Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Moving Manger

I've already shared how, in our family, we emphasize "Christ-Is-More" at Christmas and I've shared about our "Spiritual Christmas Gifts" that we give our kids each year...

So now I wanted to mention our Moving Manger Scene!

I realize this isn't a new idea for some people, but it's one way we enjoy Christmas and keep our focus on Christ!

When we are putting up our Christmas decorations, we start out with an empty manger.

Then as Christmas day approaches we move Mary and Joseph closer and eventually we start moving the wise men too.

Finally on Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph end up in the stable awaiting their sweet little Baby Jesus.

Christmas morning the kids get to search for the baby Jesus figurine and add him to the manger scene!

The kids love seeing Christmas, literally, getting closer through the moving manger.  And it causes us all to dwell on the reality of the traveling that everyone did and all the sacrifices that were made!

This post linked to Works For Me Wednesday!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Grace's Healing Salve...but not this Grace

One of my really good friends has this amazing healing salve I just have to tell you about!

A while ago, my friend Grace sent me a sample of her homemade "Healing Salve" and while I was really excited, I had to wait patiently for the perfect opportunity to use it.  

I thought, surely in a house with three crazy active boys, there would soon be a bloody knee or rug-burned nose I could use this salve on...

But that day never came.  The boys have been injury and scrape free.  I'm not complaining about that, but at the same time, I was really anxious to try out my new salve!

Anyways, this past week, my sweet Liberty broke out in a really bad rash.  It was actually so bad that she had rawness behind her ears. At first I thought it was just dry skin until I noticed it raising and spreading.  I was so sad for her, but was rejuvenated when I remembered my "Healing Salve"!!!

I applied it behind her ears and on her face and neck one night before bed and the next morning it was gone.  COMPLETELY GONE.  Not even a sign of it!  I was amazed!

As the rash has spread, I've been applying it as soon as I see it appear in a new place and the rash is now GONE.  So over a 2 day period, there is now no sign of this "7 day rash".

And trust me, it was a nasty bad rash!

Go check out Grace's new business website here and be sure to buy a tin of the "All Better Butter" that I used on Liberty this week!  The price ranges from $1.75-$3.75...can you believe that?!  What a deal!  You will be glad to have it on hand next time someone in your house has a burn, bump or bite!

She's also hosting a giveaway on her blog right now that you should enter!  Her business is so much more than just salves...it's lip care, handmade jewelry and MORE!

So head on over to graceisblessedbygod.blogspot.com and be...BLESSED!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spiritual Christmas Gifts

A few years ago my hubby and I started a new Christmas tradition in our house.  We give each of our kids a "spiritual gift" on Christmas morning.

Most of their gifts (from family and friends) are under the tree, but their spiritual gifts we keep under our manger scene that sits on our Family Worship Table

When we started this tradition, we wanted to give our kids something more meaningful than the typical "gift from Santa", so we used to tell them it was their "gift from Jesus"...but since that well-intended idea got confusing fast ("Jesus mailed this to me?"  "Was He here?" etc) we decided to just call it their "spiritual gift"! :)

How it works, is that we just buy a gift for each child which emphasizes a way that the Lord has gifted them or a desire he's given them.  We pray about what the Lord wants to say to them, and then give them a scripture to go with their gift. 

This scripture then becomes "theirs" for the new upcoming year!

For example, last year
~Trusten (our outdoors-man) got a bow and arrow with a verse to "be strong and courageous"

~Brahm (our musical child) got a set of drum sticks with a verse that read, "Burst out in jubilant song! Make music to the Lord!"

~And Samuel (our brave and might defender of all things) got a Nerf sword to be "a mighty warrior for Jesus"!

Giving our kids "spiritual gifts" at Christmas is just another way we try to let them know that at Christmas, Christ is more!

(This post is linked to Works For Me Wednesday and Wednesdays Walk Down Memory Lane!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celebrating "Christ-Is-More"!

Our Tree-Topper!
The phrase we coined a while back is finally catching on with our boys...

"Christ-Is-More"!

You see, when I hear the word "Christmas", two things stick out to me...
  • Christ: the reason for the season, for life and for all things good!
  • Mas: the Spanish word for "more"
So around here, we call it...
"Christ-Is-More"!

And we do everything we can during this season to emphasize that...

"Christ-Is-More"!

That He is more important, more worthy, more beautiful, more desirable...

For example, we choose not to put anything in our house having to do with Santa Claus or the North Pole.  Some people call that legalistic, but we call it...

"Christ-Is-More"!

So instead of sheltering our kids from "Santa and his elves", we have pretty good conversations about...

  "Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy?...
All things are permissible, 
but not everything is beneficial."
(1 Corinthians 10:22-23) 
 
So whether it's buying presents, singing festive songs, decorating the house, or planning on how we'll spend our "holiday" free-time, what is more beneficial than practicing that...

"Christ-Is-More"!

(More to come on how our family celebrates "Christ-Is-More"!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Life Is A Pilgrimage--A Thanksgiving Moment

Sometimes life is a challenge.  

Whether it's homeschooling, managing a house full of little ones, or pushing through morning sickness, there are just seasons that are more trying than others.

Today has been one of those trying days.  It's a Monday.  It's the day after a long break.  And it's a day I want to crawl back into bed and magically wake up with happy, routine-following, eager-to-learn kiddos.

But I know it's never that easy.  First comes some self-denial and discipline on my own part...and a cry out to God for help in the form of fresh perspective.

Well, the Lord faithfully brought me some perspective this morning!...and I wanted to share it with you all!

Recently I read an article in a homeschooling magazine about the legacy of Thanksgiving Day and as I reflected on it this afternoon (stirring a pot of mac & cheese with much grumbling) the Lord broke through to me...

Remember the Pilgrims.  

The Pilgrims arrived in a new land totally unfamiliar to them.  In fact, there was nothing comfortable, easy or familiar about their experiences in this new world.  They faced many struggles and trials to say the least--many of them died in the process of settling in America...not to mention how they struggled with hunger, grief, fear and even probably doubt.

But aren't we thankful they persevered?!

They had no idea how their sacrifices would bless an entire nation.  

The Pilgrims couldn't see the future, but they trusted that all the hard work and heartache wasn't in vain.

And just look at where their steadfastness has brought us!  

Sometimes the season of sowing is long and exhausting.  Sometimes I feel like giving up when I don't see signs of the harvest.  Sometimes I need to remember the Pilgrims--their voyage, their endurance and even their God.

Because their God is my God too.

I may not see the fruit of all my labor right now, but I know that scripture is true and that my God is Faithful.
So in the trying seasons of this life, I'll hold onto hope, that as I obey, He is working.

And I'll continue in my pilgrimage of homeschooling knowing that the Lord has plans for all these little Pilgrims that He has entrusted me with...

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Being Called Away...

I am hearing Him call my name...

I have a feeling He has been calling me for a while, but this past weekend I finally quieted myself long enough to clearly hear His voice.

My Shepherds voice.

He's calling me to Himself--into a season of greater simplicity and deeper commitment.

So, with great anticipation and joy, I'm taking a blogging break.

I don't know for how long...and I know my long-distance friends and family will be sad about this, but I hope you can understand...

I consider it an honor to obey my God in such a simple way because He is worthy of so much more than just my hobbies and my habits...but my entire life.
Matthew 6:33
"But seek first the kingdom of God 
and his righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you."
I'll probably try to update with "big event" pictures as time allows and will check up on all your blogs as time allows as well!

Blessings!!!

See you all soon!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Under the Bed Bed

Not a week goes by where my husband and I aren't woken up in the middle of the night to a sweet voice saying,

"Momma, I had a bad dream, can I sleep with you and daddy?"

We used to say "sure honey" and they'd hope into bed with us...the result?  Ryan and I didn't get ANY sleep.  We learned quickly that our boys are VIOLENT little sleepers!  We were getting kicked and pushed all night...

So although we'd love to say yes, we know better now....plus, we're in a queen and it's barely big enough for us (especially when I'm pregnant and if you haven't noticed yet, I'm pregnant more often than I'm not!)

So our solution to the situation is a toddler bed mattress tucked under our bed.
We pull it out, throw the pillow on (also under the bed) grab a blanket (yep, that's under there too), say a prayer with them and roll back over to sleep.

It used to be a huge hassle.  We'd either spend 30 minutes convincing them to go back to their bed (without crying so they didn't wake up the siblings in the room) or 10 minutes setting up a makeshift bed on our floor for them.

But now it's much more simple...they're even at the point that they'll just come down, pull the bedding out and fall asleep with us never even knowing they came down (until morning when we almost trip over them!)

It works for me!!...Anything to simply life and get everyone to sleep a little better is a blessing around here!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Homemade Pizza Sticks

This is another favorite off of my new Homestead Blessings DVD "The Art of Breadmaking"!

It's FAST and EASY and YUMMY!!!

Dough
2.5 cups flour 
(plus additional flour for rolling out)
1 T yeast
1 t salt
4 T Olive Oil
1 C warm water
1 T honey (not necessary, but helps activate the yeast)

Spread
1 stick melted butter
Garlic mixed into butter


Mix dry ingredients then add wet ingredients.

Knead dough for 5 minutes, then let rest 5 minutes.

Roll out dough (*on parchment paper--this will make transferring to pan easier!) into an oval.

Brush on melted butter/garlic spread.

Add cheese and herbs (I used Cheddar, Mozzarella, Oregano, Basil and Rosemary, then top with Parmesan).


Pat it all down with your hands and quickly fold in half.

Pinch edges and lightly roll the dough so it's a little more flat.

Transfer to pan (this is why you use parchment paper because it can get messy and floppy without it!)...plus, you can cook on parchment paper!

Bake at 375* for about 15 minutes.

Once it's out of the oven, I brush on olive oil and lightly cover with more Parmesan Cheese.

Cut in long strips then once across the middle.

I serve it with garlic butter and my homemade marinara sauce.
Marinara Sauce:
-2 cans Tomato sauce
-3 T Tomato paste 
-3 T Brown sugar
-Seasoning (like oregano, basil, garlic, thyme, etc)
-a dash of flour

Friday, October 22, 2010

One Note To Self and One Note To You...

Note to Self
Next time give the bread more room to rise...
Note to You
Check out the Moby Wrap Giveaway at "The Modest Mom Blog"...my MOMYS friend Caroline is giving away a Moby Wrap that retails for almost $40!!!  These things are so popular and I keep hearing rave after rave that mommas love these...so I'm hoping to win, but you should go enter too!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When My Hubby Brings His Work Home...

My hubby is the principal at our Christian School here in town.

For the Spring Fundraiser, a few of the moms (who also happen to be some of my very good friends) made enchiladas...140 dozen to be exact!!!

They had been working 2 days straight, juggling all their children after school while they cooked in the school kitchen!  So my hubby decided to "bring his work home" by bringing their kids to our house to play for the rest of the day...




It was so much fun!  Even the little siblings came!
Braddox and Liberty-One month apart
We are so blessed to have such wonderful kids in our school!   

My hubby LOVES his job!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lessons I'm Learning As I Surrender...

Psalm 119:71
"It was good for me to be afflicted
       so that I might learn your decrees."

Mornings around here are busy. They are unpredictable. They are tiring.

A while back, I discovered that I'm definitely not a schedule person, I'm a routine person. And while the routine I have set up really does help our mornings run smoothly, there are always unknown factors that can disturb a perfectly scheduled morning.

--A potty-training toddler has an "accident", leaving quite a mess to clean up
--Momma has a headache and is running in slow motion
--The baby is teething and follows you around in a half scream/half cry all morning
--Someone dumps over the gallon of milk
--The sink is leaking
--Someone spills oatmeal all over another child's worksheets
--Someones tummy is hurting
and sometimes the hardest to deal with...
--Momma didn't get to have her quiet time with Jesus

The first thing I'm learning as I am freshly surrendering my days to the Lord, is that if I am truly surrendered, I'll be content even when events happen that are out of my control.

If I am surrendered, I know that whatever happens in my day is for a purpose--

If I wake early to have my quiet time, but the rest of the house decides to wake up too, the Lord must have known that I could creatively get time with Him another way that day.

If I didn't get my timing down right and missed my morning shower, the Lord must have known I'd still get by without that coveted shower.

If...If...If...lately seems more like "when...when...when" but I've become okay with that because I'm surrendered to HIS plan, not mine.

He is the Author of my day and it won't do much good to pine after how I wanted the day to go, when obviously it's not going to look the way I had hoped.

Over the years, I have become SURE with many things about my Lord...a couple of those things are~~
He is purposeful.
He is in control.
He is always working on me.

It's because of those reasons I can be assured that surrendering my day to Him means trusting Him that He knows my needs even better than meAND that He will supply all my needs, BUT that he loves me enough to sometimes not let everything happen the way I plan and hope.  

Because thankfully, He knows better than to always let me get my way...He has too many lessons to teach me to that happen!!!

Psalm 119:71
"It was good for me to be afflicted
       so that I might learn your decrees."

(Looking over last years routine, I'm realizing it's time to update that post...that'll be coming soon!)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Birthday Celebration!!!

This weekend the birthday celebrating continued!

Trusten was able to invite one friend out to dinner with us, 
so he chose Karsin, a precious friend of our family who is just absolutely adorable!


"Papa and Nena" came for the party too!

First we opened presents...
(This is one of Trusten's favorite gifts--a Nerf gun
from his Nena and Papa!)

Karsin got the perfect gift for Trusten--Legos!
He loves to build and rebuild!
















And present #2 from Nena and Papa was a big hit!
A Razor scooter!

Then on to El Pueblito!!
Trusten's "Pawga and Mawga" celebrated with us...
(For the record, Trusten named all his grandparents when he was about 2!)

The El Pueblito servers love birthdays...
video

And they are known for getting a bit carried away...

But as long as Trusten got his sopapillas, he didn't care!

Me with my brand new 6 year old!

Happy Birthday again, my sweet "Trusser Man"
I love you with all my momma heart!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Surrender

"I Surrender!"

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately that have been really inspiring to me--people seeing a need for change in their lives and how they are deciding to change the way they are living (diets, cleaning habits, routines, etc)

For me, it's been the "kick in the pants" that I've been needing...I have some changes I want to make in my every day life, but they aren't easy (well, I guess change never is easy!).  They are changes I've tried to commit to over and over, yet they usually are short-lived.

Even with the best intentions most of my commitments usually don't last long...

--I want to wake up early to prepare my heart for the day, pray and read the Word.
--I want to memorize more scripture and practice having a constant prayer life.
--I want to make good choices to eat healthy foods.
--I want to be more intentional with my neighbors.

But what I have been learning is that my commitments usually don't last long, because I am the one in control of seeing them through.

The ball is always in "my court" and so when I don't feel like doing something...well, I just don't do it.

My good intentions are usually pushed aside when I am feeling extra sleepy, super busy, lazy and selfish (which happens more often than I'd like to admit!).

This past Sunday our pastor talked about surrender...and I realized, THAT has been my missing link!!!

"COMMITMENT IS NORMALLY CONNECTED 
TO CIRCUMSTANCES AND UNDERSTANDING. 
SURRENDER IS CONNECTED TO LORDSHIP."

Surrendering my commitments to my Savior, giving HIM control of my "good intentions" and falling back on Him when I "just don't feel like it"...

So I've been trying this week anew--
--Surrendering my mornings to Him
--Surrendering my thought life to Him
--Surrendering my body and choices to Him
--Surrendering my free time to Him

So, if you've been finding yourself in the same hopeless cycle with your commitments as I have, whether it's food, devotions, church attendance, behavior or whatever, I'd encourage you to surrender it to the Lord.  Don't just make a commitment and then strive for it alone...It's so refreshing to follow through in His power and not rely on our own weak will power!

"Failure, frustration and disappointment are the legacy of commitment, because it is always about me and depends entirely on me to achieve some outcome. Surrender takes 'me' out of the equation. As I heard a person once say, 'When I began to follow Christ, I resigned as General Manager of My World.'"
 -From Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray


Lord, this week is yours.  I surrender my mornings, my homeschooling and my parenting to you.  They are yours.  When I feel like taking the easy way out, I will carry through, but only by your strength.  I will work as unto You...not to please myself or my resolutions, not to check something off a list, not to pat myself on the back.  Instead, I'll do it to honor you...the Giver of my life and all that I have and do!  I am surrendered.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Announcing the Winner of the CSN Stores Giftcard!!!

I was so excited to see that there were 69 entries for this giveaway!!!

As always, I prayed before hitting that "Generate" button on Random.org that this giveaway would go to someone the Lord knew needed it...or just needed a little blessing from Him in this season of their lives!

So with that, I'm so happy to announce that the winner is...
Photobucket
# 28...Jill @ PathwayToPurpose!!!

I even decided to decorate the house for my Giveaway Reveal...

Well, okay, not really... it's actually for Trusten's birthday celebration , but the festiveness was too fun not to share!!!

So congrats Jill!  I'll e-mail you soon with more details!

I'd encourage everyone to go visit Jill...she is such a sweet woman who has had an emotional year with her son Brandon who had some medical issues that suddenly arose in the Spring.

She also recently started her own business called "Simple Delights".  She'll be donating a portion of all her profit to families in the process of adoption!  Pretty cool, huh?!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Birthday Boy!

When we went up to Kansas City to get our new van, we had an early birthday celebration for Trusten who will be 6 years old very soon!!!

Trusten's "MooMaw and PaPa" always like to spoil the boys like crazy, so first we went to the "Dinosaur Restaurant" (aka T. Rex)!  This is one of the boys favorite places, we went there for Brahm's 3rd birthday...

It's such a fun place because there is SO much to look at and listen to!
Every 30 minutes there is a "Meteor Shower" where the lights flash, the dinosaurs roar, and other fun, crazy stuff like that!!
Samuel was quite distracted by all the dinosaurs that were so close to us...
Liberty was completely unaffected by any of it!  :)
Then after we finished our dinner, Papa had a big surprise for Trusten...

video


The next day, they bought Trusten a cake...
So we celebrated with cake, ice cream, cousins...oh and presents!

A Telescope!!!
This picture doesn't quite capture it,
but he was SO excited to get a telescope!!!
Legos!!!
Clothes!!!
And the sweet fellowship of cousins and "Great MooMaw"!
And we still have another celebration yet to come with his "Nena And Papa"!

***I wanted to post some "through the years" pictures, but we don't have a scanner anymore, so these I've already had scanned will have to do...

Trusten just a few days old...
(to hear about his birth story, click HERE)

Trusten 1.5 years old, meeting his new little brother...

Trusten 3 years old, with another new little brother...


Trusten's 4th Birthday...

Trusten's 5th Birthday...
So Happy Birthday Week, my sweet 6 year old little man!!!
 Linked to Wednesdays' Walk Down Memory Lane.

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