Archive for May, 2011

Our Teenager’s Love of Irises

My oldest child, Carl (13), LOVES gardening, and his irises are his babies right now.  He hand-picked them from other gardens (with permission, of course), and transplanted them into our garden. 

Here’s a picture he took this morning of the first blue-purple one this year.



And here are his heirloom irises, first planted in the 1800’s!  (This patch has even had a bike or two go through it accidentally!)


What Makes a Great Mom – A Tribute

My mom was born on Memorial Day, and for most of her life, Memorial Day was always on her birthday.  So this year, since Memorial Day is on the 30th, and since I have started a blog, I thought I would write just a little about what made her a great mom—a mom that I hope to be like!

I think it is very significant, that even though she passed away more than 14 years ago, I think about her EVERY SINGLE DAY because she was the one who taught me how to do almost everything I do on a daily basis!  My mom was a Home Economics teacher before I was born, and she never really quit teaching, even though she left the school building.  I think of her every time I make gravy, cut in butter, make pie crust, sew anything, clean and bandage a wound, plant seedlings, make a birthday cake, iron a man’s dress shirt…and the list goes on.  I’m often quoting to my kids things like, “My mom always said that [for baked goods] you don’t have to measure perfectly unless you’re making a birthday cake or a wedding cake.”  (And it’s true, I’ve found!)  Or when I sew, I still remember her teaching me the little tricks to make sewing easier or the project turn out better. 

But what is significant is not that I learned all those things, or that she was just a great teacher or homemaker, but that she loved me, invested time in me, and wanted me to someday find joy and contentment in being a homemaker, myself.  If that was her goal, she certainly succeeded, although, sadly, she never got to see it, as she died when I was only 28 years old and had no children yet.  (Okay, now I’m crying!) 

Happy Birthday, Mom!  I still miss you!!

Even Imperfect Diligence will “Lead to Abundance.”

My prayer journal is a small 3-ring binder to which I can add pages and dividers, and I’ve used it ever since my first child was born. Throughout my journal, but especially in front of the first divider, I have “inspirational” verses or quotes that I copied from the Bible or other devotional books.

Today, I ran across a few verses about diligence, copied into my prayer journal a long time ago. I hope that you find them inspiring, as I did. (And just so you know, I’m not trying to get worldly riches!)  🙂

    • “The hand of the diligent will rule…” (Pr. 12:24)
    • “…the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Pr. 10:4)
    • “…the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” (Pr. 13:4)
    • “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance…” (Pr. 21:5)

I like that God’s Word does not say that the hand or soul or plans of “the successful” will rule or have abundance! All I need to do is, by God’s grace, keep on doing what I know God has called me to do, even when progress seems to come very slowly or even falters!

For example, when my oldest was two years old, I started working on catechisms with him at breakfast. We learned approximately one new catechism a week. Now that all of us are much farther in the book, it sometimes takes two weeks to really learn a new catechism. 

But I  have gone through phases when I’ve thought, Why do I keep doing this? This is so time consuming, and my kids don’t even enjoy it—they just put up with it! And what good is it doing them, anyway? I have actually taken a break a few times for a week or a month. But something made me keep going back, and now, 11 years later, diligence has made it possible for my kids to learn a lot of catechisms! And just for the fun of it,  I said one day, “Tell me the answer in your own words,” and we had the BEST conversation about justification and sanctification! My purpose is not to say that everyone should be learning catechisms, but rather to show how even imperfect diligence in something worthwhile will “lead to abundance.”

Picnic Tip: Picnicking With Very Small Children

Since our family went on over 100 picnics last year, I feel like I have a bit of experience, so here’s another picnic tip for those of you with young children . . .  

We used a tray-seat similar to this one for ALL of our little kids (9-18 months?) who would otherwise crawl all over the picnic blanket and get into everyone’s food!  I think it’s perhaps the single most important item you could have to make picnics with a one-year-old even a possibility.  And if you taught them sit time, you’ll have it made!

(This also works in the house when you need your child to stay in one place (for a few minutes:)) or if you’re practicing sit-time!

“Healthy” Homemade Rootbeer Recipe (really simple!)

 Since our family has an unwritten rule that we don’t buy pop (we only drink it when it’s free), we started experimenting a few months ago with making our own rootbeer.  Since we’re going to make rootbeer this weekend, I thought I would share how we make it without refined sugar (serves 6) . . .

  • 3/4 cup cold maple syrup (pure)
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 t. rootbeer concentrate
  • Before serving, add 1 bottle (1 liter) cold club soda

It tastes even better in rootbeer floats (if you’re picky about the taste of your rootbeer), and you can keep it “healthy” by using homemade ice cream!  (Recipe coming later.)

REALLY Simple Family Time (and falling-boy video)

Last night, for a little bit of family time, Scott and I went outside and sat on the swing that faces the driveway.  This always encourages the kids to either join us on the swing or “show off” in the driveway.  We had been sitting there for a while when we saw this . . .

“Don’t be discouraged by the size of the task . . . “

After my fifth child was born (and my oldest was 5 years old!), I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  One Sunday during this time, our (then) church bulletin had the following verse written on it, and I immediately copied it into my prayer notebook.  (I took out the seven words pertaining to the Temple).  It’s still there, eight years later. 

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work . . . is finished correctly.”  I Chronicles 28:20. 

I thought, if God helped Solomon build a temple, He will help me “build” a family!  I like that it doesn’t just say, “Be strong and courageous;” it also says, “do the work.”  I also loved the phrase “the size of the task” because five little ones (ages 5, 4, 2, 13 months and newborn) who were not really helping around the house independently seemed like a HUGE task!  And I was even supposed to be homeschooling my oldest!  Ha!  (He’s doing fine now; no worries!)

Now I can look back and say, the LORD God got me through that; He can get me through anything!