Monday, March 30, 2009


Two weeks ago I had a little "mommy adventure" and traveled to Arizona to visit my parents! Yep, alone! I say that only because inevitably that is the next question asked when friends find out about my little trip. Not that I desired or "needed" some "me time" (I am totally content and fulfilled here at home), but only to point out how very blessed I am to have a family, especially love-of-my-life Tom and our oldest-daughter-at-home Hannah, who will so willingly fill in for me and allow me to spend some time with my parents.

When I arrived in AZ on 3/20 temps were in the 90s! Such a contrast to Kansas City. We crammed all the fun that we could into four days, hiking two of the days there. Here are some warm pictures for you...

The landscape there amazes me.... the saguaro cactus~ those western skies. My heart *hearts* the Western US.

Below, a picture of some flowers and landscaping at the entrance to the community where my parents live. Lovely, yes?

Then I flew back to Kansas City and the next weekend we had a 6" snowfall! Here's a wintry view looking across my herb garden.... new fence compliments of our son Jacob! I totally love the rustic (and free) look of this fence. He built it entirely from wood found in the woods on our property.

Some poor little daffodils that I rescued before the snowstorm. They didn't last long, but gave me great delight each time I looked at them.

Then, as is so typical here during spring in the midwest, the next day it warmed up to the mid-50s and I caught Tom and Tim lounging on the deck enjoying the sun. This was just before a furious snowball fight. The warm temps made the snow perfect for packing~ even little Tim got in on the action!

Since that time, I have been on a painting spree. I have repainted our living/dining room, (here's the "before")

and "after" pic.... I haven't yet hung photos, quilts, window treatments etc... but I am totally loving the brave and bold terra cotta wall and yellow together~ so colorful and happy!

the front room which houses my "office/craft area"

and after.... with new sage green walls!

and the downstairs hall as well! (It's yellow!) You can just barely see the yellow through the doorway in the picture above. Everything is looking so cheery! Next on our list, redoing the downstairs bathroom.

As I have opportunity, I have some additional things on my heart that I desire to share here this coming week. Stay tuned.....


Friday, March 13, 2009


Contemplating Psalm 65:4 today. "How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple."

This is true heart delight .... finding the Lord in the "everyday," and being satisfied with Him and Him alone.

Today, the "everyday" for us was Hannah making chocolate chip cookies for her brothers...

And even fingerprints from many busy little boys on my front storm door...

Yep, it's time to get the Windex out again... but I am grateful for a full household with so many busy boys and girls to give me fingerprint-art-smeared front doors. How empty my life would be without them!

1Ti 1:1 "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,"

In Christ alone, my hope is found. In all He has given me (rejoicing in the "daily") and all I am in Him and by His grace....Oh how I love the riches of His Word!

Praying that you are rejoicing in His goodness to you today....


Thursday, March 12, 2009

A bit of spring....

Look what arrived at our house today!

This little guy is one of the 100 Cornish Cross chickens that we raise every spring.... yep, for the freezer. Isn't he adorable? You should have heard the poor little chickies chirping and cheeping in their box when we picked them up. It is amazing how loud such little creatures can be.

Believe it or not, these chicks will be ready to be eaten in just 8-10 weeks! When we put them in the freezer, they will weigh as much as 6-8lbs each. Suffice it to say, they will only be cute for a short, short time. They are bred to be eating machines. I am so grateful for the opportunity to raise such healthy, delicious meat each year for our family.

Enjoying the rhythms of the seasons here...

Psa 104:27 They all wait for You To give them their food in due season.

Ecc 3:1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven--

Blessings and all grace to you....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Seed starting... a tutorial- part 1

I love searching for "signs of spring" in March! Look what is just beginning to bloom in one of my front gardens! The children know how much I enjoy finding green things outside, so they are quick to come find me when they discover signs of spring. Today, three of the little boys grabbed my hand to show this off to me..... lovely, yes?
My absolute hands-down favorite pre-spring activity is starting seedlings. At this time in the Midwest the weather is simply not settled enough to do very much gardening outdoors. So this year, as I have almost every year for the past 17 years, I have started my own seedlings for our gardens. When I was still pretty much a newlywed with several very young children, I lived next door to a dear older woman who taught me how to start seeds. It was such a blessing to me that I thought it might be fun to put together a tutorial for you so you too can start your own plants from seed. I think you will find it to be quite rewarding!

  • a very inexpensive way to have lots of veggies, herbs and flowers
  • many varieties of plants are only available as seeds
  • I can have tomato seedlings ready to set out early in "Wall-O-Waters", larger and ready to go before they are typically available from local nurseries.
  • my seedlings are healthy and not "root-bound" as many seedlings are when purchased elsewhere.
  • this enables you to provide organic fresh produce for your family very inexpensively.
Here's how to have an early start gardening:
  1. For initial sprouting, I simply use small round plastic containers that I have collected from friends over the years. Using an ice pick, I poke 6-8 holes in the bottom of each container.
  2. Using masking tape and a Sharpie marker, I label the outside of the container with the name of the seeds that I will be starting. (It's easiest to do this now, before adding the soil!)
  3. I like to use Ferti-Loam brand potting soil mix. It only takes about 1 1/2" in the bottom of each container.
  4. Before placing the seeds in the container, I moisten the soil.
  5. Sprinkle the seeds over the soil. Remember, when starting seedlings this way, almost all of the seeds will sprout, so don't dump more seeds than you will want to transplant. I never have the heart to dump seeds that go to all the work to sprout, so have at times had way too many plants to find homes for!
  6. Depending on the seeds, lightly cover the seeds with additional potting soil. Usually about 2-3x the thickness of the seeds is all it takes.
  7. Now you will need to mist the dry soil covering the seeds until it is thoroughly damp.
  8. Then cover each container with plastic wrap.
  9. I like to set the flats with plastic covered containers under the fluorescent lights that are hung from my seed starting shelves. Most seeds don't need light to germinate, but it is a handy place to put them and they will need the lights as soon as they have sprouted.
The shelves that I use to sprout my seedlings on are about 6' tall. There are four shelves. Above each shelf I have three fluorescent lights hung by chains. Here's a picture of the shelves. The easiest mistake to make is to have your lights too far above the seedlings. The lights must be only a matter of inches above the tiny plants. If the lights are too far above the seedlings, they will grow very long and "leggy" as they search for the sun, not healthy and robust. In the photo above, the lights above the upper shelf are the correct height. The lights on the shelf that is second from the bottom are actually quite a bit too high, but those seedlings haven't sprouted out yet... so I'm ok! Here's a side view of the shelf (and of Daniel, who snuck into the photo!).

All of the lights are attached to a timer so they will automatically be on for about 14 hours/day. I kept forgetting to turn them on and off at the right time before I used the timer!

I use plastic flats for both the plastic containers that I start seeds in and for the 6-packs of seedlings that I have transplanted. These fit perfectly on my shelves if I position them with the "long-ways" going from front to back on the shelves. In that manner, I can place 5 flats side-by-side per shelf.

Hope this is helpful for someone. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I will clarify if I can.

coming soon.... part 2 (found here!) explaining how to transplant your little seedlings into their new "homes."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jesus I am Resting, Resting....

I am, most unashamedly a huge fan of Praise Baby music. These are the sweetest renditions of some of my very favorite hymns and praise and worship music ever!

My current favorite hymn~ the tune more recently rewritten as a praise and worship song is "Jesus I am Resting, Resting." Please tell me that you are familiar with this dear song!

In it, Jean Sophia Pigott artfully reminds us of the need to rest in Jesus... being confident of His watchcare over us.

I believe that I first heard this song after a very traumatic incident in our family's life when we were the target of several drive-by shootings. Three of the rounds fired at our house only missed sleeping children by a matter of feet. I hope to share that story (which is really one of God's faithfulness) and my learning to trust Him, in another post. The Lord used this hymn to minister on a very deep level to me during that time. And now I find myself returning to the truths contained therein quite often. The children are quite used to hearing me sing this.

Apparently this hymn was dear to Hudson Taylor, the founder of China Inland Mission, also. It is told that at one time dangerous riots were taking place near the missionary compound. One of the newer missionaries frantically reported the dire news to Hudson. Much to his irritation, Hudson merely responded by humming this hymn. He gently reminded the younger man that choosing to be alarmed rather than trusting the Lord would only serve to keep others from seeking God and resting in His provisions. Isn't that true? Oh, to always rest calmly "in the joy of what Thou art..."

Here are the lyrics for you....

Jesus I am Resting, Resting

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Here is a link to hear the song on iTunes... click here to listen, and be blessed! I believe that you need a copy of iTunes (which is a free download) for the link to work. I am still learning how to post music here.

All of God's grace to you, my friends,

as you rest in Him.


Beautiful grace...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Desiring God

1Pe 2:2 "like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation."

We raise Nubian dairy goats on our little farm here. The milk that the goats so generously share with our family is relished by all of the children.

Our "baby" Timothy is now 2, but I vividly remember when our children were newborns how they longed for milk! Have you ever watched a newborn baby? Even the slightest brush against their cheek and they immediately (and expectantly!) turn their head to find nourishment.

I have been contemplating my desire (or lack thereof) for God's Word. Job says, (Job 23:12) "I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. " Oh how I desire that to be true of me. But so often I desire *many* other things in my life. I almost always rise early for time alone with the Lord, and it is good. In addition, we, both individually and as a family memorize lots of scripture, and that too is good. But I see a need for more; for the longing of my heart to be for Him... for time in God's Word throughout the day. I desire my heart to be burning with desire to sneak away and be alone with my Precious Savior and delight in His Word.

So, to that end, I choose time with Him, increasingly I choose to say "no" to my flesh and instead sit at His feet.

Are you familiar with the Setting Captives Free Bible studies? I simply can't recommend them enough. These free online interactive Bible studies can and are being used of the Lord to change lives. I am currently working through one entitled "The Lord's Table." This Bible study addresses overeating. This is no "diet," but rather confronts the heart-issues behind gluttony. If you desire to have God's perspective and victory in this area of your life , please take a few minutes to check out the Setting Captives free website (there are Bible studies addressing other issues there too). Read some of the testimonies and find hope for lasting change by God's grace in your life. I promise you won't regret it!

"How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments." Ps. 112:1

My heart longs to walk intimately with God 24/7, to delight in His commandments, to know Him as I am known.

Pursuing Him with you....