What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, July 29, 2011

Foto Friday

I didn't take any nice non-work-related pictures this week (I didn't take any non-work-related pictures at all, in fact) so instead I will post a sunny archive picture. Only without the sun. The kind that make ME feel sunny.

I will be interested to see how many people did the challenge of SUNSET, because I was looking and there wasn't a single extraordinary sunset this week. Still, I hope to see plenty of FAVORITE photos. ;-)

And as for last week~ my favorites around blogland were:

This is stunning! There are so many different layers to look at. Cloud layers. Mountain layers. Valley layers. Field layers. Beautiful.

I have vicariously visited so many places around the world and seen so many beautiful sights that I wouldn't ordinarily be able to see thanks to all of your photo contributions!

Boy, do I wish he and I could switch places. I can practically taste that big juicy bite!

To participate in Foto Friday, you need only to share a favorite snapshot of the week and link up here each Friday. But because some have asked and enjoy weekly challenges, I include a weekly photo challenge as well, for the really brave.

Next week is......


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Base touching

Meet my son. We call him Rocky. The truth is, he got stung by a wasp on his eyelid but we are telling everyone that he won a boxing match. Or that he is half Chinese. Depending upon our mood at the time.

I have a boatload of 'putting up' to do, particularly squash and cukes, but no real time to do it. I love to dehydrate summer squash and zucchini but my trusty and well-used dehydrator kicked the bucket on me. So I have been making zucchini bread for breakfasts and freezing the shredded in 2 cup increments. And we still drown in them. (It is a happy problem, I assure you.)

And as for the cukes, I picked a recipe that takes a LONG time (days) for them to cure. Maybe I will have time for them then? One never knows.

I am sick to death of quilts. I once loved quilts, I want(ed) to be a quilter, I thought they are beautiful. But now I loathe them. Despise them. They are hideous to me.

My computer and my camera is full of quilt pictures and nothing else. I hate that. I love documenting LIFE. Quilts? Not so much. And yet~ 17 more to go.

(and so now you know, tomorrow will bring another Foto Friday DUD for me. ugh)

All this photography stuff has me squirreled away in our bedroom for many hours of the day, leaving the children and Matt to pretty much fend for themselves. I hate that too.

I am right here at home, within shouting distance, and spend most of my working time during rest time or after the children are down for the night but STILL, I feel like I am missing out on so much LIFE. Like I am too far away from my children and missing out on them.

Makes me all the more keenly aware of how blessed I am to be a stay-at-home, homeschooling Mama. I miss them even when they are just in the next room.

And on an aside, let me just say:

I love you Cheerios!


I love the person who invented those hideous, prison-like pens for children. I could sing sonnets about them!

and especially~

I love my Judahbear, no less than an angel, who happily plays in there and never once complains. He has such a contented spirit. He is just the best little guy. EVER.

I wanted to show you garden progress this week and didn't get to it. I have the pictures, just not the time to post them. That's okay. We had plenty of work to do in there (boy is that an understatement) that we were able to do and that, my friends, is the MOST important thing to accomplish, right? Right.

And this little girl has a cough... which may or may not prevent us from going to a church retreat next week which I was looking forward to.

To make a long story short(er)....it has been a long week. And I am just plain TIRED.

Sadly, it doesn't look like it will be slowing down any time soon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

a new gig

I got a gig taking pictures of quilts for a quilting magazine and the deadline is brutal.

30 quilts in two weeks.

Praising God for an open door to contributing income, and praying fervently He provides the strength and diligence to get it done. And done in a way that I am still glorifying Him in my attitudes and actions. (Read: not biting everyones' heads off.)

So if you don't hear much from me for the next two weeks, just picture me sweating in my darkened room, steaming quilts and getting them "just so", then taking one picture after another.

And then doing it all over again.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Whoopsie Dish

I call this meal the Whoopsie dish.

This week I cleared the early pea bed of its vines, making room for some late plantings.

Thinking myself very clever indeed when planting them, I planted beets, carrots and lettuce around the edges and throughout.

But when it came time to pull the vines, I maybe accidentally pulled a few carrots and beets along with them.


So into the ham pot went potatoes, onions and garlic along with the last of the peas and the whoopsie carrots and beet greens.

Made in the crockpot, it was easy. Putting the crockpot on the patio made it cool too.

And wow-it was good. The girls had thirds and Andrew had fourths.

Maybe it wasn't as big a whoopsie as I thought.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Foto Friday

One of my favorite days of the week~ it is time to share your favorite photo of the week!

It could be any photo of any subject that you would like, but each week I offer an optional challenge for those who are in need of some inspiration.

Last week, the challenge was High Angle.

Once again, I found a few moments this morning to try the challenge out but I wish I would have taken time out this week to do a better job. It would have been a fun challenge to actually take my time on, especially since I tend to shoot from low vantage points. Probably because I am afraid of heights. Or falling from heights, more specifically.

And btw, I am really going to try to have these Foto Friday posts up earlier in the day for you from now on. Thank you for your patience.

Here are a few high angle shots:

Now let's see what favorites you all had!

And my favorites from last week:

Winner #1: Terri @ Hearts in Service

It can be a REAL challenge to capture winged creatures, let alone one with four wings (!) yet this picture is crisply focused. And I *love* the light shimmering in the wings. What a capture!

Winner #2: Miranda @ Memories by Miranda

Boys will be boys and this shot speaks volumes about them. The light is great, the composition is great and the skunk trap is great ;-)

To participate in Foto Friday, you need only to share a favorite snapshot of the week and link up here each Friday. But because some have asked and enjoy weekly challenges, I include a weekly photo challenge as well.

Next week is......


We'll see how it goes!

You're jealous...I know

Good thing the messy look is sorta 'in' right now.

Because a van with broken air conditioning = very very VERY bad hair days.

(Foto Friday post to come this afternoon.. I, ummmm, haven't taken any pictures yet. hehe)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A few thoughts before bed.

I want to make something crafty (it seems like it has been ages!) but the only bit of crafty I have been able to get to is how to artfully stack that precarious pile of clean dishes to dry without them all tumbling down.

I want to lose weight but I want to remember that caring too much, worrying too much, or despising myself because of it is vanity.

I want to like how I look on the outside less than I like how I look on the inside.

I want to go on a date with my husband, but think waking up to his arms around me will do for now.

I want to remember to make another batch of homemade toothpaste.

I want to be as thankful for the hard times as the easy ones.

I want to walk into the bathroom and NOT see that everyone forgot to flush the toilet...again.

I want reading the Bible for MYSELF to come easier for me.

I want to paint with watercolors.

I want to stop getting discouraged when I fail and just try again with a smile, being encouraged that I am trying. And that counts for something.

I want to get a letter in my mailbox. And have time to catch up on a few.

I want starting new habits to be easier. Like waking up early. It is so worth it.

I want Matt to find encouragement as he waits for his business to prosper. It will, Mattie! It will!

I want to show you my herbs and my garden. I will. NEXT WEEK!

I want to feel the blessings of God, even when they look more like curses.

I want those scowl lines in my forehead to disappear and to keep the happy wrinkles.

I want to thank whoever put that ten dollars in my car mirror today. Dad?

I want to make cheese. And yogurt. And frankly, I am tired of waiting on myself.

I want to remember Judah's gorilla crawl. And how cute he is when he tackles you.

I want to find the camera battery that disappeared on me.

I want 'trusting' to be easier to do than it is.

I want to make myself something that is stylish. That I don't have to iron. and that flatters.

I want to make an herbal medicine kit.

I want the childrens' room to tidy itself before morning.

I want to count it ALL joy,
even when I don't get what I want.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It is hot

Really hot.

And since we don't have air conditioning....the only reprieve is water.

In any and every way, shape, and form~ we'll take it!

I got a sheet of plastic from the garage and made a waterslide for the children. Very redneck, with the carboys as weights and all.

The children think I am brilliant.

And yes, I totally slipnslided myself. I won't be showing you a picture of that.

You're welcome.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I didn't do any u-pick strawberry picking this year...what we grew in our strawberry patch was what we got. I just couldn't stomach the u-pick prices this year. A sacrifice, really, since we have no strawberries left from winter.

I figured I would make up the difference with huckleberries. (Huckleberries are much like blueberries except they are much much smaller (and more flavorful). And they happen to grow by the hundreds, at my in-laws, where the u-pick price happens to be FREE.

But this year, a late hailstorm knocked many of the buds from the trees at flowering time resulting in a VERY. BAD. YEAR.

Nevertheless, without strawberries OR blueberries to brighten up meals, winter will drag more slowly and drearily than it already does~ so I had to TRY.

Saturday, we headed to his parents' place. Of course, once we got there the mobile children all vanished. Grandmas take grandchildren swimming and hiking, you know. So much for many hands make light work.

Matt started splitting this years firewood supply so I plopped Judah in a portapack nearby and to the buzz of the chainsaw, I went picking.

If you duct tape a bucket to your middle, you have both hands free for the picking.

Whereas in previous years you can grab handfuls of berries at a time, this year you could pinch only one or two at a time. It took for.EVER. Judahbear, as usual, was a gem. He was content to watch me and play quietly until he dropped off for a nice nap.

Gary, my father-in-law, said he figured I would only find about a pint worth. I came out with about 6 quarts.

Matt eventually took a break from the wood to grab a few handfuls for me too. That was nice.

But next year, I am going to put my foot down and say "pickin' before swimmin' ".

(( I never can or jam our blueberries. Instead, I prefer to freeze them. Then, throughout the year I toss a few frozen ones into pancakes, quickbreads, muffins, smoothies or put on top of yogurt for a fresh 'taste' of summer. Flash freeze them by putting them on a cookie sheet, freezing and THEN bagging them. Thataway, they don't stick together in huge globs once frozen!))

Friday, July 15, 2011

Foto Friday~ books

One of my favorite days of the week~ it is time to share your favorite photo of the week!

It could be any photo of any subject that you would like, but each week I offer an optional challenge for those who are in need of some inspiration.

Last week, the challenge was BOOKS.

Miraculously, I had time to try the challenge (this morning, cough cough.) Since BOOKS was a challenge from last year (wow! FotoFriday is hanging on!), I wanted to be sure to come up with something new for it.

Here are my contributions:

~rainbow books~

I discovered Picnik had free space textures thanks to the final space shuttle flight; they worked PERFECTLY for this photo and the message I was trying to create through it. I have always wanted to try using textures, but since I don't have photoshop~ this is the first time I have. Very cool.

And in case you want a gander at my current reads, here they are:

Now, it is YOUR turn!

Remember to link up to your direct blog post and not your site domain! Looking forward to seeing everyone's contributions!

And last weeks' winners were:

Winner #1: Christine @ Day to Day for a Normal Girl and Friends

If I remember correctly, Christine just got herself a new camera! She doesn't take long in learning how it works! This photo is breathtaking! I love the golden light, the backlight, even the sunspot. And those children? I want them for my own.

Winner #2: Cafe Mirecki

Who knew breakfast could be so PRETTY!?!? What a great shot!

See you next week~ same time, same place!

If you are in need of some inspiration~ the challenge is...... HIGH ANGLE.

REALLY looking forward to this one! :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Garden Epiphany

I dig weeds out of the earth and admire the dark, rich loosened soil and only then, with dirt under fingers and sweat on my neck, do I consider the soil.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Eccl 12:7

If we were created from dust and return to dust in the end, what then are our lives but soil to be tended? And if we must tend our lives, are we not then sowers as well?

And if we are sowers, then we have a message to hear:

Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 13: 3-9

Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matt 13:18-23

There are plenty of weeds to pull and children are good at disappearing at weeding time, so I have plenty of time to think. There is much to consider.

If I am the sower and the seeds are those whose lives I touch, then my LIFE is the soil. My life is just a patch of ground. As parents, much of that patch of ground is dedicated to a certain and select crop of seeds...our children.

If our lives consist of unimportant things, our children will fall by the wayside. Stuff to buy, places to go, people to see, the latest video games to play, the latest fashions to wear, vacations to enjoy, The latest diet trend. Cool toys, kid and grown up ones. possessions. possessions. possessions.

There must be time to be together. Time to sit together. Time to talk together. Time to 'do' together. Time to work together. Time to just be, together. One of the greatest things about being put in a family is having people to share your life with. But to do that, there must be time.

We mustn't beat down the soil running around following trends, but rather, tread carefully~ using our time wisely and watching very carefully where we walk. Us. Me.

Little eyes are watching what I spend my time doing, what things I desire and what makes me happy. Apples don't fall far from the tree.

We must pluck the rocks out of our lives and the thorns, so that our lives become fertile for growth. We must tend our lives so that our children can be nourished and strengthened. We must be in the Word, devoted to it~ learning from it~ enjoying it.

Each time we read from scripture, each time we sing Psalms, each time we bow our heads to pray we are hurling rocks, thorns and thistles from our soil and our lives, making beautiful, fertile ground. Our childrens' roots will run deep and their joy will be made full.

There is not too little time to spend moments each day in devotion. There is never too much to do. If we enjoy doing it, we FIND the time. If we WANT something, we make it work.

If we want our children to enjoy the things of God and to grow strong in Him, we need to provide the right soil~ the right teaching environment. That will mean dying to self, over and over and over again. But with every sacrifice there will be great reward.

Sometimes the worst circumstances are the greatest teaching tools. Not enough money? Draw closer to Him. Not enough peace? Draw closer to Him. Not enough time? Draw closer to Him. Stressed beyond belief? Draw closer to Him. Angry? Draw closer to Him.

In doing so, the children who notice everything and learn without prompting, will see firsthand what to do when they feel the same.

My life is the soil my children need to thrive. I must be a constant gardener. Sometimes it is so hard. I fail miserably...daily. The weeds pop up....daily. But the harvest is coming.

And now I see.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.


Harvesting the heads of my chamomile flowers and drying on an old screen.

They thank me by producing three times as many.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


You know you were leaving the house too hastily when......

you look down while you are in the grocery store to find this:

NOT cool.

Personally, I blame the children.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Old Time Textile Museum

Saturday we went to a childrens' day at a nearby Old Textile Museum.

I have been wanting to go for three years but this was the first time we were able to attend.

What a blissful day it was!

There was sheep shearing...

...and since so few people actually went, my children got a TON of one on one interaction and opportunities they wouldn't have had there been a huge turnout.

Andrew had to help with the demonstrations (which, btw, goes against his wallflower nature); he did well.

He even got to help shear, which to his farmers heart, was a real thrill.

Corynn did too, as a matter of fact.

I was amazed at how lethargic sheep get during shearing. It almost appeared like they went into a trance!

Then, of course, there was spinning.

May I tell you a little secret?

I have always wanted a spinning wheel.

When we moved into this house, I looked into buying alpacas (youch! are they expensive) and then tried to convince Matt to let me have sheep. Apparently, he doesn't feel the same way about them as I do.

I have even toyed with the idea of getting some angora rabbits for a smaller investment.

So when I was invited to try out spinning firsthand, I was in my glory.

Of course, I had to hand off Judah, hence the empty Moby wrap. (No, I don't make it a habit of wearing empty baby wraps.)

Corynn likes it too.

She had a good teacher.

Clowns make great teachers.

Maybe with the both of us pestering...er....ASKING....?!?!?

OR maybe....he could be convinced firsthand?!

(just in case he wanted to try to build me one, I took lots of pictures. hehehe)

And there was dyeing.

Using natural dyes to color the wool fascinates me.

I took pictures of some of the natural dyes I can try at home.

And there was loads of information, demonstrations and even opportunities to get our hands dirty

We came home with our own dyed wool~

.... a felted wool necklace Corynn made

.... and three bars of felted homemade soap.

...AND....hold on to your hats~ again because of the small turnout, they gave our family a drop spindle and some carded wool for free as well, so we can get started spinning!!!! yay!

Thank you Old Textile Museum!