More Gratitude


*Picnics with friends after church on Sundays

*Emma is almost potty trained!

*Gabe and Nathan helping John with hard, manly work on the farm and the resulting change in their attitude.

*John’s siblings taking turns to help care for Mavis on the weekends

*The swelling in John’s foot is almost completely gone!

*Taking evening walks with John and talking about what is on our hearts

*Listening to Emma repeat “Forks go with the forks, knives go with the knives, and spoons go with the spoons!” as she puts the silverware away.


One Perfect Moment

  Anna in the water, arms and legs working together to propel her, a smile radiating pure joy as she found elusive success.

Emma sitting on the floor, content to watch her sister swim and wave sweetly at the old women doing their exercises in the pool.  She was tall and ladylike, not demanding anything of anyone.

Then in a breath it was gone; but the joy of that one perfect moment will feed my soul today.  It is a gift from God.

A couple of low-tech laundry tips

  Emma is going through a phase where she refuses to wear anything but a dress.  I’ve ebayed and garage saled looking for dresses cheap enough that I won’t hesitate about letting her play in the sandbox or help me in the garden while wearing them.  The one she is wearing in the picture above I bought new at Aldi’s for a couple of dollars and it’s been one of her favorites.

A couple of weeks ago, Emma wore this dress while running errands with her dad.  When she returned, she ran into the house crying because dad had “gotten it dirty”.  That turned out to be an understatement.  In fact, she had somehow managed to smear some very black, very oily engine grease across the front.  Remembering some advice from my grandmother on this subject, I got out some white Crisco (grandma used lard, but I don’t use it) and proceeded to work it into the stain.  Grandma says, “grease cuts grease”.  You can’t just smear it on, you’ve got to really work it into the stain with your nails, but after about 10 minutes of elbow grease (no pun intended), the stain was gone and after a cycle through the washer the Crisco was gone and the dress was as good as new.

This week when I took the dress out of the dirty clothes basket, I discovered that someone had piled wet towels on top of it (thanks, boys!) and with summer’s heat the dress was covered with mildew.  (Ugh!  The plague of summer laundry!)  Mavis was standing with me and she mentionned she had read or heard somewhere to use vinegar.  Now I’m getting to be a big fan of vinegar so I soaked the sweet little dress overnight and a good part of today while I was garage saling.  I have to admit, most of the stain is gone, there are just some faint spots left.  (If anyone has any other tips for getting mildew out of clothing, by all means, please let me know!)

Do and do?

I learned something new in my quiet time today.  Lately, I’ve been studying the book of 1 Samuel using Kay Arthur’s inductive Bible studies.  Today I was going over ch. 3 for the last time before moving on. 

1 Sam. 3:1 says that “The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.”, while v. 7 tells us that “Samuel did not yet know the Lord” because the Lord had not yet revealed himself to him.  What an empty picture of ministering before the Lord without knowing Him!  Did Eli, as Samuel’s father figure raise Samuel the way that he had raised his own sons, Hophni and Phineas?  Did that explain why they treated the Lord’s offering with contempt?  That they had been ministering before the Lord all these years without knowing Him?  without loving Him?  without fearing Him?  Had Eli raised his sons to see ministry as do and do and rule on rule?  Was part of the reason God judged Eli not just that he had failed to restrain his sons, but that he had raised them without teaching them to know and love the Lord?

As exciting as fresh insight into the Word is, it’s academic if I do not ask myself, what about me?  In our home is it do and do and rule on rule?  Or do my children learn to really love the Lord for who He is?  Do they fear Him for his holiness?  Do they see it in me?

It was a long day…

  My dh and I like to picnic with friends after church on Sundays.  It is very informal and fluid, as in “this is where we’ll be after church, if you feel like joining us and letting the kids run around, great!”  Sometimes it is just us and one other couple we are good friends with, sometimes there are other people, but always it is an enjoyable time.

Yesterday as we were leaving the park, we were a little chaotic.  John had made arrangements to give his mom a ride home, but we had taken the 7 passenger van instead of the 8 passenger van, hence we were one seat short.  There was a birthday party setting up in the shelter where we had eaten and I was thinking about what I had left to take to the van so we could clear out the place for them.  I picked up Sam in his carseat and headed towards the shelter.  I felt the weight of him heavy on my arm, carrying him close to my body to help alleviate the strain on my back, then suddenly he was weightless.  What had happened?  Had John taken him from me to help carry?  He had done that earlier that day in church…no, the carseat was still on my arm…then I saw him…on the ground…my precious baby who I did not realize was not fastened in his carseat had slipped out and fallen 3 feet to land flat on the back of his head on the cement sidewalk.

My world started spinning.  I was immediately transported back to a place of fear.  He is so young, he has his whole life ahead of him… I CAN’T GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN!

I asked my friend to pray for him.  I am ashamed to admit that I wasn’t in a place to pray.  I couldn’t give my other children the reassurance they needed.  I was simply consumed by fear.

John, sensing my need, or perhaps needing to be reassured himself, readily agreed to a trip to the immediated care clinic for some x-rays.  By the time we got there, Samuel looked good and was acting normally, but we just wanted to be sure.  The PA assessed him and everything looked great except one thing…becaue he is so young, there could be soft tissue damage and he wouldn’t necessarily demonstrate any of the normal symptoms we would look for, therefore they had to recommend we take him to the ER for a CT scan. 

By this time, I was fairly reassured that Sam was going to be o.k.  I knew going into this that we would most likely be wasting a day of my time and $1000 that we don’t have, and yet…it’s his BRAIN.  In a moment of clarity, I knew that if I could waste a day of my time and spend $1000 to heal Anna I would do it in a heartbeat , no less than a heartbeat.  I couldn’t put Sam at risk.  I don’t know whether John was thinking the same thing I was or whether he went along with this out of his great love for me, but it was never a question of whether or not we would , only which hospital we would utilize.

It was an incredibly long day.  If it was a long one for me in the hospital, I can only imagine how long it was for John taking care of the remaining children and his mother, but Sam got his CT scan eventually.  (It took me a long time to nurse him to sleep deeply enough that he would tolerate it, and even that was iffy.)  As expected, the report is just fine…and we are deeply grateful.