Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Glimpse of our Week...

We started our week in a bit of a downward spiral. Remember our Day-O-Fun? Well it ended very late Friday night with all three kids piled into my bed. Daddy was away for 7 days.

That is 7 consecutive, 24-hour periods without a Daddy. No husband. My deadbolt checking, trash-takin' (not talkin'....most days), car-pool drivin', hard-workin', best friend person who lives here. He was gone and last Friday night was our first night flying solo.

So the kids and I consoled one another in the big bed until....ummm..about 3:30 a.m.

That was when Samuel began to whine and kick violently about how hungry he was and how he wanted some milk.

Now you might think that this problem could have been solved swiftly with a cold glass of milk and a pat on the back. But I am wise.

I am wise to the ways of my four-year old boy and his need for MIIIILLLKKK in the middle of the night. It means one thing and only one thing.

The "Fro-ups" are on their way.

I prayed. I whimpered. I curled up in a ball and pretended everything would be okay while he tossed and turned and begged for liquid.

I gave him a tiny drink of water, prayed for the best, but prepared for the worst.

Just about the time I was dreaming about some far-off rumbling in the forest, I realized that the rumble was coming from my son and was followed by a loud belch.

And here's where I put my many years of "Fro-up" experience to work....

Grab boy. Carry him by the waist (body facing outward). Swing him round and round my bedroom in the dark because at the very moment someone begins to throw-up I lose all sense of direction.


Okay. Figured that out. Managed to contain most (most is not all) in the bathroom or in my hands (again...only the experts can handle this kind of multi-tasking) and I shouted to the girls (who were in a coma) to GET OUT MY ROOM, SANITIZE YOUR HANDS, AND GO BACK TO BED.

Samuel and I spent the rest of the wee morning hours waiting for the next episode of the "Fro-ups" but mercifully it only came once more. The most difficult part of that session was trying to convince him to actually wake-up during the process because it made the whole situation much less messy.

Who sleeps while they are throwing up?

Here is my recipe for killing the stomach virus. It may not work for everybody, but I am telling you that our track record is quite astounding. No virus has every stayed in this house (in one body) for more than 12-24 hours.

I starved him for a solid 5-6 hours (most of that was sleeping time). No liquid whatsoever and then a tablespoon of Sprite (or pear concentrate juice from the can) once every 20 minutes. After a few doses and no spewing I introduce one salty cracker.

Oh, the joy from that one little cracker.

Remember, not two crackers. Just one. I continue the Sprite but in very small increments (like 1/4 cup) and I space it out by about 20 minutes adding a saltine here and there. After two hours of this kind of torture I am hopeful that the child will be exhausted and be ready for a nap. That buys a couple of more hours of stomach rest and by the time they wake up I can usually introduce a small glass of sprite with a couple of crackers and based on all that scientific evidence I decide whether the child can actually have food or not.

If any Fro-ups occur during this process, I start the whole thing over.

Samuel was eating and back to normal by the end of the day.

Thank you Jesus.

We stayed home from church Sunday morning just to be sure, because the "Fro-up" disclosure is a big deal around my circle of friends and we just don't take chances like that.

When another child sits next mine and says, "Oh, yeah and pray for me cause I threw up this morning at breakfast!"

Well...it does not evoke the love of Christ in my heart, I'll tell you that much.

O.K., so we were better and able to gather together for our Fall Fellowship at Kelly's house and had a wonderful time! Hay rides, apple bobbing, horseback riding, pumpkin painting and food.

Food. Like chicken & dumplings. Hello? Is it my birthday?


Needless to say the evening was perfection. Basically, if I could have sat in a hole somewhere with the crockpot of chicken & dumplings it would have been perfection but I suppose the added bonus of fellowship didn't hurt.

We missed Daddy a bunch, but we continued on with our studies and activities. We completed our experiment on chemical reaction and made a salt-dough map of Upper & Lower Egypt.

We are in the process of having an addition built-on to our house. We made this decision after a long period of weighing the pros and cons of moving. We couldn't really justify needing more bedrooms (for the cost) because our children spend the majority of their time downstairs (especially when they are small) so we opted for this extra space. It will serve as a playroom/guestroom and will include a full bath totaling about 500 square feet. It opens up off of the homeschool room so I can stir both pots at one time. We are excited about the prospect of more room but right now the idea of a toilet in our front yard has proven to be exciting all by itself.

Samuel swears it smells like candy. He is going to be mighty disappointed once he takes a gander at what is actually inside. (he doesn't actually swear)

We went for a very long stretch without rain here in Virginia (almost two months) and wouldn't you know that the very day construction began it started to rain buckets....for days. This did not deter Samuel Mr. Incredible from trying to advance the job himself.

After a long weekend of soppy wetness, the workers showed up yesterday morning with equipment!

Oh...and Daddy is back. (big sigh)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Very Best Baked Potato Soup EVER!

This is Paula Deen's recipe so I cannot take credit for anything more than my rapid keyboard finger. I made this Saturday afternoon and the memories are still lingering today....

Baked Potato Soup

Servings: 8
Cook Time: 20 Minutes

This has got to be almost the epitome of Southern comfort food. - Paula


8 slices Smithfield Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
5 potatoes, baked, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
2 cups half & half
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup sour cream
Salt & pepper to taste (optional)

Steps: In a Dutch oven cook bacon until crisp; remove and crumble, reserve drippings.Cook onion in bacon drippings until tender; stir in flour and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

Gradually add chicken broth; cook, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly. Put in the diced potatoes, parsley, bacon and half & half; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese and sour cream.

Serving Suggestions:Garnish with cheese, bacon and sour cream.

Recipe Source: This recipe was specially prepared and created by Paula Deen for Smithfield. Recipe and photo courtesy of Smithfield, Inc.

I left out the onions and used some stored bacon grease (a little less than what 8 slices would have produced) and then used my handy-dandy bacon that you just heat up from the fridge. I love that stuff!

I also left out the parsley because I felt like it.

(did I sound like Paula?)

Enjoy :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Christians & Halloween...

I have read this article before and I have found it to be the best reflection of our thinking in regard to Halloween.

Grace to You says:

Evil spirits are no more active and sinister on Halloween than they are on any other day of the year; in fact, any day is a good day for Satan to prowl about seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). But "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). God has forever "disarmed principalities and powers" through the cross Christ and "made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through [Christ]" (Colossians 2:15).

There's another option open to Christians: limited, non-compromising participation in Halloween. There's nothing inherently evil about candy, costumes, or trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. In fact, all of that can provide a unique gospel opportunity with neighbors. Even handing out candy to neighborhood children--provided you're not stingy--can improve your reputation among the kids. As long as the costumes are innocent and the behavior does not dishonor Christ, trick-or-treating can be used to further gospel interests.

Ultimately, Christian participation in Halloween is a matter of conscience before God. Whatever level of Halloween participation you choose, you must honor God by keeping yourself separate from the world and by showing mercy to those who are perishing. Halloween provides the Christian with the opportunity to accomplish both of those things in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a message that is holy, set apart from the world; it's a message that is the very mercy of a forgiving God. What better time of the year is there to share such a message than Halloween?
You can read the entire article here.

Dress-up fun from the past....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Glimpse of our Week....

So my weekly updates are always about a week behind. That's the deal. So this update would cover what we did last week.

Emma's ankle is on the mend and Hannah's XC and field hockey games will be wrapping up in the coming weeks. Being Samuel's soccer coach has plucked my nerves been a pleasure and I will be squealing with glee so sad when it's over this Thursday.

Have you ever said, "Hey everybody, let's kick the ball!" and had "everybody" eat grass instead?

Have you ever said, "Hey guys, don't push!" and then had "everybody" shove one another with reckless abandon?

Have you ever stood in the flaming hot sun in the middle of October when it should be 20 degrees cooler and had strange children headbutt you in the pregnant stomach?

Let me introduce you to concept of preschool soccer, AKA....."Chaos with shin guards".

School is going well. I like all the curriculum that we've chosen and I've even warmed up to Shurley and her militant ways. Science and History seldom occupy the same day but I am figuring out that is what works best for us right now. Veritas History is an incredible blend of biblical & world history and we are just about to study the Unification of Upper & Lower Egypt.

I like saying that.

I am teaching (ahem)... The Unification of Upper & Lower Egypt by Pharaoh Menes.

Makes me feel like a big shot. Never mind that I misspell *Pharaoh* each and every cotton-pickin' minute I get a chance.

Anyhow, our co-op voted on what classes to offer the next six weeks and decided to do Ancient Egypt!!!! Talk about good timing :) I am not the best at "bringing history to life" so when the opportunity arises for someone else to do so, I am all but beating down their door.

With that in mind, we visited a local theater production about Jamestown, this past Friday morning. We live within driving distance of almost every big-deal historical event that took place in this country, so it isn't hard to find something of significance by way of a reenactment.

Just a few short miles from my house is the Swift Creek Mill Theater. Being over 300 years old, the theater itself holds great historical value, but they do offer wonderful children's productions as well.

We chose to see Jamestown 2007; The John Smith Water Trail...

"Thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, the Jamestown colony was established in Virginia. And Captain John Smith’s 2 ½ years in Virginia were not all spent contending with Pocahontas and Powhatan. He relentlessly explored the “faire bay” – the vast Chesapeake – creating uncannily accurate maps to guide future colonization. Follow him on his famed water trail in story and song."

It was fun, informative, and left a lasting impression on my subconscious... because I have woken up several nights this week singing about how everybody fought the Masawomaks.

With hand gestures.

These pictures were taken outside the theater with our sweet friends who we spent the day with.

I mean we spent the WHOLE day with. We had an entire vacation all wadded up into one 12-hour day and it was such crazy fun! I have been in desperate need of some spontaneity and it was carved up and hand-delivered last Friday :)

As we left the theater, I assumed we would make the next logical "mom-choice" for lunch. You know like....on the way home & cheap.

My sweet friend had other ideas. She and her family actually go and eat what they are hankerin' for....which spoke volumes of love to this pregnant momma.

Here I will interject a quick little diddy about the woes of pregnancy. I am trying very hard to not complain about what I consider the greatest blessing this side of heaven. I never want to get bogged down with a negative attitude about the small physical sacrifice of pregnancy compared to the greatness of this little miracle growing inside of me.

With that said....if heartburn were a person I would back over him with my truck several hundred times and then gouge out his eyes.


All done.

Food is not my friend these days and there is very little that appeals to me that can be found within my refridgerator. The aversion list is long and the list of "sounds good" reads something like this...

Cream of Wheat
Cream of Wheat
A glass of 2% milk and then some....
Cream of Wheat

Eating out? Without a doubt, a turkey muffaletta from Jason's Deli with some sweet tea or some waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A and some more sweet tea.

Sweet friend drove me to Jason's Deli and I ate food that made me happy. Really the day could have ended like a fairy tale right about here.

But it didn't.

We left for some fun at the bowling alley at a much nicer establishment than our last outing. We did request that we be moved away from a group of adults who were partaking in adult activities. This did not sit well with the young lady at the counter and she proceeded to tell us that we "were not supposed to care about what other people where doing around us".

We told her we are notorious for doing what we are NOT supposed to do, so could she please oblige and she did.

This is a display of love between a couple of five-year old boys (in case you were concerned)

You might think here's a good place to head home.

Well, you are wrong. We were on a roll of a full-fledged-fun-fest and it wasn't about to stop.

We managed to squeeze in some go-kart rides, a game of miniature golf, a trip to Sonic and a late night discussion on Ecclesiology & The Office.

My sweet friend is my pastor's wife and a veteran homeschooler who has answered countless questions about homeschooling and radical parenting that lines up with God's Word. She won't likely read this blog because computers make her itch. But just in case, here's my shout out to Sherry.....

Thanks for our DAY O' FUN!!! It was such a sweet blessing for me and my family. We love you guys ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2007


There are many today who regard truth and error as matters of small consequence; if a man lives rightly, they say, it matters not much what his beliefs and opinions are.

Such statements do not surprise us. Night and day are all one to a blind man, truth and error are all one to an ignorant man.

No one can value the truth except those who have been brought to know it; such have a very different estimate of it.

The Word of God says that man’s immortal soul, his eternal state, depends upon his right knowledge of the Truth.

There are certain definite doctrines, and those that hold them not are already marked out in the Scriptures as lost men.

Error is a work of such evil consequences that God commanded the Israelites that all who should propagate it should be put to death (Deut. 13).

Nor is God changed in His judgment in the New Testament; He threatens the Church at Thyatira which was infected with errors, “so I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.” (Rev. 2:22)

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Thursday, October 18, 2007

When I said I do....

Crested Butte, Colorado....a long time ago

I can't believe we are celebrating another anniversary! This year has flown by and spilled blessings in every direction. I wrote about our marriage testimony last year and if time allowed I could write for days about the many ups and downs God has seen us through.

Simply amazing.

As I was driving down the road a few days ago, I started to chuckle out loud. Being as how there was no one in the front seat with me and the car was relatively quiet, the girls (quite confused and concerned) said, "Uh, Mom....are you okay?"

I said, "Yeah, I'm just thinking about something your daddy said."

Happy Anniversary sweet husband. You are every single thing that God ever designed for me. He works through you in ways you don't even realize. I am looking forward to sharing this journey with you, making me laugh and loving me all the way!

The song on my sidebar came out the year we got married. I remember thinking (back then) that Clint and Lisa must have it going on to be able to write such a beautiful song and sing it together.

Now I realize that you have it "going on" when you can sing it.....and live it.

Christmas 2006

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mark One

Our pastor is preaching through the book of Revelation right now and the sermon on Sunday covered Revelation 3:14-22, where Jesus addresses The Church at Laodicea.

Preaching through a book of the bible means that no verse is left uncovered. There are no divisive doctrines that are skipped, in order to avoid the all-too-often expressed fear of offending seekers. Because there is complete solace in the truth that God alone transforms lives and converts sinners we (the church) can rest assured that while we are accountable for preaching the truth we are not responsible for bringing others to salvation. Salvation belongs to God.

To preach expositionally and to place God's Word central in the church should be the first priority in any church. Mark Dever lists expository preaching as the first of 9 marks of a Healthy Church.

I want to say that I first heard the phrase, expository preaching, probably five or six years ago when we attended a different church than where we are now, and I required a layman's definition then....and then again....and one more time, please.

So often it was defined as, "the way a pastor preaches when they preach through the Word" or "when a pastor preaches verse by verse". While these definitions are not false, they do not bear the complete truth of what I have come to understand as expository teaching or preaching.

Dever uses the comparison of topical preaching versus expository preaching and I think this gives a clearer view of both. Rather than muddle up his words, I'll just quote him directly (and I will probably do this a few more times for good measure).

Topical preaching- "The topical sermon begins with a particular matter that the preacher wants to preach about. Having established the topic, the preacher then assembles various texts from various parts of the Bible and combines them with illustrative stories and anecdotes....The topical sermon is not built around one text of Scripture but around this one chosen theme or idea."

Expositional preaching-"Preaching that takes for the point of a sermon the point of a particular passage of Scripture. That's it. The preacher opens the Word and unfolds it for the people of God. Expositional preaching is preaching in service to the Word.It presumes a belief in the authority of Scripture--that the Bible is actually God's Word; but it is something much more than that. A commitment to expositional preaching is a commitment to hear God's Word--not just to affirm that it is god's Word but to actually submit yourself to it."

I found myself (5 years ago) saying, "Well, doesn't our preacher do that?" I mean, he was going through the book of Ephesians. Isn't that what was meant by preaching the Word or preaching verse by verse? The difference was that he had developed a topic before choosing what passage of scripture to support that topic.

Just because a sermon is topical doesn't mean that it cannot be expositional as well, but choosing the topic before choosing the Word would the make the sermon first and foremost...topical. Dever says, "the preacher knows what he wants to say and he is going into the Bible to see what he can find to say about it."

That part was the most confusing as we were in the process of leaving our old church and finding a new one. Certainly on any given Sunday and at any given church in our area, you would find a pastor who would use the bible in his sermon and sometimes even preach through the text, verse by verse. It was not until I actually heard expositionally preaching that I understood the complete difference.

Our current church, Grace Fellowship, spent 17 months in the Book of Romans. Our pastor preached verse by verse, sometimes covering only 2 or three verses per Sunday. Truly exposing the Word of God and never avoiding the difficult doctrines of grace that are almost always glazed over from the pulpit.

Certainly man would be hard pressed to find a topic to hold fast and firm to for 17 months if it were up him. Thankfully, God's Word does not ever come up short in the way of providing wisdom, clarity, conviction, and change.

So the good about expository preaching seems obvious, but why is topical preaching not the most biblical method for churches to adhere to? Because that method is a man-driven, culture-led, congregation-pleasing method. It feeds the hunger for what either the people want to hear or what the pastor wants to say. Either way, you have sinful man trying to decipher what God wants preached. It just doesn't make sense.

Dever says, "A preacher should have his mind increasingly shaped by Scripture. He shouldn't just use Scripture as an excuse for what he already knows he wants to say....There's nothing new being added to their understanding....To charge someone with the spiritual oversight of a church who doesn't in practice show a commitment to hear and to teach God's Word is to hamper the growth of the church, in essence allowing it to grow only to the level of the pastor. The church will slowly be conformed to the pastor's mind rather than to God's mind. And what we want, what as Christians we crave, are God's words. We want to hear and know in our souls what He has said.

Now, with that said I think there are appropriate times for topical preaching and I am certain that our pastors have chosen topics for relevancy on at least a couple of occasions, but I can attest that it is the exception and not the norm.

If pastors all over this country begin to preach in an expository way, will their members head for the doors? Will their fears of "offending" be founded by a mass exodus of church attenders?


Not all those sitting in the pews or standing in the lofts or swaying in aisles have be justified by faith. Not all of those included in the head count have been converted and made alive in Christ. Their membership is really just that. Membership. But is it true communion with Holy God? A life that has been forever changed by the Lord of heaven & earth reaching down and reviving a dead heart?

If not, then certainly, God's Word... the sword of the spirit, could cause extreme discomfort in heart of the unredeemed and therefore result in offense. The scripture that I memorized for last week's catechism was from Hebrews 4:12...

"For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."

The church at Lacodicea could serve as a very accurate reflection of the church in America today. Wealthy.... therefore healthy. Large in number and in status, therefore whatever pragmatic method in place must be the right one. Jesus had a few things to say about that church:

"I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked....He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

Revelation 3:15-17 & 22

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A glimpse of our week(s)

I didn't do a very good job getting a post in last week, so this one will have to cover a multitude of happenings.

This is the box that Daddy's new *Man Chair* came in. It provided joy and entertainment for nearly 10 whole days.

And since we have mentioned the *Man-Chair*....here he is:

This one is a bit different but very close. Ours does not swivel as that would pose far too great of a temptation for Samuel. We have already had countless shouting matches civil conversations about the proper way to sit (not stand) or rock (not catapult) yourself in the said man-chair.

And to make things clear to all my lady-decorator friends....I held out for a long, long time before conceding to this chair. And what do I think about it now?

Well, I have managed to look past its poor lines and manly leather covering and see deep into the benefits of how it feels on my pregnant back.

It feels good.....very, very good.

On to more updates!

Last weekend my sweet friend "L"...."Lurker".....or Lea Ann as her mom likes to call her, came down for a quick visit. We made the most of her 24 hour stay and had the girlfriends over for food and fellowship. Unfortunately I have no photos to speak of because we were too busy stuffin' our face! I do have a couple of pics from Sonic the next day...

She bought me this iron basket thingy for my homeschool room. I love it! We will use it for school in some form or fashion.

Hannah had a big XC meet this past Wednesday against the big area rival and our girls' team won! Hannah shaved a couple of minutes off of her previous time in spite of the fact that it was still over 90 degrees here! Thankfully, the temps dropped the next day and they should stay more seasonal from now one.

Emma rolled her ankle last night at the gym and is sitting with a bag of mixed veggies on her foot right now. She has her first meet next Saturday, so time will tell if she will be up for that by then.

Last weekend, she went with the Girl Scout troop to the Goodwill for a tour of the facility. They learned about how Goodwill serves the community and loved dressing up in the wide assortment of the Goodwill bounty.

Next month, the troop will volunteer for the day at a local Goodwill by helping the volunteers and even unloading the trucks! Both she and Hannah participate in Girl Scouts through our co-op on Wednesdays and have really enjoyed it. The poster below is what the girls made as tribute to their community.

Samuel is finishing up soccer this upcoming week.

And he has completely mastered "lowercase f". Seriously, we don't have a lot of structured school time with him just yet, so please....no secret quizzes about the alphabet or such nonsense. He is far too busy saving our backyard from evil.

4-years old = the age when a saggy outline of your underwear is entirely okay.

We were finally able to find a family who could use our old upright piano, which meant we could finally order this....

The digital piano has been a dream for quite some time, especially since Hannah has really grown to love it so much. During their music lesson this week, I was upstairs with Samuel and Hannah while Emma was downstairs playing guitar when I felt the floor vibrating beneath my feet. It was Emma's turn for lessons and she was playing guitar, so obviously our music teacher was having a mighty fine time appreciating the multifaceted features of the piano. It sounded like a five-man band around here! The best part is quiet practice because of the headphone option. It makes Samuel's impromptu jam sessions so much more bearable.

I was able to finally publish this post because Chris took Samuel with him to Hannah's field hockey game this morning and I stayed here with Em. And wouldn't you know that it would be the day for Hannah's first ever goal(s)!!!! Not one but TWO goals!!! Yea Hannah!

School is still going really well and the flexibility is so awesome. Our goal this week is to spend more time in prayer and devotions as we start our day. It actually feels like Fall outside today, so I think I will pull out the rest of my decorations and make this place look ready for the harvest!