Monday, December 17, 2012

When God Speaks...

This is a direct quote from the sermon on Sunday and it bears repeating:

When God speaks, He always leads you to Jesus.  The teachings of scripture are not always as easy or comfortable as we like.  Sometimes being a follower of Christ cuts into your personal agenda more deeply than expected.  Sometimes being a Christian takes hard work and discipline and sacrifice.  If we want Jesus to save us we should also be ready for Him to change us.  Old habits die hard but they can also die.  And following Jesus means following His example as well, even when the teachings are hard ones.
-Pastor Glenn Peck, Caring Community Church of God.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Quick Delicious Menu for Christmas

As part of the TOS Staff Party, I've submitted an everyday type menu.  At this time of year, there are lots of fancy meals and preparations.  But this is a new yummy meal for you to try that won't stress you out. This is my most favorite casserole and my favorite way to prepare fresh vegetables.  Finally I'm including our favorite salad dressing adapted from a stint when we did weight watchers.  This would be a great family meal or even one for entertaining.  It's that good!

Chicken Au Lay

(The original recipe was on the internet somewhere.  This is my adaptation.)

  • 1 bag of ridge-type potato chips, crushed in the bag. NOT the family size bag and NOT the individual-sized bag.  You want the large size that's smaller than a family-size bag.
  • 2 chicken breasts, which is really one whole chicken breast or two halves.  Cooked.  If I have the time, I roast them in a 350 oven with the bone and skin on.  Then I peel the skin & bone and discard and chop the chicken.  If I only have boneless/skinless chicken then I just boil it until it's cooked.  It's better, when you boil it, if you cool it in the juice.
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup.
  • 1 can of skim milk, or whatever kind of milk you have.
  • 1 bag shredded cheddar cheese, or 2 cups shredded cheddar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all together and pour into a 9x13 casserole dish.  Bake for 30-45 minutes until hot and bubbly and a little bit browned on top.

Our favorite roasted vegetables

  • Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  Yep, that's not a typo, 500 degrees.
  • Put your favorite fresh veggies in a large cast iron skillet.  Don't overcrowd the pan.  We like broccoli crowns, cauliflower, baby carrots, butternut squash, asparagus, brussel name it.  Spring onions, trimmed, are delicious using this method.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat all the veggies.
  • Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  We use kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • Roast in your oven for 20-30 minutes until the vegetables just start to brown.  Depending on the veggies it can even take less than that.  Just keep an eye on it.

Lemon Salad Dressing

(adapated from the Escarole and Endive salad found on Weight Watchers)

In a large salad bowl, whisk the following ingredients:

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1-2 clove garlic, minced fine, grated, or pressed through a press
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp mustard
  • 6 Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

When that's nicely blended and looks like salad dressing, chop one head of iceberg lettuce and lay it on top of the dressing.  Do not toss.  THEN sprinkle the lettuce with 4 Tbs of Parmesan Cheese.  When you're ready to serve toss the salad.  Your salad bowl could actually sit untossed for a few hours until you're ready to serve.  I like to prepare the salad ahead of time like this and then toss right before we're ready to eat.  It's a make-ahead step that makes serving time less stressful.

So, here's a meal you can prepare over the busy holiday season to put something warm and nutritious in your family's bellies.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Win My Scarf

If you are my friend on Facebook, and let's face it you SHOULD be, you know that I recently opened an Etsy shop.  If this is news to you, look to your right and you will see my little widget showing you most of what's listed in the shop right now.  There's more-more-more to come!  BUT I digress.  The church we attend is having a coffee shop on Saturday night.  There will be fabulous home-roasted coffee made by Gross' Roast, my sister and brother-in-law's coffee business.  There will be lots of great entertainment, and, of course, terrific fellowship.  BUT there will also be door prizes!  That's where my scarf comes in.  I have donated the scarf pictured above as one of the lovely door prizes at the coffee house.
This winter-white fuzzy ruffled scarf has beaded accents at the ends.  I love to use beads and add a bit of sparkle to my scarves, and this is just a very subtle touch to this scarf.  The scarf itself is thick and warm but would make a serious statement with your winter coat, dress, or jeans.
It lays very nicely on your shoulders and would be long enough to wrap around your neck or knot once. (as shown)

So, if you like this scarf, come to the coffee house!  It's Saturday, December 8, 2012 from 7 PM to 10 PM at Caring Community Church of God, 7176 Red Top Road, Hummelstown, PA  17036.  We'll be there.  Come find us!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Critical thinking.

We just finished the book Crypto Mind Benders - Famous Quotations. It is 30 puzzles that you solve using critical thinking and math. Then you have to decode a famous quote. These were really fun and a great way to get the boys brains working first thing on the morning.

Since we are finished, maybe you would like to give this book a try. I will sell it for $9 plus free media mail shipping. Just leave a comment if you want it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hey There Friend!

This morning, part of the scripture read during the sermon came from John 21.  This is the story of Jesus meeting up with his disciples after He rose from the dead.  It was morning and the disciples were out on the sea fishing when Jesus called out to them from the shore.  The New International Version of verse 5 says that Jesus "called out to them, 'Friends...'"   
NOT the Sea of Galilee, but a picture of the Atlantic when we visited Ocean City, MD.

This morning I was struck by verse 5 of John 21.  As I said above, the NIV says that Jesus "called out to them, 'Friends...'"  He called out.  He was on the shore of the sea of Galilee.  The disciples were in a boat on the water, having fished all night.  Did you ever try to call to someone swimming in the ocean?  The sea is a noisy place.  Now, I've never been to the sea of Galilee.  It may not be as noisy as the Atlantic, but I'm willing to bet that there is a certain amount of noise.  Even if it were as calm as a lake, the disciples were out in a boat on the sea.  To call to someone yards away from you, on a body of water, would take a bit of volume, don't you think?

So, when Jesus called out to them, I imagine He was shouting.  Imagine it with me.  Jesus is on the rocky shore of the sea of Galilee.  He stands at the edge of the water, wanting to get his disciples' attention.  He cups His hands around His mouth and shouts, "FRIENDS!"  The purpose of His call to them was two-fold.  He wanted to get their attention, but He also wanted to let them know who He was.  The disciples had seen Him on the shore, but they didn't know who He was. (see John 21:4)  And so, not only did He need to call to them to get them to pay attention to Him, but also to tell them that it was He, Jesus, their friend.  

And so He shouted, "FRIENDS!"  Making His voice loud enough to be heard over the wind and waves that usually come with a large body of water, as well as the voices of all the fishermen in the boat and the operations of that fishing boat.  He needed to shout over all the noise of the environment.

There's a lot of noise in my environment.  I'm a home-schooling, home-working, home-making woman.  Even when there is quiet in my physical environment, there's noise in my head.  I'm thinking of what I need to do, what I should do, what I did do, and what I did not do, constantly.  My mind is buzzing with lists, ideas, thoughts,  plans, and prayers.  There's a lot going on in this little life of mine.  And Jesus is standing at the shore shouting, "Friend!"

In today's sermon, Pastor Pat said that many of us think Jesus is calling a lot of other names, but, in truth, He is calling us "Friend."  (It's a great sermon and will be posted here soon.  Look for Building a Legacy Part 2 on November 18, 2012)  I would submit to you that He is shouting to us, "FRIEND!"  It's more than a call.  It's more than a slightly raised voice.  He's shouting!  He's shouting to you, and He's shouting to me.  He's shouting loud enough to be heard clearly over crashing waves, and the dirty dishes, and the crying children, and the telephone.  And He's shouting, "FRIEND!"  He wants to be heard over the din of our lives.  He wants us to hear over our worries and concerns.  He wants us to hear that He considers us a friend.

He thinks of you and I as His friend.  In John 21, Jesus called to His disciples so that they would know that He was the man on the shore.  He calls to us so that we know who He is.  He is our friend.  And we are His. James 2:23 says that Abraham was called God's friend because he believed God.  So it's not outside of the realm of possibility to consider that we could also be Jesus' friend.  I totally believe Jesus!  I believe He wants the best for my life.  I believe He has a plan.  I believe He is worth it.  I believe Jesus.  I did not say I believe in Jesus.  I do, but so do most historians.  I believe in Jesus, but, more importantly I think, I believe Jesus.   I believe Him.  So He is calling me friend.  He is shouting to me, "FRIEND!"  and I'm listening.  

I don't know what comes after "Friend!"  Maybe Jesus is calling to you and saying "Friend, come sit with me a while!"  Or maybe it's, "Friend, you need to serve in this area."  Or it could be "Friend, this season has past.  It's time to step away."  I don't know.  Truthfully, I don't know much about what Jesus is saying to me after He calls me friend.  I just know He's calling me.  And He's calling me Friend.  How about you?  What is He saying to you?  I'd love a chance to pray for you.  If you are struggling to hear His voice or if you are hearing His call and need prayer support, leave a comment.  I will pray.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pot Holder Rug

I just finished crocheting a new kitchen rug.  I picked up the book Mason Dixon Knitting over the summer from a bargain bin at the book store.  I LOVE this book.  There are so many great ideas.  I will be making A LOT from this little book.  This weekend I  started crocheting a new kitchen rug and by Sunday evening I was finished.  It's a great thick rug that fits perfectly in front of my sink.  From an idea in Mason-Dixon Knitting, I started buying 1-pound bags of those nylon pot-holder loops at the craft  store.  The book used a much more expensive cotton loop, so this is the bargain version of their idea.  Every couple weeks I would use one of my 40% off coupons on a bag of loops.  I never paid more than $4 for a bag.  I think they were about $6 regular price.  I ended up buying 6 bags, total.  When I would buy a bag, I would pile all the loops on a side table and begin linking them together one at a time.

As I linked, I then rolled all the loops into one big ball.  Above is the ball when I had 2 more bags left to loop.

And here is the finished ball after 6 one-pound bags were all looped into one long strand.  Now it was time to start crocheting.  I tried to knit this rug, as is suggested in the book, but I didn't like the texture.  It was thinner with more holes.  So I got out my size N crochet hook and chain stitched 59 chains.  From there, I just single crocheted across with one chain at the end of every row in order to turn.  There were 58 single crochets across the rug.

The finished rug is just under a yard deep and just OVER a yard wide.  
It fits perfectly in front of my kitchen between my oven and my dishwasher.  And it is SO thick.  I just love standing on it doing dishes, chopping or cooking.  It's so comfy under my feet.  I also love the quirky colors. It's matches our eclectic kitchy kitchen.

And I'm pretty sure that the puppy thinks it's just for him!  He spent most of the morning on the new rug while we were doing Monday's lessons.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Game Day

Even in high school the boys get to pick one day a month where we just play games all day. Each of us pick two games. It takes at least four hours sometimes much longer. And it's a great break for the guys who have a much heavier course load this year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

My Favorite App

I love my ipod touch and get so much use from it. I am even writing and posting this blog post from my ipod. So you may guess that my favorite app is the Blogger app but you would be wrong. THIS is my favorite app. The 1,000 Gifts app is a place where I can list the things I am grateful for, or take a picture of something I'm grateful for. I can even share it on social media. It keeps track of the date and time I listed something and even the location. Gratitude is a key to so many personal issues. If you don't keep a gratitude journal or list, you should. It could be a huge step to freedom, healing, and recovery. Oh, and Ann Voskamp's book 1,000 Gifts is pretty excellent too.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Knit In

Every year, my BFF and I head to a little country knit shop in PA for their annual Knit-In.  It is one of our favorite days every year.  We sit on the grounds and knit among many-many other knitters and crocheters.  We shop for yarn and books and gadgets galore.  And we eat our packed lunches under the shady trees on the grounds of the shop.  

This year our annual knit-in fell last Saturday.  We met for breakfast with two of our knitty-friends and headed to the shop for a day of relaxation.

I won't bore you with any more text.  But here are a few pics from the day:
If I had a spare tire like this, I would TOTALLY do this!

The shop sign.  If you are in PA, check them out.  The store is amazing!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Green Smoothies!

Yep, you read the title correctly.  I'm LOVING my adaptation of these green smoothies.  When I have all the ingredients I drink one a day, replacing breakfast or lunch.  And the boys are loving them too!  Even the Big Dog drinks one on the weekend. It's so appropriate that I drink my green smoothie from my wonder woman glass because these drinks are PACKED with good stuff to make me stronger.

Although I first found the recipe on Pintrest, with the original post here, I have adapted it a bit, so I want to share with you my tips, tricks, and adapted recipe.  Let's start with the recipe:

Lori Lynn's Green Smoothie
1 frozen over-ripe banana
1/2 Tbs peanut butter
1/2 C. vanilla non-fat yogurt
1/4 C. skim milk
TONS of fresh spinach

Fill the bowl of your food processor with fresh spinach.  Take a frozen banana and slice it.  Place slices into the food processor bowl.  Add yogurt, skim milk, and peanut butter.  Start by pulsing to get the bananas broken up a bit.  Then turn the food processor on full blast and let it grind away for at least three minutes making the smoothie smooth.

Pour into a 24 oz glass.

You don't taste spinach at all.  It's cold and refreshing.  There's a hint of peanut butter in the background.  And it is so chock-full of good things for you.  I really love them.

And now for the tips:

  • use over-ripe bananas.  I let mine sit on the counter until they have brown spots all over them.  We tried really fresh still a bit green bananas, because that's the way we like to eat a fresh banana, and we HATED those smoothies.  It changes the consistency and the flavor.
  • I freeze my bananas whole so that I know for sure I'm getting one whole banana in my smoothie.  When I need to slice it for the food processor, I use a thin knife that is really meant as a bench scraper.  It slices through frozen bananas like nobody's business.
  • Pulsing the food processor first keeps the contents from gumming up on one side of the blade and starts the process smoothly.
  • You can stop and scrape the bowl, but I find if I let my food processor work long enough it gets all the bits that hang on the top of the bowl
Give 'em a try.  I am really glad I did!

Monday, August 13, 2012

All God's Promises

Today, I've been reflecting on two ASL signs that we learned at VBS last night.  The sign for promises and the sign for God.

If you click on the links above, you can learn these signs.  For God, my right hand faces left and raises above me then lowering toward my forehead.  In the song we sang last night, we moved right from the sign for God to the sign for promises, so my hand continued down from my forehead into the next sign.  To me, that sign is perfect for God.  I look up to begin the sign, what a perfect position to be in when you are ready to sign the name of the Almighty.  Then your hand is raised above your head, but brought down toward you.  That's God, He isn't just seated on a throne in heaven.  He is for you.  He is toward you.  He is reaching you.  So it is perfect that in the sign for God your hand comes toward you.  But, it's also cool that your hand continues to move from your head toward your heart.  For many, God begins in our heads.  We have a knowledge of Him.  We learn about Him.  But there comes a time where the knowledge needs to become passion.  What we know of God has to work in and on our hearts. God moves from our head to our hearts.  Just like the sign.

And then, there's promises.  For the sign for promises, you bring one finger to your lips, almost like you're making the shhh motion.  As you bring your finger away from your mouth, you turn that hand flat and clap it on top of your closed fist on the left hand with the thumb end pointed upward.  Here's what I think about that:  in VBS we're learning about God's promises.  That sign for promises makes me think about how when God speaks a promise into our lives, you can take that promise to the vault.  How many times have we made a promise we didn't keep?  Or maybe someone promised you something and they didn't come through.  It happens.  But not with God.  When God speaks a promise (imagine that finger coming out of your mouth in the ASL sign for promise) that promise is a lock (now clap your open right palm on top of your closed left fist turned on it's side).  God's promise is forever.  That's the title of the theme song of our week at Vacation Bible School.  And, yes, the signs we learned to do while singing that theme speak to me about who God is in my life and how I can count on Him.  I love that!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Virtual Homeschool Yard Sale...Buy My Stuff!

We've been on this homeschool journey OFFICIALLY for 8 years.  Unofficially, since our Big Mac is 15, we've been homeschooling for 15 years!  You accumulate a lot of stuff when you homeschool for a long time.  And I am ready to clean off the shelves.  Some of these things were things I reviewed in past years.  Some are brand new.  I've provided links so that you can see a better description of the items if you need that.  NONE of these prices are set in stone.  If there's something you would like, please make me an offer.  I just want these things to go to a home where they will be used.  If you see something you like, leave me a comment or send me an email.  I need to know your city and state so I can tell you what the shipping will be.  So, take a look.  I will also be posting this list on some other sites, so if there's something you would like, act now!

The Family Illustrated Bible: $10.00

The Pre-Algebra Tutor Volume 1:  5 hour video Tutorial:  $5.00

The Star-Spangled State Book, book and student manual: $15.00
Famous Men of Rome (Greenleaf Guides):  $2.00
Lives of the Presidents, Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought): $5.00

Language Arts
Writing Down the Days:  365 Creative Journaling Ideas for Young People:  $5.00
Heritage History: British Middle Ages CD:  $10; complete history curriculum on CD
Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure, Susan K. Marlow: $1.00
Beehive Reader, Marie Rippel:  $5.00
What Am I? a collection of shot stories (reader), Marie Rippel: $5.00

Christian Kids Explore Physics, book/teacher's guide with CD printables:  $20.00
Go Science Volume 3:  Magnetism, electricity, engineering, design:  $4.00
Go Science Volume 5:  Air Flight:  $4.00
Creation or Evolution: A Home-Study Curriculum: $5.00
The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, Edith Holden: $9.00
The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope, $4.00
The Usborne Book of Science: An introduction to Biology, Physics and Chemistry, $4.00
Fandex Family Field Guides: Trees, $5.00

Maestro Classics The Tortoise and the Hare:  $5.00
The Big Book of Music Games (McGraw-Hill Children's Publishing):  $5.00

Homeschool/Parenting Helps
Soundbites from Heaven (Focus on the Family):  $5.00
How to Have a H.E.A.R.T. For Your Kids (Apologia):  $5.00
The Relaxed Home School, Mary Hood, Ph. D.:  $3.00
Pocketful of Pinecones: Nature Study with the Gentle Art of Learning:  $5.00
Boys!  Shaping Ordinary Boys Into Extraordinary Men,  William Beausay II:  $1.00
Bringing Up Boys, Dr. James Dobson (hardback):  $5.00
Books Children Love: A Guide to the Best Children's Literature, Elizabeth Wilson, $5.00
Honey for a Child's Heart, Third Edition,  Gladys Hunt:  $3.00
The Heart of Anger, Lou Priolo:  $5.00
Who Should We then Read?  Jan Bloom:  $8.00

Passport to Purity, audio tapes & curriculum:  $5.00
Everyday Graces: A Child's Book of Good Manners, Karen Santorum: $15.00
I Kissed Dating Goodbye, Joshua Harris:  $1.00

Monday, June 18, 2012

When Life Hurts TOO Much - Day 7, Hope for the Weary Mom

Here we are.  It's our last day together discussing "Hope for the Weary Mom."  I have been so blessed by reading and writing about how the Lord inspired me from reading this book.  I have been encouraged to think in ways I have not thought before.  I have felt a kinship to the writers, and to those of you reading the blog posts.  I have been blessed by your comments both here on the blog and on Facebook.  I'm always happy to have more Facebook friends, so please find me there!  Thank you for reading my ramblings.  Maybe they were not what you wished for.  Maybe they were not what you expected.  But thank you for your time, none the less.

And, so, we end our journey "When Life Hurts TOO Much."  So many things ran through my mind as I read this chapter.  I remember a summer two years ago when The Big Dog tore his achilles tendon.  Although we saw God's hand in the process, that summer was one trial and challenge after another trial and challenge.  Not only did he tear the tendon clean, there was a need for surgery, then he passed two large blood clots through his heart into his lungs and spent a few days in Intensive Care.  Then there were all the resulting doctor's visits and surgery follow-ups. They found sleep apnea while in Intensive Care, so there were sleep-studies and doctor's visits from that.  The Big Dog tore his right achilles this time (he had torn the left one a few years prior) so I had to drive all of us everywhere.  The church we had been attending for two years was ignoring us.  There was not offer of support.  But family and friends were very supportive and faithful.  And during all that there were multiple large car-repair bills that just happened during this time of trial.  Oh, and then during our annual chimney/fireplace inspection we were told that there were cracks in our chimney and we need thousands of dollars of repairs.  Oh yeah, and our dog tried to bite the chimney guy...  At one point, I remember sitting on my kitchen floor alone, in tears, looking to God.  And I told Him He was mean.

I wasn't walking away.  I wasn't losing faith.  I knew He was there.  I just wanted Him to bail me out.  I just wanted Him to make the trials stop.  I loved our reading today, but one sentence out of them all spoke to me so sharply:
But if we only follow Him because of what He does, there will come a time when we feel like He doesn't.
Ouch.  That was me two summers ago.  And it WAS a cross-roads.  I had to examine why I was serving God.  Why do I love Jesus?  And it all boils down to the cross.  I serve and love God because He gave up His Son for me.  I love Jesus because He went to the cross for me.  Willingly.  He knew what He was doing.    But He did it anyway.  And I'm not worth it.  I'm not.  I'm a repeat sinner.  I am sometimes a hopeless case. But His salvation gives me Hope.

Two years after our summer of great trial, I see God's finger-prints ALL over that summer.  I was closer to Him that ever.  He performed miracles all summer long.  The big one was saving The Big Dog's life when those very large clots passed THROUGH his heart.  Had they lingered, I would be a widow.  Then, after spending half a week in Intensive Care, The Big Dog quit chewing tobacco/snuff for good.  He had chewed since age 16.  He hasn't chewed in three years.  At the end of that summer of trial, I was offered a job with a Christian Homeschooling company where I could work from home doing something I love with lovely people.  The extra money helped us to make up the expenses we had incurred over the summer.  And I see God more in our lives going forward from that time.  I drew closer to Him over that summer.  The trials made me cling to Him more.  It was a blessing.  It is a blessing.

And so, how have your trials blessed you?  Maybe you're going through one right now.  Can you see a blessing in it right now?  Sometimes that's really hard.  So let's start with prayer.  We've done this before.  You tell me how to pray and I'll pray.  Let's start with that blessing.  I will promise to pray.

During today's chapter, the author says,
But the question that always stops me is this:  if I turn away from Jesus, where will I go?
That was another sentence/question that made me stop dead in my tracks as I was reading.  Once you truly, truly, know Jesus as your savior and feel God's presence in your life, how could you walk away?  Where would you go?  It seems to me that everything else would fall short.

We are walking together.  So let's walk together today.  Talk to me.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sometimes It Takes an Altar - Chapter 6 of Hope for the Weary Mom

One of the burdens I had as the boys were growing was how will I teach them grace?  I mean, it's such a hard thing to understand, and our T-bone is a justice boy.  It's all about right and wrong, black and white.  How will he ever understand grace?  But the truth is, they have extended more grace to me than I can ever make them understand.  They know grace inside of them.  They don't need a lesson on it.  I scream.  They forgive.  I misunderstand.  They forget.  They are walking brown-eyed grace-machines.  And I never had to teach it to them.  They just love me and out of that love, I get the grace I need to keep being their mommy.  How did that happen?

I've always wanted an altar in our home.  I remember reading Robin Hood to the boys years ago and there was a section about Middle Ages estates in England.  Many of them had little churches right on their property.  I thought then, how cool it would be to have a little sanctuary right here at our house.  At a nearby amusement park there is a little white church, no bigger than a bicycle shed.  It is air conditioned.  When you walk in from the hot asphalt lined park, it is a cool respite from the heat.  There is a large bible at the front and two rows of benches lining the side.  I always want to linger in that little church/shed, not only for the cool, but also for the calm.

So I guess I don't need a church on our property.  I guess I just need to find a time of cool and calm in our day.  That can be anywhere around the house.  It's not the location, but the time.  Time for me to pour my heart out to God and then shut-up and let Him pour His heart into me.  I wrote to you a couple days ago about those verses in Matthew, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest."  (Matthew 11:28-30)  The thing is that we have to come to Him.  He doesn't care where.  Yes, He uses altars.  I have spent a lot of time at the altar seeking His face.  But He also uses kitchen tables, sofas, porch swings, closets, beds, and bathroom floors.  We just have to come.  He provides the rest.

So, on this day of worship, where is your favorite place to come to Jesus?  How do you arrange your day so that you have time to come and meet with Him?  What challenges do you have to finding an altar every day? Let's talk.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

When You Just Want to Give Up - Day 5 of Hope for the Weary Mom

Today, I need to tell you a story about another mom of a teenage daughter.  This was her third child, so she was not a new mom, but this girl was a challenge.  She was stubborn and bullheaded.  In her desperate desire to have people like her in high school, she befriended "different" girls.  These girls were odd.  It made the mother nervous.  But it made the mother more nervous to see her daughter change who she was to be with these girls.  The mother disciplined what she could, but mostly she prayed.  Then the daughter left for college.  She was always a straight-A student.  She never struggled academically.  But in under two years, she was on academic probation.  She wasn't a bad girl, but in her desire for people to like her, she chose friends over studying.  And the mother prayed.  Being stubborn, the girl didn't learn the lesson she needed to learn and she failed out of college.  The girl who just two years before had walked off of her high school graduation stage laden with accolades had failed out of college.  What was the mother's response when the girl called in tears and said, "Mom I didn't do it.  I failed out."?  Well, the mother simply said, "God must have a different plan for you."  And she prayed.

I'm the daughter.  My mom prayed me through the most difficult times in my life.  Did she get weary?  She HAD to.  But I never asked her if she tired of praying me out of my jams.  And yet I have no doubt at all that she did pray me out of my jams.  And mom didn't have the support of a world of other moms of teens.  She couldn't do a book study with a hundred other moms who were struggling to maintain their energy in this challenging time of parenting.  She just had Jesus.  And she and He met regularly, over me.  She had to grow so weary.  "Here I am again, Lord.  It's Lori Lynn again Lord."

I wish we could all fast forward and see our children in the future God has planned for them.  My mom would see that even though I didn't complete college to be a math teacher, I did become a teacher of our sons.  Maybe it would give her a bit of peace when she was praying for that 20-year-old girl who really had no direction.

In Mark 11, Jesus was hungry.  He found a fig tree, but when he looked for fruit he didn't find any.  So he cursed the fig tree.  The next day, He and the disciples passed the fig tree and it was withered.  When Peter pointed out the withered tree to Jesus and reminded Him of what He did, Jesus did something strange.  He spoke to His friends about the power of their prayers.  First, He says simply, "Have faith in God." Mark 11:22)  Then in verse 24 He tells the disciples, and you, and me, "Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Does anyone else think that's an odd thing to speak about after seeing a withered tree?  Here's the thing.  We have the power to wither the tree.  Jesus was telling His disciples that they have the power through their faith to do something just as powerful as wither a fig tree.  Jesus didn't wither the tree because He was the Son of God.  He withered the tree because He believed in God.  We have the power to wither the tree.  We have the power to pray our teenagers through a rough patch.  And Jesus is telling us that it's simple, all we have to do is, "Have faith in God."

Some days, though, the faith part is the tough part.  And that's why there are these cool mom's writing books about Hope for the Weary Mom.  And that's why they have Facebook groups just to encourage Christian mom's.  And that's why God lead me to have my blog.  So, let's use it.  Why are you weary?  How can we all pray in support.  Let's be each other's Aaron and Hur (Exodus 17).  We will lift each other up in prayer.  Sometimes, like the author of today's chapter, we are just to weary to continue to battle on our knees for teens.  So, let us battle for you for a while.  How can we pray?

Friday, June 15, 2012

You Can't Live at the Spa - Chapter 4 of Hope for the Weary Mom

I'm sick.  Our T-bone had it last week, and we're a family that shares everything, so...  Today's reading is very timely for me.  In today's chapter, the author talks about being tired and weary.  She talks about being poured out.  That's how I feel today especially.  And yet, there is still laundry to be done, a kitchen to be straightened and meals to be prepared.  The beauty of having teenagers is that they can do a lot more for themselves.  If I tell them what's available in the kitchen, then they can get their own breakfast and lunch.  But there are some things a momma just wants to do for her family, and today, I don't have a lot of energy to do anything.

So, I am the epitome of the weary momma today.  My pitcher is poured out.  But it occurs to me that there is only One that was able to make a pitcher of oil last many days (I Kings 17:16).  So if I need my poured-out pitcher to be refilled, I need to look to the Lord for my filling.  He wants to be my sustenance, and yet, so often I look to other stuff for filling and refreshing.  I look to food when I'm not hungry, but feel exhausted.  I go to hobbies and interests, or *gasp* facebook, and friends to fulfill my needs when what I really need is to tap into the One Source of comfort and sustenance that really fills!  I need time in the word.  I need quiet time to talk to God.  I need praise and worship.  All these things are what TRULY sustains us.

And, so, I'm going to keep today's post short and sweet.  Talk to me about finding sustenance in the Lord.  Tell me about what you do when you need that extra boost after an exhausting time of being a teenage boy momma.  Talk to me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Beer and Cigarettes - chapter 3 of Hope for the Weary Mom

This title made me smile.  And her opening story made me giggle a bit.  I shared it with our teenage boys and they were laughing. But I was reminded of my childhood, too.  Whenever I came home from school and asked my mom what she did that day, she would say, "Smoke cigarettes and drank beer."  Of course, my mommy doesn't smoke or drink beer.  The answer should have been, "Clean, do laundry, and cook for you!"  Alas, the sarcasm apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Truthfully, I could relate to the writer of this chapter.  I, too, have "those" boys.  They have ALWAYS been incredibly active.  Truthfully, I never wanted to discipline that out of them.  I know other moms and family members thought I should, but they learned so much because they were curious and active.  And their little personalities were so vibrant.  I just couldn't discipline the activity out of them.  I did feel embarrassed sometimes by their antics.  I did get angry out of that embarrassment.  I did feel like the writer in today's chapter. But now, at 15 and 13, I'm so glad I didn't discipline the activity and curiosity out of our boys.  They are gregarious, interested, and hysterically funny.  Most days, they are a total joy to be around.  So my advice to this broken mama of highly active baby boys is, "Hang in there!"  "It DOES get better!"  "Let them be who God made them to be."

As I continued to read through the chapter, I thought about a time before children.  I was in a bathroom stall at a job I didn't enjoy.  We were hoping to get pregnant and that didn't seem to be happening.  I was concerned about LOTS of areas in our lives and the lives of family and friends.  So I took all my burdens to the bathroom.  I sat in the stall crying out to God about all my burdens, when I felt His voice in my heart saying, "Trade Ya'!"  My heart took me to Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV):
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
He wanted to take my burdens and give me His because His was light.

How many times have you held your son or daughter's literal burdens?  I learned early to bring an empty tote bag with me whenever we go out for any amount of time.  Our boys always accumulate things:  neat rocks, bottle caps, papers, you name it.  All those treasures are handed to me with a "Mommy, will you hold this?"  I gladly take their burdens so they can continue to seek more treasure.

And that's why God wants to take our we can seek more treasure.  Our burdens weigh us down.  Our burdens make our steps heavier and keep our eyes from seeking the joy in life.  But the Lord wants them.  He wants to take our burdens.  The burden He gives us in exchange is full of Joy, Beauty, and Praise (Isaiah 61:3).  Now that's a burden I want to carry.

In our chapter today, the writer encourages us to embrace and admit our weakness.  As our boys rapidly approach college and career age, my weakness is HUGE!  Oh, Lord, how can I ever prepare them for all they will face in this cruel, competitive world?  Oh, Lord, when will You reveal your plan for them?  Oh, Lord, what can I do to keep them pure in this vile society?  Oh Lord...I am weak.  Oh Lord...I don't know what to do.  Oh Lord...  I think sometimes we think that these cries end as the children age.  They don't end.  They just change.  As toddlers, I cried out for their physical lives.  Much later in life I am crying out for their spiritual lives, but there is still the concern for their physical safety.  I am not equipped for this.  I can't keep them safe.  I can't sit beside them and encourage right choices.  I am a clay vessel.  And God knows it.

So, He trades me because His burden is light.  He gives me beauty for the ashes in my burden.  He gives me the oil of Joy for my mourning.  He gives me a garment made of praise in His burden, for my spirit of heaviness in mine.  And His burden doesn't weigh a thing!

And now, let's trade a bit of encouragement and prayer here today.  How can we share each other's burdens?  Is there weakness you need to admit?  How can I pray for you?  Let's talk!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Measuring Up - Chapter 2, Hope for the Weary Mom

Yardsticks.  Rulers.  Tape measures.  We have lots of measuring devices around the house.  Scales.  Thermometers. They measure things too.  We have devices everywhere that can tell you the length of something, take a temperature, or guess your weight.  And we rely on these things all the time.  We rely on the temperature gauge in our refrigerator and oven to keep food at a certain coolness or hotness.  We rely on the yard stick or tape measure when measuring the stature of our children.  Those measures are true and consistent.

So, what measures are you using that aren’t true and consistent?  Let me give you some examples of what I mean… “Susie is a working mom.  She must think I do nothing all day because I’m a stay at home mom.  I need to show her that I am just as busy and productive as she is.”  Or “Debbie is a stay at home mom and I’m a working mom.  I need to prove to her that I have just as good a relationship to my children as she does.”  How about, “Look how nice Dora’s house is!  I’m a horrible housekeeper.  Ok, mental note, I need to go home and clean the house from top to bottom and THEN invite Dora over for coffee.  She can’t see my house as it is right now!”  Finally, “Look how fit and trim Mary Ann is!  I need to start walking so I can look as good as she does.” 

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? We do it all the time.  Women, especially, compare themselves to everyone around us.  It’s painful and it’s exhausting because God didn’t make us to be Susie, Debbie, Dora, or Mary Ann.  He made me to be Lori Lynn.  He made you to be Gina, or Holly, or Tammy, or Brenda.  NOT Lori Lynn and certainly not Susie, Debbie, Dora, or Mary Ann.

And yet, we want to be like those other people in some ways don’t we? That’s what comparisons are all about.  In today’s chapter, the writer wanted to be that woman standing  in her kitchen judging her cleanliness.  Even though the judgment was painful, she wanted to be the cleaner version of herself.   We want to be thin like Mary Ann, or clean like Dora.  We don’t want to be Lori Lynn, sitting in the middle of our messes, with too much to do and not enough time.  But here’s a little tip for you:   those other people who we think have it all together, have areas in their lives where they don’t measure-up too.  We all have shortcomings.  We all have places where we feel we don’t measure up.  That neighbor you have who always seems to have time to serve in the community, is struggling to relate to her child.  That person sitting across the aisle from you at church who has a perfectly ironed dress and beautifully done hair every Sunday, had to step across a mountain of laundry to get out the door.  We all have messes.  We all have areas in our lives that leave room for improvement.  You just can’t always see them.

Confession #2 of our seven-day journey towards hope:  I am a horrible housekeeper.  When our Big Mac was born, nearly 15 years ago, it was pressed upon me that he was going to be my mission.  I felt God telling me that I was to invest my time in our boys for whatever length of time I had them.  Our baby was my 20 inch yard stick to measure how to spend my time, and energy.  Today, my yardsticks are like 71 and 69 inches long.  But nothing has changed.  My main focus in this house is to be mommy.  If I'm needed, I'm there.  If they want to show me their house in Minecraft, I'm there.  If they want me to watch them play a video game, I'm there!  If they want to talk about a recent conflict they are trying to resolve, I’m there.  Teenagers need you just as much as they did when they were small children, they just need you differently and on their time-schedule.  I find that if I try to manufacture a great heart-to-heart talk with one of our guys, it doesn’t happen.  But if I wait until one of them comes to me and says, “Let’s talk” then it is always a fantastic conversation.  I just need to be available when they need me.  And if that means forgoing the laundry for another hour, well the laundry will have to wait.

So, who’s your yardstick?  Are you measuring yourself against Susie down the street?  Stop that.  Let’s look at Deuteronomy 25:13-15.  Here’s the KJV:
Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small.But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have:  that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
And here’s the Lori Lynn translation:
Don’t compare yourself to others when you are out of the house.Don’t compare yourself to others when you are inside the house.You have the perfect measurement.  He lives in your heart.  His name is Jesus.  And He has called you to this time right now to do this thing that you are doing.  He gave you these teenagers.  He gave you this home.  He is your true and perfect measurement.  And if you look to Him for how you measure up, He will give you what you need to keep going.

And so finally, here’s my philosophy of home-keeping, for whatever it’s worth:
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; - Colossians 3:23
When I have time to clean, I clean “whatever my hand finds to do.” (Ecclesiastes 9;10)  That may mean swiffering the kitchen, or scrubbing the tub.  It doesn’t happen on a schedule, and it doesn’t always happen at all.  But I am keeping open-time in my day for the important relationships in my life.  I am staying present in the moment because our boys will not be with us much longer.  Let’s face it, mom’s, our teenagers are in count-down mode, before we know it they will be heading to college or the work-force.  Let’s be available now, when we are needed.  We’ve got teen-sized measuring sticks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gentle Words. Chapter 1 of Hope for the Weary Mom.

Last Winter, Big Mac told me that I am never encouraging to him when he shoots archery.  I couldn’t believe my ears!  When he shoots I always say, “Good job!”  Or “Well done!”  How could he say that I never encourage him?  But then I really thought about my words.  When he tells me about his scores I do say “Good job.”  But then I add, “But, I’d love to see you have more X’s.”  Or I say, “That’s great!  But you could be a solid 580 shooter.”  As I examined my responses to his shooting, I realized that he never heard the praise at the beginning because I always followed up with criticism.  He didn’t hear, “Good job.”  He heard, “You could do better.” 
And so, I’m singing a new tune.  What I realized was that Big Mac didn’t need my critiques.  He knows how to shoot.  He knows what a good score is.  He has goals for himself and he works hard at his archery.  He needs me to tell him he is doing well.  He doesn’t need me to tell him where he falls-short.  He knows where he falls short.
It is the same in life.  I do not need to be our boys’ Holy Spirit.  I want to be.  I want to remind them to make better choices and watch their words.  I want to point out their sin.  Maybe I don’t want to be their Holy Spirit, but I want to help the Holy Spirit do His job!  And yet, I am sure of the boys’ salvation.  So I know that Jesus is working in their lives.  I need to let Him do His job.  If I want the boys to hear God’s call in their lives, I need to stop talking so they can listen.  In my effort to be their spiritual guide, I may be preventing them from hearing the real Guide in their lives.
As our guys are barreling through their teen-years, I am convicted that my days of dictating their every move are over.  They are becoming young men.  I both love and hate this time in their lives because they are still at home with us, so I have some input, but they are testing the waters of adulthood in ways I can’t control.  And for that, they don’t need mommy telling them what to do.  It’s kind of a treacherous time, too.  While they are trying to figure out who they will be as adults, I am trying to figure out who I will be as the parent of young-adult men.  The teen years are tough.  I wouldn’t go back and do them for all the money in the world.  But, at the same time, it is difficult to figure out who to be as a parent of teen’s.  Our roles as parents change.
So maybe, my role is to return to my high school years and be their cheerleader.  Speaking encouragement works all over the place and not just on the archery range.  I am trying to take the “but” out of my sentences.  Instead of, “You are a fine young man, but your room is a mess.”  How about, “You are a fine young man!”  They know their room is a mess.  They live in it. 
In our chapter this morning from “Hope for the Weary Mom” the authors mention that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.  Romans 2:4 in the KJV says, “the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”  If that is a promise in God’s word, and it is, then we can believe it in our families.  We can speak kindness and encouragement and let God lead them to the repentance He wants.  I spent some time in Psalm 145 this morning.  Want to linger there with me?  All of the Psalm is excellent, but let’s close with verses 18-20a: 
 “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him:  He also will hear their cry, and will save them.  The Lord preserveth all them that love Him…”
If it is our cry to become encouragers and make our words gentle, then the Lord is near.  If we truthfully want to have relationships to our teens that will show them their path to Jesus, then the Lord will preserve that relationship.  Those are promises moms!  Promises for us!  Let’s believe that today. 
Let’s start the conversation this morning:  How do we focus on encouragement?  How do we turn our speech from correction-mode to one of encouragement?  How do we sit back and let Jesus direct their lives?  What has worked for you as you navigate those teen-years?  How have you changed your speech-patterns and your relationship to your teens to allow them to hear God more clearly and see you as a partner in faith?  And what do you do if you are not sure that your children are saved?  Do your words become different if you are not sure that they are hearing the conviction of the Holy Spirit?
I anxiously await your comments.  Let’s talk.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Hope for the Weary Mom Winner

We have a winner!  I wanted to post this last night, but our weekend got the best of me.  So I'm telling you all this morning that PKerby won the giveaway of the Hope for the Weary Mom e-book.

Our study starts tomorrow.  Are you ready?  All you need to do is get the e-book, Hope for the Weary Mom by Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin.  Then come back here every day from tomorrow, Tuesday, June 12, 2012 to next Monday, June 18, 2012 to discuss one chapter a day.

That's it.  It's just a seven-day commitment.  Seven days of encouragement from God's word, and from other mom's who are walking the same path you are.  Sounds good to me!  Who's with me?

The Big Dog's Favorite Breakfast

I thought I'd share one of our favorite recipes with you.  This is the breakfast that The Big Dog asks for on every special occasion.  Since Father's Day is just around the corner, and I'm sure I'll be making Corned Beef Hash, I thought I'd share it with you.

We originally saw this recipe on Food Network's Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee.  This is NOT the corned beef hash you get from a can.  It uses corned beef lunchmeat, which I, sometimes, have a hard time finding in our rural location, but it is definitely worth finding for this hearty breakfast.

Give it a try, it is definitely a favorite among EVERYONE in our house!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Physics for sale!

I love the Christians explore series. I highly recommend this series for upper elem. or early jr high. I have a copy of christian kids explore physics plus all the quizzes on cd ready for printing. I would like $20 plus shipping. Let me know if you are interested!

Slip Stitch Scarf - Funky

I have made a couple of these now.  They are a REALLY quick to crochet and they're kind of funky and cool. Here are the results.  If you have even minimal crochet skills, you CAN make one of these.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hope for the Weary Mom of Teenagers

There's tired.  And then there is weary.  Do you know what I mean?  I lack sleep, and I'm tired.  I am battling to keep a good attitude.  I am battling to keep our teenage sons in a good attitude...and I'm weary.  I know weary.  And I know, if you are a mom of teens, you have felt weary too.  That's why I was so excited to be given the opportunity to be an "Ambassador of Hope" and lead a discussion of the book "Hope for the Weary Mom" right here on my blog.

We are going to talk about finding Hope for the Weary Mom of Teenagers right here at An Eclectic Life. And I would so love for you to be part of the conversation.

Next week, from June 12 to the 18th (Tuesday through Monday) we will be discussing the book "Hope for the Weary Mom" by Stacey Thacker and  Brooke McGlothin and how it pertains to us, the mothers of teenagers, right here on my blog.  We will read a chapter a day and then I will post my questions and concerns here.  I would love it if you would participate with me.  If you are a mom of teenagers, then let this be the place you come from June 12th to the 18th to get refreshed.  Let's learn from each other.  We can provide each other with encouragement, support, and maybe even some new ideas about how to maneuver through the challenges of raising teenagers.

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Get a copy of Hope for the Weary Mom.  I have been linking to the Kindle version throughout this blog post.  It's only $.99!  That's not a huge investment for a TON of encouragement. OR you can win a copy by leaving me a comment on this post!  See more about that below.
  2. Read one chapter a day beginning with chapter 1 on Tuesday, June 12th.  There are 7 chapters and we will be discussing a new chapter each day.
  3. Come back to An Eclectic Life from Tuesday June 12th through Monday June 18th and be part of the conversation as we talk about the chapter we read.  I'm praying for lots of give and take each day in the form of comments to each blog post as we work toward hope in our weariness together.  I will be replying to comments and I would encourage you to do the same!

And that's it!  It's only a seven-day commitment.  The chapters are not lengthy.  The subject matter relates directly to you and I and our lives.  And we're all moms of teens here, so we can all relate to each other on that level.  Want to join me?  I know it will be edifying and we will come away inspired.  Let's do it!

Contest Alert!  Before you go out and buy a copy of the e-book, would you like to win one instead?  I have one PDF copy of Hope for the Weary Mom to give to one blessed reader.  Will it be you?  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post.  Any comment will do.  But I'd love to hear that you are going to join me in this 7-day encouragement experiment!  On Sunday, June 10, at 6 PM EST, our contest will close and the boys and I will pick a winner at random.  You will receive your e-book with plenty of time to prepare for the beginning of the study on Tuesday, June 12.  

Get your copy of Hope for the Weary Mom today.  Put it on your eReader, read it on your PC, or print it out.  (It's only 35-pages.)  And begin with me on chapter 1 on Tuesday, June 12th.  I can't wait to meet you here at An Eclectic Life and talk about being the mom of teenagers.  Won't you join me?  Let's find Hope for the Weary Mom!

And if you are NOT a mom of teenagers, there are lots of other groups from which you can choose.  I know you will find a group that fits you perfectly.  Check them out here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sideways Scarf - A Recipe

1 pair-size 10.5 circular knitting needles, 36" long
1 zip loc bag full of yarn scraps
More yarn scraps

1.  With first ball of color, cast on 210 stitches leaving a 10" tail at the beginning and a 10" tail at the end, cutting off this yarn after casting on.  
2.  Pick up another color that is completely different from the one you casted-on and, leaving a 10" tail, begin knitting.  Knit across the row.  Leave a 10" tail and cut off this color yarn.  
3.  Repeat step 2 until you have a scarf the width that you desire.  Alternating colors and textures to get a funky fun scarf.
4.  Hang the scarf from a person, hanger, or dress dummy so that the edge is parallel to the floor.
5.  Cut the fringe so it's all the same length.
6.  Wear with pride!

If you don't knit, or don't want to try this, this scarf is coming to an Etsy shop near you soon! 

It all began with this:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Field Trip Friday - Army Heritage Trail

Several weeks ago we met friends at the Army Heritage Trail in Carlisle, PA.  We have visited this site a few times going to their encampments and reenactments.  But this wasn't a special day, other than the friends we spent our time with.

This site is so unique.  You walk a level gravel path touring sites that represent different periods of war in which the US was involved.  We were at a WWI barracks; a WWII bunker, a civil war log-hut,  helicopters and tanks from lots of different time periods, and other structures built and used throughout history.  You walk the path and then explore these buildings and equipment as you walk.  There were lots of things for the boys to walk into, or climb on.  There was even an obstacle course for all the boys to try out.  It's a great way for boys to burn-off steam and learn a bit about military history.  And we all know that most boys enjoy a war.

Here are a few pics from our trip.  If you want to see more, friend me on Facebook, I've got an album!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Good Idea - Using the IPod in the Car

Our car is older.  We don't have a stereo system where you can connect your iPod and hear the music.  Our Big Mac LOVES music.  We do listen to the radio, but sometimes we just want to hear specific songs that he had on his iPod.  We recently stumbled upon a fabulous idea that works wonders and we want to share it with you.

If you, like us, can't plug your MP3 player into the car stereo but want to listen to music on the iPod, try placing the player into the arm rest of the car.  The sound comes out of the bottom of the iPod, and is bounced out into the car by the bowl-shape of the arm rest.  It really works!  We are able to listen to Big Mac's music and sing along as we travel down the road.

Give it a try!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Sketch A Day

Instead of a formal art class this year, we tried something different.  Each day when I was reading our read-aloud to the boys, they drew something in a sketchbook.  I bought sketchbooks for them at our craft store and they kept them in their lessons boxes.  Sometimes they drew from memory.  Sometimes they drew something in the room.  Sometimes they got onto the ipods and found a picture to draw.

I came up with the idea when I saw a sketch-a-day journal at a book store.  I almost bought this journal, but thought, why not get a sketch book and let the boys draw each day?  When they were younger they filled sketch books with their ideas and creations.  We had gotten away from that somewhat, so I was anxious to get back to it.

Well, our sketch-a-day experiment was a great success.  There were some days when the boys weren't very inspired, but we are now on our second sketchbooks for this year and they have even gotten back to sketching in their free times when the inspiration strikes them.  Below are two of their sketches.  The first is Big Mac's drawing of our dog, Favor.  The next is T-Bone's drawing, with color!  I love them both. (the boys and the sketches!)

This has been a great way to incorporate art and creativity into our day, without a lot of instruction that sometimes squelches creativity.  Give a sketch-a-day a try!