Thursday, March 31, 2011

Just Showing Off

I Delight to Do WHOSE Will?

Progress! There was no show-down.

Breakfast was over,

dishes done,

and she hadn't made a move

but Steve called her for morning worship and she obeyed.

The verse of the week is

Psalm 40:8

I delight to do Thy will, oh my God, yeah Thy law is within my heart.

Missy kept saying "I delight to do MY will..."  which nearly brought the house down!!  Oh how true, child, BUT what a day that will be when you learn the joy of doing GOD's will.

Anyway, what a good verse! We've been going over it and over at every sign of inclination towards obstinacy and it actually puts a smile on her face.

Tank is here for a week. Missy's out bossing both dogs around, which is a totally appropriate place to use up her desire for control. 

I'm back to transplanting...


I'm waiting to see if Missy can snap out of her attitude on her own this morning...

We've had a fairly good week. She's been pretty amiable. She doesn't give a hoot if she obeys or not, but at least she isn't screaming and throwing a tantrum about it. She just walks away or ignores me. I have dealt with each disobedience the same way each time and things were improving.

Today, first thing though, I found her doing what she knows she shouldn't. I called her on it and sent her back to her room and so therefore she is doing NOTHING; not getting dressed, not making her bed, not doing anything. I brought her her water and she just ignored me. I'm waiting to see when she'll decide to make a change.

She'll either suddenly decide to get moving or we'll have a show-down.

I'm prepared. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Rethinking the Big Change Idea

Found an interesting series of pictures on the camera...

(I wonder who's  been using my camera again?!
One guess is all we're allowed.)

                                         and, well, thought they might be the ticket to a new look... and so the blog might not disappear for a day or two, but if it does, it will be back on Friday!

Been needing a fresh look... and these pics just capture this lousy weather and April showers that promise to bring May flowers ....


Monday, March 28, 2011

Ducklings and Kittens

The SUN is shining,
Kittens are being born,

and the ducklings are hatching....

What a morning!

 We'll get rid of that piece of wire as soon as we can get close enough without upsetting anyone.  Christina is busy being the mid-wife to the mama cat since she is having a hard time.So far there are three kittens, but mama is really fat still.

It's kind of funny... these ducks have been the icon of this blog for quite a long time, but just when I am about to completely redo and make major changes, they come up with a new CUTE brood. You can imagine Bri will be in photographer's heaven in the next few weeks capturing every miniscule cute move of each duckling!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Open House

What a great day filled with many blessings...
fellowship, work, joy, and rainbows.
Vanessa and her teacher . . . beautiful music!
A bunch of my favorite kids.

Singing beautifully...
Growing up cowgirl style.
The girls' mission corner - a very successful display.

Our new sign - minus the grass.
The foyer - resting after the crowd.
The awesome, very functional kitchen.
More kids growing up before our very eyes!!

The entire church family needs a good night of sleep.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Missy snapped out of it shortly after I wrote the post. We were working hard to prepare for the Sabbath and she did her share. Fridays are busy.... 6 loaves of bread baked by Christina and 3 by me. One batch of granola bars by Brianna and another kind by Vanessa. Christina baked cookies. Vanessa made pea soup and I made asparagus soup while my two batches of gluten-free muffins baked in the oven. We made a huge batch of granola and organized cupboards, washed a ton of dishes, and mopped the floor. Christina was on  laundry duty and Brianna cleaned bathrooms. We filled the food dryer with bananas and vacuumed the house and bought groceries. Missy had one job after another to keep her occupied and she forgot to be miserable. She had a lovely time with the company in the evening and fell asleep content with her place in our family and life.

A new day dawned with a promise of good things. Hugs and good mornings and cheery words....

and then...

oh brother!!!!  

I can sense a control game and dishonesty long before I actually know what's going on and it took me almost an hour to put my finger on the button, but I was in high alert and just knew... 

And I let it get to me.

All the patience I had in the last week... that was all used up, and I cried. The Lord doesn't run out, but somehow I failed to  receive the grace to maintain a calm interior and the interior cracked and bled all over the exterior. Suddenly the trial was no longer about a little girl who desires to pull the strings and be in control, it was about me failing to have the victory necessary to hide in Christ and let the billows roll...

Lucky for Missy, she decided, after being seated in on the bench in the hall, that the issue wasn't worth the fight and she made a 180 degree turn around. 

As for me, I know that I must keep my eyes fixed on Christ and learn the lessons He is trying to teach me more thoroughly so that when this same trial comes around again - and you know without a doubt that it will, I will not be moved.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Testing ,Testing, 1.2.3.

Ah, that would be Missy DOING the testing. . .

for no reason at all that anybody can see.

The results of the tests are always the same. Her entire day is put on hold.

"I'm giving you the choice, child. Be happy and helpful and cooperative, or sit here. You choose by your actions."

She chooses to sit there.

Like I say, the results of the testing is consistent.

We went through the routine.... praying, talking about choices, repeating our Scripture texts, requiring obedience. Again and again. With patience.

Now it is for us to believe that God's Word is true and He will work the transformation her heart needs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Strange Coincidence

Looking through a pile of paperwork I noticed something I had not seen before...

The twins bio mother's middle name is the same as mine.

Their bio father's middle name is the same as my husband's and it's the same as the one we chose for Buster.

We aren't changing Buster's given name. And just so you know, his name is not Buster - nor is it even close :-) We are only adding a middle name and our last name.  Missy's given name is dropping three letters so that we don't confuse her with another daughter and we are adding the middle name Hope to match the other girls middle names; Joy, Grace, and Faith.

Our second eldest child is SICK with a fever.

I spent the afternoon washing windows at the church. The church open-house is Sunday afternoon and we aren't ready. There are major changes happening every time I step foot in the place, but there is so much to do. We've had several major set-backs in the construction process. Maybe we should have burned the old place down before we tried to expand and remodel.... but the finish line is within sight. Should the old world last long enough, we definitely have a wonderful, very functional place to invite people to worship with us. A friend and I knelt on the new carpet and prayed together for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the latter rain. It's only a building after all. We need the filling of the Holy Ghost, love and unity and a spirit of service in the people who attend for the place to be anything other than just another church building on the street.

We have a brand new church and homeschool library. It's just perfect and decorated just so.The room is sunny and bright.

What used to be the old library and Young Adult classroom has been completely redone and dubbed the Chapel.  Our Spanish speaking friends are moving in and starting a new Spanish church. It's pretty exciting!! Steve has been studying the Bible with some people that may be interested in attending.

Cindy and Natalie have absolutely transformed the youth Sabbath school classroom.  It's fabulous with an African theme . . . . . . and totally highlighting the fact that the junior room is stark and bare. We were just assigned a brand-spanking new room on the third floor for the junior class and the part of my brain that is suppose to come up with decorating ideas is on the fritz.  Totally on the fritz.        *Sigh*

Eardrum Patch Coming Up

Took a quick run to Children's Hospital yesterday... if you can call 8 hours of travel and hanging out in the big city a quick run. Missy is going to have a mini-surgery to put a patch on the hole in her eardrum. The soonest we can get in for this is the middle of May. This will give her just enough time to heal before swimming season starts. And that's a good thing for this little fish.

We swung by REI. It's no side- trip. Going to REI for my hubby is like THE reason to go to the big city :-)  We came out with LOOT!!!   7 pairs of footwear to be exact. Okay, before you think we spent $700 - which would be easy for 7 pairs of shoes and boots in this particular store, let me tell you we shop the bargain bin. The other day I had a friend say, "Yeah, my husband checked out the bargain basement and all they had was used stuff!!!" Well, yes... it's a all returns and some of it is OLD and well worn out, but MOST of it has been purchased and returned almost right away and the price is a fraction of the usual costs. Christina fared well... She's all set for Africa so far as her feet go. She got a pair of KEEN hikers and KEEN town shoes to go along with her KEEN sandals. You'd think we were really into name brands. We aren't really, but I have to say those hikers are the most comfortable boots I've ever tried on. Steve and Brianna managed to find needed shoes and I picked out two brand new pairs of rainboots for my nieces, plus a pair of KEEN walking shoes, and the grand total of our shopping spree should have come to $150.00 because of the big discounts, but it came to $0. I LIKE that kind of shopping!!! My husband has finally convinced me that an REI card is a good idea.

The twins were perfect little angels all day.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Day!

The sun was shining.

The kids were happy.

The swing set and slide were played with nearly all day.

Missy respected her speech teacher today and did well in her lesson.

I got to spend some time in the garden with Brianna.

Vanessa and Christina made cookies with Kristen, Dakota and Kenzie.

Steve came home from work a little early.

And my spider bite is all better. :-) Yeah for charcoal poultices.

The Heart of the Matter

It's a weight on my thoughts. I've been studying and praying with this in mind...

How do we get to the heart of this little girl?

When you work with a child and they mess up, get mad, have an attitude, etc... there comes, if not before a consequence, at least during or afterwards, and sometimes with much prayer, a recognition of their mistake and sin. Usually, a parent can see repentance and a sorrow for the wrong committed. There is an apology made (and yes, you have to teach them how to do this), and maybe some tears and a heartfelt hug and a closeness between the parent and child.

This is generally the way it goes with Buster.

This is rare with Missy.

She holds a grudge. She must have the last word. If she can't have the actual last word, she will by her attitude and demeanor make you to understand that she holds that "last word" in her heart. She often holds herself aloof. Now if she wants something from you.... that's another story. "Oh, I love you mama!!" hugs and kisses ****

I pray for this kiddo. It makes it very hard to discipline her. She will be ugly for hours. For instance, if I ask her to be quiet when she's mouthing off, she will not shut her mouth... she will go on and on and on until she's screaming that "I obey NOW!"

I have read and re-read this statement trying to wrap my brain around what my part as a parent is to help bring her to TRUE REPENTENCE.

"We often sorrow because our evil deeds bring unpleasant  consequences to ourselves; but this is not repentance. Real sorrow for sin is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals the ingratitude of the heart that has slighted and grieved the Savior, and brings us in contrition to the foot of the cross. By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh; and as we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we mourn for the sins that have brought anguish upon Him. Such mourning will lead to the renunciation of sin." Desire of Ages pg 300

Obviously, I cannot do the work of the Holy Spirit and I am glad I am not alone in working with this child. Somehow, though, I have to be able to present to her Jesus, His character and His sacrifice in a meaningful way. Her thoughts are so narrow and focused on herself.  She's so consumed with selfishness that there is little room for any other thought, almost to the exclusion of knowledge itself and love for others.

Sin is such a big problem : /

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Way it Goes

I was prepared... and it worked out well. I had a plan before I ever crawled out of bed.

See, yesterday, I needed to work at the church for a bit and since both kiddos were playing happily together I figured it safe to leave them with the girls for a little while. Vanessa dropped me off and drove off to prepare a meal for an elderly couple. That left me wheel-less which I would regret. . .

So the twins both decided that no one was in charge of them and they were going to get their way - whatever the cost. They chose to be unreasonable.

WOW! I received a few phone calls with blood curdling screams going on in the background. For the most part the girls handled them really well. They did what they should do and didn't get too upset about it, but it wasn't ending and it was taking Vanessa a long time to come and pick me up.

The girls actually managed to turn Buster around and by the time I was home he had apologized and was busily scrubbing the bathroom in restitution.  LOL, Christina had him scrub the whole bathroom floor with her with a toothbrush using bleach soft scrub to whiten the tile grout. LOL! Anybody know who that girl's mother is?  She must have one of those slave driver moms!!!! 

Missy was another story. I had her carry up six small pieces of wood. Yep. Six trips up and down the hill... it gave time for the steam to fizzle.

Today I decided enough of this nonsense everytime I try to leave them at home for a bit.  IT's time they  learn. After breakfast I sat them down and talked to them about yesterday. I was especially pointed in my concern about the name calling that had been going on the day before. I told them they had broken my trust and that I was going back to the church for a while. They couldn't just play, nor could they go with me. They needed to sit on a chair with some books and they would not be allowed off so long as I was gone. They would have to mind Vanessa. I also told them that if they so much as started to fuss Vanessa would call me and I would be home in less than 5 minutes.... and life would never be the same again if that happened!! Okay, kidding about the last part. I did tell them that I would be home immediately to deal with disrespect.

It worked. I'll be doing that until they learn to obey and respect my word even when I am not visible.

Later  however Buster was engrossed in his lego project and when lunch was called he flipped his lid and said he wasn't hungry, stomped around and threw a fit.  I put him in time out and told him that he needed to be quiet on the chair for 15 minutes and then he would have lunch.  He fussed and fumed and huffed and puffed and yelled for 2 hours.   I just kept telling myself to outlast, outlast, outlast.

Then this evening Missy threw a royal. I put her on the same chair. She knew enough to keep quiet... but the second I let her off she had to have some disrespectful words and I decided an early bed was required and OH MY! What a tantrum we endured. It was the most amazing sight we ever saw!! She hopped like a kangaroo backwards a foot off the floor continuously... and just as she was about to hit the table she fell under it narrowly missing hitting the back of her head on the wood. All four of us stood in utter shock and disbelief.. She really could have knocked herself unconscious but she missed the table by a hair.  I decided then and there to physically put her in bed. What a battle... but we were able to get her to the point where we could pray together.

Chalk it up as another day.

Rough Time

Multiple things happened yesterday... all discouraging. All heartbreaking.

Not the least of which was some old behavior resurfacing from both of the twins. They were both really, really naughty. Incredibly so. Buster finally got a hold of himself and made a huge turn around. I expect more from Missy today. I do have a major plan to deal with this trouble today. You might hear more about it later.

In the trials God gives us glimpses of His care and moments of joy to treasure. He wants us to have courage and to have us look to Him for our strength and direction. He's given me an assignment I'd rather not have (not talking about the twins here) ... but I pray that I am obedient to every iota of His call on my life. We're talking the refiner's fire and very humbling experiences. Obviously, I needed humbling or why else would the Lord allow these things to come my way?

In other news, I have a spider bite. Must have been bitten last Wednesday or Thursday. I thought nothing of it. I'm thinking about it a lot now!! It hurts. I have a sliding glass door to a balcony in my bedroom. It's the only window, so in order to have fresh air you have to have the slider open which allows for a lot of critters to find their way into our room even with the screen. It's kind of a dumb arrangement, but I didn't build the house and so it is what it is. I killed a spider the size of a quarter the other day. He had evaded me for a week. He could traverse the walls and ceiling faster than I could track him. We started doing charcoal poultices last night and hoping my leg feels better by tonight.

Gather Courage from the Coldness of Others

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24:12, 13
“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The very atmosphere is polluted with sin. Soon God’s people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal. Instead of being strengthened and confirmed by opposition, threats, and abuse, they will cowardly take the side of the opposers. The promise is: “Them that honour me I will honour.”... 
Already the judgments of God are abroad in the land, as seen in storms, in floods, in tempests, in earthquakes, in peril by land and by sea. The great I AM is speaking to those who make void His law. When God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth, who will then be able to stand? Now is the time for God’s people to show themselves true to principle. When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in the defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason....
The Captain of our salvation will strengthen His people for the conflict in which they must engage.... 
Now is the time when we should closely connect with God, that we may be hid when the fierceness of His wrath is poured upon the sons of men. 
All who will gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their defections, and loyalty from their treason, will triumph with the third angel’s message.
Sons and Daughters of God pg 201

Friday, March 18, 2011

Like a Sponge

I would tell him a hymn number and then he would have to find it. 
Then we'd sing the first verse (whether or not we knew the song). 
He didn't know he was doing school work. 
Can you think of a more fun way to learn to read numbers?
(and good sight reading for me :-)

He discovered a few Dick and Jane books on the bookshelf and he's devouring them. 
He'll read to anyone who will listen! 
It's fast becoming his favorite thing to do. 
The other day a truck whizzed past us at an intersection...
He calls out;  Fed Ex
WHAT's Fed Ex? He's always asking about things he's read.
I try to explain everything. 
It's opening up a new world of insight and knowledge
and right now he's like a sponge.
He likes to help... but I think the knife was too dull for the job? 
You think? 
These are leeks we're harvesting from last year's garden. 
There's still a bunch out there. Makes great soup.
As for Missy,
there's nothing to show. She's in a stand-off that may last quite awhile. 
She turns everything into a battle. 
Everything I say is to be challenged on the sly or full-on confrontation. 
Poor kiddo cannot learn a thing when she's in this mode. It's more like regression.
I can't understand her words, even.
She could not even tell me what a 2 was today. (ummm 19? Maybe 26?
Nor could she so much as hand me the book in front of her nose. 
( Book, what book? I don't see a book!
The good part is today I'm not stressing about it
and she's finding I won't engage. Period.
I'm sure this is in answer to prayer.
She'll come around. 
I just walk away and keep her world SMALL and there's no reward of any kind for foolish behavior.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Will Set a Watch Over My Lips

     Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Ps. 141:3  

     In the use of language there is perhaps no error that old and young are more ready to pass over lightly in themselves than hasty, impatient speech. They think it is a sufficient excuse to plead, "I was off my guard, and did not really mean what I said." But God's Word does not treat it lightly. . . .  
     The largest share of life's annoyances, its heartaches, its irritations, is due to uncontrolled temper. In one moment, by hasty, passionate, careless words, may be wrought evil that a whole lifetime's repentance cannot undo. Oh, the hearts that are broken, the friends estranged, the lives wrecked, by the harsh, hasty words of those who might have brought help and healing! . . . In his own strength man cannot rule his spirit. But through Christ he may gain self-control.  
     Uniform firmness and unimpassioned control are necessary to the discipline of every family. Say what you mean calmly, move with consideration, and carry out what you say without deviation. . . . Never let a frown gather upon your brow or a harsh word escape your lips. God writes all these words in His book of records.  
     Overwork sometimes causes a loss of self-control. But the Lord never compels hurried, complicated movements. Many gather to themselves burdens that the merciful heavenly Father did not place on them. Duties He never designed them to perform chase one another wildly. God desires us to realize that we do not glorify His name when we take so many burdens that we are overtasked and, becoming heart weary and brain weary, chafe and fret and scold. We are to bear only the responsibilities that the Lord gives us, trusting in Him, and thus keeping our hearts pure and sweet and sympathetic.
From My Life Today - Page 81
Today has NOT been a good day at all.

Little Miss is not cooperative in the least. Everything I do or say is taken by her as a challenge to a fight.

I was doing okay for awhile but after several hours of the nonsense I had HAD it! And I let her know, too. Told her to go away and not even to talk to me. I was so frustrated. I walked away and left her to figure out her own problems.

I, of course, felt horrible immediately afterwards, but not enough to call her back. I was afraid of what else I might say.

So, what did she do?

She put on her pajamas on and put herself to bed and went right to sleep!

A few hours before I had put her to bed, too... but of course, it wasn't her idea so she fought it.

I need a boatload of patience that I don't have. I'm crying out to the Lord for wisdom and help. I want to head off one those 10 hour or ten day stand offs that are all too familiar but she's SOOOOOO determined! She was utterly disrespectful to Steve  yesterday and disobedient to the PT teacher. One speech teacher is discouraged with her, the other can't get her to cooperate in the least.

I"m off to see to a mad little boy.


PS. He got over it quick. I haven't faced her yet. She's playing dolls in the bedroom.

Grumbling and Disputing

Do all things without grumbling or disputing.  
Philippians 2:14
This is the text of the week.
Spouting off at the mouth in anger over every little trifle is getting old.

It often times turns to yelling and screaming, "I obey, I happy now!" which would be hilarious if it were not so obnoxious and so contradictory of the attitude. Yelling "I happy now!" in rage is not my idea of a happy heart.

May the Lord wash the hearts of all this ugliness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Torrent of Words

There is a certain little someone who is NOT very nice to be around today. 

She doesn't learn very easily, either.

The words... oh the words!!! In a torrent akin to Niagara Falls they come spewing out.... 

For more than 4 miles.

Steve did the first 2 + miles and I did the second 2+ miles and I thought she would never quit.

stop talking
be quiet
no words
no words
shut your mouth
no words
no talking
quit screaming 
hey! if you want to keep running then keep on yelling at me.
we are not going to stop until I know that you are done with all the words
no words
no words
no words
just stop talking
okay... if you won't stop I'll just have to do my own talking
Praise the Lord!
praise His name
Thank you for such trials as this child (can you believe I said that?)
The Lord is merciful and longsuffering
What a beautiful day...

and finally
I just sang with what little air I had. 
(And now I'm wheezing up a storm and can't catch my breath).


She doesn't learn easily.

After 10 minutes of complete silence she said,

"I sorry I scream and yell at you."

I'm sorry you scream and yell at me too, kiddo. It's not a good choice. 
I love you but I cannot love the ugliness that comes out of your mouth 
and your desire to have your own way. 

SELF is always ugly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three and Half Miles Later....

We're home from running the naughty I-want-my-way crying spell off of Buster. And what a different boy he is!!!! Even the girls are commenting on his change of attitude!

What is wrong with me?

Why does it take two days to remember what worked last time?????

I've had a migraine for a few days and I'm not able to shake it, so running with a pounding head wasn't really on my list of desired activities. Actually, I'm having a very hard time being patient at all. My big old SELF wants the fussing to end NOW so I can just sit and be quiet in my gray cloud and wish the pain away. Not  working out that way for me. :-) I think our little exercise may have helped a wee little bit, though.

So anyway, I'm soaked to the skin from the rain because I didn't wear a coat. We ran to the stop sign and were almost home when he decided to have a last fling with his bad attitude and I said a little prayer in my heart for love and patience and turned him around retraced our steps while I sang and he cried. I wouldn't face home till the cryin was done, which was almost all the way back to the stop sign.

Tomorrow we have choir practice... and our church won't have any power. Should be interesting...

I've been offered a job a few hours a week playing piano for really good pay. Not sure I need more responsibility, but the $$ would be useful. Praying about it. The girls have completely taken over my other piano/music leading job, but this other one also requires some choir directing - which scares me to death. Kids are one thing (even kids that know more about music than I do) but adults? That's just scary!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hard Day with the Twins

I don't know what's up.

Buster refuses to answer the simplest questions like, "What are you doing?"

He was outside and I couldn't see him and I wandered all around looking for him and when I did find him and asked him what he was doing he refuse to answer.  We went through quite a trial to get to the bottom of it. Turns out he was just playing with the hitch on the back of the suburban pretending to hook up a trailer. I explained that it was fine to play with it so long as no one was using the car... all I wanted to know was what was he doing? so that I could know he was playing safe. He also needs to answer me out of respect.

He didn't get the message.

I saw him with his hands in his sister's hair I asked him what he was doing - and he refused to answer. I didn't know if he was annoying her or curious about her hair ties. . .  it was just a simple, "Whatcha doing?" kind of question.

Missy just didn't feel like obeying. Period.

She's had a lot of time-out. She is now coloring and needs to stay under my radar for a long while .

We'll just chalk it up as one of those days...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Art of Drawing

The kids have been home a year.

After 5 months in our home they started using crayons and drawing primitive pictures. Recorded HERE.

Today I noticed a slight improvement in Buster's drawings. People now have fingers and teeth ( and nostril hairs?) ....

and this is a portrait of his twin. She's wearing a hat. 
I laughed when I saw that he spelled her name (the name we call her, not her real name) phonetically. AnuJoe. Not exactly sure how the e fits in there but at the time he explain it it made perfect sense to him. (And you are still puzzled as to what we call her :-)
Little Missy's people now sport long curls and 25 fingers on each hand, but no body, though her legs have knees.
Not the most beautiful people in the world, but I have to keep track of their growth... so there you have it.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Child Labeling


Got ya! 

You thought this was a post about the evils of labeling children various and sundry psychological diagnostic labels. . . 
Not going to go there. 

Well, not today anyway.

This is about a little boy using his newly acquired skills to label my seed trays.

I was busily planting and the twins were looking for ways to help.
Buster says, "I'm going to learn to write so I can make dees tings for you!"

"Say, what makes you think I can wait until you perfect your handwriting skills? I need you to start right now!"

And he did.

Learning on the job is the very best way to learn.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happiness Not Self- Willed

My dear children;

Jesus wants you to be happy,
but you cannot be happy in having your own way 
and following the impulses of your own heart...
Our notions, our peculiarities,
are wholly human and must not be humored or indulged.
Self is to be crucified,
not now and then but daily,
and the physical, mental, and spiritual must be subordinate to the will of God.
The glory of God, the perfection of Christian character, 
is to be the aim, the purpose, of our life.
Christ's followers must imitate Christ in disposition....
Like Christ
is the watchword, not like your father or your mother,
but like Jesus Christ - hid in Christ,
clothed with Christ's righteousness imbued with the Spirit of Christ.

Mind Character and Personality pg 644

PS. If you would like to read something on grace that will put a smile on your face check out my brother's post: GRACE

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Evening Prayer

Missy came to me a half hour or so after earning a tiny little treat
for choosing to be pleasant all day. 
She said all excited,
"I gain favor today!!!"

LOL! Yup. You sure did.

She's really truly connecting our well-used scripture text to her life, unprompted....
Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the transgressor is hard. 
Proverbs 13:15

Her prayer at worship:

Thank you God I not lie today. I not disobey today. Thank you for new heart today.  Tomorrow I new heart. In Jesus name, amen.

And wonder of wonders,
she never even asked to go to prayer meeting tonight. 
She just decided to accept my decision without question.

I made a loaf of gluten-free bread today. I don't always make it because I find the brown rice flour isn't helpful in keeping little Missy regular. It's very critical that we keep things going. Well, I didn't realize how much they miss plain old peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  The both of them were beyond thrilled and the loaf isn't lasting.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Very Proud

Of Buster. He's been so even keel.

Stuff that used to set him off doesn't much anymore. I haven't seen an all out tantrum in 3 or 4 weeks. Today he did his little frenetic thing (a little acting out in frustration characterized by quick jerky movement and a mad look) when Brianna handed him an orange in the car. He can't be bothered by food that takes any kind of work. Bri took the orange back and said, "Fine, you'll just have to wait to eat then." That used to be a recipe for  disaster, but he just sat still and didn't say a word. He waited. Fifteen or twenty minutes later someone handed him other food and he thanked them. I was in the store when this transpired, but I heard about it and I was so worried that I could not get out of the store fast enough to prevent a total melt-down, but I was pleasantly surprised to find he happy and content.

He cried when Pepere and Memere left. He hates goodbyes. It took him awhile to adjust. He played alone, but came and cried on my lap, then went and played alone for awhile.

The last couple of days we've been working hard out in the garden. When I have no work for them they play together on the steep banks rolling and climbing and pretending to be firefighters letting down ropes for each other to help climb up out of the fiery pit, or whatever. After first Missy could not climb the bank. It's vertical behind the barn. The grass is dried and slippery and the sand pours down on the kids, but she worked and worked at it and learned.  I am thankful. They have an imagination. Somewhat limited, but it's there and growing. They are getting quite adventurous, too. This is so different from last year! I've decided to let them experiment and be as adventurous as they possibly can. I won't ever say anything about getting dirty, or being barefoot, or trying out new things so long as they are safe. I will be quiet and let them discover so long as they are being nice. 

Today was town day. Missy's been a controller. She's been tomato staked all day and we're working on her desire to force for her way by screaming, whining and fussing. I'm not allowing any of it.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing.  
Philippians 2:14

Sunday, March 6, 2011


My child is obsessing...

All last week she obsessed with going to every week of prayer meeting. She woke up with one thought on her mind, "Tonight, I go prayer meeting". . Her first words were about getting to the church for the service. Her conversation all day was about week of prayer and getting to go each night.

Her cooperation actually dictated whether or not she could go. If she was unreasonable and crying then that was a true sign she was needing to go to bed on time. She knew.

This whole going to the meeting bit,
It had nothing to do with prayer 
and everything 
to do with 

It wouldn't have mattered if we were planning a trip to the dump every night, she would have made a big deal of it. Actually, Steve went to the dump last week and she obsessed over that to the point of nearly driving us crazy and in the end she blew it royally and didn't get to go, but Buster did. 

He's obsessing, too. It's more manageable.He doesn't chew on your ear quite like she does and he isn't blowing a fuse quite the same if I need to say no.

Week of prayer is over. My parents left for home this morning. Today she obsessed about going with Christina to feed a friend's cat. I decided no. She was so mad about that!!! If she could have found a way to force me to let her go she would have. She ended up in bed early.

This feeding the cat thing, it's no event. There's no social happening. In fact, we drive down the road a few minutes and then Christina hops out of the car, feeds the cat and we drive the few minutes home.


It's so all consuming.

Tonight I told her, "Tomorrow, you are not going anywhere. Don't ask. Don't beg. Don't even think that if you are "happy" all day I'll let you go anywhere. You are NOT going anywhere. You cannot have everything you want at all times and you need to learn that."

Three minutes later she asks, "Tomorrow, I be good,  I go peed de cat?"


Hard Working Kid

Missy LOVES to work outdoors in the garden probably as much as we do. She worked very, very hard pulling up cornstalks, pushing the wheelbarrow to the burn pile, pulling up dead tomatoes, raking and running errands.  You can hear her laugh from one of the property to the other - especially when her load in the wheelbarrow is barely staying in as she wobbles from one side of the road to the other with that heavy thing. She runs errands and brings you exactly what you asked for as fast as she can. She find great delight in helping in the garden. She was as happy as a clam all day.

Buster is not so interested in hard work. He'll do a job and then flee to his bicycle and ride back and forth along the bottom of the drive until I give him another job. Don't send him to find the rake. He won't find it. Don't ask him to get a jug water... he'll tromp mud all over the kitchen doing it. If the task has anything to do with fire, then by all means he's in there like a dirty shirt and has to be reminded to stay safe, but somehow it just draws him in.

Truth is, I find him easier to live with in the house. She can drive a person around the bend with her non-stop questions and talking and getting into things. I think we'll be living out of doors from now on.

By the way, I have a new gardening blog. harmony hollow 
The tabs aren't set up right, yet, but there are two posts.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sweet, Sweet 16

Sixteen years ago today on a wintry evening a little girl made her very quick entrance into the world. We had been at church meetings all day. I felt little tiny contractions all day about 5 minutes apart, but they were little tiny contractions... In the evening we went home and put our little 17 month old Vanessa to bed and I decided to take a hot bath. Suddenly my water broke and 3 hard contractions and 3 hard pushes later Brianna Grace made her entrance.

We weren't ready. Steve thought she would be a boy and as he caught her he said, "Well hello there, we don't have a name for you!!" LOL! That was okay, because in the back of my mind I had a name all picked out and she fit the name perfectly.

The neighbor lady knocked on the door and Steve hollered for her to please come up and help.Aunty June never forgets to send Brianna a birthday card every year.

The midwife was mad she'd missed the birth and that it was snowing, but we are glad she eventually came as she was helpful in getting the birth certificate papers filled out. Before she left she said, "Next time, don't call me. You don't need my help you can do it yourself." So, when Christina was born we took her advice and didn't hire a midwife. My mom caught that baby.

Brianna was a sweet baby. She never opened her eyes for three days! She was calm and quiet and content so long as someone was holding her. Try to put her down in her little bed at night and she was another story!!

Today she is 16 and we couldn't ever imagine life without her. We LOVE you.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When You Rent a Trailer...

You have to make sure you use it to the fullest...

So, we rented a trailer to bring home these huge awnings we were given to build a greenhouse with. They were huge enough to need a 20 foot trailer. Christina and I quick cleared out the barn and the garage of all the things that seem to accumulate without our permission and loaded the trailer full of stuff for the dump. Next Dad and I went and took apart a jungle gym swing that someone was giving the twins and carted that home. The trailer was only returned 2 and half hours late, but they didn't charge us a cent extra, thankfully.

The twins are very excited about their swing set. They can't wait till we set it up and begged all afternoon.

Brianna is very excited about her greenhouse. She turns 16 tomorrow and she asked for a greenhouse. If you think that's odd, you have to know this isn't just any girl! For example on her 13th birthday she asked for a bee hive and a package of bees. You just never know what she'll get interested in next. Once she received a box of chicks. Another time she got the cutest little button quail. She's had chukkars and Bobwhites and garden shovels for gifts.

I'm very excited the snow melted today.

Week of prayer is going well except that the CD recorder is not working, so bummer, we don't have all the sermons for review and Dad is preaching on some heavy subjects that really do take more than a one time hearing to wrap my brain around fully.

Missy is struggling with control issues. Give the child a quarter inch and she'll take 3 miles... I have to keep a tight watch on her. It's so downright sad when unreasonableness takes over. One absolutely has to chalk it down as such 'cause there's no rhyme nor reason in the thought processes. I have to say she made a good turn around today, though. I try to be as straightforward and no-nonsense as possible showing no stress or distress for her to feed on. I completely understand that her goal is to cause a scene to gain control. Not in so many words, but it's attention getting. This morning, after the first few things we tried meant to put an end the behavior didn't work,  I did my best to insulate her from any and all attention from the rest of the family. She had me and me only to deal with for awhile and a couple solitary jobs to fulfill. Next thing we knew she was pleasant enough to integrate back into the goings on. She had already lost the privilege of going to prayer meeting, though, and that for some reason was the end of the world.  Buster has been happy all the time.

We managed to clear out a closet or two of sewing supplies and fabrics this afternoon. Mom is filling a container for Africa and her sewing school students will put to good use my over abundant stashes. I didn't keep much of it. It feels so good to give away stuff I am not using to simplify and declutter. And it all started with renting a trailer...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Year Ago


the twins came home.

And what a year it has been!!!

We know that this year has made a temporal difference in their lives,

But I pray the difference is eternal

For all of us.