The days are sailing by, and I think it is partly due to the strong winds that we've been inundated with for the past week or so. However, the past two have been amazingly calm and, dare I say it, PERFECT! If I could have these types of days 364 of the year (with one day of snow thrown in for good measure) I'd be happy. :)

We've been working on putting some items into our small garden beds - the earliest I have EVER done that. So far, I have lettuce, radishes, carrots, onions, and shallots planted. I'm heading into town this afternoon to get one more lettuce packet, peas, and beets. Broccoli will be added in about a month. That will complete our lower garden beds, and we'll have to switch to the upper bed (the large one) in a couple of weeks. That one will hold beans, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and multiple tomato varieties. I am all for eating fresh, local, unprocessed, and healthy, so whatever we can do to help us in that area is worth the work. That sentence is such a loaded one - with so many blogging opportunities...just wish I had unlimited time to share my thoughts.

As it is, I'm off to town for a library visit, nursery trip, park stop, and a church meeting. It's too nice to be inside and typing so here is a bit of spring (courtesy of California) to close this out.

Take care!
It's Friday and I'm thankful that the week is winding down. It has been a week that hit us all hard - JT got a touch of the flu Monday afternoon, which always puts everyone on high alert. Funny how everyone starts washing their hands and taking their vitamins diligently once an illness hits the house. So far, (knock on wood), no one has shared the experience, although the occasional queasy stomach sends a rampant fear through the individual. I'm fighting a cold that came on yesterday, so hopefully that will be short-lived as well.

Presentations, meetings, and overall work for the clinic and other areas demanded a higher percentage of our time this week. Add that to taxes, a lease signing for the other half of Brad's building (thank you, Lord!), baking for the bake auction at church, and the normal schoolwork, and you have one filled-up week. JT promptly decided this week we were "too busy", so our response to that was to let him know that baseball practice starts Saturday.

I'm anxious to add gardening in to the schedule as well - but it is a bit early. We've had a streak of nice weather, and the temptation to get the lettuce and peas out is deepening. I'm going to try and wait another week or two and then push my luck and see what happens. I'm loving the low 60's though, and hope the ticks and gnats stay away for awhile to make this season even more enjoyable.

TJ is riding a bike with ease and super happy to have that independence. It took her about 4 days to get it mastered and she promptly stated that riding her bike is as much fun as swimming. She wants to conquer the big hill down from our house all by herself, but I have clipped her wings a bit and let her know she can go on our cul-de-sac road by herself, but the remainder of the neighborhood needs to have a supervisor at this point. While she is quite comfortable with motoring around on her own, she hasn't had much experience with meeting up with cars, so want to make sure she's an expert at that - and the HILL - before I give her much more freedom.

JT starts baseball this Saturday...we moved him up a division so know he will be challenged but more appropriately placed this year. Should be a fun time, but we have committed to a more active and intense program due to his intense love and skill in the sport. It will be fun to see how much he grows and improves over the course of the summer.

JD will start gun training next week and is soooo excited about finally getting that done. He had given him a bb gun for his birthday, and he was finally able to get it out a few weeks ago to test it now that the weather improved. He was accurate from the get-go, surprising us with how calm he can keep his movements in different positions in order to get an accurate shot. This kid lives and breathes army, so I guess it shouldn't surprise us that anything with a weapon is taken very seriously, and accuracy is a direction reflection on his abilities (in his mind.) He's been trying to earn money hand over fist, and this week managed to find a niche of making "clothes" for his sister's stuffed animals out of old socks. He then charges her for them and she's happy to pay. He even made a punch pass so she can get a discount after ten purchases.

I'm seeking some calm today, and since it is windy on the front porch, I am guessing I won't be sitting out there to fulfill that dream. So, instead, I'm looking through our California pictures and reminiscing on some peaceful memories. Here is one of my favorite sunset pictures I want to share (and there are a lot!) Hope you all have a great day and great weekend!


He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!!!

From Matthew 28
1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

May this amazing gift that is incomprehensible to us be living and working in each one of you today, and always.
Join HERSHEY’S Better Basket Blog Hop to support HERSHEY’S $7,000 donation for the Children’s Miracle Network

Hershey’s is donating $10 to the Children's Miracle Network for every blog participating in their BETTER BASKET BLOG HOP, up to $5000.00. Hurry The HERSHEY’S Better Basket Blog ends at 12 PM EST on April 4th, 2010!

Better Basket Blog Hop started as a charity blog meme, bloggers were able to raise $10 by writing a blog post of donating a virtual Easter Basket. HERSHEY’S promised to donate $10 per each post written for the Children’s Miracle Network, up to $5,000. Within the first week, over 200 bloggers participated, and soon it was 400 bloggers, and HERSHEY’S was so impressed by the kindness and caring of the hundreds of bloggers participating that they decided to donate $7,000 in honor of all the caring bloggers who are part of spreading the word of paying it forward this Easter season.

My good friend Leigh passed this opportunity on to me and I'm passing this on to YOU and my good friends below:

Missy at Grasp the Love

Joyce at Mom's Musings

Tiffany at Hillside Hollow

* Participate to HERSHEY’S Better Basket Blog Hop of giving away virtual Easter Baskets by creating a blog post with specific rules described here.
* HERSHEY’S will donate $7,000 for CMN
* You can give as many virtual Easter baskets as you want.
* The HERSHEY’S Better Basket Blog Hop will officially begin at 12 AM EST on March 18th and end at 12 PM EST on April 4th, 2010. Blog posts submitted to us before or after that time period will not be counted for.
* The blog post link has to be submitted to us for your participation to be counted.
* In addition copy and paste the following text in your blog post:


* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
* Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
* Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.
* Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
* Leave your link at comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.
* This started as a meme of Hershey donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog
* Hop to Children’s Miracle Network up to $5,000 – but after so many bloggers participating, Hershey decided to donate a total of $7,000 honoring the kindness of blogger community.
* Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

Happy Easter!
***Originally posted April 2, 2009. Reposting this week as these memories are always on my mind during Holy Week, no matter when it occurs.***

April 2nd is a special day for me. It is a day that is permanently ingrained in my memory bank. This day resounds with triumph and victory and great rejoicing. April 2nd, 1980, is the day my father died. Yes, you heard me right. It is a day filled with joy and excitement. You see, my father was a Christian. In fact, he had dedicated his life to ministry and he was a pastor until his dying breath. So, April 2nd was the best day of his life, because he finally attained his earthly goal - meeting his Lord Jesus Christ. What a celebration there had to be in heaven that day!

I was twelve years old when my father died. I have never had a great memory of things in the past, but I do have a few "snapshots" of moments that I always can picture in my mind.

The day my parents told me dad had a brain tumor.
The day we learned that it had returned three years later.
Sitting at lunch with Aunt Ruth's black mascara streaming down her cheeks as the prognosis became apparant.
Being woke up in the middle of the night to head to Grandma's house so dad could go to Mayo Clinic.
Being home alone with dad when he started to choke.
Snuggling with him in his chair when he was home.

But, these are the ones that really made an impact:

Dad had gone blind, but if you placed an open bible in his hands, he would "read" it by reciting verses from memory - long, lengthy passages. He knew and had memorized his bible! He truly thought he was reading, and found great comfort and joy in doing so. Within those words were the truths of hope and everlasting life. All he needed was within his grasp.

Dad had lost all ability to speak toward the end of his illness. One night, we gathered around him to pray together before bed as we usually did. (He was able to be cared for at home). That night, miraculously, he said the Lord's Prayer with us and raised his hands and gave the blessing. What a gift that was for that was the night he died. We had been blessed with one last memory, and what a powerful one it was.

Our God is a good and gracious God. You see, dad was once asked, if he could pick and choose when he was going to die, what would he pick? He always said that he would like to die during Holy Week, so he could celebrate Easter in heaven.

My dad died the Tuesday of Holy Week, and his Celebration of Life was the day before Easter. What a celebration of Easter he had that year! God is amazing, and rewards those faithful to him. He gives us the desires of our heart, and draws us to him. I just can't imagine the joy on my dad's face to greet Jesus for the first time, be healed of all his pain, and know that we would all be reunited again, as fellow believers in Christ.

So, this is a special day for me as well. This day causes me to reflect on my memories of my father, but, more importantly, it challenges me to have a faith that is firmly rooted in God's word, in God's promises, and in God's faithfulness. My father was a witness to me, even in his death. However, this day would have an entirely different feel, and be one of intense despair and sadness, if we had not all been granted the GIFT of eternal life with Christ Jesus, due to his death and resurrection. The lifelong plan of salvation has been fulfilled through Jesus. As the song In Christ Alone reflects:

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Will you join me today in rejoicing in this great and awesome gift that we have received? If you have not embraced this free gift of salvation, do it now. Ask Jesus to forgive you of all your sins, and come into your heart. Now is the time - This Easter season, grasp the joy and peace you can only find in Him.
We made it to the end of another week. Not a major accomplishment as it is going to come one way or another...but, if you look back at how many things transpired over the past 5 days, I am always amazed. School completed, laundry in check, meals created, bible read, work, presentations, computer time, well, you get the picture.

My husband and I have had the wonderful privilege of teaching Living by the Book for our adult Sunday School class since last September. It has been such a journey of growth, discovery, inspiration, and now, application. We are in the part of the study in which we are working on ways to apply the biblical truths in our lives. This part is the most exciting, and certainly, the most challenging. Dare I say, it is also frightening. We know the Lord has some changes on the horizon for us - we are trying to be open to them, despite where they may lead. Will they be life changing? I have no idea...we are simply trying to spend time "listening" to his direction and being obedient.

One of the people in our class had a wonderful insight this past week. She asked if we had been persecuted this past week for our faith. While that may seem like a weird question, the application part of it is that if we were not, it may be because we have not stepped out of our comfort zone and shared the Lord as we are instructed to do. In the same breath, we should look at whether we have grown in our Christian walk over the past week, month, and years. Are you further along today than yesterday? Great thoughts to ponder...which is what I often do. My problem is taking it beyond pondering to put into action. I pray for strength and courage to do so.

My kids are growing up so fast. TJ has all but mastered her bike riding, so with a bit more practice, she'll be riding like her brothers. Problem is, this mom is in no shape to be running after her as she learns!

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend, so I'm off to put some things into place to be able to relax and unwind a bit. I pray that Palm Sunday will be one of reflection and anticipation of the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
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Well, sort of. I make no promises. ;) I can't believe I haven't posted since January. Life has flown by. I literally have no time in my day to blog, but would love to carve some back in, if possible. I miss writing, miss the conversations, miss the creative outlet.

I could bore you to tears with what has been going on, but it basically can be summarized in one word - life. Life is going on...and I'm trying to stay on the ride! Late December and early January hit me hard with the realization that I needed to really change some things with how we were schooling. I felt like my oldest child wasn't really doing the work up to his potential, so the freedom I had given him was reigned in a bit, which essentially means that I need to have my hand in his subjects more than I had. My second child, who is also doing 6th grade work, is keeping up pretty well, but I want it to still be fun for him. Vocab and advanced Earth Science make him work, which is good because everything comes easy for him. So, we're working on study skills and slowing down a bit with vocab (I don't even know some of these words, and I fancy myself a bit of a wordsmith!). Finally, Miss TJ is plugging away at a first and second grade combination, so there is plenty of hands on time for her. So, what I am trying to say is that my hands-on teacher time has increased dramatically since Christmas due to some schooling changes, so my daytime hours are completely filled with school. While I still love teaching my kiddos, I feel more time invested than ever before, and it is oozing into other areas, leaving little room for extras. :)

Anyway, I have so much to write, but I make no promises as to when I will do so. I admire my fellow blogging friends who are able to get something down each day. I'd love to do the same, but we'll just take it one day at a time.

To close for today, in honor of my niece, I am posting a few pictures of her...She reminds me here and there how long it has been since I've posted something - so, surprise, Martha! You are a beautiful girl, inside and out. You are so special to me! Thanks for your patience!

Have a great day!