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. Our family is no longer "quiver full," I no longer wear a headcovering, and I do not wear skirts/dresses exclusively. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Projects

I finally got around to one of my many projects. I made a "door" for Nelson's new room.
Here's the before picture.
The after picture.

It was not a hard project, just time consuming. This new curtain is on a make-shift curtain rod, and it opens and shuts. And, since the fabric is much lighter Nelson's room gets more air.

Money spent for our new door - ZERO dollars.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Updates

I have a dozen deep, thought-provoking posts rolling around my head, but today I will stick to something easy and not at all controversial! Here are a few updates from our home:

-Paul's job - He is still at UPS in the VERY early morning. And, he drives the package car (the big brown truck) every Saturday. Tomorrow he will be driving to help deliver Mizzou's season tickets. He has applied at many other places and he may have an interview with Sherwin-Williams this week, they said they would call and set up a time. And, as always, he helps his father with hay several times a week.

- Our diet - With my extreme weakness we had to give up healthy foods almost entirely since mid-May. I was not able to cook traditional/whole foods, and Paul did not care to take the time to. But, after several months of junk foods, hot dogs, frozen pizzas, and hamburger helper, I am craving REAL food! I have already started adding in real foods and healthy fruits for about two weeks (as I have been able), but I intend to get serious about it starting TODAY! I know I am terrible about setting unreasonable goals, but my aim is to eat 75% unprocessed/unrefined foods. It may take a few weeks to work back up to this! I am hopeful... but I will try not to beat myself up if I cannot accomplish this goal within the time frame I am allowing (two weeks).

- My health - I have far more energy than I did one month ago. I am not in any pain... most days. Trouble is, I overdue things a bit. I have taken on cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, sewing, and home repair all too quickly! I am just plumb worn out today! I could hardly hold my head up in church Sunday (no doubt from all the work we did on the porch on Friday). I asked Paul to sit next to me and support my weight... I love my husband! I was too tired to work on the porch Saturday, I don't know when we will get to it again. I think if I could just moderate my activity I would be fine! But, as my frequent readers know, I stink at moderation! If Paul isn't home to moderate me (which he usually isn't) then I overwork! I need to learn to govern myself better... we'll call that a long-term goal!

- Kids/School - I was unable to start school three weeks ago when I had planned to. I was just too tired and weak. I read with them most days. I spell with Rebecca most days. But, nothing is scheduled right now. I have so many teacher friends that LOVE this time of year, and are bubbling with excitement for a new year to begin. Why can't I be that enthusiastic?! I pray for God to make me a better teacher. I pray for more energy! I pray for direction and guidance, yet I still feel like I am a terrible teacher. I know, I know... I am being pessimistic again! I see great improvement in both Rebecca and Nelson. Rebecca is trying to read anything and everything, especially the Bible and the Psalter. She is doing a lot of writing that is always phonetically correct, but not always spelled correctly. She's doing great! I have not doubt that if we can get into a routine soon, that she will no longer be "delayed" in any area! Rebecca is in 2nd grade this year. Nelson will be first grade this year. Lydia will be either pre-K or K-4... they look pretty much the same!

That's all for now. I need a nap!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekend Warriors - Part 2

Lydia helped pull up old nails.
Here I am loading up our new "toy" from my FIL, a trailer that attaches to our riding mower! That makes hauling old lumber to the burn pile MUCH easier!

My new toy. And, behind it, the view from our front door - gorgeous!

DAY ONE COMPLETE!


Day One is over... we feel like we got a lot done. Tomorrow we finish pulling out old nails and start laying "new" boards. I should have said before that we are not spending any money on this project. Our landlord purchased the new boards at an auction a few years ago - he is a little slow getting around to things, so we decided to help out!

Weekend Warriors - Part 1

The front porch needs some attention!

BEFORE-

Removing the pathetic old flooring - someone else's make-shift "repair" job.


Paul pries up the oldest boards. The beams underneath look pretty stable.


Rebecca helps... too bad she didn't change into a work skirt, oh well, no harm done.

We cut this board instead of removing it, because this shabby, rotting board is holding up the ceiling! If we need to, we will jack up the ceiling before laying the new/used floor boards.

More after nap time... not only do four of six of us take an afternoon nap, but this porch is right out the door from the girls' room.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Forced Abortions and Sterilizations: Is this for real?

Fox News recently reported on some views of one of our new White House gurus, John Holdren, director of Science and technology Policy. (Read the report here.) Apparently, Holdren wrote a book in 1977 that spoke of forced abortions and sterilizations. Among his ideas was the concept of poisoning public water supply and adding sterilizing chemicals to foods!

Terrifying! I was already leery of public water sources because of flouride (click here to read just a FEW reasons)... and, I was already afraid of chemicals in foods... but now I am even more concerned. I think my family will continue on our path to eat more traditional foods, more organic foods, and continue using heirloom seeds.

I have no doubt that some people read this Fox news story and say "that can never happen," and laugh the whole thing off. But, I think we need to be aware and stay current with issues as they present. We need to be ready to call our congressmen/women if (or rather when) such issues get put into bills.

This is more than an issue of personal liberties, this is a potential matter of human life.

Did you know that the W.H.O has already been connected to sterilizations. Read about that here. (I cannot endorse the whole site, as I have not read every word on it. You can google the info and find it on any number of sites.)

And, this link speaks of possible sterilization that can occur from the Gardisil shots for teen girls.

More scary links to sterilization and vaccination here, many of these may be considered "conspiracy theories." But, you really have to ask yourself, "Could this be true?" (Just one more reason that we don't vaccinate).

This blog rarely ventures into political things. And, honestly, right now this issue is more about LIFE than it is about politics! Where the two intertwine, I will be forced to take a stand, and I CHOOSE LIFE!

Some hard questions to consider:
- Can this be true?
- Has the government already started covertly using any of these measures?
- Will your teens, who are given a Gardisil vaccine, be able to have children when they want to?
- How much infertility, in our present culture, could be caused by measures unbeknownst to most civilians?
- Will our children be allowed to have children? We have seen China implement such a standard... what nation will be next?
- What can your family to to protect itself, without being paranoid?

A word of encouragement:
Without a doubt, GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL! He knows what has happened, He knows what will happen. We have to trust that, even when we do not understand, God knows everything!

Many thanks to MamaArcher, who made her friends on Facebook aware of this issue.

Big Baby News

We had an ultrasound yesterday! We now know the gender!

BABY #5 IS A BOY!

The due date stays the same, Dec.18th, my tenth anniversary!

Monday, July 20, 2009

More Room Changes

Before I made changes: A dark drop-leaf table and a bench (the bench was handmade by my dear Grandpa). I have wanted to refinish this table for years, but don't have the tools, time, or know-how.


After:
I brought the veneered table from the homeschool room, because it is SO much easier to clean!

But where did the pretty bench go? At the end of my bed!

Now, if only I could find the missing chair that goes in the kitchen...

And what should I do with the drop-leaf table? I will keep it, because it was a wedding gift and because it has 2 extra leaves to seat about 10-12! (I just can't use it in this little kitchen!)

Changing around the rooms

I changed around the kids' rooms today, because we REALLY needed to take Nelson away from the girls. He has no concept of privacy, and we had to convert my tiny former school room to a tiny little bedroom.

The school room BEFORE:

Nelson's new room AFTER:

Too bad we can't get rid of that terrible carpet, but the renters who lived here before us tore out the gorgeous wood floors from this room and our living room. I am considering moving Joshua's crib into Nelson's room as well. But for now:

The girls' room AFTER:


Sorry the light isn't better, I didn't want to bother Lydia... and I was eager to get my pics up. As you can see, the wall is still poorly papers. I don't think we will ever fix that! I would rather move than fix up a place I am only renting.

What I am learning

...or perhaps what I am trying to learn from my weakness and disability. I write these lessons after coming through the worst of it (for now, anyway). I seem to be in some sort of remission, OR God is healing me. I am a little stronger every day. I am able to do household chores that I could not do before! I am able to wash and dress myself! And, I even played my flute the other day! Whereas my arms were too tired before to wash my hair and fix it, I can now hold up my arms to play my flute. These are all praises to God! Now, onto the lessons I am slow in learning...

1) We often forget to thank God for our health. But, we are quick to complain when our health fails in the least bit.

2) Sometimes the actions we would label as "little things" are not so little when you can no longer do them. For example, most of us take for granted the ability to button your own shirt, or wash your own hair. But, I am learning that such "little" things are HUGE when you have to ask someone else to do it for you! I need to be thankful for the little things I can do.

3) If the scenario was reversed, and Paul was the one with the disability, (if he could not contribute anything to cooking, cleaning, disciplining/correcting children, or even dressing himself) how would I react? Would I be as kind, loving, and gracious as he has been with me? Would I reaffirm my love for him, in sickness and in health, every day through my words and actions?

4) I cannot be so hard on myself for not achieving my goals... because I tend to set unreasonable goals, I always have.

5) I must not think that my kids are not being taught in these rough seasons of our homeschooling, because right now, they are learning a lot of lessons that some children never learn - some good, some bad. Good lesson - a healthy spouse takes care of a sick spouse. Good lesson - do all things without grumbling and complaining, even when you are sick. Good lesson - being sick is never an excuse for sin. Good lesson - when messing up and forgetting any of these previous lessons, we need to repent to God and family. Bad lessons - Rebecca told me last week that she hopes she dies before becoming disabled. This shows me that I have a lot more lessons to learn myself!

6) Never say that "God will never" do something, because you just don't know. I almost sold my flute, I was convinced I would never play it again. I was convinced that I would be in a wheelchair by next year... you just don't know!



I have been honest here, knowing that I am just a babe in the area of suffering. I will be the first to admit that I have a lot more to learn. And, it may be that God will send a similar affliction next fall to continue to grow me in the areas where I lack. While I do not at all look forward to such a prospect, I do pray that if/when the time comes that I will be mold-able clay in the Potter's Hands!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Joshua Turns 2!

Joshua's birthday is today! He is now 2 years old! We celebrated with my parents this past week.
Above: Joshua with Grandma Karen.
Below: Joshua opens his gift bag!

Below: Joshie snuggles with Grandpa Bill.

I love my little guy, he is a precious boy! He does not talk much, but he understands our words and responds.
One day last week I said "Joshie, do you want to snuggle?" And, he made his grunting gesture for "no." Then, I asked him, "Joshie, do you want to be tickled?" To which he answered by running to me!

Toddlers can be vexing, but I love this little guy!

Creepy Crawling Things

Do not read this if you have aversions to eight-legged things and reptiles...

OK, so we seem to have something of an infestation of brown recluse spiders. No joke, we see at least one a day (in the daytime!). So we are very concerned how many are lurking around in the darkness! Two nights ago there was one on my pillow!

We have been doing reading and research on these poisonous and pesky fellows and we found out that we cannot simply spray to kill them. We do NOT normally spray for bugs at our house anyway, because we like the way God designed to let the critters take care of themselves. For example - brown recluse eat crickets; wolf spiders and jumping spiders eat brown recluse; and our snakes (living in the walls and basement) eat about everything else. (No one eats the snakes, they are too big!)

The problem with this food chain is that I have not seen any wolf spiders for well over a month. (Normally, I would not complain about this, as they are really creepy!) But, we need something to kill the brown recluse before they kill us! We read that only a certain kind of box catches and kills these troublesome people-killers.

We will NOT call Orkin or Terminix as we are very poor. And, moving does not seem to be an option... though I am cleaning the attic in case God provides a miracle!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Great Classic

This week I read the literary classic, Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel DeFoe. I expected this book to be "secular," but it was an AMAZING story of salvation and deliverance!

What I LOVED about the book:
- speaks of remission of sins
- Crusoe is a changed man who shows his repentance
- Crusoe tries to be content in all things
- shipwrecks!
- cannibals!
- Crusoe lives off the land and makes his own wares
- easy to read, the only words I had to look up were ship parts
- some really wonderful insights into God's salvation! Crusoe values his deliverance from sins more than his deliverance from the island!

What are you waiting for? Go to the library and check out this book!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Though your sins be as scarlet

I finished reading Nathaniel Hawthorn's The Scarlet Letter yesterday, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I rarely take time to read secular literature, because my home library is full of great Christian books I have yet to read. (And, because I am very impressionable...) But, for some reason I wanted to read this book. I studied the book in high school (though I did not read it then), so I knew of its themes. I knew the book (and author) to be heavily biased against the Puritans. I read the book purely for entertainment, BUT (you know me) this book plunged me into deep spiritual reflection. This post is intended to be half literary analysis and half spiritual analysis, because the only thing better than reading a good book is telling others about it!

(Disclaimer: I love the puritans. My enjoying this book does not mean that I have suddenly turned my back on some of our great American founders of the faith. The book is fiction, and I acknowledge it as such. There are, however, some dark times in Puritan history, that I do not completely understand.)

Literary Content:
Hawthorn is a phenomenal writer! His style makes me think of Henry James, because you are constantly evaluating whether some action really happened, or was it the product of an insane mind. I LOVE the symbolism and metaphor of this book! Every character represents some exaggerated personality within the Puritan community. In this way, the whole book is a hyperbole, and I appreciate the mind that orchestrated it.
Having been written in the mid 1800s, the book had long sentences and unfamiliar words. I LOVED having an excuse to dig around in my dictionary. I learned a lot of new words! (Are you like me? Do you intend to look up one word but spend an hour looking at the whole page, because you refuse to put the book down until you read every word that has the same root? If only I could have been so studious in high school when I was supposed to have read this book! What a difference it would have made to my GPA!)
I could go on, but I am even more eager to get to my spiritual analysis of the book!

Spiritual Content:
Though the characters in the story are more like caricatures, every Christian can likely still identify with one or more of them. I am going to look at one character at a time and briefly say how we often are like them, and how we should not be like them.

Hester Prynn -
What Christian has not been made to feel like one who wears a scarlet letter? In a true Christian community there should be confession of sin, accountability of sin, and then reconciliation. We see the reconciliation aspect completely missing from Hawthorn's imaginary Boston community. Once marked with the scarlet A, Hester is forced to live a life of isolation. This very disciplinary tactic serves to push Hester further into darkness and sin. She ceases to go to church, because when she goes she is used as a sermon illustration. It is not that she is the only one in the community who has sinned, she is just the only one who has been caught. Yet, everyone else is pleased to insult her and curse her. We find this little Puritan community to be those who have forgotten what Jesus taught regarding the woman caught in adultery, that He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (John 8:7 KJV)
Hester was not stoned, instead she bore a lifetime of insults and isolation. No forgiveness is granted to her, there is no attempt to share the Gospel with her. In this exaggerated community, the gospel is merely severity of rule-keeping without grace.

Pearl- Pearl is the child of an unwed relationship, and as a result she is forced into a certain mold. Everyone in the community (including her own parents) think her a demon-spawn child. People talk openly of the child's "father the devil." She takes in all of these curses and begins to live them from infancy. She indeed rises to their low/diabolical expectations. Again, the role of the community is exaggerated, but I wander how often this really happens. If a good girl from a "covenant family" was to become pregnant before marriage, how would we treat the newborn babe? Would Christians be tempted to believe that this child does not have a chance at salvation or grace, because of their "illegitimate" birth? I certainly hope not! Fortunately, near the end of the story Pearl's life is "redeemed", but not in the spiritual sense (but maybe, to Hawthorn, in a more important sense?). She receives a large inheritance and moves to Europe to live a new prosperous life.

The Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale - The poor pastor... so revered, yet so fallen! He lives a lie for 7 years, before his body can no longer bear this pressure and he dies young. He wants to confess his sins publicly, but never gathers the nerve. Hawthorn's hatred for preachers comes across loud and clear in the life of the good reverend! Over and over, the pastor chooses to keep his public image rather than admit he is a sinner. He thinks that he wants to confess, but we are left thinking that he is deceiving himself as much as everyone else! (His lies were to his whole community, to God, and to his own self... no wander he went mad!)
Still, I have to acknowledge that there are a lot of Pastor Dimmesdales out there! I ache when I think how many pastors (whether married or single) have committed adultery, lusted for their parishioners, or are enslaved to pornography all the while preaching grand sermons. Perhaps their congregants believe them to be the most sincere and devout of men, but really the poor pastor is living a lie... in bondage to secret sins. How do we view those pastors who publicly confess sins? Do we offer grace, remembering that God extends grace to us? Or do we all gather around to condemn them and hurl insults at them?

I think that all of our Christian communities (that is local church bodies) resemble, at least in part, this exaggerated community of puritans! I think that all too often we, like the good reverend in the book, ascribe more power to Satan than to God! In the book, the characters often speak of Satan's plot to ensnare them, but never of God's plan of redemption. In the book, Satan is all-powerful and all-knowing, but God is left in the shadows. Maybe we are not superstitious, believing more in strange rites and penances, than God's very salvation... but then again, maybe we do! We are so steeped in our traditions that we rarely give them up, even if someone can reasonably show us that they go against Scripture. Then, there are some folks who are so concerned with keeping all the laws of God, that they forget about His grace that covers a multitude of sins.
Though Hawthorn's book is meant as entertainment, I think we can glean more from it! I think we can read these exaggerated characters and attempt to avoid their sins.

Hester had to wear a scarlet letter, and I love the imagery of her sin being worn about in scarlet! Read what our Lord says to us:
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 (KJV)
Let us also remember these words:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10 (KJV)
We are all sinners. We all need to confess to our heavenly father. And, sometimes we need to confess publicly. And, we need to be merciful to others as they confess their sins.

Let me know if you have any questions about God's mercy. I guarantee that any sin you have committed is NOT too big for God to forgive! The characters in the book were never freed from the bondage of their sins, but YOU CAN BE! Let me know if you need more information on how to be cleansed from your sins. I would love to share with you how you can find forgiveness for even the darkest of sins in your life!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fun on the Fourth

We had a fun Saturday, celebrating the 4th of July.

Highlights:
- deep fried catfish
- spending the night in a cabin
- swimming in a cold pond... Nelson nearly drowning Rebecca in attempt to stay afloat himself...
- deep woods trail ride in a Polaris Ranger, in which we ran out of gas because the fuel gauge is broken... leaving me and three kids stranded in the woods... one was terrified of being eaten by bears, lions, etc... the other terrified that Daddy would have a heart attack running back to the house for gas... ... then it poured on us... we will laugh about it in a few weeks...
- fireworks
- Paul and Nelson both got to shoot an M-1 rifle (like was used in WW2)

More highlights I thought of after I published the post:
- swarms of humming birds on three feeders
- real banana trees, and they are sprouting... I was promised a sprout when they take it indoors in the fall

We had a great day.