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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - "Let my words be few"

This song was playing late the other night when I came home from work and then the next morning I jumped in the car to drive Sharpie to work and it was playing again.  Deserves some pondering, I think. 

Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart or
Put it out
Let my words be life
Let my words be truth
I don't wanna say a word
Unless it points the world back to You

I wonder just how well am I doing with my words. Am I pointing the world to God or just to me, and all the brilliance I have to give, which is nothing?  The wisdom of the world is foolishness. 

I'm a talker.  Not at home, but especially when I get let out of my cage.  Then you won't hear me let up at all.  Can you just see it?  There I am running around, "I'm free.  I'm with adults.  Let's talk about something, anything!"  And they're standing there saying, "Where did she come from?" 

I don't want to be talking just for the sake of it.  But pointing the world to God has been hard for me.  I just don't feel comfortable talking about it at work.  It's been a shameful thing to me.  How can you be a missionary if you don't even tell your community about the Lord?  But that's me.  I know what to do overseas, but in my little farming community, I'm tight-lipped about the gospel.

If I took these words to heart, there would be so many things that I wouldn't talk about - those sleepless nights at the beginning of the week when I was getting home later than normal - who cares?  It's not that big of a deal.  Except to see God working in that He gave me a break with day care those next two days. 

Complaints would be off the list of acceptable topics.  Because that surely does not point the world  back to God.  Frustrations would be off the list, grudges unacceptable as well. So let my words be few. 

Let me be a listener.  I can easily say that I definitely am not one of those people.  I'm so blessed to have two of them in my life - one older and one younger.  And while they may have that as a natural character trait, I think part of it is that they've trained themselves to listen. 

So for the next days, I want to keep my mouth quieter, so that I can hear what is going on in someone else's heart.   And while it's quieter and listening, I want to be praying that my words would be few and words that point others to God.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Making the most of today
Steph

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday's Housework

Lately I've been working on de-cluttering AGAIN!  Seems we always end up with more stuff, even though I keep working on clearing it out.  And this past week it was my kitchen.  I wasn't working so much at de-cluttering as straightening up the mess of plastic containers. 

What a mess!  Always! And this pic is actually a bit neat.  No matter how much I clean up, it seems my dish dryers can't figure out where to put stuff.  So what I need is a heart change.  My heart.  Yes, I will continue reminding and teaching, but I will work at not being exasperated when I just cleaned it up and it's a mess again. 

One thought I had is that it's my new idea; they didn't dream it up.  So I can spend a few seconds making sure things are in their new spot.  As they get used to the place they found them, maybe they'll get the idea.  But maybe not, after all some of them are only five and six. 


Training is not about expecting it to be perfect all the time.  In fact, were that true, there would be no job for us as parents.  So when I look at it from that perspective I realize that this is how it should be.  Not that I should find joy in disobedience, but in training, yes.

This should be my joy.  Yes at times it's my frustration and at times I'm distraught with how little I'm getting through, but...I need to keep perspective.  Just as we are too near our children to see them grow physically, we can't always see the change emotionally and character-wise either.
I added a board, for double the capacity.  I won't need these till harvest.
 
If you're like me, you tend to hound them to get them to do the right thing - maybe nag is a better word.  But when I see the big picture, that they are growing and I see progress, not so much nagging takes place.  Sometimes I need to write it down, so that I can see it. 

So while the pictures have nothing to do with the subject, maybe they do.  My perspective needs to change.  At work, we have to document progress on charts.  You can look back over past months and see the change in a person.  It helps those who work closely with them to see improvement.

Just like grandma sees big changes when she shows up, after not seeing the kids for a few months, so I want to know that my kids are growing and thriving.  I want to realize that it's happening so that during the frustrating times, I can remember, "Oh, yeah!  Look how far they've come!"

Making the most of today
Steph

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Garlic Bread (homemade)

 A loaf of English Muffin Bread ( I guess I'll have to post that recipe soon, any loaf will do) sliced and buttered
 Sprinkle garlic powder and then a bit of cheese.  Better yet is to mix some minced garlic in with your butter and spread it, then add cheese. 
The bread costs 37 cents a loaf and for this I used about 1/2 cup of cheese, which would be about 50 cents.  So for under a dollar we had plenty of garlic bread for our family.  We probably could have eaten more, but everyone had two pieces and some had three. Like I said, plenty.

Making the most of today,
Steph

Monday, February 25, 2013

Project Monday - Garage clean-up

I spent Saturday afternoon cleaning the garage.  That was my project for the week.  It's a rather intimidating thing trying to clean up Carpenter's area.  The things that I veiw as trash are things that he needs for fixing one of his machines.  My solution was to take a plastic container from peanuts or mayonaise and put all the pieces into that jar. 



Now he can see what he has, and yes, if he's looking for that piece he will have to dump out that jar, but at least he'll know where to look (and at least it's not in the trash). :)

It took me about 2 and 1/2 hours to get it cleaned up.  We still have supplies for finishing the siding project, so it may look messy, but like-things are together and therefore we won't be buying things that we already have. 

Making the most of today,
Steph

Have a great Monday.  Today I finished reading Numbers 33, Psalm 25 and Proverbs 12.  The verse that stood out to me was "I will walk in integrity." 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Household - my view

Every once in awhile, I have to re-evaluate my perspective - my view on my role in this house.  Because it quickly gDo I want to spend ets messed up by the things I see around me.  I want what I see, but do I really???  At what cost?

Do I want to spend my life working away at a job so that I can have nice things that others have?  We do not have everything that we want or even think we need because I stay at home and homeschool three of our children.  We also don't have everything we want  because three of ours go to the school at our church. 

I want to clarify that I believe that this is not a cookie cutter world.  So because we all have families made up of different people and we are all in different situations, things will and should look differently for everyone.

But lately I've been wishing for a way to do something more from home.  I've been putting in my time with my kids and not really applying myself to what they need for growth. 

So I need to spend a bit of time reminding myself that they are not distractions but they are the work, as my step-sister said in her blog. 

Because the world views things differently, I have to keep reminding myself of this truth.  A good way is to be in the Word and listen to Christian radio and memorizing verses and filling my head with truth.  Because this world get pretty loud and the more I fill my mind with truths from God's Word, the harder it is to hear the world view that is so prominent.

So today, I'm going to work on my memory work, read the Word, and leave the TV off.

Making the most of today
Steph

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts - Playing the martyr

This last week and month, I've been reading my e-mails from FLYLady.  Some of the e-mails don't pertain to things I'm struggling with but I find encouragement there to keep pressing on.  www.flylady.com is a site that I use for help with housekeeping.  When I'm using it, it helps a lot.

She's been talking lately about being a martyr.  I know a lot about that.  Often I can be found in the kitchen grumbling out loud or in my heart about all that I have to do and no one is really helping and if I have to tell them then it's not service from their heart.  Wait, what?????  I'd have to say if I'm grumbling then it's not service from my heart either.

Yesterday, I woke up to a sort-of clean but mostly dirty kitchen.  I had been gone till everyone was in bed last night.  I knew that I was doing the wrong thing by complaining, but I was grumbling about how I have to pay if I ever leave the house.  Consequences of a night at guild. 

I even grumbled to my husband about it.  He told me that they had done the dishes but the dishes on the counter were rejects.  They hadn't just left it all for me.  I should have known better.  My man likes having the dishes done and there is no way he would have just let it get skipped.

There are days when I get it.  When I realize that I cannot let my happiness be determined by whether or not a child does his chores willingly, or not at all.  There are days when I am willing to bend over backward for my family, to be the kind of mom that I envision is a good mom, but that's not most days.

When my child complains "He dried only 5 dishes and I dried 10."  I am so tempted to reveal the fact that, "Hey, I cooked, I'm washing the dishes, and then I'll probably end up helping you dry."  At the times when I do that, they look at me like I'm an alien from another planet.  Because they have that same super-mom in their head.

Not long ago, as the above scenario was playing out in my kitchen AGAIN.  A thought came, I believe it was the Lord gently admonishing, "You are the mom, they are the child.  When you were the child, you did not have the weight of running a household on your shoulders.  Take the weight I give you and do not pass it on to your children.  It is yours.  Theirs is different." 

Why do I lose the fact that serving my family is a privilege?  I want it to be a joy.  It's not when I get selfish and only think about my wants.  I want to enjoy serving my family.  I need to stop the grumbling in it's tracks and start being thankful.

It's rather interesting to me that last week's post was about being thankful and this week I had the most trouble with that.  

Making the most of today
Steph

Today I read through Numbers 24 and Psalm 24 and Proverbs 10.  Currently I'm working on Romans 1:31-32 for memory.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tickets and Free passes

There are two new things I'm trying in our homeschooling to help our boys do better.  The first we've been doing for awhile - tickets.  This is for media-time. 

They earn it by doing well on their quizzes and tests, by going through their flip-schedule, by being the go-to-guy (twice a week they are the one I call on for certain things), and finally sometimes they choose to skip the candy and take media time instead. 

The Wii and computer time has been something that overtakes our home.  Each one wants a certain amount of time and if one gets it they all feel that they should get equal time. 

Now, at least for the older ones, when they earn a ticket, I give it to them.  They keep it in their homeschool binder, and turn them in when they want to use them.  If they want to go over they have to reserve a 5 minute ticket, that they can turn in. 

I still must be vigilant about the Wii and faithful to give them tickets and request them before they play.


They don't look like much, but the kids like them.
 Another incentive that I will be starting to implement today is for just one child.  It is truly for all of them, but only one is ahead.  Yesterday he got a free day, except for History.  He got braces on Monday and while he wasn't feeling terrible, Mom needed a lighter day.
He's not ahead in all the subjects.  He had to work on History yesterday, but in every other one he's ahead at least two days.  So he'll be getting a bunch of these today as incentive for the other boys to earn a few.  I may add that it is worth some time as well.  Not sure.

It's all about me learning to be diligent and vigilant with my boys.  If I overlook their laziness and let them slide through in school, I'm not helping them at all.  And honestly, it reveals a lot about me. 

I'm not saying there aren't days where we may just say, "Lazy day!!!!" which never really turns out to be too lazy after all.  It's just we don't do school, but we clean up the yard or the garage and do something (usually work) together.

This is just a note about what works for me.  Maybe it will give you an idea about what might work for you.  Or maybe you already have it all figured out, can you share your system with us? 

Today is a busy day for us - it's been a busy week.  Monday was a day off of babysitting, but I took Waterman and Tank to the orthodontist and we picked up a guitar for Sharpie, and then an appointment for taxes.  Jules was not feeling well so she stayed home with Tractorman and Jones and Sharpie.  Only Bugaboo had school, as Tank had finished his over the weekend.  

Seriously, I was a bit exasperated as at 8:00 at night, he got his math out and was asking me questions about it.  I should have been happy about it, and I was on Monday. :)

Tuesday was full with four little ones in the morning, and best of all, quilt guild last night. And today pizza kits arrive for me to sort and deliver after Awana tonight.  Thankfully the winter storm is holding off till after that.  And then tomorrow, maybe I'll curl up on the couch with some pieces of cloth and work on some of the projects for guild.  Ah, wouldn't it be fun to be ahead?   Yeah, that's probably not going to happen. :)

Making the most of today
Steph

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cooking Tuesday - Cinnamon Bread

Have you ever had Cinnamon Bread before?  No one makes it like Carpenter's mom. 

A long time ago, over 20 years,  I was a little Bible School student.  If you've ever been one of those at the school that I went to, or it's sister school, you know about the Hold The Ropes program.  But for those of you who don't:  the school I went to has an emphasis on missions.  So, they had this program, which is all about missionaries and their prayer needs. 

As we got started in school, we were assigned one missionary couple to pray for and write letters each month.  The first couple I was assigned didn't write back or anything.  I don't remember why, but I was assigned to  Carpenter's parents. 

I didn't know Carpenter at all.  But I loved the letters I received on a regular (almost monthly) basis from his mom.  It was such an encouragement.  A couple years later we were still writing, though they had returned home from Indonesia.  Now I was in missions and they were writing to encourage me. 

Later Carpenter and I met and that story is written in my blog somewhere. :)  And when he invited me to come to his house for Thanksgiving, I was nervous and yet excited to meet this wonderful woman I had been dialoguing with through letters. 

My mom had recently passed away at the beginning of that year.  She isn't the same woman as my mom, but we talk constantly whenever she's here and she's such a good listener.  I've really appreciated her role in my life. 

And one thing that we love for Grandma to bring is Cinnamon Bread.  Thankfully, it freezes well.  It's yummy sliced with butter but it's even better toasted with butter. Yum!

On this day, I made two batches because four loaf pans fit in my oven.  And by the end of the day half of it was gone.

2 cups of milk, scalded
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of shortening or oil
2 t salt
Cool to lukewarm,
Mix 1 pkg (or 2 Tablespoons) of yeast with 1/4 c warm water
Add to milk mixture
Stir in 3 cups of flour and mix well
Then add remaining flour till it's a soft dough
Place in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch down and let rise about an hour
Punch down again and divide in half.  Let rise 10 minutes.
Roll each half into rectangles about 13x9.

I got this mixed around the first time.  Sprinkle 1/2 c sugar with 1 T cinnamon on each rectangle. 
Then sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons of water over all of it.
Roll from the narrow end
Seal long edge.

Place sealed edge down in pan

Let rise till almost double
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or till done
Turn onto cooling racks.

Making the most of today
Steph

I am behind what I originally scheduled for Bible reading so I read through Numbers 18 and Psalm 21 today.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Project Monday - and a Date with Carpenter!

First problem: This little cupboard is 9 inches wide and 23 inches deep.  It's a great place for cookie sheets and baking pans but ends up looking like this. Not cool.  We usually open the door, shove in the baking sheet that needs to go in and hope that the door will close.

The drawer under the stove is usually a mess as well.  If the pans get too high up they fall out the back and then the drawer won't shut.

So yesterday, my man was hurting from an accident with a log, but wanted to do more than sit around and watch T.V.  So I asked if he would help with the first problem, and he was willing and able. 

Out comes my trusty tool kit.

All the things that should not be in with the baking pans

What is left.   It would be fine to leave it that way, but I need it to be inconvenient to put any of those other things back in here.

The measurements

Cutting the shelf to size

Cutting the walls to size - we only used scraps that were laying around and didn't buy anything.

He wanted to be in the garage with us and quickly found a broom and started sweeping.  Yes, he is in his church clothes, but so were Dad and I.

A cut to put the paneling wall into.

Making another cut


The paneling is going to fit

Sanding it for a smoother finish

The glue

and nails

and now adding the final piece to make up for a cut that was too short

Finished product,
 The one problem we had was getting it into the cupboard, so it shouldn't have been quite this far along before we put it in.
Nice.
The drawer looks better too.  I moved out the bundt pan which I rarely use and the broiler stuff, or whatever those pieces were.  Grill tools, loaf pans and pizza pans are all that is left.

Making the most of today
Steph

Friday, February 15, 2013

Titus 2 Tea - Household - Scrubbing Pots

 I did some investigation on scrubbing pots.

First, I tried vinegar and soda.  I sprinkled  soda on the pot and poured vinegar over it.


But I wasn't satisfied.  I really wanted it to be immediate.  Isn't that how we all are?  We want instant success. So I tried something else, and it wasn't instant, but it worked fairly well.

I would recommend using gloves for this next step.  I didn't, but I should have.    I used Dawn dish soap and baking soda.  I sprinkled soda again on the pan, and then poured Dawn on it, and rubbed it together. 

Then I left it sit, while I went to drop the kids off at school and take one to a piano lesson.

 When I got back it looked like this.


So I scrubbed the pot with a brillo pad


For the inside which needed some help, I used the vinegar and baking soda combination.   It worked like a charm.


 What dirty water!!!!  As I said it worked well.


For the extra stubborn stains, I soaked the pot in the water and scrubbed some more.
Let me just tell you, my arms ached all the next day.  I am not sure that it's worth all the work - a lot of elbow grease - as it's the outside.  I think I'm going to opt to just live with the stained exterior.

 It was a lot cleaner and I am happy for that.  I think for now, when a pan comes up for washing, I'll do a bit of scrubbing with the brillo pad on the outside. 

So there you have it.  That's what I learned.  Does anyone have a better idea about scrubbing pots?  I would love to know.

Making the most of today,
Steph

Today we're up to Numbers 21 and Psalm 21 and I'm working on Romans 1:26 and 27.  Spent quite a bit of time reviewing yesterday.  Really has me asking questions about passages I have known for a long time.