Monday, December 24, 2012

Wise men still seek Him

Christmas time was approaching
Snow was starting to fall
Shoppers choosing their presents
People filling the mall

Children waiting for Santa
With excitement and glee
A little boy tugged my sweater
Looked up and asked me

"Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday
Why don't we see Him more?"

As I stood in amazement
At this message profound
I looked down to thank him
He was no where around

The little boy at the mall
Might as well have had wings
As the tears filled my eyes
Thought I heard him sing

"Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday
Why don't we see Him more?

"Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me
Santa Claus brought me presents
But Christ gave His life for me."

In the blink of an eye
At the sound of His trump
We'll all stand in line at His throne
Every knee shall bow down
Every tongue will confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord

Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday
Why don't we see Him more?

Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me
Santa Claus brought me presents
But Christ gave His life for me.

~ written by Steve Haupt and Chris Loesch

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pumpkin roll

This afternoon, a dear friend of mine volunteered to watch my rowdy active boys so I could get a few things done around the house in preparation for our upcoming Christmas celebration.  Wasn't that just SO KIND of her?!

Here is the fruit of my labor... a beautiful pumpkin roll!

It's a gluten-free pumpkin spice cake with a sweet cream cheese filling and topped with chopped pecans .... soooo delicious!  There is no way I could have made that while the boys were at home... it took me about 1-1/2 hours and a fair amount of concentration.  (Yes, I am somewhat a novice at this sort of thing... but I am good at following directions, as long as I'm not distracted!)

Hooray!  Now I feel like a true Christmas hostess! :)  Thank you, Kim!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

What's happening to our Nation??

We don't need more laws.
What we need is
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard. The payment for sin is death, but the gift that God freely gives is everlasting life found in Jesus Christ our Lord.
God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, because they don't know what they are doing."
Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, Luke 23:34

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lovin' Minne-SNOW-ta!

What could be better than a big dumping of snow?! :)

My oldest son had been asking God for LOTS of snow, but the weather forecast indicated not much for our area and lots for north of the Twin Cities... and he asked me, "Mom, what if God doesn't answer my prayer?"  Well, once again God showed Himself sovereign! The snow began last night, and my husband measured 8 inches on top of his car this afternoon—and it's still snowing!

Our boys frolicked in the flurry for nearly three hours today.  (They should sleep really good tonight!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

YOU love me anyway

But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas's kiss
But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

From: "You Love Me Anyway" by the Sidewalk Prophets

Every knee will bow

It is written, "As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’"
Romans 14:11

God is still on His throne

Regardless of the election results, or what may lie ahead, God is still on His throne.  He is good, and His plans are perfect. He is worthy of our trust!

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Romans 13:1

Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king [the President].
1 Peter 2:17

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Overflow from the soul

Homeschooling parents, consider this:

"Teaching is
the overflow from the soul of the teacher
to the soul of the student."

This statement strikes me. I can't fully get my arms around it.  It has a lot of implications. Potentially profound implications... particularly as it relates to faith. And how can my soul overflow if I'm not filling it up?

Something to really think about.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Great Bible for early readers

     I am so pleased with The Early Reader's Bible!  This is a wonderful tool as my 7-year-old continues to work on his reading skills. Each story is only 3 pages long, followed by some questions to think about. He is excited about reading his own Bible with very little assistance from me!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mr. Sunshine himself

This morning Ryan opened his curtain and said,
"Good morning, sunshine!"  What a great way to start the day. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prayer for upcoming election

Father God, let our nation's upcoming presidential election be fair and just... and help us all remember that, no matter how it turns out, those in positions of authority have been placed there by You (Romans 13:1).

You are good, Lord, and You are worthy of our trust!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Prayer is to the spiritual life
what the beating of the pulse
and the drawing of the breath are
to the life of the body.
- John Henry Newman
Prayer is a work to which
we must commit ourselves
if we are to make sense of our lives
in the light of eternity.
- Terry Glaspey
I love the LORD because
HE hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
- Psalm 116:1, NLT  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pizza and food intolerances

We have some food intolerance issues at our house.  My husband and oldest son are gluten-free and yeast-free, and my husband is also dairy-free (amongst a few other things).  Found this out from a naturopath.  (Incidentally, I have zero food intolerances myself. PTL!)

So, what do to about our favorite meal, pizza?  Can one truly live without it?  Thankfully, I found a pizza crust mix by a company called Chébé (pronounced chee-bee) that is gluten-free and yeast-free!  Yahoo!  Yes, it takes more work to mix up the dough and press it into a pan, but the alternative is no pizza.

We also found a decent cheese alternative—a brand called Daiya—that my husband likes. Go easy on the Daiya, though—in other words, don't pile it on like the regular mozzarella—it has a strong flavor and a little goes a long way.
Here is one of our first homemade pizzas a few months ago... 2/3 traditional pepperoni & mozzarella and 1/3 with Daiya cheese.  It turned out delicious!  Since then, we make one pan of each—left-overs are a tasty treat too. ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Our example to our children

Have you ever realized that there are things we do, as adults, that are acceptable (or accepted) in the context of adulthood, but not what you want your child to do? Earlier this week I had the opportunity to think about the example I set..... in the car. 
Consider the way you talk to other drivers. Maybe you don't do that. I do quite often. "Wake up, dude!" I say if they take too long to accelerate when the light turns green. What's wrong with that, right? It's not like I cursed at him. But what if your children start using that tone and similarly impatient phrases in everyday life situations?
Or you're in a hurry and zip through a traffic light as it's turning red. Brandon says to me, "Uh, Mom... didn't you just go through that red light?" And right away I'm thinking, Well, we're in a hurry! We're going to be late if we don't...  Hmm.  Reality check.  So it's OK to break the law if you have a good reason for it, then? Is that the message I want to send my kids? Aren't I always saying, "Do the right thing, no matter what"?? 
What example am I setting without realizing it?
Interesting how God can use parenting like a mirror to us... we are able to see more clearly the things that we ourselves are doing that may be unkind, unwise, or just plain wrong. After we've been Christians for awhile, it's like we start to become blind to some of these things... or we start making excuses for bending the rules. Nothing like children to help you see your own flaws. :) The older they get, the more astute they are when it comes to right and wrong (shockingly, even though their conduct may not reflect that!).
Just strikes me as profound. And complicated.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mid-morning break

Today's mid-morning homeschool break included watching a ninja video on YouTube [note to self: preview all YouTube videos before allowing children to view] followed by some wrestling with Mom.  Brandon threw a few karate chops at me, so I flipped him upside down and gently tossed him onto the couch where tickling ensued.

Amid his cries of laughter he sputtered,
"Ninjas do NOT like to be tickled!"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

What God wants

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
God didn't call us to be successful,
                            just faithful.
~Mother Theresa
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Wow. That really enlightens my perspective on this parenting journey. It is so tempting to think, "If I train my child right, I'll eliminate all the unpleasantness of raising kids."  It's the A+B=C approach to parenting.  And it completely leaves out the child's free will to choose.  I have one child who chooses to obey the majority of the time, and another who chooses "the hard way."  It can make life awfully unpleasant.  And it causes me to go, "What did I do wrong? It must be my fault!"

That's the problem of looking for the "fruit" of our parenting efforts as the indicator of how good a job we're doing.  Here's what God says...

"Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)

He's not commending the person for the fruit of his labor, but for his faithfulness! Ultimately, I/we need to trust God's sovereignty and His perfect plans. He proclaims He is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20). So we need to do our part, our child does (or doesn't do) his part, and God does His part—and God promises to work it all together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28)!

Don't let the enemy tell you you're a failure.  That's a lie.  Focus on being faithful.  You have a loving Father who is patient and tender and compassionate!  God IS love.  And He loves you.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The choices we make

Good quote on the choices we make in marriage—

"The choices we make form the rudder that directs our marriage journey. ... And every day in every marriage, choices are made that keep couples headed where they want to go or lead them to places that they dread. It is difficult to exaggerate how powerful our choices are, even the small ones, in determining or path to the future. ... Regardless of how insignificant a choice may seem at the moment, it is bound to direct our steps toward something that either enriches or diminishes our relationship."

That's something to really ponder... whether related to our actions, or simply to the thoughts we entertain...

From: When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages, by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, p. 43, 44

Friday, September 14, 2012

YOU are God's masterpiece

You need to know this:
God chose
of the qualities
that make up who you are,
and He did it on purpose!
He knew
exactly what it would take
to help you accomplish His plans—
the things you would do well
and with little effort,
and the things that would trip you up
and send you running back to Him for help—
which also brings Him glory!
All of these things
He put together
in a special combination in you,
by His perfect plans!
You are His workmanship,
and God doesn't make junk!
You are a masterpiece!
Thoughts based loosely on Ephesians 2:10.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Street sweepers probably don't even rank on any official Top Ten List of Most Distracting Things.  But at our house, they are a main event... AND a distraction during home-schooling!

Imagine sitting down to do math at the dining room table, when every two minutes you hear the humming of the street sweeper truck coming around the block... again... and your son excitedly asking for permission to run to the picture window... again. :)

Makes me smile, really.  Yes, I admit I was momentarily annoyed... but then, recognizing the delight my son takes in all-things-vehicular, I relaxed and let him enjoy the view.  Once they were gone, our math lesson was completed, and everyone was happy. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

First day of preschool

Today was Ryan's first official day of preschool this fall!
He was very eager to return to his school—he just loves his teachers (Mrs. P and Mrs. K). And his new shoes. :)  Today he said he played with a new friend, Max.  I'm so thankful he has such a wonderful school with caring teachers in a Biblically-infused setting.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Here's what happens...

Here's what happens when you leave a tube TV on the floor for too long...

Your 4-year-old might try to use it as a jumping toy.  Which, in the scheme of things, isn't too big of a deal.  You see, while we are THE last family in North American to own a tube TV, we just received a newer tube TV from our neighbors... so we had intended on taking our 20-year-old, beat-up TV to the recycling center.  (See the missing buttons below, courtesy of the afore-mentioned 4-year-old.)

Not so SHARP anymore, eh?  Get it?  hahahahaha

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Creativity flows

Both of my boys like playing with Legos.  But Legos are my oldest son's obsession.  Which can drive me a little crazy at times, I confess.  However, it is quite remarkable how creative a child can be...

This is the firehouse he built, complete with a pole for the fire fighters to slide down.

Here is the fire truck he built himself.  The only Lego fire fighter kit he has is for the fire chief's car, so this was his own design from looking at a Lego catalog! (And if you happened to notice the headless body with a blue suit on the side of the truck, he said that is the fire fighters' chemical suit. Good thinkin'!)

And here is the scene: a house on fire with flames shooting out of the roof of the house. Isn't that cool?!

So yes, Legos are fairly expensive... but the creativity that it draws out is priceless.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Take five!

When it comes to raising young men, this mom is getting more "with the program" all the time. :)  I got a tip that—especially for boys—having a brief interlude between school subjects can be quite beneficial, particularly as it relates to attention span.  So today's activity, between math and reading, was shooting hoops in the basement ala Nerf!

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School

Today was Brandon's first day of 1st Grade!
 Although it is quite a transition from almost zero structure during the summer months behind us, he was eager to begin after he realized:
     1) what a big 1st Grader he would be, and
     2) that he got new LEGO pencils for the first day of school
Hooray! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's up with that?!

What is up with electronics and appliances these days?  So far—since the beginning of 2012—we have had to replace our dishwasher (12 years old), our stove (also 12 years old), our stereo (8 years old), and our portable DVD player (less than 1 year old).  And next on the list will be our desktop computer (7 years old)—but I'll save my rant about technology for a different post another time.

What ever happened to the durable products our parents bought?  My mom & dad had their frig for at least 30 years, if not longer...

What's up with that?!

Friday, June 8, 2012


I don't think I'm a real worrier... but sometimes I worry. About my boys. Like, how will they "turn out?" or Are our parenting efforts working? or What about the troublesome character issues we're dealing with?

Unfortunately, worried thoughts upon more worried thoughts can churn themselves into fear... and fearful thoughts can churn into despair. It's useless. There's no hope.

But in Christ, that is NOT TRUE! The Word says God "is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Eph 3:20) and that He "causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them" (Romans 8:28).

So I came up with this little saying:

Let worry
drive you to
not despair!

It's a reminder to myself to TALK TO JESUS when everything seems out of control! HE is in control—and He cares! I can leave my worries in His loving hands because of His amazing promises (two of which I listed above).

What hope there is in Jesus... what peace! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Homeschooling Goals = Life Goals

I just finished reading The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Michelle & Jim Bob Duggars. I'm not sure what even possessed me to check out the book from the library... but I found it to be an uplifting story! One of the things that struck me was a comment about why they homeschool their children...
Our homeschooling lessons are designed to prepare them to be successful leaders at home and work, but overriding the practical skills are our two primary goals. I tell our children over and over, "You can gain all kinds of training, but no matter what skills and talents you possess, if you do these two things you'll be successful: first, love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and second, love your neighbor as yourself." [p. 112]

Monday, April 9, 2012

Life: a process toward progress...

A friend and I were recently discussing various aspects of motherhood. On one hand—how quickly we bash ourselves for our mistakes... Why couldn't I just be perfect? is often my whining utterance. I just want to ARRIVE... to not struggle with selfishness or laziness, or be longing for the past, or be straining to find the easy button...

And on the other hand—to be WILLING to endure the difficulties of parenting... the 24/7/365-ishness of it... the patience that can quickly run dry... the training and retraining of the children... and to know it's OK for your kids to be human, to make mistakes, to recognize that they need time to mature—A LOT of time.

When I can take these things in stride, I will be much more peaceful and joyful in the parenting journey!

Jim Jackson says something about that in his book —that we need to change our perspective to viewing life as a path of God-created opportunities.... and viewing the challenges our children create as an opportunity for God's purposes to be accomplished. This is a HUGE paradigm shift for me! It's like, stop looking for the fruit of "good parenting" but instead view life as a process where God is growing & refining us, as well as our children, and accomplishing His purposes through the challenges!!!

So during this conversation, my friend and I came up with this definition of life:

Life is a PROCESS toward progress, not perfection.

How easily we get frustrated with ourselves when we make mistakes! (Quite often, in my perfectionism, I'd like to throw in the towel!) Yet our goal must not be perfection; rather, it is progress—growth in our character as God uses the circumstances around us to shape us more and more like Christ.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. 29 For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son [hello, refinement!], so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
Romans 8:28-29, NLT

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Science outdoors

One of the things I love about home-schooling is having the flexibility to conduct school when we want, where we want.

Today's science lesson: an experiment with air! We're using the Thames & Kosmos Little Labs Stepping Into Science kit. See the cool airplane in Brandon's hand? What a fun way to learn something about how air affects things!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Has spring already sprung in Minnesota??

We have been wearing shorts and t-shirts almost every day for a week—during the second week of March! This simply does not happen in Minnesota!

Having the windows open and letting the fresh scent of spring waft through the house is incredibly refreshing after 4 months of winter. (Although, we had a pretty mild winter too—so no complaints here!)

Whether or not this spring-like weather is here to stay—there is certainly a good chance we could see more cold and snow within the next few weeks—I am simply happy to bask in it. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Shorts & t-shirts in March!

This picture is from today... March 14. Notice the boys are wearing shorts and t-shirts? In Minnesota. Mid-march.

Today's high temp was in the low 70s—breaking the record high (which was 64 degrees in 2010)! My boys were more than happy to be outdoors enjoying the warm weather. And this warming trend looks like it's going to stick around for several more days—yahoo!

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Do you know what these are?

Starting at the top left: a sweet potato (technically it's a yam), turnips, carrots, and parsnips. Did you guess correctly?

We are making strides to eat more vegetables at our house. My naturopath is recommending 5 servings per day. And that's not a combination of fruits and vegetables—that's five servings of just vegetables!

As you can imagine, the ol' green stand-bys (green beans and peas) got old pretty quickly. We do also enjoy Brussels sprouts, steamed broccoli, and asparagus. But that's not a lot of variety when you're eating vegetables so frequently! We also eat cauliflower and carrots, and add big handfuls of fresh spinach to our smoothies. But it's still not enough. (Five a day! Need variety!)

So, on I venture... into the wild frontier of vegetables unknown to man... er, I mean to me. :)

A few weeks ago, we tried roasted beets. Not too bad. A few days ago, we tried roasted root vegetables (see picture above—and note that I omitted the rutabaga from the recipe on this first attempt—ha!). This might take a little more getting used to.

Anybody out there have a delicious recipe for parsnips, turnips, and/or rutabaga?? Also, as if delicious isn't enough of a requirement, it needs to be gluten-free and dairy-free....

Paper Plate Masks

I love that Brandon is at the age (6-1/2) when he asks, "Mom, can we do a craft today?"

Yesterday, Brandon wanted to make an animal mask. After doing a search on Google, I decided on paper plate masks. Brandon chose a lion and Ryan chose a zebra.

We used Crayola washable paint for Brandon's lion, which provided nice coverage. (The time it took for the paint to dry was a REAL test of his patience!) Since Ryan's zebra is white, the only additional color required was the black stripes—which I applied with a black Crayola marker... (I started out with a Sharpie, but quickly realized the fumes might overcome him!)

The masks are tied in back with a piece of yarn.

Not too shabby, eh? The boys LOVED them!

Hooray for a fun Saturday activity!

Monday, February 27, 2012

No condemnation

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

I had broken God's laws. Again. I was condemned. And it hurt. Why couldn't I just figure out how to respond correctly in those situations? Why couldn't I just be perfect??

Here's the reality: I WAS condemned. But now... NOW there is no condemnation! God does not condemn me—so why am *I* condemning myself?!

When you are feeling condemnation—as I struggle with from time to time—it is often because you are trying to be right with God by your own works—and feeling guilty and disgusting because you can't measure up to His standard. Don't do it! Instead, we must rely on the One who died to make us holy once for all time! (Hebrews 10:10)

You are "in Christ Jesus" when you place your faith in Him—believing that when He died on the cross, He became the sacrifice for your sins—and that it is enough. There's no penance for you to pay, no groveling, no pleading, no promises of doing better next time. That's not what God wants! It's all about faith in Him—and a heart that's humble before Him.

You have been made right in God's sight by faith and you have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ my Lord has done for you! (Romans 5:1)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day

In honor of Presidents Day, here is a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

How prophetic and pertinent. Lord, help us.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blue potatoes

Ever seen blue potatoes?

This is a new discovery for me. I bought a bag of mixed-variety potatoes—yellows, reds, and... well... these sort of dark grayish ones... which were actually bluish-purple on the inside. This threw me off a little! How do you cook these, I wondered, and what do they taste like?

Even more interesting to me was the fact that, as they boiled, the water turned green!

At the supper table, my boys were a little put off by the color. But I'm here to tell you that they are as tasty as any other potato. And the color—isn't it fantastic? It makes your dinner plate pop! :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Yoke

I was praying about mothering this morning. And I realized that, while I've read some very encouraging and inspiring accounts/experiences of godly mothers, I have also unintentionally taken that information and laid upon myself standards & expectations for what I should look like as a mother.... weighing me down with burdens I am not meant to carry.

Jesus did not say, "Take Susanna Wesley's yoke upon you..." He said, "Take MY yoke upon you. Let ME teach you..." (Matthew 11: 29-30)

Jesus, Jesus! How gentle and loving You are! Thank you that Your yoke fits perfectly...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Strawberry syrup

In these wintery months when fresh produce is scarce in Minnesota, and often less flavorful, we turn to frozen fruit. During Christmas break, I discovered a delicious strawberry topping for pancakes! Here's all you need:

2 cups sliced strawberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens (about 5 min). Mash strawberries with a spoon.

Voila! Served hot over pancakes or waffles -- soooo yummy! -- and good for you! (No corn syrup or refined sugar!)

Enjoy! :)