Welcome to my blog! To get an idea of what this blog is about you might want to read the "About Me and My Family" page as a starting point. You can browse through the archives or head over to the "Articles" page to read on specific topics I've written on over the years. Keep checking back because I'll be posting new articals from time to time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Victorious Valley Home For Girls

Several years ago some friends of ours gave us a copy of the Victorious Valley Home Girls Chior CD. Soon it became one of my favorite and most listened to CD in my collection of Christian music. Little by little I found out more about them and discovered that more people then I thought knew of them.

This Christmas my brother Ryan gave me two more of their CD's. From the very first song I felt the spirit of God through their singing and testimonies. These girls have been through pain, came from broken homes, and have a history of living life for the devil. When these girls sing "Jesus paid a dept He did not owe and I owe I dept I could not pay . . . " they realize that they never could repay Christ for giving them a new life. To them Christ really is a "Father to the Fatherless." It gives me joy to listen to them sing with their new found joy and desire to show others the way to Christ. You wont find much better singing then theirs.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

December in Pictures

Hello, my dear readers! I hope everyone had a great Christmas as mine was! I enjoyed the Christmas season but I believe now I am ready to go forward and prepare for what ever God has in store for me in the next steps I will take. I hope that now I'll have more time to focus on other things I need to get done (articles to write, college work to finish, organizing that is desperately over due, . . .) but I suppose that isn't too much for my schedule. I have been busier!

During the Christmas season I was awarded the Lemonade Award by my sister Bethany, and the Uber Amazing Blog Award by Under Southern Skies. Thank you both!

I turned 18 this month.

Amy's Birthday was this month.

. . . and mama's

. . . as well as Ryan's!

Ryan and Daddy bought two more cows for our farm. The middle two black ones are Roxanne and Rocket.

Christmas morning @ 6 A. M.

Right now I am going to work on some more posts and articles. : ) I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Add This to Your Christmas Reading!

Over at Simply Sanctifed, Sara posted a Christmas poem that is definately worth reading. When I read the first line I thougth I had read it before, but this poem was new to me and it may be to you also. I believe the poem sums up this Christmas very well. How sad it is that Christmas in the 21 centry is so differant then it use to be. Everyone's focus and desire has been driven to everything opposite of where it should be. After reading this poem I decided that I am going to try even harder to remember the true meaning of Christmas and not let the world distract me with everything they have to offer.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Did It!

Before I tell you what I did I think I should give you some background information about myself so you will better understand how amazing this story is.

When I was learning to bake cakes I would eagerly mix up the recipe to the best of my knowledge, pour it into a pan, and place it in the oven. Sounds normal right? Then I would grab a book, head to my room, and wouldn't come out till I heard the smoke detector or mama calling me . . . whichever came first. Yes, I burnt many cakes! That is, if they even got to the point of being baked! This wouldn't sound so bad if I could say that it doesn't happen anymore . . . but it sometimes does. Only now I usually go to my room and get on the Internet instead of reading a book. I have learned that I do best when I am able to set a timer and tie it around my neck!

I am a little absent minded. The worst time ever was when I burnt the popcorn in the microwave while I played the piano only a few feet away. The smell of the over cooked popcorn, the smoke, nor the fact that there was no more "popping" couldn't make me realize that THE POPCORN IS DONE!

But tonight there was no absentmindedness about me. I had been planning on baking some Taco Pick-Up Sticks for my co-workers but wasn't planning on baking them while mama was gone. Of course I had no worries. Why should I? I mixed the potato sticks together with the peanuts and french onions and then poured some butter and taco mix over them. I will have you know that I did not burn them! I even remembered to stir them every 15 minutes exactly! To top it off, I didn't even use a timer! I relied solely on my memory and for once I was not disappointed.

But enough of that. (I am not the best at making humor, but everything I said did not include any exageration. That's my life!) Here is the recipe that made my day! It is great around the holidays when everyone is baking something sweet. Something salty is always welcome!

Taco Pick-Up Sticks

21 0z potato sticks (about 12 cups)
12 oz French fried onions
12 oz peanuts
1/3 cup butter
1 pack taco mix

Dump first three ingredients in bowl. Melt butter and add taco mix. Toss together. Back at 250 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.

Note: The 1/3 cup of butter and taco mix isn't going to look like it will be enough but it will spread.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Nothing Can Compare!

It's that time of year again! The time when everyone gets in a festive spirit (or at least tries), decorates for Christmas, and buys the special people in thier life gifts. At work we decorated our department right after Thanksgiving rolled around. With our little Christmas tree, stockings, and snowflakes . . . it really does look cheeful! To add to the Christmas spirit some of my co-workers brought in some Christmas music. (Our department truely is the happiest place in the entire hospital!)

For the first two days I was loving it! Even though all the songs weren't exactly Christ related, hearing those fast pace, jolly songs about winter and Christmas day put me in a good mood and made work a lot easier! But after a few days the excitement started to ware of real quick! I found myself putting in those good old gospel CDs in my CD player while I was on my way home from work. The songs of Jesus and the love He gives us filled me with warmth and refreshed my soul from top to bottom! It's those kind of songs that gives me strength and the help to go about my day even when everything is going wrong. It's those old hymns that keep ringing in my mind that encourages me to be a wittness to my co-workers and the people who waits on me at the gas station. It's the songs like Amazing Grace that puts joy in my soul and a smile on my face. Those songs give me good food for thought. I suppose that is why I don't think I could ever listen to country music, rock, the old classics, or even generic Christmas music. They have no substance. They are not satisfying. Only my God can give me that kind of music!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

They Had Been With Jesus

In Acts we read of how the church was formed and about the many souls that were added there unto daily. In Chapter 2 we can read about the day of Pentocost and marvel at how their speach was turned into a universal language, so to say. But we aren't the only ones who marvel at this. These things were very new and unusual to the Jews. Some of the things that were taking place in the early church days really disturbed the preists and government of Isreal. They watched Peter and the other apostles very closely. Obviousely, the Jewish rulers, (priests, Sadducees, and the captain of the temple) had had enough when the lame man was healed upon Peter's command of "In the Name of Jesus christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." The Bible tells us that they were, " grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead." Instead of celebrating with the lame man for his new found freedome to walk, run, and move as he pleased, they arested the apostles and put them in prison.

The next morning they were brought before the high preists, rulers, elders, and scribes. They asked the men, "By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?" After Peter gave his answer (Acts 4:8-12) they "perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

When I read that last line I stopped to think about what it really meant. It was so evident that these men were unlearned and ignorant, and very clear that these men were not the ones doing the talking, but Jesus. That is amazing! This is a very good picture of how Christ should shine through us every day. We shouldn't waste our time trying to make ourselves more elequent in speech and graceful in our wittnessing. I have done this very thing. I have tried to find ways that will make my writing sound better and more interesting by using adjatives in creative ways and going about a differant aproach to tell the story. Instead I should be spending time with Jesus, for that is how God will be able to talk through me. If I am sensative to the Holy Spirit then He will give me the words to write and say with no help from me. After all, every time I try to do something on my own I am always going to fail. Only the things done through Christ will make a differance in this life.

My desire, and the desire of every Christian, should be to have a testemony like Peter and the other apostles. When others hear us speak, sing, or read our writings, they should be able to say, "and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Art of The Past

Long ago there was a time when women had to sew everything for themselves. They couldn't go to the stores and buy what ever they wanted because there were no such stores. Women probably thought it would be crazy to have a store that sells just clothes. Because they had the ability and time, ladies young and old made their own clothes, curtains, sheets, and blankets. I wonder if they would have felt lazy or unlearned if they payed someone else to do their sewing? (That's just a thought.)

A few years ago there was a reality show that aired for a few months called, "Pioneer Days." In this show three ordinary families were selected to live in Canada for 3 months just like people use to live in the pioneer days. They had no electricity, no running water, no indoor pluming, and no grocery store within 5 minutes. During those three months these ordinary families put a lot of work into their homes. One family was placed on some land with a house already built, another family had to finish a half built house, and the third family had to build theirs from the very beginning. They also had to build fences for their animals, lean-to's, furniture possibly, and barns. They grew their own garden and cut their own fire wood. It was hard work, but they had to do it because they couldn't buy these things that were necessary to live a fruitful life.

After the three months were over they had to leave their "home" out in the woods. They were all sad to leave because they had put so much of themselves into their houses and land. They were able to take pride in what they did and truly say, "I did that! I built that house, I grew that garden, I sewed that dress . . ."

Look around your house. Is there a treasured quilt lying somewhere that your grandmother had sewn years ago? Are their curtains in your home that remind you of the day that you and your mom sewed cloth together to create decoration for your windows? Do you have a dress that you spent hours making and still proudly wear only on special occasions? Are their embroidered pillow shams decorating your bed that you had made just the way you wanted them? There is no doubt about it, home made things makes a house a home. They bring back memories and have a value that cannot be replaced. There is no satisfaction when you can name every store where you bought your curtains, bedspreads, pillows, etc. But when you or a family member has spent their time in making something special, the love shines through for everyone to see!

Even in this area of life we need to remember to do everything in moderation. Every thing in my house is not home sewn, but the things that we did put our time into will always be treasured. Even if you have little sewing skills you can still make things to put in your house such as aprons, pillow shams, kitchen curtains, or a table runner. These small acts of love will bring more satisfaction to your home along with a testimony of being someone who loves their family enough to spend time giving her best! Believe me . . . it's worth it!

Last Pictures:: The first one is me writing in a journal waring in a dress I made. The second is Bethany crocheting wearing a dress I made. The last is of my second quilt.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Days Gone By

Recently I've been thinking a lot about how women use to do things in days gone by. I have always admired the way people use to live in regency and pioneer days. I read the Anne of Green Gables, The Elsie Dinsmore Collection, Little Women, and all the books by Laura Wilder, so I am fairly falmiliar with the way they use to live. It seems like their lives were so much more simple and not near as rushed that they had time to do the things that makes a house a home and were able to spend more time with their family. I believe that we have a lot to learn from them if we will only seek to find out what that is with an open heart.

So this week I am going to place several posts on this blog about the past. (I don't want to say artical because I don't know if they will all be long enough to be considered one!) I hope as you look back at those older wiser people it will encourage you to look at your life and see where you can make changes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Russian Tea

A few years ago a friend introduced me to Russian Tea while visiting her house. I instantly loved it so she gave me some to take home with me along with the recipe. This tea is perfect for the fall and winter seasons when you want something warm but just aren't in the mood for coffee or hot chocolate. It also serves as a special treat at a ladies tea party.

I have lost her recipe, but I still love Russian Tea so I searched to find out how to make it. Here is what I found.

Russian Tea

1 cup instant tea
2 cup Tang
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 (3oz) pkg lemonade with sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinamon
1 1/4 tsp. cloves

Mix all ingredients together. Mix 1-2 tsp. per cup of hot water.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Random Photos

Me and Bethany



Me and Bethany



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thoughts of Soups and Comfort

This morning I woke up at 6:15, content to stay right where I was - on the couch by the fire place under my warm blanket. Yes, I have my own bed, but the warm living room with cozy flames burning in the fire place was just too inviting. Thus I slept on the couch! As soon as I got out from underneath my covers I got a cup of fresh coffee to warm my insides. Coffee never tasted so good! As I got ready for work I picked out a long sleeve shirt and a long thick skirt hoping that they would do their job of keeping me warm.

As I worked away in our office at the hospital I couldn't help but notice how slow the day was going by. Maybe it was because I knew I had to face the piercing winds after my work day was over, or maybe it was because I couldn't wait to be home with all it's comforts. Every one that came through our department was wearing a long sleeve shirt or sweater . . . a sure sign that winter is on it's way!

This evening I drove home a little tired. As I walked inside my home I was welcomed by warmth and smells of mama's chicken noodle soup. As I ate supper with my family and talked of the day's events I realized just how blessed I am to have such a family. Ah, it is good to be home!

Winter always seems to give me warm feelings about my home. If I had come home to a cold house with only smells of the dryer linen and cleaning supplies I doubt I would have felt the same way. Those good smells that linger in our house and warmth that fills the air gives me a sense of security and reminds me that I am taken cared of and loved. Having experienced this after a long day at work makes me see how my future husband will feel when he comes home from an exhausting day earning our living. It makes me look forward to being able to make our home a happy, comfortable, inviting place that my hubby will look forward to coming home to. Though actually he should want to come home because he knows I will be there! What more could he ask for? (Just kidding!) Ah, the comforts that only winter can bring!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Attention All Christians!

Have you noticed what everyone in America is talking about? Every where I go I hear people talking about the dwindling economy and the upcoming election. It's on the news, in the news papers, on websites, on the front of magazines, talked about on the radio, discussed at the supper table, and is the center of the conversations at work. Even Christians are starting to worry about these issues. Of course I realize that the way the economy is going is not good, the gas prices don't always make us happy, and this years' election may not go like we want it to. But do you know what? God is still in control! He will take care of us no matter what so what do we have to fear? Now I know it is probably easy for me to have no worries because I don't have a family to buy groceries for and my two bills amount to $76 together, but doesn't God tell us to have the faith of a little child?

I received an e-mail just the other day called, "10 Predictions About the Election". They are:
  1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
  2. Prayer will still work.
  3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
  4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
  5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
  6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
  7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
  8. There will still be room at the Cross.
  9. Jesus will still love you.
  10. Jesus will still save the lost.

So this is my message to you today: Take this opportunity to put God's name out there among all the discouraging conversations. When you hear some one say in a dismal voice, "I just don't know what we're going to do. Everything seems to be going so bad" reply by telling them about our God who will take care of everything and who is always there for us to turn to when everything in this world seems to be falling apart. I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing the news of gloom and doom. I would much rather talk about my Savior who feeds the ravens and knows when every sparrow falls to the ground. (Luke 12:24 & Luke 12:6) Surely God can take care of us too!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hilarious is the Word

You have got to watch this You Tube video! It is one of the funniest You Tubes I beleive I have ever seen (probably because it is so true!). I think you will all like it, especially all you homeschool lovers. I don't know how to place a video on my blog yet so you'll have to go to this link to see it. I hope it brightens your day!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

New and Exciting

Wow! I have had quite a few visitors to my blog lately! It's good to know that my post are being read and enjoyed.

So what have I been up to lately? Most of my time has been spent at work, but that is fine because it is all still new and exciting to me. It reminds me of how I felt when I got saved or felt a new fire for serving God. I was so excited that I wanted to tell everyone! I even told my brother and best friend that they needed to get saved! : ) But now I find myself more interested in telling everyone about my new job instead of our wonderful Savior. What a shame. Sometimes keeping our focus on God doesn't come naturally like it does when we are first saved. Everyday we have to deliberately set our mind on the main goal: to serve God and bring souls to Him. Like we have been discussing in Sunday School, witnessing isn't always easy, so we have make our self put our own desires down and live out God's desire for our lives. But there is a reward for obeying God! Just knowing that I did what God told me to do makes me feel so much better about myself. I have never seen my work bring anyone to salvation, but I know I have planted seeds and in time God will bring the increase if it is His will.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Remember to keep Jesus first!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Witnessing in the 21st Centry: Our Purpose

Tomorrow I will start a new job. I will finally be able to use my college education to make good money and do something I love! What exactly will I be doing? I will be doing all the code work for the hospital in our town. When a doctor files a patient medical record it is my job to look at that record, find the diagnosis or procedure, and find a code that will match it making things easier for the insurance company to pay the doctors and facilities. That will be my purpose - to find the right codes.

Now imagine if I went on the job, realizing what I was suppose to do, but chose to ignore that and do what I wanted to do. I could clean the office, organize papers, set up appointments, answer the phone, maybe work in the transcribing area . . . anything but what I was hired for. It sounds like a lot of fun and I might like it more than coding! But how do you think my boss would react? I don't think he would like it at all! In fact, I don't think I would be his employee for very long if I continued to do such things.

While this illustration sounds a little bazaar, we do the same thing everyday. Most Christians who have been saved for a long period of time know what our purpose is. It is to serve Christ and point souls to Him. We see this in Matthew 28:19-20. "Go therefore, & teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the holy Ghost, Teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even till the end of the world, Amen." But do we do our duty? Are we hearers only? (James 1:22 ) How often do we even speak Christ' name to others? These are all questions we need to consider when we examine our life. Sharing God's love with others is something we can all do.

For some this may mean telling their children and other family members about Christ. Others may have great opportunities to witness to strangers on a daily basis while your friend may have to go out deliberately with the sole purpose in mind being to tell someone the good news. Some people may feel more comfortable to hand out tracks and leave them in places where others will find them, but there are some Christians who prefer to talk directly to others about their spiritual condition. However you choose to go about it is okay. The most important thing is that we are following God by telling others about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is our purpose.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Here They Are!

Motorcycle at the Harley Davidson Factory

Very happy cows! They were massaged, fed 24 hours a day, slept on water beds, and milked themselves. Don't believe me? Visit their website.
Acres and acres of corn and other crops

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fun, Food, Fellowship . . . and 316 Pictures!

Okay, I know I'm late, but my trip to Pennsylvania was so wonderful that I have to tell you a little bit about it! Here's a few fun facts:
  • On the bus was one baby, a dog named Spanky, a recent college graduate (me), and the rest were mostly senior citizens!
  • Our trip coordinator was very punctual when it came to time. We often heard things like, "We will be leaving in about 10 seconds!"
  • We went on 7 tours and saw 2 live shows
  • We saw lots of Amish people and farms
  • The lady who served us breakfast at the motel was Amish
  • We ate lots of food and ice-cream. (A trip just wouldn't be right without ice-cream!)
  • I took over 500 pictures but only kept 316
  • Best of all, we had great fellowship among Christain people

Choo Choo Barn - a huge train track with everything imaginable! All antimated.

Everything Christmas!

Outside an Amish school

More pictures to come . . .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Who Does Your Heart Belong To?

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
that a man should have to seek Him first to find her!"

Author Unknown

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Story of My Life

For the past two weeks I have been reading Hosea. What a great book of the Bible! I don't understand everything and I know it was not written to apply to every aspect of my life since it was written in times when the Israelites were still living under the law, but I still think it is an amazing book! I don't see how anyone cannot see God's love for his Children through this prophesy.

When I read of how Israel has played the harlot, I see myself. To commit adultery with God is to leave Him and find pleasure in or dedicate yourself to other things or people. I've done that. There are times when I ignore God so that I can have "fun" my way. In the end it is no fun at all, and I realize I have not been faithful to my first love. I feel like a wretch.

In the book of Hosea God shows his anger towards His people who have left Him to worship other Gods. "My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills . . ."

Israel has done great wickedness in the sight of their God and he will not leave them unpunished. "Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother." What awful displeasure God had with them! A displeasure I hate to think that God ever had with me.

Yet this harsh punishment, as awful as it may seem, is done in love. "Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up." When God takes everything from us, all we have left is our Lord. The only place we can go is to God. The only one who can help us is Jesus. When we are in our lowest state we see who we really need. When God punishes us, He sees the end. He knows that we will not like the chastisement, but He also knows that we will be better for it when it is over!

I am so thankful that just when it seems it can get no worse, God says, "I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him." Praise the Lord He will always love me! No matter what I do to Him or how unfaithful I am to Him, He will always be faithful to me!

Sometimes I feel like this is the story of my life. I backslide on God. God punishes me. But in the morning . . . His mercies are renewed! It is a cycle that I have yet to find a way out of. My flesh is ever present and always causing me to err. "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein."

**All scripture taken from the book of Hosea, King James Bible**

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Discovering God's Way to Raise a Home Part 4

After supper was over, the women got busy cleaning up all the sauce covered dishes.

"I love your plates!" Shelby complemented. "I once wanted to do my kitchen in apples too, but I decided to go with strawberries.

"Thank you! Jeff got hose for me a few years ago. I like having pretty things in my kitchen. Before then I had some really plain plates I found at the grocery store. You know, the ones that don't sell well, so usually get put on the clearance shelf?"

"Oh, I know. But some times they're actually nice."

"Yeah, they have had nicer ones lately." Alice responded.

As they loaded the dishwasher in silence, Shelby's mind went back to the conversation they had at the supper table. Why couldn't she get it off her mind? Shelby knew why. She had to talk about it or her mind would never have peace again.

Alice, do you ever worry that your children wont be very smart. I"m not implying that your not smart yourself . . . I just mean . . ."

"Oh, I know what you're talking about. I've had many people ask me that same question. Ad yes, I do worry sometimes, it's natural for all home schoolers to worry. We all want our children to be well educated and if their not, we can't blame it on a school system. It's all on our shoulders. But I think they'll do fine. Stacy scored real high when she took the tests at the Education Center. And if you look at the facts, it does look like they are learning more than if they were in a public school. Instead of reading 7 pages on the Civil War every year out of the text books, we can read 7 books that are just on that topic."

"Wow, I never thought about it that way."

"They also do projects or crafts together that help them remember it. So when I look at it that way, I feel a little better."

"I'm sure you do."

After a long pause, during which Alice let Shelby think on what they had just talked about, her guest had some more questions.

"Does your husband like working for the Rail Road?" asked Shelby.

"Yes, he really likes it. The best part about it is he gets plenty of vacation and sick days. We're thinking about taking a vacation in a few months."

"We've been trying to find time to take one too, but Tom and I can't seem to get he time off work at the same time, plus the children have to be out of school. But y'all probably don't have that problem, do you?"

"No, I see that as one of God's blessings for following his will for our family. I"m thankful God has provided a way for me to stay home with our children."

"Jeff's job must pay really well," Shelby commented.

"It pays pretty well, but with six kids, it's not he best. I've had to learn to be frugal with our money and to trust God to meet our needs. He always does." Alice said with a smile.

Shelby couldn't help but marvel at her dedication to her family. This woman gave up an opportunity to make her own money and now has to be careful how he spends the little bit her husband gives her, just to spend all her time taking care of her husband and six children. But yet she didn't feel sorry for her. Alice was the happiest woman she had ever met. She could feel her happiness and contentment from the time she walked in the door.

She stopped wiping the counter for a moment and looked into the living room. There were their husbands talking and laughing about the pranks they've seen pulled at work. When she listened closely she could hear the children in the other room laughing and telling jokes while they played Monopoly all together. Every body seemed in their right place. What was even more was everyone seemed very happy. For the first time, Shelby saw that she was not the mother she needed to be. It was her job to make a happy home for her family and she had not done the job very well. She felt a pang of regret in her heart for all the years she had wasted working while her children were away at school.

Her husband looked up at her from the couch where he was sitting and smiled a knowing smile. Her husband had seen the difference in the two homes as well. Joy started to find it's way into her heart and fill her with a sense of peace that said, "It will be alright. It's never too late to start anew."

With an energy that she hadn't felt in a long time, she desired to make her home a place of happiness, to be the mother God intended her to be, to teach her children herself instead of letting other women do her job, and to run her home the way God intended.

The End

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Discovering God's Way to Raise a Home Part 3

"Shelby, did you talk to your boss?"

"Yes, I asked him if I could take a half day off Wednesday and the rest of the week off as well, but he said he can't spare me. Two other employees have already asked for a vacation that week." Shelby pulled the covers right around her neck. "Maybe we could take a vacation the week after that."

"No, we've got a really important meeting at work that Thursday. Something about a new way they want us to hang the electrical wires. What about the next week?"

"Remember, that week is revival at our church," she said in a dismal voice. The more they thought about it the more it seemed they wouldn't be able to go on their vacation any time soon. They wanted to take their children on a trip to the mountains one more time before their son Steve started college. They knew that once that happened it would be even harder to schedule a vacation. Shelby was glad she and her husband had decided not to tell their children about the trip until it was final. Now it looked like there would be none.

"It's just so hard for us both to get off work at the same time," Tom complained, interrupting her thoughts.

"I know, and I was really hoping to get away from my job for a while."

"Did you have another bad day?" he enquired.

"It was very hectic. I didn't think it would ever end. I can't wait till the weekend."

"Oh, that reminds me! I saw Mrs. Alice and Jeff Davis at the store today and they invited us out for supper Saturday. She said they're making pizza and spaghetti. She meant to ask us at church Wednesday, but didn't have a chance. She said to give her a call."

"Oh, that sounds like fun. I'll call her tomorrow and ask her if she wants me to bring a dessert. With six kids of her own she would probably appreciate some help."

"Alright. Goodnight Shelby."



"Hello Noles family! Come in," invited Mrs. Alice in a cheerful voice as she held the door open. "We're so glad y'all could come today. The kids have really looked forward to it. Some are out back on the tire swing and the others are . . . here they come."
The three older children walked out of the school/game room to greet the guests. Soon both families were seated at the large table arrayed with spaghetti and several varieties of pizza.

"Mm, mm! Everything looks delicious!" commented Tom.
"Thank you!" chimed in Jeff, mockingly. "I taught my wife everything she knows."

"Oh sure!" several said among lots of laughter.
"Alright, lets say the blessing before the food gets cold. These kids look pretty hungry." said Alice.

After Jeff said the prayer they all began to eat and fellowship.

"Alice, how long have you been home schooling?" asked Shelby.

"Twelve years, and I don't regret it one day. Jeff and I wont gave our children at home forever, so we want to be with them as much as we possibly can. I think the children feel the same way too. They like being home schooled."

"Oh, we do!" chimed in Stacy, one of the Noles' Children. "We're not bound to a schedule, so if we need to go somewhere or if the weather is nice and we want to play outside, we can take the day off and do extra school later."
"Yes, and mama said we can study any thing we want to!" little Jacob exclaimed. "I'm learning about animals and George Washington!"

"You might notice he wont mention math or writing." Alice pointed out. "Those are his toughest subjects. Hailey is really good at writing though and Mark likes math. They're all different."

"It must be a lot of work teaching six children all at one time," said Shelby.

"It can be a little tough at times, but for the most part it goes pretty smooth. After years of home schooling I finally came up with a schedule that works really well. But you know, even if it was hard I would still teach them because I believe that God commands me to."

"Do you mean he commanded you in a personal way? Like in a vision?" asked Tom.
"No, there's a verse in Deuteronomy that we think implies that we should keep our children at home. It speaks of teaching them in many situations," replied Alice.

"Mama, can we say it to them?" asked Jacob who was proud of himself for memorizing the three verses.

"Sure, honey."
All six children began to quote the scripture. "Deuteronomy six, verses five through seven. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest. up."

"Very good!" complemented Shelby, not knowing what to say next. She never heart that verse like they described it. But when she thought about it, it did make sense. The verse commanded to the parents to teach their children, and to teach your children best, you need to be around them all the time. That one line kept ringing in her ears, "and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house." But could they really afford to home school their children?

"Stacy, what grade are you in? asked Margaret.

"Actually, I"m not doing school at home any longer. I'm studying at the Adult Education Center in town to prepare me for the GED test."

"Oh, I thought you were sixteen."

"Well, I just turned 17. Mama and daddy let me finish early so that I can get a head start in technical college. I'm going for Medical Billing and Coding. It's a career that I eventually can do from home, maybe even while I'm home schooling my children. That is, if God blesses me with any." Stacy explained.

"We've had people look down on us for letting her finish school early, but we're just trying to run our home the way God wants us too. Not the way our neighbors would like. Believe it or not, there's even been some Christians who think we shouldn't let her go to college either. They think that women should only be taught how to cook, clean, and take care of children. We do strongly believe those are the most important things they should be taught, but in the day we live in, we think it's good for women to also have some kind of learning. You never know when her husband might leaver her or even die. So we're trying to teach our girls that their most important job is to be a mother and wife, and that their career is only a back up, or something to keep them occupied till they do get married and have children." Jeff told them.

"Makes sense," said Tom. "Looks like y'all have it all figured out," he said in slight amazement.

"It didn't come to us all over night," Jeff joked. ''It took a lot of studying, prayer, and just plain old common sense.''

"I bet it did," commented Tom. "I bet it did."

To be continued . . .

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm Back!

Hi everyone! Sorry about the long delay in posts. I just got back from Amish country and haven't quite caught up with all the happenings of my family yet. It was the first time I have been away from my family for 8 whole days so I have really been deprived of family time!

Check back for an acount of the trip and LOTS of pictures. For now, I am working on finishing the story I have been posting. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Discovering God's Way to Raise a Home Part 2

Just then her kids, Steve and Margaret burst through the door letting the cold air in. Excited and lively, they both began talking at once filling their mother in on their day at Faith Academy.

“I made a 93 on my math test mom! When I saw the score I was so relieved! I thought for sure I had done awful” Margaret, a spirited 15 year old said proudly. Steve however, was more enthused about his friends new 4x4 truck. Like most 17 year old boys, vehicles were one of the things at the fore front of his thoughts day in and day out.

Shelby listened and responded with all the enthusiasm she could summon, but still felt absent minded and weary. The day had taken its’ toll on her and all she wanted was a few minutes to lay down in peace and quiet.

As she finished supper her husband, Tom, walked in from his job with the power company.

“Hey I’m home! What a day . . .”

“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!” Shelby interrupted. “Will you please put supper on the table while I fix the glasses?”

“I just . . . okay.”

“Thanks Tom,” replied a very tired mother.

As they all sat down and ate their evening meal, they all talked about their day’s events and the people they came in contact with. It was the first time they had all been together that day – as it usually was.

“Dad, do you and mom want to play that new game Grandma sent us?” asked Margaret?

“I’ve had a hard day at work darling, I don’t feel like playing a game,” replied her dad.

“Yeah, me too. Why don’t you and Steve play it together?” their mother suggested.

“We need four players though. And besides, we wanted y’all to play it with us. Y’all use to play games with us all the time,” spoke up Steve.

“But that was before I started working overtime and your mom got this new job. Just wait until ya’ll get a job, then you’ll see how hard it is. But maybe we can find time on the weekend.”

“Sure,” Steve mumbled.

To be continued . . .

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Discovering God's Way to Raise a Home (Fiction)

“Ugh! What a day this has been! I believe if one more thing goes wrong I will lose my mind!” Shelby Noles, thinking about everything that tried her patience that day, set her purse and keys down on the counter with a loud thud. She remembered all the complaint calls she got from the Alltel customers who were not happy with the way their cell phones were working.

“I don’t see why they have to be so rude about it. Yelling doesn’t fix things. And I didn’t cause their phones to drop their calls in the first place.”

She pulled off her long coat and bumped the thermostat up. Noticing what time it was she started cooking. She would have been home earlier had her computer not have crashed 30 minutes before quitting time. IT took a whole hour to get all her documents back in order, making her arrive home 30 minutes later than usual. Now she only had half an hour before her children would be home from school.

Once she got supper going she walked down the long hallways to empty the over flowing laundry basket. Feeling as exhausted as a baseball player after a big game, washing the laundry was the last thing she wanted to do. But she never felt like doing her house hold chores, so why should today be any different. However, she knew the clothes wouldn’t get done on their own so she bent down to pull out the clothes wondering when the last time was that her back ached so much from sitting all day in an office chair.

Once the laundry was in the washing machine, she was back to work cooking over the hot stove. The meal tonight was spaghetti. The same meal she cooked for her husband the day they got home from their honey moon. She had taken such joy in preparing that meal then, and was delighted over his hearty appetite and complements. “Life was so wonderful then,” she thought. “And so easy. What has gone wrong?”

Yes, she still loved her husband just as much as she did then, maybe even more, but she no longer had time to enjoy those small services and ‘gifts’ she gave to her husband each day. The question echoed in her mind, "What has gone wrong?"

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Culprit is Found!

I believe the country life is one of the best lifestyles compared to those of the city. Things are much more peaceful, more basic, very natural (at least at our home), and nature is appreciated. People who live in the country see and deal with things totally different then those who live in the busy, modern city. (But of course, this is my own personal opinion.)

I love seeing our chickens peck around the shed looking for insects to eat, making their eggs taste that much better! They are so pretty when they roost in our "snake proof" chicken coop, right after we have gathered up all the eggs. Sometimes we will get up to 10 a day!

But lately there has been a change. Our little chicks (that the hens lay on and hatch naturally) have been dying or simply gone missing. We have not been getting as many eggs either and thought it was very strange when we found all of our "mama" hen's eggs missing.

But don't be alarmed! We have found the culprit! The mystery is solved! Today when Phillip went outside to let the chickens loose for their usual time of freedom around our yard, he found a long snake lurking around the chicken's nest, sniffing for some freshly laid "delights". Phillip quickly got rid of the nuisance which we later found out was a "chicken snake" that measured 5 feet 7 inches! After researching it, we found out that oak snakes also eat eggs! This is very good to know because we always see oak snakes, but don't think nothing of it since we thought they were harmless. I guess we were wrong!

Hopefully this ugly thing doesn't have any cousins living around here. Maybe now we can have all our eggs to our self!

Here is the brave hero with his catch.

When I took this picture I didn't get the 5 foot mark in it, but it really was 5' 7''.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Most Worthy

Over the past week God has been showing me area's in my life that need to change. When God does this he usually shows me several times through many different sources. (I must be hard headed!)

Sunday night my pastor preached on giving God praise. The theme scripture was from Psalms 119: 64, "Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments." The sermon was good . . . but I didn't realize it was for me. I am not unthankful . . . I praise Him. Oh how wrong my attitude was!

Later in the week, the daily devotion I receive in my mail was on thankfulness. Part of it read: "God doesn’t owe us anything and He doesn’t have to bless us. But He has! For the gift of salvation alone we should praise God each day. But He has given us so much more."

Then I read an article at Young Ladies Christian Fellowship. And yes, it was on being thankful even when things aren't going your way. It finally sunk in. I have been so unthankful! We can never thank and praise him enough. He is always worthy of continual praise from every living creature. Not even seven times a day will do Him justice! How ashamed I am for not praising Him as much as I should have! God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for my sins and make a way for me to go to heaven, He traded my insecurities for His peace, my brokenness for his fulfilment, my sorrow with His joy, my filthiness for His righteousness, and my troubles for his light burden. God has given me the most wonderful family, friends, and church. I have a home, a car, a job. . . that's a lot more than most people! I have every reason to praise him seven times a day and more! What a shame it is that I haven't.

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." Psalms 28:7

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Random Picture

Hands with a purpose

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Be of One Mind . . ."

I have been kindly awarded the "Kindred Spirit Award" by Lindsay and Sara! Thank you both! Your blogs have been an encouragement to me as well. Since you have both received this award already, I thought I would pass it on to my sister in Christ, Margaret at Margaret's blog. I receive a blessing from your blog every time I read it! Keep up the honesty!Here are the guidelines.

". . . Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you." 2 Corinthians 13:11

Friday, August 8, 2008

Emotional . . .

In a few weeks I will be going to Pennsylvania for an eight day trip with some friends from my church. Already I am thinking about what I need and want to bring. I don't want to pack too light, because after all, I will be gone for eight whole days! Of course their are some necessary items that I will need - such as clothes and washing things - that will defiantly go in my suitcase. But then their are some other things that I could go with out . . . yet I am inclined to take them just because! Things that I might think I need, yet they might just be more weight to carry around. They might also get in the way when it comes to how much space I have for souvenirs!

In life we carry around a lot of things. I'm not talking about physical luggage. I'm talking about emotional luggage. Feelings are often more heavy than any item you could fit in the biggest suitcase. Feelings of hurt, anger, regret, fear, and grief. There are also feelings of happiness, confidence, peace, and love that will make our journey in life so much more enjoyable and glorifying to God. But the question is . . . what emotions are we going to hang on to for the rest of our life time? I'm afraid we don't spend as much time thinking about this as we do thinking about what to bring on our vacation.

What kind of luggage are you going to carry with you into your marriage? There are some people who think that once they are married their spouse can help them out with their troubles. This may be the case, but think about the strain that it might put on them if they feel it is their duty to help them overcome their burdens. Read the following example by Max Lucado*, but in my owns words.

The groom walks down the isle about to marry the woman he loves. In his arms he carries luggage of gilt, anger, arrogance, and insecurities. As he stands at the alter about to say his vows he thinks, "Finally a woman who will help me carry all my burdens. She's so strong, so stable, so . . ."

Now the bride is walking down the isle. She is very excited to be getting married to the man she's always dreamed of, yet her mind goes back to the bags she is carrying. Loneliness, disappointments, and hurt. She thinks about what is about to happen. "Just a few more minutes and I'll be married. So long discouragement and worry. I wont be seeing you anymore. He's going to fix me."

Does this sound familiar? Do you see the problem? Their are both expecting the other to work miracles that only God can do. If two people are carrying heavy burdens, how can they help carry even more? Marriage is about giving everything of yourself to your spouse. This will be hard if all we can think about is what we are going to get and how we are going to benefit from the marriage. One would be very disappointed to find out that our spouse cannot take away all of our burdens.

So what is the answer? Are we to carry our burdensome luggage on our own? No. Even though our husband may not be strong enough to carry our load, our Lord is always able to take our burdens away. He is the one we need to go to when we realize that our luggage of harsh emotions is too much for us to bare. Don't be loaded down with emotions that only keep you from living more freely. Let God carry your luggage!

*Disclaimer: I have not read much of Max Lucado's writings so I am not sure if they are doctrinally sound. I do know some of his beliefs are not the same as mine.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's Rodeo Time!

This weekend we went to a rodeo in a near by town. It was Phillip and Amy's first, and a very good one too!
On the way!

Bethany, Amy & Mama.

Bethany in the stable.

It was hard to get good pictures from the top of the bleehers!

This one is a little blury, but I still like it!

This is one of my favorites! [Phillip]

I tried to get a picture of my dad, but it didn't come out.