Welcome to my eclectic journey of my life and delights. This year my theme is surrendering my writing pen to the true author, Jesus Christ, while looking forward to the future, reflecting on the past and dancing through my journey.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Seder/Passover

Our family celebrated  the Seder meal this Passover season, while remembering how Christ fulfilled all that was written in the books of Moses and the Prophets.

I wish I could say we do this every year, but we don't.  I have years that I can only manage three April birthdays and Easter.  I wasn't raised with the knowledge of the Seven Feasts, and therefore, I am still learning.  I began my journey of discovery while home educating my children.

This year, five grown children sat around our table, along with an observant fourteen-year-old and a curious four-year-old.

I labored over the table with the desire to present something beautiful and meaningful for my family.

Adorning the table was silver, fine china, crystal goblets, folded linen napkins, and freshly-polished, silver-and-crystal candlesticks.

Flowers announced the arrival of Spring, while also symbolizing the celebration of Jesus' fulfillment of scripture.  My colorful floral arrangement held roses, lilies and other varieties.  As I started to arrange the flowers, I remembered that Christ has been described as the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.

My husband lead in the reading of the Haggadah. I welcomed the evening with the blessing, while lighting the candles... so much to be taken in, so much to be absorbed.  Would my children understand the significance of all the meanings hidden in our Passover meal?

Our glasses were filled four times throughout the night.  The Seder plate was set before us as we participated in the understanding of the shank bone of the Lamb, the matzah, the bitter herbs, the haroset and karpas.

The Afikoman("that which comes after") was hidden in the house while the four-year-old covered his eyes. He later ventured out between the services to find the hidden Afikoman, a symbol of Jesus' being hidden in the tomb for three days and three nights. 

Such rich meaning in all that was done...the holes in the matzah symbolizing how Jesus was pierced for our transgressions... the brown lines, his stripes and bruising ...and unleavened bread, because He knew no sin. That alone says it all.

The dinner served was prepared by different female hands.  Our time together was precious and, as always, short.  The hope and desire of my heart was that each of them heard what the Lord wanted to speak to them.

We reclined against pillows that were made years before at another shared Seder with precious friends.  A reminder of God's people no longer being in slavery.

Thursday, we will continue our banner on our road to Calvary, the Cross and the Resurrection.  Each day we will continue our readings on the meaning of a Risen Lord.

For now, I put the dishes back in place, set the table for Sunday and reflect on the evening spent trying to pass down to my children truths that are so important in my heart. I also realize that only God blesses our obedience with heart changes... our efforts are but filthy rags. My prayer today is that my obedience will produce a closer walk with the Lord for each of us that reclined at the Passover table.

May you enjoy this season with your family and all the richness it brings.

Give Away....Encouragement/Celebration Pillow

My cottage business - Encouragement/Celebration Pillows will be part of a giveaway.

Living My MoMent Give Away

Check it out...starts April 1st through April 30th

This is the pillow that will be given away.  Baby charms will be added to the front, the back has a pocket for keepsakes, the back is in dot fabric.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Silver Boxes - The Gift of Encouragement

This cleaning out, re-inventing, returning-to-the-potter's-wheel season of life has meant a time of going through the old items collected in my home.

I have been digging through 26 years of parenting, home school writings from my four graduates, cards from 33 years of my relationship with my husband, along with books read through all these seasons of my life.

This process is going very slow as I stop to read, cry, laugh or hold  tight an item from the past.  When did my husband and I stop writing such precious words to each other, when did I lose contact with that friend, and, uh oh, did I cherish those seasons of growth of my four adult children?

Where do I put all of this?  I didn't save clothes, toys or even art projects, but I did save written pieces of paper, books and thousands of pictures (these are before digital cameras).

I lingered over all the memories... some brought back happy thoughts and others opened feelings of loss or hurt.

Suddenly, my eyes fell upon the book titled "Silver Boxes - The Gift of Encouragement" by Florence Littauer.  In a flash, my eyes were flooded with tears.  The friend who gave me this book 18 years ago has vanished from my address book.  Her life went one way and mine another...neither intending NOT to stay connected.  I opened the book to find her writing in the front cover.  This is the only book I have received from a friend through the years with writing inside the cover...my daughter-in-law has also blessed me in this area with some keepsake jewels.

The date, May 31st, 1991, has handwriting as beautiful as the friend herself.  She described me as a "silver box"...Wow!, and she writes  a blessing for my newly-born, only-daughter, that we will have very few "stolen boxes" and a life of full of "gift boxes".  Her name is below the words, "I love you".

She and I had walked through some very hard trials.  I prayed, while at home, the day her nine month pregnancy ended with the rupture of her placenta, and the perfectly form little boy went to be with the Lord.  I recall laying on the floor in a puddle of tears as I prayed for her while she released him.  More pregnancies would come for us both and more births.  I also set on her couch as her marriage came to an end.

We also shared laughter, birthday parties, singing and dancing before the Lord.  I was the one standing beside her when she first visited our church and God told me to welcome her as she might be my next best friend...she was!

So now I reflect on 20-plus years ago.  I hate it that life took us apart, but then again, that is life.  I think through the many friendships that have come and gone, yet each had a purpose in my life.

I pray I left more "gift boxes" behind and not many "stolen boxes".  I hold this precious book close, cherishing the past and looking forward to re-reading it over and over.  I am sure God has something new for me within it's covers.

My box of sellable books isn't growing, as I look at the seasons of my life expressed through my reading.  My worn Bible with notes, my highlights and dog-eared pages through books on marriage, parenting, pregnancy, home schooling and personal walk with the Lord.  I once again see the power of the written word...maybe that is why God left his Word behind for all of us to read, and his inscription to us can be found on his pages.

As I de-junk and de-clutter, may I remember to hold the things close that I need to cherish and let go of the things I need to release.  May my return to the potter's wheel allow me to hand more "treasured boxes" to those around me.  The book's introduction starts out with "Is it Edifying?"  Sounds like a great start.

Love you, Pam, and so many others who have blessed my life so much.  Maybe it is time to tell your "silver boxes" thanks for the encouragement.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Children!

Dedicated to my four-year old, who continues to give kisses to his 49 year-old mother.  In no way is this to offend women who want children, my heart goes out to all of them, this is just to celebrate my joy of having six children walk through my house.

No Children!
Edgar A Guest

No children in the house to play-
It must be hard to live that way!                                  
I wonder what the people do
When night come on and the work is through,
With no glad little folks to shout,
No eager feet to race about,
No youthful tongues to chatter on
About the joy that's been and gone?
The house might be a castle fine,
But what a lonely place to dine!

No children in the house at all,
No fingermarks upon the wall,
No corner where the  toys are piled-
Sure indication of a child,
No little lips to breathe the prayer
That God shall keep you in His care,
No glad caress and welcome sweet
When night returns you to your street;
No little lips a kiss to give-                                                        
Oh, what a lonely way to live!

No children in the house! I fear
We could not stand it half a year.
What would we talk about at night,
Plan for and work with all our might,
Hold common dreams about and find
True union of heart and mind,                          
If we two had not greater care
Than what we both should eat and wear?
We never knew love's brightest flame
Until the day the baby came.

And now we could not get along
Without their laughter and their song
Joy is not bottled on a shelf,
It cannot feed upon itself,
And even love, if it shall wear,
Must find its happiness in care
Dull we'd become of mind and speech
Had we no little ones to teach.
No children in the house to play!
Oh, we could never live that way!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring, Imagination, New Life, Refresh

Spring, what a wonderful time of the year!  You see the life coming forth from the ground, hear the sounds of laughter, feel the warmth of the sun, taste the anticipation of summer.

We have planted seeds, plants and dug our hole for our pond.  New goldfish and waterlilies are occupying our new ecosystem.  The cat sticks his paw into the water, our four-year leans over to watch the fish surface.  The draw of going to the lake can be felt by all...slowing down is calling our names.

Our coffee table books draw us to stop and read on the Easter season ahead. 

Spring break...

                                          Skating as a family on St. Patrick's Day.  All nine of us made it there with dinner back at the house.  What a time of refreshing and catching up with each other....life really does get too busy.

Also a time of imagination....newly acquired pajamas have opened up the world of Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Pirates and Batman.  Watching the imagination come forth brings enjoyment to all those around...now why do we "grow-up"?

We also enjoyed riding Thomas the Train, where we were swept into the story line and enjoyed the steam engines of past generations.  I have become a fan of old-steam engine trains...a passion I am enjoying with my four-year old.

Letterboxing put us outside for an adventure.  This is our first find.  We weren't very successful, only finding two of the the ten documented sites, but we were able to experience the smells, the sights, the sounds of  on-coming spring.

A very short week for spring break, but many things were accomplished.  The most important of all was finding time for the important things!

"...Stop and Consider God's Wonders" Job 37:14
*Surprisingly our spring break ended with a downfall of snow, so God's wonders never cease.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Homemade Bread...It Worked

One of my goals, after cleaning out my pantry, was to learn to make Artisan bread.  I decided that I had to make healthy bread, which would bring more fiber into our diet.  I made the purchase of "Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg, MD & Zoe Francois, along with my ingredients.

With the help of my four year old, which meant flour all over the kitchen, I made two batches of bread.  I did see that I don't have the strength in my wrist to mix the ingredients by hand, so I pulled out my mixer.  Within just minutes I had the bread mixed and ready to set on the counter.
After two hours of letting it rest on the counter, I moved the bowl to the refrigerator, waiting for the time to make bread.

I was able to make three loaves from the 100% Whole Wheat Bread with Olive Oil, made a dozen Bran Muffins and three loaves.

Each turned out great.  The second week I tried 100% Whole Wheat and Flaxseed Bread with more success.   I have now shared my excitement with a friend, whose teenage son was eating my muffins while at the house.

Who would have thought making such healthy bread for my family would be this easy.  There wasn't any kneading and I had a mix in the refrigerator for each day.  You do need to remember it takes time for the dough to rise and bake.

Next week, I am going to try other bread and pizza dough recipes.

So I have accomplished one of my goals this year....even if it took me three months!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"Everyone Has a Story to Tell"

Spring break usually means a trip to Home School Nationals Basketball Tournament out of state...this year I get to have it at home!  This free time is so foreign to me that I looked around to see what all I could accomplish, while still taking time out to play.

I decided I would attack one of my frustrations, which is not having room for all my books.  I have now lived in this house for a year and half and still can't locate my wonderful resources.

I didn't have a bookshelf budget, but needed bookshelves, so my adventure to find some reasonable, yet decoratively pleasing bookcases, took me on an unexpected adventure.

I went to Craig's List and looked up bookshelves.  I found some that looked rustic and would add ambiance to our western-style playroom. 

My husband contacted the man...only two left. Oh well, I had wanted three, but two would work.

I started the hour drive to pick up my treasure and found myself taking half a day to hear someone else's story.

A beautiful, childless Christian couple, ex-pastor, in their early 50's and life had handed them some very hard blows.  They were starting over, selling all their possessions and figuring out how to make money.  All that had been accomplished in their material world of 20 years of marriage was gone.

The husband had been very resourceful with his resources and found old wooden fences to make the bookshelves to sell. 

As my husband visited with the man, I heard part of the story of their disappointments, failures, and the unforeseen pits that had brought them to this time in life.  Through all of her testimony, the wife still pointed to the Lord, even though I could tell the wounds were still very fresh. She smiled as if to let me know that she was going to make it.

I continued to nod, speak words of encouragement, exchange scripture,  because the walk she was still on was so familiar to my own.

The story was much the same, the years of marriage (10 years less than ours), but the same results.  Her strength, the same source, and her hurt was just as real.

As I got back into my car to take my new possessions home, I was glad I had stepped outside of my budget to make this purchase.  I prayed that what we had given them for the bookshelves would be multiplied and taken care of their need for the day.

I also thought about how each person has a story and everyone wants to be heard.  We all want to be known.  I wondered how many times I had missed taking the time to hear someone's story.  Maybe I was too busy or too worried about telling my own that I had missed being a listening ear.  Sometimes just being able to  tell someone it has been hard is healing to the wounds.

My spring break has brought me two new bookcases, more organization to my home, as well as, a very loud message.  I hope as I enter this spring, I will linger longer to hear someone's story, to give them a word of encouragement, a smile or a hug.  As the saying goes, "It isn't about Me!"

I Peter 1:6-9

My next spring plans...roller skating with all our children.  I will be on old fashion skates, the ones with the four wheels, while they will be blazing by me on their in-line skates...another time for gratitude.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Celebrate Life!!!!

Today, the sun shone brightly in the sky, after days of clouds and rain.  Today, a young wife with children, ages 3 and 1, laid her pastor husband in the ground.  Today, another pastor is still fighting the diagnosis of a brain tumor, which has the possibility of shortening his life, while leaving behind a wife and children, ages 7, 4 and 1.  

Another friend was diagnosed with cancer, while another is fighting for her life after her lungs collapsed...each of these women my age.

As I delighted in the spring sun and wept at the losses being reported, I could hear God so softly say, "Celebrate Life"

I should know that. I should be doing that. I shouldn't need to be reminded.

So, in obedience usually overlooked, I rejoiced at the day.  I thanked God at our morning meal, "thanks for breath today, thanks for life today... thanks!"

I slowed our pace.  I went and bought plants and put seeds in the ground.  I hugged my sons and I called my husband.

I planted seeds into the ground, not knowing which will bring forth life, while also planting plants already established, still not knowing how much or long they will produce. 

I prayed for situations, that, without God, would seem so daunting and then I  smiled,  knowing  that God  knows what tomorrow holds.  We need to enjoy what we are given, and for all of us, that is just TODAY.

Keeping a heart of gratitude will allow me to Celebrate Life!  Remembering that, whatever hardship I might be struggling with, I have a Saviour that knows how it will turn out.  Resting in that assurance will allow me to Celebrate Life.

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly." John 10:10

What have you done today to Celebrate Life?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Forgiven - An Awesome Gift

The greatest gift of all....FORGIVENESS!   This song has been resoninating in my mind and spirit....Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 5, 2010


My husband is seven years my senior, therefore, he experiences life's changes before me, which allows me to give him a hard time. Hair greying, soreness after yard labor, being called old by his children and then the most unavoidable of all...needing reader glasses.

His diminishing sight began in his late 40's while trying to read a menu and having to ask the waitor or me what it said. Oh, did I harass! That seventeen-year-old girl he had fallen in love with came back to life as I gave him a hard time for not being able to see the menu, since my sight was still "perfect".

I used my eyes through hours of reading, cross-stitching, sewing, cooking and couldn't imagine having to stop and obtain eye-wear.

Well, to my disbelief, I started entering the age of needing extra assistance with my eyes. As my Dad said, "Do you need longer arms Janette?" I couldn't believe that what had always been there was slowing decreasing.

If I was going to have to give in, then it would be with style...so the readers came in red, dots, lime green and one pair to carry in my purse with it's own holder.

I am now used to my new occassional accessory, but finding them can be a problem.

The other day I went all over the house looking for my stylish pair. Where could they be? I searched upstairs and downstairs. Surely they couldn't have walked off... nowhere to be found. Then I took what seemed to be my tenth trip up the stairs for a final search.

As I turned the corner of my stair's landing, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I burst out in laughter, so loud my son came running to see what had happened.

There, so daintily postioned on my head....were my glasses! I couldn't believe it. I had finally given into the idea of wearing glasses, now is forgivefulness next?

I might give into buying those librarian beads that hold your glasses around your neck in order to have them within reach....well, probably not yet.

My gracious husband refuses to harrass me. Instead, he will slowly hand over his reader glasses to me when we are at a resturant...we are growing older together.

My youngest only knows his mother with glasses and proudly tries them on.  My 18-year-old daughter wears fake glasses as a fashion statement. 

God is so merciful to walk with us through the changes of life. To hold our hands, to hear our voices and even our cries that come from pure vanity.

I look forward to a body that is perfect when I get to heaven, but more than that, I look forward to using my eyes to behold  the giver of sight...and without glasses!
Did you notice my font size?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Curl-Up-and-Read Books

I entered the world of picture books through home schooling my children.  They became a passion for me.  Purchasing treasures we had discovered through library loans, I started my home library.  I began with collecting them for my children and then rapidly moved to collecting for my future grandchildren.  Many good books go out of print so I wanted to make sure I had a copy.

I also go to library sales and snatch up wonderful picture books for pennies-on-the-dollar.  This is a wonderful way to build your home library.  You can sign up online for book sales and they will send you a list of which libraries are selling their books and when.  Some will sell books by the bag full.  You can't go wrong. If you impulse buy, then resell them or give them away.

One thing I enjoy doing is putting the date we bought the book inside the back cover.  I also put the date when we first read it and, if it an individual read, I put their child's name.  The younger siblings have enjoyed seeing that their older siblings read the same book years before them.

Here is the first of my favorites.

Patricia Polacco - This is an author for family heritage.  She is one of my favorite authors, as well as illustrators.  She brings her rich Jewish heritage of family into your home.  Other then a few of her more recent books, I agree and love her work.  She has began putting out some politically correct books.

She came to Barnes and Nobles, where two of my children and I stood in line for four hours to meet her and have her sign our books.  She was as charming in person as she is in her writings.

We started with "The Bee Hunt" where she introduces your child to the love of reading.

These are wonderful curl-up-on-the-couch books that enjoy peaking into someone else's family of treasures.

What are some of your favorite picture books?  I always love discovering a new favorite.

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