Who Needs God

Seriously. Here in America we have OnStar, cell phones, weather alerts. We’re insured–at the very least–with life, health, vehicle and property insurance. Why put our trust in a higher being when we’ve got fertility drugs, smoke alarms, the ER and government assistance at our beck and call?

In this instant gratification society, why pray when you can make it happen yourself? Or perhaps in the rush we just forget who’s really got our back.

MInTheGap and I discussed this somewhat in comments under his post on cell phone plans the other day. I mentioned a that I’d been driving our Saturn home from church last year when the front passenger side tire and wheel flew off the car with me driving 55 mph. Panicking–you know the whole “my life is flashing before my eyes, are the kids buckled in?, etc” spiel–I begged God for help!

We were able to slow down and pull off the rural highway, no cars in sight, completely safe and sound. Minus the still rolling tire and wheel. I got out, looked at the damage, got back in the car and took stock. A good twenty minutes from home and no cell phone. So we prayed. We prayed that someone would stop and let us use their phone, and that my husband would be home (translated: inside the house to get the call!) to be able to come rescue us!

Guess what we saw in the rear view mirror when we said “Amen”? A patrol car. He had a cell phone. My husband answered on the first ring and we were outta there in twenty minutes.

So I shared the above story with MInTheGap, prefacing it with the fact that we’d owned a car bag-phone before cordless cell phones were widely used. It was nice, but not necessary, so after a few years we canceled the plan and never looked back. Sure there are times I wish, for convenience sake, we still had one, but I have to wonder about what MInTheGap said in reply to my story:

“Cell phones do affect our feeling of independence from God, that much is certain. I’m beginning to wonder how much our feelings of detachment from God (or that God is distant) is a result of our own decisions to try to do more and more without Him.” ~MInTheGap

Pretty astute, to my way of thinking. I don’t ever want to lose my reliance on God.

Do you suppose that’s why the big “shake-ups” occur in our lives? Is God trying to get our attention in the only way He knows will make us sit up and get serious?

Life is too short, people. We all need the Lord.

Making Melodies

As I type, my dh is enriching our daughters’ lives with the music of Marty Robbins. Never heard of him? Think authentic cowboy music. Sons of the Pioneers. Red River Valley ring any bells? Cool Water? Well, anyway, these songs make you think of Roy Rogers and fringed shirtsleeves. Corny as it sounds, it’s actually happifying, in a lilting, crooning kind of way…

So we’re making a lot of music here at our house lately. Well, at least a lot of noise anyway. Our seven year old’s 4 year dream of owning an “honest to goodness” trumpetPerformance has finally come true. Yes, when she was two we bought her a yellow and blue plastic Fisher-Price trumpet that played a few tunes, and when she was three, we bought her a red plastic trumpet at the State Fair. She’s kind of always had an attraction there, and her uncle happens to play–so once she heard it in real life…at about age three, yes, she decided she wanted a trumpet.

At this same time, her big sister was almost seven years old and had been saving her pennies for her very own Border Collie so the idea of “saving up for something” became doable.

Overnight she turned into a little Dave-Ramsey-money-guru.

I’d give both girls fifty cents to spend at the thrift store and oldest would drop hers just for the sake of spending, while lil trumpet lover just clenched hers tight in her hand till she could get home and insert it into her piggy bank, big band music notes in her eyes…

This year she asked for money for her birthday. That brought her up to almost half of what a new trumpet costs ($700). I got some quotes online, and ended up getting our local music store to knock off $300 from their typical “new” trumpet price to match the online price of the same brand. Wow! So now our girl finally has her trumpet. She blew it so hard and so much the first day, she ended up bursting blood vessels in her cheeks… I’m just personally glad she didn’t end up with permanently crossed eyes. Um-hm.

I have to admit to several doubts along this musical path. Trumpet, Lord? Why this fixation on trumpets? Till one day it came to me. Seven year old has always been my loud child. The one needing to tone it down…several thousand decibels. High-pitched giggles, ear-splitting whistles, room-echoing enthusiasm for this life and nothing less. What better instrument to boost this natural gusto than the trumpet? (Feel free to check with me in a couple months and see if I still sub to this theory)

Borrowing from Leticia here:

Moving On…

While on this music spree I had the music store restring my guitar. The guitar I bought years ago when pg with my oldest and moving to a new home. The guitar I never really did anything with.

So I was excited to find this site with the lyrics and guitar chords to many praise songs, including my toddler’s newest fave “Making Melodies in My Heart”… try singing that with your tongue hanging out (to understand you need to observe a gang of children engaged in the actions for this one…).

Now to brush up on my basic guitar chords…and find my daughter a trumpet teacher.

Tell me about the instruments in your life.

Skipping the Fast Food

Every mom has been there.

We had chiropractor appointments at 11:45 A.M. today. Before that, we picked up my oldest daughter’s reading glasses and rushed through several errands. No time for lunch at home. And the Donna Reed in me (snort-cough) didn’t have the foresight to get a picnic packed…

After the appointments we stopped at the nearby library and then finished our errand running with a trip to Wal-Mart. Of course, the whole time I’m eying my watch and realizing that lunch is going to be after 3 P.M. if we don’t pick it up in town.

Then I reasoned, the cheapest place to pick up lunch is McDonalds…but who wants to eat hormone filled and pesticide affected meat raised by unregulated South American beef producers?

Sheesh, what a dilemma. The kids were great though, I’d promised them something to tide them over, just wasn’t sure what that something would be. See, we rarely eat out. When we do, it’s because we have something to celebrate (as in: We have some money!!! Let’s eat out!!!). Taking the girls out to lunch without dear husband just almost seems mean, in our little world of hardly-ever-eating-out.

And I know I’m not the only one that can count on one hand how many times she’s skipped McDonalds in favor of a loaf of bread and cheese for hastily assembled sandwiches while caught in town over the lunch hour…so don’t feel bad for me, I don’t!

So after consulting the girlies, we steered the shopping cart over to the dairy section and picked up cheese sticks, then to the fruit/veggie department for bananas and carrot sticks which we ate on the way home.

Pretty cheap and no complaints. Three year old fell asleep on the way home, tummy full and transferred into bed like a champ.

(While the rest of us skedaddled into the kitchen and made quesadillas! Don’t worry, we saved her one…)

So here’s my questions for you guys:

  1. Do you eat at McDonalds? :)
  2. In an average month, how many times do you eat fast food?
  3. What’s your grocery-lunch-fix for those days when you’re away from home and eating out isn’t in the budget?

Answer any or all! Looking forward to your comments…

Mopping the Ceiling

Yep, and the walls and the window and the floor…the bathroom got an overhaul yesterday.

I. Would. Really. Like. An. Exhaust. Fan. In. The. Bathroom.

Dh says we’ll get one, he’s even got one picked out in the farm store circular we received in yesterday’s mail. It’s that time of year. Not cold enough for the heater, but cold enough to fog up the bathroom completely when we run bathwater–and with one bathroom and five people, you figure the odds.

Forget the mirror, we could write messages to each other on the wet wallpaper.

So I took my Don Aslett mop and cleaned all the brown mold spots off the ceiling before they turned to a carpet of algae.

The window woodwork has been scrubbed so many times it has a “distressed wood finish”…vintage pale green paint flecking its way through many attempts to camouflage it with “pearl bisque” colored paint and its worthless “anti-mildew agent”… Charmingly rustic? Um-no. Timeworn? Well, we’ve got the color variations, the wood grain and the surface irregularities. Not so subtle as if I’d *planned* it that way on purpose. (Ya know, like taking a hammer and inflicting a few well-aimed dents for character and/or stress relief antiquing purposes.)

Well, at least the bathroom is clean from the curtains to the tension rods.

Till the next bath marathon, that is.

Fun with Friends and a Serger

A good friend and her dear mom spent most of an afternoon showing my daughters the basics of using a serger sewing machine. They’re both amazing seamstresses, wedding dress caliber these gals!

Anyway, Andrea contacted me wanting to do what she called “a fun project” with my girls which would require only a half yard of heavy-duty fabric such as denim or canvas and sergedbags.JPGa free afternoon. Well, on our end that’s all it required. On their end it required rather a lengthy road trip and the carting around of two sergers so each of my girls could whiz along on their bags simultaneously. Not to mention a whole afternoon teaching session.

And I got to love on Andrea’s newborn the whole time! All in all, a pretty great day!

Didn’t the bags turn out awesome??? Love those pleats!

Great Advice

When asked what advice she would leave to her children and grandchildren Mama Shoe gave these reminders:

Learn to forgive others. Throughout your life you will have occasion to be hurt by people—sometimes really and sometimes just perceived. Whether they are bad people who have taken advantage of you or injured you in some way, or good folks from your church that hurt you, you must learn to forgive. It may be more difficult to forgive the “good” people because you didn’t expect it from them, but you must be active and generous in forgiving as a way of life. God has said, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Remember, He has been very forgiving of you!

All you kids: Read your Bible and pray every day!

Never let anything come between you and your spouse for more than a few hours. Your dad and I didn’t, and that is why you’ve heard us say to people about our marriage, “Yep, thirty years and still sweethearts.” That has been totally the Lord, but He has taught us keep “short accounts” with each other.

My favorite book is “Humility, The Beauty of Holiness,” by Andrew Murray. God has used it to teach me that “more of Him and less of me” is the key to living a useful and happy life for the Lord and others. God made us like a light bulb, but unless the switch is on and the power flows we cannot shine and are useless. When I’m proud God can’t move in my life, but when I get a glimpse of how big and wonderful my Father is and how small but loved I am as His daughter, He is able to do mighty things in me and through me. “God is oppose to the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). When we humble ourselves God’s power flows to us and makes us what could never be without Him. Jesus is our example of humility as He subjected Himself to the suffering of the cruel cross in order to save us from sin’s effects. Humility is a beautiful quality—cultivate it in your own life and look for it in a possible life partner.

“Just one life; t’will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I love you all. ~Gail

Gail is a dear friend from many years past who is now suffering from an inoperable stage 3 brain tumor. Perhaps you remember me asking for prayer for her and her family a couple months ago? She needs it still. Please keep them in your prayers. These days are especially precious to them, as she’s losing her ability to speak. As you can tell from her advice above, she is one genuinely lovely Christian lady.

 

Preschoolers and Clock Stamps

Every homeschooling mom needs a clock stamp. Or at least a page of stamped clocks awaiting “hands” that she can reproduce when needed. Really though, the site I linked to sells clock stamps for $3.50, not a bad price for a great teaching tool!

Mary’s Favorite Use For Clock Stamps

Other than its obvious use for teaching how to tell time, my kids loved using them to learn how to write their “clock letters” correctly.

Wanda Sanseri, in our Spell to Write and Read curriculum, says:

“Teach the clock letters first. We always learn most securely in our minds what we learn first. The clock letters are taught first because learning to form them correctly is of primary importance. Careful teaching here helps prevent or correct letter reversal like that in dyslexia.”

So sit your preschoolers down and have some fun. Here’s how.

  1. The clock letters are: a, c, d, e, f, g, o, qu, and s. You can also use the clock stamp to teach how to write the numbers 2 and 3.
  2. Teach one letter at a time (One per day, depending on mastery).
  3. Remember that clock letters always start at “two” on the clock, except for e and u. Draw all lines from top to bottom and in the direction we read and write. No retracing. (This way we establish proper penmanship patterns which will help curb dyslexic tendencies.)
  4. Cover a piece of typing paper with clocks. Give your preschooler the colorful marker of their choice.
  5. The fun begins! Have your child trace a page full of the clock letter of your choice.

My children’s favorite letters to trace were s and e. An s begins at “two” on the clock and goes up and over to the “ten” then diagonally down to the “four” and down and back around to end on the “eight”. An e begins on the “nine”, goes straight over to the “three” and up and all the way back around to end on the “four”.

This is way better than candy, people. And the other plus is you can reinforce the letter sounds by having them say the phonogram as they trace it. Seeing it, writing it, and saying it–triple reinforcement.

A handy trick in teaching the clock numbers 2 and 3 is to tell your child: “Two doesn’t begin at ‘two’ on the clock, isn’t that funny? Three doesn’t either.” (They begin on the “ten”.)

More clock games soon…

The Best Medicine

I’m posting today at Writer…Interrupted, a post of encouragement for parents of sick children.

As an extension of that, I wanted to mention that there’s nothing nicer than a care package when the germies have been making their unwelcome rounds. My oldest sister stopped in last fall, during our bout of influenza, and dropped off a grocery bag of goodies including:

  • individual sized squirt bottles of Sunny D
  • Campbell’s “Soup at Hand”–their microwaveable “heat and sip” soups
  • lip balm

My mother in law is another one for spoiling sick loved ones, only her “care packages” usually contain:

  • jello or pudding cups
  • gogurts (yogurt in a tube, good frozen or thawed)
  • juice boxes
  • Pedialyte
  • half a dozen cans of varying kinds of chicken soup (chicken noodl-o’s, chicken and stars, Dora chicken noodle soup…)
  • crackers
  • new books or toys

And my mom still sends over a kettle of chicken and dumplings, which always seems to me, to be the best medicine of all. That and her prayers…

What traditions have you lovingly brought into your family’s healing processes? I’d love to hear about them!

The 10-20-30 Meme

Just got tagged by Jessica and Georgiana D for the 10-20-30 Meme, started at author Mary DeMuth’s Relevant blog

Quick: What were you doing ten, twenty and thirty years ago?

Ten years ago–

firstbaby1.jpgAge 22. We’d just moved from our cozy first trailer home into an old fixer-upper on 12 acres. I’d been killing myself sanding and painting because…I thought I was going to give birth to our first child in a mere week. Little did I know she’d be 17 days overdue. Yes, I resisted inducement that long before finally giving in… I was busy directing our church’s puppet team and having kids’ club meetings each Wednesday night at church and loving being a stay-at-home-wife. Life was indeed very good!

(this pic, scanned out of oldest’s baby book and cropped, is at my first baby shower, during which several girls on the puppet team surprised me with a puppet skit about my upcoming “blessed moment”…that feather-haired puppet played me–pregnant and delivering! It was a hoot…)

Twenty years ago–

Here the memory gets hazy…Twelve years old, beginning junior high at a small private school in Texas, and d1987momandme.jpgesperately trying to “fit” in. Somehow I’d made it to that age without caring about fashion or hairstyles, but I remember driving my mom crazy trying to find a pair of hot pink flats to go with a fuschia colored dress I’d bought myself on a trip to Canada that previous summer. That was the year, I believe, that my friendship blossomed with Teresa (who became my future maid of honor).

I had three jobs:

  1. Each Monday night after school I’d go home with a family of 7 and spend the evening babysitting their brood so the parents could have a date night. Then they’d take me back to school the next morning. I have so many good memories of those times…and got $25 a week for pure pleasure!
  2. On Wednesday evenings, our church paid me $5/hour to babysit during mid-week Bible classes.
  3. On Saturdays, I helped out in a clothing boutique…steaming the newly arrived clothes, dusting, vacuuming and washing out wine glasses!

The above jobs kept me from feeling too much of an only child (my siblings are 11, 13 and 17 years older than me) and from missing my 4 adorable nieces and nephews, who all lived in other states. :(

I loved evenings spent bicycling with my dad around the big city, coming home to watch reruns of the Donna Reed show or American Movie classics.

Thirty years ago–

Two years old, just returned from a three month long trip that hit each of the mainland states and Prince1977toddlerme.jpg Edward Island with my mom, my sisters and one of their school friends. My cute curls got chopped on that trip, I rode the merry-go-round gazillion times in a row at Disney World (according to my saint of a mom) and brought back a Cinderella nightgown that I loved so much I was still wearing it at age 7! We lived on the West Coast at that time.

I tag (trying to think of those of you who are at least 30):

Here’s the idea, post your own 10-20-30’s, tag some friends, and link back to Mary DeMuth’s releventblog post.

Have fun!

Fall is Arriving

Brrr! I love fall, but it takes me a few to adjust to the cooler weather. Here I sit, wrapped in a heavy fleece blanket, thinking wishfully about my ‘orange cappuccino’ days…

Set the alarm for early this morning. Shivered through a hot bath and then 3 year old and I fixed banana pancakes and hot chocolate for everybody.
Both of my older girls were scheduled to get two primary teeth pulled at 10:30 A.M. Seems the roots weren’t dissolving, and 7 year old’s permanent teeth were pushing up behind her primary teeth. Thankfully she breezed through the extraction, her one thought that finally she would have teeth to leave for the tooth fairy… Nine year old is going to need braces, and her extractions were to free up some space for the crooked teeth angling for position in her mouth. Oh the joys of dental payments.

We squeezed in math and spelling tests before going to town, and covered science while waiting for the numbness to wear off so the girls could eat lunch.

The girls are creating dioramas for Awana and I’m musing about what to fix for supper. Any ideas? My mom’s annual gift, the Taste of Home cookbook–ooh-la-la, arrived in the mail today, but I’m curious:

What are you fixing for supper tonight?