Lazy Summer Afternoon


It’s funny how a simple porch swing can add so much to a house. It is as if we now have another room, a place to go that is calm and cool (most days) to watch the world go by. Additions like these make me not mind staying in this house a bit longer. Not that we are discontent with the way things are, but we realize sooner or later that we will need a bigger, newer home.
For now, though, we have our “Pretty Blue House”, with a porch swing in front.

Works For Me Wednesday – NoyNoy

I don’t have a tip today, but it is my little N’s birthday! He’s a two year old bundle of energy. I love his words right now-phrases only I and his closest confidantes (siblings) can understand. An added element is that he is saying most of these around a pacifier. A tutorial:
Dinty binky
Dady baby
Yaya A-Major
Bawa Big-S
Deemy Little-S
Gawa granola
Geeky cookie
Ditty (not to be confused with dinty) kitty
Mmmm time to eat
There are many more, but this is a good sample. We love you, NoyNoy.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday, so I thought I would write about what a great person she is.

B-believably the best cooker of potroast and spaghetti
R-rather than avoid us like the plague, she seems to like it when we come visit
E-eventually she will have completed every Soduku puzzle there is
N-never do I go away from her house hungry
D-do you know what is on tv tonight? She does
A-an excellent help meet to my dad

Just a few things that came to mind. In 1999, she had a heart attack, and at that time we all were forced to think about what life might be like without her. God was gracious in healing her, and we are thankful to have such a great Mom and Grandma in our lives.

Gearing Up For Homeschool

It is that time of year again! We received our K12 stuff via UPS this week, and are very excited to start Big A in first grade this year! We participate in a charter school called Ohio Virtual Academy, OHVA for short. This has been great for us. I am not ready to send my five year old to a public school, nor am I fully convinced that a child should be homeschooled all 13 years, either. I happily sit on the fence when it comes to this issue, because OHVA makes it possible for Big A to enjoy the benefits of public school while learning at home. For free. I sing their praises on a regular basis. Unfortunately, not all states have such a sweet deal. Ohio just happens to have a charter school that uses the K12 curriculum. It would cost families in some other states to use K12, so I realize how blessed we are.
This year A has 7 subjects-Math, Science, Language Arts, Phonics, Music, Art, and History.I’ve drawn up a schedule for our school days that I hope will work most of the time, if the littles cooperate. Ideally the first four will get done daily, while the last three will get done at least 3 times a week. Fingers crossed.

Book Review

Along with sharing the bands I like, I might as well share about some books I like, too. I’ll start with one I just finished, called The Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, by Anne Ortlund.
There was so much good stuff to take away from this book. I think the one most important thing that I needed to hear was that I need to be zealous about focusing my life around three priorities: God, then the church, then the lost. If in the middle of a day I find myself feeling out of control, I simply think back to those priorities: Did I have time with God yet? Do that first. Am I doing my best to serve my family today? How can I make improvements? How about outreach and evangelism? Anne set goals of making so many disciples in a year’s time. I am challenged to do the same.
At first I disagreed with her about the second priority because some phrases of hers made it sound like your husband and children aren’t more important than your brothers and sisters in Christ. At this time in my life, I think that my children are my mission field; they take up most of priorities two and three. But the time will come that I am more focused on people outside of my home to minister with and to. I think she means that, in general, a woman will stand before God someday, not as someone’s wife or mom, but as a woman. What will I have to show for the many days He’s given me? Psalm 90:12 says, Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Wisdom is something I need daily, in large doses!
I’ve been challenged by this book to simplify things so I have time for what matters. I want my home to reflect Christ, and attract others to Him. I want to take care of myself so that my husband can be proud of me. I want to teach my children how wonderful God is.
Though written in the 70’s, this book is remarkably right-on when it comes to disciplines of the Christian life. I think she gleaned much in her own life from Brother Lawrence’s writings, and
wrote this book with a female spin on them.
I really enjoyed this book. Along with Created To Be His Help Meet, this book is one that motivates me to improve many areas of my life as a wife, mother, and homemaker. More on Created… in another post.

Not a Dud Among Them

I’ve been thinking back to all the Christian music concerts I have attended. There wasn’t a single one that I didn’t enjoy immensely. Here are the artists I have seen. If you ever get a chance to see any of these talented folks, go with my blessing.
The Waiting
Sixpence None The Richer
Brian Hall *not a Christian artist
4Him
Caedmon’s Call
Chris Rice
Jennifer Knapp
Selah
Casting Crowns
Selah’s, Chris Rice’s, and Casting Crowns’ concerts were my favorites. Makes me want to go to one again soon. But Baby A probably would have something to say about that.

W F M W – Narrate Your Art

I have this selection of shells on a shelf (say that three times fast!) in my kitchen. One jar is from California, one from Florida, and the biggest haul comes from Nantucket. I tossed around ideas on how to label the jars, and am still playing around with that. But I noticed this great quote over at LFL Tuesday, and a lightbulb went on in my brain.
See, I’m always looking for ways my decorating can speak about what I value and hold dear. I have started matting and framing prints and pictures myself so that I can add a box for a Scripture verse or quote that goes with it. Anything that goes on my walls, I want it to say, “I love Jesus” more than to say “House Beautiful”, for the eyes of any who walk through my door.
Look around your house at the items you have on display. Is there a way you can give them more of a voice?

Thanks to Shannon for giving me something to blog about on Wednesdays.

Valerie’s Top 5

The top 5 things I like about my husband:

5. He is good looking

4. He is great about taking over at home when I am sick

3. His hobbies aren’t too expensive (have you seen how much
nine holes of golf cost? Ay yi yi So thankful he isn’t a golfer)

2. He is very wise and rational (we’re opposites here)

1. He has a real relationship with Jesus that my kids can see;
hopefully the legacy will be carried on in them

What do you like about your hubby?

Water

We are in the thick of summer in Ohio- it is very hot and steamy. The other day I was soaking my feet in the kids’ baby pool and thought about how neat water is. Whether you are standing on a sandy beach and watching the waves roll along or running a soapy bath, water is pretty darn interesting.
So my first works for me wednesday post is to remind us all that if we don’t have the beach, we can at least soak our toes in a baby pool, or at the very least a bowl of cool water. Next time you get to do that, think about how it really does help beat the heat!
And my thankful Thursday post (hey, who knows when I will get back to the computer again!) is that I am so grateful for clean water. I love that I can go to my kitchen sink anytime, day or night, and fill a cup, and quench my thirst.
I’m also thankful for Jesus, who offers living water that satisfies completely. When we ask Him to come into our lives, we no longer need to search for that one more thing that eludes us. He makes all things new and complete.
That is what I think about when I see water these days.

Don’t Just Diet Naked!

I came across a blog called The Amazing Shrinking Mom today. Recently the mom there has decided to go on a diet, but be really transparent about it, for added accountability. I guess there was this challenge once where these people had to lose weight, or have their pictures taken wearing bikinis and put on television for all to see their failure. What motivation to get the job done!
Luke has an interview with a church in two weeks. I want to look my best so that I can make Luke look good (not that he needs a whole lot of help :), and that gets me thinking about this Dieting Naked thing. When you have something right around the corner you want to look good for, you are more likely to do the things leading up to it that will get you looking good. You better bet I’ll be running every day and eating only the essentials these next two weeks!
That is how it should be in our spiritual lives as well. Jesus is coming back SOON, and we only have so much time to get our acts together. Besides, just focusing on our outward appearances or activities and letting our hearts go to seed is like the people in Jesus’ day that He called “whitewashed sepluchres”.
So, as I prepare for that weekend, I want to be as transparent in my spiritual journey as well as my dieting. No, I am not perfect, but am working towards that goal. I don’t want to be standing before the Lord, spiritually speaking, fat and wearing a bikini.
Check this out for more on Dieting Naked.