Welcome

Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kittens, Kittens, and More Kittens

I think there are 6 kittens in all. Very cute, very soft. Still, I hope that it warms up and we can move them out very soon! Do not think me unfeeling... I care about the well-being of this mommy and these wee babes. But, I care about my own sanity more! And, I see messes in my near future! Did I mention that it was Paul's idea to bring the cat indoors? ; )

Grand Re-Opening

My kitchen is back in business (so to speak).

The lighting is not the best (it is dark and snowy today), the florescent lights make the walls looks very minty. The walls look best in natural lighting!

I will go over the white bead board sometime in the future. It will still be white. I like the contrast. And, I plan to add a chair rail eventually. The curtains will stay up till I get motivated to sew new ones. We will also be changing the light switches and plates to all white.

Did you see that I have my "island" clear again!? (Technically, it is a peninsula) My oven range is cleared off too! I was able to cook dinner last night, but we ate it in the school room - again. I am SO glad to have my kitchen table back!

You Have GOT to be Kidding

Our pregnant cat had her kittens last night... in the house... in the living room... on the white carpet...

I got a maximum of 2 hours sleep last night. And, now I cannot snooze all day or one of four kitty-loving children may squish the life out of a rat-sized-fur-covered-four-hour-old-kitten.

Wake me up when this nightmare is over.

Friday, February 27, 2009

More Paint Pics

Rebecca took some pics of me while I stood on the counter. Who needs a ladder? The counter is more stable! I think she was being artistic with this one, she told me "Look, Mommy, I made a diamond."
This other one shows the color of the walls well. I am not sure the old red gingham curtains will match... but they will have to do for a while!

I do not have a clue how to get the ceiling trim where there is no counter to stand on. (We have 9 feet ceilings). Anyone have an Uncle Goliath who lives in central MO? No? Maybe I should borrow a ladder from a neighbor...

Second Coat of Paint

While the kids rested this afternoon I was able to trim the walls and give them their second coat of green paint. I will leave everything "as is" until I can put on the second trim tonight.

I am not sure how I will cook dinner... It was a circus show last night, and today it is even messier. Maybe Paul will bring home pizza - that is one of our "painting the kitchen" traditions!

While I painted, Rebecca had a Tea Party with some special friends.

Slowing Down

I got a lot of work done yesterday, but I am slowing down today!

Paul came home late last night, but agreed to move the refrigerator and oven away from the wall for me. Behind those, we found more wallpaper to be stripped. After I peeled that paper off I was exhausted! I went to bed without even reading!

This morning I was woken up at 8am by a loud THUD, that brought immediate panic. Was that the door? Who escaped? But, worse yet... after a short delay, I heard Wahhhh... Baby Joshua (who is now 19 months old) escaped his CRIB! Rebecca got to him first and brought him to me. I snuggled Joshie until he could breath normally again (as opposed to sobbing in fear/pain).

Looks like our family will be doing some bedroom adjustments... I will look on Craig's List for a bed today.
Lydia will have to move out of the toddler bed. She can move into the queen with Rebecca. So, I need to find a bed for Nelson. All three have shared a bed before, but the mattress was on the floor... and one kid was often found in the morning on the hard floor.

(Updated 10am same day - we used to have two cribs. The other one converted to a toddler bed... is that in the attic? Did I keep that? I will have to get Paul to go up and look in the attic. I ain't goin' up there!)

I can do this... I think I can, I think I can, I think... I think I want to go back to bed.

I will not likely do any work on the house until 3 littl'uns are down for a nap. (At which point in time I need to trim, paint, and trim... I think I can, I think I can...)

And, did I mention - all meals are being eaten in the homeschool room!?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Moving Right Along

Commence Painting! We are using Wal-Mart Color Place Paint. The shade is Morning Dew. It is drying a darker green than it looks here. The first coat is finished! (Except for the area above and behind the 'fridge. Do you know how heavy those side-by-side fridges are?! I have to wait for Paul to come home and move that for me.
While the white primer dried this afternoon, I worked on the bathroom floor. (This tiny bathroom is our only facility, by the way.)

I would be tempted to leave it as is, and add some dark finish... but, I do not think that stain would cover the putty that fills in the holes. Plus, it really darkens the small area! What would you do?

Step 2 - Prime the Walls for Paint

The dark spots on the white kitchen walls have been primed. While that dries, I am working on another project. Another project, am I crazy?!


We had originally planned to lay linoleum in this bathroom. Our friend "Grandpa Jim" did the prep work for us. But, as you may recall, the pipes froze in December and we had to take up the floor. We need to leave the hole in the floor accessible to get our heat lamp in/out of the crawl space as needed.

The new agenda is that we will clean the floor and paint it. We cannot stain the floor, because it has bad spots where it looks like termites may have eaten it. A light paint will cover the bad spots and brighten up the room. Then, we will put down a large rug to cover the big cut-away in the floor.

I cannot account for my burst of energy these past two days, except to say that Spring is in the air! (That and I have company schedule to come soon! Yippie!) I will post a picture of the clean floor later. I have mopped it once already and it looks a lot better. I fear that I may have to scrub on my knees.

Before Breakfast - Step 1

Before the little ones got up this morning I got some work done. This is the kitchen wallpaper before I peeled it. It was in bad condition. That green paint is one of my paint samples (not the one I will be using).
I think it looked better After I peeled the paper. I was able to use a vinegar and hot water solution! So, no chemicals in the air to induce an asthma attack.

Rebecca and Nelson helped a little too. Seriously, they really did help. It would have taken me much longer to finish the job alone.

Now - what's for breakfast?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Improvements

I got the mudroom re-organized and mopped. Here is the finished product. I think it is the best it has ever looked (and smelled!).

You gotta love how the floor slopes down to the left! The charm of the old Missouri farmhouse!

What was I thinking?!

If Paula is the Queen of Frugal, then I am the Queen of Bit-Off-More-Than-I-Can-Chew! My mud room used to have green carpet.

But, even though it was not on the To Do list, I took up the carpet today! I like the funky pattern that is underneath!

I was looking for the source of the cat poop smell, and I realized that it is the carpet itself that was stinky! So, I called Paul and told him my verdict. He was thrilled that I wanted to tear up the carpet (especially since he is an hour away, on the job, and cannot be called to help!)

I really hope that the room will air out now! I really hope the cat smell goes away! We plan to have a lot of company this spring, and I want their first impression to be better than that smell.

The job was harder than I expected. There was sand under the carpet... what's that about? So, I had to vacuum as I went along.

It took more hand/arm strength than I expected, but I got the job done. Now... whether or not I will be able to move my hands tomorrow is another story! My joints are quite sore and stiff right now. I could kick myself for again biting off more than I can chew! Because, once I started - it had to be finished!

I will put up a picture of the clean and finished product later.

You know the economy is bad, when...

Satellite television installation is taking a big hit! As I write, we are faced with this reality.

Paul's job (as a Dish Network Technician) is no longer "secure." He was able to get a few days overtime this past week/weekend. But, for weeks he has barely made 40 hours/week. Now, the company is keeping men home every day! Yesterday, there were four men kept home! They decide from one day to the next if there is work for all the men. Today, Paul just barely made the cut! He was the next name on the list to be kept home.

We were already praying for a new job for Paul, but now it looks like it may be necessary sooner than we thought!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dietary Changes

(Edited and reposted 08-01-09)

I have been making some changes in the way my family eats. I am trying to stay away from processed foods and eat more raw fruits and vegetables.

Our family is terribly slow to making healthy changes, but this time I have hit the ground running! (Have you ever noticed how many idioms I use on my blog? It must drive my non-American, and my English-as-a-second-language readers to madness.) As I was saying, we have already made a few significant changes.

1) I did not buy any snacks for Paul's lunches (Twinkies and Swiss Cake Rolls), instead I bought mass quantities of fruit and veggies! I am putting grapes, an apple, and 2 carrots in Paul's lunch every day. Room for improvement here: I still don't know what to replace his standard deli meat with. Every day he eats a turkey and cheese sandwich (on wheat bread). Any ideas? I had planned to give him pitas and meat, but he is afraid of pitas.

2) The children and I ate our first ever pitas this week! We all enjoyed them right out of the oven! Ummmm

3) The kids already loved fruit, but I bought them more variety. They are eating more servings of fruits every day than ever before.

4) I did not buy any soda. Paul is taking water for his lunch. I am trying to drink more water too. Though, at this point, I am still gagging on it. Seriously, I gag on water - it's very odd. (I am referring to the water that we buy at the grocery store, because our tap water is un-drinkable). This change does not effect the kids any, they did not drink soda before.

5) We are eating less sausage. We used to eat sausage and eggs or sausage gravy twice a week, but this past week we only had sausage one time (and that was only about 1/8 of the tube, just enough to give flavor to the eggs). Room for improvement: I want to learn to make eggs with olive oil and greens. (Updated 08-31-09: we eat sausage and eggs a few times a week again, and I am okay with this).

6) We ate beans at every evening meal this week. Room for improvement: I want to convince my family that beans are an adequate replacement of meat on occasion!

Financial impact: The apples I bought (Jonagold on sale at .79/lb) were far cheaper than snack cakes. And, not buying soda will certainly make for an additional amount of water. So, really, I think we are breaking even.

We have a long way to go, but we are making improvements.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Paint Touch Ups

Before:

After:


I also did this same touch-up treatment to two doors which were also peeling. And, while I had the enamel out, I went over some other services to make them a bit nicer. I think it is a nice improvement!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

New Blankets

Last week when our family was very sick, I spent many days washing and re-washing blankets. In fact, I think that I got so severely sick myself because I spent one whole night washing blankets (and I do mean all night!) I mentioned in one post that I needed to buy some more blankets to be better prepared for the future.

Well, yesterday I bought bedding on sale at Wal-Mart! I bought a bed-in-a-bag for the kids queen bed (that Nelson and Becca share) at half price! A bed-in-a-bad includes a comforter, 2 shams (which they don't need), a dust ruffle, and a sheet set! And, I got it all for $25! Then, I bought a huge, soft blanket on sale for $12. I am very pleased with this buy - I do consider it to have been a necessity! Now we are ready for company or for our next Puke Fest, whichever comes first (hopefully company).

In other news, I plan to do some paint touch-ups this coming week (on Paul's days off). I will fix the places where the paint is peeling. Also, this week, I hope to peel the wallpaper trim in the kitchen. Then, next week, I hope to paint my kitchen!!! I have said before that I have a tendency to let decorating/landscaping rule my life. But, with Paul as my accountability partner in this, I am able to be moderate. We want a nice looking home, but we will not be mastered by it!

That said, I will be using a crisp, clean, breezy color palette of white (on the bottom) and a pale bluish green on top. We have already bought small containers to sample. I will be sure to take lots of before and after pics!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Redeemed, How I love to Proclaim It

Last night I finished reading the book The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, which is an autobiography of a slave turned free woman. This book got me to thinking again about the meaning of the word "redeem."

I have been writing a series on the labels that we Christians use to define our doctrinal beliefs. I said in other posts that there are some titles that are more important than others. The title of Redeemed is one that should be considered as most precious, it is among those basic understandings of what Christ accomplished for his elect when he died on the cross.

To fully understand this post, you may need to start back at the beginning of the series:
What am I saved from?
Justification - Part One
Justification - Part Two
These posts explain (to the best of my ability) why Jesus died on the cross.

The Apostle Paul writes much of redemption, here is one such passage:
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:11-14 (KJV)
Strong's Bible Dictionary says that the word "redeem" in this context is referring to liberation or release. The idea conveyed in this verse (and throughout the entirety of the Bible) is that God saved us (liberated us) from a multitude of sins that all people born with a sin nature are enslaved to (that is everyone, we are all born sinners).

Think back to a time when slavery was still legal in America (or in your own continent), and imagine with me a slave. I will not go into great length to describe how miserable his life is, because you already know the grotesque way these unfortunate people were treated. His whole life he dreams of freedom, yet cannot imagine how he could ever really be freed. Then, one day an abolitionist shows up at a slave auction and buys the slave, with every intention of giving him his freedom papers. The slave has now been redeemed (liberated). The slave would be likely be confused, yet grateful - thinking, "Why is he doing this for me, a common slave?" Then, as time goes on, and the now-freed slave shows that he is living in an honorable manner in his new life, the abolitionist calls the slave to himself again, saying, "I wish to make you my heir." How would you imagine that slave feels now? Is he doubtful? Overwhelmed? Grateful? I guess it depends very much on whether or not he trusts the character of his redeemer, as to whether or not he will believe and accept such a gift.

We can understand the feeling of the common slave, because that is what/who we are before we come to salvation! We are a slave to every kind of sin! And, God redeems us from that by the death of His Son, Jesus Christ! What's more - He makes us His heirs!
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Gal 4:1-6 (KJV - emphasis mine)
As a result of Jesus death on the cross (and resurrection from the grave) we are made sons and heirs to God! We were in bondage to the system of the Law, which we would never be able to live up to perfectly, but now we are set free from the curse, and the law becomes a delight:
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Gal 3:13-14 (KJV)
There is another side of redemption that I want us to examine, by way of another analogy: A coupon in the newspaper is of no value while it stays in the paper. But, if I cut it out, and hand it to the clerk at the grocery store - it becomes very valuable! I have just redeemed a coupon.

This is another aspect of what Christ's work on the cross as done for us, He has not only liberated us to be free men, but He has made us valuable. We are not saved so that we can sit around and be as we were before! Christ has redeemed us to live in a new life and represent His Goodness to the world.
In chapter one of his First Epistle, Peter tells us that we are redeemed by Jesus Christ, and that redemption is incorruptible. He continues for some time telling believers how they ought to act since they have been redeemed. In this context we read these verses:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (KJV - emphasis mine)
We were once useless and invaluable, because we were living in darkness. But, one who has been redeemed now has new value and usefulness! We are now called to show forth the praises of our generous God! He has freed us, and we should be eager to tell people all about God's mercy!

I would welcome a discussion of what this looks like! How do we practically proclaim the Mercy of God to the world? I want to hear your ideas!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shepherding a Child's Heart


I recently finished re-reading Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp. This is an excellent book for parents!

The title gives a good indication to the main aim of the book. Tripp encourages parents to make it their business to shepherd the heart of the child to the throne of Jesus Christ.

What I loved about the book:
-It's focus on the life-changing power of Jesus Christ (for both parents and children!)
-His earnest desire is to see parents work with children in such a way that brings them to salvation
-It will not give credence to any pop psychology
-While it does not endorse pop psychology, it does spend a lot of time looking at the reasons for children's' behavior. I was pleased to see a book that includes information about the emotional well-being of a child, without a man-centered "solution"
-It speaks of how and when to use "the rod"
-It speaks of discipline trends that are un-biblical and will not result in saving the child's soul
-It covers the ages of infancy through teenager

I think that every parent ought to read this book. You will be challenged. You will be encouraged.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So very tired

Since Tuesday night, I have eaten the equivalent of what I normally eat at one meal. I am not on a diet, I simply have no appetite. I wish I could eat, though, I keep getting a little weaker every hour. My arms are so tired I cannot pick up baby. And, I want to cry with each blanket I hang on the outdoor clothesline. I am so very weak, so very tired. I hope food starts looking better soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sping Cleaning Comes Early

Our family seems to be on the mend. The children are all getting back to normal. Most of them have played at least a little today. Baby Joshua still has something going on... still pooping, still no appetite, still not playing, and ever so needy for Mommy. I have not yet regained my strength or color. My face is colored in all the wrong places... my usually pink cheeks are pale, my lips are white with dryness, and my eyes are highlighted with brown rings. I have no appetite yet, but I am drinking plenty of fluids!

Even with my autoimmune disease (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis), it is rare for me to be so very sick twice within a month. I don't usually get sick this often. And, like most grown women, I rarely vomit unless I am pregnant. But, if you are a regular reader, then you know that I went to the ER on January 11, because I was sick with horrible cramping. I mention that visit now, because I got the bill this week. $4,350! Our insurance paid some, so we will be required to pay $2,425. I don't think I will ever go to the ER again, unless I am dying. (And, I only went that time, because I thought I was having an serious issue with one of my internal organs).

Anyway, it looks like spring cleaning will come early this year for our family. I plan to wash all the blankets and comforters and hang them to dry during the next two days of warm temperatures. Today, Paul and I cleaned the van... it was VERY messy! (Both girls puked in the van on Tuesday night.) I enjoyed being outside today. (For those of you unfamiliar with the seasons of the Midwestern United States, spring weather is from late March to May. And, the season of spring is marked with tornadoes. We still have 2 more months of cold weather except for some unseasonable warm days like we expect to have this week).

Paul took a paid day off today, to stay home and take care of me. I was so very sick yesterday that neither one of us thought I would be up and moving today! Paul has been so wonderful through this time of sickness. I feel SO loved... yesterday Paul did SO much work to keep the house going. He did laundry ALL day. He supported me as I walked to the bathroom. I am very glad for all his work, and for his updates on the blog (and posting all the comments).

Thank you readers for your prayers and kind comments.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Update on our sick family 2 c/o Paul

Bethany is now even more sick and has been vomiting violently. The other sickies are running fevers between 1o1 and 103 F. Pray that we do not have to make a trip to the ER. I am pretty mobile at this point and am able to care for everyone adequately. I took a paid day off for tomorrow and pray they will be better by Friday so I can get back to work.

Also, I got the new thermocouple installed this morning and the water heater is doing great.

Thanks for your prayers,

Paul

Finally Sleeping




After a night spent awake and sick, the kids are finally sleeping! Nelson landed in my bed, and the girls were on the couch. I moved Lydia to her little bed right after I took this picture.

Update on our sick family

This stomach virus is brutal. Paul is the only one who is not sick at his stomach. We got very little sleep last night. The kids are all very, very weak... Nelson said, "My legs can't hold me up." I spent the last 3/4 of the hour in the bathroom.

But, there is good news... the kids can now sip 7Up. And, I can still sip 7Up. I washed laundry all night long (since I was up with a sick kid every 15 minutes anyway). I have enough sheets and blankets clean now that I am able to rotate.

Practical suggestions for large families when puke strikes:
-Plan ahead! Keep a supply of 7Up on hand... always
-Plan ahead! Everyone needs a bucket, go to the Dollar Store and buy a bucket or trash can for everyone.
-Plastic bags from the grocer make excellent liners for garbage cans, I double-line it for puke

Also, I think we will buy some more blankets. Extra blankets would be great when all the others are soiled all at the same time by sick children!

Paul has gone to town to buy the thermo coupler for the water heater to work. I have been washing the laundry in cold water. Not ideal - but it comes out a lot cleaner than it was!

Hopefully I will have hot water for wash and baths within the hour!

No rest for the weary

I mentioned yesterday that Joshua has been sick. Last night the girls both came down with it. Rebecca has It at both ends. Both girls are already down to dark yellow bile, and cannot keep even a single sip of 7Up down.

This is the worst sickness I have seen in our family for a long time. I have done my best to keep up with laundry, but I am incapable! I can only do one load at a time (and a small load at that).

I am out of clean blankets. I am out of clean crib sheets. AND, my hot water heater is out of order! This evening we came home from a trip to town (with two kids and carseats needing to be cleaned up) and the hot water is completely running cold. The pilot light is out, and cannot be re-lit. (Paul says we need a new thermo coupler) We cannot get it fixed until tomorrow... some time.

I am praying through this... I am claiming the power of God through His promises in Scripture to give me the strength I need to get through this. The girls have been in bed since 10, and are puking every 15 minutes (all over themselves, never in the can provided). I may not sleep at all tonight.

Please, do not think that I am whining. That is not my intention. To stay up all night and clean their sheets, their faces, and their bottoms is my labor of love to them - and I will do it as unto the Lord!
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. Col 3:23-24 (KJV)
I am very concerned about Lydia. She is only up to 25th percentile weight. In the past her sicknesses have nearly killed her (and I am not exaggerating).

I started writing this at 12:43 am. Before I finished writing, Nelson began puking. That means, I have 4 puking children... no blankets, no hot water, and no sheets. The kids are being real troopers! They are all miserable, of course, but their attitude and speech seems to be accepting of this hard providence.

I am now quite certain that they have RotaVirus, I can tell by the smell. Nelson had Rota when he was 18 months old, and had to be taken to the ER... I will never forget the distinct smell.

I am trusting God for the strength to carry on without sinning. I am trusting God to do with my babies what He deems best.

Please pray for our family. Paul is awake now too, as three of them puking and crying at once was more than I could physically deal with. So far, Paul and I are well... except for my gagging from the smell...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Joshua has been sick

... and has been making an ever-growing mound of laundry for me! Why is it that when that kind of stomach bug hits the family, it comes to the only one who cannot get himself to the toilet!? And, for those of you who don't know, I am puke-a-phobic. Normally, Paul takes care of the puke messes, and I take care of poopy messes. (I consider this a fair trade!!!) But, he has been "down in the back" since Saturday. (For those of you not from Mid-Missouri, that means his back is out of commission).

Paul has scoliosis, and he had a bad fall last month on the ice. His back finally gave out, and now he is confined to a bed or reclining chair. He went to the chiropractor yesterday, and that seemed to help a little. He goes back to the chiropractor tomorrow morning and will find out whether or not he can work this week (a short work week of Thursday-Saturday). Today, he cannot hardly walk still. He did, however, eat at the kitchen table this morning!

Back to Joshua's sickness - I have a lot more laundry to do... sheets, blankets, crib mattress, stuffed animal... Yesterday, I had to go to the laundry mat and spend a small fortune to wash a queen sized comforter that Joshie messed up. The good news, the machine got the comforter very clean!

I told Paul this morning that I think that God intends this episode with Joshua to sanctify me. There are few things harder for me to do than to clean up vomit. And, though it may sound silly to other moms, I literally have to pray for God to give me the ability to do it.