Thursday, April 30, 2009
Luke loves it. Every day he races downstairs to see what chores he gets to do for the day. Susanna...not so much.
Their lists include things like making their beds, taking turns to clean their room, helping clean the bathroom, empty the trash cans, put away the silverware, help on the farm, special job for Mama, water plants, school work, home work, clean off desk, set table, clean off and wipe table, wipe off stove, pick up toys, vacuum, help cook supper. Mind you, they don't have to do everything every day...some chores are scattered thru the week, others are once a week, others are every day.
The problem with boys, or at least mine (if only everyone could have this problem!) is that Luke looks to create work if he has none to do. Yesterday, he was supposed to empty the trash...but it wasn't full yet. So the kid raced around the house and checked EVERY garbage can and emptied all the rest of them (it's usually just the kitchen garbage). Cleaning off the table isn't good enough for him...he has now decided he has to WASH the dishes, too. Every item from the table goes in the sink, gets rinsed off, then "dried" with a towel. He's broken the facet twice already.
I'm not complaining. I love it. In a way, these first weeks with the chore chart have created a bit more work for me...as I'm training them in the way they're to do things. But this week I've noticed a difference. They don't need me walking them thru things. And they're doing a GREAT job! Hm....I wonder how long before I can make my housework something obsolete...at least for me???
BTW, I'm feeling MUCH better! I finally was able to get a prescription called in on Tuesday -- antibiotic eye drops for pink eye that had developed. They really have helped clear up everything for me. Susi's nose is runny, Luke is sneezy a bit, and Tony feels slightly congested, but God willing they'll recover soon...and won't have the problems I did! Thanks for your prayers!!!
Please also pray for friends of ours -- their young daughter (about 8 yo) got a cold over the weekend that moved into her breathing tube. By Monday they had to rush her to the hospital...met part way by an ambulance (they're pretty far away from town) where she was then taken to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. She's been in ICU and the antibiotics are verrrry slowly working...they're going in with a scope today to see if there are other things going on because she just isn't recovering how she should be. Please keep them in your prayers.
Monday, April 27, 2009
But I'm thankful. I'm thankful for my husband who, as busy as things are right now with the farm, he has taken over with the kids (okay, I think Grandpa and Grandma have been helping, too! And I'm thankful for them as well!). I'm thankful for my kids who have been coming in to give me kisses and have been praying for me (Luke's concerned because if Mama's sick, who is going to make breakfast??? And Susanna makes sure I have a blanket over me...she's tucked me in several times.) I'm thankful that I'm not worse and that God has been giving me peaceful nights of sleep and plenty of rest during the day, too. I'm also thankful that the weather has been yucky so I don't feel so guilty about not getting outside...and that Tony isn't able to do as much as he could be with the cold temps and the rain.
Pray for us...Tony is starting with the congestion now. Susi has been starting on the sneezing and coughing. We need to plant strawberries tomorrow (and right now it's hard enough sitting upright in a chair for ten minutes!). And I am really praying that Tony, the kids, and my in-laws don't get what I have...or at least to this extent.
I have a busy week scheduled and suspect some of it will have to be cancelled or postponed. But... that's okay. I'm relearning (AGAIN!) my limitations....and my body's need for decent sleep. And that I need to remember to take my Watkins vitamins (which I hadn't been but have been making sure my kids are).
Gotta go blow my nose again...then fall asleep.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Lois is home in heaven, no longer trapped her in a cancer-ridden, pain-filled body. Our family attended her funeral on Thursday morning. It was a lovely funeral, if funerals could be described as lovely. Lois loved to gather 'round the piano and sing, so we spent about 10-15 minutes singing one old chorus or hymn after another. It was beautiful. Dorothy's sister wrote a tribute to her life, and wow...did that lady lead a full and amazing life! What a legacy she passed on!
We took the kids because Dorothy is a special person to them....and I explained to them that Mrs. Crook's mama had died and was in heaven with Jesus now. They understand about death -- they know my grandparents on my mother's side died and remember them vaguely from when they were still alive. (They've never met my dad's dad who has also passed.) They know that if you are a Christian, if you have asked Jesus to forgive your sins, when you die you go to heaven.
Well. I guess I never thought I'd have to explain why Mrs. Pritchard's body was still here if she was already in heaven with Jesus! It just never dawned on me...the coffin was open and by the entrance of the sanctuary. Mrs. Crook was standing by it hugging lots of people, so of COURSE we had to go give her a big hug, too. It's Mrs. Crook (and she gives us fruit snacks)...plus, she looked sad and seemed like she could use a hug. And right behind Mrs. Crook, in full view, was Mrs. Pritchard's body.
Instant fascination. "Why is Mrs. Crook's mama laying there, Mama?" "I thought Mrs. Crook's mama was in heaven with Jesus." It didn't dawn on me at the time that, even though they never met Lois, they knew instantly that's who it was. "Mama, is she sleeping? Is she alive again like Jesus is?"
I moved the kids into the relatively empty sanctuary (it was still about 20 minutes before the funeral...we were waiting for Tony to arrive...he had been working at the farm and was going to come just for the funeral then leave) and tried to explain, offering up quick prayers for wisdom to explain. God is awesome....I know I couldn't have come up with an answer for them that they understood without His help.
I explained to Luke and Susi that what they saw was just a shell. That our bodies are a shell, and when God creates us and we start growing in our Mama's tummy, we have a soul and spirit which is the part of us that is really alive...God gives us our body as a shell for our soul and spirit. When we die, it is the body, the shell, that stops living...and the REAL part of us goes to heaven to be with Jesus. They were so satisfied with that answer. It made sense to them. I think. They were a bit disappointed when the funeral started and they rolled the casket in.... "Why did they close the lid, Mama?" "Will we see her again?" I reminded them it was just the outside shell of Mrs. Pritchard...she was already in heaven and yes, one day we WOULD see her again, but not until we were in heaven. They also wanted to know why people were so sad and crying, but they did understand that even though she was with Jesus, Mrs. Pritchard's family misses her and are sad she isn't here to talk with any more.
On the way home, I asked if they had any other questions, and Luke did...."What are they going to do with the empty shell now, Mama?" I explained about burial and how the casket with the body would go into a big hole in the ground...but reminded them Mrs. Pritchard wasn't going into the hole, and Luke piped up, "yeah, cuz she's already in heaven!" Ahh! He got it! Then he wanted to know...."When we're in heaven, will all the red stuff in our eyes be gone? You know, the red stuff that comes when we cry?"
They say that sometimes a simple explanation is the best for kids, not to go further than the questions they ask. I realized my kids were thinking more than I expected them to. Today, on the way in to town, we passed a dead skunk on the road. Luke immediately asked what the really nice smell was in the car and I informed him it WASN'T a nice smell, it was a dead skunk. Hm. Dead. There's that word again. "Mama, did someone killeded the skunk?" "Yes, Susanna, they did." "How? Why?" "Well, the skunk was crossing the road and a car didn't see it (poor car!) and hit it and it died. That's why you NEVER walk on the road and are always careful around cars!" "Oh. So Mama, is the inside of the skunk in heaven with Jesus now?" So we had a quick talk about the difference between animals and humans. And how there wouldn't be stinky smells in heaven.
Always thinking, they are. About an hour later, we were coming from the grocery store when we saw Miss Beth (Waller, one of Luke's Sunday School teachers) walking on the road with an elderly man. The part they were on was coned off, but still Susanna said, with great concern, "Miss Beth should NOT be walking on the road, Mama!"
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Dave really talks about the wisdom of saving until you can afford something. Starting emergency funds then building into savings nests then giving and giving and giving as God leads you. His motto is "You have to live like no one else so that later on you can LIVE like no one else!" And he does have personal experience....shortly after he got married, they suffered some devastating blows in the housing market while at the same time not paying attention to their spending and went from being quite rich to having to declare bankruptcy. However, unlike most who have declared bankruptcy, the Ramseys worked hard over the next many years, using many of Larry Burkett's financial methods, to pay back every cent that was written off on their debts while at the same time saving money and also raising three children....and teaching them the value of wise investment so their children wouldn't go through what they did. Dave is now a multi-millionaire many times over, about 20 years after bankruptcy.
Dave is a very personable man, easy to listen to, and has alot of great ways to get his point across. He's not afraid to tell someone how stupid they are for spending money foolishly while at the same time really helping out someone who made some poor decisions without thinking things through. He's on the radio nationally (usually on "regular" stations, not "Christian" stations) and also has a weekly segment on FoxNews. Dave's a Christian, but his message is about getting yourself out of a financial mess, often referring to many of the verses in Proverbs about saving and spending.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, this Thursday, April 23, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, there will be a live simulcast, airing mainly in churches although there are probably many other venues that will also air the same, of Dave Ramsey and his Town Hall for Hope. He'll be talking about today's economy and what's really going on. Find out where one is in your area and plan on going. You really won't regret it. Our church --Faith Baptist -- for those of you in the local area, will be holding the simulcast. Here's some more information from the flyer:
Mark your calendar for April 23 at 7:00 p.m. (central). We are holding an exciting one-time national event called Town Hall for Hope, and you're invited!
We all know that the economy is causing a lot of fear among Americans. It's time for our nation to come together to find hope for the future -- and that's exactly what Town Hall for Hope is all about.
At this free, 90-minute event, Dave will address the nation live with straight talk about what's really going on with the economy. He will discuss the history of the economy, real stats, and steps to take toward hope! Plus, he will answer questions from all around the country. You can submit your questions via email, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
You do not want to miss this historic event! It's shaping up to be one of the most-viewed webcasts in history. Over 5,000 host locations across the U.S. will be broadcasting the live-feed on Thursday, April 23, at 8:00 p.m. EST (West Coast delay - 7:00 p.m.). The event is completely free to anyone to attend. Be sure to come to Faith Baptist Church to find out for yourself!
Get involved now and start spreading the word at http://www.townhallforhope.com/. We'll see you there!
Click on the link above to see if there is somewhere showing this in your area. Try to go. You really will enjoy it. And check out his site at http://www.daveramsey.com/!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Luke has been reading up a storm...anything with letters he has to sound out and almost always gets it right. I'm amazed at what a little reader he is -- he sat down with a library book tonight and started reading it aloud...although a bit slowly. It probably helped that it was all about knights!
Today, we had family over for lunch. Paul and Lori came up just for the weekend, getting the cabin ready for summer. They wanted to head back right after church, possibly stopping somewhere for brunch...but my offer of Carter's own roast beef sounded better! We invited Mark & Beth's gang as well as Dad and Mama, and after they all confirmed, I got busy. It wasn't too involved...threw three roasts into the crock pot with some Watkins meat magic (if you've not used this yet, you have GOT to give it a try!) and beef soup & gravy base. Washed the mushrooms and got the carrots ready to throw in a roaster Sunday morning, and whipped up a batch of the simple dinner rolls (recipe given several blogs ago) -- it is a GREAT recipe since you make up the dough then refrigerate 2 hours to 4 days. I also tried another new recipe from yet another great new site I found (listed in Pioneer Woman's blog) -- you've GOTTA try this one! http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/02/big-crumb-coffee-cake/
And now, it's late...I'm off to bed!
Friday, April 17, 2009
So God told Noah to build a big boat out of wood called an ark and put animals on it cuz he was gonna get rid of all the bad guys in a big flood. And they got on the boat and God made it rain lots and lots until it was flooded all over. And the boat was going until it cracked "craaaaack" and then it stopped but Noah got it going and it kept floating and raining until it landed on a mountain and cracked "craaaack" again. But the floods went away and the animals got out of the boat and the bad guys were all gone.
And on a completely different topic, well, except that it also involves animals, Tony and I walked to the farm with the kids tonight to see the baby calves (there are six right now). Being the realist that I am, I told the kids "look, in a few years, those will be dinner!" Oh, stop! We've talked about it before, and my kids are well aware where their hamburger, steaks, ham, bacon, chicken, and other meats come from. However, tonight, it finally sunk in to Susanna. Within a couple minutes, a quiet, worried little voice said, "But I don't want to eat the cows and baby calves for supper. I don't want them killeded." She repeated that a few times....we'll have to see how she reacts to the hamburgers I'm planning for supper tomorrow night!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I topped things off with some marshmallow peeps, and viola! A spring-time center piece that was quickly gobbled up!
Seriously, this didn't take much time at all -- from setting everything out, washing the fruit, cutting the shapes, and stabbing it on skewers before sticking it in the foam -- oh, and including clean-up! -- it took maybe 45 minutes. If you try this -- and do! It's so fun and easy! -- dip your fruit in a mixture of lemon juice and water before spearing it. It'll prevent the fruit from browning. I found the melon, and especially the watermelon, was pretty juicy and drippy, so you may want to cut those and put them on paper towels for a few minutes before spearing them. Use your imagination -- any free-hand shapes or cookie cutter shapes work great!
We've also started having several additions at the farm. As of last night, six calves have been born out of an expected fifteen. Not many, if you consider big cattle operations, but quite a few, if you consider many of you all are "town folks"! Just the right size for us as we will ship some to the market for sales, keep some to breed in a year or so, and keep others to provide us and our Market customers with some wonderful, hormone-free beef!
I'm working slowly on updating our farm website and am putting out a request for recipes that use produce we grow (not sure what we grow? Check out our website and click on "produce" -- www.redwagonfarm.net). Credit will be given to you on the site. Please don't submit recipes published in a cookbook or magazine if they have been copyrighted...unless you've made personal adaptions (is that the right word???)
Okay....gotta go hang out some laundry on the line! Yesterday I hung out our bed linens...today it's the kids'. Ummm! Not more more smells like spring than freshly line-dried clothes and bed things! Well, we won't get into the whole manure/fertilizer thing...I'm talking pleasantly fragrant smells!
And yes, Easter pictures are still on their way....
Friday, April 10, 2009
Things have been REALLY busy here....and it isn't even busy season yet! Tony and I went to Mache and had a very good...but overwhelming time. There is SOOOOO much information out there, and we just have to pray we find what works best for our family. We heard some great speakers and I, for one, (not sure, but I think Tony, too) really got fired up and encouraged in our home school endeavors, which is what this whole Mache conference is all about. Michael Ferris, the head of HSLDA (home school legal defence alliance) was the keynote speaker and had some great talks about the start of home school, about how our country was founded, religious freedoms and some of what early Christians, different denominations, went through when they settled in America. It was very eye-opening! There are also changes that may be occuring, resulting in more parental rights losses, in this current administration. We need more than ever to make sure we keep our faith in God, pray for our country, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT KEEPING OUR FREEDOMS!
Tony and I went down early on Thursday for the introduction to home schooling -- one of the speakers, another lawyer for HSLDA, was amazed at how many people (probably about 200 or more) people were there that are just starting to home school their children. He just kept saying "wow. WOW!" It's kinda how I felt, too! This year was, however, a lot less overwhelming than last year. I knew a bit more about what to expect; I knew many of the vendor booths I wanted to stop and and get more information from; we have our teaching plan kinda in order (although we're flexible if something else comes along that seems better for our family); and doing some simple teaching this past year, I knew a bit more about what we're really getting in to!
Good thing we're flexible. The curriculum we choose last year isn't going to be a good fit for our family, at least for awhile. During the early years, it really focuses on age-appropriate math and reading skills. However, not to brag or anything (yeah, right!), Luke is above his age in reading and math already. This kid is reading Dick and Jane books, sounding out all the words he sees -- traveling in the car, around the house, in stores, you name it. And he gets them right! (although he really doesn't like that tricky silent "e" and has decided he doesn't want it in his name, either) He is graphing already in math, doing 2nd grade logic problems, and does pretty well at figuring things out. We're still working on some of the early basics, but no way is he at a kindergarden level for math and numbers....I don't want the poor kid stuck for two years until we get into what he's ready for "age-wise." So...we switched curriculum and after making the decision, I remembered (it's that forgetting thing that comes with getting older) that a friend of mine who home schools told me she already had the full curriculum (KONOS) if we decided to go with it....it wasn't a fit for her family. The cost? The entire curriculum (three books that cover 2-4 years each) was less than the cost of one book new. Thank you, God! And thank you, Sam! The only problem.... when we came home and I told the kids what we were going to start learning, they wanted to start doing school RIGHT NOW!!! Luke even started crying when I told him we couldn't start yet....I still had to pick up the books from Sam. There are lots of library books involved with this curriculum, and I also had to order the books from our library...who in turn had to get many of the books from other libraries in their chain. They're starting to come in, so we'll start doing school next week.
What, exactly, are we going to be learning that has the kids so enthused? OBEDIENCE! Well, they don't really know that yet, they just know they're going to be learning about lighthouses (one week study), horses (one week study), and vassels, damsels, knights, kings, and queens (four week study). I'm going to drag the studies out for about twice as long as the lesson plans, simply because of their age...and because we're all newbies in this together! Oh....and because we're starting into a very busy time of life!
The kids did pretty well without us, although Grandpa/Grandma, and Aunt Beth all mentioned that Luke was much more subdued than usual, not talking very much. I asked him Thursday night on the phone what was wrong and he told me his tummy hurt, like a sword was stabbing him. Since he was eating pretty well, sleeping very well (we won't talk about the accident in Clinton's bed...), and not throwing up, and since he bounced back pretty quick when we got home, I think it was probably just nerves and stress. He's very much a "mama's boy," always wanting to be near me, hanging on to me, telling me how much he loves me. (stop laughing, I'm serious!) Of course, he's fine when he's with Tony or somewhere just for a few hours, but I think it really threw him with both of us gone so long. Of course, after we hung up, I cried. But then I was fine :)
I did come back with a slight headache that really got very bad on Sunday afternoon to the point where it hurt even to move. I could tell my neck was out of alignment, and after several hours with pain steadily getting worse, I called our chiropractor, who also goes to our church, to see if there was any way he could adjust me that afternoon, rather than waiting until Monday....which I would have if I'd have had to, but I thought...it doesn't hurt to ask and it does hurt to move, blink, think, etc. God bless Dr. Mike. He was going in to the office anyway and told me to come on in. Tony drove me in, Dr. Mike spent a good amount of time adjusting my neck, shoulders, and head, and I felt better immediately. I did go back in the next day just for a readjustment which improved things even more.
Monday I also had another dental appointment....more metal taken out of my mouth and replaced with porcelain, a bad crack filled, etc. My mouth was numb for most of the day, but it's wonderful how much better my mouth feels! One quarter left to do -- but that'll be after the market closes in November!
It seems like every day this week we've been running around....and we have. I'm trying to get organized for school things, get our house cleaned up (and the kids have really been great helps! It helps that I don't mind them using the Watkins cleaning products...since they're chemical free -- Sus loves climbing into the tub to squirt and wipe while Luke loves cleaning the counters and mirrors -- today we tackled the upstairs living room, we have yet to do their room, the entry way, and the downstairs....and I shudder at our upper room which is piled high with things we'll be hopefully getting rid of at a yard sale in July!).
We went down to the farm yesterday, walking in this BEAUTIFUL weather, and started some seeds for a small garden we'll be doing at our house...I told Tony I want the kids to practice on things here before going to "help" him more at the farm. We seeded some plum tomatoes, sweet red peppers, lots of basil, and several kinds of flowers. We'll also plant potatoes, peas, lettuce, and radishes outside once the frost danger is past (which may not be until June or July!) -- and hopefully the deer won't eat them all!
I'll write more another time about some more kid funnies. They've been cracking us up this week!
Before I close, though, we had a wonderful Good Friday service today. The kids and I went (Tony was busy working at the farm) -- and I had to drop off some hay to the feed store first. Lost a bale before we went even a quarter mile, but my strong hubby came and hauled it down the road and tossed it back up for me (otherwise, it would still be sitting roadside!).
There are about four or five churches in our community that combine Good Friday services. The pastors from each church have different parts of the service. This year, instead of having a formal sermon, after reading through the passage of the last supper, Christ's betrayal and arrest as well as his crucifixion, seven men from our church portrayed seven of the disciples who spoke about how they came to follow Christ and what must have been going through their minds after Jesus was crucified. The service is always very moving, but this year it was even more touching to me as "Peter," "James," "John," "Andrew," "Nathanael," "Matthew," and "Thomas" spoke, each with the attributes written about each of them in the gospels. It was wonderful....and I wished I had my video camera to record it for others to see. Those attending who profess Christ as their Savior then partook in a shared communion, and we ended with the doxology.
It has been great going thru the Resurrection eggs with my kids this week, talking more about Christ's sacrifice for us, and realizing how much they really do understand it all. Well, as much as we humanly can. I mean, I can understand it, but to fully understand it...can we really? At least, on this side of heaven? All I can say is, "Thank You, Jesus!"
Have a very blessed Easter....and I'll try and write more soon.
Bye, Chuck! Big hugs to you and Judy!!!
(feeling strong again?)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I'm not a happy camper right now but hopefully a good night's sleep and lots of prayer will help :)