Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Craft Day #4

We had our November craft day last week.  We had a big group, fun crafts to make, and an abundant lunch to share.

Cute Christmas trees:
We gathered lots of ruffles to put on bags or aprons, or make into flowers:

Mindy's adorable banner:
(Maybe she can show us how she made it sometime.)

Sheet music candles:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a very relaxing weekend. Our family enjoyed plenty of food, rest and relaxation, time with friends and each other, food, a little decking the halls for Christmas, and some more food.

Thanksgiving day was so warm we decided to go cut our Christmas tree. It seemed wrong to be taking the "Christmas tree" picture with kids in t-shirts. No complaints was awesome to be outside walking around the tree farm with the temperature in the 60s.

The time off provided opportunity for laziness...

I hope your weekend was full of blessings!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Prayer for Our Homes

I read this prayer at Life in Grace today, taken from the Lutheran prayer book.

Lord God, our home is among the most precious
gifts we receive in this life.
We realize this all the more as we remember our Lord Jesus.
He set aside home and family.
Having no place to lay His head throughout
His ministry, He chose to sojourn among those
He came to save.

We prayerfully invite Him to dwell in our earthly abode
even as He continually invites us by Word and Sacrament to dwell
forever in our heavenly home, which He prepares for us.

Make us ever grateful for this shelter from life's storms.
Keep this house always the home of comfort, joy, peace and forgiveness.
According to Your will, protect this home from the spiritual assaults of Satan,
but likewise make our home a fortress against the calamities of nature
and the wickedness of sinful man.

Grant us the virtue of hospitality, the joy of harmonious living,
and the blessing of gathering around Your word
and bringing our families' prayers before You.

May all who dwell in our home be blessed
by your presence and your peace,
and may all who go forth give thanks for the grace
they receive from You,
through us, our dear children.

We receive your loving kindness in our home
as a reminder of the eternal home we inherit through Your son,
Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

There are so many things I'm grateful for right now...

Having Byron as my partner as we parent 4 teenagers and 1 preteen. It's hard work and he's really good at the things I'm not so good at. I am thankful for 25 years of marriage with him!

Brandon is enjoying college and has made new friends who have so much in common with him.  I am especially thankful that he is close to home and we still get to see him often.

Ellyn is such a great sister and friend. She values the people God has placed in her life and makes relationships a priority. She's a good student and works hard to do her best.

Levi is learning so much at school and about life. I am most grateful that he recently made a decision to put his faith in Christ. We are missing him now, since he is spending Thanksgiving break back in Rosebud.

Ryan is growing tons and healthy. After our scare this spring/summer with his stomach cramps, I am so grateful that he is completely well. He's doing great at school and likes learning.

Meggan is also doing well at school. She has such great friends in her grade! She is always willing to go with me to run errands or help in the kitchen, so I get to talk with her a lot. I'm proud of the girl she is growing up to be.

All the kids have really great friends!

Byron and I grew up in families who loved us, provided for all our needs and gave us so many opportunities in life.

I am so thankful that Jesus changed my life one summer 30 years ago, and that He is still changing it today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

more learning...

Just as Paul and Timothy prayed this for the Colossians, and I pray that it will be true in me.

Colossians 1: 9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."

I was bought for a price. My life is not my own. So thankful for Jesus.

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Husband, the Rule-Breaker

My husband is a rule breaker. I am a rule follower. The following story illustrates my husband's belief that he only has to follow rules that make sense to him. : )

We buy goldfish by the dozen to keep Meggan's turtle fed. At Walmart, there is never an employee to scoop fish back in the fish department...or in any aisle remotely close to the fish department. While shopping this weekend, I sent Byron to get fish while I filled the cart with groceries. I explained that it was a good time to get fish, since he would have plenty of time to track someone down and wait for them to scoop out all the fish. After all, I had a LOT of groceries to buy. I was only half way through the grocery section when he showed up with a bag full of goldfish. I was so surprised!

As I questioned how he got the fish so quickly, Byron explained that he doesn't wait for someone to scoop his fish. He just does it himself. "But you have to have the numbers!" I exclaimed with great concern. He proudly produced a piece of paper with many numbers and the quantity of fish written on it.

Next stop, checkout line:
While teenagers unloaded the groceries from our shopping cart, Byron handed the fish and the paper-with-numbers to Checkout Guy. Checkout Guy punched in the fish numbers, nothing...punched in the fish numbers again, nothing...punched in the fish numbers a third time, nothing. Then he called a manager over to help. (I am stifling my nervous giggles at this point. Are we going to get caught???)

Checkout Guy explained to Manager that he didn't have the right numbers for the goldfish. Manager asked in disbelief, "they didn't write the code down?" Checkout Guy held out paper-with-numbers and said, "This is all I got!" I am thinking of crawling behind the cart at this point. Do-they-know-we-scooped-our-own-fish!?!?  Byron was standing with a casual, smug expression on his face, revealing no guilt.

Checkout Guy and Manager figured out the necessary numbers to allow us to pay for the goldfish. Which is great, because in Byron's words to our family on the drive home, "Hey, it wasn't like I was trying to steal the fish!"

Then the funniest part of the whole thing...Checkout Guy held out paper-with-numbers and said to Byron, "do you want this back?"


Saturday, November 19, 2011


I love snickerdoodles, but haven't made them since I was a young girl in 4-H. Snickerdoodles were the first cookie I learned to make in cooking class. Since becoming a lots-of-kids-want-lots-of-cookies mom, I haven't had a recipe that I liked. Until now...
My friend, Mindy, of Best Energies Best Affections came through for me. It started one night when I arrived at her house and there were fresh baked snickerdoodles on the counter. yummmmmy! My cookie recipe collection is not large, because I only bake WINNERS in the cookie department. This one is a keeper and got added to the collection!

Here is her delicious recipe:

(also works for cut-out sugar cookies)

1 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 T. water
1 t. vanilla
3 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt

Cream the first five ingredients; add the dry and mix.
Refrigerate dough for an hour or so.
Form balls and roll in cinnamon/sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I am as flexible as a garden hose in July...

Flexibility is a requirement in my life right now. Byron's sister said the words in my title to me one time and I thought it was so funny! I am learning to be more flexible.

Some of you might be wondering how things are going with Levi, our student from Rosebud Indian Reservation. He has lived with us for exactly three months now. These months have been some of the most intense I have had. Some days are great, some days are stressful, some days are stable.

Levi is respectful, cooperative, and helpful. He has made attending school a priority and is working hard on homework. He is interested in life and asks questions all the time. There are so many things here (everywhere!) that he never experienced on the reservation. We have enjoyed having him with us and consider him part of our family.

He has had a few rough events in these three months. We have tried our best to work through them with him, helping him learn that he can trust us to look out for his well-being. We have shown him that we (and others) truly care about helping him make a better life here. We are excited to help him with plans for his future. It has been easy to come along-side him, since he is working so hard to do what it takes to succeed. It hasn't been easy for him, but he is making lots of good choices.

When we agreed to have Levi join our family, I could not have predicted some of the experiences we would encounter. I was prepared for things to be hard. For a while, just after making the final decision to have Levi live with us, I even had a day of panic. The unknown of what was coming filled me with fear. I believed the lies Satan fed me that said I needed to be completely available to parent my own four children, and no others. I believed the lie that said my children needed me too much for me to take on anything new, since three of the four were beginning public school and college for the first time. I was afraid to take a risk! We had arranged our lives to be predictable and safe. I knew that whatever came my way on a daily basis was likely something I could handle without problem.

Fortunately, God spoke truth to me and calmed my fears. He showed me all of the many people who have invested in my children over the years--friends, family members, teachers, coaches, church leaders. I realized that they would be just fine in their new educational experiences. He showed me how much my KIDS had to offer someone coming into our family. It wasn't just going to be my husband and I investing our time, energy and resources, they would be "givers" too. I realized how wonderful it would be for our family to do something for someone with no expectation of receiving anything back in return. God showed me that He would direct my paths.

I am learning not to plan for what the future days are going to look like. God is teaching me to take each day as He gives, and He is also providing what I need to get through what that day brings. I once said that hosting a teenager from Rosebud would keep me in God's word and on my knees. I didn't know the truth of my words at the time I spoke them. Thanks to God for providing for our every-single-day needs. I will try to let Him direct where we're going and I'm just going to keep working on being as flexible as a garden hose in July!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hunting Season and a Birthday

Brandon turned 19 last week. Our family enjoyed taking him to Hickory Park to celebrate.  I baked him a cake the night before his birthday, and we didn't even put candles on it. He's officially grown up, I guess.

He has enjoyed the dry fall very much. College life has brought him more time for deer hunting, one of his greatest passions in life. : )  He has been bow hunting and killed this buck in Missouri:

In Iowa over the weekend, he got another big one:

I think he will remember the fall he turned 19 as a memorable one--and not because of his birthday. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Ellyn

Ellyn turned 17 this week!
I didn't want her to.
Seventeen is just. too. old. Period.
Seventeen means she's closer to growing up and leaving home.
She is sunshine in our house.
She is fun, creative, dramatic, stubborn, smart, determined, talented, outgoing, and the list could go on and on.
We love you Ellyn! I hope you enjoyed your special day.