Saturday, July 31, 2010

My Treasure....

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt. 6:19-21
This another one of those great reminder verses. It is so easy for us (me!) to get caught up in thinking about our lives here, getting stressed about a project we want to get done, or putting all our efforts into things that will only be on this earth and forgetting to focus on what will last, namely relationships. I want to do more storing up of heavenly treasures by focusing on my relationship with God, my family and friends and also I want to put more effort into sharing the good news with others too! That is really treasure to see others chose to follow God too!

  It is so cool to realize where true prosperity and wealth come from. It comes from storing up treasures in heaven where nothing can happen to them and they will last for eternity rather than building up wealth that is only for a short time and it can be stolen or lost.

I hope you are also working to store up treasure in heaven!

p.s. It is fun to be back to blogging! I miss it and I miss hearing from you when I take a break, the break was good however as life has been very busy around here!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Winner of the 50 Custom Greeting Cards

We have a winner for the 50 Custom Greeting Cards from UPrinting! Congratulations to the Horse Loving Lineman's Wife! I hope you enjoy them very much.

  I also wanted to tell you that I might not be posting very much the rest of this month. Between company, weddings, the county fair, berry picking, gardening, church activities and responsibilities, political work and just being a wife and mother life is pretty hopping around here! I have tons I would love to blog about but I just don't have tons of time!

  It seems like everybody else is pretty busy right now too judging from the lack of comments. I hope you all are having a great summer as well.

   I am kind of skipping out on posting about my "Joyful July" but I think I will try to carry on with that theme for a while on past July. I know I can use the reminders and I hope you enjoy them too. I may get on here to post some in the next couple of weeks if I find a bit of time but if not I will look forward to talking with you in August!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer is for baseball

I have some people in my family who really enjoy baseball. The males seem to think it is a pretty important part of life. Because of this, last year we tried little league for the boys, however I didn't enjoy all the running and time away from home very much so this year (which has an even fuller schedule than last year) I decided I wanted to find a different alternative.

  I talked it over with Ken and he was willing to try something different if I was able to get it organized. We decided to see if other families would be interested in joining us for one evening a week for kids baseball with parents coaching. I put it in our homeschool newsletter and we started getting the word out. We weren't sure if people would really show up or not but we have been very pleasantly surprised!

The first week we had 18 players ranging from 5-13 years old and some older ones helping out and some younger ones playing on the sidelines. The dads helped in the field and we mothers had a very fun time visiting.

 The next 3 weeks in rained and we had to cancel and we wondered if it was going to rain every Thursday evening. :-) It didn't. We have now been able to play the last 3 weeks though tonight we had to rush to the dugouts several times to avoid a drenching.

 We have had up to 30 players and were able to play in 2 different fields (last week we split the kids up in the bigger and littler kids). The kids all seem to be having fun and the parents are having fun too. I love it because my men can still enjoy baseball but they can do it in a evening when Ken is off work and he can be involved. Also I like to just have it one evening a week rather than 4 mornings a week. That is much more doable for my schedule. I am also loving the friends that all of us our making from this activity. Some of us are talking about trying to arrange a monthly wintertime get-together too. I also like it that all my kids can play together rather than us all watch one and then the next hour watch the next child. For us this has been a win win situation!

 The moral to this story.... Don't be afraid to try to arrange something better for your family. You might be surprised like we were at how many others are interested in the same thing.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Joy comes when we try to make others happy

One great way to work on being more joyful is to try to make others happy. I thought I would tell about a couple of super quick projects that I was able to do lately just to make somebody smile. When others start smiling then I feel really happy too!

 One day I was cutting our watermelon (we have eaten quite a bit lately as I found some very good deals!) and it got to the place where it was in a wedge shape (like above) and the kids asked me to stop cutting because it looked like a boat. So I didn't cut anymore and we just put it away for the day.

The next day I got it out and using a melon baller I scooped out all the flesh, then I made a quick sail, stuck it in and then put all the balls of watermelon back in. I placed it on the lunch table and the kids were quite excited. It was such a small amount of work on my part but with some fun rewards!

  Another way that I have been able to spread some joy lately has been through flowers. My wholesaler sent me extras which I didn't need for the wedding I was doing so I was able to share them with some friends and neighbors. It is so fun to see somebody smile when they receive them. Again it was very little work on my part but it gave others joy which in turn made me feel very joyful too.

  There are so many ways this can be done, think about what you have... Can you send a letter? Can you smile at someone? Can you call a lonely person? (I need to do this more!), Can you share some freshly picked berries or produce from your garden? Can you read a story to a child?  Can you deliver some leftovers from your meal to an elderly person?

 There are so many little ways that we can tell people that we are thinking of them and we care about them and in causing them joy we receive the same in abundance!
I want to work more on doing projects that make others smile. How about you?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Joy of Salvation

Oh boy, I have really slacked on blogging lately. But that is okay! :-) Summer's are busy and it is more important to spend time with my family than on this computer but I do miss our "visits" and I also miss writing when I don't blog very often. I like blogging because I think it helps me to think about things in a new way sometimes when I write things down.

  After saying I would be writing on Joy this month I haven't done very much of it. But today I want to share a verse with you that does talk about that subject and also one that we had fun singing and talking about at church tonight.

  "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit." Psalm 51:10-12

This was written by David after a horrible sin that he had done. This is something that I can feel deeply however as well. I want a clean heart too. God gave me a clean heart but I continue to mess up and need cleansing. I need renewing too. I want to always stay in God's presence and be filled with His Spirit. AND I want to continually experience the JOY that comes from Salvation through Jesus Christ. It is easy to become used to the fact that we have been given salvation and we lose our excitement about it. I want to always have that just saved JOY!

 I hope you are experiencing the joy that comes from salvation too!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

50 Custom Greeting Cards ~ Giveaway!

Would you like to win 50 7 x 5 inch custom greeting cards? One of you can! These would be lovely for Christmas time, a new baby announcement, engagement announcements, thank you cards and so much more!  These come on 14pt Card stock Gloss , they are a full color front and blank back and the come with envelopes. I can imagine all sorts of photos that would be pretty on the front of the cards!

 If you are ever looking for online printing companies be sure to check out!

To win this prize please leave a comment below telling my what you favorite summer family activity is. Also be sure to leave a way for my to contact you if you should win. This contest is for those age 18 and older and US residents. I will randomly draw a name somewhere around July 15.

Parenting with less stress {Taking them to church}

 I don't know about you but church is a big part of my life. The time spent learning, fellowshiping, praying and worshiping with other Christians is essential to my spiritual help. When I had children it was a huge goal of mine that my babies/children would not stop me from getting the most out of each service but instead I could raise them to love to go to church as well and that they would get a lot out of it as well.

  As my children are not grown this is of course still a work in progress! However with my youngest being 4 we are over some of the hardest times and we made it through and enjoyed going to church the whole time. Today I thought I would tell about some things that helped me to enjoy and get the most out of church even while having young children. I would really love if all of you would chime in a share you tricks and tips too! I certainly don't have everything figured out in fact sometimes even now my children will do something in church that will totally leave me wanting to hide. But life goes on and over all going to church goes pretty smoothly!

 I thought I might preface my tips by mentioning that I know their are a wide variety of ideas out there on kids and church. Some are very conservative (no toys, no noise, just sit there and pay attention!) while others are pretty liberal about what their kids are allowed to do. I would consider myself to be somewhere in between. I want my kids to be quiet and try to listen but I do let them have toys, books and even snacks depending on their age. Here are odds and ends of ideas that have worked for me in having kids that enjoy going to church and a mom that can enjoy being there and participating too all without (at least not usually!) bothering the other church goers.

The only photo I could find of one of my kids in a pew- my Mom and Megan

  • When they were babies I nursed them right in the pew/chair. Nobody even noticed but it certainly kept my baby happy. They also sleep a lot when they are really little.
  • A pacifier was nice. However Mara was the only one that seemed to think it was worth anything of my children. But with her I did like it for during church.
  • As they got a little bigger I would bring a bag with little things in it that they could look at. I made sure that none of them were rattles or keys that shook together or anything that would make noise. I would take them out one at a time and let them look at them. I also learned a trick from mom to do things like stick a little toy in their sock, they would pull it out and that game could be repeated for a long time very quietly. Good toys that I have found are: little dolls, farm animals, finger puppets, board books, cars, etc.
  • Little snacks were nice too as the babies got a little bigger. Things like raisins, cheerios and small crackers. I would have them in a very little container and they could pick up one at a time to eat. If they weren't nursing still then a sipper cup with water in it was brought as well.
  • If they need a little soothing I found it very helpful to whisper very, very quietly in their ear. It didn't necessarily need to be words, sometimes it helped to just blow very softly.
  • Another thing that can kind of help to calm and entertain is to just softly rub you fingers up and down the small child's arm or leg. Rubbing the back of a larger child can help them to remember to just relax and be calm too.
  • As they passed up the infant stage training began. One thing that I wanted them to be completely aware of was that we didn't leave the church service (go to the nursery or whatever) to have fun. We would go out to quickly and efficiently change a diaper or take them to the potty but then we went directly back to the service, no playing. If we had to go out because they were making noise then I would discipline them if they were of understanding age, get them quiet and back in we would go. This was a very important step for us in raising kids that can sit in church.
  • As kids got older they could participate and listen more but they still get the wiggles so it is nice to have something they can keep their hands busy with while they listen. I really like paper and drawing utensils or coloring books or busy books for this time. (You can see some of the busy books I have made here and here.) I also have often brought books for them to look at thought when they start being able to read then I tend to not let them have books so often because they read (instead of just looking) and they don't hear what is being said.
  • Also as my kids have gotten older I try to prepare them for whatever is going to happen at church. Currently on Sunday mornings we have a song service, a communion service, (with a 2-10 minute meditation) and then the kids actually go off to class during the sermon. There is still a fair amount of quiet time required during singing -though they can sing too- and communion but not nearly as much as when we had class first and then singing, communion and a sermon all of which the kids were a part of.  Anyway, I like it both ways but I would gladly go back to having class and then sermon with kids. On Sunday nights we do a variety of things,  sometimes a speaker, sometimes prayer time, some times Bible baseball, sometimes a video and sometimes singing and sharing. And then on Wednesday night we have singing and then classes for all ages. And then we do like to go to rallies too which are another opportunity for the kids to sit quietly. :-) Anyway,  as you can see things aren't always the same way each week and so I try to prepare my kids for whatever the activity is going to be. When we have bible baseball we study ahead so that the kids will know the answers of the questions (this has been especially important as we had questions on books like Zechariah and Malachi!), but whatever it is we are doing it is nice for them to be able to prepare mentally for whatever it is we are going to do.
  • Another big thing is attitude. I love going to church and I get excited about it and my kids get very excited about it too. It is a big part of our lives.
  • Also, It would be very hard to do this by myself. It is possible but I am glad that I didn't have too. Ken played a very crucial role in helping to train our older two and my parents have also been a ton of help! Which reminds me that as my children get older and I don't need to be concerned about their behavior so much, I hope I can reach out and help other young parents if possible.
This is what has worked for me, please share what has worked for you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wool skirt project #4 {Boys Dress Pants}

Though this is part of my wool "skirt" project, these are actually made from womans' wool pants. This is actually the first thing that I made from all the wool clothing that I was given but I hadn't gotten around to telling about it yet. Back in March when we were having my sister take our family picture (up in the right side column) Jonathan was needing to black (or close to) pants to wear so that he could match the rest of us.
He didn't have any but there was some nice wool in a charcoal grey, so.....

I assembled the needed supplies: Old pants to figure out a pattern from (Or you could make it easier and just find a simple elastic top pants pattern in the correct size), wool pants to use for fabric and brown paper to use to make a pattern.

Then I carefully traced the old pants, adding room for seam allowance and being careful to make the crotch area a little longer in the back than in the front. I also had to add some room in the hips as the pants I was copying were fitted with a zipper and the ones I was making were elastic waist.

After tracing one side I flipped it and traced the other side making it so that the whole pant leg was cut from one piece.

Then I cut open the wool pants. I cut it apart at the inseam and from the middle of the front to the middle of the back. I DID NOT cut the outside seam of the leg. I also did not cut off the hem but rather I planned to use that hem for the hem of his pants. I calculated for that in the length and then put the pattern right up to the edge of the hem.

I also cut out some pockets and sewed them on the rear end section of the pants.

After you have cut out both legs (make sure to cut them opposite of each other) sew the seam in the middle front. After sewing it I also top stitched it on the outside.

Next step is to turn over the top and sew it to make a casing for the elastic (Because I was a little short on length I used some lining fabric to make the casing). Insert the elastic and then sew up the back middle seam. Top stitch that seam as well.

Next with right sides together you sew the inseam and then you are all done.
 I am sorry this is pretty vague. I have trouble explaining things in a very simply way without being able to show you, but if you have ever made clothes before I think you would find it very simple to make these!

I am sorry I don't have any good detail pictures of the finished product but as you can tell they worked. :-) By the way mud boots are a very necessary accessory for good style.

  This sort of pants is very simple to make with any large pair of pants. They can have a bad zipper, ripped out crotch or just not be worn anymore but ones with holes in the knees don't work.

What have you been working on lately? I made skirts this past weekend that I am looking forward to showing you too.

Joy ~ a gift from God

holy experience
Joy: "A feeling or state of great delight or happiness, as caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying."
Oh how I love to be full of joy! God is so good to give us this gift. One thing that I have found to make my joy more full is to give thanks to God for all that He has given us. For several years I have been blessed by having a praise list in my daily prayer journal where I write down both big and small things (and in between) that I am thanking God for. When we spend our lives in gratitude, contentment and joy are quick to follow. I notice that to be especially true when I am not being grateful- at those times I don't feel very joyful either! 

   A while back I found Ann Voskamp's blog and what she called the joy community. It is a group of people intentionally giving thanks and reaping the benefit of joy. It has been wonderful to be a part of it.  

  So I am thanking God for the many wonderful things that have given me joy this past week....


#658 Teaching the kids at church on Wednesday nights from the book of Revelation and being truly inspired myself.

#659 Enjoying hands on activities to help us remember what we have learned. (We attempted to make a very very rough model of the throne room told about in Revelation.)

#660 The excitement in learning new things.

#661 Air conditioning.

#662 Visiting with a childhood friend.

#663 Fun times walking in the parade with conservative Candidates (Lee Byberg in this picture, who most of our family walked with.)

#665 Slightly cooler weather for when we had to walk in the parade.

#666 Friends that were willing to help out when I asked them.

#667 Cool ice cream cones on a warm day!

#668 Fun times with friends and family on the holiday.

#669 Living in a country that was founded on Godly principles.

#670 Trees for shade

#671 and climbing

#672 and simply looking lovely. I am really glad that God made trees!

#673 Enjoying a 3 plus hour game of Phase Ten with my family because Ken had the day off from work and we had time.

#674 My sewing machine.

#675 Freedom that we have in Jesus Christ.

#676 Joy and Peace that come from God.

"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blueberry picking and Joy!

Yesterday we had a lovely morning going blueberry picking. Several of us women and children from church went and had a delightful time. There was so much to feel the senses like:

The taste of fresh wild blueberries.

The soft warmth of morning sunshine.

The refreshing breeze of a light wind.
Wild lilies found every so often in the woods.

The squeaky creaky trees swaying above my head.

The soft and cushioned moss under my feet.

A bit of a snack shared with friends on the trail.

The excitement of finding berries.

The birds singing beautifully over head.

The quick poke of a mosquito eating his lunch, and the itch that comes afterwards.

The absolutely gorgeous beauty of harebells.

The quiet times of thinking while picking berries out in the woods.

The sound of two young men practicing their marching skills on the trail. "March, 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4 Halt!"

The beauty of the river (the Mississippi) slowly drifting by.

 While out in the woods, just sitting and picking and occasionally visiting with whoever was picking nearby there is a lot of time for thinking.

   I had fun thinking about the different ways of picking berries. Some people and sometimes we like to just go looking for the big loaded bushes and just ignore the bushes that have only a couple of berries on them. Other people (and other times) just start picking and pick every ripe one the see without spending lots of time looking for the elusive loaded bush. I think generally those that just start picking and don't spend a bunch of time looking for a "Great" spot generally get more berries for their bucket.

  I was thinking how life can be like that too. Sometimes it can get easy to always be looking forward to something new and wonderful coming up and rather miss all the joyful times and things that are happening right now. Some kids can't wait until they grow up. Some young adults can't wait until they are married, Some married couples think joy will happen when they finally have kids, Some Mom's just can't wait until their kids are out of diapers or off to school. Sometimes people just go through life looking forward to vacations. And then for what hits a little closer to home for me, sometimes we wish away the time spent doing dishes or folding clothes.

  Why do we do that? Why don't we see the joy that we can have right now, right here? I think if we live in the moment and just start being joyful in the little things all the time we are going to have a much fuller bucket of joy in the end. :-)

This month I want to really concentrate on being joyful and enjoying every moment. I am hoping to do quite a bit of blogging about it, sharing verses that are inspiring me, ways that I have found to be more joyful and lessons I am learning. I hope you will join me and that you will share your tips and thoughts too!
  "A Joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up bones." Proverbs 17:22



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