Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hosting a Potluck "Cabin Fever" Party

  My older brother Peter builds log homes. He got a job a couple years back (after working in this field for quite a number of years in California and all across our nation) at a log home company a little north of here. This company was chosen this past year to do a reality TV show on log home building for National Geographic. The show is called "Cabin Fever" and the first show was this week (airing both Tuesday night and tonight and maybe again sometime).

   My brother is currently down in Texas (with his family) working on a house there but those of us up here wanted to watch the show of course. In our group of friends/family up here we were pretty much the only ones who got that channel. So our house was the spot to have a party for watching it. Mom suggested that we have a potluck supper and though part of me thought - we don't need to potluck- I can figure out something for everybody. Another part of me thought that sounded like a pretty good idea as we didn't know exactly who all was coming and we are trying to rest a little more this week. So a potluck it was.

  A potluck meal is a really simple way to throw a party. Everybody bring something to share - it is not that challenging for anybody and everybody can just relax and have fun. It also relives the financial burden if your finances are tight. We had way more than enough food which seems to be the case usually with potlucks around here.

  Ken set up his projector and screen and we crowded everybody in. We had 33 people here ( a few are not in the picture) and it was a fun time. Lots of company with no stress. A wonderful way to do it!

   Have you ever hosted a potluck meal/party at your place? Any thoughts you would like to share?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good Posture

 This past week was not a very good one for working on my health goals. We had a lot going on and had company some of the time too. Some goals continued on okay but others not so much. Oh well - we are ready to get going on them again.

  I am also adding another one that in a way is simple because it doesn't add a new routine to our lives but in another way is a lot harder because I need to be aware of it all of the time.

  My new goal is to work on having good posture.  I had kind of thought that I did okay in this area but after looking at a picture of myself I realized that it was something that I really needed to work on.

  I do have pretty good posture when driving anyway but standing, sitting, reading and such can often find me a little slumped and round shouldered. With all of my piano lessons I often find myself slouching on the chair. This is something that I need to work on.

  Why should we work to have good posture?

  • We can breath better when we are standing or sitting up straight. And breathing well does a lot to make us healthier in general.
  • Our muscles don't get tight and sore.
  • We are less likely to have headaches, neck pain and back pain.
  • It also says a lot to others concerning how we hold our bodies. With good posture we look happier and more confident.
This goal is going to require a lot of  daily focus. But I am ready to work on it. Is this something that you should work on too?

On a happy note for me - High heeled shoes are very hard on your posture. Thankfully I have never liked them anyway!

  I am feeling so thank-ful for how God put so much thought into creating our bodies. He designed them in amazing ways!
 

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Time to Rest

Carrie, Christy and I. These dear friends and their families stayed with us this past weekend.
 We are moving a little bit slowly around here. I have decided this will be a good week for resting. We have had some very busy and fun times and now it is time to rest a bit from all that business.

   This past weekend we hosted a retreat/rally at our church and had many come from all over to join us. I was so blessed by this weekend and just enjoyed it so very much but I will admit feeling rather tired when it was all over.

  We had so much going on that I didn't get the camera pulled out until people were starting to leave but here are a few pictures of some of the people that were able to come....
 Linda and Polly. Traveled 6 or so hours to come and be with us and we were so glad that their family came.
 Good friends of mine who were always at Retreats when we were kids. Now they are coming with their families. That is so fun!
 Tracy - another childhood friend who brought her family this year.
 Games are a fun addition to the Retreat. Some pretty fun guys here. My nephew, my son, my brother-in-law and his brother.
 Anna and Shelly. Wonderful helpers in the kitchen! Thanks ladies!
 Music is always a very fun part of the retreat. We even enjoy pianists that are just about one year old.

Our theme this year was "Good News!". We had fun learning about, singing about and encouraging one another to read the Goods News, Share the Good News and be Strengthened by the Good News.

"Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah." Acts 5:42

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Is 52:7

"He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 16:15 & 16

During the week before Retreat started I spent some long days working to get our house ready for company. I thought it would be nice to have another shower so I worked hard on that. I got it done and the plumber hooked it up but when I went to use it on Friday night there was no hot water. That was a bit of a disappointment. It got fixed today but we weren't able to use it while the company was here. Oh well! Such is life at times.
This is a little peak - I will share more pictures later.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why I Believe Jesus is the Answer for Our Sin Problem

Last week I shared some verses about the problem that all of us face and that is having sin in our lives. We have not lived perfectly and we continue to make mistakes. This is sin that separates us from God.

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save,
    nor his ear too dull to hear.
 But your iniquities have separated
    you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
    so that he will not hear.
Isaiah 59: 1 & 2


I believe that Jesus is the one that can take care of our sin problem. Here are some verses that I would like to share that cause me to believe that:

John 1:29 "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" Words prophetically spoken by John about Jesus.

I Peter 3:4 "You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin." That is the reason that Jesus came to earth.

1 Corinthians 15:57 "But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Romans 8:1 "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." Oh how I love this verse! What a promise!

Romans 8:10-11 "If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."

These verse are just a very few of the verses that talk about this subject. If you wonder if Jesus can take away sins just start reading in the New Testament. You will find this message over and over and over again.  What a blessing! What a wonderful gift!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beds for Guests

 If you have company come for overnight then you need some place for them to sleep. This is something that has been on our minds lately around here. Our church is getting ready to have a Retreat and we have people come from out of town and we have fun putting them up in our homes. This year it seems like we are having a pretty good crowd come so we have been working to creatively figure out beds for everybody. (My mom has taken over a lot of the "worrying" on that for both of our homes and some of my siblings too - I have been busy concentrating on just getting the rooms finished so that we are ready to put beds in them.)

  Some people may have a guest room all ready for whenever they have company but that is not something that we have and I know a lot of people don't have that sort of space in their home. Does this mean we can't have overnight guests? Not at all!!! When we rented a two bedroom home when living in Kansas we managed to have I believe it was over 20 people stay with us. Now our family (which was just Ken, Mara and I at the time) did set up our bedroom in the garage but it worked and it was fun!

If we don't have guest rooms and extra beds then what do we use?


  • We purchased an air bed - it is simply an air mattress which fits on top of a collapsible metal frame. This is what Ken and I use when we go camping and we have also often used it to turn my office/craft room into a guest room. To make it more comfortable I like to put an egg shell mattress on the top.
  • Our couch is a hide-a-bed. We have very rarely used this for couples to sleep on as it is in the living room (so not very private) but kids have slept on it frequently.
  • Mara has always had a double bed to sleep on since she was very little. She likes it but the real reason she has it is so that we can kick her out of it when company comes and she takes a sleeping bag on the floor with carpet or a mat or sleeps on the couch. She doesn't mind and actually the boys have been jealous quite a few times that the girls get to have the company in their room and the boys' don't. In our new house we are planning on getting a double bed for the boys' room too. Actually we hope to get/make bunk-beds for both rooms with a double on bottom and a single on top.
  • We have lots of camping mats. These are great for providing a little extra comfort for kids sleeping on the floor. An old sleeping bag or folded up bed spread can also help to make a cushion. This makes it so we can turn about any room into a guest room. Quite a few years when we had a house full of company at our Retreat time (we enjoyed 3 families staying with us a few years) the boys (ours and a couple of friends) got to use the laundry room as their bedroom. 
  • If you have a mattress (an air mattress, a foam mattress or whatever) but no frame you can throw one together using pallets, cement blocks, five gallon buckets, totes, plywood etc. Just be creative but do make sure it is sturdy and won't wobble around with people on it. If you can make something sturdy it is surely nicer if you can make a bed that is up off the ground for people to sleep on. This is something that both my mom and I have done to make better beds for lots of guests. We have both also used this method to lengthen a regular double bed to better accommodate some of the tall guests we have at times.
Our girls' old bedroom - with the double bed in preparation for company.


I have never actually had any guests sleep in hammocks but I suppose it is a possibility. I bet some kids would find it pretty exciting!

 We have also had a futon before which worked for extra guests. I would like to get one again to have in our basement for both seating and then sleeping.

My sister's family made a cool bed (I think it is called a Murphy bed) that folds up into the wall. It makes it so a room in the basement can be either a play room or a guest room.

  Do you have any additional ideas for providing beds for your guests? I would love to hear how you do it at your house!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Goals For Good Health

How is your family doing health-wise through these winter months? There seems to be a lot of sickness out there! I have had music students cancel lessons regularly because they are ill, people have to stay home from church because they are sick and I hear of friends that feeling pretty miserable. We have had our turns at being sick too. In the last few weeks (we seem all to be pretty much on the mend now) different ones have taken turns having sore/scratchy throats, runny noses, fatigue and congestion. We have been very grateful to skip out on high fevers and vomiting!

  Meanwhile we are trying to continue to take little steps every day to improve our health.

These are the goals we have been working on:

  1. Drink plenty of water (at least 8 glass for the bigger ones and at least 6 for the smaller people). This has been going pretty well. I personally have been able to make a much better habit of drinking plenty of water and the kids are getting better at it too.
  2. Flossing our teeth everyday. This has truly become a habit with me and the kids are doing good at doing it too but after a visit to the dentist today I do realize that I need to get in there and do it for them some of the time and help them to become more proficient at it.
  3. Stretching. We are still working to get back in the habit with this one. We did do it today and at least one other day this week. I have been realizing the need for it lately.
  4. Get to bed on time. I am trying and I am making progress but I am not truly good at it yet.
My goal that I am starting to work on this week is having us take Cod Liver Oil every day. I am not a supplement sort of gal but in this northern climate that we live in having some good source of vitamin D is rather necessary and this seems to me to be one of the easiest and natural ways in which to do that on a regular basis. Other than being high in Vitamin D, Cod Liver Oil is also an excellent source of DHA (A fatty acid that is essential to the health of your nervous system and eyes and also helps to prevent depression), EPA (another fatty acid that is anti-inflammatory and helps to prevent depression) and Vitamin A (which is good for your eyes, skin and digestive tract). There are a lot of benefits that I don't have time to list here. Here is a good article about it.

 What are you doing to try to improve the health of your family?

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