Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

My weeping willow our first house my husband gave me a weeping willow tree.  I love weeping willow trees and how their graceful wispy branches touch the ground.  My tree sat at the top of our hill and sometimes in the middle of the day, when I needed a break, I would walk up there and sit under own little oasis.

Two weeks after we moved to our current home and I gave birth to our fifth child.  Instead of flowers my husband bought me another weeping willow tree. I loved it.

Well the tree grew very quickly and became quite large in 14 years.  It started to lean towards our house and Carl wanted it to come down.  Even though I protested (carrying "save the tree" picket signs around the kitchen table), it was no use the tree was going to come down.

Yesterday was the day.  We weren't expecting the tree service to show up when they did but we were flexible. 

To save money, Carl decided to do the clean up himself.  So last night instead of helping at a homeschool seminar (I went by myself) Carl, Liza's boyfriend, and our children pretended to be lumberjacks.  They made a huge dent in the pile of brush and logs.  We are very thankful for the wood.  God always provides for us.

We use a wood stove as the main source of heat in the winter.  Our oil furnace is a back-up that comes on only at night.  With the price of oil and this big old house, a wood stove is the only way our family can afford to heat our home. 

There are some winter mornings that its pretty cold when I roll out of bed.  And the first order of the day is to make a fire.  That's why you will find that I have a pack of matches in every jacket, sweater, and even my housecoat.  One more reason I'm glad its spring!! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Eggs Never To Old

We always paint Easter eggs. I think I will still paint Easter eggs even when all the kids move out. It is a tradition. Ever since I was a kid we have used Doc Hinkles paint-on Easter egg dye.  Yes, I said paint-on, not dipping egg dye.  You can make colorful patterns and designs.  It lets your creative side come out.

It was invented by a pharmacist who owned a small drugstore/restaurant in Lancaster County near the Susquehanna river. My parents still like to eat there.

Another small family company bought the Easter egg dye and still makes it today but it is getting harder and harder to find. You can buy it on the internet. They also have a funny PA Dutch history of Doc Hinkles egg dye on that site, too. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Sunday..not exactly the way we planned

Saturday, I was busy cleaning, baking the kids’ favorites, and ironing “Easter” clothes. So when Sunday morning came I was ready to tackle the cooking and family festivities.

All the kids were going to be home. Lewis and his wife and son, Becca and her boyfriend, Liza’s boyfriend (Liza attended her boyfriend’s family sunrise get-together and then church with them) were all coming over for Easter dinner.

But God had another plan….Early Sunday morning my youngest called his Poppy (my 84-year old father to tease him about the Easter Bunny – they have this thing). My mother answered and seemed a little confused. She told Jared they were having a little emergency and hung up. I called right back. They had an inlet hose for the washing machine burst and hadn’t found it until that morning. Their entire lower floor in their bi-level was flooded – the den, the bathroom, the garage.

My sister who lives two houses from my mom had already left for church and they were all alone except for a neighbor. We dropped everything, changed out of Easter clothes and headed to their house.

We spent the morning wet vacuuming their carpet, moving wet boxes of things they can’t seem to throw away(if they ever move we are going to have to rent a dumpster) and wiping down walls. Then we rushed home to shower and start cooking our dinner so it would be ready when the older kids arrived.

We were all a little sad that we missed church. Driving home we turned on the radio, and the voice we heard was familiar. It was Pastor Curt from Victory Church. We knew Pastor Curt when he was the youth pastor at New Life. The 25 minute drive home wasn’t exactly like the Easter church service we imagined but it was good, …..funny how the Lord provides.

At 2:30…I took a little Easter nap surrounded by my children and my children’s children as they played games, watched tv, shot hoops, and traded and filled up on an enormous amount of candy, chocolate cake, and strawberry shortcake. We are extremely Blessed.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


There are many versions of Happy Day but this is my favorite. We sing this one at church. May you have joy and peace as you celebrate your RISEN Lord!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Who do you follow?

This song speaks very clearly to my heart about how I follow Jesus. Makes me think about how I live, how I act, how I love, how I forgive....If you've never heard it before you need to listen now.

Friday, April 22, 2011

I am so glad its spring...

Spring is my favorite time of the year.  Inspite of all the mud the children drag into the house, I love it.
My daughter was able to attend a professional gardeners' flower sale and bought some lovely blooms for a fraction of the price you would pay elsewhere. It's a weakness we both share.

Here they are in our livingroom behind my spinning wheel.

Spring comes in with it's paintbrush and starts to color away the drabness of winter.  First a bloom here and there....maybe just white at first...then the greens get greener and there's purple and yellows.  The barren tree branches come alive with a red hue that can only be seen when you stand at a distance. 
Not to mention the flowers' sweet spicy scents that fragrance the air.
It reminds me of the sweet promise of salvation.  The dead are not really dead but merely asleep.  To be awakened by the warm savior's a new colorful glorious body that will continue throughout eternity.
Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My outdoor friends

These birds have brought me much enjoyment over the winter.  We have attracted a small flock of about nine.  As the weather becomes warmer their colors become brighter.  I have the bird feeders placed so I can sit in the living room chair and enjoy them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A reminder I found in the Corrie ten Boom book

I have a learning disability when it comes to being a housewife.  I love being home and being with my family.  Teaching the children is definitely a calling directly from the Lord.  I would never want to give it up.
But in all honesty, I've always been a bit of a slob.  I have a box full of homeschool encouragement books that do their best to instruct moms on how to clean, cook, decorate, and organize your home.  Things that don't come natural to me.  I mean...I can do it but not like some housewives can. 
So after I gave myself a browbeating for the condition of my is spring cleaning time you know.  I came across this wonderful part in the book I'm reading to my 5th grader, Corrie ten Boom Heroine of Harlem  by Sam Wellman.  God must have planned for me to read it this day.  It spoke directly to my spirit encouraging me when I was feeling inadequate.
After a short time working away from home as a teenager, Corrie comes home to keep house for the family.     
   "She didn't get comfort from the acts of cleaning house and cooking like Mama and Aunt Anna did.  Her goal every day was simply to finish the work faster than she did the day before.
   Mama bluntly told her, "Housework is not fulfilling for you, Corrie."
   Papa said, "Yes, Corrie. You need more.  What about the new Bible School that just opened in Harlem?" 
So she went to Bible college.
Later, Corrie talks about a "great turning point" in her life.  She was twenty-eight years old.  Her sister, Betsy, helped her father in the watch shop and Corrie was still doing the housework. 
Well, the book says...,
   "The change started innocently enough. Betsy got the flu, so Corrie helped her father in the shop.  She greeted customers and worked with the bills and correspondence.  As Betsie got better, she began picking up Corries' duties in the house.  Sensitive, artistic Betsie was much better at housework than Corrie.  She had a special touch, like Aunt Anna.  It was painfully obvious to Corrie.
  But the reverse was true too.  Corrie was much better at working in the shop than Betsie had been.  God surely arranged this insight.  And to make it a source of joy and not consternation, they each loved their new role.   Without a moment's hesitation, they exchanged duties."
   After Corrie established a system with the shop's bookwork, "she asked Papa if she could work on watches."
   "You're the only one of the children who ever asked me that but if you had been the fourth I would still say, 'Yes, of course you may.' I will teach you."
   "Corrie was trained by the best watchmaker in Holland", her father, and he even "sent her to Switzerland to work in a watch factory for a while, but soon she was back.  With Papa's help, she became the first woman watchmaker licensed in Holland.  Her specialty was the new rage: wristwatches." 
My first thought mean there are actually women who are fulfilled by housework?  But then I thought about it...and I knew some...relatives and friends.  Then I realized that all these years that I have been feeling guilty over my lack of fulfillment in "keeping house" and all along a woman I deeply admired, Corrie ten Boom, was the same way.
I talked over all of this with my husband.  I think he knew it all along.  We talked about some of my strengths and he likes those.  And he's not at all upset with the condition of the house like I am.  God certainly gave me the perfect man, didn't He....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Homeschool WWII History

My two youngest children (boys) are studying WWII.  I try to have them study the same subject just at different levels: elementary and jr high levels. 
We have read the boring dry WWII text book facts and dates. 
We have watched several WWII movies. different God made them when compared to my girls, even to myself.  They could watch WWII news reels and documentaries with actual footage seemingly forever.  I had my fill after about 15 minutes. 
We've watched some age-appropriate historical fiction which helps them to understand the times if that's possible.
We've also watched and read some biographies.  They've written some reports. 
Right now I have my 8th grader reading The Hiding Place along with a language arts study guide. 
I am reading aloud to my 5th grader, an age-appropriate biography of Corrie ten Boom.  He asks many questions of things he doesn't understand.  I don't always understand the "whys" and "hows" but I do my best to explain.  We are half-way through the book and at some point in every chapter you will find me crying while I read.  At those points, my son reaches over and touches my hand or my arm, trying to comfort me. 
We are being reminded every day of how grateful we should be to God for family and friends....for our freedom....for food and medical care....for the assurance of eternal life.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Touching Poem by Helen Steiner Rice

I was reading a book of poetry this morning and came across this poem.  It touched my heart .  Click here to read it too.