Fall Into Reading 2007

Katrina at Callapidder Days is hosting the Fall Into Reading 2007 Challenge. I have quite the stack of *waiting to be read* books....plus a list of several I'd like to find at the library or used book store to add to my stack. :) This has been a good opportunity for me to organize and prioritize what I'd like to read between now and Christmas. Here's my list:


Educating the Wholehearted Child , by Clay and Sally Clarkson--a continuing read for me right now...one of the most convicting, inspiring, and practically helpful books on homeschooling I've read.

Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit , by Teri Maxwell--I've heard such good things about this book, and had it on my bookshelf forever. I'm guessing I really need this one right now.

Keeping a Nature Journal , by Claire Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth--a friend gave this to me just about the time that I ran into some incredible nature journal examples in blogland...the kids and I are *really* excited about starting nature journals this fall.

Keeping Our Children's Hearts , by Steve and Teri Maxwell--another one I've heard great reviews of and keep telling myself I need to pull off the shelf and actually read. :)

Good Kids, Bad Habits, by Jennifer Trachtenberg--I think I found this on someone's reading list from the Spring Reading Thing. One of our goals this year is to work on building healthier habits, so this book jumped out at me. It's currently checked out at the library...guess I need to put a reserve on it next time I'm in. :)

Sacred Influence, by Gary Thomas--Another one I came across on a Spring Reading Thing list. I actually was looking for another book by the same author at the library, but it was checked out and this one wasn't, so I brought it home instead.

Bible Study/Devotional:

Get Out of that Pit, by Beth Moore--an ongoing read

A Heart Like His , by Beth Moore

Abraham, Man of Faith , by Ray Stedman--I read this book years ago (in high school, maybe?) and remember it being really good....I pulled it out a year or so ago and added it back to my TBR stack, and haven't picked it up since. It's time.

Miscellaneous Non-Fiction:

A Way of Seeing , by Edith Schaeffer--I love Edith Schaeffer's writing, and was so excited to pick this up at a used book sale last October. I can't believe I've had it almost a year and haven't read it yet!

The Inflammation Syndrome, by Jack Challem--part of some on-going health research I'm doing...I'll probably add a few more on this topic as we go.

It's All in the Details, by Tessa Eveleigh--Always have to have a few decorating books in my stack. This one may be replaced depending on what I think when I see it at the library.

The Girls Who Went Away , by Ann Fessler--a *very* miscellaneous non-fiction choice I ran across on someone's list from another challenge that happens to be at our library.

(I'm not really including Christian fiction on this challenge list, b/c those tend to be picked randomly as I find them at the library and read when I am trying to go to sleep at night. :) They aren't a priority, and they'll get read anyway. :) However, I rarely read secular fiction anymore, so I'm adding a couple of those that look interesting. They'll be low priority, but I'd like to get to them.)

Playing for Pizza , by John Grisham--I like Grisham, and haven't read one of his in quite some time.

The Memory Keeper's Daughter , by Kim Edwards--This one seemed to be on a * lot* of earlier challenge lists, and I've seen really good reviews of it. I'm looking forward to seeing if it is as good as it sounds.

(Some of these will be with all four kids, some just the girls, and some just Peter.)

The Toothpaste Millionaire , by Jean Merrill
The All-of-a-Kind Family , by Sydney Taylor
B is Betsy, by Carolyn Haywood
Hans Brinker, by Mary Mapes Dodge
The Borrowers, by Mary Norton
The Five Little Peppers , by Margaret Sidney
Hudson Taylor , by Vance Christie
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne

And here are a few others I'd like to read if I can check them out or find them at the right price during the challenge:
Eat, Play, and Be Healthy, by W. Allan Walker
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends , by Sarah, Harold, and Stephen Maly
Teach them Diligently , by Lou Priolo
Hold on to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers , by Gordon Neufeld
Me, Myself, and Bob, by Phil Vischer
A New Kind of Normal,by Carol Kent
No Ordinary Home , by Carol Brazo

To see what others are reading this fall, or to join the Fall Into Reading Challenge, visit
Callapidder Days.


This song has been stuck in my head ever since choir practice Wednesday. It's another Stuart Townend/Keith Getty song and as always, their words are so incredibly powerful, paired with really rich-sounding parts and accompaniment. (It doesn't hurt that they must really love altos!)

Speak, O Lord

Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak O, Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds.
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us;
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
that will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.

Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

~Stuart Townend and Keith Getty

"Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us; truths unchanged from the dawn of time that will echo down through eternity." What an awesome prayer.

For more Faith-Lift Fridays, visit Taking the Challenge .


Thankful Thursday

I didn't get to post my Thankful Thursday at all last week, and I almost missed it this week again. But I'm determined...:-)

My plan this morning was to post this week about how thankful I am for my husband. I'm always thankful for him, but I don't say it nearly enough. So tonight as I type this, he is doing the dishes for me, after teaching a beginning drawing class (for 17 kids!) at co-op this afternoon. Isn't he wonderful?

I'm completely exhausted right now (which is why my sweet husband is doing the dishes), so I don't know that I can even type all I want to...but I am so thankful for the wonderful husband God has given me. I am thankful for his commitment to being a Godly husband, father, and employee. I am thankful for his love for his children and his desire to be involved with them in any way he can. I am thankful for his love and support for me. I am thankful for all the ways that he spoils all of us. I am thankful for the way that he works hard at work and at home. Earlier this week he received the 4th card in a matter of months from one of his superiors at work, praising him for the excellent feedback he receives from patients and co-workers. I'm thankful that he is known for his hard work and care for others.

I am very blessed.

To see what others are thankful for this week, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.


In the Steps of Suffering...

“They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?”
~ Dr. Martin Luther
Iris has chosen this quote for this week's "In 'other' Words". I ran across it when she posted it over the weekend, and have been thinking on it ever since, wondering how I would possibly condense my thoughts on it into a blog post. You see...this is where we have lived for the past 15 months. This is what I have been walking through...this is the theme that has been interwoven in the times that I have cried out to God in despair, the times that I have felt the incomprehensible peace that He is in perfect control, and the times of inexpressible joy of knowing His love more deeply and more beautifully than ever before. God has reminded me, over and over again, through personal Bible Study, through the teachings of others, through songs that He has brought across my path, and through the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit..."You are called to suffer with me. It is a privilege, and a joy."

I have shared in previous posts that my real struggle with the issue of suffering didn't come from purely personal suffering, but from experiencing the sufferings of my children. My first head-to-head battle in this area came when Ammah Grace was still in NICU, and I struggled with the tiny scars that evidenced the traumas she had been through in her short life. God taught me much through that time...and then graduated us from Suffering 101 to Suffering 102 with the illness and death of my dad. Not only was my grief more intense than I had ever experienced before, but my children were experiencing real grief for the first time...which was a heart-wrenching thing for this mama. We were still reeling from that, when we were hit with another extended family crisis...a crisis far beyond what I ever imagined experiencing. Again...the personal hurt was and is huge, but it has been nothing compared to watching the intensity of my children's pain.

Up until this point, my struggles with "why?" had been very limited. There were moments of confusion, but never any real doubt. God was good, He had a purpose, and eventually joy would come in the morning. This time, however, was different.

"WHY is God allowing my children to go through this? WHY are they having to be exposed to this kind of pain? Have they not gone through ENOUGH suffering in their young lives? God COULD have prevented this. HOW in the world can I explain to my children that God is good, God is loving, and God is All-Powerful when He allowed this to happen?"

But just as God lovingly showed Thomas the Doubter the wounds in His hands and His side, so He has patiently walked me through ever deeper paths in the school of suffering...and He continues to walk me through them. The very concept of today's quote...the suffering that Jesus went through before us...has been what I have clung to during the painful learning experiences. Not only has He gently reminded me of the suffering of Jesus during His time on earth...but He has also reminded me that as a Father, God knows what it is to watch His child suffer. And He has reminded me that unlike us as earthy parents, He had a choice. He could have stopped that suffering instantly...and the reason He chose not to was His love for us. The same love that allows us to go through suffering, so that we will be more like Him. The same love that allows our children to go through suffering, for the same reason. The same love that will carry us...and them...through those times of suffering, if we will allow Him to, and if we will teach them that same lesson.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." I Peter 4:12-13

"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21
For more thoughts on this quote, visit Iris at Sting My Heart for today's In "Other" Words.


Monday Meanderings and Menu Plan Monday...Whew!

I can't believe that it has been over a week since I have posted here! I had all kinds of thoughts to post last week, but wasn't able to spend much time at the computer. Hopefully I'll do better this week!

We are going to be *out and about* much more this week than usual...and I'm really trying to (a) be diligent to get done what needs to be done during the time we *are* at home, and (b) have a good attitude about all the *running* we will be doing. :-) Other plans for the week:

Bible Study
I'm still working on the Bible Study on suffering...hopefully I'll get some more of my notes posted this week. (I think I said that a couple of weeks ago...*blush*) I also want to go back and refresh my memory on Jeremiah 29:4-14. I memorized this a few years ago, and I have decided I need a refresher on it.

Must Do
Our *out and about* must dos this week include a drs. appt., homeschool group school pictures, co-op (only two more weeks!), and a field trip to the Nature Center on Friday.

1. I need to decide what everyone is wearing for school pictures Thursday. This means sorting through fall clothes, as I have this thing about school pictures needing to look *fallish*. (*rolling eyes at self*)

2. Before I go to bed tonight I *must* get an email out with all the final details about our field trip Friday. My brain is not in *field trip email mode* at the moment, so that will be a challenge. :)

3. Speaking of field trips...Homeschool group newsletter articles are due Thursday, and I need to finalize some details on some upcoming activities and get my article in.

4. Upload photos...I seem to remember this being on my *last* list! I promise I *did* do it...we've just had a birthday party and some other *photo ops* since, and I've filled it up again. :)

I know there is more...but honestly, with the extra stuff we have going on this week, that is probably going to be plenty, when we add in the *usual stuff*...school, Wednesday church activities, house cleaning, laundry, and cooking.

Home Blessing
Two main priorities here this week...*more* work on the dining room/school room (there always seems to be more and I would *really* like to finish getting the wallpaper off the walls in here and start priming!), and cleaning out the playroom. (Maybe if I say it really quietly we won't really have to do it??) The playroom is a disaster area, and to make matters worse, some children I know went looking for who-knows-what and got into the out-of-season and hand-me-down clothes I had stored away in the bottom of the closet in there. Ugh. I just try to keep reminding myself of how nice it will be when it is done, and what a good opportunity this is to do a LOT of decluttering. (This would be a great time for me to get in on one of those de-cluttering challenges I've seen here and there on the Web where you weigh everything you get rid of...:-))

Train Them Up
We are still working on the character quality of
obedience. I found a great post here on measuring obedience. We are incorporating this in our activities and discussions this week. We've been doing much better with first-time obedience, but now we really need to work on the *attitudes* behind it.

Potty Training...I just don't know. This child was telling her 6 year old sister the answers to her phonics lesson earlier today...but is no closer to being potty trained now than she was when we started. I'm wondering if she is going to be the only ch
ild I've ever heard of to be reading chapter books while still in diapers. *Sigh* We're going to do what we can this week, but being gone every day won't help. Hopefully next week we'll be home more and be able to *focus* on this again.

Menu Plan Monday

First things first. The *smiley queen* LOVES Laura's new smiley face MPM graphic! :-D (I'm lost without my smileys on Blogger...if there is some easy way I don't know about to get smileys for my blog...I'd love to hear about it in the comments!)

Now...menus for the week. I've been posting a week of meals, rather than assigning them to a certain day, but with this week's outside activities, I've tried to think ahead to what will work best when. We'll see how that goes. ;-)

Monday--Rotini with Chicken and Cream Sauce, green beans, and french bread
Tuesday--Tater Tot Casserole, Slaw, and Corn
Wednesday--Honey Mustard Chicken, Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Rice
Thursday--Breakfast for Supper
Friday--Grilled Chicken, Twice Baked Potatoes, Salad

For more menu ideas, check out Orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday . Monday's Meanderings can be found at Less of Me~More of Him .


Saturday Morning Smiles :-)

Thought I'd share some things that have made me smile this morning...

Flowers from my 9 year old...the first photo is th
e flowers he brought me the other day when he surprised me with the *vase* :-) I realized this morning I hadn't taken a picture of them, so when he saw me taking pictures, he said, "Oh! I need to go get you some more flowers!" So...the second pic is of this morning's fresh flowers. Isn't he sweet??

He's had a good example in his daddy...Billy brought me a surprise this morning, too:

A 44 oz. *real* fountain Diet Coke (I drink Sam's Choice brand at home) with lots of ice from the convenience store a few blocks away. (They have them for 79 cents, which isn't bad for something he knows will make me :-):-) :-) !)

And then Ammah Grace...she didn't just make me *smile*, she made me *laugh* (as usual!) What a character...

Do you see the look on her face? Here is the story behind it:

She came in the kitchen this morning going "ssssss....ssssssss....sssss" and I heard something about "here, buddy, here you go". Then she said, "See my snake, Mommy?" I looked down and she had one of Bubby's lizards, riding in a wooden boat. :-D She continued making hissing sounds as she showed me her *snake*. I said, "It's not a snake, honey, it's a lizard." "No, it's a snake....see? SSssssssss"

I said, "No, Gracie, snakes don't have legs...that is a lizard. Bubby has a whole package of them." (Oh...guess I should have mentioned earlier...this was a *fake* lizard...otherwise, I wouldn't have been having this conversation at all! ;-)) She again insisted..."No, Mama, my snake...see? SSSSSSSsssssssss"

(For those who don't *know* Ammah Grace...take the most stubborn child you've ever known, multiply it by 10, and you *might* have Gracie. She's been that way since my water broke when I was 30 weeks pregnant with her, and she shows no sign of changing any time soon.)

Finally, on about the 8th round of "it's a *snake*!", I said, "Gracie, look. Snakes don't have legs...see these legs? It has to be a lizard because it has legs."

"Oh....................See my lizard, Mommy? Hi, Lizard!"


Then I decided I wanted to take her picture with the lizard, because she was so funny with it...the above picture is what I ended up with. *rolling eyes* (She is sitting on the lizard because "it doesn't want it's picture taken". :-D)

A little while later, I was fixing breakfast (brunch, actually, since it was almost lunch time by then :)), and she came in and looked at the bowl of scrambled eggs on the table and said, "Yumm! Chicken!" Ummm...apparently the big kids' Nutrition study the other day about where certain foods come from confused her a bit. :-D "No, Gracie, not chicken, eggs. Eggs *come* from a chicken...but those are eggs."

Now...I'm off to do the *Saturday Morning Big Breakfast* dishes. No picture there...they *don't* make me smile. ;-)


A Study on Suffering, part 1

Last fall it was suggested to me that I start a personal Bible study on *suffering* to see exactly what the Bible says on the subject. I recently decided to go back and review the study I did then, and continue where I left off. Today I was hit all over again with issues relating to the original situation that prompted that study, and was frankly tempted to have a huge pity party. I was reminded that I had committed to get back to the *suffering* study this week, and decided that perhaps that would be a good antidote for the dark mood that was threatening to settle in. These are random verses along with my own notes from my study last fall...

Isaiah 53:10-11
"Yet it was the Lord's Will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand. After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied, by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities."

my notes:
Christ *had* to suffer in order to accomplish salvation...and there are things that God wants to accomplish that can *only* be accomplished through our present suffering--"...for God appoints nothing at random...In Christ there was no fault; why, then, was the Lord pleased that He should suffer? Because He stood in our room, and in no other way than by His death could the justice of God be satisfied." (John Calvin)

Mark 8:31
"He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the Law, and that He must be killed and after 3 days rise again."

my notes:
One of the purposes of Jesus coming to earth, known before the beginning of time, was to suffer. God knows what it is to watch a child suffer--and He did it willingly, knowingly, because He loves *us* so much.

Philippians 1:29
"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him."

my notes:
It is part of God's *plan* that we are to suffer for Him! "...it has been granted..." implies this is a gift, a privilege.

I Peter 2:21
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps."

my notes:
We were *called* to suffer! We should *expect* that and not be surprised. We are to follow His example in suffering...and the suffering of our children is an opportunity for us to help *them* learn to follow His example.

Psalm 22:24
"For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from Him but has listened to His cry for help."

my notes:
I wrote in my Bible over 17 years ago~"He has *not* forsaken us!" It's still true!

That last was written last November...and it is *still* true! No matter how deep the suffering that we are going through, or that we are watching our children go through..."He has *not* forsaken us!"

I'll try to post part 2 over the weekend...this will probably be continued in several parts.

G.A. Sleepover

Miss Erica and Mrs. Mary June braved a night with a gaggle of girls for the G.A. Sleepover at church. This was Em's first G.A. sleepover, but Bay is an old pro and was there to show her the ropes. :) They spent weeks packing, and took their birthday backpacks and sleeping bags (given to them early for just that reason. :))
(They were much more excited than these pictures exhibit...I think they were facing into the sun...and not too happy about the delay in getting in where the action was!) Peter and Gracie got to help carry in their *stuff*.:)

Monkey Cupcakes

Mrs. Jodie made these really cool (and yummy) cupcakes for the kids to decorate when we were at her house last week. (Several of us around here collect monkey stuff, so we had fun with these!)

Darling Darcy

A few puppy pictures...she has actually grown since these were taken, although she will always be a smallish dog. On this particular day, the girls had dressed her up in baby clothes...:-D

Catching Up...

The next several posts will be mostly photos...I discovered my memory card was full the other day, and in the process of cleaning things out, I realized I have fallen quite behind in posting pictures. :) Enjoy!


Thankful Thursday

I had planned to post about a very special anniversary earlier this week, and never finished the post...but it is something I am very thankful for this week, so I'll share it here:

47 years ago this past Monday, my parents were married. They celebrated 44 anniversaries before my dad went to be with the Lord almost 3 years ago. I am so thankful for their marriage, in so many ways. I am thankful for the ways God worked in their lives and their marriage even before I was born. I am thankful that although they had both grown up in church, God brought them both to a saving relationship with Himself early in my childhood. I am thankful for the blessing of a Godly home, with parents who were committed to each other and to their children, and willing to sacrifice for what they believed God wanted for our family. I'm thankful for the example of a stable, godly marriage....it wasn't perfect, and neither were they...but their example of love and commitment has been a blessing to Billy and I both, as well as to others who watched them over the years. I'm thankful for the example they set in being involved in a church family. I'm thankful for parents who taught me from a tiny age about the Lord and His word, gave me a love for good music, and showed me the meaning of dependability and faithfulness. I'm thankful for parents who were willing to *go against the grain* back when most people had never *heard* of homeschooling to do what they felt was best for their children regardless of how *weird* most people thought it was. :) I'm thankful for parents who showed us the meaning of *family* by making sacrifices to care for aging parents.

I'm thankful for all the things that that anniversary reminds me of. For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit Iris at Sting My Heart.

Booking Through Thursday...Goldilocks

I happened upon this week's *Booking Through Thursday* question, and although I've never participated before, I decided I had to participate in this one...it made me laugh. :-D The question from the BTT site is this:

Okay, so the other day, a friend was commenting on my monthly reading list and asked when I found the time to read. In the ensuing discussion, she described herself as a “goldilocks” when it comes to reading–she needs to have everything juuuuuust right to be able to focus. This caught my attention because, first, I thought that was a charming way of describing the condition, but, two, while we’ve talked about our reading habits, this is an interesting wrinkle. I’d never really thought about it that way.

So, this is my question to you–are you a Goldilocks kind of reader?

Do you need the light just right, the background noise just so loud but not too loud, the chair just right, the distractions at a minimum?

Or can you open a book at any time and dip right in, whether it’s for twenty seconds, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or indefinitely, like while waiting interminably at the hospital–as long as the book is open in front of your nose, you’re happy to read?"

I am *definitely* the latter. My parents used to laugh because I would walk around the house with my book in front of my nose, reading as I walked down the hall. I was devastated when I had sinus surgery in the summer between my 3rd and 4th grade years and for some reason was never able to read in the car again without getting carsick. To this day, I will keep a book in the van to read in case I get stuck in traffic or have to wait in a drive through line. I read while waiting for things to boil on the stove, while drying my hair, and if I'm on hold on the phone. And I guess it is a good thing...these days, if I were a *Goldilocks Reader*, I probably wouldn't ever get anything read. :)

What about you? Are you a *Goldilocks Reader*? Or a *Have book, will travel* reader?


Blogger Friend School--Meme Style

This is the first day of Training Hearts Blogger Friend School...I'm looking forward to being part of this this year!

A. Long before I started blogging myself, I began to run across blogs of homeschooling moms that really inspired me. It took a long time for me to jump in myself, partly because my *hardware* (and my dinosaur dial-up) was just too out of date. But I love to write, I love to take pictures, and I love to share these things with others...so my blog is an extension of our scrapbooks and journals in an *easy to share* format. With the new school year starting, I plan to devote more blog space to sharing our learning adventures (and Peter and Bayley are looking forward to hopefully starting their own blogs soon.:))

B. As I've peeked at a couple of other people's posts this morning, I've seen *exotic* dream blogging spots...the beach, the mountains, Europe. I have to tell you...I am just basically a very *boring* person. Sure, I'd love to get to Europe someday, but as far as my usual *blogging spot*, my dream would be on a laptop in a cozy cottage-style living room...picture a comfy red plaid couch, or a solid red with floral and gingham accents. :) I couldn't find a picture to post...at least not one that I was sure was *legal* to post, but I do have this link to a cottage site I love. The cottage pictured is one of my favorites, but there are many others on the site that I think are beautiful as well. (We'd have to pare way down on the breakable decor, though, for our crew. ;-))

C. Questions

1. What time do you usually blog? Usually late at night or early in the morning...but sometimes a short post while the kids are eating breakfast or lunch. :)

2. What is your favorite drink? Diet Coke. Not only my favorite, but almost my only. :) (I *am* working on drinking more water, for health's sake, and enjoy peach or raspberry tea occasionally, but Diet Coke is my standby.)

3. What is your favorite book? Hmm...there is no way to narrow this down to a favorite. I just love books...of all shapes, sizes, and descriptions. My favorite fiction author is probably Karen Kingsbury, my current favorite homeschooling read is Educating the Wholehearted Child by the Clarksons, and my favorite Christian non-fiction book at the moment is probably Get out of that Pit by Beth Moore. A few of my all-time favorite authors are Edith Schaeffer, Anne Ortlund, and Emilie Barnes.

4. What is your favorite dessert? This is another one that is hard to narrow down to a favorite. Anything ooey, gooey, and chocolate is a winner...as long as it doesn't also involve any kind of fruit (other than chocolate dipped strawberries, I want my fruit and my chocolate in separate dishes, thank you. ;-)) I love cheesecake, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, and lemon chess pie. I also take after my dad in that I *love* ice cream...particularly if it involves chocolate. My all-time favorite ice cream was Blue Bunny's Chocolate Bunny Tracks...which I haven't been able to find in over a year. :-( Still looking for one I like as well...unsuccessfully.

5. "Share a Scripture that has been an inspiration in your growth with Christ." Jer. 29:11, Romans 8:28, and Isa. 40:11 are some of my favorite verses, but the passage that I think I have clung to the most over the past few years has been Psalm 40:1-5. A friend shared it with me just before I left for a 150 mile ambulance ride in a snowstorm after going into premature labor at 30 weeks with our fourth child. God truly gave us wonders too many to declare through that experience, and I have clung to these verses through some other very major challenges we have faced since...

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

4 Blessed is the man
who makes the LORD his trust,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.

5 Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare.


Monday Meanderings and Menu Plan Monday

I have so many plans for this week! I had a down week physically last week, and Billy encouraged me not to push it, so I got a *lot* of planning done last week, and hopefully I will be able to start carrying out those plans this week!

Bible Study
*I didn't do well here last week. I did do some sort of Bible Study every day, but I didn't get started back to the study on suffering I mentioned last week. I plan to do that starting tomorrow.

Must Do
*Make a doctor's appointment I've been putting off. (*ugh*)
*Upload pictures and burn to disk.
*Cook ahead for the freezer and snacks for the week.
*Thank You notes (*blush*)...I didn't finish these last week and I *must* this week.
*Rotate children's chore list and print new charts for month. We rotate chores on a month by month basis and I'm behind in finalizing lists for this month.

Home Blessing
Due to not feeling well last week, I intentionally (due to Billy's direction) decided not to do the work I had planned in the dining room last week. I will be working here this week instead.
*I did *better* last week at getting the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned *right* after supper. I'm going to try to be more consistent with that this week.

Train Them Up
Keep working on potty training with the diapered one. :-D
*Last week I posted that we needed some work in tying heartstrings and first time obedience. I tried to really focus on this last week, and we are making progress...we are going to continue focusing on this this week as well.
*We've been *easing in* to school the past few weeks...this week we are going to go to an almost complete school schedule. I can't wait! :)

Things work much better around here if we have a list of meals for the week and decide on a day by day basis which meals to use that day. We did well with our plan last week, but can I just say, "I AM TIRED OF EVERYTHING WE EAT AROUND HERE!" Do you ever have those weeks? When you just feel like you are cooking and eating the same things all the time and you don't want to look at any of them anymore? I have been there lately. This week I'm trying to break out of the rut a bit more.

First, we haven't done well with breakfasts lately. I found some great ideas for "13 x 9 Breakfasts" at 20 Years of Homeschooling a Houseful . I'm excited about trying some of them out over the next few weeks. I also found a great cookbook at the library from Better Homes and Gardens called Kid Favorites Made Healthy. We are going to be trying several new recipes from it this week as well.

*Peanut Butter Breakfast Sandwiches (I'll try to post this recipe later in the week. It is from the cookbook I mentioned above and looks really good!)
*Cornbread with butter and syrup (A 13 x 9 breakfast idea)
*Popovers with strawberry cream cheese (I have been wanting to try a popover recipe I found...and I have strawberry cream cheese that needs to be eaten. Yum.)
*13 x 9 Biscuits and Gravy (I love this idea and can't wait to see how it works!)
*Hashbrown Breakfast Bars (another yummy sounding idea from the 13 x 9 breakfast post.)
*Frozen homemade pancakes and waffles

Another area in which we haven't done well lately and with which I am bored stiff with all the *usuals*. We aren't going to branch out a *whole* lot here this week, but we are going to try to change it up a *bit*.

*Homemade taquitos (We love taquitos and I've been wanting to try making our own for a while. I'll let you know how it goes. :))
*Grilled cheese and tomato soup (a favorite around here and we don't do it often.)
*Homemade "Rice-a-Roni" and fruit (another favorite I haven't done in a while.)

Suppers/Weekend Meals:

Tortellini, salad, and french bread
*Little Cheddar Meat Loaves, Easy Cheesy Broccoli and Rice (I'll try to post recipes for these tomorrow. )
*Chili Mac Skillet, Salad, Bread
*Rich Macaroni and Cheese, Teriyaki Green Beans
*Taco Salad
*Stuffed Tomatoes and Bell Peppers

I'm planning to try some new snack/dessert ideas over the next few weeks...I'll post recipes and results as I have a chance. :)

*Peanutty Chocolate Spread with vanilla wafers and graham crackers
*Sparkling Stars Jello
*Peach Magic Pops
*Applesauce with Crispy Scoops
*Homemade Granola (I'm trying a new recipe this week...and Jodie and Kathy, if you read this, don't laugh! :-D)
*Lunch Box Oatmeal Cookies

*Whew* I'm not sure if it's the fact that it's bedtime or the list I just typed, but I'm getting *really* tired all of the sudden! Tomorrow I'm going to start visiting participants in Menu Plan Monday and Monday Meanderings for more menu/planning ideas. :)