Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Reading

I was able to get more books read this month because of my regular walking on the treadmill.  If it weren't for reading, I don't think I could least on the treadmill.
  • Timeless Stories:  God's Incredible Work in the Lives of Inspiring Christians by Vance Christie.  Many stories of faith from the lives of five inspiring Christians are told in this book, and it's an encouraging read as these people were not always giants in their faith.  However, the stories are a bit disjointed as it jumps from person to person.  The people profiled in this book are Hudson Taylor, Corrie ten Boom, George Muller, Dwight Moody, Charles Spurgeon, Billy Graham, and William Booth.
  • The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Book 3) by Rick Riordan.  I reviewed the first and the second books in this series here.  This book just continued the fun and games.
  • Nikola Tesla:  Imagination and the Man who Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick.  I didn't know much about Tesla before reading this book, but I am amazed by all that he invented, especially since he isn't very well known.  
  • Moonblood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  I cannot say enough good things about this series.  Christian fantasy along the lines of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, although not as good.  While there is clearly good versus evil, the characters do not always want to submit to the Prince, instead forcing their own ways often with disastrous results.  I really enjoy that there isn't really any romance in these books.
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I heard a sermon recently where the preacher said something interesting about this book, and it piqued my curiosity.  Apparently, Stevenson, who was a Christian, was asked where he got the inspiration for this book of opposite personalities contained in one man, and he replied that he got it from his own heart.  Since I love reading classics, even (especially!) sci-fi ones, I couldn't wait to read it after hearing that.
  • Practicing Hospitality:  The Joy of Serving Others by Pat Ennis and Lisa Tatlock.  This book showed me that having people over for supper occasionally isn't really hospitality.  Hospitality is more about being ready and willing to serve others whenever God presents the opportunity, and this book shows how to be ready and how to serve, and it even includes recipes!
  • The Truth Seeker by Dee Henderson.  Lisa is a forensic pathologist, figuring out how people died and who murdered them.  So Quinn asks for her help with a case he's been pursuing for twenty years, and it turns out to be related to some cold cases Lisa is working, as well.
What have you read lately?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: Don't Worry So Much!

I started working on Christmas decorations a couple of weeks ago because, if I'm going to get them done, I've got to do it now!  When I finished the wreath (but not the embellishments), my children got a hold of it.  Sarah Beth, especially, was fascinated with it, but the next thing I knew, she had turned herself into a "Christmas lion" (her words).

Then Rachel wanted a turn.

As did Daniel.

After taking these pictures, I thought I would take the wreath away before they messed it up.  But then I realized that, as long as they were being careful, they wouldn't hurt it.  And the next thing I knew, I had a "Christmas queen" (Rachel's words).

And a king.

And a princess.

Didn't I get some cute pictures?  More importantly, didn't we all have a good time?  Now that's it done, I've put it away until Christmas, but I hate thinking about what I would have missed if I hadn't let them play with it.

By the way, Mary was taking a nap, so she missed all the fun.  Poor girl! But she found the wreath the next morning and had her own fun with it!

Have you had a similar experience where your common sense said not to let your children play with something?  But you ignored that voice and let them anyway, and were so glad you did?

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Holiness of God

I've been reading Angels in the Architecture by Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson, and I came across this quote:
The holiness of God is not so much a distinct attribute as it is the manifestation of all His attributes in all their splendor.  As the color white is not a separate color, but rather all colors together, so the seraphim acknowledge all the attributes of God in the great triagion.
The holiness of God is hard to define, and it is hard to describe.  R.C. Sproul defines it as being "other."  I've also heard holiness defined as being set apart.  But I like Wilson's description the best; it likens God's holiness to something that I do understand, at least in part:  light.  Without holiness, God would not be God, so it's important to have some grasp of what it means, although I do not think we can fully understand what holiness is.  And maybe we never will.  I don't know.

What does the holiness of God mean to you?  Do you think it's important?

Friday, July 26, 2013

3 in 30: Finally, Some Progress!

This week was our second to last before starting school back, and we enjoyed it.  It was nice not having swimming lessons every day, but we didn't sit around being bored, either.  Tuesday, I took the kids with me when I got fingerprinted, and that took all morning.  Then we went to Story Time at the library, and we always love getting new books while we're there.  Yesterday, we did stay home to get some things done around the house, as you'll read below, and we may head to the library's book sale this morning.  With all of that said, here's how I did on my goals:
  • Walk on the treadmill three or four times a week.  Three times.  Hooray!
  • List things on ebay.  Once again, I did not get to this.  You're probably wondering if I really want to get rid of this stuff; I certainly am!
  • Work on clutter:  in my closet, in the girls' room, living room bookshelves, and library shelves.  Yesterday, finally, I got around to this goal.  I straightened the living room bookshelves which tend to be a "catch-all" for everything we don't want Mary to reach.  Then I moved to the library, that is, after I sorted through our school books in the kitchen so that I could put away (on the library shelves) the ones that we won't be using this year.  And then I worked on the living room bookshelves, again sorting school books between the ones we will and won't use this year.  I also got rid of some clutter there.
I've got half a week left in the month next week, and hopefully, I will use it well and finish the last two goals.

What were you able to accomplish this week?  

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Kudos to Lego!

When we moved to Texas back in March, we stayed for almost two weeks in the rental house John lived in while he waited for us to join him.  My mother and I were concerned that the children would get bored and need something to do, so she picked up a few toys to bring to help keep them occupied.  One of those toys was Snow White's Cottage.

One day, while my mother was out getting groceries, we pulled out Snow White's Cottage, and Sarah Beth helped Rachel put it together.  When Mom got back, she admired it but couldn't find Snow White.  Oh, no!  Snow White was missing.  We searched the whole house, all of the drawers, under beds, inside the couches, and she was gone.  We don't know what happened to her, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Mary was involved.  Regardless, we haven't had Snow White for months.

(I wonder what the owners of the rental house will think when they find her.)

I've missed Snow White, so I looked online for a replacement.  The only one I could find on ebay was prohibitively expensive, so I checked the LEGO website.  Did you know that you can order a replacement piece, if you lose one?  I looked for another Snow White, but there wasn't one.

Figuring that someone there should be able to help, I emailed Customer Support, and when she emailed me back...well, here's what she said:

Thank you for contacting us about replacing your licensed Snow White Minifigure.

As a company, we partner with other companies (LucasFilm Ltd®, Disney®, Warner Bros. ™ etc) that allow us to use their licensed images for our sets. Our current licensing agreements prohibit us from selling the particular pieces that you are looking for individually. It is important to us that we respect and uphold all of our current agreements. Again, we are extremely sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Reading that, I was very disappointed, but what could I do except to continue reading:

However, what I would like to do is to send you out a new Snow White's Cottage set for you so that you child can once again be reunited with Snow White. You should be receiving this set in the next 3 - 8 business days.

What?  Really?  LEGO was going to send me a whole new set?  Wow!  I certainly never expected that!  We have bought several LEGO sets for our children:  regular ones for Daniel, Duplos for Rachel, and the new "Friends" ones for Sarah Beth.  But this customer service makes us even more loyal customers.

Many times, we tend let others know when companies give us poor customer service, and sometimes we forget when we receive good or excellent customer service.  I wanted to take this opportunity to say, "Kudos to LEGO!"

Have you experienced excellent customer service like this?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Couple of Thoughts About Being Fingerprinted

One of the hoops I have to jump through to obtain my pharmacist license here in Texas is getting fingerprinted.  I took all four children and drove 45 minutes each way in order to have that done yesterday, and here are a couple of my thoughts about the experience.
  1. Being fingerprinted bothers me.  It bothered me the first time I had it done in order to obtain my driver's license in Georgia, and it continues to bother me every time I have it done.  It feels like a violation of my privacy.  My fingerprints are mine, and I don't think Big Brother needs to have them on file just so I can drive my car legally or work as a pharmacist, especially since I have done nothing wrong.  
  2. Fingerprints fade away.  The woman helping me wiped my fingers, then tried to scan them.  Reject.  She tried putting on some lotion.  Reject.  She tried wiping again.  No.  Lotion.  Reject.  I can't tell you how many times she tried to get my fingerprints to scan; a couple of times one would be accepted, but there were probably a hundred failures to the few accepted.  Finally, she called another woman to help, and I asked why they were having such a hard time.  She asked what type of work I do, and I always hesitate when I'm asked this.  I don't work, but I do work.  I work hard, but I don't have a job.  Finally, we decided that washing my hands and washing dishes are my problems.  My enjoyment of baking is making my fingerprints disappear.  She also told me that if I have to do this again in a year, they might not be able to scan them.  I guess they would have to do it the old-fashioned way with paper and ink.  Oh, and did you know that you get wrinkles on your fingers that interfere with fingerprinting?  I saw mine on the computer screen.  *Sigh*  Anyway, after a few more tries, this lady was able to get my fingerprints scanned.  Otherwise, I would have had to come back in a couple of weeks to try again.
Yesterday, when I got home, my fingers were a little tender which I thought was strange since the women weren't rough.  I can't help but wonder, though, if I won't leave fingerprints in a few years, would I be able to get away with...maybe I'd better leave that unsaid.  

When were you last fingerprinted?  Did you have any problems?  Did you know that fingerprints fade away?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Look What I Got!

Sues from Castle Blake awarded me the Sunshine Award last week, and it's always nice to receive awards, isn't it?

The rules are:

  • Include the award’s logo in a post or on your blog.
  • Link to the person who nominated you.
  • Answer 10 questions about yourself.
  • Nominate other bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
And here are the questions:

1. What is your favorite color?  green, definitely green

2. What is your favorite animal?
Pet?  horse, even though we haven't had one in a while
Exotic?  tiger, I think their stripes are amazing

3. What is your favorite number?  I don't have one

4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink?  chocolate milk

5. What is your favorite alcoholic drink?  I don't like any alcoholic drinks.

6. Facebook or Twitter?  I'm not exactly sure what Twitter is, so Facebook.

7. What are your passions?  Since I'm so introverted, I don't get excited very often.  But I do love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and my husband, and my children.  Very far below those first things in importance are reading and crocheting.

8. Prefer getting or giving presents?  Honestly?  Getting.  But when I find just the right gift, I really enjoy giving, as well.

9. What is your favorite city?  Augusta, Georgia

10. What are your favorite TV shows?  Fringe (even though it's not on anymore), Once Upon a Time, and Warehouse 13

Now I'm supposed to nominate other bloggers, so here goes:
However, even if I didn't nominate you, feel free to answers the questions yourself on your own blog.  Just be sure to let me know you did so, so that I can come read about you!

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Pet Peeve: What We Wear to Church

I have a pet peeve, well, maybe it's more than a pet peeve.  And it has to do with the way we dress when we go to church.

Casual seems to be the dress code for churches these days; when I search the internet for a new church to try (because we're having a hard time finding one), they all seem to say, "Dress casually."

Casual?  Does casual dress honor God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it?  Being comfortable in church, is that the goal?

Yes, God meets us where we are, but He doesn't leave us there.  He works every day, every hour, every minute to sanctify us and make us more like His Son.

Let's look at it a different way.  What if we received an opportunity to meet the President of the United States, or even the Queen of England?  What would we wear?  Would we put on our faded blue jeans and raggedy t-shirts?  Or would we search our closets for the best outfit we had, and possibly even buy new ones?  Does the Creator of the universe deserve less than the Queen of England?

Of course, if the best we have is hole-y jeans and ratty t-shirts, then those clothes are honoring to God.  But for most of us, we have much better clothes than those.  Why do we insist on dressing down to meet with God?  Doesn't our Lord deserve more than that?  Doesn't He demand more?

What do you think?  Do you think we can honor God with our choice of clothing?

Friday, July 19, 2013

3 in 30: An Unproductive Week

Yesterday was Daniel's last day of swimming lessons.  While it was great fun for him and he learned a lot, I am so glad they're over.  I felt like I spent all morning getting ready for, being at, and getting home from the swimming lessons, so I didn't have my most productive part of the day (the morning) for getting things done.  And so, I didn't get much done toward my goals, either.
  • Walk on the treadmill three or four times a week.  Four times this week!  Hooray!  At least, I got something done.
  • List things on ebay.  I got nothing done towards this goal.  Nothing.
  • Work on clutter:  in my closet, in the girls' room, living room bookshelves, and library shelves.  I didn't get anything done on this goal, either.
Hopefully, next week I will be able to get more done since I will be home more.

What were you able to accomplish this week?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chicken Update

I thought it was time for another update on my chickens.  I still have all six, and Bob Tomato hasn't started crowing yet, so maybe he should be Roberta Tomato.  John built a little pen around the coop, but we started letting them free range a couple of weeks ago.  Mostly, they stay in our backyard and in the bushes around the house.

The older hens are about 18 weeks old with the younger ones about a month behind them.  I haven't gotten any eggs yet, but I don't think it will be too long.  And I can't wait!

Looking back at these pictures, I can't believe how much my chickens have grown!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gummy Bears, Er, Stars

One of the things Rachel takes every day is a calcium and vitamin D supplement, but she gets tired of these supplements.  So we look for new ones to keep her happy.  The latest ones are Gummy Bears, and, well, they started a chain of events.

First, I started singing the Gummi Bears theme song, the only line I know.  (I've just dated myself, I know.)  Then the kids wanted to know where that song came from and how I knew it.  So I looked it up to show them...which led our viewing this video showing how to make a gummy bear grow.  And then we got the idea of making our own gummy bears.  So we looked for a recipe and found this one.

I have been trying lately to be a more fun mother.  I'm not letting discipline slide, but I do want to try to do more fun things with my children.  Especially during these few weeks we're not having school.  So we made gummy bears yesterday.  Actually, we made gummy stars because that's the kind of mold I could find at Hobby Lobby.

Making gummy stars wasn't too hard, but they're a little unflavorful.  I didn't see the comments about using less plain gelatin, so next time I'll try it with that suggestion.  But we enjoyed the process, and it was a fun thing to do.

Do little things get you singing silly songs like they do me?  Do you remember the Gummi Bears tv show?  Have you made gummy bears (or stars) before?  Do you go on wild goose chases like this?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monday's Quote: Do We Want Slavery? Really?

I've been reading R.J. Rushdoony's book A Word in Season:  Volume 2, and I came across these quotes.
Throughout history, wherever and whenever self-government declines, statist government increases proportionately.  If men will not govern themselves, someone else will. 
The problem of our time is that men want neither freedom not self-government.  They want the advantages of slavery without its penalties.  Slavery offers cradle-to-grave security and it offers a master who solves all problems for us.  Most people want slavery but are not honest enough to call it slavery.  They sugarcoat it with all kinds of political slogans to make it sound like heaven itself, and they are the first victims of their propaganda.

The heart of true self-government is to live in terms of God and His Word, because His way is the way of life.  (p. 48-49)
I hadn't thought about this before, that people will be governed by something, whether it's themselves or the government.  But I agree with Rushdoony, and it certainly seems like this very thing is happening in our country today, as we move further from God and Christianity and more toward a controlling government.

Have you thought about this before?  What do you think?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Finished Object Friday: Two Blankets and Jell-O Firecrackers

Sarah Beth asked me for over a year to make her a blanket to replace the blanket I made for her when she was two.  I guessed it was about time, so I made her this blanket.  I thought she would like it, and as soon as I showed her the picture in the pattern book, she wanted it.  I didn't get it done in time for her birthday, but she was okay with that.  Do you see the hearts?  This blanket is reversible!  I found the pattern in this book.

As one of my goals for the summer, I wanted to learn how to crochet a border around a flannel blanket.  And I did.  I enjoyed doing it except for the initial shoving the crochet hook through the flannel.  I hope to finish some more blankets like this, but I may have to learn to hem them first.

And when we celebrated Independence Day, I made these Jell-O Firecrackers.  My silly children didn't much care for the Jell-O, but I thought they were fun even though they were time-consuming to make.  I can see making these in different colors for different occasions:  Christmas, birthday with child's favorite colors, etc..  But first my children will have to appreciate Jell-O just a little more.

What have you been working on lately?

This post is linked at Fresh from the Chari Tree.

3 in 30: Progress!

Daniel started swimming lessons this week, and he's doing great while he's having fun.  The only problem is that his lessons are right in the middle of the morning:  too early to do anything before and too late for much (in the morning) after.  But I was able to find some time to work on my goals this week which makes me happy!

Here's how I did with my goals:
  • Walk on the treadmill three or four times a week.  I walked three times this week.  Hooray!
  • List things on ebay.  I did some research and figured out how much to sell my ergo and baby insert for.  And I think I should sell them separately to make a little more money.  I even got the pictures taken.  Hopefully, I'll have the time this weekend to sit down on the computer and get them listed.
  • Work on clutter:  in my closet, in the girls' room, living room bookshelves, and library shelves.  I straightened the living room bookshelves a little bit the other day, but it's hard to tell since I didn't maintain the "straightening."
How did you do this week?  What were you able to accomplish?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Our System for Rewarding Children for Work Done Around the House

About a month ago, I asked for advice on ways for Sarah Beth and our other children to earn money by doing chores.  John and I did not want just to give money, as an allowance to our children, but we did want to be able to reward them for doing chores around the house.  We needed a way to document the chores done and how often, and we came up with this chore chart.

When one of these chores is done, the child gets a check mark in the appropriate spot.  We like this better than earning a set amount of money per week for setting the table or folding clothes because there are days when the table doesn't need to be set (because we eat out, rarely!) or there aren't any clothes to fold.  And sometimes, I just want to unload the dishwasher myself.  I added the "other" category in order to reward for other chores done, like vacuuming the kitchen floor.

At the end of the week, we tally up the check marks and shell out the money.  The only problem with this method is remembering to write down the check marks!

My mother had a great suggestion while she was here for when a child has a bad attitude about doing a requested chore:  making him do the chore anyway and removing a check mark.  We haven't  implemented this idea yet, but we're thinking about it!

How do you reward your children for chores done around the house?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review: Anomaly by Krista McGee

After a nuclear war has destroyed everything on Earth, a handful of Scientists have started a new colony under a mountain, manufacturing people free from disease and emotion since emotions caused all of the problems before.  Thalli always knew she was different, an anomaly.  She hides her emotions from everyone because children with emotions are annihilated.  But one day, Thalli, her pod's musician, is asked to play "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire," and she can no longer control her emotions.  Then she meets an old man who tells her of the Designer, the True Designer, and she realizes what has been missing and wrong with the world the Scientists have created..

This book caught my attention from the very first page, and it was so hard to put it down when daily tasks called.  McGee weaves an enticing story of a young woman who knows that something is missing but has no idea what it is...until she meets John.  John knows that God spared him as a remnant, and he is eager to teach Thalli about Him.  This book isn't so much a coming of age story, as it is a being found by Jesus story.  Thalli learns to trust Him, not just with her life but with the lives of the people she loves, and it is a wonderful reminder to the reader of how trustworthy God is.  Of course, this book also appeals to my interest in fantasy and science fiction, and it is a really good read.

I want to thank BookSneeze for my copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, July 5, 2013

3 in 30: New Goals With No Progress This Week

We have had a wonderful past couple of weeks.  My mother came last week for a visit, and my mother-in-law and her husband came the day after my mother left.  It's been loads of fun, but it has not been conducive to working on goals, especially with Independence Day this week, too.  And since I didn't achieve two of my goals from last month, I'm carrying them over to this one.

To sum it up, I only have one new goal, and I still haven't gotten anything done toward my goals.  Ugh!

Here are my goals:
  • Walk on the treadmill three to four times a week.  Since I hurt my toe a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been able to walk on my treadmill.  It's so aggravating for such a small thing to keep me from what I want.  But I find that I limp just a little bit when I wear my tennis shoes, so I took this week off to let it heal a little more.  Hopefully, I'll be able to start back next week.
  • List things on ebay.  I didn't even think about this goal this week.  
  • Work on clutter in my closet, girls bedroom, living room bookshelves, and library shelves.  I didn't think about this goal this week, either, except to make it.
How did you do this week?  Were you able to accomplish anything this holiday week?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Today on Independence Day, let's remember that we're celebrating our freedoms and liberty not hot dogs and fireworks.  What a unique and wonderful country the United States has been and, I pray, continues to be.

Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, John!

Today is John's birthday, so I want to wish him a very
Happy Birthday!
I love you, Sweetie!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

June Update on Yearly Goals

June was a fun month for us as we ended school, start swimming lessons, and enjoyed a visit from my mother.  But amidst the fun, I was able to get some things done toward my yearly goals.
  • Read through my book list.  I only read one book from my book list in June, so I need to get going to get the rest read!
  • Exercise.  I haven't been exercising like I want to be.  Since I hurt my toe a couple of weeks ago and it's still bothering me, I have been avoiding the treadmill.  *Sigh*
  • Have one fun day in school per month.  We actually had two this month:  Flag Day and Paul Bunyan Day.  All we did for Paul Bunyan Day was read a book about him and watch a short video, but I got to introduce my children to an American legend. 
  • Take one field trip per month.  My mother and I took my children to a local science museum.
  • Date night.  I never got around to scheduling one.  I've got to knuckle down and get it done this month!
  • Home improvement project.  I bought the curtain rods to hang curtains in our bedroom; does that count?  And I got my mother to show me how to sew a button on which will help us out in the future.
  • Service project.  I took two boxes to the pregnancy center, and I'm working on a blanket which will probably go there, as well.  And I made some cookies for a friend who is laid up for a while.
  • Blogging on more serious topics.  While I do have a couple of "serious" posts floating around in my head, I've taken the advice in this post by Ashleigh to blog more of my story.  Can you tell that I've been trying to tell more about my family and what we do around here?  My goal with this blog originally was to connect with friends and family who don't live near us, and I'm trying to get back to that. 
  • Hospitality.  We had a family over last weekend for supper, and we had such a great time...which we always do when we extend hospitality like that.  
  • Work.  I need to send in some paperwork, get fingerprinted, and then I think I'll be able to take the Texas law portion of the pharmacist license exam.  I have to admit that I've enjoyed not working for the last two years!
  • Having my children do more around the house.  The more I do this, the easier it becomes!  And the more they are capable of doing and willing to do.
I took this advice to set three goals for the summer, and I thought this was just as good a place as any to record them.

My summer goals:
  • Get the children swimming.  Sarah Beth took swimming lessons the past couple of weeks, and she did wonderfully!  Daniel starts next week, and we have high hopes for him, too.  We just need to keep taking them to the pool to practice what they learn.
  • Learn to crochet a border.  Done!  I know how to do it now, and I'm finished with my first one!  I just forgot to take a picture.
  • Do something with somebody.  Fail.  I did not do anything with anyone this month, except with my mother.  I don't think she counts, though, because this goal was about connecting with potential or actual friends.  But I have plans to do something with one of my new friends this month; we just haven't decided what yet.
How are you doing with your goals for the year?