, I would argue that your marriage, just like your relationship with Christ, is a dynamic entity. It needs nourishment and protection. It needs to be nurtured. So, if we are stuck in the same ol', same ol', we are not putting time towards strengthening the very union that will pull us through when circumstances are not so normal, or are tested, or are troubled.

That is why John Trent recommends the two degree difference - making small little changes rather than overcorrecting when something has gone awry. Relate it to driving - to keep it between the lines, you make minimal adjustments frequently. If you fall asleep at the wheel, and wake up when your tires hit the shoulder, you quickly and abruptly turn the wheel, causing the vehicle to potentially careen out of control. This can cause irreversible damage, and perhaps have long lasting consequences.

In the same way, with your marriage, make little things meaningful each and every day, even if you feel they are insignificant. These two degrees may be in the form of an attitude adjustment on your part, a kind kiss at the door, a respectable comment rather than a sharp retort in a disagreement, a touch, a peck, a timely phone call. All these things are little, meaningful gestures that help your spouse know they are loved, cared for, respected and significant. If you stay on the path of little corrections along the way, and keep Christ as the focus, you may be able to avoid sharp, critical U-turns in the future.

I was reminded of a thought today when reading a fellow Love Dare participant's entries (thanks Angie!). She was speaking to feeling convicted about her nagging about socks on the floor and other things her husband should be doing. (Yes, been there, done that!) However, it brought to mind my mother's words after losing her spouse at the tender young age of 37 (yep, my dad). She told us how she would always complain about him leaving his socks by the bed, and the fact that she would always be the one to pick them up. Now, she would trade anything in order to daily throw them in the hamper herself, just to have more days with him. It's all in the perspective.

Grasp and hold tight to the one you love. Each day may be the last, and we want to live it without regrets. Praise the Lord we are blessed to have the promise of reunion in heaven if you have Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. But, for each and every day on earth, I choose the path of loving my spouse, with the assistance and blessing of the Most High God.

What greater gift have I been given here on earth?
How's that for a loaded title? Stick with me though as you see me somehow tie them all together. Not sure yet how, but we'll see what I can come up with. :)

As I continue to share my thoughts on marriage, (trust me, I'm almost done with the seminar and then we'll go back to our regularly scheduled blogging), I want to focus today on Gary Smalley's open discussion. Many of you may have heard of Gary as he has been around for quite awhile, and is a leader in the area of family relationships. I truly appreciated the transparency of all the speakers from the conference as they shared that they too are ordinary people who struggle and fail within their own marriages. They were authentic, and you could relate to the challenges they face on a day to day basis.

Gary confessed to trying to change his wife for many, many years. He only recently has come to the conclusion that his heart was full of himself, with only a small corner of it focusing on Christ. But, as he prayed and meditated on God's word, he was touched by Proverbs 4:23 and found God's love for Christ and others to be edging out the focus on himself.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

I love coffee. Love it. If I pour myself a cup of the good stuff in the morning, and don't stop when I get to the rim, what's going to happen? It will pour out and spread, won't it? Now, think of your heart as the cup of coffee. If you fill your heart with God's word, God's love for others will eventually overflow and spill out, and ultimately, it will spread. You can't meditate on God's word, and not have an outporing of love in word and actions for others. So, if you are critical of your spouse, dig into God's word. Pray for God to change your heart. Only God can give you the love for others that mirrors his love. But, if you genuinely desire this, you will touch others, and you will touch your spouse with a love that is only possible through God's love. Will that change your spouse? Only God can take that job. But, you can be an instrument of him through your words and actions. Are you shining God's light through you in how you respond when your spouse walks in the door at the end of the day? Are you calling on God to help soothe your soul when you are hurt? Are you focusing on things above, rather than the mundane of below? Work on your own quality of life by improving your relationship with God.

Okay, we watched "The Bachelor". I admit it. We started a few weeks in and generally did a quick DVR run through to see who survived the rose ceremony. Once we got down to the last 4 or so, we stuck with it and named our favorites. But, we had not had a chance in the past two weeks to watch so the recordings were piling up. So, last night we sat down to fast forward through most of the episodes to get to the good stuff - the final decisions.

We were honestly floored as to how many times the comment was made, "I need to follow my heart."

Those of you who have seen the movie Fireproof know why this didn't sit well with us.

Granted, this is a reality show, but the people involved were a microcosmic study of all that is wrong and troubled with relationships today. The myth of following your emotions was perpetuated beyond belief. People were nodding, audience members agreeing, yes, you need to follow your heart. You can't fault someone for doing so. Love is leading. My head is telling me this is the right decision. Then, when asked, the Bachelor defended his position and how he will tell his son in the future that you need to do what is right. You need to follow your heart, with integrity, even if it may mean you hurt someone.

We need to stop the myth right now. We need to talk to our kids about leading your heart. LEAD your heart. Don't flow on the stream of emotions, because those feelings are going to fade away, ebb, flow, change. LEAD your heart, and lead it in the direction you want it to go. Go with God's help. If you have girls, pray for them to be led to a godly spouse, one who loves the Lord, and will take their role as the head of the household. If you have boys, pray they will be led by the Lord to a spouse with a heart of respect for her husband, and submission to his authority. If you, right now in your marriage, are feeling there is no hope, or the feelings are gone, or the path would be easier with a new model, or someone who doesn't know all your baggage, LEAD your heart. Lead it to hear God's calling, lead it to reflect on your marriage covenant, LEAD it to the path God is intending for you.

As for "The Bachelor", I hope they are happy. I hope they make it. I hope they find true love. But, I know love is true unless it is based in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because reality is, romantic love ebbs. Agape love lasts. The word needs to get out - it's not about following. It's about being a leader.

Where are you leading your heart today?
As I continue to review our journey on Saturday, my summary today is in regards to the divine source of marriage. Del Tackett is president of the FOTF Institute, and Senior VP of FOTF. He teaches The Truth Project, a very strong Christian worldview bible study which is amazing.

I love Del's style of teaching, and he worked directly out of the concepts from The Truth Project lesson on social order and the family. He speaks to the idea that the family is all part of God's social order and design, and mirrors that of the Trinity. He states that marriage is just as concrete with God's creation as the sun, moon, stars, etc. Marriage is God's divine mark on the universe, and it was not a random act.

Do you notice how, during creation, God says, "It is good. It is good. It is good. It is good. It is good. It is good." Then he has, what Del calls, the divine pause. He then states, "It is NOT good..." Does that mean that what he created was a mistake? Not what he intended? Not perfect? Not good? No! He pauses, and then states a significant point. "It is NOT good for man to be alone." Exclamation mark, by God, on the importance of marriage and relationships. Nothing is random with God. He is a God of order. He knew what he was doing and wanted us to know the same. This shouldn't be minimized or overlooked.

But, God doesn't stop there. God provides us with blueprints for our marriage. Think of an atom for a moment. The neutrons and protons live in harmony in the nucleus while the electrons continue to move about in the electron cloud. Do they need a blueprint to work correctly? No, they obey the order in which they were created by God. They don't question, they don't stray, they obey. But, we as people go astray. But we are not left alone. Ephesians 5 provides us with the information we need to follow God's plan for our marriage. The husband needs respect like the woman needs love. Love and respect each other as Christ intended. Finally, don't overlook 1 Peter 3:7...a caution for us all. If you feel like your prayers aren't being heard, take a look at your relationship with your spouse...
"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers."
Del goes on to say how nothing makes him tremble in his boots to think of God not hearing his prayers. Amen to that!

Once last point. Del speaks to submission very eloquently. I challenge you to think on this. Just as Jesus submits to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39) so a wife is to submit to her husband. The world has put a horrible, negative spin on this term, and I believe it to be, in its intended form, a term to ensure protection under her husband, the spiritual leader of the family. It doesn't mean you're a doormat, or a slave, or one who has no say, but it is the husband's role to lead the family and a wife's role to come under his authority. I believe this is naturally in place when the roles of the marriage are done in accordance with God's will. A point of contention for some, but I will willingly submit daily to my husband's role as leader of the family, when it is concordance with God's design. Nothing makes me feel more loved, protected, and secure than knowing my husband is guarding our marriage and family with God's help.

Do you see God's design in your marriage? Is his thumbprint firmly inprinted in your daily interactions? Are you following his blueprint to ensure a healthy and happy relationship? You can't do it without God's help. Call on him today to experience true agape love from him, because only with God's assistance can you pass it on to others, especially your precious spouse.
I am thinking that this will be a multiple post day. I have so much to say, kids to thank, stuff on my heart, wow. Look out fingers are flying. Suppose I had better also teach my children though so we'll see when these posts get done!

I did want to talk a bit about Beth Moore, who was our second leader at the conference. Now, if you haven't heard about Beth Moore, she is founder of Living Proof Ministries and is a great teacher to women. She had an interesting talk, and here are a few nuggets I feel compelled to share.

Beth states that she has a "good" marriage. She doesn't claim it to be great, or awesome, but it is good. And, she is satisfied in that realm. Women are often not satisfied at good. We want great. When we have great, we want awesome. Sound familiar? It did to me. I personally am someone who always thinks something can be better, improved, enriched. But, we need to be careful with this thinking, especially as women, because our men will never measure up if we continue down that line of thinking. So, she stated this, "When your spouse or your marriage isn't enough for you, it doesn't matter. Jesus is enough!" Isn't that the truth? We want to use our husbands as the meter stick to tell us how much we are valued and loved. But, they can't be our all in all. Jesus, however, can give us everything we need. In HIS eyes we're intriguing, we're interesting. In HIM, we are always loved and cherished, each and every day, even if not by your husband. There is no shortage of love in an intimate and personal relationship with Christ.

She challenged us to spend every moment making your spouse feel no regret in choosing you. Belittling and being condescending to your spouse will do you no good. You can't control your husband's mind, or his actions. You can only control your reaction to them. Piggybacking on Gary Thomas, everyone stumbles, and you knew many of your spouse's stumbles before you married him, yet you married him anyway! Regardless of whether you thought you could change him with your will, or if you accepted him as he was, you need to spend your days continuing to choose him.

Marriage is the most powerful, visual symbol on earth of the image of Christ. We have no choice, as Christians, but to honor it as such.

I challenge you today to not fight with your spouse, but to fight for your marriage. Choose your spouse today, first and foremost, second to yourself, second to your whims, your whines, and your will. I challenge you to work on making YOURSELF the best, greatest, most awesome wife you can be. Let that be where you spend your energy rather than in changing your husband. Realize though, you can't do it alone. You will need to center on Jesus to be beautiful from the inside out. Remember, "Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and (then) all these things will be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

Love them for all their worth.

Until next time...

Outside my window...Yet another cold morning - the temperature is around 10 degrees, but we're hoping to push 25 today

I am thinking...about how slow this computer is running this morning, and how spoiled I am when it is fast

I am thankful for...the opportunity to do some work at home with my husband so he doesn't have to do all the things we do at his office away from us

From the learning, I think we are closing in on the end of grammar, usage, and mechanics so we can move into composition. History test today.

From the kitchen...Hamburgers tonight but I think we will be making them with George Foreman rather than Mr. Outdoor Barbeque

I am wearing...slippers, socks, black yoga pants (I don't do yoga, just like the pants), long sleeved white T, gray zip up sweatshirt, and I'm going to have to get one more layer b/c I am still cold

I am creating...a plan for VBS this summer; can't believe we are working on those details already!

I am prayer meeting tonight, church school board meeting Tuesday, church Wed, VBS meeting Friday, (there has to be something on Thursday too just to keep the pattern going)

I am reading...about to start the last in the Mark of the Lion series, but I have a busy week so am putting it off

I am warms up and we all thaw out pretty soon

I am computer fan running hard (seems like that is the same answer each week) and the beginnings of some stirrings around the house

Around the house...Lots of laundry and clean up to do this week; you can tell we were indoors most of the weekend

One of my favorite slippers, my warm, snuggly, soft bathrobe, and Saturday mornings to lounge in them both (which we didn't have this week so I miss it!)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Attending meetings, payroll, working around the house and at the office, lovin' on my spouse and kiddos

Here is picture thought I am sharing...The winter view from our front porch Have a blessed week everyone!
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