Friday, January 29, 2016

School and stuff

We've hit this semester running!  Everyone is working hard, including Snoopy!  In addition to math, handwriting and spelling, Michael is doing the Easy Peasy daily work.  It's giving us both structure right now and I find that comforting.  He's been begging to do the science experiments he got for Christmas.  We've explored UV light with light changing beads, liquid density and magic sand that stays dry in water.  Yes, Michael is wearing a lab coat from his Einstein costume last Halloween.  It's his new favorite dress up item.  Especially with the pocket for Snoopy to ride around in. 


Tomorrow, Tera and Daniel will compete to qualify for a spot in the state chess tournament. The top 8 in each section go on to the state competition (next weekend).  Tera and Daniel are competing in separate sections this time around.    It's going to be a very long day.  I pray they will both do their best!  Our motto---We celebrate-win or lose!

Tera has been filling us with delicious homemade bread---baguettes pictured below.

Michael and I went on a date to a KSO Very Young People's Concert this morning.  I told him he was my date for the day.  He asked to wear some of Daddy's "man's perfume".  He opened the doors for me and we had a grand time listening to various orchestral selections--Marriage of Figaro Overture; Flight of the Bumblebee; Peter and the Wolf.  We had great box seats and saw lots of familiar faces in the crowd.  Then to McDonald's for a Happy Meal. 

My ankle seems to be doing better, but I'm still following doctor's orders until I go for a follow-up appointment.  I have accepted that this is so minor in the big scheme of things that it's not worth complaining about.  So many friends are having major health issues right now that it really puts minor injuries into perspective.  

Throwback to last week when we had snow!  I couldn't go out, so I took pictures from the porch.

Our newly improved prayer board.  We've had a prayer request board for sometime, but it was hid in a corner.  We couldn't reach it, and it was ugly.  So, Tera suggested we take it out of the corner and I spruced it up a bit.   We've added the requests we are praying for on one side and are waiting for answers!  Michael looks up the other day at the board and says, "We need some answers!"  I said, "We need to keep praying!"  

That's what's been going on around here.  How about you?

 Weekly Wrap-Up

Monday, January 25, 2016

All because of a bum foot...

Yesterday, I followed JP to the shop to drop off his van for some repairs. It was after lunch and neither of us had eaten, he suggested we go out to lunch together. I kinda shot down the idea at first with some excuse and then he expressed that all he was trying to do was to have a spontaneous date with me. End of my excuses. 

When your husband wants to go out with you on a date, don't shoot him down.  We didn't dress up, my hair was a mess, but I put away my excuses.  

We stopped at this quaint little place that is fairly new in our town.  It serves authentic German food.  I remember when we first got married, we used to go try new foods...go on new adventures.  Somehow, we've settled into a nice routine or rut.  Whichever you want to call it.   

My husband opened the door for me, held my arm so I wouldn't slip and helped with my chair when we sat down to eat.  It's been a long time, since we've acted like we were dating.  

Before I go further, here's the food:  


Konigsberger Klopse (German Meatballs)

Black and White (Chocolate Mousse and Bavarian Cream)
Rice Pudding

The food was AMAZING!!!!  The dessert was divine.  I took one bite of the chocolate and found it much too rich for my no-chocolate rule.  I could have eaten double portions of the Bavarian cream without blinking an eye. 

Back to my thoughts, now that the food is out of the way.  

The Lord has used my foot injury to put me such a better place in more ways than one.  JP and I have had conversations that I was too busy to have before.  I was able to be spontaneous with my husband without worrying about:  how much is this going to cost, how much time will we be gone from the kids... I gave my husband what he needed (and I needed to), time together to enjoy good food and good conversation.  

We are heading into some challenges in the future with his work and refocusing in some areas of our life.  I'm so thankful the Lord has seen fit to make me stop and get on the same page with my husband.  We are so much more equipped to face what's ahead, just because I've been forced to rest.   

This morning I read part of this article by Joy Forney  The One Thing Your Husband Really Wants From You (It's not what you think)

Joy gives her husband a list of things and asks him to list them in priority that he would like to see her do.  This was his response:    "So, to sum it all up, showing me you love me has more to do with WHO you are than what you do! It’s my best friend I fell in love with and want to hang out with, not my maid!"   

She goes on to say...
"You see, I was so busy doing things for my husband, trying to be the perfect wife, that I was getting it all wrong. I was so tired and stressed that I was snappy, unkind, and impatient. And the only thing my dear husband wanted was a girlfriend!"

So, while I have been resting more and not going crazy cleaning, cooking, running around...I've been practicing being more of a girlfriend to my husband.  We watch movies on the couch together at night while I'm alternate heat and cold on my ankle.  We are having hard conversations and making decisions maybe we've been putting off for a while.  We are seeking God's will together.  I have been able to re-prioritize things.  I am seeing how always saying, "yes" to good things is not the best.  I've learned that the kids helping out more is not a punishment, but vital to their maturity.  Staying at home more lets us really focus on schoolwork and helps me be less stressed at the end of a day.  Which is a good thing for when my boyfriend (aka my husband)  gets home.  

All because of a bum foot....thank you, Lord! 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Swimming in the deep...

If you haven't followed my progress with learning how to swim, here are a couple of links:

I cannot believe how far I've come since the first day I decided to learn how to swim.  It's been a year and a half now.  When I started I couldn't float, put my face in the water and had a panic attack every time I used a kick board in the deep end.  


I can float
swim on my back anywhere I want to go
swim on my side
swim face down in the water
freestyle for short distances

To be honest, the deep end still freaks me out, BUT not nearly as much as it did when I first started.  When I start to focus on all the things I can't do, I forget how far I have come.  

The pool where I have taken lessons since the beginning is closing.  So, my friend and swim instructor has given me the goal to swim freestyle the length of the pool and back before it closes March 11th.  Last week, I started taking steps to overcome my fear of swimming in the deep.  I used a kick board with my face in the water looking down in that deep blue water.  

On the way back, Tanya took my kick board and told me to kick off the side to freestyle from the 9 foot mark to where I could stand.  I kicked off and frankly, I could feel the adrenaline (maybe panic) kick in.  I came up for a breath to hear someone screaming..."DON'T PANIC!!!"  I just kept going and I swam way past the 5 foot mark.  I did it!  I could focus on how I didn't keep swimming until I got to the end, but I faced a fear.  I didn't drown!  I swam in the deep.

To me, there are major spiritual lessons found in my journey:

  • We need to surround ourselves with people who can see our potential and push us to reach it.  Those people not afraid to scream..."DON'T PANIC!!!"  when our situation seems to demand anything but calmness.
  • Don't let fear keep you from doing those things God has called you to do.  "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."  2 Timothy 1:7
  • God is with us no matter what we are going through.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  Whatever the situation, trial, fear, change...He is there! 
  • Don't worry about how deep the water is...keep swimming.    My friend reminded me, your feet never touch the bottom when you are swimming, so it doesn't matter how deep the water is. 
  • "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." Isaiah 43:2   This has always been a special verse to me, but the first line have really spoken to me throughout this process.  I know I will cling tightly to this promise for the rest of my life.  (Especially the day, I'm swimming the length of the pool!) 
Change is inevitable.  Change is a scary thing.  I AM confident that as we swim in the proverbial deep...

God is with us!
The deep waters won't overtake us!
Fear and panic will not overcome us!
God will lead and guide us as He as always done!

Swimming in the deep is scary, but it's exciting!  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Catch up

Most of these pictures were pre-boot and found me with my foot propped up while I watched all the action. The best thing I can do!

Last week, the kids helped a neighbor pick up sticks from their yard.  They would have done it for free but were pleased it was a paying job.

Michael's first dinner for the family

 Boomwhacker fun...

 Michael joined everyone else in the footwork exercises at fencing..

 Library chess tournament

 My goofy 1st place winner....

4-H with the Cloverbuds learning all about demonstrations and the different components to the horse project. 

Some people are about to outgrow the dentist chairs..

 Science with Michael...

That catches us up to today.  I have two boys watching videos while Tera and JP are at fencing.  Daniel had four molars extracted this morning, but has recovered so fast.  He's been eating soft food and is laughing his head off at Studio C videos right now.  He's playing chess, eating, laughing.  I wish my recovery time was that quick!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Here I sit..

Here I sit...resting with a air cast boot on my foot.  After seeing my podiatrist on Monday, he recommended PT or a boot for a month to see if that would take care of the soreness and range of motion issues from my ankle injury.  After going back and forth in my mind, I chose the boot.  I'm supposed to heat/ice every evening, use a topical anti-inflammatory and do non-weight bearing exercises. 
I feel like I should have some words to say about the whole thing.  But my feelings are so mixed.  Guilt over not resting before now and over-doing it that got me here.  Disgust at getting older and taking longer to heal.  Thankful for insurance and access to health care.  Restless because sitting is not what I do best.  Relieved that this really isn't THAT bad. Thankful that I am not homebound.  I am allowed to drive (without the boot).  So, we won't have to really cancel our regular things.  I just have to get places early enough to put my boot off and on.  I'm definitely cautious about adding things to our schedule or volunteering blindly for things I would have said "yes" in a heartbeat before. 

I really have two choices:  sit around and feel sorry for myself, or do my best to make this time of extra rest-- a time where God can change me.   A time where I can connect deeper with what His will for me is.  A time to connect with my husband and kids.  A time to gain balance and reflect. 
So, I took a friend up on her offer to let me swim in her pool.  My husband offered to go grocery shopping for me and I am making the list for him.  I'm learning to ask when I need help. That is a hard lesson indeed. 
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!  They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Hebrews 12:7-13

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Crockpot is Your Friend

Sporadically throughout the years, I have used the crockpot.  Just in the past few years, I have used it more often--once or twice a week.  Since I hurt my ankle, I've been re-evaluating how we do things.

When my back was out, Tera took care of everything---cleaning, cooking, etc.  I delegated certain things to her brothers, but realized that their skills in the area of food preparation were lacking.  Since then, I have tried to think of ways to hone their skills a bit.  If Mom can't cook,  pancakes and pizza  for dinner will only fly for a while.  What if your sister isn't around either?

My goal that seemed to be pushed to the back burner now seems more important. 

The goal:

When my children (boys included) leave this home to start their adult lives, regardless of liking to cook will be able to prepare for themselves healthy meals--breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Desserts are extra credit.  I would really like for them to have a couple of simple, yet impressive meals they can serve guests. 

Back to the crockpot....

Our lives have gotten busier as our two older kids are in high school and middle school.  We are out and about at least 3 afternoon/evenings a week.  The crockpot has saved me from eating out more than once.  It's easy to pick up something "on the way home" if there is not a hot meal waiting.  It's impossible to justify that with dinner already made earlier in the day.

I decided over Christmas break to have each of my children choose one crockpot recipe a week to cook for the family.  If we did once a month, we'd forget.  Once a week, might just work!  They are allowed to pick the recipe within reason.   With three kids, that's three nights of the week.  WooHoo!  I'm using the crockpot at least one other time during the week as well. 

The boys are starting easy with basically low-prep recipes or dump recipes. 

Here are some of our recipes for the next two weeks:

Michael will be preparing with help:
Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese

Daniel's recipes:
Meatball Subs (with prepared meatballs)
Crockpot Lasagna

Tera's recipes:
Lentil and Rice Salad
Tonight, we are having Taco Chicken Bowls and later this week Cranberry Apple Pork Chops (I scored a great deal on some country style ribs).  Next week, I'll by making my beans with ham.  With pizza the other night, we are covered except for Sunday.  I think I could get used to this new routine!
What are your favorite crockpot recipes that even your kids could make?  Share in the comments below! 

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Back in November, I fell down and slid halfway down our back steps and apparently sprained something around my ankle.  With the holidays, I was too darn busy to just lay around and rest it (except for that week my back went out).  The week before Christmas, I overdid it on multiple days (wore the nice shoes instead of the sensible shoes)  and I'm guessing I reinjured it (if it was healed at all).  After seeing my doctor earlier in the week, I was told if the lump and swelling was still not better in two weeks after "normal" activity, then I would need to see an orthopedist.  I'm definitely not wanting that to happen.  So, I'm finally doing what I should have done all along...taking it easy, doing the minimum, putting my feet up.   I'm still able to cook dinner, but my normal exercise routine is out of the question.  (Confession:  I was trying to keep up with my exercise even with a sprain.) 
I don't like resting.  It doesn't come natural to me.  Yet, it's important for recovery.
I've been thinking a bit about 2016.  Trying to wrap my mind around what I would like to do, accomplish, change.  I admit I've kinda come up blank until I forced myself to write a few goals down like: 

Eat out less--use the crockpot more.

Read a book a week.

Try not to hurt anything on my body that is necessary for mobility

Be more consistent in my devotion times

Blog 2-3 times a week

I tend to measure myself by how much I can get accomplished in a day/week/month/year.  Instead of just "being", I have/need to be "doing"...a lot. 

I feel like changing my goals to a list that sounds more like this:

Be in the moment

Don't worry, God is in control

Focus on the important stuff and let go of the things that don't really matter

Love more, criticize less

Think the best of others

Pray like I really expect my prayers to change things

It's okay to wing it! 

I hope as this new year unfolds that I will choose wisely between the lists. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Eve 2015

Snacks for dinner...

Laughs, fun and games....

Two tired parents after an 8 hour "party"....

Happy New Year! 

Christmas 2015

The reason we celebrate...Jesus is born!

Homemade origami fencers by Daniel...

Chocolate covered chips made for me by Tera!

 Hobbit feet and light sabers...

Swords for everyone...

Santa gifts...legos, a Susato B-flat penny whistle and a new watch

Stocking fun...


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