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just didn't have the computer for a few days and honestly, have very little to say. Of course, once I start jabbering on I'm sure I'll think of something...

Hubby was gone at a conference and the kids and I did pretty well together, homeschooling and keeping house until tonight when I had a complete meltdown, and it made me wonder how in the world I would ever survive if something happened to my husband or if he was in a line of work that required him to be gone a lot. I shudder when I think about it. Yesterday everyone did great around here, but today was a totally different story. I felt like we were fighting from sun up to sun down.

I think what started the downward spiral for ME and my attitude was that my friend who had already pulled her child out of school to homeschool has changed her mind and is putting her back in. I firmly believe that every family has to make the right choice for their children, but I can't deny I am sooooo disappointed because I have no one here who has small kids and homeschools. The only family in our church has teenagers, so the idea of a co-op or anything is impossible. It would have almost been better if my friend had never decided to homeschool, instead of saying she'd try it and then change her mind. In reality, she didn't even try it, just pulled her child out so that she could have baby #4 and get settled into a routine. At any rate, I'm bummed. So, so bummed.

Slander

I'm doing the Seeking Him study and we're on Chapter Three now about Honesty.

Our memory verse is Proverbs 28:13 (let's see if I can remember it!) He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

If we want true revival in our hearts, we must start with a humble acknowledgement that we are sinners and God is holy and good.

One of the most helpful parts of this study is the self-evaluations on each Day 5 lesson of each Chapter. This week's lesson asked such questions as: Do I volunteer for service and good works to glorify God or to impress others?

Do I see my sin as God sees it, or do I tend to think of it in terms of "weaknesses" or "personality quirks"?

Do I often leave others with the impression that I am more spiritually mature and committed than is actually true?

Am I guilty of speaking graciously to others while harboring hatred or bitterness in my heart towards them?

So as I'm reading through this list, asking the Lord to reveal sin in my life, he is faithful to do so, and he illuminated something for me that was quite shocking:

I slander my firstborn son.

When we struggle, I seem to be the first one to complain to whoever will listen. I do this from a sense of "see how I struggle and how humble I am about it to share it with you." But in reality, I'm just wanting to grumble. It's not helping anyone to hear me whine about how difficult he is, and as he gets older, he's going to wind up hearing me some time or another. It's also going to affect how others relate to him, giving him an unfair disadvantage to already have that "difficult" label.

So my prayer now is that I will take my troubles directly to God, then to my husband, then to a trusted friend who I know will pray for me and not allow me to slander him.

Since I got to enjoy some Taco Bell today (a rare treat in our small town), thought I'd post something about fast food!


OK. I'm so indecisive about homeschooling curriculum. I'm looking at My Father's World stuff now. I've heard all good things about it, one person has described it as a combination of unit studies, the classical method, and the Charlotte Mason method. My friend whose going to homeschool next year is going to use the kindergarten curriculum, so I'm thinking maybe I will, too, so that maybe we can do stuff together. But now I'm trying to decide what to do for my older son.

If any of you have used this, let me know what you think!

Baby Planners


So, since today is my "day off" (thanks hubby!), I got to go work out at 9 a.m. and watch one of my favorite food network star's (Rachael Ray!) talk show on CBS. I just love her. She's so cute and fun! Anyway, today she had on these two ladies who have started a business together to help new moms plan for their baby, like a wedding planner helps plan a wedding. Sounds like a great idea at first, doesn't it? I mean, you're having your first baby: What books to read? What to buy? How to parent? How to deliver? Which diaper bag to carry? You just have a lot of questions and uncertainties about what to expect.

Well, for $75 you can call these gals and have a 30 minute consultation on the phone! If you feel like you need more help than that then they can meet you to go shopping together and create a baby registry or give you any other kind of support you might need.

$75! I got on their website and they have plans that start at $500 and if you don't live in L.A., they will travel to YOU.

Somehow, these two women are "experts". I'm not sure what makes them experts, I couldn't find anything on their website that gives them any kind of parenting creditentials except maybe having a kid or two of their own. No degrees in anything kid or mom related. They did work in the media, though, so maybe that counts? I'm thinking maybe Kendra Fletcher over at Preschoolers and Peace with, what 7 precious kiddos, yeah, SHE might be an expert. Or what about Ann Voskamp over at Holy Experience with her 6? Yep, I'd listen to her. BUT--

This got me thinking: Back in the olden days, most of us asked OUR MOTHERS. Our moms helped us shop, get the nursery ready, explain labor and delivery and life with a newborn, helped us breastfeed, reassured us that we'd be JUST FINE. Now, you can HIRE someone to do it for you because a lot of us were raised by mothers who were so busy pursuing their own interests that the mundane tasks of motherhood fell to someone else on a regular basis, leaving many women, like me, who spent most of my childhood in daycare, to figure out how to run a household on her own. [disclaimer to working moms: I realize every single situation is different, so don't assume I'm just bashing all working mothers, ok? I'm not. I'm just reflecting on the culture a bit and speaking in generalities.]

There has been this huge cultural shift that has happened right before our eyes. What used to take place in the context of a family is now repackaged into a commodity to be bought and sold. You used to plan your wedding with your mom, but now you need a "professional". You used to have a close knit group of family and friends who helped bear your burdens, but now you pay someone, be it a life coach or a psychologist, to be your friend and listen and give advice. You used to plan for a new baby with your husband and mom and friends and relatives, but now you hire someone to tell you what you should do.

I just find this fascinating. Thoughts anyone?

This is sooo good and so good for you. You make the chicken filling in a slowcooker, then add some cooked brown rice, cheese, light sour cream and roll into a tortilla. Such a huge hit, even my picky 4 year old liked it, telling me, "This is delicious and I'm going to eat it all because I LOVE you!"

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups black bean and corn salsa (Walmart brand is what I used)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

tortillas
cheese
sour cream
tomatoes
yada yada yada

Cover it and cook on high for about 4 hours. WATCH it toward the end. Cook the rice and add to the chicken mixture. Assemble like you would any other burrito.






The very first year we did this, we just watched a portion of the old black and white Martin Luther movie and read about him in a biography we have.

The second year we had a few families over to watch the movie God's Outlaw, about William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English.

Last year, we watched a kids' version of the William Tyndale story created by the folks at Vision Video and part of their Torchlighters series (which also includes Jim Elliot, John Bunyan, and Eric Liddell, which is one we still need to get, it's the newest). Then, the grown ups watched the newest Luther movie.

This year, since we haven't gotten much interest from church folk about participating in something like this, we're going to keep it just our family and watch The Radicals, a movie about the Anabaptists in Switzerland. There is a kids minimovie on the DVD that doesn't go into as much graphic detail about what they went through just to practice believer's baptism. We'll still dress up and eat some soup and bread and turn down the lights. I wish that people here were more interested in all this, but maybe I can at least inspire my kiddos to see the value in remembering these great men and women of our faith.

If you want to check out any of these movies (and lots, lots more!) go to www.visionvideo.com

I had some trouble not eating junk food last week, so I didn't weigh myself on Monday. I did it this morning and guess what!? I'm down to 171!

When we were on vacation I was at 180, and I started taking my working out seriously sometime in August, I think. I know it's a very slow process, so I'm just thrilled to have lost 9 pounds. I figured if I could just lose one measly pound a week, by this time next year I'll be where I want to be. I can totally handle that!

I'm also running about 15-20 minutes total (of 45-50 minutes walking, too), then icing my knee when I get home, which has helped tremendously. I'm also trying to lift weights three times a week.

In Galloway's Book of Running it says that the benefit increases dramatically from running two days a week to three days a week, but there's not as much of an increase if you bump it up from three to four.

I'm also taking swimming lessons right now so that I can "cross train".

I took lessons as a kid, but something happened in my brain as I got older so that I couldn't put my head in the water. I've had three half hour lessons and the instructor has helped with my breathing and form, and yesterday I did the front crawl halfway across the pool! This is HUGE for me, because, like running, swimming has never come easily to me. Soooo...I 'm thinking once I can swim, I can do that two days a week, then run and lift the other days. I want to be healthy! Now if only the produce at our little grocery store wasn't all gross and limpy--

This here's a controversial topic among Christian parents: spank for every disobedience, for some really bad ones, or not at all and use "grace".

I feel like I've tried the "spank for everything" method with my firstborn, who gives me quite a bit of trouble, and it hasn't "worked" (he's got buns of steel), probably because I have a short fuse and should NOT have been using that method until I could exercise the self control necessary to carry it out biblically. For quite a while now, I let dad do it because I hated how I felt when I did it (usually because I was mad) and dad is next door most days, so he's available a lot if we need him.

Now he's getting older and spanking isn't really an option for me anymore. He's 70 pounds and 8 years old! So I found this very helpful information www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com .

A reader wrote in with the following question. My situation is similar, only it's the little brother who gets the brunt of the bad behavior by his older brother.

Tomorrow--tomato staking-making him my personal assistant all DAY LONG. I need to get on my knees right now.

Seven year old won't repent

Question: Hello, I'm new, will try to post an intro later. We have 4 at home, out of 6. The 4 at home are a boy 11, girl 9, boy nearly 7, girl 4. The problem is with the 7 yo boy. He has been very jealous of the 11 year old boy for some time. The older boy naturally is able to do more things, etc. One example--our oldest son, before the 7 year old was born, gave all his legos to the middle son. The youngest son only sees that the middle son has more legos than he does. We explained that the oldest gave them to him before we even knew he was born--it doesn't matter. The 11 year old naturally eats more--he is in a growth spurt--the 7 yo only sees that he gets more food--The 11 yo had the top bunk--again, a problem.

He has developed very bad behavior as a result. He will suddenly scream (very shrill) when angry. He will accuse the 11 yo of things he did not do. Once he is angry, he is very out of control, screams, yells, is rude to me, runs away from me, etc.

It is hard to detail everything. The other 5 children are very obedient, rarely have had to spank any of them past the toddler age. This one is still being spanked almost daily--again, he only sees that the 11 year old is not being spanked and he is, and this makes things worse. We explain that the 11 yo does not do anything to get spanked and the 7 yo does. It does not compute with him.

Yet, he is often very sweet, loving and otherwise obedient. However, when he is not, I am often spending nearly an hour with him. I'm trying to make certain to spend time "tying strings" with him.

Any ideas for how to get through to him that the 11 yo is not our favorite? No one else thinks he is, not even the 11 yo. The 11 yo is very patient with his brother, does not try to get back at him, despite all he is put through.

Also, how to deal with the yelling and out of control behavior. He seems to care less about spanking, or any type of punishment. He yells loudly during the spanking, but it seems to be more anger than anything. He is never repentant. The spankings hurt, I know, because I've accidentally hit myself with the rod and it is bad--I've give up if I were at the receiving end. We use the Pearls recommended rod--a thin plastic plumbing line that is very flexible.

This is all I have time to post--any help is appreciated, and prayers, especially!

Answer: It sounds like overall you are doing very well with your children and this son is a unique problem.

I think I would cut back on the spankings. It's not that I think no 7yo should ever be spanked, it is because you appear to know what you are doing (as evidenced by your other children not needing to be spanked much after toddlerhood), yet still he is not responding. You say that he is "never repentant". If the spanking is not bringing repentance (even though you are doing it correctly - and most people aren't) then I think you should stop and try something else. He is an angry child already and he's just going to add spanking to his list of perceived injustices and become more bitter and angry.

You need to do something that will get to his heart and his conscience. Maybe something that is slow and time-consuming. Do not think in terms of "punishment". As long as he thinks that he can act up and just receive a "punishment" without really changing his mind, then he's going to keep it up. The real idea behind spanking and most other discipline is to get repentance - a change in spirit that leads to a change in action. This change is the most important thing and it sounds like it's not happening with this child.

What happens when you talk to him? The Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger. I take that to mean that you MUST resolve differences and bitterness and anger immediately - "in the day you hear of it". Your son is not doing this (as you know). I think you need to work on this area.

I think I would move to a type of tomato staking combined with talking and grieving. The next time he acts up, separate him from his brother. Have him sit quietly on a chair near you. This is not a "Time Out". Classic "Time Outs" assume that the child can't help his angry outburst and just needs time to calm himself down. That is wrong and not the purpose here anyway. What we are aiming at is "reflection". Somehow you have got to get this child thinking aobut what he has done wrong.

Do not send him to his room for this. Without supervision he will just be nursing his grudge and becoming more bitter.

Okay now, once you have him sitting down, just have him sit there being quiet for a while. Then I'd make calm, serious attempts to talk to him. Don't try to "talk him into" better behavior. Don't plead with him or whine at him. Have a serious, sober attitude. Dwell on your disappointment with his attitude. Dwell on the concepts of what he is doing wrong. Dwell on his wrong thoughts. Ask thought provoking questions: "Do you know why you are sitting here? Do you think it is acceptable to get angry like that? Would you like it if Dad got angry like that? How do you think you should act when something happens that you don't like?". Focus on his attitude toward his brother: "Do you think you have the right attitude toward your brother? Do you think the things you are saying about him are true? Do you think it is right to expect everything your brother has? Do you think you deserve every he has even though you are 4 years younger? What do you think God thinks about a brother who is selfish and angry at his brother all the time? What do you think I should do about your attitude? What do you think you need to do about your attitude?"

I hope you get the idea here. Don't whine at him. Act disappointed and sober and serious. Watch for any sign of repentance. Drag this out and don't let him get distracted. He should not be talking to anyone or playing. Just have him sit at the table and be bored. After you talk a bit, just make him sit them some more. Try to avoid getting too involved in other things yourself. You can clean the kitchen and take care of necessary things, but leave the impression that you are thinking (grieving) about the situation with him all the time. After a while come back and sit down and talk some more with him. Don't expect in-depth responses from him, just a change in attitude. Look for him to realize that he is wrong. If you don't get that, then keep him sitting there until you do.

Now once you get this at least to a small extent, then you can move to a sort of tomato staking. Keep him will you as your assistant 100% of the time. (Or sitting at the table ALONE, doing his schoolwork with your supervision.) Explain to him that he has to earn the privilege of being allowed to play with his siblings. Explain that if he can not love all his siblings equally then he can not have the privilege of playing with any of them. Say these things with a quiet, sober and disappointed attitude. If you get angry you will just be giving him an excuse to feel he is in the right.

Personally, I would keep this up until there was a really change in his attitude, whether it took days or weeks. I'd keep looking at his heart and working at the root issue. If it works then slowly release him but go right back to it at the first hint of a problem.

I want you to know that I don't have experience with this type of child to this extent, although many children go through the same thing occasionally, so I am giving you my best guesses based on what I "think" I would do. You know him best, so don't be afraid to use your own good judgment. Forget the "punishment" and focus on getting to his heart.

Here is one of the verse I remind my children of at times like this:

Prov 6:16-20
16 For there are six things the Lord hates-- no, seven: haughtiness, lying, murdering, plotting evil, eagerness to do wrong, a false witness, sowing discord among brothers.
(TLB)

I try to instill in them a love for their siblings and also humility, which should prevent sibling rivalry. If this is a chronic problems with your son, the solution will probably take a long time as well. Don't give up.

P.S. I don't want to overlook the "tying heartstrings" issue. Keep that up, it is tremendously important.




In my three years of thinking and praying about how to homeschool our children, I've read lots of books. I've tried all Abeka. I've tried The Well-Trained Mind (I don't have a child who wants to sit and read ALL day.) I've used an eclectic approach from the wonderful timberdoodle company. But now...the latest attempt...

I'm thinking of making some drastic changes to our homeschooling day. Almost every day is a struggle, and I sense boredom in my darling son. I am forcing myself to get out of my own learning style, which is a teacher's dream of sitting quietly and doing workbooks and reading all day. My son is NOT like me in his learning style, and the sooner I can get something different going for us during the day, the better!

So I'm investigating Konos. My wonderful veteran homeschooling mom and pastor's wife neighbor (right next door!) has brought over her three volumes of Konos curriculum and I've been poring over them for a few days now. I'm begining to make some lists of books I need to buy and loan, supplies I need to locate. I will buying these books from her at a significant discount, as they're listed at $99.00 each. There is enough to do in these three books for an entire K-8 education!

Here's the gist of it from their website www.konos.com:

How is KONOS different from other curricula?

KONOS is distinct from other curricula in that it features:

· Godly character trait focus

· Units with all subjects integrated

· Hands-on, experiential activities

· Discovery learning

· Multi-level, family teaching

KONOS used the entire library as a textbook and the whole world as its curriculum.

The two ladies who wrote it had all boys. They believe that God put the wiggles in children! So while my morning will be spent with reading, writing, math, and spelling, my afternoon will be projects, activities, discussions, games...

My son has never said, "Is that all the school we have to do? I want more!" My new goal as a homeschooling mom is to make him say that to me! We are going to have so much fun, he's not going to know what to do! I. AM. DETERMINED. PRAY!!!!!

Thanks to friend Jeano for this:

Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable
by Elisabeth Elliot (of End of the Spear fame)

1. Count your troubles, name them one by one--at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.
2. Worry every day about something. Don't let yourself get out of practice. It won't add a cubit to your stature but it might burn a few calories.
3. Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.
4. Devise clever but decent ways to serve God and mammon. After all, a man's gotta live.
5. Make it your business to find out what the Joneses are buying this year and where they're going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.
6. Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters. Be your own person and don't allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you.
7. Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people's. You have your life to live, they have theirs.
8. Don't fall into any compassion traps--the sort of situation where people can walk all over you. If you get too involved in other people's troubles, you may neglect your own.
9. Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really relevant--things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You want to stick with the visible ones--they're where it's at now.
_________________

Aw Thanks




Sweet Mummy and Caroline both have given me my first awards recently! Once I figure out what I should do now, as in pass them along? I will. Blogging etiquette on that? Anyway, thanks!



Even though Caroline over at living in a fishbowl (see the link in my blog roll-remember how weird my browser is about hyperlinks) thinks I'm a closet Lutheran (Missouri Synod-anyway), as a Baptist I have lots of reasons to remember what all those brave men and women endured so that I could worship freely and have an English Bible in my hands!

So while I'm most definitely not a theologian like my husband, I'll briefly give you some reasons why we should celebrate the Reformation, which started on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany:

1. Martin Luther's passion to be reconciled to God and his boldness in proclaiming the TRUE GOSPEL of justification by faith alone has yielded fruit for centuries. Thanks, Martin!
2. Just like the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, there are men and women who have been tortured and killed for the name of Christ and OUR faith is strengthened when we remember their example.
3. We are passing along our Christian heritage to our children.
4. It gives us a greater understanding of our own faith and what it means to suffer for the name of Christ.
5. It's a fascinating period of history.
6. It's fun to dress up!
7. It can be its own homeschool unit study.
8. It's a fantastic excuse to throw a party that has a purpose behind it.

That's all I can think of for now...

So where to begin?

You can check out a resource that I love from www.doorposts.net called A Night of Reformation. It's designed to be used in a church or homeschool group setting that requires a bit of manpower and planning, but there are still ideas you can implement at home.

Doing a quick google search can direct you to a number of historical sites that explain what happened. Once you feel like you have a basic understanding of the history and purpose, then begin to search out ideas for medieval foods and costumes.

I've made a kind of honey nut candy before. We've had cider and dark bread. A beef barley stew. Some fruit, maybe grapes. Some cheese cubes. Once, I made these fig thingies (I don't even remember what they're called!) they were gooey and weird, anyway, no one liked them but it was fun to try. I found it on some food from the middle ages website.

As for costumes, the first year we did it my boys were little and we just read the story of Martin Luther and watched the scene in the old black and white movie about him where he says his famous line, "I cannot. I will not recant." The next year, I made them knight costumes. I tried a pattern from doorposts. net but I AM NOT A SEAMSTRESS and it was very stressful. Looking back I would have started sooner and not followed a pattern! I would have bought the metallic material and glued it to some batting and just left the edges unfinished. I found some knight helmets at the mormon thrift store (sorry-it was my only choice : ). We made and painted wooden swords and tied thick cord around their shins like boots or high laced shoes. You can also purchase the full of armor of God sets at www.christianbook.com. I got my boys these for Christmas last year and they still play with them.

The second year, I talked my mom and grandma into making them dragon costumes from a McCalls pattern. I felt terrible that it was so involved and took them FOREVER. Sorry...but boy did they look cute!

This year, my mom made them some monk costumes, we'll use a rope belt and some sandals. They made some cross necklaces out of clay and maybe I'll make them take a vow of silence for the day! HA!

So maybe that will get you thinking. The internet is a WEALTH of information. We did more than this at our celebrations, but that will just have to wait for next Saturday!

It's true. If something happens at church that someone doesn't like, guess who they turn on? You can really never be separated from your husband's position.

Sad, but true, my dears.

A quick note to let you know I'll be beginning a series on celebrating the Reformation with your family as an alternative to Halloween. We've done this for 3 years now and it's always a lot of fun. I'll share a few ideas that might inspire YOU to take a more positive spin on the holiday.

Remember: October 31 is the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses (or complaints) against the Catholic Church on the church door (or bulletin board-that's up for debate!) of Wittenberg!

Some churches debate if they should hold baby showers for an "unwed mother" who might be a member of their church.

"Would this appear as though we were condoning fornication?" they wonder.

Using this logic, then they would also never be able to bring the child cupcakes in Sunday School on his birthday because he was and (apparently always will be) a bastard child. He is forever marked as a "mistake", and under this shadow of condemnation his mother will live for the rest of her life.

I would instead liken the baby shower to the feast thrown by the loving father in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son:

Luke 15:20-24

"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

"But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate."

Those who reject lavishing love upon a repentant woman remind me of the "other brother":

Luke 15:28-32

"But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.

"But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured wealth and prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him.'

"And he said to him, 'Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'"

Pharisees hate when others receive God's grace. It feels unjust to them because they keep a talley of all the "good things" they do. Jesus called them white washed tombs, clean and bright on the outside, but full of dead men's bones on the inside.

In the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18, Jesus says that the tax collector, who beat his chest and bemoaned his sin, went home justified.

When we wrap our arms around a young girl who has chosen to keep her baby, as sinful as the circumstances around the conception might be, we are loving her like Jesus loved the woman at the well, the tax collector, and the disciple who denied him three times.

If she is a believer, I can assure you the guilt and humilation she feels are enough to push her into the arms of her loving Lord. If she is not a believer, but is crushed by the weight of her sin, this might be the very event that turns her to the cross for redemption.

If you shun her, she will grow bitter.

Her circumstances cannot be undone--unless she chooses to murder her baby to save face.


Thanks to Sweet Mummy, I found this book. I got it yesterday and I am already halfway through it! Here's the gist of it: Karen struggled with delighting in her children and was often angry and crabby--until the Lord showed her that her children were the tools he was using to sanctify her and make her the mother he intended her to be.

YOU. MUST. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Find it and more at:

www.irritablemother.com

Then tell me what you think!

I was reading over at Girltalk a while back and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I am vain.

Before children, I was thin without making any effort. I wasn't athletic, I ate what I wanted and I just was skinny.

Mothers out there know what bizarre things happen to a woman's body when she's pregnant! For me, it meant keeping ten pounds or so from every baby as a kind of souvenir.

I've been focusing lately on losing weight. I've been running, walking, lifting. I've dropped 7 pounds so far, with only 8 more to go to get back to where I was when I got pregnant this last time.

But it's occured to me that my whole motivation is to "look better". Why should this matter to me? Is it because I was always thin without having to worry about it? Is it because I'm buying into the world's standard of beauty? I hate to admit, but I think the answer to these questions is YES.

So I've repented of my vanity, something I must do daily. I've committed myself to being healthy, to preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporsis, diabetes, knee replacements, back problems...so that when I'm a grandma someday, I can be a busy, active, FUN grandma who can enjoy her children's children. That has become my focus, I pray that by God's grace, he will bless my efforts this time since it is from a heart that seeks to bring him glory through taking care of my temple of the Holy Spirit, and not from a heart that seeks to worship myself.

Fox News has an article about a 32 year old man who was kidnapped and murdered. He owned a Christian bookstore and left behind two small children and a pregnant wife. The story states that he had been receiving death threats for quite some time and his bookstore had been bombed. The religion of peace?

Here's the address:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,299969,00.html

Sacred


Caedmon's Call has a new CD out called Overdressed, and when I listen to it I feel like I'm in college again. (You know I'm knocking on 30 this year.)

My favorite song so far is this one it echoes my life right now, particularly some recent posts:

Sacred

Words and Music by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Osenga
(c) 2007 House of Mirrors Music (ASCAP) admin. by Simpleville Music, Inc. / 2007 Mighty Molecule Music. (ASCAP) admin by Music Services

this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime

I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine
rise and shine cause

everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes


We have a family we know who is facing the imminent death of their newborn. It is their first child, a son. His parents are spending his final days holding him in the ICU. His mother's empty arms will return to a nursery made ready to receive him.

So I'm working around my house, thoughts and prayers always on my mind and often whispered for this dear family as I wash dishes and fold clothes. And I'm noticing all the toys, dirty socks, Nintendo Wii controllers, pillows, blankets, empty sippy cups, bowls of Cheerios, apple cores, chairs pulled up to the counter so little arms can reach goodies...A sense of frustration wells up within me as I fall into the same old patterns of

"All they ever do is make a mess!"
"I'm just the maid around here!"
"Doesn't anyone but ME see that stuff needs to be done around here?"
"What if a church member comes over and sees all this junk!"


When the Holy Spirit gently whispers in my ear: "You want a house that looks like no one lives there. Do you know what that would look like?"

It would look like the home of this suffering family whose only precious little boy is about to leave to be with Jesus. I'm sure their floor isn't strewn with toys, but I'm betting anything they wish it was...

Here's a modified version of a Rachael Ray favorite!

1 pound rigatoni (tube shaped pasta)
8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
2 large leeks, trimmed of roots and dark green tops
salt and pepper
2 T butter
3 T flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 c milk
1 c water
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 1/2 c Gruyere cheese, divided
1 T dijon mustard
1 pint grape tomatoes
3/4 c Panko or plain bread crumbs

Cook the pasta to al dente. While pasta boils, fry bacon until crisp. While bacon is cooking, spit the trimmed leeks lengthwise, lay the leeks cut side down, and thinly slice into half moons. Fill a large bowl with water and mix the leeks into the water. Allow the water to settle, and the dirt and grit to settle on the bottom of the bowl. Draw the leeks from the water. Drain them on kitchen towel and pat dry. Add to the bacon pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 3-4 minutes longer.

To start cheese sauce, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, and cayenne pepper. Whisk together and cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in milk and water and chicken bouillon. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer to thicken about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 3 cups of grated cheese and the mustard. Set aside.

Add the tomatoes to the leeks and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

Combine the 1/2 c cheese with bread crumbs.

Combine drained pasta, cheese sauce, and bacon, leek, tomato mixture. Put into greased casserole dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes.

Serve with a green salad.




I'm reading this classic by Emily Bronte and can't put it down! I decided I was tired of reading more popular books for the time being, and since I've started Don Quioxte, oh, about 3 or 4 times and never got past the first few chapters, I figured in an effort not to let my brain turn completely to mashed potatoes, I would pick up something different to read. I'm so glad I did! I read Charlotte Bronte's book Jane Eyre years ago, but so far, I think I like this one better. I've been trying not to do much research into the story so as not to find out how it ends. I'll probably get a movie (there have been at least 3 made, in the 1930s, 1970s and 1990s) when I'm done. Anyone have any other classics they love?

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