Saturday, October 10, 2015

Do We Have the Time?

When parents are saying “I don’t have any time” to minister to youth, and the older generation is saying, “I’ve served my time” teaching kids, it leaves a generation of young people saying, “If nobody thinks it’s important enough to make the time, maybe this whole God thing isn’t worth my time.”

Monday, August 31, 2015

My Photos Got Hijacked.

Well, I finally sit down to do a big update, and I find that all my pictures are on the other computer.  And quite frankly, I'm too lazy to get up out of my comfy chair and go sit at the desk.
And I know for a fact there were other pictures on the camera, but apparently a certain almost-8-year-old who is also apparently really into selfies just pushes buttons when he doesn't understand what the screen says.
So of all the pictures previously on the camera, here are the ones from the last month that survived, and weren't selfie videos.

He wasn't in time out, but he looked like it.

Bible clubs had a good turnout. I loved working with these kids!

Magic Erasers, who knew?  Revived these 30-year-old My Little Ponies for my little daughter.  I was World's Awesomest Mommy.....for a day.
 (oops.  but you get the idea)

We have two of these window wells.  There is a never ending supply of critters that are available for viewing (from inside) and catching.  Those I can think of have been:  frogs and toads, spiders, crickets, mice, moles, and a salamander.  
 The frogs and toads get caught and released several times a week.  They range in size from thumbnail-sized to hand-sized.  This one is somewhere in the middle.

We adopted four of these mongrels.  Then three of them disappeared.  (We think they hitched a ride under Paul's truck.)  I found one in a tree about 1/4 mile up the road and brought him back.
We also have a bit of a mouse problem.  The cheeky bastard(s) don't even scamper, it's more of a saunter across the living room, while we're sitting right there!  So the mongrels have been invited inside for nighttime patrol.  One caught a mouse the first night in!  Tonight's the second night.  If we have more than one mouse, hopefully they will be eradicated by morning.

So it's a pathetic update.  And no pictures of the kids!  But maybe later.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Craziness

I'm going to just quit making plans to do school over the summer.  The last two summers, I have had plans to do something at least, and failed completely.
We started summer with no plans, so no reason to NOT do some sort of reading plan/school every day.
June hit like a whirlwind, every week having an all-consuming project.  We ground and stained my parent's concrete back porch floor, we painted the boys' new bedroom downstairs, we painted the basement stairway and the boys' very battered bunkbeds.  By the end of the month, they were ready to move in, and I was sick from all the fumes. 
July came.  We knew we were going to a neighborhood VBS, but we also ended up helping with two other week-long outreaches, so it felt like we weren't home for a month.  (The house somehow kept managing to get dirtier, though....)
I'm not sure what's happened to August.  I think we've done a whole lot of the nothing we missed the first two months of summer.  I'm getting the schoolroom cleaned and organized, getting curriculum ordered, planning daily schedules, and getting ready to start school next week.  Awana starts the following week, so I've been contacting parents, getting supplies ready, and looking at lessons.
September will hit with it's own craziness, but somehow I'm looking forward to it - ordered craziness, where every day and every week is basically the same.
So that's our summer in a nutshell.  I'll try to post pictures of some of our projects soon.  And we can look forward to more time to blog when there's not so much to do outside!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wisdom from the Garden

We had a ridiculous - and I do mean ridiculous - amount of rain in May (I think I heard, only 4 days all month it didn't rain), and a good amount still in the first half of June.  So we have been trying to recover our garden from the weeds. 
During yet another round of tilling and weeding, Paul asked me, "Are roots deeper when it's dry or wet?"  (I don't know if it was a retorical question, as I thought the answer was common knowledge.)
"There's no need for deep roots when it's wet.  Plants put down roots to find water, and when the water is right there all the time, the roots don't get very big."
"So, it's kind of like that with us, right?"  he mused.  "When things are going well, and we have all we need, we tend to not develop good roots.  It's when we go through a dry spell and tough times that causes us to dig in and rely on God.  So really we need those dry times to make us stronger."

Perfect analogy. 
Just a bit of wisdom from an evening in the garden.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

I'm Still Here.

Okay, so it has been pointed out to me (Ahem, Carlsie....) that I am not doing a lot on my blog lately.  A myriad of reasons, really.
Even though our family life has not been crazy, my personal non-mommy obligations have been on overdrive, it seems, ever since the first of the year.  I can't tell you what all it has been, exactly, but it seems like every time I'm on the computer I'm working on something else.
And then we have the fact that I have cut my recreational computer time, drastically.  I wasn't doing a lot already, but basically I check my email and that's it.  No blog (obviously), no reading other blogs, no Facebook stalking through Paul's account.  No useless Yahoo news.  I didn't really resolve to cut those things out, it just happened.  Lack of blogging is also due to the fact that most of the stuff I want to write about requires pictures, and I have a lack of motivation and time for finding and uploading them.
I have really, really been making a concentrated effort to keep the house clean.  Today, it's still reeling from the crazy week we've had this week, and I can't quite motivate myself to do the stack of pans on the counter.  But for the first time in months, perhaps years, there's not a box full of unorganized crap sitting somewhere.  I went through every box and basket and got it put away, thrown away, or filed.  That's a good feeling.  And I am trying not to let it happen again.  Inevitably, a box or pile gets stacked together when we're having people over and I haven't gotten the table cleaned off, but I usually am getting through it in a day or two.  And why is cleaning off the table of clutter so hard???  Is it just me??
Recent projects completed (mostly) include both decks getting finished, finally finishing the basement floor, grinding and staining my parents' back porch floor, and getting my front flower bed planted (phase 1, anyhow).  In-the-near-future projects include painting both rooms in the basement next week, and moving the boys to their new room in the basement soon after.  We also need to stain the back deck, if it ever stops raining.  And we have started ripping up the linoleum to finally tile the front room
It has rained SO MUCH in the last month.  Seriously.  I think there were 5 days or less that it didn't rain in all of May, and maybe one day so far in June.  My garden is a complete wreck.  A lot of stuff is yellow, some has died, and the weeds are flourishing, so much that there are a few rows I can't even distinguish among the weeds.  I tried to step out there once and sank up to my shins.
Paul's parents celebrated their 40th Anniversary last Sunday.  Paul, Elizabeth, and I threw them a surprise dinner and reception, and nearly 100 people showed up to bless them. 
I guess also, a reason for not blogging is my discovery of Downton Abbey.  I'm a bit late to jump on the bandwagon, but I love that show.  It's not without it's faults, but they are much fewer than many shows - no nudity or crudity, and zero language.  I have even gotten Paul to watch it with me, not just here and there, but every episode.  We just finished Season 5, and I have to say, that was the BEST season finale of any show I have ever watched.  Since Season 6 is not on DVD yet, my evening free time should be a little free-er.  :)
We are about a week away from finishing school for the summer.  (It seems late, but let me remind you we didn't start til late October due to the house project.)  Close to finishing the seatwork, anyhow.  I'm still not sure what we're going to do with Nathan's reading over the summer.  I really would like him to do a full phonics/reading course so he can catch up, but I think getting him to do seatwork will be like trying to give him an appendectomy with no anesthesia.  And about as pleasant for me, too.  We'll figure it out.  Just daily practice will go a long ways.
Anyhow.  That's a bit about what's going on.  Now to find the girl-child and put her in bed for a nap.  She skipped her nap yesterday, and I now know what the term "hot mess" is all about.  That was her by 8 PM.  So today the nap is non-negotiable.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


"What type of meat is human like?  I'd like to think I'm like a well-marbled steak, but in reality, I'm probably more like a fatty pork roast."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Long While

Oh my goodness, how long has it been since I actually posted an update?
It was just a bit busy during February and the beginning of March.  Now life has slowed down, and the weather has warmed up, and we are doing good.
I don't even know where to begin. 
The reason I was so busy in February was that I helped plan and put on our church's main (only?) event for women.  We have an annual one-day "mini-retreat."  This year,  we called it "A Season for Everything" and I have to say, I think it was the best yet.  We had 5 women talk about the different seasons of life that they are in or have been in, and what got them through it.  It was amazing how God tied everything together.  We didn't really know any of what the others would talk about, but yet the theme, the ideas, and the Scripture all pointed back to the same things.
We also did an Awana Grand Prix workshop the last weekend of February, followed by the Grand Prix event the first weekend of March.
The second weekend of March I went with nearly 30 women from the Ottawa area to Women's Encounter.  I didn't personally have any friends going as attendees, but I think God knew that I needed this time for ME.  It has been a long two years since the last time I went.  With nursing, not sleeping, and trying to live in it while finishing the projects..... Even though all of those things are getting better, I needed this rejuvination.  I got to give a gospel presentation to 267 women.  And I got to spend the weekend serving with 6 awesome women that have done so much to challenge and encourage and inspire me (my mom and sister included).  It was a great time to realize how much I appreciate the ladies that God has placed in my life. 
Paul and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on March 20.  We went out for BBQ and rented a couple movies.  (Loved Fury, a movie about a tank crew in WWII.  The newest Hunger Games installment, Mockingjay, was a snoozer.)  Every anniversary gets more and more low key, but I am perfectly fine with that.  I love loving my husband!  I'm so thankful for our marriage and the strength and commitment my husband has.... Even on days that I'm not very friendly.
As for the kids....
Gideon has been sleeping through the night ever since I weaned him in December.  He went from waking up 2-4 times a night while nursing, to a solid 8-12 hours.  I got used to that REAL fast, but I still feel like I'm catching up from last year.  The last couple days he's been a bit fussy and grumpy.  I think it's more teeth, even though all 16 are broken through.  It doesn't seem like Gideon eats more than 2 bites at meals.  Even at snacks, he very rarely eats more then a few bites.  The only thing he'll chow down is bananas.  He loves to play "I'm gonna get you!" and will run through the house squealing with laughter as someone chases him.  The older boys love playing this game with him.  He's not talking yet (surprise, surprise).  He nods and shakes his head - not always the right motion for the answer he's trying to give, but it's a step!  And he has one-syllable sounds for some words, like please and thank you and milk.  I was hoping he would be different than the last two, but he's shaping up to be silent til he's 2, just like they were.  (He's almost 16 months.)  He's still pretty high-maintenence when it comes to needing entertained.  He wants to be held most of the time when I'm around.
Zadie is.... Zadie!  That's all I can say, and for anyone that knows her, that says it all!  She's such a little boss.  She is so different than the boys!  She talks to her toys, and her toys talk to each other.  The other day, her hot dog and her toy girl were having a conversation about a toy pteredactyl!  She is really into clothes, but not in a prissy way.  She wants a pretty dress, but then she'll go out and dig in the dirt and climb trees.  Lately, she's been wanting me to braid her hair all the time, which really helps with the tangle situation - if we can get past the drama of brushing it out.  I'm sure our neighbors (who live a quarter mile away!) can hear her screaming like she's being skinned alive!  Some days I just don't want to deal with that.  She still loves her babies, and talks about being a mommy.  The other day she showed me that she was nursing her baby.  Paul wasn't sure what to think, but I think it's great that she has a concept of what's natural.  She also has wanted to start doing "school."  This consists on flashcards to teach her colors, and a calendar like the boys' that she gets to draw on.  Her 3rd birthday is in a couple weeks.  And we're FINALLY POTTY TRAINED!!!!  We still have an accident occasionally, but it is SO nice to have her using the potty on her own.
Jacob has really picked up on reading.  He blasted through all the short vowels and consanants.  He's stuck on long vowels, but I think it's because it requires effort and thought.  He is totally my child when it comes to that.  "I'll do it if it's easy."  But he's also figured out that if he just DOES his school, instead of whining and wandering off, he can get it done SO FAST.  Like seriously, two hours tops.  He's only got about a dozen math lessons left for Kindergarten.  I'm not sure what we're going to do for a stopping place on reading, since we're not really using a curriculum at this point.  I know we'll do some type of reading through the summer, just not sure what yet.
School is getting better with Nathan, most days.  Part of it is I've made a concious effort to change my attitude.  He reflects my attitude.  Some days it's hard.  But I offer grace, again and again (just like God does for us).  I discipline him when he needs it, but show excitement and give enthusiastic praise for good work minutes later, so he can see I'm not holding his bad attitude against him if he will choose to change it.  He's come a long way in his reading.  He's still behind what our curriculum says he should be (probably reading at a 1st grade level according to their standards), but I'm not too worried about it, since he's interested in it and making effort.  We will probably do full reading/phonics curriculum over the summer to try to catch him up.  Jacob is close to catching Nathan, but a lot of that is because it's come very naturally to Jacob (how I was as a child), whereas Nathan really had to think about it at first.  Math is definitely the subject that takes the most time in his school, as he has a math lesson (where I teach new concepts), a time test, a two-sided worksheet (one is supposed to be homework, but that never happens if we try to do it later), plus counting, time, and money questions.  I haven't done as well at drilling the math tables as I should have, but he at least has the skills to figure them out if he can't recall them by rote memorization.  I would prefer he doesn't have to use fingers, but sometimes I still do!
We're finishing up on the house projects.  The electricity in the boys' rooms (play room and bed room) is done, so Paul is finishing putting up sheet rock (right at this moment, actually!).  He finished the sheetrock in the main stairway as well, so now all we have to do is paint.  Paint..... So much of that to do, and I don't even want to think about it.  It's kind of an overwhelming thought, mostly because I know that every aspect of life otherwise will have to come to a standstill to get those projects done, so I am not looking forward to it.  (But I priced hiring it out, and NO WAY.)  Paul got the small deck on the east side of the house put back on - CHANGED MY LIFE.  It is so nice to be able to walk across a porch to access the house, rather than having the all the dirt from the yard applied directly to my floors.  (We have no grass for about 20 feet in any direction from the house.)  We got 3 beautiful solid-wood doors, for the two new bathrooms and the boys' bedrooms.  So the back bathroom is fully funcional and private (previously just had a curtain).  Paul got the toilet installed in the downstairs bathroom, but we're a while out from getting the shower put in.  I told him that the back deck is higher on my priority list.  Having a bathroom downstairs is really going to mess up the boys' school routine - their favorite trick to try is the "I need to go poop!" excuse, and then they promptly disappear for a half an hour.  Going to look for the missing truant means the remaining boy will escape or become totally distracted.  So having toilet and sink down there solves all excuses!
Warm weather means we're planning a garden and flower beds.  My main flower bed got completely torn out, so all there is is bare dirt at the front of our house between the house and the driveway.  I'm excited to start from scratch, but also overwhelmed at the options for such a huge amount of square footage.  I'm also looking forward to replenishing the vegetable supply.  This having to buy produce is crap.  And no one likes the frozen store veggies, so other than salads, we haven't been doing too well on healthy eating!
Anyhow.  That's a glimpse of life lately.  I'll try to put up pictures soon.

Overheard: Great Mothering

Good night, boys.
If you get up in the middle of the night, and fall and break your face, I'm not feeling sorry for you.  This room is disgusting.

....They did clean it a few days later, but it didn't last long.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Quote to Consider:

If  you reach a child, there is a 15% chance of reaching the family for Christ.
If you reach the mother, there is a 30% chance of reaching the family for Christ.
If you reach a teen, there is a 50% chance of reaching the family for Christ.
But if you reach the father, there is a 92% chance of reaching the family for Christ.
In light of this, why are churches not actively finding ministries to reach fathers?

--Heard on Intentional Living, quoting the leader of Arizona Promise Keepers

(Whereas I'm almost positive I have the percentages correct, I'm not sure this is the exact wording.  I have not been able to find the statistic in print through Google.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015


"Zadie, you're a turd."
"No!  I not a turd.  You a turd.  I'm a girl!"

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Quote to Consider

What's down in the well will come up in the bucket. 
--attributed to Dr. Adrian Rogers

Luke 6:45 - "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart."

Monday, February 9, 2015

It's Been Four Years Since Our Miscarriage

Zadie was "helping" me get dressed for church yesterday, so I asked her what shirt I should wear.  Of course, she chose the only article of clothing I have that has sparkly "bling" on it.
Which brought to mind how long I've had it - and my train of thought went something like this:  Oh, I bought this to wear to the David Garrett concert in Omaha.... That was also in February..... And I miscarried that night.....  What day is it?
Yesterday was four years to the day since we found out our precious Angel wasn't going to be born.  I know death and sorrow are never part of God's plan, but He can use those awful things we go through to make beautiful things.  I wonder why we had to lose a baby, but then I realize, if Angel had been born, we wouldn't have this beautiful ragamuffin to love, who brings such joy to us every day.

There is beauty in the brokenness.
God always knows His purposes.

I recently read the book of Job in the Bible.  God allowed Satan to do horrible things to Job.  Satan took not one, but all 10 of Job's children, in addition to all of his possessions and physical health.  Satan was sure he would win in Job's life, causing Job to hate and curse God.  God knew Job could handle it, so he allowed Satan to test Job.
But Job didn't curse God.  He questioned why, but he realized God's sovereignty.  And God blessed Job with twice as much as he had before.  
And I hope that the reason that God let us go through that loss was because He knew we could handle it.  We didn't know we could handle it, but we came through it praising Him, and He has blessed us with so much since then.
Blessed be His name.

Friday, January 30, 2015


"Nathan, you need to clean your room.  It is a disaster area."
"It is clean!  I cleaned it last night!"
"No, you didn't.  It was still a mess when you went to bed."
"I did clean it!  I made a path!"

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rhodes Report 2014

This is my annual letter - "Christmas letter," if you will - that I send out after the first of the year.  This years was record length, I think.

As I was reflecting on the start of the New Year, and looking back on the past year, the words to one of our family’s favorite songs kept going through my head:
The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning; It's time to sing Your song again.
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, Let me be singing when the evening comes.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul!  Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, O my soul!  I’ll worship Your holy name.
--“10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin

I can’t think of a better thought to begin the New Year – WHATEVER happens – BLESS THE LORD!
This has been a year of “whatever” – and what a year it has been!
We opened 2014 more exhausted than ever before in our life.  Our newest, Gideon (born December 2013), refused to sleep at night.  One or both of us spent every night rocking, walking, holding, and praying for him to sleep.  The good news is, it got better.  The bad news is, it took several months for him to start sleeping on his own at night (and he didn’t sleep through the night –at all- ‘til after he turned 1).  But now all of that is behind us, and Gideon is a happy, active 1-year-old who walks (runs), climbs, wrestles, and explores.  He has 12 (!) teeth and the most adorable smile.  He nods and shakes his head when you ask him questions, and has the most infectious laugh. 
Zadie turned 2 in April.  Even though she jabbered constantly, she didn’t start talking intelligibly until late summer.  In the months since then, her vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds, and we can understand almost every word now.  She is a little mother, constantly bossing the household around.  She is also a girly-girl.  Everything pink, sparkly, fluffy, and otherwise fancy she loves.  She adores jewelry and is obsessed with shoes.  She constantly asks to have her fingernails painted.  Thankfully, she also loves being a “Mommy” and playing with her babies and cooking in her kitchen.  She has recently decided she’s going to use the potty.  That can’t happen soon enough; I am SO done with having two in diapers.
Jacob turned 5 in October.  We started Kindergarten with him this fall.   He seems to pick things up very quickly.  Some of it may be “spillover” from being present as Nathan learned these things, but he just seems to have a very quick mind in remembering things.  Math he’s breezing through, doing several lessons a day, and even though reading is a bit more work for him, but he’s still doing great for a 5-year-old!  He enjoys Legos, kitties, outdoors, and dinosaurs.  He’s always willing to help, whether it be sweeping the floor at home, or doing chores at Grammy and Pa-Pa’s.  In December, Jacob had surgery to repair a small hernia above his belly button – the hereditary weak spot – and it didn’t slow him down one bit.
Nathan turned 7 in September.  He’s in 2nd grade at home.  We are still behind in reading, but made a huge turn this summer when he finally decided that reading might be useful, and stopped arguing and started trying.  He’s making good progress and can read simple books.  We have a deal made for his time tests in Math – if he can complete it in less than 2 minutes, he gets a dollar toward buying a watch.  He always scores 100, but the higher addition tables take a while for him to figure in his head.  Nathan enjoys anything army, camouflage, or gun-related – so of course, Duck Dynasty!  He spends hours playing with his Legos and drawing or acting out army scenes.  He is very helpful with projects, doing a lot of work on the house this year (installing sheetrock and flooring), side-by-side with his dad or Grandpa.
Paul and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in March.  It’s been pretty close to a “perfect 10”, and we couldn’t be happier.  We love loving each other, and are truly thrilled to be best friends.  Paul just completed his 15th year at AGC (6th as a supervisor).  I am so proud of him.  I still “just” stay home.  In July, I had a [repeat] hernia surgery (same spot as Jacob’s).  Hopefully we are done with that issue.
To explain our crazy summer, I have to first start with last spring.  Paul and I wanted to do some updates and improvements to the house.  We knew our floors weren’t level (by several inches), so before replacing doors and windows, we wanted to see what we could do about leveling up the house.  It turns out that our floors weren’t level because two of our rock foundation walls were collapsing.  After having 3 companies come and give us inspections and estimates, and much prayer, we made the decision to completely tear out our stone cellar and foundation…… And replace it with a full concrete basement.  So now we have level floors – and twice as much living space as a year ago! 
We could not live in the house while work was being done – no water or gas, plus the fact that the whole thing was up on jacks!  We spent 12 weeks living in Williamsburg with Paul’s parents.  We so appreciate all of their help and generosity.  We moved back in the first week of October.  Paul has 3 months down on finishing this project….  And 20 years to go!  We tore off our old back porch/laundry room/utility room/disaster area (which would not have stayed attached to the house had we tried to jack it up with the rest of it), and replaced it with a new, taller, brighter back porch/mud room, with a half bath.  We moved the laundry, freezers, and hot water tank to the basement.  We will add a full bath in the basement (at some point), and this summer we will complete a bedroom for the older boys (eventually all 3).  The schoolroom is also downstairs – bliss! the dining room table is clean! – along with plenty of space to play.  With all new plumbing and ductwork – plus no wind howling through cracks in the rock foundation – our house is much warmer and draft free (and no frozen pipes!).
We can’t talk about the basement project without giving glory to God!  It was obvious from start to finish that this was God and He was blessing us in outrageous ways.  From the huge things – like providing the money – to the small – like our freezers were empty when we had to move them to the shop – we have felt His guidance every step.  We are overjoyed that He saw fit to give us this blessing.
Homeschool was an adventure this year.  The combination of a nursing baby, a demanding toddler, and an incredibly tired mommy made for lots of days of doing the bare minimum.  I think we took 3 spring breaks, so we weren’t done with school yet when we moved out in July.  The boys finally finished up in August while we were living at Grandpa & Grandma’s, and we didn’t start up again until October when we moved back home.  That’s the beauty of homeschooling!  We took a break from music lessons this year.  My lack of sleep for six months and our insane summer, combined with daily whining and arguing about practicing, made this one thing that became not important to me at this point.  Life has settled down now and we hope to take that task back up sometime soon.
Last year when I wrote this letter, my little sister was recently home from her two years in Africa with the Peace Corps.  In March, her boyfriend that she had met while living in Zambia came to visit.  In June, he went back home……. As her husband!  Carlsie and Jono now live in Zimbabwe, which is where Jono grew up.  Jono works as Chief Agronomist for Green Fuel, a huge farm that grown sugar cane for ethanol production.  We are thrilled to add Jono to our family!
We were able to take a small trip to Silver Dollar City in October.  We planned it in January, before we’d even imagined the basement project.  We were only home for two weeks before we left again, but it was a great time.  We had a “family reunion” of sorts, which included Paul’s parents , his sister, his aunt and her husband, and his cousin and her husband and their 3 kids.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed their time together, as did the grown-ups.  It was a nice time to just relax and enjoy fun together.
We are still blessed to be part of the family at Ottawa Bible.  We are involved in Awana, and a weekly small group that meets at the church.  The older boys and I helped out with our 14th annual Bethlehem experience, which they loved.  We had over 1200 guests come through this year.  We have also gone several times to local nursing homes to do some music ministry.  Paul is still very involved with Men’s Encounter, and we both look forward to serving at several Encounters again this year.
Obviously, our lives are full and busy.  We are truly blessed, and we count you each as a blessing, that you are our family and friends.  We hope the New Year finds you happy and hopeful as you look to the future.  We may never know what the future holds, but we know the One who holds the future, so we can find peace in trusting in Him.

Love to all,
Paul & Rachel

Nathan, Jacob, Zadie, and Gideon

The Other Photos......

So I finally sent out my New Year's letter (I gave up with trying to get it out before Christmas, so calling it a "New Year's letter" takes the pressure off).
I almost didn't send a picture.  We've been plagued by various illnesses, and things have been tight financially, but then I thought.....  The pictures are my favorite part of receiving letters!  Plus, it's only like $7 to print them if you have a coupon.
I never made it to my sister's to have her take nice portraits of us.  So we herded the kids outdoors today (first day above freezing in weeks!) and tried to get a decent shot.  (And yes, Gideon is in his pajamas.  It's just normal day attire for us!)

Trying to photograph children is like herding cats - impossible!
Gideon would not stand still.  At all.  (If they held him, he screamed.  If they let him go, he charged straight at me.)

Oh, by all means, let's bring the dog in!  That will help......

And of course when Gideon does stay put, no one is looking at the camera.


Close.....  But I was hoping for better smiles.

In the end, I went with the first photo I took.  I wish you could see Zadie better, but they're all real smiles, and it shows their real personalities.  And this is real life for us (chaos)!

Laundry Basket Dresser

My mom sent me a link to this picture of what is apparently called a "laundry dresser" back last summer.  She knows my disdain for laundry.  (Which, ironically, I am not folding in lieu of writing this blog.)

I liked the look of it, but I didn't like the idea of having to pull out baskets to sort each thing when I am sorting dirty clothes for wash.  I just toss.  It seemed like a way to make it prettier, but more complicated.
I did know that for our new laundry room, I wanted a laundry basket for each kid.  I had discovered that sorting a massive pile of clean laundry into baskets for each person makes folding go 10x faster - you're only folding one person's clothes at a time, so no more having 15 stacks around you while you fold.  I got a couple more square baskets and for two months, I sorted clothes into the baskets..... Which stayed parked in front of the freezers.  (I did fold them occasionally.)  One basket for Nathan, one for Jacob, one for Zadie, one for Gideon, one for Paul and I, and one for towels.
That takes up a lot of floor space, folks.  
Right before Thanksgiving, I couldn't take it any more.  Light bulb!  That laundry stacker...... for clean clothes!  Paul was going to the lumber store, and I made a list.

It fits perfectly in the little niche of space between the freezers and the spiral staircase!
I don't do step-by-step how-to's with photos.  Basically, my process was measure my basket, allow two inches clearance for each basket, plus two inches off the floor.  We built each side (looked like a ladder), then set a basket on it and measured to determine how far apart and how much wiggle room to leave for the handles.
I used 2x4s for the legs, and 2x2s for the handles.  We put a couple 2x4 braces across the back and across the floor, and then topped it with 1x6s.
(If you are thinking about taking on the project and know anyone even minorly handy, have them take a quick look at the photos and it should be enough to figure it out.)

I actually did most of this project.  I designed it, but I had Paul double-check my calculations and make the shopping list.  I did the cuts, although he had to re-do a couple cuts for me (they were millimeters off, but enough to wobble).  I made him do all the screws, because I would have taken entirely too long with my over-analyzing each move.  I wanted to get it done the same day. :)  Then I stained the whole thing and put it to work!  (In retrospect, staining before assembling would have been MUCH easier.)
It's not making me any better at folding clothes, but it does keep them organized in a way that the kids can find them.  They pull out their basket, dig around, and put it back (usually).  When they were all lined up on the floor, they'd pull them out of their basket and toss them into the ones next to it.  And it takes up a quarter of the floor spaces as my laundry basket parade!
So there's my laundry dresser!  Pinterest project, minus the Pinterest account. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Cover on My Old Bible

I picked up my Bible probably about 12 years ago when I was working at the little bookstore downtown.  At that time, the appeal was the title.  I was just starting off as a worship leader, and it intrigued me.  Notes wise, there aren't a lot.  "Worship points" at the beginning of each chapter, and a few thoughts and prayers here and there.  Not a lot that I could use as a worship leader, but it did help direct my thoughts if I took the time to read them - I'm not a big notes-reader..... Give me GOD'S words!  (I tend to get distracted by the extras.)
This was my first experience with New Living Translation (I was a committed New American Standard girl), and the translation is what made me fall in love with the Bible.  NLT is so easy to read!  Things I've been reading all my life suddenly jumped out at me and smacked me in the face!  I had this Bible marked and written all over.
And then cover fell off.  The pages were intact, but the cover was not, and if I kept using it, the pages were going to start falling off.  So I had a decision to make:  get a new Bible, with a nice leather cover, and more notes for when I want them....... or, for the same price, get my old Bible, with the notes that I'd already taken re-covered with a leather cover.  Either way, it was parting with a chunk of money - something I don't do easily.
It took me 3 months to make up my mind.  Finally, I did it.  I couldn't part with the familiar.  The deciding point was - I couldn't use my Bible as is.  And if I couldn't use it, no one else could, so I couldn't give it away.  I didn't want it setting on a shelf, and I didn't think it was in bad enough shape to warrant "respectfully disposing of it."  Also, leather Bibles at the store have very thin and flimsy pages.  I liked the heavier feel of the pages of my old Bible.
When I worked at the bookstore, we dealt with Norris Bookbinding Company in Mississippi.  So I looked them up and sent off my Bible.
In about 2 weeks, I got back a brand new Bible!

I opted for a genuine leather cover.  We use this as our family Bible, so it gets used several times a day, and I wanted it to hold up.

The only thing that hints that this Bible is old are the worn and stained page edges.

My beloved notes!

I thought this verse printed on the inside cover was just perfect.  It could be said, "The pages may stain, and the cover fall off, but the Words inside are just as powerful and precious."