Archive for June, 2011

A Simple Fence Experiment for our Square Foot Garden

On our way to Menards the other day to purchase supplies to make a NEW FENCE around our garden, we saw someone else’s garden; they had little “cubes” of fencing over their 4’x4′ squares.  I liked the idea of not having to mow around and inside a big fence, so we got materials to experiment with making our own little ones.  Here’s how we did it.



First, we nailed together 4-foot long 1×1’s to make two squares.








Then, with a lot of help, we nailed the two squares together.



















We used “Deer Block” to wrap the outside; pretty easy with twisty ties. 






And this is how it turned out!


Prayer for Children: Wednesday

Before leaving for Yellowstone over a week ago, I started posting some of my prayer requests for my children, specifically, my weekly requests for them.  So here’s Wednesday…

  • Be protected from the evil one by the covering blood of Jesus
  • Learn who the enemy is and resist him victoriously
  • Learn to hate sin and love holiness, righteousness and the fear of the Lord
  • Have health and safety each day

Also, I got a comment last week from a reader who uses some different prayers; here’s one that I thought fit well with today’s:

  • Protection from satan, from the “world”, from their own misconceptions stemming from their sinful nature.  (From Lord Change Me, by Evelyn Christenson)

An Antidote to Feeling “Entitled”?

I just read the following today in an email I got from “Keepers of the Faith” and decided this might help my family; we seem to be entering a phase of feeling “entitled.”  Some of us are becoming “quick to anger” rather than “slow to anger” (James 1:19) when things don’t go our way!

“Count your blessings; name them one by one! That is what the wonderful old hymn teaches us, and we should make that a habit for ourselves and our children. If we are always counting our blessings, we will be content, and have smiles on our faces. There will be no pouting or complaining, and the spirit of thankfulness will shine in all that we do and say. Let’s not count what went wrong, or who has mistreated us, but let us count all that went right.

Have your children start their day by counting their blessings. Share blessings around the meal table. Close the day with a recount of all the day’s blessings. Thank God for His incredible goodness and mercy to us. Try it and see how joyous your family can become!”

So, since  “Count Your Blessings” is a hymn I actually don’t know (!),  I got out my trusty hymnal and looked it up, but it wasn’t there.  So I looked it up on YouTube and got a children’s choir singing it.  (You might not like the beginning solo, but I liked the choir portion.)

“Call Out For Insight”

This morning was ONE OF THOSE MORNINGS when it seems like NOTHING went well—mostly because of kids’ attitudes.   I feel like I was bombarded by one child (who shall remain nameless) from the moment I got out of bed, and foolishly thinking that this problem would go away, I just kept making breakfast and getting ready without stopping to deal with a sinful heart.  But it didn’t go away; it got worse. 

Then, during my devotions, I read Proverbs 2, and was impressed with the WORDS Solomon chose to describe HOW we are to seek after wisdom and insight (which I REALLY NEED)!

“…if you CALL OUT  for insight and RAISE YOUR VOICE for understanding, if you SEEK IT LIKE SILVER and SEARCH FOR IT as for hidden treasures, THEN you will…find the knowledge of God.”  (parts of Proverbs 2:3,4,5)

I certainly feel like CALLING OUT and RAISING MY VOICE for help after this morning!  But the truth is, I should be doing that EVERY DAY!  Even routinely asking God for wisdom every Monday isn’t good enough to last the whole week!  I often say that working with seven sinners all day—eight, including myself—is REALLY HARD!  So every morning I need to “cry aloud to God… and he will hear me.”  (Psalm 77:1)

Note:  The picture is not mine, but it reflects how I felt this morning!

Traveling – Part 5: Take Notes While On Your Trip!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been taking notes WHILE TRAVELING for several years now, and it has REALLY HELPED make subsequent trips run more smoothly!  Your own notes will be more valuable, but here are some of my more “generic” ones:

  • Bring lots of plastic grocery bags for garbage.
  • Everyone should have their own tissue package.
  • Back packs that unzip are good; you can actually SEE what’s in them!
  • Plan a “fun” meal for the day AFTER the trip so there’s something to look forward to.  (We ordered pizza!)
  • Don’t PLAN to run errands during the last two days of packing.
  • Have an emergency bag handy for mud and/or water accidents (extra socks, etc.)  (This has happened more than once!) 
  • Have a small “over-the-shoulder” purse or bag in which to carry a small first-aid kit while on a short hike.
  • Have a collapsible insulated bag for picnics that are a “hike” away from the van so we don’t have to carry the cooler (if the weather is hot.)

Traveling with a Large Family – Part 4: Packing the Van

A major task in traveling is packing the van, so here are some things I’ve learned to make it run more smoothly.

FOOD is one of the biggest things to pack and, in the case of cold food, can’t be packed until the day we’re leaving.  So planning ahead helps us get out the door faster. 

So another page in my “travel-planning packet” has a column for each major food-category to go into the van:  Frozen Food in Cooler, Refrigerated Food in Cooler, Food in Bags (for the road), and Food in Boxes (for the cabin).  Then, using my menu, I list the foods needed for each meal in the appropriate column.  When it’s time to pack, I pack the food in the OPPOSITE order so that whatever we need is close to the top.  I try to pack the non-cooler food a few day ahead, since that’s one thing that doesn’t need to be last-minute.

 FRONT OF THE VAN – Here’s something I found VERY helpful for organizing the front seat of our van: magazine holders.  In fact, in our 12-passenger van, I put a bankers box between the two front seats, and it held four magazine holders perfectly!  This helped separate items like 1) Paper—receipt envelope, map envelope, pamphlets/brochures envelope, 2) My “entertainment”—a few magazines and books, 3) “Technology”—cameras, GPS unit, batteries, etc, and 4) My “pharmacy”—first aid type things.  I also discovered a while ago that flat, 3-hole-punched pencil holders work well to organize things AND keep them rigid enough to not fall all over the place as you begin to use things.  They also fit well into a bag or backpack.  (We used to just have a box between our seats, and while it started out organized, it was usually a jumbled mess by the end of the first day!)

TIP – Here’s something I just figured out this last trip:  On the day of departure, I should pack the coolers FIRST, while Scott gets himself ready.  THEN I can get myself ready while Scott packs the van (because he waits for the two coolers—the biggest items.)  This last departure, Scott had to wait for the coolers, and then the rest of us had to wait while he figured out the puzzle of getting everything in—it takes a LONG time!

Worship and Pulling Weeds: Necessary for a Thriving Garden

After being gone for eight days, our yet-to-be-planted GARDEN was completely OVER-RUN BY WEEDS, and even the perennials had a few weeds trying to take over.  So the kids and I spent some time yesterday PULLING WEEDS, and Barrett even got out the lawn mower and just mowed down the weeds in the paths (which had been covered with wood chips last summer, but you couldn’t even see them yesterday!)  Here’s a picture after we finished; I wish I had taken a before-picture, because it was pretty bad!  You can see we even pulled off the fence so we could get at the REALLY tall grass that had been growing along the fence. 

Anyway… while in singing in church today, I was being REFRESHED and INSPIRED by the words of the worship songs, and got to thinking that CORPORATE WORSHIP IS SIMILAR TO PULLING WEEDS.  Weeds have been growing up around me all week; weeds that have the potential to distract me from my true mission and even choke out my energy. 

Actually, I think I’ll call it grass, because we WANT grass—just in the right place—and the tasks that surround me all week are actually necessary; they just need to be IN THE RIGHT PLACE.  I think that the “grass” in my garden is “out of place” when I put more importance on GETTING THINGS DONE than in doing them in a GOD-GLORIFYING WAY.  How do I know I’m doing that?  –When I feel angry with my kids for hindering my “progress.” 

So singing words that help me focus on CHRIST and ETERNITY is a lot like cutting back the grass that has overstepped its boundary.  I need it on a regular basis, and what a blessing it is!

“Fill the GARDEN OF MY SOUL with the wind of love, that the SCENTS of the Christian life may be WAFTED to others…” (from The Valley of Vision)