Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sweet Baby Sleeps

Another day,
Another slumber,
Tiny one,
How I wonder...
Why did God choose me for you?

I lay you down,
Your tummy filled.
Here I am, Lord,
Ready to do Your will.

Hands to Heaven,
Lord I pray,
Make me the mom
He needs this day.

Jennifer C. Smith

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review of Pursuit of Proverbs 31, by Amy Bayliss

I love God, my husband, my family. I love to learn how to be a better wife and mother each day, because somewhere deep down inside has always been this lingering woman I long to be, you know who she is, the woman of Proverbs 31. Like most women, I long to be like her. Just when I think I'm on my way to achieving her fine status something comes along in my life to show me that I am pretty much a failure at and I will never really ever be this woman. Along comes Amy Bayliss! She has written this fantastic book called Pursuit of Proverbs 31. I just recently joined the CWA Review Crew and I was thrilled to be chosen as one of the reviewers for Amy Bayliss' book!  It is not your typical Bible study that studies the Proverbs 31 chapter verse by verse, however, it is a great read at shattering the myths surrounding this popular text.

One of the first things the author mentions is how "No matter how many steps you take away from God, it only takes one step to come back." This idea grabbed my attention right away and I think it can relate to every one of us, speaking to us right where we are at. Whatever we have been letting get in between us and our relationship with God, even the seemingly "good" things, Amy reminds us that we only need just take one step toward God and He will meet us right where we are at.

She encourages the reader to seek out different versions of the Bible and teaches how to study God's Word. Each chapter reveals the author's heart as she walks us through the myths of the Proverbs 31 woman. Amy Bayliss writes honestly and openly about her own challenges in being the best wife and mother. She encourages the reader to first develop her relationship with God. With each chapter she adds thoughts to focus on, scripture to memorize, and suggestions to implement the ideas discussed in the chapter. She has great tips on studying the Bible, overcoming the myth of the Proverbs 31 woman, time saving tips, money saving tips and wonderful words that have you longing for a deeper personal prayer life. She has plenty of places to allow the reader to pause and pray, right in the middle of the chapter even as you are following along. Her chapter titles are fun, but it was her subtitles that kept me giggling! "I'm a homemaker but my name ain't Susie!" was one of my favorites.

While I read through this book quickly in order to review it on time for the review crew, I am looking forward to going back and taking the time to pour over my Bible and do a more thorough Bible study with this book. Amy Bayliss offers many great points in scripture to look up and study and I can't wait to take the time to really let God work these new ideas into my heart. I'm ready to let God move me and mold me into who HE wants me to be, not what other women think I should be or what I think a Proverbs 31 woman should be. If you are ready to cast off the myths surrounding this popular text, won't you join me by purchasing this book for your self! You can pick up a copy over at Amazon for only $4.99 Kindle download. At only 145 pages it's a fairly short read, but worth every penny!

About the author:
I’m an indie author, web publisher, blogging, digital publishing, and social media consultant, and I am a small business owner but my favorite job is being a wife to Ryan and mama to my four, rowdy boys!
Most of all, I’m just me. I make mistakes (quite often). I don’t always get it right. Hopefully I learn my lesson the first time. If not, I have an awesome savior who doesn’t give up on me.
Oh you want the official bio? Here goes…
Amy Bayliss, then Amy Grant, began blogging in 2005. Since that time she has trail blazed through the blog scene co-founding and propelling online retreats likeHomemaker’s Challenge, and her personal website: Cajun Joie de Vivre. She also brought to the table an innovative way for bloggers and their readers to connect by establishing online conferences and workshops through A Woman Inspired, HOTM Conferences, and DIY Ministry. She has been featured Woman’s Day Magazine, Inside Out Programming, and was the feature story and cover girl for CWO Magazine in August of 2008.
Currently, she is a regular columnist or contributing writer to the following publications: Sisters in BloomRooMag by Candace Cameron BureThe Better Mom, and A Martha Heart.
Amy is the author of Pursuit of Proverbs 31 and Do It Yourself Online Ministry. She is now wife to Ryan and mom to four rambunctious boys that range in age from 18 months to 15 years. They reside in Cajun Country where they worship and serve under Healing Place Church.

Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book/Ebook/Product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Am Dangerous!

I read an article published over at Life Site News yesterday.
I laughed right out loud at the term, "Yummy Mummies" spoken about by Cherie Blair, wife of Tony Blair.
The article stated that the term, " “Yummy mummy” is a UK slang term typically used to describe young, attractive women who live on their husband’s wealth, staying home full-time with their children."

Seriously? Wow! I tried to imagine what Mrs. Blair really thinks of one of those "Yummy Mummies"! Because being at home, cooking, cleaning, EDUCATING my children while my husband goes to work takes every bit of my energy and is a very real sacrifice for our family. But apparently she thinks that my children will "lack a sense of independence" and won't be able to "make their way in the world because their moms don’t have “professional ambition"."

Actually the article is focused more on women who marry RICH men to retire on their husband's wealth, so she really isn't talking about me per say, because my husband is a cop so we will never be rich. He does have a retirement plan and I have heard of women staying with their husbands solely because of their retirements, so I suppose you could then lump me in with "Yummy Mummies" after all, since I only stay with my husband because of the great retirement plan, (just kidding!).

Seriously, the article while it made me laugh at first, it made me feel terribly sad for Tony's wife that she will never ever fully understand what a life poured out for another with no financial gain really means. It means walking in the footsteps of Jesus, kneeling before the throne of God on a daily basis. Finding the cross in the clothespin. Mrs. Blair actually goes so far as to label these women as "dangerous". And here is the one point I would have to agree with her here. 


I pray for my husband, children, family and friends. I pray for my government. I pray for our President, Governor, Town Council, Pastor(s). I educate my children in the ways of the Lord. We strive each day to be better people today than we were yesterday. 

So I may never see the estimated $113K that I am worth ANNUALLY, but that's okay. My job is my life and it has already been bought and paid for by the precious blood of my Saviour, Jesus Christ. I'm pretty sure each one of my six children are happy that I chose to not only give them life but gave up my own to raise them. There is joy in the journey! There is no higher calling than that of a mother! So I will walk with my King and smile thinking that others may consider me a "Yummy Mummy" (that term still cracks me up!) but I know better. I know what THEY are missing, and they call me "dangerous"!

Just my thoughts as I am figuring this stuff all out!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Go Into All The World

Here is the map that hangs on my kitchen wall. It is actually quite large at 4 feet x 5 feet. We use it nearly every day in homeschooling.  I've been having fun watching my blog grow and following my Google stats of where my followers have been finding me from. When I get a new follower or someone who found my blog on the internet, I put a star on their country. The kids love to see where the next new country will be! I  just thought it would be fun to put this photo up to let you know that I am praying for each one of you that has been to my blog. Whether you were looking for help in removing smudge marks and ended up on this post or wanted a recipe for cinnamon sticks and ended up here, or wanted inspiration for a Christian princess birthday party,   or googled stinky shoes even, I wanted to thank you for stopping by. May you be blessed and find that there is joy in the journey of life! Jesus is my everything. I praise Him all the day long and I praise Him for bringing you to my little corner of the world! God bless!

"He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation."   Mark 16:15

We Call It "School"

Our back yard is nice...

But their back yard is more fun!

You can fly a plane!

Or drive a truck!

Or a tractor!

Make a friend!

Stay awhile...

And sit and and talk with some chicks!

Have a picnic lunch...

Savor every bite!

Have a special treat!


These are the moments..

we cherish.

And then go home and talk about our day and call it "school"!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Chapter Is Ending

A moment to reflect.

My oldest son is in high school.

My days of driving him to his JROTC class are now over.

The long hours of waiting for big brother's class to end are over.

We don't have to put our feet up.

And share in the van while we wait for class to end.

Pausing to play with the baby, who will be grown up himself all too soon.

Yet these are the days...

and the moments...

we cherish.

Next fall my son will drive himself, along with his younger brother to their one class at public school. We will continue to homeschool through high school. Two boys in high school. Where has the time gone? Weren't they just little boys yesterday?

But they are becoming men. This is what I have been preparing them for since they were born.

Another chapter is ending. It is all good.

We've Gone to the Birds! Officially!

The lumber has arrived!

The workers are ready!

My husband is building us a chicken coop! Yep! That's right! A chicken coop!

The kids and I have been wanting to get chickens for well over two years now. My husband has had a ton of excuses each time we suggest getting chickens. My nine year-old once asked, "why can't Daddy just see that we want to eat healthy and have fresh eggs?!" I finally told him he needed to talk to God if his own father wouldn't listen. God knows the desires of our hearts, and in His timing He always answers.

"The Lord remembers us all and will bless us" Psalm 115:12

I was perfectly content to submit to my husband's reasoning about NOT having chickens, ie. the care, maintenance, predators, etc. I did think they would be fun for the kids to help take care of and we would also get to eat some healthy fresh eggs, but I knew my husband would never go for the idea of us having chickens...until now!
My husband came home from work on Sunday and explained how he had been at a co-workers house who had a dozen chickens. He got to see someone he knew first hand and with whom he felt comfortable asking the questions he needed answering. He blew me away! I knew the whole thing would have to be his idea and not something I wanted. I've been trying to get him to build a swingset extension for our kids for over 10 years. I bought the kit and everything but he has never had any desire to buy the lumber for the kit and actually finish the project. Recently he found the kit in the basement (incidentally the children I bought this kit for have long since outgrown it, but we have little kids in the home again so they will get some use out of it). Well, he has decided he would get some lumber from his father and actually finish the swingset project for me, and NOW A CHICKEN COOP? Okay, someone please tell me who this man is that I'm living with and what have you done with MY HUSBAND?!!!

I can't wait to share the progress on the new chicken coop! I can just see my little kids out running out to gather the eggs and their happy, smiling faces. I'm told that the chickens are great at eating the ticks in the grass too. I'm super excited about being rid of ticks. Two of our kids contracted lyme disease in the last couple of years. It is not a disease you fool around with.

So that's it! We have really gone to the birds now!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Learning on the "Fly"

Homeschooling has been a wonderful way to bring our family closer together while learning and growing as a family. Our children also partner with the local Christian school for a full one day program where homeschooling children are welcomed and receive instruction in gym, art, chorus, and band. 
At the end of each school year the homeschoolers are invited to participate in the school's end of the year field trip!

Wednesday we gathered the family and headed out to Cape Elizabeth, Maine
 to join the kids and staff of the school.
We had a great day discovering the wonders of Maine's rocky coast
 and the lighthouse of Portland Headlight.

There is so much beauty to behold here on the coast of Maine!

There's lots of wind up on the hill at Ft. Williams!

It makes for a great kite flying day!

I thought our smallest daughter might get carried away by her kite!

There is history to be discovered here too!

We visited the old Goddard Mansion on the Ft. Williams property.
We tried to imagine it in all its glory, bustling with military personnel who later lived here after it was acquired by the military in 1899. We were intrigued to learn how Ft. Williams played an integral role in protecting the shore line of Cape Elizabeth and the harbor of Portland during World War II.

We had a fantastic day! We were praying that God would push back the skies and make for a beautiful day, and boy did He ever deliver! The weather turned warm and sunny after four LONG days of flooding rains.

  It was the perfect day to head to the ocean!

We love to put down our books and study history hands-on!
Our kids are truly getting an amazing education. I mean, just look at this little guy smiling here. He's quite a contrast to the homeschool books stacked behind him! Our kids will learn far more from loving on this little guy than from any textbook, I'm sure! There's always something crazy interesting going on at our house! With so many kids and so many interests we just never know where each day may take us! 
(Hint: look behind the baby.)

Welcome "Jake" and "Jeb"!

Our 14 year old son bought these parakeets on Thursday with his own money he earned. The lady in the pet store made sure my son knew what kind of a commitment this was going to require. "These birds can live about 20 years. This isn't a short term commitment, you know."  He knew. He had done a ton of research and was ready to commit. He plopped down over $90 for a wonderful cage, toys, and food, (and the birds, of course)! He has spent a good portion of the day getting to know the birds and trying to earn their trust. I'm so proud of my son and his new interest. The birds are really pretty. I guess I always wanted a bird, but never wanted to actually go so far and BUY one. Now we have birds. He named one Jake. He says it's because he wants to train it to talk to him so when he says, "Hi Jake!" the bird will talk back and say hi to him, "Hi, Jake!" I can't stand it this kid is so funny!
So, there you have it, learning on the fly has taken over and we have officially gone to "the birds"!
What adventures have your kids taken you on lately?! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

1 Peter Allume Bible Study

I'm excited to begin this study on 1 Peter with the Allume ladies.

It is written by Katie Orr and you can join me too by downloading the study guide here.

Let's strengthen our Bible studying muscles! Will you join me?

Smudge Marks

I was checking on my blog stats this morning and found someone had actually found my blog by Googling "smudge marks"! Of all things, it was "smudge marks"? Really?!  How interesting!
Here they are!

They were left behind one afternoon of finger (and toe) painting with my little girls.

It got me thinking about how it's those little smudge marks in our life that often build and yet also reveal our character. We are all covered in the "smudge marks" of life.
It is these marks that make us who we are after all.

We are all different and fashioned for a purpose. But should I then say to God, "I am not worthy to be called to this tremendous task of homeschooling these six children!! Someone ought to do a better job than me?"
But I am really only clay in the Potter's hands.

"You turn things upside down,
    as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! 
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it,
    “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter, 
    “You know nothing”?
Isaiah 29:16 NIV

Father, help me to remember that You are doing a good work in us. Even through the smudge marks of life you are shaping us into the people you are designing us to be! 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Precious Days and Pizza

These are precious days we are living. My family loves it when I make homemade pizza. I make it about once a week. I take a simple dough recipe and double it.
5 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
4 TB vegetable oil
2 cups warm water

I mix all the above ingredients in my Kitchen-Aid with my wisk.
Then I use my dough attachment and add
2 cups wheat flour
3 cups white unbleached flour
Blend on med-high to high until dough forms into a ball around the blade.
I turn this out onto a greased silicon mat and cut into four balls.

Most nights I have eager little hands that want to help roll out the dough! I can't get enough of these little hands!

I top the dough with pizza sauce. I usually make it homemade as well using tomato paste and spices. A little apple cider vinegar gives it an extra special kick we all love. Then comes the cheese. I usually have lots of hands wanting to help spread the cheese because it means hungry mouths get to sample the cheese before it hits the pizza!
For the bread sticks I press the dough into my small toaster oven pan. I cut it into bread sticks. Then drizzle 2 TB melted butter over the dough. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the melted butter, then sprinkle sugar over the cinnamon to coat the sticks. Bake all these in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 min.

This recipe makes three pizzas and one batch of cinnamon bread sticks.


This girl makes my heart melt!
Sometimes in these moments we call life I stop and my heart lingers here on the fact that if I hadn't pursued having my tubal ligation reversal surgery, I would never have gotten to know this amazing little girl. She's one of a kind and we all lover her soooo much! She wakes up every morning with a smile on her face, and wants to play "I Spy", but you have to go first!
God has blessed us more than I could ever imagine! Pizza nights are all the more special with little hands who run to help. I hope my kids will want to make this a tradition for their own families one day. My oldest son at 16 can make this recipe just as well as I can and sometimes will fill in and take over. Yes, these are really precious days.