Monday, February 28, 2011

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

Spring seems to be official around here!  The cherry blossom trees are in bloom, the leaves of the Bradford pears are starting to unfold, and the daffodils are busting at the seams with laughter!

I spray painted several recycled cans different spring colors to use as vases.  They are pretty without the ribbon, too.  My friend calls this a little 'happy!' 

Cost: zero
Result: a priceless smile!

Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Three-Leaf Clover and the Trinity

The example of the Trinity
       St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century.  At the age of sixteen, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders, who were attacking his family's estate.  They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity.  Accounts do not indicate that he had a very strong religious background before he was taken as a slave.  During the time of captivity, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people.  Lonely and afraid, Patrick turned to his religion for solace, praying daily.  His faith grew and he became a devout Christian. 
After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped.  According to his writings, he heard a voice he believed to be God's, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.  Fleeing his master and now in his twenties, he travelled 200 miles away where he boarded a ship and returned home to his family. 
 A few years after returning home, he had a vision that caused him to eventually return to Ireland as a missionary.   After fifteen years of religious training, he was ordained a priest and returned to Ireland to minister to the Christians already living in Ireland and to preach to the Irish. 
       Legend credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leaf clover, using it to highlight the 'three divine persons in one God' Christian belief. 


       What a wonderful example of a person with a heart for missions!  God grew his faith during a difficult time.  After he gained freedom, God strengthened him in his walk and led him to a strong desire to return to the people that had held him hostage!  I love the example of the shamrock.  It is another way to teach my children how to understand the beauty of the Trinity...The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as one.  Should we be lucky enough to find a 'Four leaf clover'...well, we might just say that stands for the cross. 
I pray that my children will always see Him in this world, even in something as small as a shamrock. 
Pin It Now!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Projects

I pulled everything out of my shed this weekend.  It had become a dumping ground during the winter!  I set out the spring nests, put things in their place and made a huge pile to donate.
In the 'donate pile' were these bendaroos.  I had purchased them several years ago for a long road trip.  I guess the blue didn't make the cut!  When I clean out, my kids rummage through my 'get rid of' pile and pull everything out.  "Mom, don't get rid of this!"  Hence the bendaroo piece of art!  My oldest daughter fashioned this palmetto tree and moon in about 2 seconds and stuck it to the mirror.  I love it and think it is a work of art!  It represents our state flag.

While I was cleaning, I set up a paint station for my kids.
These flowers in the yellow pot have lasted forever.  Ashlyn paints the lovely still life in her own interpretation. 
My four year old tries to mimic Ashlyn's painting from where I hung it on the wall!
Such a four year old mess!
The art easel was mine as a little girl.  I cleaned out this corner to make room for it.
My son took a break from building to paint his own Picasso.  You have got to love little boys, because everything they make is 'for Mom!' 
The art work is numerous and placed all over the shed to dry.  I worked for hours, but I am not sure it looks like it!
My husband ripped the door out (here) and boarded the space and put up the sheetrock.  You can see the yellow paint that was on the walls before the blue! BRIGHT, huh?! 

The weather was beautiful, and it was a perfect weekend for some spring cleaning and to tackle some projects!

 I hope you had a great weekend and happy President's Day to you all!  My kids are in school making up a snow day!

I am linking to these sites.  As always, thank you for hosting, ladies!
Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Paper Dolls, the Park or a Babysitter named "TV"

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds, tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. ~ Deuteronomy 11:18-19

My youngest daughter has been having some 'issues' lately.  Out of fairness, she is usually a sweet, little bright light to us. Recently, however, she has had problems in dealing with her frustration at others.  This little outburst can sometimes be aggressive.  She is our youngest child and at the age of four, wants to be heard. 
I have clearly not been helping her to handle her reaction to situations.  Since she was misbehaving in this way more frequently, I made a rash decision and pronounced, "You will lose your special things and you will not be allowed to watch TV for two weeks!"  As the words came out, I thought, "Wait a minute...that means I will have to entertain her!" 

Once again, I felt that gentle nudge from the Lord.

  Turning off the television has been the best thing...not only for her, but for me, too.  I recount that I was very strict with my older two children, limiting the time and what they watched.  I can see the benefits of these limitations.  They have huge imaginations and love to play outdoors even when it is freezing!  How had I grown so slack with my youngest child?  How had I forgotten how violent many of the cartoons are today?  What was making me so busy that I so quickly handed her over to her 'babysitter,' Ms. TV?  Was the aggressive behavior due to her sitting in front of the tube?

I am certainly not an expert.  I don't know what the statistics are with children and TV.  But, I can tell you that in the two weeks that she lost her privilege to watch cartoons, a new child has emerged!  We have cut out hundreds of paper dolls and outfits and sat for the longest time cutting, dressing and redressing these paper dolls.  Her little tiny hands have worked so diligently, and I became aware of what a great thing to do to build fine motor skills.  Now, she would typically cut the toes off and sometimes the head, but we just cut out some more!  My oldest daughter, who is nine, also joined in on this simple fun!

We have had countless tea parties and painted some beautiful pieces of art.  With the lovely weather, we have gone to the park and with her as the leader, and me as the follower, we climbed on everything, went up and down the slide, and had a swinging contest to see who could go the highest (I read somewhere to do that with your children!)  What fun it was to be four again!
The two weeks have passed and she hasn't asked to watch the TV.  The television is like a thief who robs our time.  The hours go by before you realize it, and all of a sudden your baby is all grown up.  This is precious time, and I am all too aware that there is not much of it!  Her behavior has improved greatly, and her attitude and imagination have flourished.

I am thankful the Lord nudged me off my throne (the place I try to sneak back to more often than I would like to admit.)  I have asked the Lord to show me what is keeping me from my family.  I have asked Him to help me set clear boundaries with the phone, or any electronics, and even friends and family.  As He is helping me, I am helping her to handle her learn to walk away or to play alone or to ask for help.  I have read that the verse in Deuteronomy 11:18-19 is all about connecting with your children and teaching them to know God's value system.  I am not able to do this if I don't spend quantity and quality time with her!

Television may not be a huge temptation in your family.  Maybe it is the computer or video games, people or activities that vie for your or your child's time.  What do you find that separates you from your family?  I encourage you to ponder these things and spend some extra time with your kids today!  You might find that there is nowhere else in the world you would rather be!

Blessings on this 'Life Lessons' Sunday!  Thanks to all of you who gave a response and/or advice on my post Raising Children.  I learn so much from those whom have walked before me, and I imagine that by the time I figure out this parenting job, my kids will be grown!  What a journey it is!

Here is a GREAT article if you want to read more!


Pin It Now!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Work in Progress and an Adoption

We have the smallest room in the house.  Isn't the master bedroom usually the biggest?  This room has very little wall space.  My husband has a few days off this week, so he is going to tear out the door that leads nowhere (to the left of the bed), fill in the hole and paint the room.  Yay!!!  Now, I can finally put a dresser next to my bed and the books and magazines won't make a big heap on the floor! 
I am terrible at picking paint.  When we moved here the room was a yellow-orange color.  Talk about waking up to some sunshine!  I picked this soft blue thinking it was a good choice.  A friend suggested we paint it the background color of the curtains, a creamy yellow.  Since the room is so small, it will make it flow better. 

This picture was taken sometime last year...I forgot how nice the bed looks when it is made! 

On to better and greater things...

Expecting a Blessing is a blog about a couple who are embarking on an International adoption.  Today is the last day of the   'Show Some Love Adoption Auction!"  There are still some terrific items to bid on!  Please stop by and check it out!

On a personal note, I want to lift up Angela and her husband in this process.  I pray that it will be smooth and that they will feel His love and protection every step of the way!

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The First Signs of Spring

We await springtime in all her ethereal color. 
We drink her in like lollipops in the sunlight,
we celebrate her new day,
her enchanting ways...
her quiet stirring of our souls.
 ~Author Unknown
Some of the forsythia around town has started to bloom.  The weather this week is beautiful!  As I long for spring, I try not to wish away the days too quickly.  Time passes too fast as it is! Oh, but I long to be outside, to plant my garden, ride our bikes, and to open the windows!
The roses in the little bucket are the same ones I used here!  Amazingly, they still look pretty good!

Have a great week!

The bucket is from the $1 bin at Target.

Pin It Now!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Raising Children

Just a few days ago, I heard someone talking about how horrible children are in the world today.  The other person replied, “The problem isn’t the children.  It’s the parents.”   
Nine years ago when my husband walked in the door after work, I handed him a newborn baby and said, “Here.  I am going to Curly’s on the corner.”  Now, this was an act of desperation, because Curly’s is a shady place. 
I didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby.   My mom had passed away years earlier.  I was cold, snowed in for three days with no electricity, trying to nurse a screaming baby, and with a busted water pipe.  My husband was at work, and I didn't even know how to turn off the water.  Later that evening and thankful that Rob had chains on his tires, I headed out…sans baby.
Rob and I had been married for eight years before having a child.  I worked for one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the industry.  I wore nice suits and pretty shoes.  I travelled.  I couldn’t wait for my maternity leave to end, so I could return to work. 
God had other plans.
Not long after returning to work, I got pregnant again.  Soon after that, we moved my grandparents to our small town, so that I could care for them.  My mom had been an only child and her parents, almost 90 years of age couldn’t live alone anymore.   Years later, I would count all the blessings of moving them here, but at the time, it felt like having two more children…and remember, I didn’t know what to do with the one child I had.
My son was born six weeks early and stayed in the hospital the first 8 days of his life.  Midway through the pregnancy, we thought we had lost him.  He was less than 5 pounds when we finally brought him home.  Going back to work meant leaving an 18 month old daughter, a preemie baby, and two aging grandparents.   For me, going back to work was the easier choice.  Staying home was unfamiliar.  It was difficult.  It wasn't what I wanted. 
Often the plans God has for us aren’t the plans we have for ourselves.  I realized at some point, that I simply couldn’t manage it all.  My professional career had to go.  I traded in going to doctors' offices to meet with physicians professionally, to waiting in doctors' offices and hospitals for appointments with a premature baby and two elderly grandparents. 
Almost ten years have passed, and I have been a stay at home mom for all these years.  My sweet grandparents have since passed away and were reunited with their Maker and their only daughter.  We had another child. 
Now may the God of peace, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. ~ Hebrews 13:20-21
Parenting seems so easy for some.  In God's great mercy, He has provided...He has equipped me every step of the way for a task that, at times, seems so daunting.  He has given instructions through His Word, through other credible parenting books, through strong families and mentors…and through prayer.  I didn’t have a clue what to do with a baby, and certainly the issues we face today as parents are shocking.   My deepest desire is for my children's hearts...for their hearts to know the Lord; for their hearts to desire His Truth; to be respectful of authority; to be kind people.  I desire for them to see God’s beauty in this world…in this world that offers so much darkness.  My kids are sinners.  They have a great big ol’ sinner for a mom.  I apologize to my kids at least once a day.  I pray that despite my failures, they will be able to look past me and see His face.
I don’t claim to have any parental wisdom, but I sure have learned a lot of things along the way.  Here are some things we are learning and are working on... 
Seek out the truth in a world that would tell you otherwise.    Stay connected with your children and their friends.  Don’t try to be their friend.  They need you to set boundaries.  They need you to be their parent.  Be concerned about what is on TV.  Limit electronic use or make a choice to not allow them.  Spend as much time with them as you can.  In a blink…they will be gone.  Don’t tolerate or make excuses for bad behavior...when they grow up, no one else will.   Do not give 'warnings' over and over.  Address the issue.  Teach your children to do as much by themselves as they can, with your guidance.  Prepare them for this world, so that it will not devour them.  Teach them to do things with their hands…sew, build, farm, cook.  Teach them where to turn the water off should a pipe burst!  Limit extracurricular/sports activities.  Pray before you commit.  Is this God's best for my family?  Remember, when you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.  Seek to reach their hearts.  Don't be as concerned about how the behavior looks, as much as, you are concerned about the nature of their hearts.  Enjoy your children.  Seek.
The Lord took me out of a work force that I wasn’t willing to leave.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.~  Proverbs 19:21.  He gave me this tremendous job of raising two daughters and a son.  These children are my 'career' right now.  I crave success in my career.  Not a success for me, but a success for them.  It is a success that seeks Truth above all else.  What an awesome job!  I look at my children and think, “Wow, God has a lot of faith in me to raise three of His children.  I sure don’t want to let Him down!”  He will equip me every step of the way.  
We are all different and God equips us differently.  Some of you have full plates working outside and inside the home.  God knows what each of us can or cannot manage.   He also knows our hearts.  He knew mine was (is) stubborn and selfish, and he knew exactly what it would take to teach me.  He has a great plan for all of us!  I welcome your opinions and feedback!
Blessings on this 'Life Lessons' Sunday!   

I am linking this to Spiritual Sundays.

Pin It Now!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lunch Box Love

I spent the morning making a special lunch for my son.
He is taking ME on a date tonight!
I packed this box full of goodies and some strawberry milk.  I printed a little fancy car onto some stock paper with the words, "My heart races for you!"  He loves cars.  Most Valentine's cards seem so frilly, and I was trying to keep it masculine for this BIG little boy!  (He is 7 and does not like to be called 'little!'  Men and their egos!)
 Twig and Thistle had these little stickers for fruit.  Her pictures are wonderful and there are stickers for bananas, oranges, pears, etc...all with a Valentine's theme! 
A little ham sandwich is wrapped in some scrap vintage Valentine's paper. 
Some mozzarella cheese is cut into hearts.
Heart shaped peanut butter sandwiches are dipped into some chocolate.  These are a favorite around here and a special treat for Valentine's!
The Graham crackers take a dip, too!
I packed a small box of Whitman's Sampler Assorted Chocolates.  My granny used to give these to me when I was little.  I am so glad they are still available in these small boxes!
Doesn't everything cut into a heart...
...or dipped in chocolate taste better?

I took this little lunch box to Mason's school today and asked the secretary to let his teacher know.  I wrote a note to him letting him know how very excited I am to spend some one-on-one time with just my son!  He is sandwiched in between two girls and it seems that we don't get enough time alone!  And somebody has to teach him how to treat a girl right!  Rob is taking the girls to their favorite place...Cracker Barrel.  Not us, we are going to the city for a big ol' steak!

Here is the funny thing!  He refused to eat the lunch!  He said this was not his lunch box and he would not eat it!  His usual lunch box is Spider Man.  The teacher called to tell me, because I think she felt bad for me!  How funny!  That is my Mason...he is quirky like that...or either we have really taught him super good to never eat anything from strangers!

Oh, the world through the eyes of a little boy...!

Happy Valentine's to all of you!

I am linking to these weekly parties, as well as, some special Valentine's parties!
The Blackberry Vine

Lunch box and vintage scrapbook paper came from Hobby Lobby.  Little clear plastic bags are from Michael's.  Red and white bag ties came from Sur Le Table.

Thank you for the sweet features! 

I Was Featured Pretty Packages Party

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentine Favors...Sugar Free!

Are you looking for some other things to give to kids for Valentine's Day besides candy?
 These little lip glosses are from the dollar bin at Michael's. 
These spoons came from Hobby Lobby.  I was inspired by Mary Poppins singing, "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down...!" I wrote, "Just a spoonful of what you are!"  These would be cute dipped in chocolate or given with a coffee mug to a teacher.
Connectagons from HearthSong make a fun Valentine's gift.  We could play with these for hours...HearthSong has different shapes, too!
Who doesn't love a good game of cards?  This little heart stack came from Michael's.
Another non-candy option could be these little bubble wands located in the wedding section at Michaels.  These make great party favors, too!
These Wilton lollipops came from the wedding section at Michael's, as well.  Ribbon and stickers to print yourself are included and make a nice Valentine's sweet treat!  Okay, so it wouldn't be Valentine's without some candy!
Pencils are a favorite goody bag practical, aren't they? 
For a cost effective little gift, print some coloring sheets right from your computer and tie some crayons or colored pencils to the sheets.  My favorite site for printing coloring sheets is here!

I am joining these weekly parties and a few special Valentine's parties! 

Stop by Bargain Hunting with Laurie and see all the Valentine's Day fun!

 A little disclaimer...I don't give goody bags for every holiday.  With three kids and approximately 25 kids in each class, it could be costly to do for every, do our kids really need that much sugar?!  Valentine's Day is the one holiday our schools will allow a party, so we usually join in on the fun for this holiday and spread the love!  If you want to give little favors instead of candy, stock up after Valentine's Day for next year!  And don't forget, you can print a 40% coupon to Michael's before you go!  Happy Valentine's to you!

Pin It Now!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Je T'aime

The postcards are from the collection of letters that my grandfather sent to my grandmother while in France during WWII.  He did not write on these, but sent them per her request for some pictures of the buildings in France.  
Doesn't the Eiffel tower just shout, "Je T'aime!"

The small pitcher came from Homegoods. 

I am linking here!  Check out all the lovely inspiration!  Also, stop by Bargain Hunting with Laurie for some Valentine's party inspiration and hop over to...

Pin It Now!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...