Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Little Thanks*Giving*

We were blessed to enjoy two different Thanksgiving meals. One with Chris's side last Sunday evening and then one with my family on Thanksgiving Day. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera when going to Chris's side's Thanksgiving feast. But I did remember to take pictures of what I made to take (yum)....

Pumpkin dip made with light cool whip, pumpkin, sugar free pudding and some spices...

...and baked corn...

At home, my boys were practicing their Christmas duet (that they will play in an upcoming recital)...

They really did a great job! I love listening to them!

At my parents' house, Xavier relaxes with Nickel, the dog...

Jaxson (aka: Dr. Who)...

My cousin, Molly, works for a flower shop and brought us *fresh* flowers for the table! They are beautiful and smell wonderful! She let me take some home!!!

Corners of my parents' home...

The chalk drawing that is framed on the wall below is one I did in high school...

Below is what my mom sent home with us....*too* many leftovers! Eek!

The night of Black Friday our town has a *Light Up Night*. We decorate my dad's tiltbed/tow trucks each year to go through the parade. The children have fun riding and throwing candy out. We were blessed as this year the temperature was 58*! Usually it is snowing and *super* fingers-frozen-cold!

Jaxson likes to help with the lights...haha!

We live in a very pretty town. Before the parade starts they have a train that drives up and down main street ~ taking children for rides! :) It's hard to tell as we were not in the middle of the crowd but there were a lot of people there!

Here comes my dad's tiltbed (driven by him) with my children on the back with some of their friends from church, throwing candy. Behind them is my dad's tow truck driven by my mom (with my cousins, Mariah and Molly, riding inside) with a couple of another one of my cousin's daughters sitting on the back throwing candy...

Although can see the lights in this pic below (we also had garlands strung around it)...

We have been busy I am sure you have been too. Along with Thanksgiving festivities, I have been filling sticker orders, designing stickers and we will soon be back to our homeschool routine.

Also, in sad, yet joyous news, Chris's sweet Grammie passed away recently. This afternoon was the viewing time and tomorrow is the funeral. Although she will be missed, she hasn't been well lately (although she was *always* sharp as a tack!) and this was expected. She was *to our delight* a Godly woman and follower of Christ so we *know* where she is and there is such comfort in that! Her eldest son (Chris's uncle) passed away unexpectedly earlier this year and he was also a believer. To lose them both within the same year is difficult yet okay...because in Christ, we have hope. We believe His promises that those who love Him will spend eternity with Him. What joy we have in that! And to know we will be reunited with them one day is comforting to the soul! :)

We also celebrated my niece, Audra's, first birthday recently! I will post about that soon! Until then, I hope you have enjoyed this post and I am thankful that you stopped by to visit! I hope your Thanksgiving was blessed and enjoyed with those you love most (or maybe you spent the time serving others ~ absolutely a beautiful way to be the hands and feet of Christ to a dying world!!).

Have a lovely week ahead and (if you want) please let me know you dropped by! I love to hear from you and always enjoy your comments and emails.

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Home & Things

Fall is winding down. It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week already! So far, here in Western PA, the weather has been nice...warmer than usual and no snow yet (yippeeeee!). The trees are quite naked and things look pretty dismal outside most days....but I am just not ready for snow (it seems that once it shows up it likes to overstay its welcome...). I have been doing some extra tidying and organizing around the house when time allows. It always makes me feel so good to accomplish things and make my home a more attractive and comfortable place to be.

I organized some of our magazines into a different basket...

And organized the books on *one* (of the many) or our bookshelves (thus why the basket of books in the top picture. I moved some books downstairs that were upstairs in my room and such)...

Winnie...doing what she does best...

Washing dishes is a little more enjoyable when you make sure the water is warm and sudsy and have a candle lit in the background!

We have a busy day at church tomorrow and then I need to make food to take to Thanksgiving with Chris's side of the family. The rest of the week will consist of schooling, housework, sticker-making, spin class, Thanksgiving with my side of the family, and celebrating my niece, Audra,'s first birthday! It should be busy but joy-filled! :) I hope your week is blessed as well!

I leave you with this quote from one of my favorite books:

"The ideal Christian home is a far-reaching benediction. It sets its lamps in the windows, and while they give no less light and cheer to those within, they pour a little beam upon the gloom without, which may brighten some dark path and put a little cheer into the heart of some belated passer-by. Its doors stand ever open with a welcome to every one who comes seeking shelter from the storm, or sympathy in sorrow, or help in trial....It is a place where one who is in trouble may go confident ever of sympathy and comfort.
And this spirit of the home the wife makes; indeed, it is her own spirit filling the house and pouring out like light or like fragrance....To the old she is gentle and patient. To the young she is inciting and helpful. To the poor she is God's hand reached out. To the sufferer she brings strength. To the sorrowing she is a consoler. There is trouble nowhere near but her face appears at the door and her hand brings its benediction."

~J.R. Miller, Homemaking

As always, thank-you for visiting! May your week be filled with thankfulness and joy with loved ones!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Need for Prayer

My eyes are extremely tired right now (and it isn't even 8pm yet!). It has been a busy week...of course all the normal work of a wife and mama (which I am *thankful* to do because it is the role God gave me!) but this past week I have also taught spin class a lot (which I enjoy...but it is still exhausting) due to one of the spin teachers needing a sub because she had her tonsils out, and we have been in prayer a lot for family friends of ours.

Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer can do. 
- Charles Spurgeon

If you are local, I'm sure you have heard of Seth (Xavier's friend from our homeschool co-op) and the terrible accident that happened with him. You can read about it HERE (it's been all over the news). We love their beautiful family (with six children) and were in complete shock when we heard about what happened. We were praying fervently and the Lord (He is SO good) spared Seth's life. If you read in the article I linked above, you'll know that they saved Seth's arm and have reattached it. The doctors have restored blood flow and now, we are praying for no infection. He's been having surgeries and truly staying strong through it all. In the name of Christ, friends and family have banded together to help take care of the family in the wake of all this (money, food, splitting and stacking wood for them etc.). It is truly beautiful to see the church be the hands and feet of Christ! 

Life can change in an instant, can't it? I know the feeling as it happened to us when Jaxson almost lost his eye. Long-time readers here probably remember that time with me ~ HERE is the post where I explained what happened. It was such a scary time but the Lord saw us through it and provided for us in SO many ways. We are forever I know our family friends I mentioned above are as well. (I feel as though I may burst in to tears just thinking about it is all so overwhelming...sad and GOOD ~ all at the same time!). 

You will observe that the desire to commune with God is intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation.
 - Charles Spurgeon

If the Lord brings Seth (and his family as this is a strenuous and difficult time for them *all*) to mind I hope you will pray for him/them. God hears the prayers of His children. And may I, quickly, also ask for your prayers for a friend of mine, Marion. She lost her young son (only in his 20's) recently. I have been praying for her so much but just can't get over the grief and sadness she must feel. I want to fix it...make it better. But I can't. Nothing I can do will help her at this time except prayer. I will pray and intercede for her because our God is the ultimate Comforter. Only He can supply the salve her heart desires. Will you join me in remembering her as well? I truly appreciate it. 

Because so much has been going on (battling a cold at the beginning of the week, schooling, housework, cooking, teaching spin classes, sticker making etc.) I haven't taken an abundance of photos from this week. But here are a few to share...

Below are new winter hats I made for my nieces (Eloise's is the top one and Dinah's the bottom). I made Audra a new hat previously too! You can see that HERE

My silly cats make me smile. Pets are good for the heart. Chris found them both laying in the bathroom on the folded towels and told me to grab the camera...

Had a visit with my nieces today. My sister's Father-in-Love isn't doing well so her husband has been busy running to be with his dad and work and I went over to their house so my sister could go do the grocery shopping while I watched the girls...

Audra was sleeping when I got El, Dinah and I played Legos for a bit. When I got out the camera Dinah gave me a sweet smile without even being asked! :) A little later, Audra-girl woke up and joined the fun...

It is *so* sweet to watch these girls play together. They use their imaginations and play, play, play! It is really fantastic! I am so glad they have each other! What memories they are making!

Oh how I love this wee one. She loves to smile (with her cheesy-toothy's just perfect!) and loves her Aunt TiTi (which brings me such joy!)...

And finally, Eloise was being quite the I caught her doing one of her "moves"...

I am still selling stickers and things are going well. It's not quite as busy as some shops are...but I am thankful for the business I get. My printer is being a bit of a stinker and leaving specks of color sometimes. I have cleaned the toner drums and tried to make everything right...but I'm still having issues. They are tiny defects but I reduce the price a bit since they aren't *perfect*. Thankfully, it doesn't do it all the time. I hope if you enjoy stickers, scrapbooking or planning (or maybe you have friends and family that do?) that you will take a look through my SHOP. I try to keep prices low and shipping prices low as well. I ship super fast too! It's something that I try to do from home just to help bring in a little income. :) I appreciate your support!

With Christmas coming up...for the planner/list maker in your Erin Condren Life Planner (If you use my LINK you will get $10 off!) would make a GREAT gift....along with some stickers from my shop! ;)  Okay, okay....I'm done now! :)

Thanks so much for visiting. I truly appreciate your prayers for the friends I mentioned in the beginning of this post...and I know some of you remember me in your prayers and that blesses me. *Thank-you* friends! I pray your week has gone well...and that the Lord was glorified in all you did (as that is the prayer of my heart for my week as well...and *every* day). May your Lord's day be full of worship and rest!


P.S. ~ My sister is having a giveaway for a pair of her custom-made baby shoes! They are so cute!! You should definitely go and enter HERE. She also reviews a milk bag in that post! :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

"A great wind blowing, raging sea...

...And rowers toiling wearily,
Far from the land where they would be.

And then One coming, drawing nigh; 
They care not now for starless sky.
The Light of life says It is I.

They care not now for toil of oar, 
For lo, the ship is at the shore, 
And their Beloved they adore.

Lord of the Lake of Galilee,
Who long ago walked on the sea,
My heart is comforted in Thee.

~Amy Carmichael

I read that quote above in Toward Jerusalem by Amy Carmichael and loved it. I felt it was definitely worth sharing! I have recently finished the book Jesus Unmasked by Todd Friel. It is *great* It's not a difficult read as some theology books can be. I highly recommend it! :) 

We have been enjoying warm temperatures this week! It has been truly glorious! Highs in the 60's and 70's in November (in Pennsylvania)!? I'll take it! I say hold off the snow and frigid temps as long as possible! It also means our wood supply lasts longer because we don't need to start up the wood stove yet! 

I've been staying busy (but a good-sort-of-busyness....the stuff a mama should be doing!). Homeschooling, housework, homeschool co-op, church, sticker making, teaching spin (group cycling) classes and visiting with friends and family takes up my time. I have been able to get some knitting done (as you will see at the bottom of this post) and manage (most days) to take a nap. With the time change, my body wakes me even earlier than normal and a bit of a nap is a must most days. 

Some photos from the past week...

My boys each tried on Pa's of course, mama had to take a photo!

Stella-the-cat found a home inside of one of Jaxson's cardboard contraptions...

She was actually laying outside of it like pictured above and then eventually she backed inside again and layed down! Doesn't she look comfy in there?....

I've been organizing in some of the cupboards...It always feels so good to have something tidy and organized...

 My Stella Cat makes me smile. Here she is, all tucked up and cozy in a basket. You will often find her laying in a basket (as I seem to have them in different places all through the house). She will even *make* herself fit into a tiny little basket. It always makes me chuckle!

The sun sets earlier and earlier...

My mom's birthday is next week but due to busy schedules, we decided to celebrate today! We all met at my dad's garage. My sister brought her girls! They were super sweet! I always love seeing them! I got to snuggle Audra to sleep. It was heavenly for this auntie!

I knit up a new winter hat for Audra and was so glad to find it fits perfectly...

Madelyn and I are self-proclaimed baby hogs. If Audra wasn't running around, then you would most likely find her in my or Mad's arms!

El, Dinah and Jaxson playing blocks...

Xavier the goof-ball...

I don't read a lot of fiction. I enjoy it from time to time but try to focus on reading my Bible and theology books (I desire to know God more)...that being said, I just finished reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I had seen the movie years ago but didn't remember most of it. I really enjoyed the book. Have you read it (or watched the movie)? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts!

I have begun reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul. I hope to grow in my sanctification and ability to even *begin* to fathom the holiness of our Father! I'll let you know more about it after I am deeper into it! I'm hoping I haven't read it before...but even if I have, I don't remember it so another read through won't hurt!

I hope your week is going well. Thanks so much for visiting!
I hope your weekend ahead is more-than-wonderful and God-glorifying!