The Weekend at our House

Friday was so busy, I did not even think about getting a post on.  James had trumpet lessons, Zak had a doctor appointment, we did a quick run to the library and then I got groceries for the week.  It was a long and full day.  When I got home - I was exhausted.  Abbey made dinner (Nachos) and I laid on the couch and watched a video with the Littles that we had gotten at the library.

Rob is feeling a little under the weather, so it was just a low key night last night.  I got to bed at a decent time.

This morning was an early morning because I had a very important appointment at 6:50AM.  Skype is a wonderful thing when you have a daughter living half way around the word!  I love talking to her and listening to her stories.  I am so thankful for the technology that keeps us close even though the miles keep us far away.  I think often of the missionaries years ago who had none of what we have.  I thank God often for their commitment to the Cause despite the sacrifice they made being away from their families.  (Some of them never saw their families again after leaving for the field.)  It makes our time apart seem bearable when I think about it that way.

I baked four loaves of bread today.  They are cooking now as write this and the house is beginning to smell really really good!  I love the smell of fresh homemade bread.  I was able to find a place for the gray table in the kitchen.  (We had taken it out to make room for the dinning room table)  I need a little more counter space and I think this will help out a lot.  It is not too much in the way either.

The Littles are the only ones here with me today.  (Feels almost like a day off) .  Zak has been busy petting the dog, exploring the woods behind us, getting very dirty and catching salamanders.  He tries to bring them in the house to show me; but that always brings quite a rise out of me as I shoo him back outdoors with his 'catch of the day'.  I can not imagine what that would be like if he accidentally dropped it and it was scurrying across my kitchen floor!  He uses Anna's old kitchen as a 'cage' for his catches. ( Note to self:  Make him clean that out this week - I saw several dead caterpillars in the microwave of the kitchen....ewww!)

Anna has made a doll house out of the cinder blocks in the back yard.  She found vegetables and a marker to use for the 'dolls'.  I was impressed.  She is still out there making her doll house just right for when Abbey gets home from work.  She is hoping that her older sister will play with her.  That should be interesting being it is right in the dirt where the bugs live and Abbey is not fond of bugs at all. I love when the kids use their imagination!

The  doctor started Zak on a new med yesterday and increased a med that he has been using.  I always try to mentally prepare for what could happen when we have a med change.  So far, so good!  I am thankful for that.  I could not believe that he weighed almost 100 pounds and is 5 feet tall.  I was shocked that he had grown that much.  It must be happening quickly because this morning he came out with three pairs of pants that no longer fit him (they fit fine last week; but sure enough, he could not get them buttoned!)  I shall be putting jeans on my next shopping list. :)

So that is our weekend so far.  Here are some blogs that I have read this past week.  I enjoyed them a lot!  Happy Reading.  Hope you have a great Sunday and I will see you back here on Monday.


Questions for a Simple Life

I have been thinking a lot today about how much I loved our little house.  I was so afraid when we looked at this house for the first time that we would not be able to live in the house without feeling all smashed together.  Yet, as I looked at the house I loved it very much.  I loved the layout, the location and desperately wanted to live here.  I just did not think that we could all fit.  It was quite a difficult decision for me.

As we were contemplating the move and if it would work I started researching how families lived in smaller homes.  I studied how they lived, what they had, what they had gotten rid of and how they made it work.  As I researched I started to get excited seeing a whole different perspective then I had ever had.  I learned about the minimalist lifestyle, off grid living, homesteading etc.  I also started to realize that the "less is more" philosophy just might be a philosophy I was ready to embrace.   When I was looking at the minimalist mindset I saw some of the faulty logic and reasoning; but I also saw biblical principles that (although they did not know it) were being lived out.

I was intrigued and I started to think this just might be possible.  Then I had to decide if we were willing to pay the price to live more simply.  This was a bit more difficult for me.  It was not so much for me that I did not want to live that way; but wondering if we could live that way and still function in society without being the odd balls in the group.  I started to evaluate our life.  I started to look at everything we had and really take to heart if we needed it or if it was just accumulation.  I evaluated our items to see how many of them held sentimental value to me or were just part of our possessions because I felt like I 'had' to keep them.

It was good to evaluate and really take time to ponder why we had what we had; and how important the things we had were to us.  I started to realize something about myself.  I found out that I like things simpler - I always have.  The simple life is something that intrigues me.  It is why I have been fascinated with the Little House books and stories about the pioneer days.  Those stories interest me because they tell of happy lives that were lived out to their fullest with few belongings and simple surroundings.  That is what intrigued me the most about those books and I did not even realize it.  Having what was needed and being content.

I started to ask myself some questions about the things we owned. 

Do I really like this?

It is funny but somethings we have because we feel like we have to keep them and can not get rid of them.  Perhaps it was a gift from someone.  Perhaps it was something we purchased and we liked it when we got it; but we do not like it anymore - but we are unwilling to admit that.  We change, we mature, our tastes can change.  It was liberating to realize that I could get rid of stuff I really did not like.

Do I really need this?

This is a hard question sometimes to get an answer to!  I do not feel that we have to live the Spartan lifestyle and only have the very minimal of what we need.  However, I found that there was a lot of things lying around my house that I did not need.  It was taking up space, cluttering my brain because I had to try to remember what it was and what it was used for.  I started to realize that if I did not need it I did not need to keep it.    Other things that fell into this category were multiples of things.  (Sure I needed a pair of black heels - but did I really need 4 different pairs of black heels...)

When is the last time I used/ wore this?

They say if it has been over a year since you have worn something - it is time to get rid of it.  This can hold true of things we use around the house.  (The little vacuum that I purchased to use in the van; but never used it because I like my big vacuum because it pics up better...)

Why did I purchase this?

I found out that a lot of reasons why I purchased stuff was because I found it for a good deal not because we really needed it.  (or even really liked it)  When I started to look at the reasons why I made some of my purchases I realized that I was buying because making a purchase made me feel good.  Um, that is not a good thing!  If I am going shopping to make me feel good then I am using shopping as a drug and a mood lifter.  I need to go shopping because we NEED something not because I want to feel better about my day.  This was a big thing for me and I am glad I saw how I was filling a void I had with vice.

Do I have space for this?
This has become a big question in a smaller house; and one that has to be answered before I make a purchase.  When we moved into our house in Mayville we had limited closet space.  I lamented this forever; and one day I thought about something.  God has promised to provide everything we need.  If God has provided the house we live in with the closet space that is there, could it be that I am not content with God's provision for me and feel like I need more than what He has provided because I am hoarding clothes that I did not need?    Here is the irony:   I had a lot of clothes and I had purchased a lot of clothes for the kids (at thrift stores - mainly because it was a great deal; but always found myself having to do laundry in my spare time to keep up with the amount of clothes that everyone was wearing. Now that we have downsized our clothing I find laundry does not dominate my days or my mind in trying to figure out how to get all the clothes clean.     :)

We have limited our possessions.  We do live in a smaller house.  I love it.  I feel like I am living my life; not trying to keep all of our stuff in life so we can get to living life.  I love my simple kitchen even though it would not fly in as a kitchen worthy of a Better Homes and Garden's centerfold kitchen.  I love my laundry area right next to the kitchen were I can put in a few loads as I do school with the Littles. Sure, it is not where you will find most laundry rooms; but it works for us there! I started to see that my house is not here to impress people and increase my social status - our home is for us to live and to be hospitable to the people God brings our way.

I feel like the possessions that we have we have made a conscious decision to keep because they are important to us and are needed. For me as a Christian, the simple life has been limiting what we have so we can  limit the distractions.  A lot of stuff causes a lot of distractions.   Limiting our things has freed us up to do what we believe God wants us to do and to value what God wants us to value.    For us, it has been getting rid of excess stuff so we can focus on family and what God wants us to do as a family.  That is what simple living is to me.  What is it to you?

Dog Ownership and Music Lessons

Well, today was another busy day here at the home front.  I started the day out a bit later than my normal schedule - by my husband's orders.  Whatever I have done to my back has me fit to be tied.  I am in so much pain.  It hurts constantly and I can not do anything to alleviate the pain.  So, when the alarm went off and 5:40 in the morning; and was trying to get out of bed without crying - my husband looked at me and said - you are not getting up right now.  So, we had a later start.  I did not argue with him at all.

School went well.  I love watching the kids learn new things.  Zak is doing very well memorizing his poem and his verses for Patch club.  Memory work is the hardest thing for his little brain - so to see him making strides in this area brings me a lot of joy!

As we were busy getting the kitchen cleaned up from lunch, we had a visitor.  It was a visit I had been praying for; and dreading at the same time.  The owner of the dog that showed up at our house over a month ago stopped by after seeing the dog laying on our porch.  I knew it could be heartbreaking if she wanted the dog back; but had been praying that we would find out who owned the dog.  I could just imagine having this dog for months and then having to give it back to the owner if they found it.  We have made calls, asked around and put word out at the dump (seems to be the community meeting place... odd but true).    So, I had been praying that we would find out who the dog belonged to and soon!  Well, my heart did a little jump and I went out to find out who she was and that she was here about the dog.    She told me that she loved the dog very much; but that since the kids were here she could not make him stay at her house; because he just wanted to be here at our house.  She even told me that she would call the dog when she would go by and he would walk up to her and wag his tail; and then turn around and go and sit back on our porch.  She told me if we wanted the dog; she wanted to give him to us.  The kids were thrilled.  Zak got tears in his eyes and Anna kept saying thank you.  We found out his name is Trooper.  We have been calling him Thor.  So, in honor of this lady's generosity to us we will keep the name she has given to him.  Trooper is now our dog and we are excited to know how old he is ( 3 years old), where he came from (up the road about 1/4 of a mile); and that he is allowed to stay forever now with us.

I know the highlight of the day for Anna was being able to have her very first violin lesson.  Her violin is so tiny and she is so excited to learn to play.  Miss Rachel is a wonderful teacher and Anna seemed to learn a lot at her first lesson.  I am so excited to have her take lessons.  What a blessing Rob's parents have been to us through the years.  My children know how to play the instruments they do because of their Nanna and Papa.  They graciously send the money each month for lessons and have been such a blessing to us in that way.  We are so thankful for them.  Tonight we prayed with Anna that God would allow her to learn her violin so that she can use it for Him and in His service.   

So, that about wrapped up the day for us.  It was a good day.  We ended the night with prayer meeting at church.  It is always so wonderful to be able to be with other Christians and fellowship.

Trust you had a wonderful day.  Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.


The Safe Place

Today was just a normal school day; but it was profitable.  I always like that.  By 9AM the laundry was done, the house had been vacuumed and mopped, dinner was sitting out to defrost and we were getting ready to sit down for school.  I always like it when it goes that smoothly.  That does not happen all the time!

We do school for the entire morning and then the Little's go to bed for quiet time and the older kids continue with school and I do work around the house or on the computer.  After quiet time, the Little's do their piano lessons and music practice.  Our school day ends for the older kids with music practice and then they are free to do whatever after 3:30 PM.

While I am helping Anna with her school Zak goes outside to play.  This is how I found him.  I asked him what he had made; and he said he did not know what it was; but that he felt 'safe' inside of it.  Something for Thor.  Not sure really; but he was out there every minute he could be during school breaks and then in the afternoon.

We had planned on doing a bond fire in the new fire pit Daddy made last week; but the wood was still too wet and we could not do it.  We roasted marshmallows by the oven instead, gave the Little's their baths and then put them to bed.

It was a good day.  I have done something to my back and can not remember what it was; but it hurts very very badly.  Hopefully tomorrow it will be all better - I can hope....

Thanks for stopping by.  I am so glad you did.


The New Instrument

I have been reading a blog and enjoying it very much.  On this blog the writer is posting a picture a day and keeping a journal of sorts about their life there.  (They are missionaries)  I thought I would do the same.  Not because we are missionaries or that our life is some spectacular event; but we do have family (mainly a sister/daughter who is living far away and we want to keep her posted on every day life here.  I thought some of the others of you might enjoy too.  Like grandma's and aunts and dear friends in the North.  :)  So, I will try to keep you posted with a picture a day and my thoughts on the happenings of our life here.  I will start with yesterday.  :)


We started into our school schedule.  We tried last week; but it just never came together.  I was sick last week and it just collapsed our week before we even got started.  Well, not this week!  The younger kids are into week three of their school and the older kids are starting their school year this week.  I love the first days of school!

I also love being on schedule.  I love getting things done and having the time set aside to do them.  It seems when we have summer break things do not get done as efficiently as they do when we are in a school schedule.  I love my school schedule.  I am funny that way.

Anna started reading her blends and I love how she is so excited when she gets the blend correct.  The light in her eyes makes me smile every single time.  I love teaching children how to read.  Zak is doing fantastic and retaining things better than normal.  I think it is the new meds we have him on.  I am thankful for them.  We have a doctor appointment on Friday and we will see how that goes for his medication check.

The big event of the day was getting Anna's violin from the music store.  Daddy brought it home when he came home from work.  We had one pretty excited little girl!  She was so excited to have her pictures taken and sent to her sister in Germany.  She will start lessons on Wednesday night.  She is pretty excited.  This is about all she talks about!

All is well here.  We woke up a little cold and it indeed feels like fall is on it's way here.  I love fall and the changing leave colors.  I think I am ready for the change of seasons. 

Well, that is life at our house on Monday.  Hope the beginning of your week started out as well also.  Thanks so much for stopping in.  I am so glad you did.


The Kindergarten Files : Enthusiasm!

"Write you name on your paper and then put your hands in your lap.  (I reminded her this particular morning to not draw clouds around her name.)

The clouds had been drawn around her name yesterday.  Every paper.  Every printed name she wrote.  Penmanship class brings out my clouds.  I draw the curved lines around the letters that are written nicely and neatly.  I point out how wonderful her work is as I draw my artistic approval.  She had noticed and felt that her name - on every page - needed a cloud.  For the simple reason that it was *her* name and a special one at that.  I had told her to leave the cloud drawings to me and just write her name.  That was yesterday.  She remembered.  Name was written; and there was no cloud.

Our subjects begin with instruction, flashcards and teaching new concepts, then a worksheet. The rules are few and simple: 

No talking when I am talking.
No whining.
No toys at the table during school. (Polly Pockets had been invited; but had to be returned when that rule was made.)
Pencils down and hands in lap when Mommy is teaching.

The letter was "E" and she listened closely as I gave the lesson; hands folded and sitting in her lap; pencil box sitting on the table in front of her.  I began my lesson:

"E is one of the five vowels."

"Every word has a vowel; so that makes knowing our vowels very very important."  (Her eyes got big as I told her that fact.)

"E says ehhh as in elephant"

She listened.  She took it in.  Then I finished by giving the instructions on her worksheet.

"Color the Capital 'E' and the lower case 'e' purple; then color the elephant any color you would like.

I paused, waiting for her response.  It came with as much enthusiasm as I have  witnessed at sporting events.  The clasped hands came apart and reached for the new crayons sitting in her pencil box.

"I'm on it, Mom!  No need to worry.  I will color the letters purple..."  and off she went with her work.  Diligently coloring, even sticking out her little tounge in consentration as she worked.

And I sat and watched.... and thought.

"If only that was my response every time God speaks to me!" 

So many times I feel too busy to do what needs to be done.  I hurry through life and begrudge any extras that I am asked to do.  When I do this I fail to remember that God always gives me enough time to do all the things that I need to do; enough strength to accomplish His will for my life; and more grace than I could ever use up.  I am Divinly enabled to accomplish everything God asks me to do.

I can be enthusiastic about everything He wants me to do!  Enthusiasm could be a word that defines me.

God make me eager to do your will, to listen to your voice.  Make me enthusiastic - it is a character trait I fail to have so often!"  

Trust your week is going well; and that you will find opportunities to serve the Lord enthusiastically.  I know I ma going to try! 

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.