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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking to 2014

The last few years I have set goals for myself. One year I wanted to learn broths and soups, another year I wanted to learn to make sauces and dips, and this year Mark and I are going to learn to relax! We are going to relearn how to relax and bring fun back into our lives. Some how in the midst of living, raising kids, and paying bills we forgot how to have a life. This year we are going to dig the fun back out of the closet.

One of the ways we are going to accomplish this is honesty. If Mark's had a rough day and he needs to go get lost in the woods with his camera, then I need to be able to give him the freedom to do so. Back him a picnic and off he goes. I need him to be ready to take over the kids and let me walk out the door for a while after a stressful day of school and training the kiddos. There are going to be times Mark and I need to run away together and we'll figure out a way to accomplish it.

One of the adventures we are going to try and bring back into our lives is camping! We love camping! Camping sings to both Mark and I's soul. Living in a tent, cooking over a fire, running around in the woods, listening to the birds sing, fishing for our supper. Biking is another adventure we full intend to bring back into our world of adventure. Lansboro is a sweet little tourist town known for it's great biking trails. Lansboro has sweet little shops, fabulous restaurants, and a world re-known pie shop! Fishing is definitely an adventure we will continue. Last summer we went fishing quite a bit and the kids loved it. We have learned that if your kids are indeed going to be serious about fishing then the flimsy kid poles are not a good choice. Definitely spend the extra money and get them a serious pole that will outlast kid antics. You get the gist, we are outdoors people and the outdoors makes our soul sing!

Relaxing for Mark also looks like painting, skateboarding, sitting by a fire for hours, spending alone time with his wife, and spending time with great friends. For me relaxing looks like sitting down with a great book, cooking/baking something yummy, riding horses, and sitting with great friends shooting the breeze and eating yummy food and drinking great beverages. I love long walks with friends, pretty much anything that gives me heart to heart time with someone.

We are going to find fun, we are going to start listening to our emotional needs of fun and relaxation, this will feed our spiritual, uplift us mentally, and will heal the physical.

I am looking forward to an amazing 2014! I'll let you know how our year of fun pans out!




Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Watchful Father

I have heard quite often that our relationships are an image of our relationship with God. Today, I was thinking of my relationship with my kid's and how I watch them closely and learn their in's and outs's. I know when my kid's are over tired and need to go to bed, I know how to help them before they get to a place of being over tired. I know the signs that tell me they are on the verge of a cold or some other sickness. I what their facial expressions mean and what their body language means. I know what will make their heart sings and what will fill their cups to overflowing. I know how much or how little pressure they can handle. I also know when they are giving me attitude or struggling because they need my attention and are asking without knowing it for a mommy or daddy date. They are needing one on one time with us. It is my job as their mommy to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance into my kid's. Guidance for eyes to see my kid's and their needs, issues that I might other wise miss but are important to the raising of their hearts.

Matthew 6:26 says, 'Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet their heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Another verse in Matthew says, 'Are not two sparrows sold for a penny: And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father'. Both of these verses tells me that God intimately watches us, not one of us rises or falls without him knowing. Which also tells me that he watches my heartache as closely as he watches my successes. If I will allow him God is alive and active in my life.

There have been many moments in my life that like my three year olds my temper flared and I was unconsolable. Like my three year olds I did not know it was the affection and love of my heavenly Father I was needing and looking for. I in my immaturity wandered around looking for spiritual food and had no realization of what I as doing. But, God knew, my heavenly Father, saw my tantrum and knew it for what it was. He would come along beside me and either through mentors or through his word and Holy Spirit guide me to the nourishing waters of his presence. He would water my soul through his Holy Spirit giving me nourishing soul soup of his word and comfort. As I grew spiritually, I have grown to know myself more and more. I have been able to go to my heavenly father before my soul erupts into an emotional molten lava volcano.

The question I asked myself this mornings was, 'does God care for me as I care for my kid's, does God have an active relationship with me as I do with my kid's. The answer in my personal life is yes. But, we can also choose to have the relationship of a child who will not and does not want the parent/child relationship. In which case God can attempt the relationship, but it is not responded to. Relationships both with my kid's and with God are what I put into them. If I abide in Christ and he abides in me, I am therefore tapped into the vine (God) and will receive nourishing relationship.

Yes, God responds as the father, knowing me intimately. My God is the watchful heavenly Father.







Sunday, October 20, 2013

Triumph and Pain...when I don't understand...

Tonight I am reminded of Caedmon's Call lyrics, "This world has nothing for me and this world is everything, all that I could want and nothing that I need". The last couple of months I have had two friends develop cancer, both went under crazy amounts of radiation and chemo, and both had two very different results. My one friend after undergoing a hardcore cancer recipe has been declared cancer free. However, cancer has assaulted my other friends body. His wife has had to tell his children that their daddy is dying and that now it's about making daddy comfortable.

Complete opposite outcomes. I feel both triumph and udder sadness at the same time.  I felt this deep stirring of emotions when the twins were born. A friend of ours had a son and he only lived a few hours. I was excited at the birth of our twins, but my heart wept and bleed for this mother who lost her baby. I cried out to the Lord in the unfairness of giving me twins and taking her one. Could He not have given us each one baby and called it good? My heart was torn.

As I mull over these two opposite reactions, as I mull over the pain in both situations, I know that God works for good even in our pain. I have found that it is in my agony and deep grief, that if I let God hold me, if I allow myself to get mad at God, if I allow myself to feel the pain and unfairness. It is in this place that God meets me, when he comes he brings peace. He does not always give me clarity, he doesn't always give me a reason, but he does show himself to me. He does show me sunshine in the darkness of my pain. He does not let me sink, he carries me, and lets me cry.

There is joy in miracles and tears in goodbyes. I don't really understand either, but I do know my God has proven himself to me over and over. I pray that when the road is dark and I don't understand, I pray God will pick me up and carry me.

Please pray for my friend who's family is getting ready to say goodbye to him. Lord, bring them your peace, bring them the strength that only you can give.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

It's not enough to want our nation to change! It is the people that must change!

I watch our nation fall apart, I watch newscasts of government shut downs. I see republican, democrats, and everyone in between having a tantrum. I see the moral scales tilting, I see a nation I grew up to love falling apart. My Grandpa knowing that he would be drafted, entered the army willingly during WWII, serving with a medical unit on Christmas Island, experiencing horrific, horrible things my mind doesn't even want to consider experiencing. During the Vietnam era my dad too knowing the inevitable would come enlisted before he got drafted and joined the Navy.  I thank the Lord everyday that the war ended before my dad God to the shores of the war, the war ended on his way to the battle fields. Their sacrifice teaches me that this country is a country worth fighting for, the freedom's it offers are worth fighting for.

I see a nation who is tolerant of  affairs in marriage, a nation were marriages both in Christian homes and secular fall apart. I see a nation in which it is tolerant to be a homosexual, but Christians are being shunned and forced out of business. Someone, please tell me, how that is tolerant? It is merely taking an eye for an eye, it is giving hatred in return.

To turn our faces away from the Lord is to slap our creator in the face. Sure he's strong enough to withstand the blow, but our hearts, our hearts that need to be connected to the Saviour, our souls that hunger and thirst for God, are not strong enough. We cannot cut ourselves off from the maker and creator. I am not strong enough. Any time you take God out of the drivers seat and place a human in His place, it can only lead to ruin and a destructive crash!

Our nation does not need to change, what needs to change is the hearts of the people in our nation. A house is not made a home until a family makes it a home.  America is no longer America, because it's people are choosing hatred and selfishness. The people in our nation are choosing to love themselves, they are demanding their way or no way, and they will stop at nothing to accomplish it. Is it worth it to gain a right and yet loose a nation? We have lost a love for our fellow countrymen. When the hearts of our nation change, then our nation will change. Our nation needs to change, our nation needs to not be what it once was. It needs to grow and emerge the amazing butterfly of a nation that only God alone can make it to be. Do I want the same nation as before, no, but I do want a nation were I can home school my kids without fear of loosing them. I want to live in a nation were I am not afraid of saying I love God with all my heart and all my soul and all my strength, with out the rest of the nation thinking I hate them and wish them the worse. That's not it at all! I want to live in a nation were I can learn from those around me, regardless of what their sexual orientation is, religious beliefs or skin color! I know my God is big enough to handle that and he is able to guide me through it.

What I want is for others to find the amazing peace and joy I have come to have through Jesus. I don't want to force you to have it, God didn't force me and I won't force you. But, I do want to be allowed to love the God who loves me. I do want to be allowed to do it, without you being offended. It is between you and God what you choose, but let me do it. I am not weak for loving my God, I am made strong because I am weak!

What our nation needs is healing! We need to stand in front of each other and grieve with each other. We need to grieve the lose of our country. We need to seek each others forgiveness. We need to look beyond all the crap and see each other for who we are. Sinners, each one of us, in need of forgiveness and love from each other and from God.

The hope of our nation rests in it's people, the hope of a nation rests in a nation turning from their selfishness and acknowledging others thoughts, feelings, and needs above their own. Will you be the healing change or will you be the driving force that pushes us further apart. We have a choice America! We have a choice! What will you choose to do?

As for me, I choose peace! I choose to love, I choose to love! I pray that when I don't feel compassionate God will rain it down on me. My God, My God do not turn your eyes from our nation. Send your healing, send your love, send your peace!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

When Depression Creeps In...

There are times depression comes roaring into my heart and mind like a lion on the hunt and other times it comes in small waves that build into one big title wave. Both are destructive, both can at times interfere with my ability to function on a day to day basis. There are days I wake up and it seems the lion has run me over and mauled me, sadness and self doubt drip into the wounds and puss and gangrene try to take hold. 

Whether the waves have over taken me or the lion is feasting on me, both separate me from the love of God, both separate me from the love of fellow believers. Depression tells me that I am not wanted, I am rejected, I'm a failure. Along with these thoughts Satan throws in loosing a library book, a frustrated husband, a defiant kid. Because if he can "prove" it, then it must be so. This makes the depression even worse and I slip slowly but surely deeper into the hell of my mind. It literally feels like hell and it may be a taste of hell, because I cut myself off from the safety and security of the Abba Father, in my mind I turn the light switch off and throw all the night lights in the closet. Depression festers better in the dark.

This deep dark depression does not take hold as often as it did in the past. There use to be times I would not, could not, emerge from the dark for a couple of weeks. I would journal, I would write poetry trying to come out of my misery. It was one of the darkest,  most horrible times in my life. The weight of the world, the weight of the lies in my head, and the deep, deep sadness that went along with it felt like death it's self.

The amazing thing with in this misery, was that often times I didn't feel alone, in these times while emotional death was at my doorstep, the Holy Spirit was there battling for me. I did not go through these mental battles alone. God came looking for me, he would find me, care for me, and walk me through the darkness into the light holding my hand. Once I emerged from the darkness, he would leave me in the ever presence of the Holy Spirit. My God watched as his precious daughter struggled, the Abba, the one who cares more for me than the sparrow, would come and care for me. In these times my Abba, taught me that he cares me. 

Now, when I can feel myself falling into the darkness, when I can sense waves of depression rolling in, I no longer let the waves consume me. I run for the light, I run for my trusted friends in Jesus, I run and ask for prayer. Because, when I voice my depression to the Savior, when I allow my friends to surround me in prayer, light comes into the darkness and the darkness flees. When I stay isolated I set myself up for attack, I stand alone, I am vulnerable for deeper attack.  So, I stand in the light, I stand in the sunshine of God's love, I stand in the love of my Saviour. 

My prayer for you, my reader, is that God would bless you with friends that will shine the light in the dark places of your life. Friends, who will love you, share truth with you, and love you through life's struggles. There is nothing sweeter than knowing that at any time you are surrounded with love and encouragement. I pray you will cry out to the Lord and then with confidence watch him come to the rescue.




Monday, September 9, 2013

Home...

I have always felt a little bit of a weirdo through my whole life. I tend to do things, say things, and live my life in the way I believe God wants me to. If you are a believer you know that often times this means doing things that seem weird to the people on the outside. What God wants me to say and do may not be compared with Noah building an ark on the top of a mountain in the middle of a dessert proclaiming that God will flood the earth, I do often do march to the drum of a different beat. For the most part I don't mind and I actually enjoy being different, but I haven't always enjoyed it.

In fact I would say most of my growing up, all through school, I did not like being different. I wanted to do what all the other kids were doing. For one, it was just plan ole cool, for another, if I went along with the other kids I wasn't going to be rejected, made fun of, or something far worst than my young brain could come up with. I was shy in school or so I appeared, but I wasn't shy I was insecure. Insecurity can be completely different than shy, shyness can come from insecurity and insecurity can appear shy. I know it sounds confusing but you may just have to take my word for it. Middle school, junior high, and high school I wanted nothing more than to be invisible and blend in with my surroundings. If I was quiet, if I stayed hidden in my books and in my world I would be safe. I struggled a lot in high school with depression, I would hide in my room for a week or two. How my mom let this happen while I was in school I have no idea, but she seemed to understand it, and soon I would emerge and be ready to attempt life outside my room again.

Who I was as a child and all through school is not even close to who I am now as an adult. Graduating high school could not come fast enough for me. To me it was a torture chamber, a place I was smothered and not allowed to flourish. I was put in a box and told I had only this much time to learn this amount of stuff. I walked across the graduation platform and never looked back.

I entered college and I flourished, I had more friends than ever, I was a leader, I wasn't afraid to lead. All of a sudden I had been given a pass to emerge into the person I knew I was, but was too insecure, already labeled and stamped with how others viewed me. After a couple years of college, I decided college was not for me and sought out camping ministry. I found a camp named Camp Redcloud and feel in love with the ministry, the work, the directors, and the mountains. Finding Camp Redcloud would mold me and shape me into the wife and mommy God knew I would become. Redcloud would also give me the leadership training, bible training, and love poured into me so that I could then go and pour into another persons life. Camp would last almost seven wonderful, amazing, life changing years!

I got Married to my best friend Mark, we moved to Minnesota, had three kids, and LOTS and LOTS of struggles. Being married to a best friend is both amazing and painful at the same time. Because when they hurt you, weather they meant to or not it hurts twice as much because you love them so very much. Mark and I both as sinners brought suitcase upon suitcase of hurt and life experiences. I give God all the glory, honor, and praise, because it is nothing but the grace of God that Mark and I are still together. Nothing but the grace of God that he pulled us out of the miry clay and is using us to his glory. We still
have roots to pull up, we both have things to work on, but to God be the glory we are being set free to love God deeper and love each other deeper. It takes work, it takes setting down my pride for the good of Mark, even if I don't see any, it's praying and asking to see it. It takes forgiveness, asking God for large portions of it because I am usually unable to do it myself. It takes willingness and the will to want to, even if you don't want to, it takes asking the Lord to give you the want to.

The point to this novel of a post is that my whole life I have been looking for a home. I have been looking for a place to belong. There have been times I haven't even felt that I belonged to my family. I have been looking for acceptance and love and I have been disappointed time and time again. But, what I have been looking for is not rooted in what others can give me. It is rooted in what God alone can give me. I am still chewing on this and God is still working in my life over and over again in this area, but it's true. There is nothing anyone can give you, that will replace what you need to go get from the Abba Father!

Ever since I left Redcloud I have been hungry to find the same life giving abiding relationships that I found at Redcloud. After seven years of farming my marriage, continuing to plow, plant, and weed our marriage. God, I believe has brought about to Mark and I amazing friendships. He has brought amazing pastors into our lives, he has healed my relationship with my family, he is continuing even now to bring great friends into our lives. God is even now returning what the locust had taken away and eaten.

For the first time in my 33, almost 34 years of life, I can honestly say, I have come home!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The things I say to my kids matter...

I have three favorite books; The Bible, written by God who chose specific men to pen it, The little Britches series, written by Ralph Moody, and The hiding place by Corrie Ten Boom. All three of these books have a theme within them that has struck me and stuck with me.

These are books that I can read over and over because I take something new away every time. One of the themes I get from all three books is that of a Father giving life saving, life giving answers to their children that will be of the utmost importance in their lives. The Bible, written by God through mere mortal men, is a story of God working through these men's lives. It's about a Father, being willing to give up his son, to save not only the son he's sacrificing but to offer freedom to the rest of His children. He offers because to force would not really be love. The heavenly father is not a shallow kind of God, he wants us to be willing to give Him our all. But, part of the love of God is to give us the Bible, giving him a way to talk with His children. The love of a Father mentoring and shepherding his children.

The Little Britches books is about a small boy named Ralph who moves from the big city to Podunk Colorado, with literally no modern conveniences. Yet, to Ralph, the adventure has just begun. Ralph works along his father to make their new rundown home, a home. His father teaches him carpentry skill, instill confidence in Ralph, he instills character and reputation. Everything Mr. Moody was teaching Ralph would be vital, as a young boy of 9 or 10 Ralph looses his father, and becomes the man of the family.

The Hiding Place written by Corrie Ten Boom is about a woman who lived in Poland during the time of the Nazi's rule during WWII. Corrie gives us a picture of what her life w,as like as a girl being brought up by a Father who is a watchmaker and a mother who is a homemaker. She talks of love lost, facing death at home and in the concentration camp. The reason she tells us of her childhood is because it allows her to tell us of the wisdom her father was able to instill in her. His words of wisdom calmed a frighten child and gave her the ability to see God's hand at work, even in the concentration camps.

The impression all three books have left on me was to get on my knees before my Heavenly Father asking him to give me the right words at the right times. This means that my reaction to any given situation could mean the difference between instilling a nugget in my children's heart and minds that will stay with them until they die. Nuggets that will get them through the toughest situations, nuggets that allow them to watch and experience God's goodness, faithfulness, peace, and joy. When my kids see God live in action, they will begin to trust him and know his voice. This trust in their Heavenly Father will get them through the darkest days they face on this earth. Dark days that God almighty can turn into joy and peace. With God in their lives, there is no dark place. God will always shine a flashlight or light a candle to remind them that they are in His capable hands. There is no safer or greater place than in our Abba's hands!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Learning to work hard...

This afternoon I went to sweep the acorns building up on our back steps. I grabbed a rake, a shop broom, and a shovel. Naomi, then went to get her rake and shovel and started to help me. This began a domino affect, Titus and Madeline went and got their rakes and shovels. What began as an attempt to make our back steps safer, became something else entirely.

Taking care of our back steps lead to raking in front of our grill so I wouldn't roll around while grilling supper. Which lead to raking around our fire pit so we could safely walk around it with out falling in it. The whole time I was working all three kids were right beside me raking, shoveling, and dumping acorns into five gallon buckets, and then dumping the bucket of acorns in a garbage bag. The whole time the kids stuck beside me, watching me, and copying me. They were proud of themselves for helping me to accomplish the task set before us. Without knowing it each of them were doing a great job of filling my bucket, both literally and physically.

When the bags of acorns were put away and all tools put away, each kiddo got to pick two pieces of candy as a reward. They did not have to help me, but they chose to, that I would love to reward!

They learned so much more than raking, they learned to stick with a job with a joyful attitude. They learned that you can have fun while working and that at times you will be rewarded for hard work. They learned that team work gets jobs done faster. Now, to get the rest of the backyard raked and bagged this week! I'm going to need more candy. ;)




Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My right hand little lady...

Maddie's face says very well how the first few months of
life went with the twins.
I have said it once and I will probably continue to say it for the rest of her life, I have no idea how I would do twins without Maddie!  I am so thankful God sent me Maddie before he sent me twins! Naomi is potty trained in part because Maddie took her to the bathroom half the time. Today the twins had their three year old check ups. While I went with Titus to get his eyes checked, Maddie went with Naomi to get her hearing checked. Then we switched, I stayed with Titus for his hearing checked and Maddie went with Naomi to get her eyes checked. Naomi happily followed Maddie and let her help her.  She often helps Naomi get dressed and shoes put on while I'm helping Titus with his.

Big sister hold Titus for the first time.
Maddie is a leader in among our kiddo's, although interestingly enough, she is not a leader by nature. It is interesting to watch the dynamics in my children's birth order. Although Maddie is not a natural leader, God has put her in a position in which she leads everyday. The twins watch Maddie's actions and words like a hawk. Maddie imitates Mark and I, the twins imitate Maddie. It's an interesting umbrella affect. Naomi, is my leader, yet God has placed her in the middle were without knowing it she is learning to be a follower. Daily she is learning to follow, listen, and take orders from her older sister. Titus is a leader simply because people enjoy being around him. He's smiley and bubbly, he's genuinely concerned for others, he is empathetic, and funny. Titus is a hard work content to work along side those he's working with, he's quick to complement but is also tender when he corrects someone. Titus tries to befriend everyone. Titus is the kind of guy you want on your time.

Sweet rewards of being the big sister!
But, back to Maddie, I am thankful that God put her in the role in our house that he has. With great responsibility comes great reward. We are working with Maddie with something called initiative. In our house our kids do not get an allowance. We do not think we should pay our kids for something that needs to be done simply to live and be a part of a family. However, we will pay and reward initiative. We have explained to our kids that initiative is "seeing something that needs to be done and doing it without being told or expecting a reward". But, when I see Maddie helping Naomi or Titus without being told, dusting when she notices it needs to be done, picking up toys without being asked. Going above and beyond is a life skill, a skill that will set Maddie apart when she goes into the work place and begins to work for a living.

3 years old, Maddie was already
occupying the twins for me!
I am in awe of the young lady Maddie is becoming. She is tender hearted, often gives up her own way for the benefit of another, she often shows initiative, she loves God and is learning more and more how to have a relationship with Jesus her Savior.

Thank you Maddie for making this mommies job so much easier! I love you so much!!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Jumping up and down...

I have a picture in my head of Titus jumping up and down because he hears the garage door open and he knows that means daddy is home! Titus is seriously bummed when he sees Mark get his brief case because he knows he's not going to get to play with daddy all day long. Titus is pretty sure Mark hung the moon!

When I go to die, I pray that I am jumping up and down because I know I am going home to my heavenly father. I want to know that as I am leaving my earthly body the "garage door" is opening and I will soon see Jesus my savior who will bring me to the throne of my Abba Father, the creator of all things.

I want to long for my heavenly Father as Titus waits for his daddy!

Faithful...

There is one theme God has shown throughout my life, the theme is faithful. My God is faithful God, he is a God who cares about the big stuff in my life, but he also cares deeply about the little things in my life. How do I know? Because, I cry out to Him, and he hears me, he not only hears me, he either carries me through the stuff or he takes it away. Sometimes he requires me to go through it, such as cleaning my house. This morning I looked around my house and you would have thought a tornado came through and dropped things where ever it wanted to. My kiddo's are sick and I know the best things for them are not found on the shelves of wal-mart, which means I need to spend time in my kitchen. I also knew that laundry had piled up and needed to be delt with. Sigh...my load had gotten to heavy and I could not carry it. So I did what any self respecting overwhelmed woman would do. I sat myself down and had a good ole cry! Crying does something amazing that nothing else releases. I can sit down, have a good cry, dry my eyes, go to the throne of God, and come out ready with a plan. After a good cry and a good chat with my Lord and Savior life usually looks amazing after that.

So I started with the bedrooms, then found myself in my office, laundry had gotten started, the stove had been turned on and my concoctions were brewing. I was also blessed with my hubby and kids pitching in to help me.  God was faithful to pull me through today, he didn't make the laundry disappear, I still needed to do the work, but God changed my heart attitude, and little by little, the work has been chipped away.

God is faithful to bring me through it! One by one the do to list gets smaller and smaller. So thankful God cares about overwhelmed mommies like me! Praise be to the Lord!

Elder Berry Syrup and Chicken broth our multivitamin!

Allergy season has kicked in at our house. Our kids have everything from runny noses, sore throats, and itchy eyes. Maddie's eyes are swollen and puffy and Titus is already sounding pre-pneumonia. I should know by know to start all my remedies a week early so I actually have them on hand as start them even before allergy season. Lesson learned, I'll start preparing a head next year.

There are three basic go to remedies I try to keep stocked. The first is raw local honey, I am thankful that our natural store just down the road carries delicious local honey! The second is chicken broth, I will start using this in almost everything! I will make sure to have either warm broth to drink at meals, make rice with the chicken broth, or soups. This is a sure way to get nutrients into my families bodies. The third remedy is elderberry syrup. I learned of this syrup from a friend of mine who had made it for her family. All three of my kids, as well as my husband and I suffer from weak immune systems. You can used dried or fresh elderberries, either work fine. I will post recipes for all three of my go to remedies.


Elderberry syrup:
Elderberry Syrup Recipe- 1 cup fresh or 1/2 cup dried organic Elderberries (harvest blue or black, avoid poisonous reds)
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw local honey
- 1 organic Cinnamon stick, 3 organic Cloves, and organic Ginger, (optional)
Place berries, water, and spices in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Smash the berries to release remaining juice and strain the mixture. Allow liquid to cool and stir in honey. Will last for 2-3 months stored in the fridge.


Chicken broth:
Chicken bones 
     I save the bones from the chickens I"ve roasted or grilled, once I have two or three whole carcasses I            start my broth)

Vegetables:
     Carrots, celery, broccoli stems, onions. I often save the ends and scrapes of my raw veggies. It may not      look like much at first but by the time you go to make broth it will have added up. 

Herbs:
     Marjoram, sage, and oregano are all herbs that aide in helping sinuses. Dried or fresh work fine.

I can usually get two to three gallons of chicken broth from two to three chicken carcasses. 

To make broth:
Dump chicken bones, veggies, and herbs in a stock pot or the biggest pot you have. Add water. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Let set for an hourish. This will aide in breaking down the bones and getting the most nutrition our of them. After an hourish bring water to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover, and let simmer anywhere between 12 to 48 hours depending on what you have time for.

Local Raw Honey: 
This really is worth checking in your area to find a local source. It tastes ten times better than the store stuff and does wonders for allergy sufferers!

One more thing that helps my families sinuses is warm tea with honey, it soothes the throat, soothes the nasal passages, and tastes yummy. Given right before bed the honey helps with calming coughing attacks.

I pray this remedies bring relief to your allergy sufferers! 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Legacy...

My life is different because of a young man, named Larry Wardrup,while in high school he had the guts to ask my mom out for coffee. As they were talking over coffee this young man presented the gospel to my mom, and she accepted Jesus into her heart and life.

I have always wanted to find this man and thank him in person. I have searched the internet, but have always walked away with no way to contact him. You see what Larry did not know was the deeply troubled home my mom came from. My mom grew up in a very abusive family, a family ran by fear and torment. When Larry shared the gospel with my mom he introduced her to the savior who would be the one to be able to bind and heal her wounds.


I have memories of my mom sitting on her bed reading her bible and getting to know her Jesus deeper. I have seen Jesus carry my mom through some of her darkest days walking this earth.  My mom is the one who helped me to ask Jesus into my heart. I have had the privilege of teaching and showing Jesus to my kiddo's, all three of my kids have asked Jesus into their hearts and lives.

What Larry gave my mom was a generational gift. It would be a gift that would be received by generations down the road. My life, my kid's lives are different because Larry shared the hope of Jesus Christ with my mom.

Larry Wardrup, where ever you are, thank you! Thank you for sharing Jesus with my family!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

I use to want to...

Loving life for me looks like watching
my husband spending time with our kiddos!
I use to look at other people's lives and wonder why my life wasn't as fun filled as theirs. Wondered why I didn't have the awesome camper, the amazing diamond ring, or a thrilling adventurous life. I kept hearing my friends say how much they loved their lives and they truly meant it, they really did love their life. I would start crying, because I didn't love my life and I wanted to.

It occurred to me that if I was desiring something, if I wanted something, or if there was something missing in my life, then I needed to take these desires and wants to the Lord. I needed to align myself with Christ and get my attitude right.

Seeing sheer joy on Naomi's face...
is part of my loving life!
I went before the Lord and poured my heart out to him. I started with a pity party telling the Lord I see others have this, that, and the other thing. I then asked for forgiveness for having the pity party and then I could get to the heart of the matter. I told the Lord what I was really wanting was to love my life. I prayed continually for God to bring a love of life back into my life. 

As always, God hears, God cares, and God answered! First, God started with having me do a self evaluation. Why was I not loving life and was I responsible for the fact that I wasn't loving life. The answer was yes I was the one responsible for not loving my life. 

Loving life first begins with loving Jesus the savior and God the father. Real joy, lasting joy, can only come when one is abiding in Christ. Apart from Christ, apart from the vine (John 15:5) we can do nothing. Which means I cannot love life either. If I am not abiding in Christ then everything I am doing, every relationship I have is only meant to give me instant gratification, which will wear off after time. Some times with in minutes. My love of life first has to stem from a love of the father! The start of loving life was reconnecting to my "vine" and reconnecting to my savior. Allowing my savior to fill my cup to overflowing. The second thing was to being to pray for the Lord to bring into my life that which would bring me closer to him, but also fill my want of loving life.


My love of life also began by pouring out into others, spending time with friends. Having heart to heart conversations, mentoring young moms, and mentoring others. It has also looked like walking/running to get my body back into shape to have energy. This too has opened opportunities to go for walks with friends and again opening up time for conversation and time to deepen relationship with my friends. Loving life looks like holding my husbands hand and watching my kids ride their bike. Loving life looks like having great food, great friends, and great beer. Loving life looks like praying to either get back into horses or for the Lord to bring in a new passion. Loving life looks like me humbling myself and constant asking For more of Him and less of me. I seriously repeat this pretty much all day, every day. It's all I want in this world is to have more of God in me and less of myself.



watching Titus catch a fish for the first time
was a moment of loving life!
Loving life is a two fold process, it's asking God to open your eyes to the things your having pity parties about and then repenting of them. But, it's also looking around and seeing the things that already allow me to love my life. It's practicing thankfulness and gratitude.  Changing our perspective so that it radiates Christ back to us, allowing us to love life. 

If you don't know were to start, go to God the father and ask him. He is so faithful to his children! He loves us so much and he wants us to find joy abundantly. But, joy and a love of life will only ever come from Christ alone, from more of God and less of me!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

You cannot force a cocoon or a petal to open!

You cannot force a cocoon or a flower petal to open. You can force them, but both will be destroyed and the extent of their beauty will be destroyed. This is also true of children, you cannot force them to be ready for something. As much as we would like to force our hand in situations, it cannot be done.

However, in the midst of waiting for the flower pedal to open, it does require soil, sunlight, and water. It does require care. This is also true with kiddos. One example of this is my Madeline. Last year she began kindergarten and we began putting together letter sounds to form words. Learning C-A-T, spells cat and D-O-T, spells dot. We worked on memorizing words you simply cannot sound out. We have also read to Maddie since she was in my womb. We read semi hard books, easy books, just about anything she shows interest in.  Blending words, especially big words can be quite overwhelming for the new reader. But, we pushed through. We continued working on letter sounds, putting the letter sounds together and reading words together. We learned how to find word families and to blend them together to figure out the word. There were light bulb moments going on all through the year at different times. I was giving her the information she needed and letting her grasp the concepts as her brain and emotions were ready. Sure enough she has exploded as a reader.

Another example is Madeline learning to swim. She has been afraid of putting her face in the water, afraid to go in even shallow water without her life jacket. We have had her take swimming lessons to get use to the water and learn swimming strokes. We have swam with her, we have let her jump to us in the water, we have helped her feel safe in the water. Then today I took her in deeper water with her life jacket on and showed her that she would float with her life jacket on. Once she realized she could float, she then realized she could swim for real, then she went in shallow water were she could touch and taught herself how to swim.

Patience and the willingness to continue to teach tools that will aid in their success of grasping a concept is priceless and very well worth it! Sometimes a tool looks like teaching letter sounds, sometimes it looks like teaching them they can float in water, sometimes it is teaching them that I am trust worthy. Sometimes the tool is working on a character trait that needs to be strengthened.

I have been encouraged over and over again as I have anxiously waited and prayed for my kids to grasp what I am teaching. Sure enough, they do!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The big jig saw puzzle

I have always had a heart to minister to others and I have always had a heart for ministry. I began ministry by leading a small group bible study while I was in high school. I have lead kid's clubs, worked for the salvation army day camp, lead campus crusade on a college campus, worked at a christian camp ministering to staff, campers, and families. I have co-lead a singles ministry and now I have a ministry raising my own three kiddo's.

When I married I had just come off of a three year run as head wrangler at Camp Redcloud. I was burned out and needed a break from ministry, but the ministry break didn't really come until we had the twins. I have been on a three year sabbatical of raising and surviving twins and their big sister and working on my relationship with Mark.

God has used my time of raising kids, working on my relationship with Mark, and homeschooling my kids to come to the place were I am today. Mark and I have gone through stages of metamorphosis! Going from a egg, to a caterpillar, molting numerous times, and finally emerging as a butterfly. Then we will begin the cycle again as God we continue to raise our kids and go through life becoming more in His likeness and going through yet another metamorphosis.

I am excited at the place God has finally brought Mark and I. We have struggled, we have cried, and God has turned our tears and sorrows into joy. He has triumphed in our lives, He has the victory over sin and struggles in our lives!

The Lord let me have a time of quiet, a time of giving to Mark and the kids, and a time of being quiet. Now, God has brought both Mark and I on board with a heart towards ministering again. We have no idea what this looks like. It could mean moving and joining another camp or other ministry. It could mean ministering within our church. It could look like ministering to our neighborhood. We don't really know, we simply know God is moving in our hearts and lives and we are ready to see what the next piece is to our puzzle.

This week I have had the chance to pour truth, scripture, and prayer into the life of a precious dear young lady in my life. Helping her to walk through her struggles and love her at the same time. Giving her the same truths that were given to me by people who loved me through my struggles. Praying for God's triumph in her life and God's victory of freedom in her life! I am both humbled and thrilled that the Lord is using me again in the lives of others for His glory!

God is using me where I am at in my life in the lives of others. My willingness to submit to my husband and raise the kid's God has entrusted to me in the way I know he wants me to raise them, is ministering to others in powerful ways. Oh, yes Lord, use me!!!

I am so thankful for the down time God has given me from ministry but I am SOOOO ready and SOOO excited to jump back in with both feet. One of my very favorite aspects of ministry is inviting people over to share meals with us. Allowing the setting for conversation to flow in any direction it wants or needs to go. Simply living life with others and being real with them.

God is using me and I am so ready!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tackling Goliath

This last weekend Mark and I went to the MACHE homeschooling conference held
in Minnesota for two days. We learned so many tools to put in our parenting and teaching belts. We walked away with a glimpse into the different ways boys and girls learn. We walked away with a better grasp on how to engage my preschoolers while teaching my first grader. We also learned how to better teach our kids habits and character!

During one of the classes on forming habits I began to pray and seek the Lord for the habit we needed to address first. I knew that we have a fairly good grasp on obedience in our house. I had an idea of what habit to address first, but I wanted to make sure I was on the right track. I talked with Mark and we both prayed and decided the area we need to tackle first is whining.  All of our kids whine from time to time, but, one of our kids in particular thinks that whining is the best form of communication. Now that I knew whining was the  first habit to address, the next thing to do was pray, pray, and pray some more! Pray for wisdom, pray for the soil of their hearts and minds to be ready to be tilled, ready to be molded. We can plant the seeds, we can provide the training, but, if their hearts aren't ready the seeds will fall among rocks or be plucked up by "birds".

I decided to use the story of David and Goliath. We acted out the story and the kids learned that David's brothers, the ones sent to fight Goliath were grown men like their daddies, grandpa's and how David was young like their cousin Elijah. I told them that David knew that it was not himself that would defeat Goliath, but that it would be God using him to kill Goliath. I then shared with them that in our lives Goliath is not always a person. Sometimes, Goliath is the hard thing we have been asked to do. Goliath in our lives can be having to pick up the toy room, eating something we don't like, having a good attitude when we would rather whine and complain. I told them that Daddy and I were no longer going to accept whining. I told them that our new slogan was going to be "whining gets you nothing".  We talked about how David did not whine and fuss about facing the giant. He was bold and called on the name of the Lord to help him and he won his battle! When we call on the name of the Lord he will bring us help!

We have already begun operation no whining. Last night Naomi was whining at reading time and she was sent to her bed and was not allowed to read with us. Today, Maddie was having a hard time getting a grip on her whining and complaining. I reminded Maddie that this was a Goliath in her path right now and to be like David and ask for God's help. Remembering David's good attitude, helped Maddie to calm down and get control of her attitude.

We were taught that a habit takes 6-8 weeks to master. We are at the beginning stages of our training and I do say ours. Because Mark and I are just as much mastering the art of not grumbling and complaining just as the kids our.

I hopped on the Internet to find some articles on dealing with whining, one article I found it home. The author said that it is important to replace the whining with gratefulness and thankfulness
. Which excites me, because really, we are mastering two habits rolled into one. Learning the art of seeing what he have been given or are being given and being content to not have more. Learning to be thankful, learning see the blessing in what we already have.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord I am able to instill in my children Godly habits that will see them well through life. Scripture says, Philippians 2:14-16 "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”  Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life". 

Lord, mold us and shape us into your image!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bloom were you're Planted


My man and I in the doorway
of the tack barn that made galloping possible!
Minnesota is NOT were I pictured I would be planted, but, here I am none the less. Eight years ago I was literally galloping through the rocky mountains of Colorado. I was high in altitude and high on the adventures of life. I was a rock climbing, bike riding, horse riding, cross country skiing fool! I lived in a small, four bedroom, a bit bigger than a shack of a house, and loved it! While I was in Colorado God stretched me, molded me, and refined me. Then, when God thought I was ready, he sent me back to the one place I did not sign up to go. I would have raised my hand in a second to go to the far reaches of Africa, but Minnesota, come on, really?!

What is in Minnesota? Why, about four or five generations of my family. Minnesota is were my great, great, great, great grandfather decided to build a homestead. It is were my family is. It was suppose to be a quick stop in our newly wedded journey. A couple years spent with family, then off to who knows where. Some where exciting, some where amazing. However, I got pregnant six months after our wedding, this halted our plans real quick. Then, a couple months after I gave birth to our daughter I got severe post partem and our daughter became severely colicky. About a year after our daughter was born, we even attempted to escape Minnesota. We journeyed to Oregon, then after seven months, my husband got laid off.  We then journeyed back to Minnesota. Here we are, back in Minnesota.

 So, here I am in Minnesota, not Africa, not Colorado, Minnesota. Yet, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt. It is were we are suppose to be. It is where God has chosen to plant us and use us for his glory.  I am indeed a full time missionary! I am on the front lines of the battle field of salvation for souls. The Lord is using me right where I am! I am a wife and a mom who chooses to make sure our home is a well oiled machine and home school my three kid's. I am training my little apprentice women and my apprentice little man to love the Lord their god with all their heart, mind, and soul. I have a huge ministry to my husband and to my children.
My mission field (my kiddo's) in our backyard!

God is using me in the lives of other mom's seeking to home school their kiddo's. God is using me in the lives of me nieces and nephews. God is using me in blessing others with meals. I am simply living life, opening up myself to others, being real, being honest. Being someone others can struggle with, struggle and be set free by the truth of the word of God.

I have learned that simply plodding along in the humdrum of the everyday, is the heart of being a missionary.  I am willing, I am wanting to be used by God, and indeed he is using me!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

23 degrees! Outside they Go! Hands on learning!

Minnesota is more often snowy and cold than it is anything else. Our kids can be cooped up inside for literally months at a time. Everyone, including parents, go stir crazy. We have our homeschooling outings going ice skating and bowling. While those times are fun and let them wear off energy, there is nothing like sending them out the back door to explore their world. The fun part about sending them outside for me is watching the differences in their play while outdoors. Some go right to work finding something they can "work" on, others gaze at their surroundings mesmerized by all the animals business. Some of the kids are content watching other kids as they "work" and watch the animals. Yet, other times they play together and fine something to do as a whole group.

With their pails, shovels, trucks and cars, they go and explore the world around them. Without knowing it they experience textures, they experience working together and having to share, learning to give up what they want for the good of someone else. They learn that trying to walk up an icy hill may not be the best idea, nor the safest. They learn to be careful, they learn how many shovel fulls of snow will fit in their buckets (learning both science and math).

Playing outside is chalk full of learning experiences, but, mostly, it's just plain ole fun!!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Read your bible, Pray everyday


Madeline's flowers growing from good nutrients
Today, during circle time, the kid's learned the ways that we can get to know God.

1st, we learned that Prayer, is the way we are able to have a conversation with God. It's one of the ways he talks with us. Prayer, allows us to tell Him our fears and concerns, it allows us to give him thanksgiving and praise.

2nd, if we read our bibles and pray everyday, we will grow, grow, grow. If we neglect our bibles and do not pray every day we will shrink, shrink, shrink (are you singing the song in your head?)

We discussed what happens to plants when they are watered and given the nutrients they need. They flourish, grow, and are beautiful. Growing and giving the seeds they need to be replanted. We then talked about what happens when plants don't get watered or taken care of. They wilt and become dead and useless.

Naomi's flower's growing from nutrient's
Today, they drew pictures of flowers, but next week I am going to buy white flowers from the flower market. We are then going to cut a bit of the stem off of our flower, put water in vases and then add food coloring to the water. We will then watch as our flowers turn colors as they drink the water in the vase. This does two things, it helps us see first hand how flowers get water (science), it also let's us see how when we have God's word in our hearts, when we are in relationship with God. When we "soak" up God's nutrients, he changes us and the world is able to see something beautiful in a messed up, scarred world.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Relationship, relationship, relationship...

Yesterday, after church, Maddie was asked what she learned in Sunday school. Without missing a beat she said; " That Jesus died on the cross again". She didn't realize it, but she told me a lot in that small sentence. I am thankful the Holy Spirit allowed me to read between the lines and realize some pieces of the Salvation puzzle that Maddie is missing.

Today, during circle time we did our usual prayer time, color time, number time, etc. With this being the week before Easter, our books during circle time are revolving around Jesus' death and resurrection. However, I am taking our look at the cross and the resurrection in a bit of a different direction. We are still reading Easter books (It's all new to Naomi and Titus), but taking it deeper for Maddie and Owen. Maddie and Owen are ready for the bigger picture. They are ready and must know what the cross and Resurrection mean for their lives!

First, they needed to understand what a relationship is and how to have one. Second, teaching my kid's how we can get to know Jesus. I have a deep passion to make sure my kid's know God the Father and Creator, Jesus who set them free, and the Holy Spirit who brings them help. Third, our relationship with God goes beyond religious traditions, it goes beyond going to church every Sunday, and being baptized.  These things, while beneficial are not what will save their souls from hell. What will save their soul is confessing with their mouths that Jesus is Lord, believing in their hearts in the Lord Jesus Christ and they shall be saved. Going to church is were we are able to encourage and be encouraged by other believers. Baptism allows us to take off our old self and put on our new self, but the act alone will not save us from hell.


This morning during circle time I read a simple Easter story board book. I asked them if they knew what a relationship is, I explained that a relationship is getting to know someone. I explained that Jesus already knows all about them. He knows Maddie loves pink and green, Owie loves monster trucks, Titus is a goofy boy, and that Naomi is stubborn. I got our white board out and we (I) wrote down what they know about Jesus. The kid's came up with he's kind, loves, the only way (as in the only way to heaven), Always obeyed, and he is a good friend. I thought that was a  super good place to start. I then explained the gospel to them (I asked for wisdom from the Holy Spirit the whole time I was doing this).  I told them that we have to use our lips (hence the picture of the lips) to confess our sin. We talked about what sin is and I shared with them that God had a plan for our sin the whole time (the picture of the map), we have to believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. I then told them that when we talk with God it is called prayer. I told them that we have to admit that we disobey and we have sin, we have to acknowledge that Jesus died and is the only way to heaven. After explaining all of this, I asked if anyone would like to pray and ask Jesus into their hearts, making him their forever best friend. Owie and Maddie both said; "yes"! I then lead them in a sinners prayer. After we prayed we celebrated and I told them that the angels in heaven are so excited that they chose to be Jesus' friend!

The angels, as well as Tim and Emily and Mark and I are celebrating. Jesus knocked on Owen and Maddie's heart and they said yes!! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise his mighty, awesome name!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Our fall curriculum looks like this

When Maddie started preschool I felt fairly confident that I could get her academically were she needed to go and I was right. However, because I now have one in first grade and three in preschool, I need to be on my game and not wing it quite so much. This fall I need a game plan, I need to be organized so that learning can easily happen without much stress to me. 

Here are some things that are going to make preschool successful this fall.

* Hand writing without tears, a preschool curriculum that helps build motor skill and hand muscle, preparing little hands to be able to write letters and numbers correctly.
* Bible time and bible memorization is very important to Mark and I, to help write God's word on our kid's hearts we are going to use Hide'em in your heart vl. I & vl. II, by Steve Green. 

* Circle time is a great way to start the school day. Our circle time is a time when I pray over them and pray with them. We say the pledge of allegiance, we sing two ABC songs, one to learn letter sound and one to learn alphabet sequence. We practice the days of the week, months of the year, and discuss today, tomorrow, and yesterday. Circle time is great because it is a short amount of time when they learn there are times when you have to be quiet and wait to be called on. Times when you have to fight to not let the wiggles come out. We only meet for about 10-15 minutes, but to a three or four year old, that can seem like a long, long time. But, it is still an important skill they need to learn.

* The company Leap frog has produced videos that have been super helpful with my kiddo's learning math, as well as learning letter sounds. The videos are great for Minnesota cold winter months.

* Reading lots and lots and lots of books together. 

* What do dried beans, dried noodles, corn, rice, gravel/sand, shaving cream, finger paint, and play-doh all have in common? They all make fantastic sensory bins! Engaging kid's in sensory play is so important, because while they think they are playing, which they are doing, they are also learning. They are learning to measure and pour. They are learning about the world around them. To a preschooler all the world can be a science lap!

* One very important part of our schooling this year is going to be monster truck based! We will use them to create art, trace numbers, learn shapes, colors, and many, many other important lessons only monster trucks can teach!

* Field trips are not only super fun, but they get us out with people and let us have some social interaction. We love going bowling, ice skating. This year Naomi gets to start dance for the first time! We are also going to go to our local golf course and let the kids hit some balls at the driving range. 

* We have begun to learn sign language using signing time videos. The kid's have really enjoyed these video's. 

* Character training is very important to us. Being honest, obeying right away without delay, putting others before themselves, learning to pray and rely on the Lord for all of our needs. There is no greater character training guide than the bible! 

* Along with character training, home skills are important to pass on and teach my kid's. Learning to cook and bake, learning how to clean toilets, sweep and mop. How to organize a bookshelf, and line up shoes neatly.

* Art is another area we want our kid's to experience.  We have been listening to Say yes to Classical Music, we love what we call "Katie Books" by James Mayhew, books about a little girl who goes to art museums with her Grandma. We are also going to use a book called How to teach art to children.

Fall is a long ways away, so I am quiet confident that this list will get tweaked as we go through spring and summer, but it is a good place to start.