Saturday, November 12, 2011

Living life....... and letting go!

Today, of all days Eric milks the cow. Typically this is reserved to the soft hands of myself who has a gentle touch the cow greatly appreciates! But today I am relinquishing this opportunity to Eric.

It isn't really that he can't do it but that I do it more efficiently! I do it with speed he seems to get confused as to which fingers close first and then there's the issue of thinking he's getting dirt in the milk ( not a pleasant thought at all ) but I am letting him do it!

I have learned 3 things about letting Eric do things and I can imagine many women have learned the same.
1. Actually let them do it.
2. Give them a short list of suggestions
DO NOT tell them what or how to do it
even if you have been doing it forever.
3. LEAVE THE AREA!!!


This last tidbit is the most important part! Just leave the area, what ensues will either be comical, tragic or amazing! Either way the outcome will not be available if you stick around to watch the action.

So, this morning we will see the result of Eric milking Delilah! She typically refuses to give milk for a whole day after he touches her, I am hoping that is not the outcome today!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Living for the Prodigal

It isn’t every day that one lives with a child who sincerely disregards all better options only to ensure that they disobey and disrespect at a level that will soon drive them to view the interior of a prison or at best the interior of an otherwise empty home.

And yet, every day I wake, I have been living for a prodigal. Some of you have been making a decision to live for your prodigal for weeks, months, even years now and every day it is the same life sucking event. This prodigal has the potential to ruin your moments, your days, your marriage, relationships and lives. No matter which way you look at it, this one child, person or individual can and will with or without intent continue to destroy the people around them. And choosing to live for them is wrong. Yes, you heard me CHOOSING TO LIVE FOR THEM IS WRONG.


For me, it really wasn’t the disrespect or even the down right manipulative aspects of my child but really it was the unique amount of selfishness he seemed to be able to pack into his tiny 6 year old frame. The ability to always want everything to be centered around him, to threaten his brothers stability of enjoying life to the point that no one wanted to be around him, and yet he could still manage to influence them all. He really makes the house an awful place to be. After much research I came across an amazing link that assisted me in better understanding just how selfish this little boy was.

According to an ODD pamphlet distributed by Notmykid.org,

Those with ODD, “like to see you get mad. Every request can end up as a powerful struggle. Lying becomes a way of life, and getting a reaction out of others is the chief hobby. Perhaps hardest of all to bear, they rarely are truly sorry and often believe nothing is their fault.”

Sadly, the pamphlet didn’t offer some amazing cure and even left little hope for those thinking the behavior would somehow amazingly change. Actually it indicated that most people would go on to become yet another statistic or label that would otherwise be recognized as a psychiatric disorder and altogether excuse the individual from their selfish tactics.

As an individual who believes that all issues, on most levels, stem from selfishness. I recognize the issue at hand but realize that short of losing his arms or legs and having to become dependant on someone, my son has a limited understanding of what it means to be selfless. And, in some cases even such an awful event would only render him a more deeply seeded selfish jerk.

So back to reality, earlier I said living for the prodigal is wrong. I meant that. So perhaps it would be better to understand what I meant. There are days when I would get up and my decisions were made in a way to attempt to avoid his outbursts, to work around his manipulations or even to eliminate his opportunities to damage me or my other children.

The most recent bouts of tantrums and disrespect finalized as my son kicked a large hole in his bedroom wall. It took everything in me to not send him flying through the window! As with any parent dealing with a manipulative and selfish driven child you are constantly challenged, by the child, by others and even by your own internal need to take a break. My son got an appropriate punishment and then he was taken to visit a friend of ours while I took the time to recover and begin to assess what I should have done differently.

It didn’t take me long to realize what I should have done.


1. When a child who knowingly and willingly destroys property as a repeated offense. CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT

2. LET THEM GO

3. PRAY


I conclusively decided that if this occurred again I would follow the above steps because I love my son, I love him enough to understand that all my love will NEVER make him respectful, it will never make him want to love others, it will never make him love himself enough to make a respectful person of himself. All my love can NEVER do these things. That’s a lot for the mother of a prodigal to accept but it is the truth.

So, after a week away my prodigal will come home, his room has been repainted, the hole repaired, a new bed set, a writing desk and a lamp with a cars themed lampshade sits nicely on the desk, his pillows have been fluffed and we will celebrate his return! But, his return will not be without a strong warning, “if you ever choose to willfully destroy property or harm another person, we as your parents, without hesitation will call the proper authority to detain, charge and keep you until you have completed the time or sentence that the judge sees appropriate to give you.”


We will make this choice because we love you.


There are so many people I know even in my own family, that are living with a prodigal and they are serving that prodigal, they are hoping and praying that their unwillingness to give up will make that prodigal change, but it is at the lowest point that a prodigal learns what it means to turn from selfishness and it is at the lowest point that a person learns what it means to be loved and to love others. A prodigal is, when enabled, incapable of seeing the need to change. A prodigal will drain you and make you incapable of seeing how drained you have become. I had to learn that it was not respectful or motherly to drain all my energy on my prodigal and leave little time or patience for my three children who where in good earnest trying to respect, honor and obey. I had to learn that the priority I made for my prodigal was inappropriate and unacceptable and I will be telling my prodigal that the time will be delivered when it is needed, not when it is wanted or demanded. My time will not be determined by my prodigal and my prodigal will not dictate my going and my coming.

If the time comes that I must let go, I would rather that the God almighty give me the strength to let go than sin consume me that I am so selfish to let my other children pay the price for my prodigal. This lesson is not without a heavy heart but it is definitely better learned now while I still have many years to raise my boys! I would hate for the prodigal to distract me from all the wonderful things they will do in the years to come. I will pray for my prodigal, and with strength, raise my boys.


A Mother’s Prayer for her Prodigal


I love my child, with all I am
No matter where the sin may send
But all my love can never change
Choices made when selfishness reigns

My choices will be hard at best
My heart will cry, my lips never rest
Prayers of hope and words of wisdom
But no longer will I be drained of living

For on the bench sit my others
Missing dearly their distracted mother
All my love so carelessly placed
I’ve seen the pain upon their face

Lord, give me strength to realize
The ones you gave me
Are precious in Your sight
And while in love you’ve entrusted me
Sometimes they belong back with Thee

So in Your wisdom let me be
Better prepared to let my prodigal be
To let them be alone again
To let them be alone in sin
To let them choose the way they will
Within the restraints of laws and judges

I pray you keep my child safe for me
But never so safe they can harm others freely
I pray you reach their heart for me
But never at the cost of another heart
I pray you open their eyes to see
But if when opened they turn their back on Thee
I pray you give me strength to let the child go
Back to the merciless law and foe. AMEN

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Revisiting Reality!

It's been a while since I have considered the realities of what life really is about, but then again who has the time? LOL

Today I have had a wonderful morning, got up, milked the cow, cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, made bread dough ( it's rising ) and plated blueberry crumb bars compliments of Smitten Kitchen and yet through the midst of it all we managed to feed 6 kids and get them dressed! I think it is amazing that all of this can happen in a matter of a couple hours! And we think God couldn't create the world in 6 days!! LOL He is the master of multitasking.

After a delightful morning, we had a visit from the "church" way out of line but hey they're trying right? Don't get me started, wasn't it that creepy little Yoda dude that said "do or do not, their is no try!"..... I don't mind the church but please people bother to have SOME christian standards :)

So after the "church" visit that went as well as a pile of crap in a pristine chapel, the kids have been playing outside and on the Wii and we have enjoyed a really great day! Nothing about this world is simple but yet if we let it be, there is a simple peace about knowing that no matter which way the storm rolls, we are covered! We don't need to build an Ark, we don't have to sacrifice our children or beg for a statue to do a miracle.

Blessed beyond measure and filled to unimaginable heights our God is bigger than any other god and most importantly He is actively participating in our life, in the past, today and we know He will continue to do so in the future.
The best part is He is letting us see Him in our life, that is what life is truly about!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Time for a review!!! MyFitnessPal App.....

I generally don't care to write reviews but I felt that this app has been a significant part of my last couple weeks and without sharing it how can others benefit!

MyFitnessPal a FREE app created by MyFitnessPal LLc is one of the best apps I have found for food, fitness and calorie tracking! Not only does it allow you to scour the 750,000 foods within their database it also allows you to create and save any foods that are not in the database.

The application also allows you to connect with friends much like facebook or myspace, allowing for comments of encouragement or correction if need be! Having enjoyed many a meal out, this app has been the start of what I hope to say is the last time I will overeat out of ignorance!

The reality is in this fast pasted world of going going gone, we actually get tricked by food labels and packaging that boast a healthy alternative only to discover that that alternative was full of all the things we don't want! There have been hundreds even thousands of days that I have consumed what I though was a healthy and balanced diet only to discover my ignorance.



Today I follow a pretty tight schedule of consumption, sticking closely to the caloric intake suggestion made by MyFitnessPal and the results are amazing. I stepped on the scale to a number I hadn't seen in 6 months and to my delight I have lost a whole pant size!

While I don't expect this app to do the work for me, it definetly makes my daily consumption easier and healthier all around! So, if your looking for something to help you stay on track or if you and your friends want to start a diet together this is the app that can help you connect with your friends and reconnect with the body you once had!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thank you rain!!

In a world were being couped inside with four boys would sound like a horrific experience, especially when the boys are 7, 5, 5, and 4. I must confess that I am finding today to be a wonderful treat and while I wish that today were Saturday so I could crawl into my bed and sleep away the peaceful pitter patter as it falls on the roof I will not complain. The last week has been spent in significant heat.

There is nothing more realistic on a June day in Alabama than to be using box fans and ice packs to try to keep cool. With the A/C being out lately it has been hot, humid and at times pretty miserable for my husband! The boys and I seem to fair well, but the reality is HOT is HOT no matter how well you tolerate it!

Today, it is raining! With an occasional roll of thunder that is sure to let you know that the Almighty is still working his musical magic in the skies and a bolt of lightening to remind you not to play outside when God is playing with the weather! :)


The boys are basking in the idea that they may get to play WII all day and mom might not say a word as long as we don't argue!! They have all had baths and quiet time will of course be at least 30 minutes longer if the cloud cover stays throughout the day ( they always nap longer when the sun isn't blaring through their windows!

So, while I know that rain can be as much a pain to the construction worker, the welder, the gardner and even to the occasional mom who doesn't care to be trapped inside with all her monsters, to me the rain is a peaceful day, a time to reflect, a moment of still in a very hectic life. The rain is a reprieve from the heat and a time to consider the value of the weather wet or dry, hot or cold. In many a hot day, one small cloud will shade you for a moment, be thankful for the moment, and even on the wettest of days, there is a dry spot somewhere be it your house or under a tree.

Be thankful no matter what the weather may be!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Farewell Chicken Auction as we knew it before.......

Many of you shared in the excitement of the Chicken Auction as you read the cheerfully constructed post about our trip to the auction as well as the pictures we shared. Today I share with you the rest of the story......

One of the most notable things about the chicken auction trip is that you must pass through a mobile home park before you reach the parking lot.

That mobile home park was destroyed by the tornado.


Here is the where the front sign stood, followed by the picture that I took prior to the storm.




While we do not know to what extent they may or may not rebuild it, for now, we will not be able to enjoy the chicken auction any time in the near future.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

What is love?

Today we learn many things about "love" how it should make us feel, how we should make "love", how to find our true "love" and how "love" is the end all and be all of our relationships and that once we fall out of "love" then what is there left? We are taught that without this Hollywood portrayal of "love" we are lacking so much that we must abandon all in a fast pace in order to fulfill our one and only need with little regard for others. But wait what is love? Is it really this idea of being on cloud nine for the rest of our lives, the idea of spooning continually in the arms of our "lover", passing away the time in pure bliss with not a want or need for the future or any actions that come in living life?

Could it be? Could it possibly be, that our definition of love is so severely off that we are risking the future of many a union by spreading the lies so swiftly that they are cutting off all opportunity for marriages to thrive? You see, there are not many long standing married couples I have met that will pretend that "cloud 9" type love is prolific in their daily lives as a couple. Some may even state that it is only there for the beginning! Can you imagine that having a deep and engrossed romantic encounter is NOT the real love one must take on as a way to encourage a healthy, vibrant, and long lasting relationship. With that being said what in all honesty is love? Love is best defined as a commitment that views all problems as solvable, resolvable, tasks and bears with confidence even the most evil of actions by one or both parties involved. Love is the moment when you realize that life isn't about you and that your narcissism must be sacrificed to feed the narcissism of another! Love is when you decided that you don't have to be on "Cloud 9" your whole life and yet you will be ok. Love is when you are willing to recognize that all the pain you endure is nothing compared to the pain you have inflicted on another. That my friends is the level of commitment necessary to make a marriage/relationship last. This level of commitment can see you through addictions, adultery, anger and resentment it can bring you to a place of peace, contentment and even happiness. This is NOT a sure fire cure, it's simply but a possible reality. This is in short a love called commitment.


How do we get there? Where do we find the strength to manage this inhuman level of devotion for another, denying our self daily in a way that allows another to feel secure in our love? Well, it isn't easy! It is a daily conscience decision, you will not wake up every morning thinking " I am so in love". In fact those mornings when you roll over and see that special someone in your relationship and think "I am so lucky and they are so lovely!" my friend you have reached "Cloud 9". Cherish it, it will not last! This is what I must affectionately inform you is lust, you can lust your spouse and while it is a wonderful feeling it very rarely can hold up a relationship. You must remember that everyone ages and there will come a day when your dragging gut or her sagging chest doesn't strike you as gorgeous! That's O.K. though you'll find something else to lust over provided you have found the commitment ( i.e. love) that will hold you together. Life is a journey that takes us so many directions and at no point does it seem fair in many ways but the one thing you can rest in for a fact is that a long lasting relationship won't be fair, but that it is worth it. Not because it isn't fair but because each step of the way, the deeper your commitment is the more you begin to understand your superhuman strength that allows you to weather the storms, hold up your loved one and still be able to walk the beaches and smile. For those who are going through a storm, hold on, for those in a moment of "Cloud 9" cherish the moment and commit it to memory ( your going to need it :) ) and for those who now walk the beaches and smile keep walking! It is this moment of your relationship that you fight for, the moment that says here we are, together, despite the storms! No matter how long it takes, fulfilling your commitment is what gives you the strength to do it all again, which trust me you will have to many times over.


In a moment of pure entertainment as I searched for quotes that might inspire my mind as I wrote this blog I ran across a quote by Sylvester Stallone. I thought I would share it as it really does sum up my thoughts.

I learned the real meaning of love. Love is absolute loyalty. People fade, looks fade, but loyalty never fades. You can depend so much on certain people, you can set your watch by them. And that's love, even if it doesn't seem very exciting.

~Sylvester Stallone

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ahhh Accomplishment.....

Here we are, day two of milking the cow and would you believe that we got somewhere close to 3/4 of a gallon of milk this morning/afternoon ( lets just say it took us a LONG time!!!) So excited for the evening milking, hopefully my speed will improve and she will be impressed with my ability :) Props to my rockin friend April who not only helped with the milking put up with our crazy talk while doing it!!! We even did a little tandem milking ( it was worth a laugh ). I will add pics later :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Milking the Cow.....

Today was one of those days when your determination goes before your better sense! I must be honest and say that what we did today should never be attempted by those who are less experienced than we were. WE MILKED THE COW. The crazy loony cow that we bought about a month ago, we finally milked that thing.... We don't have a stanchion or a milking stall, but we have some good pine saplings and a LOT of rope. After a few crazy knots and a TON of sweet feed I'm not sure if we coaxed her or simply pissed her off while getting her into a position that would allow us to milk her but we did it. My dearest friend April was managing the head, making sure it didn't pull back through saplings, Eric stood to the side keeping the saplings pulled together so she felt boxed in and I got the enjoyable opportunity to dodge some very not so nice kicks. Here's the workup....

Cow in rope, sapling stanchion tightened, commence to milking.....

Kick, rub cow, kick, flinch, explicative, rub cow, kick, flinch, jerk, explicative
(and repeat that a few more times, ok more like 50 more times....).

About 15 minutes in it began to rain, and then 30 minutes in it began to POUR. The end result? MILK!!!!



The milk!!!!


US after lots of RAIN!!! But hey WE MILKED THE COW!!!! THANKS April!!!!

When the line is rarely defined.

In a moment of sadness it becomes a revelation to me about the society we live in. We like to focus on gossip, and whose gossiping and how we can gossip about the person who's gossiping about the person who shouldn't be gossiped about. Or even better yet how we can correct the gossiper that we feel is gossiping about us or others. Now if that wasn't confusing enough, here is the cold hard realistic line.
Gossip hurts just as much living a life that hurts others. No one is the exception to this fact and all of us have to learn to adjust to the level of pain we are willing to inflict on others before we can come to grips with our own existence.
To borrow the words of someone I know,

"Gossip: is hearing something you like about someone you don't"

and after this statement this verbage should follow

"Heartache: is hearing something you don't like about someone you do"


It is a long hard road to wisdom and yet wisdom is only beneficial if you heed to the knowledge it offers! The biggest question is what if anything should you do with verbal information, both that which is gossip, that which is fact, and that which clearly is painful to you or another.

Many people choose to share, others confide in an individual or counselor and yet others simply choose to sit by and ignore life as it unfolds. No matter which path you choose there will be pain, there will be ignorance and anger, there will be distances between people and moments that bring others closer. This is called life. Right, wrong or indifferent we must all realize that the pain we experience is often times brought on by others or ourselves, but how we choose to deal with it sits solely in our own lap.

I have learned many things in my short (5 months shy of a decade) marriage and one thing I have learned is that there is nothing more painful than to be hurt by the one you love, and yet the pain is nothing compared to when you realize that you have hurt others who loved you. There is no way to go back and rewind what you do, and there is no way that you can make people accept that what you once were you are not anymore, rather sometimes you must learn to live with the pain. Many people say, this is not a christian perspective but I would argue that living on earth with the pain is the very reason tears will be wiped away in the ever after. Jesus didn't promise us smooth roads or an easy ride, he promised us life.

There is and will always be pain, how we handle it will determine if we cause more or live with less.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Weather or not to talk about it!

The weather outbreak on April 27th, 2011 was an incredible display of grace, sovereignty and sheer power.



I have at no point in my life been so amazed than when I returned home to view the damage. Our home was spared but our next door neighbors did not see the same level in their property. With 8 people in the home, the only walls remaining were those of the interior area, where the family was tucked into the hallway.

Life is short, praying is great but doing is something that you can attach to your prayer!



Today is the National Day of Prayer and we are all as believers encouraged to pray, but rather than just gathering to say a prayer to the Almighty God, take a minute to look at these images.
Say a prayer and DO SOMETHING!!!


Jesus set an amazing example by DOING as well as PRAYING. We should follow suit.


Ways to help disaster victims and other individuals whether it is families of deployed soldiers, those who have lost their job or health, or just someone having a bad day can be found at Red Cross or Random Acts of Kindness
If neither of these are how you'd like to participate then visit your local homeless shelter or church.


This image was a forest!

Here is what most of us take for granted, a trampoline for our kids to play on.


A travel trailer stood here, it is now scattered throughout the woods behind it!



This is the National Weather Services Confirmed Tornado Tracks and Strength Evaluations for Alabama.







All disasters, God made or man made are a time to adjust reflect and stretch. Stretch your faith to greater lengths, your friendliness to broader spans, your habits of selfishness thin, and your pride extinct. For those who have been affected, let people help. For those creating there own disasters, get over yourself there is enough out here without you creating your own. For those of you who have little faith, consider this from the mouth of my 5 year old son as he viewed the awe inspiring damage " God is bigger than the boogie man, He's bigger than Godzilla or the Monsters on TV, Mom!!!!, He's super big because he can bend the trees"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why or rather, WHY NOT?

Today I had the unfortunate opportunity to answer to the question "Why?" and while I understand that we are a society of "WHY" people it saddens me to think that my children are growing up in a culture that challenges things rather than challenging you to do things.

Today I did something nice, and got asked "Why did you do that?". My response, "Why not?" There is a level of spirituality attached to the idea of why not, and a level of materialism and selfishness that comes with the why. If I challenge myself to do things on a more spiritual level then I find myself asking the question, why not do this, it's a good thing. Many times I come up with reasons but they are always rooted in the material and selfish level of why.

Are you confused? Let me offer this example.

An elderly lady is attempting to get through a door way, a young man ponders for a moment. If he asks himself, "why should I help her" he is rooted in narcissism and cannot see past his own selfishness and his answers to himself may consist of, " I am in a hurry", "she'll get it eventually", " I don't feel like it". However if he gives himself to consider, Why not with honesty he will not find a good answer that steers him away from the act of kindness and in many cases the answer will drive him to it!

The next time you find yourself considering why, take the time to think why not!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Our time in the Hospital!!!

This blogging thing sure took a hit in the last two weeks, mainly because my youngest son did a stint in the hospital with a massive infection near his eye! It's an ongoing process to take a bit stab at getting and staying healthy but much to my surprise it was much more difficult in the hospital!

In a place where "health" is supposed to be the thing, you couldn't find a real item in the kitchen if you paid them. Oh wait! I was paying them and good money, for the cost of a room a night they should be employing at least 1 5 star chef. I will be the first to say that Baptist South of Montgomery is an EXCELLENT place to receive medical care however it gets a 2 thumbs down for health and nutritional well being.

We were very clear to state that we were a whole foods/ natural foods consumer and few that surely there would be many items you could find in a "health conscience" hospital however I was very mistaken.

What we asked for What we got

Apple Sauce (no sugar added) Apple sauce with Nutri-Sweet
Butter for bread Margarine
Fish Fillet (for a 4yr old) Fish Fillet full of bones
Salad w healthy dressing Salad, no dressing
Vegetables We got them, however they were with nothing
on them because they use margarine to cook
with.
Eggs Had to make a special request for REAL eggs
Oatmeal ( not instant) They didn't have any
Juice ( no preserves) They didn't have ANY

What we got

Apple sauce with Nutri-Sweet
Margarine
Fish Fillet full of bones
Salad, no dressing
We got them, however they were with nothing
on them because they use margarine to cook
with.
Had to make a special request for REAL eggs
They didn't have any
They didn't have ANY

While I understand that they have to maintain many different diets, the least they can do is give homage to God's green earth!



We became wizards at clarification and ingenuity, creating ways to eat right. Eric brought homemade bread up with tuna fish, as I was cutting the slices of bread I turned to him and stated " we have officially become the WEIRD family"

I ended up making Catalina salad dressing out of organic catchup, vinegar, a touch of olive oil and one packet of real sugar. We learned how to put enough sea salt on the veggies to make them edible and keep a sundry of items in the fridge on the floor.

I don't think that these minor hiccups would have affected me except that on the second day the kitchen placed a "nutritional information statement" on my sons chart listing the "healthy eating choices" that he "NEEDED" as a 4 year old.....

My first thought was, I want my child to have all this but you don't really serve these things!! SO WHERE SHOULD I GET THEM???

Sometimes realizing that you've gone out on the "whole food" branch and you have no interest coming back makes you feel awkward especially in a place like a hospital where they are thrashing you continually about health but offering you a chemical mixture of fake butter, chemical sweeteners and practically nothing FRESH, HEALTHY or EDIBLE.

The final thought? If you want to get healthy, bring your own food!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Chicken Auction Pictures!!!!

















Crisis or Christ-in-us?

One thing I have always noticed about the story of Job is that it doesn't talk about how happy Job was during his whole crisis (Maybe our emotionally happy crazy society should take note)! It did however state that he maintained his integrity!


The story of Job always amazed me! When you hear the fluffy story as a child you learn that the "devil" was horrible awful and came in with a plan of attack to take the integrity of Job. But scripture is quick to tell us that God pointed Job out to Satan in fact He even stated his proud views of Jobs level of integrity!

To get a better idea of what really happened to Job, let's consider the following story!


There was a large family who wanted to be safe and prosper in life, they were a great family kind and generous. To safe guard the home, the father goes out and through his hard work and careful attention he hires the best security company to secure his property and his family. He is very faithful, he pays on time, participates in the charity events they sponsor and even adhere to all the rules and requirements faithfully. He is the most dedicated and integrity filled consumer they have had in a very long time! One day unknown to the man, a group of people come to the company to present their ideas to them, most of them have ideas that have the consumers safety and protection in mind, but one of them does not. Rather than discuss the safety and protection ideas, the CEO of the security company turns to the individual and says " have you seen this man? He is the best customer I have, he is always paying on time, he never argues about his bill and he is very happy and prosperous!" By this time the individual pipes up and says "DUH! It's because your keeping his home safe! Take all your safety features out and see if he pays his bill then, see if he sings praises concerning your wonderfulness!" And this is exactly what they CEO did, he took away all the things that protected the mans house, family and possessions. Even though everything was destroyed and the children were killed, the crops and farmhands demolished, the man still paid his bill and was faithful to the CEO.

Is that really a human response?


When we endure a crisis do people see our crisis, or do they see the Christ in us? Job has long been a favorite of mine because he was wholly surrendered to the sovereignty of a God, be in in the presence of prosperity or the presences of evil.



Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Elephant in the Room.....

A philosophical epiphany about the elephants we have in the room.

We all know about the elephant in the room, the stuff under the carpet or the issue that just won't go away and we have long lived under the idea that we should confront the elephant and that is by far the "correct way" to go about removing it. While it sounds like a wonderful idea, let me offer you a picture, you come to the room with the elephant, you yank back the carpet and exclaim "AH HA" as though no one else their could see it until you did that and then you go about trying to SHOVE the elephant through a super tiny door hole (the door represents a closed mind). The reality is to get the elephant out of the room one of two things MUST HAPPEN. Either you reach a point where the door is big enough for elephant to get through or the elephant has to shrink!!

The reality stands that very rarely do the parties involved not know about the elephant but this idea that we must throw back the carpet and expose the issues, defend them and then attempt to shove the elephant through a mind that is closed is crazy!


I vote we starve the elephant, if you don't feed it, it will shrink and once it has shrunk enough, it will die.

This method is easily accomplished by statements of "I'm sorry you feel that way, but it isn't true" or "I can see your perception about this issue is negative so I am choosing not to address it with you anymore" and choosing to simply not allow others to take advantage of you mentally, physically or verbally. Once you have set these boundaries, then LEAVE THE ELEPHANT ALONE....... DO NOT FEED IT!!!! Don't return to it's pen, don't discuss it's habits, don't even sit by it's cage to see who else may be feeding it!!! When the issue isn't fed, it will die. Many times we have heard it said, "if you don't address the issue it will never go away" and that may be true but you must also understand that shoving an elephant issue through a small door is impossible. You can't make that door bigger only the individual who owns the door, and sometimes we need to examine the size of our door! If we have an elephant issue, we need to starve the thing or allow for a wider door in our mind so the elephant can exit uninhibited. Either way you must remember that you can't make another persons door wider, and by revealing the elephant and shoving it towards a tiny door you will get way too much resistance.....

STARVE THE ELEPHANT and it WILL DIE!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Liquid Laundry Detergent ( Thxs Mom)

So in a bid to cost less and accomplish more we are trying the Duggar's recipe for laundry detergent! Last night I grated a bar of soap and proceeded to make the detergent! Here is the soap I used ( it smells like clean laundry!)





The package boasts it is 99.9% natural.



Here is the recipe and directions!


Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine- best value

4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax

- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.

-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.

-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)

-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.

-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)

-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)

*Arm & Hammer "Super Washing Soda" - in some stores or may be purchased online here (at Meijer.com). Baking Soda will not work, nor will Arm & Hammer Detergent - It must be sodium carbonate!!

The Washing Soda/Sodium Carbonate issue...... to make the search less scary go to a local pool supply store!!!! Sodium Carbonate or Soda Ash is a pH balancing product. It is typically called a pH upper or pH Plus (HTH brand can be found at Walmart in the summer!!) I looked throughout the stores in our area and found NO Washing Soda..... :( After some internet research I discovered that it was a pH balancing element and was able to get it off the shelf at Walmart, ahh the power of knowledge!


Checked the detergent this morning and it was set up and ready to go!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jesus DIDN'T make the road.

Yesterday marked a clear level of understanding in Elijah's path to biblical understanding! Just a few hours after church had dismissed, he came barreling out of his bedroom with an exclamation " MOM, Jesus didn't make the road. Did he?" Like a good parent I needed some explanation before I could begin to digest the issue, so I asked him what he meant. He carefully explained that his Sunday school teacher had said that Jesus makes the road and while he knew that this wasn't right he didn't say anything. But, he emphatically explained to me that "Jesus made the stuff, the construction workers made the road. People were saying lots of stuff Mom, like Jesus makes the hamburgers, the french fries, and lots of stuff. They weren't saying Jesus made the grass, flowers, trees or the whole world. That's not right Mom, it's just not right. And the teacher was agreeing with everyone."

I must confess that as a child he is exercising an amazing amount of understanding that I would never have expected from my seven year old but then again maybe we just fail to teach our children these important things because we have lowered our expectations below their abilities.

I think sometimes we should evaluate the construction zone within our child's heart, it is an amazing place and if we fail to be productive construction workers, faithful to create a road in their heart than we may fail to show them the path to God.

Back to the Cereal.......

It's amazing how when you take something away ANYTHING similar is satisfying to a boy!


This morning the boys were greeted with a small yet interesting cup full of cereal bits (sort-of LOL) they didn't complain though Jeremiah did say "are you sure this is cereal mom?" LMAO...... The consensus was that the cereal tasted good however it was too crunch and had a very not so good after taste. I think this was mostly due to the corn meal.

So to off set the tragedy I have set out on a new venture and this time I think we are closer to an acceptable version of cold cereal!

The recipe

1 1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of bread flour
1/2 cup of sugar ( I use Zulka cane sugar)
1 tsp of baking powder ( non aluminum)
3/4 cup of water


Mix these ingredients and then piped out stars, placed them on parchment paper in a 500 degree oven for about 5 minutes until I could see that the dough was cooked but not browned. At this point I cut the heat completely and allowed the stars to remain in the oven for appx 1 hour. This resulted in 2 1/2 cups of cereal bits. Not to bad for the second experimental session :)

Here are the results ( I tested them myself :) )

Crunch Factor - High
Absorbing Rate - Low ( it didn't get soggy quick)
Taste - High
Texture - SATISFACTORY

All in all I'd like to see a larger rise in the dough but I think that with a few tweaks it may be perfect!

Silly Bands at the Sink!!!

What started out as a practical joke has now become a staple in my kitchen! You won't believe how handy those things are.


Elijah wanted to trick his dad by wrapping silly bands on the handle of the spray nozzle so that when he got up in the morning the morning coffee routine would be a little more exciting! Sure enough he did a great job of securing it and true to Eric's lack of attention in the morning he was met with a fairly steady stream of water in the chest!!! We all got a good laugh out of it and then moved on, but the silly bands just got slid down the spray handle instead of being removed.



This is where the practicality began. From time to time I need something that can close a bag or hold a cover in place and frankly those silly bands can stretch to crazy lengths! I have used them to put something in the fridge or close the bag of rice. All in all I'd say "silly bands" aren't a kids toy their a kitchen necessity and far cuter than that rubber band that will crack, get old and seems to be whole worthless after just a few uses!

So when you find a silly band lying around snatch it up and put in your kitchen, I'll make a bet you'll use it!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Feeling Guilty about Cereal

If there ever was a thing to feel guilty over, I would never have guessed the word cereal would be my biggest hurdle in healthy eating. Darn those big companies with there sugar filled, color splashed puffs of heaven only knows what kind of preservatives and such. Yesterday marked the start of my online quest for cold cereal recipes and much to my despair there really weren't many that didn't involve, corn or bran flakes!


All the boys LOVED the cereal in the morning, we could easily take on two boxes or half a family bag on a heavy consumption day so why on earth am I so surprised that our healthy eating clause has affected their idea of a "good" breakfast.

In a desperate attempt to provide a "cold cereal" I have begun experimenting with different ideas on how to create a corn puffish/cherrioish type cereal that can be made with or without cocoa powder to create the ideal, not too hard, not too soggy healthy alternative to store bought cold cereals. I will definitely post the results once they are out but right now I am sitting on the couch hoping in all sincerity that there is some contraption out there that will replace all the hand piped little bits of "could be" cereal that are just now baking slowly in my oven.....

I know that what I make may be absolutely inedible but hopefully despite this possibility I can fuel the boys future with the idea that mom tried her darn-est to make them some cereal, and hopefully they won't hold the diet change as a tragedy for too long.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Supermoon-ish

We didn't get make it to see the moon crest the horizon, but we did get out to take a picture just to commemorate the night! The boys seemed to think mom had lost her marbles but the image is cute and worth sharing!

The Chicken Auction!!!

Friday night fun around Eclectic, Alabama seems to be the local chicken auction.  Yes, you heard me a chicken auction! The following is an account of our reason for joining the local folks in a riveting night of chickens!


We have had a small coup of chickens since November which has resulted in 7 hens and 9 roosters (8 of them are in the freezer!), however they haven't started laying yet so we decided to brave the chicken auction in our Mazda CX9 (definitely a city SUV) in hopes to acquire some hens that were already laying! But before I can go into that I must give you directions to the local chicken auction!

First you've gotta know where 9 is, once you find 9 then you just go down a ways till you see the tractor repair place. It's before the flashing light ( never mind that there are MANY flashing lights on 9) your gonna turn right at the tractor place, can't really say what the name of the road is.... but it's a right. You go down that road till you see a Mad-ex (it was actually Madix) sign, then you wanna take a left, now make sure it's the first sign cause that's a highway if you turn left at the second sign it goes to the parkin lot for the factory.... now, once you take a left you'll be on this windin road, but you just go down till you see a mobile home park, it's a nice one, isn't trashy you know, real nice and there's a sign right in front of it that says chicken auction, you just turn right there and follow that dirt road till you get to the auction. (Thanks for the directions Mike, I only had to turn around 2 times!!!)


After much laughter Eric has begun to understand what I mean when I say country directions!


Now that we have found the chicken auction, it is very clear that we are two things.

1. Out of our normal environment
and
2. Way OVER dressed! ( We did not have enough holes in all of our cloths to meet the requirements!)

No need to worry though this it isn't like the city where people give you dirty looks for coming to the event not quite in the right attire. We walked up to a building that was less than uniformed, I'd say they put it together with absolutely anything they could find, kids were running all over outside and trucks were parked all over in a field just across the way. The boys were in awe at the crazy appearance of all the busy people, animals were in a line at one end of the building, chickens mostly with a few goats, geese and ducks. We walked into the building where a stand held a sign;

"you must sign in with a VALID drivers license and
2 Phone #'s to bid or sell"


Eric signed us in and we received our number #429! There were a bunch of places to sit, old couches, used bus benches, recliners, and a few other unique seats that I really couldn't begin to describe. We chose the bus benches as the leather looked like a smarter and perhaps lice free choice (no, I am not a germaphobic but you know chickens can carry lice....) Once seated the auction still had a few minutes to start so we had a moment to get to know the people we were sitting next to and also asked a few questions as to how the even went down.....

The auction was fun, the auctioneer wasn't too fast which is nice for my sluggish ears and once the auction started the first item was a drill, it worked and the guy couldn't even get a buck for it. We should have bought it, could have gotten $5 for it at the pawn shop, but were weren't here for a drill, we needed chickens! The second item, well Eric just couldn't resist and in a few short seconds we became the proud owners of a who knows how old Skillsaw brand skill saw. It cost us $10 dollars!

The next item in the auction was eggs, fertile of course for those people who care to brave a 21 day wait for baby chicks that may or may not be born. Those eggs went for a great price, well over 5 dollars a dozen for most of them. Then there were some duck and turkey eggs, no good for incubation but they sold for $1.75 a dozen, we got two.
Bigger eggs for a smaller price! I have NO problem with that!


Only 10 minutes into the auction and we already have spent $13.50 and we have NO LAYING HENS to show for it. By this time I have realized that Eric did not need to hold the bidding card EVER AGAIN as he seemed a bit more bid happy than I care to deal with, it's like trying to tie down all eight limbs on an octopus.

When we finally got to the chickens there were all sorts to be sold, many different breeds and while the process went fairly quickly the kids were still a bit restless.
Some of the cages were sold directly after the chickens were sold out of them. There goes Eric again and we are also now proud owners of a cage that will hold about 6 hens, for a total of $5.75, no complaints but this guy needs to give up the bidding card before I kill him.

We had our eyes on two sets of hens, one had already laid an egg while in the cage, as the hens came to auction, the bidding went fast and the first pair, bid on by Eric cost us $13 dollars each, as Eric got the pair and took them out to the car the second set were auctioned. I won them for $11 dollars each, yes, I did get the better bid.

Either way, we would walk out of the auction spending $67.50


Total tally, 1 skill saw, 2 dozen eggs (Turkey and Duck), one cage, and 4 laying hens! Not too bad for being new to this local auction thing!

Today has resulted in a turkey and duck egg breakfast, with homemade Amish white bread toast and eggs being laid in our chicken nests. The kids are so excited about the fact that we can now "collect" the eggs!!!