Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reformation Day!

Happy Reformation Day! What a special, meaningful day this one is to those of us who are Protestants. One of my favorite hymns is "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther, and this day is perfect for sharing it.

A might fortress is our God, a Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper he amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and pow'r are great; and armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his Name, from age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hospitality

For 't is always fair weather
When good fellows get together
With a stein* on the table and a good
song ringing clear.
(Richard Hovey - Spring)

*or maybe just a glass of iced tea

Recently, John and I have started making an effort to have people over more often; in other words, we are trying to practice hospitality. We really enjoy having others in our home, although it is added work -- which is worth it! While I know that we have a long way to go, I have come up with a few tips that I use to make having people over a little easier. (By the way, these tips are not for "fancy" entertaining; rather, I find these tips to be helpful for an informal supper together with another family.) Since we want our children to be naive about having guests over, we want to have people over often. If we are going to do something often, it needs to be as simple and easy as possible.
  • Clean house earlier in the week. If you plan to have someone over for supper on Friday night, don't wait until Friday to clean your house. Of course, you will have to do some last minute touch-ups on Friday before your guests arrive, but the deep cleaning can be done earlier in the week.
  • Don't worry about the toys. If you have children, there will be toys. Don't worry about it! If the family you invite over has children also, the toys will just come out as soon as they arrive. If your guests don't have children, they will still overlook a few toys. (If not, you probably should rethink having them over!)
  • Prepare the meal early. Again, don't wait until the last minute to prepare supper. A casserole can be made the day ahead or even earlier in the day and just cooked in the oven when it's time to eat. Crock pots are wonderful, too; I have made spaghetti at noon and stuck it in the crock pot until supper time. (Spaghetti gets better with a little age, don't you agree?!)
  • Set the table. No, not really, if your children are anything like mine. If I were to set the table before our guests arrive, my children would think it was time for supper. When they didn't get any, the fussing would start. Or they would play with the silverware. Yuck! You may not be able to set the table, but you can get the silverware, plates, and glasses out. That way, when your guests arrive and she asks if she can help, you can have her set the table, that is, of course, if you are busy with something else!
  • Have an empty dishwasher. You don't have to have it completely empty, but you go through a bunch of dishes when you have company over. You want to be able to throw everything in after your guests leave so you don't have to worry about it in the morning.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Don't go through your house with a fine tooth comb, trying to find every single thing that needs to be put away. Your guests likely will not notice a few things, and you will only cause yourself unnecessary anxiety. (On the other hand, it is nice to use the "excuse" of company to find homes for things that may not have them yet. Just do it before the last minute!)
What things do you do to make practicing hospitality easier? Please share! Since we are still kind of new at this thing, we can use all the help we can get.

Chari at Fresh from the Chari Tree had a good post about unexpected hospitality that you ought to read, too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Napping? Praying?

The other day as I was nursing Rachel, I closed my eyes. (As my Granny would say, I was "resting my eyes.") I knew I only had about five minutes, but I would take whatever kind of nap I could get.

When Sarah Beth saw me, she asked, "What are you doing, Mommy?"

I replied, "I'm taking a nap."

She said, "No, you're not. You're praying to God."

I said, "No, I'm napping."

She said, "No, you're praying to God."

This exchange went on a couple more times before I gave up. Let her think what she wants! I was taking a nap...which at this point was over because Rachel was done. *Sigh*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rachel's Nine Month Update


Can you believe that Rachel is already nine months old? I can't! Rachel has made a few changes since my last update.
  • Rachel has four teeth now.
  • She had her first haircut.
  • She is a little roly-poly. She rolls over and over and over. Since she isn't crawling yet, this is how she gets around.
  • She has started eating "real" food. After our first few trials where she wouldn't even open her mouth, now she can't seem to get enough.
  • I'm still nursing her five times a day, and I plan to continue this until she turns one when I will start weaning her.
  • Rachel sleeps through the night; I usually feed her between 7:00 and 7:30 pm, and she sleeps until about 7:30 a.m..
  • Rachel is finally down to two naps a day.
  • I don't know how big she is, but I take her to the doctor on Thursday. I'll let you know then.
What a joy and blessing Rachel is!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Voting Philosophies

With midterm elections next week, I thought I would take an informal poll to see what your personal philosophy of voting is. Here are the four philosophies that I have come across; if you know of another one (or two), please leave a comment! I would love to add to my list.
  1. Voting is irrational. My economics professor in college loved to throw this comment out as a discussion starter. If you think about it, he has a point. My one vote will not elect anyone. My one vote will not change any results. Since my one vote will not actually produce any results, what is the point of voting?
  2. Vote for the winner. Some people vote for whomever they think will win an election. I guess that way they can say that they voted for the guy who won.
  3. Vote your conscience. Some people vote for the person they think will do the best job in office, regardless of whether that person has any chance of winning.
  4. Hybrid voting of 2 and 3. Some people vote for the person they think will do the best job in office out of the small group of people who they think will actually win.
Where do I fit in? While I do agree somewhat with my economics professor, I still vote. It is my civic duty and a privilege. (The only opportunity to vote that I have missed since I became eligible to vote was a referendum on our state flag. Since my one vote wouldn't have changed anything, and the flag I would have voted for won anyway, my not voting was moot.)

Voting for the winner? What a lousy (and loser) way to vote.

Voting your conscience? I have the highest respect for people who chose to vote this way.

Hybrid voting? Unfortunately, I tend to fall into this group. I try to vote my conscience, but sometimes I cop out and vote for the guy I most identify with out of the group of possible winners. Sometime, as my father recently told me, you have to "hold your nose while you vote." That's what we're having to do in this election for our new Georgia governor.

What about you? How do you vote?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Compromise

Isn't compromise great? Sometimes, you have to compromise -- with your husband, your children, your parents, etc., you get the picture. Sometimes, you should compromise. And sometimes, you should stand your ground and not compromise.

Have you heard that the some of the Republicans in charge in Washington have already stated that, if they should gain majorities in the House and Senate, they still may have to compromise with Democrats? Can you believe it? Democrats never compromise with Republicans. Whenever anyone talks about "reaching across the aisle," it is always the Republicans who have to give something up. I know that the Republican party has lots of faults, but now is not the time for compromise.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Baking Cookies

Last week, Sarah Beth and I made cookies. While I didn't get any pictures of our actually baking the cookies, I did get some of our decorating them.

Here are our supplies, ready to go.

Thanks to John, there is actually a picture of me on my blog!

Concentrating.

The fruits (or cookies) of our labor. The icing was runny and disappointing.

But the cookies still taste good!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm Booking It: October Edition


This month I read some diverse books, but I enjoyed them all.

Who Left that Body in the Rain
by Patricia Sprinkle is book recommended by my mother. While it's not a deep, thought-provoking book, I really enjoyed reading it every night before going to bed. The heroine is an older lady who lives in a small town in Georgia which is my home state, so I can relate. One of her good friends is murdered, and she sets out to figure our who murdered him and why. This book is good, clean fun.

I bought Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas as a newlywed, so I honestly did not get much out of it when I read it the first time. This second time, however, I did. Unlike the prevailing thought during the Middle Ages, Thomas argues that being married does not make you a second-class Christian. As a matter of fact, it can be harder to be married than not to be because of the added stress of living so closely with another sinner. I think the subtitle to the book says it all: What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?

Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston is another book I read about the internment of Japanese during the Second World War. This one is a true story, though, and it takes place when the author was just seven years old. I cannot believe how we Americans treated the Japanese during this time: forcing them into internment camps; taking everything but what they could carry from them; and most of all, stealing their dignity. What a hard book to read, and yet a good one because we need our eyes opened to the shameful parts of our history.

I also read The Moved Outers by Florence Crannell Means which is a fictional story about the Japanese internment. You can read my full review here.

I just started reading A Light in the Window by Jan Karon. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Mitford series, so I imagine I will like this one, too.


Success!

Since I haven't had much luck with getting Rachel to eat "solids," I thought I would try one more thing: rice cereal with breast milk. I don't know if Rachel was just ready to give eating one more try or if somehow she knew what was coming, but she opened her mouth as soon as she saw the spoon coming. Success!


Rachel only ate three or four bites, and I'm not sure she swallowed anything. However, I didn't have to wiggle the spoon in between her lips just to get it in her mouth so she could taste it.

That's what I'm looking for!!

At lunchtime, I gave her a couple of Gerber Puffs to play with while the rest of us ate. She tried and tried to get one in her mouth. When she started looking a little frustrated, I popped one in her mouth.



Maybe Gerber Puffs are an acquired taste.

Since I had my camera out, Daniel wanted me to take his picture, too.


And I couldn't forget Sarah Beth.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Haircuts

Saturday, John and I took our children to get their hair cut. Rachel got her very first haircut! She just had a few long, flyaway strands of hair that needed to be trimmed. Do you see a difference? Here and here are some "before" pictures. Not much was cut, but her hair looks a lot better. And Rachel is even cuter...if that's possible. (You can find the answer to why I did not save a lock of her hair here.)

Daniel got his hair cut, too, and the man who cut his hair actually styled it a little bit. Daniel's hair is unruly; you can brush it all you want to, but it doesn't look brushed 30 seconds after you finish. I told John that we shouldn't give him a bath and wash his hair before church because it looked so nice!

Do you see the blue coloring around Daniel's mouth? He received a blue Dum-Dum after getting his hair cut.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rachel's Eating (or Not) Part 2

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their concern over my worried-ness about Rachel not eating "real" food, but I'm not worried. This is my third child, and I know that Rachel will not be consuming only breast milk when she turns five. I know this for two reasons: I don't know a single five year old who isn't eating some kind of food; and I plan to wean Rachel when she turns one. If she's not eating by then, I'm sure she'll learn quickly!! (Of course, if she doesn't quit biting me, we'll be starting the weaning process much, much sooner!)

Tuesday night after our fun-filled day at the farm, we tried some of those Gerber Puffs. We figured that she might like those since she can feed herself and they supposedly dissolve in babies' mouths.
Again, she doesn't know what's coming!

Contemplating the puff.

She was taking too long, so John shoved it in her mouth. She's not sure she liked that.

Gagging on the puff.

Yesterday morning, I tried bananas. What baby doesn't like bananas. I even splurged and bought a couple of jars of baby food so it's nice and creamy with no lumps.

Do you see how tightly she has shut her mouth? I finally was able to shove the spoon in just a little to get some banana in her mouth, but she still didn't like it.

I didn't want to let that tablespoon of banana go to waste, and I had two volunteers to make it disappear. Also, I was hoping that they would get a chance to be positive role models.


I think I'll try mixing rice cereal with breast milk next. I'll let you know how that goes.

Oh, how this experience reminds me of trying to get Daniel to take a bottle. We didn't have much success with that one, but I think we will with this one.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Down on the Farm, Part II

We went back to the farm yesterday, and we had another great time. Since it was during the week, John was not able to join us, but we did get to go with a few friends. I took 150 pictures, but I won't share all of them with you.

Daniel loved "driving" this tractor.

Sarah Beth loved driving this little car.

Daniel was fairly happy pretending to drive, although I did take him around once.

Feeding the goats was one of the highlights of the day.

Can't you tell?

Rachel was such a good sport all day; she usually is. What a cutie pie!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Do You Do?

What do you do when your child won't open her mouth to be fed? What do you do when your child is not interested in eating?

Yesterday morning, I put Rachel in her high chair because we figured it's about time she started eating "real" food.
All ready to go...except that she has no idea what's coming.


Both Sarah Beth and Daniel just opened their mouths right up when we started them on "solids," but Rachel didn't.
Do you see how tightly she has shut her mouth?!


I never did get her to eat any rice cereal. *Sigh* Maybe we'll try something else tomorrow.
Doesn't she look pleased with herself for not eating anything?

Yes, Rachel is over eight months old. Maybe I waited a little too long to start her on "solids." Obviously, she's been getting enough to eat; just look at those chubby cheeks!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My Garden

Look what I found outside yesterday afternoon when I went out to check my garden.


I thought you might be interested to see how my garden is growing. I don't think it's doing as well as it did this summer, but I have already picked a few green beans. I look forward to picking more! Again, there are Roma green beans on the left, and there are Purple Hull Pink Eye Beans (kind of like black eyed peas) in the right middle. On the far right are cucumbers.

I have to admit that I think Roma bean flowers are kind of pretty.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Naivete

I was reading an article by Joel Belz in World Magazine a couple of weeks ago, and it really caught my attention. (Unless you subscribe to World, you can't read the whole article; I'm sorry.) The article is a tribute to his mother, but what grabbed my attention was how naive he was to certain things. He thought having a large family was "normal;" he thought having company over often was "normal." I started thinking, "What do I want my children to think is "normal"?
  • I want my children to think large families are "normal." While John and I may not have a large family ourselves, I want to interact with larger families so that they don't know anything else. (Thanks, Laura, for helping me out with this one!)
  • I want my children to think that entertaining is "normal." Long-time readers know that I have struggled with practicing hospitality, but lately we have been doing better. Not only do I enjoy having people over and fellowshipping with them, I want it to be a regular part of life for my children.
  • I want ministry to be "normal" for my children. While I do crochet blankets for my church's blanket ministry, I want to do more. I'm not sure yet what else to do, but I think we may just start with visiting shut-ins and nursing homes. After that becomes more familiar, I will try to work something else in. Of course, I'm limited, too, in what I can do because I have three small children, but I'm sure there are ways that I can minister with my children.
What about you? Have you thought about this? What kinds of things do you want your children to think are "normal"? How do you want them to be naive?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rolling Off the Couch


Rachel is a little roly-poly. Whenever I put her down, she immediately rolls over. It's a fairly new skill, and she loves to practice! Usually, I enjoy watching her roll over and over and over as she explores the living room, my bedroom, wherever. Usually.

The other night, as I was sitting on the couch getting Rachel ready for bed, she tried to roll over. I stopped her. She tried again, and I stopped her again. She kept trying, and I kept stopping her. She got frustrated and a little aggravated with me, but I was not going to let her roll over. You see, if I had let her roll over, if I had let her do what she wanted, she would have rolled off the couch. She did not realize the danger she was in, only that I was keeping her from doing what she wanted to do.

I wonder sometimes how often we try to do something, and it just doesn't happen. So we try again. We even pray about it, "Lord, please help me to get this thing done." What we may not realize is that we are trying to roll off the couch, and our Heavenly Father, Who loves us so much more than we love our children, won't let us. He is keeping us from hurting ourselves; we just can't see the whole situation.

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matthew 6:11

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Do You Know? Do You Care?

I've heard about these stories a couple of times in a couple of different places, and I wondered if you had heard about them, too. In case you hadn't, I thought I would fill you in.
  1. The government, our government, has bought trucks equipped with x-ray scanners that are able to look inside cars and houses. While I can see the purpose of these trucks in specific uses (like checking incoming cargo at ports and in Iraq/Afghanistan), I'm nervous about their use because no one will say why they have been purchased.
  2. Courts have repeatedly ruled that police do not need warrants in order to attach a GPS to your car so they can track your every move. Read more here.
  3. Courts have also ruled that police can use your cell phone to track your movements, that is when you're not in your car. Again, that is without a search warrant.
  4. Our government also would like to make it easier for them to read your email and other things you post in places like facebook. Isn't that nice?
These things terrify me. What happened to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Did you know about these things? Do you care?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Bear Fairy

Once upon a time, there were two bears

who were loved by a little boy


and a big girl.


These bears were so loved, like the Velveteen Rabbit, that they were starting to show their age.


One day, the Bear Fairy (who is closely related to the Sock Fairy) saw these bears and had compassion on them. She stole into the children's rooms one night while they were sleeping, and mended the bears so they looked like new again!


The little boy was pleased with this transformation,



as was the big girl.


Unbeknownst to the family, the Bear Fairy required payment -- an arm, to be exact.


At least, it wasn't an arm and a leg!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The King's Christmas List by Eldon Johnson and Illustrated by Bonnie Leick


The King's Christmas List is a delightful story about a little girl named Emma and her dog Shu-Shu who receive an invitation to the King's birthday celebration. Emma takes a cake that she and her mother baked as a gift for the King; she also takes along her favorite toy. Along the way, she meets people who are in need and she gives them the cake and her toy. When she arrives at the celebration, she doesn't have a gift for the King. That is not a problem because what He really wants is for people to help others.

While I enjoyed this story about how we should help out people who are in need, it does not really tell the true story of Christmas -- how God became man to save sinful people. The story is a good one about sacrificial giving, and the illustrations are lovely, but I did not appreciate the advertising for specific giving on the last page of the book. I've never seen such a thing, especially in a children's book! With those caveats, I would recommend this book.

While I want to thank Booksneeze for giving me a copy of this book to review, my opinions are my own.