Candy Corn… Tradition!

 

CandyCorn

 

I bought a bag of some of this yummy ummy fall sweetness this afternoon. I wonder if it will make it until November.  If I open it, I know my family won’t be able to leave it alone. I cannot even remember my first candy corn. I know I must have been small. I do remember trick or treating and getting tiny little plastic bags with four or five pieces in them. One was never enough.  Are you sweet on candy corn?

What is Important to You and Your Family This Christmas Season?

SnowBlessins332
“Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall,
the genial flame of charity in the heart.”

~Washington Irving

It seems we grow so very busy around Christmas time.  What are we busy with?  Is it shopping, cooking, cleaning, worrying that we aren’t buying enough…doing enough?  Could it be that maybe, just maybe, we need to rethink the whole month of December?
What’s most important?
Who’s most important?
Can we make a choice and a plan right now to focus on those two things?
The goal is to spend this month doing those thingsthat really matter with those who really matter.

First, set some time aside, fifteen minutes, an hour, and afternoon, whatever you have.  Use this time to brainstorm what is most important to you and your family this month.  This will be different for each family.  It may even be different for each family member.  Now is the time to get your thoughts on paper; then, speak with your husband and even your children.  Consider traditions, hospitality, giving, creating things, cooking, Advent activities, church activities.  Which things are most important?  Which things are you ready to let go?  Think about how much time and preparation each of those things will take.

Next, think about who’s most important.  Your husband and children are a given.  Extended family?  Friends?  Church members whom you don’t know well but would like to get to know?  Your children’s friends?  Business associates?  Your best girlfriends?  The new family in the neighborhood, strangers?  You get the idea.  Who do you want to make sure that you make time for this month?

Now, think about your home, family, homeschool, business, and church activities.  How do they fit into the calendar?  Do they meet the most important criteria?  Is there anything that needs to be pruned for a season? 

Now’s the time to think and plan for all these things.  Fit these things into the calendar leaving white space on your calendar for quiet evenings at home and for spontaneity and rest.  This will be challenging but worth it.  You can do this.   You can make this the best Christmastime ever by doing what is most important to you with those who are most important to you.

Be blessed,

Laura

Happy at Home

Modest Mondays – Mom’s the Word

Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

Why We Homeschool

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Someone recently asked me why we homeschool.  This is what I told her.

I was trained as a teacher in college.  I didn’t find a position right out of school, so I went to work in insurance.  When my first son was born, after much prayer and many discussions with my husband, we decided that I’d be a stay-at-home mom until he started school.

As school age approached, I became aware of homeschooling through Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program and through some books that crossed my path. After research and prayer, my husband and I became convicted that it was God’s will for our family to homeschool.  My son also had some special needs that we felt could be handled best in a home environment.  We’ve been homeschooling since 1995.

So, here are some of our reasons:

1.  We believe that God gave us, as parents, the responsibility to teach and train our children.

2.  We believe that we are to protect the innocence of our children as well as physically protect our children.

3.  We believe our family is closer because we live life together on a daily basis.

When our family grew, our little school did as well. I’ve found that there are some advantages:

1.  Learning takes place at each child’s pace rather than trying to keep up with a class or wait for a class.

2.  Children thrive with individual attention.

3.  Negative influences from peers are limited.

4.  I can teach them truth from God’s Word as absolute truth.  All other subjects, especially science, are viewed from that biblical perspective.

5.  My children are better socialized than school children.  They know how to interact with adults and children well.  Homeschool groups and church provide playmates.

6.  They have more time for following individual interests.  One of my daughters writes worship songs and participates on our worship and dance teams at church.  One of my sons is teaching himself to make knives and raises animals.  My youngest enjoys sewing and crafts.

7.  They’re not afraid of speaking in front of people.


8.  Homeschooling works well for families that have fathers who work unusual hours as well.

These are some reasons we homeschool; but, ultimately, we homeschool because that is what God called us to do.
You can find more information about homeschooling at http://hslda.org. That’s the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Laura

 

This is reprinted from my other blog, Harvest Lane Cottage.

Planting Seeds… J.R. Miller

 

All our thoughts, words, and acts are seeds. They have in them a quality which makes them grow where they fall, reproducing themselves. This is true of the good we do. The mother’s teachings enter the mind and heart of her child as mere germs; but they reappear in the life of the son or daughter, in later years, in strength and beauty, in nobleness of character, and in usefulness of life. Not only is this strange power in the mother’s words; her acts, her habits, her tones of voice, the influences that go forth from her life, are also seeds, having in them a vital principle. Where they lodge, they grow.

You never can lose your mother. She may die, and her body may be borne out of your sight, and laid away in God’s acre. You will see her face and hear her voice no more; no more will her hand scatter the good seeds of truth and love upon your life’s garden. But you have not lost her. Your mind and heart are full of the seeds which fell from her hand along the years. These you never can lose. No hand of death can root them out of your life. They have grown into the very tissues of your character. They reappear in your habits, your dispositions, your feelings and opinions, your modes of thought, your very phrases and forms of speech. You never can lose your mother; the threads of her life are woven inextricably into your life.

~J.R. Miller

The Seeds We Scatter

“Do You Know What This Is About?”

 
 
I was a barren woman.  I know the pain and anguish of longing for a baby that I could not have.  It took about 2 1/2 years and fertility medicines to conceive.  The result was my son, Matthew.  I absolutely adored him.  I quit my job to become a full-time mommy.  Matthew was the kind of baby that really required full-time.  I felt like I was always nursing, changing, singing, and rocking.  He was a fussy baby and did everything early, very early.  He rolled over for the first time at two weeks old!  We had to take him out of his bassinet shortly after that because he would work himself from one end to the other in the night and end up with his head pressed against the end of the bassinet.  He required a lot of energy night and day.  We also went through some pretty significant financial troubles.  My husband and I were pretty stressed most of the time.  These things and a few others led to our final decision.  We were confirmed one child parents.  No cute little baby could sway our decision.  It was absolutely final.  But God.
 
The year I turned 30, I went to a regular monthly women’s meeting at our church called Women of the Word.  At the end of the evening, I went down to the altar to pray about some long forgotten problem.  What I do remember is the way God took the whole encounter in a completely unexpected direction. 
 
Me…praying along about whatever was on my heart and mind at the time…minding my own business
 
God…”You’re going to have another baby.” 
 
Me…”What?” (Surely I didn’t hear that right.)
 
God… “You’re going to have a baby.”
 
Me…”We’re confirmed one child parents!”
 
God… “You’re going to have another baby.”
 
Me…(A little slow in getting it, but understanding that God was messing with me.)
But….followed by every excuse and every reason why it absolutely wouldn’t work to     have another baby.  Every time I said anything, HE said, “I’ll take care of it.”
 
Finally, I gave Him the big one, “Lowell is NEVER gonna go for this.”
He just said, “I’ll take care of it.”
 
By this time I’m on the floor.  I tell him, “You’d better give me confirmation on this.”  The lady on the floor next to me rolled over and said, “God says you’ve got confirmation.” 
 
“DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS ABOUT?”
“No, but God says you’ve got confirmation.
 
Oh boy.  I went home afraid to tell Lowell what had happened.  The next morning, I woke up; and, it was just as settled in my spirit as if I’d taken a pregnancy test.  I didn’t like it; but, I knew it was going to happen.  BUT, I would NOT take any medications to help it along.  That afternoon, I decided I had to tell Lowell.  His response was “He didn’t say anything to me about it!”
 
Months passed.  Lowell agreed to go to the dr with me to find out what we’d have to do if we wanted to conceive.  More months passed.  Finally, the issue was settled…at a garage sale on top of a mountain!  Lowell was working in Branson.  I was there for the weekend and we stopped at a garage sale.  Lowell waited in the car with Matthew, then 5.  I saw a wind-up baby swing and remembered how sometimes that was the only way to get Matthew to sleep.  One night I slept on the couch and kept winding the swing every time it stopped.  Well, I went out and told him about it.  Lowell said he’d buy it if they’d sell it for $15.  He came back with it.  I knew then that pregnant or not, we were expecting.
 
I tracked temperatures and other important things.  It took two weeks!  God is certainly able to perform His plans in our lives in His timing.  Little Emily took her time getting to us.  She was two weeks overdue when I was induced.  She didn’t want to come out.  It was nice and cozy and warm.  So, after around 24 hours of labor, I had a c-section.  We were instantly in love.
 
A few weeks later, the doctor wanted to talk about birth control.  How could we say no to God after what we’d been through?  We decided let God decide about another child.  Big step very big step for us.  Over time, Michael and Amy joined our family.  They also have miracles surrounding their births.  Space won’t permit me to tell all.  Suffice it to say, that I look at our children in this way.
 
Matthew was the child we prayed for, our first-born.
Emily was the child of our obedience.  We obeyed God even though it wasn’t our will at the time.  God was so sweet though.  By the time I became pregnant, we wanted another baby so very much.
Michael was the child of our submission.  We decided to be submissive to God’s will regarding another child whatever the outcome.
Amy was our “exceedingly abudantly above all we could think or ask” child.  Mind you, when I was two or three weeks pregnant, I went to the doctor for my yearly exam.  Neither of us knew yet.  He asked if we wanted more children, I said we didn’t know.  We were praying.  After two babies born without the assistance of medicine  to get pregnant, he said I’d have to take something if we wanted another child!  A month later, I was in his office and we were laughing about it!
 
The biggest miracle was not the children being born.  The biggest miracle was the change that God wrought in our hearts.  We became much more open to His will for our lives, even if He didn’t fall in line with what we thought we wanted.  He conformed us and transformed us.  I am eternally grateful and blessed.
 
I know the anguish of barreness.  I also know the stubborness of heart when one doesn’t want children.  I also know the peace of surrendering to the Lord and His will for my family.  If you are barren, do not give up.  Continue to pray without ceasing while pursuing the care that your doctor prescribes.  Know that God loves you deeply.  He knows every tear you cry.  Trust in Him and His perfect timing. 

Music Fills Our Home

I had the great privilege to see my daughter, Emily, lead worship Sunday morning with her good friend Chelsea.  It was a joy to see the girls as they gave their attention and adoration to the Lord. 

Music fills our home. Someone’s usually singing; Michael, Emily, and Amy are all learning to play guitar; Emily is learning to play piano.  There’s just a lot of making a joyful noise in our house.  Along with all the talk and noise that kids make, I call it the sountrack of our lives.

Last week we watched the musical, Annie Oakley.  That set off a whole new set of songs.  Here’s one of the kids’ favorites.  I hope you enjoy it!

Laura