Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last week I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Cheryl Lange about home education. Cheryl produces a series of monthly Landmark CD’s on various topics relating to home schooling and asked me to record a couple with her. It was a fun time. Cheryl and I have both been homeschooling forever. In fact, we came over together on the Mayflower, as she likes to say!

Later in the week I received an e-mail sent out to her subscribers. In it she says, “Meet the amazing Robin Meadows…..” I laughed out loud when I read that!

Isn’t it funny? My kids just think I’m their MOM!

From Cheryl:
If you would like to receive not only this CD but find out how to be a part of our subscription program, please email us.
LodestarOrders@ .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Dirk and I have fond childhood memories of Halloween. We’ve talked about how we would look forward to the day, planning our costumes and anticipating going out with our family and friends trick-or-treating. Our dads would carve jack-o-lanterns a few weeks before the 31st and we’d light the candle each night in anticipation of the big day. In my small town, my parents would drop my sister and I off at one end of the block and wait for us to go door-to-door with our large brown paper bags gathering candy, popcorn balls, and other often times homemade treats. It was a fun time!

Then, when our first child was born, we would take her in her cute costume to our parents’ homes and a few others that we felt comfortable with. A few years later we began learning more about the occult and Satanism. The Christian culture of the 80’s was very fearful about the occult, and demonic activity. In our own area news stories of animal sacrifices would surface on occasion, especially around Halloween. So, we began having parties at home or going to alternative church Hallelujah Nights.

It was during this time we began to realize that while we didn’t need to be naïve about the occult and the significance of October 31 to the Satanist religion, we also didn’t need to be fearful that we were celebrating it by doing something fun. In trying to figure out what was best for our children, we had focused on what was wrong with the day instead of what was right. (And yes, I know all the arguments against observing the holiday).

You see, I’ve since figured out that everything is right about October 31. Because, this is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it! (Ps. 118:24)

Hopefully, our children haven’t been too warped by our learning curve. At least their children are enjoying the day!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Brain Surgery?

This is really a no-brainer…but I thought it would be fun to do together!
First, gather an old bath towel or some newspaper, and a damp cloth. Lay the towel or newspaper on your bed or tabletop.

Ready? Dump the contents of your purse onto the towel. Shake out your purse really well.

Discard the gum wrappers, used tissues, sucker sticks, etc.

Put notes, cards, receipts (that you didn’t put into your wallet when you received them) into a pile.

Now, take your damp cloth and wipe down the outside of your purse (unless it’s leather). Next, wipe down the inside, including pockets. Get into the corners really well. Hope you didn’t find melted lipstick like I did one time! But, if so, clean it with paper towels.

Begin placing the necessary items back into your purse. Put away or discard the remaining items.

Make note to self:

Do NOT put some of those things into my purse EVER again!
Buy myself a nice, new purse (if it’s really not cleanable).
Remember that my purse really does reveal my brain……

PS – I’ve decided to make a new chore card for myself----a reminder to clean out my purse on a regular basis. Maybe every two weeks?

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Years ago I heard it said that the inside of your purse reveals the inside of your head.

Wow! Mine was constantly full of clutter! It seems when you have young children your purse is everything from the lunch bag to the trash can. And mine could have qualified for both!

Since the time I first heard that statement, I’ve worked to keep my purse much more clean and cleaned out. And it really has helped me be a bit more organized in other areas of my life.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from experience that have helped me:

Carry a small purse.

It should hold only:

Your keys
Your cell phone
Your wallet
A lipstick
A pen and some paper
A pack of tissues (if needed)

Anything else should go into another bag. (toys, snacks, books, etc.)

If you carry a diaper bag, consider having your purse items fit inside it. Then you won’t be carrying two bags. (and losing or leaving one).

When grocery shopping, consider carrying your cash, keys and cell phone in jeans or jacket pockets. Leave your purse locked up in the car.

When the cashier gives you a receipt, put it immediately into your wallet.

When purchasing a purse, make sure there is at least one inside pocket for holding your keys. They should be placed in that pocket each time you turn off your car. (check before you get out of the car).

Carry only one or two purses per season.

Put it in the same location every time you come home.

Get ready…..tomorrow we clean out our purse!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Enduring or Embracing?(Part 2)

My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. II Cor. 12:9 –The Message

His grace is enough. Did you guess it? I know it sounds to our well-worn religious ears like an old cliché. But, it is truth and is powerful for us if we’ll accept it. (Paul knew; read his account in the surrounding scriptures). God’s grace is enough for every difficult situation we will ever go through even if it doesn’t seem like it.

You see, we all have a choice. We can buck and fight against our situations, or we can choose to embrace what God has given us. And here’s the key. We don’t receive His grace until we humble ourselves and admit that we can’t do it on our own. ( God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble. James 4:6)

Your “it” may be home educating your children. It may be dealing with a difficult child or even choosing to love your husband when he’s not so loveable. It may be your financial situation, your job, your singleness, or dealing with parents. Whatever “it” is, when we quit seeing our circumstances as obstacles to defeat or overcome, and choose to embrace them, that is when we receive His grace. It means choosing to let go, and letting Him be in control. And that’s sometimes a hard choice to make.

Interestingly, when we only endure our circumstances, they may eventually overtake us, drown us, and defeat us, while embracing can do a mighty work in our hearts.

So, if you find yourself fighting, striving and bucking against the hard things in your life, let go!

Embrace to receive His grace!

II Cor. 9:8
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.

Col 1:10-11
As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Enduring or Embracing?

I remember one day when my children were young, Dirk coming home from work, finding us all sitting in the floor crying. Even me! I was done. Done in, over-done, and un-done. I was looking for the place where mothers go to resign. I was looking past the now, and looking forward to the time when my mundane, hard days would be over. I was only enduring, but I wasn’t even doing that very well.

After settling us all down he later talked to me about a concept I’ve since used again and again.

Embracing the situation. He told me, “Robin, it’s not going to get any easier for quite a while. You’re going to have to decide to accept that and do the best you can.” My attitude needed changing.

After much complaining and gnashing of teeth, I started making the choice to accept that my days were going to be boring and uneventful-----unless I made them more fun. I was always going to be stressed and overwhelmed, unless I learned to give up and accept the fact that with all God had given me, He’d also provide a way for me to deal with it in a loving, patient manner.

As I learned to give up and give in, life got easier. Well, maybe it really didn’t, but it seemed like it.

God has given us all something that enables us to embrace every difficult situation we’ll ever encounter. You probably already know, but I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

Are you enduring or embracing?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ten Years Ago....

Yesterday’s blog got me to thinking about what life was like for me ten years ago.

Ten years ago….

I was 42.
My youngest son was three years old.
We had six children living at home.
I was teaching five children academics (16, 13, 12, 10, and 5)
I cooked meals for at least eight people each night
I did 4-5 loads of laundry daily
I worried more and cared more what other people thought
My hair was long
I had less white hair and fewer wrinkles
I still had carpet in my house

Yeah… is easier now. Hang in there! In ten (or maybe 15) years it will probably be easier for you.

OK, I can handle it….what was going on with you in 1997?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

In ten years.....

Our camping trip was so much fun! We camped at beautiful Greenleaf State Park. Friday we took a pontoon boat out on the lake for a few hours. Some of us fished. We went on walks, took naps and played. We experienced wonderful weather, great food and enjoyable conversations. Jackets were needed for the cool evenings and we stayed warm by the campfire. Our meals were yummy comfort foods like chili, grilled steaks and chicken, breakfast burritos with biscuits cooked over the campfire, and of course the requisite “smores”. The grandchildren (ages 2-8) enjoyed their time together and were so cute (I only took 433 pictures). We all agreed to camp together again next Fall Break. And the conversation the first night turned to Dirk’s usual question, “What will you be doing in ten years?”

According to the answers, in ten years……

We will have at least four more grandchildren
Two more in-laws
One son-in-law will be finishing up residency as a physician
One daughter will be educating her children at home.
One daughter will be working as an RN
One son-in-law will be working in his new career.
One son-in-law will be home from Iraq
I won’t be teaching any children at home; my youngest will have graduated from college!
One daughter will have finished writing a book and will be speaking to groups around the US
Some of our children will live out of state
My youngest son will be 23
My oldest grandchild will be 18 going to college on a rodeo scholarship
Some of us will still be happily doing what we’re doing now

I wonder what I’ll blog about when I’m 62?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Family Camping

Raising seven children didn’t allow for many vacations in the Meadows’ household. But we did go camping fairly often at various places in Oklahoma.

One year we even traveled to New Mexico for a week of camping in the mountains!

Camping is an inexpensive way to spend quality time together and make lasting memories. I do remember when the kids were young telling Dirk that camping was “doing the same thing I always do, only harder”. It was a lot of work, but fun anyway.

This weekend, 14 members of our family are going camping! We’re loading up and going to one of our favorite Oklahoma state parks.

Some of our favorite things to do include:

Nature Scavenger Hunts
Sitting around the camp fire (one of Dirk’s favorite questions to ask is “Where do you see yourself in ten years?”
Roasting marshmallows and hot dogs

Camping together gives you time to focus on each other without the normal distractions of life. It’s time well spent!

What are your camping experiences?
Where do you like to camp?

PS – I still get out my “Camping List” found in my Household Notebook.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Last week we left the TV on after the news and Oprah’s late show came on. Her guest that day was Jennifer Seinfeld (Jerry’s wife). She was sharing about her new cookbook, Deceptively Delicious. She steams vegetables, purees them, and then adds them to foods that her kids will eat. For example, she uses pureed butternut squash and mixes it into macaroni and cheese. A great idea for adding nutrition and fiber to her kids’ diets. You can read more about it at my new friend’s blog here or at Jennifer’s blog here.

BUT DON’T TRY WHAT I DID!! Previously, I’ve successfully added minced or blended fresh vegetables to things like meatloaf and even spaghetti sauce. In keeping with Jessica’s idea this week, I decided to add some nutrition to my spaghetti sauce. It’s not unusual for me to add onions, garlic, peppers, and even wheat bran to canned spaghetti sauce before I cook it. But this week, I only had tomato juice. So, I added an onion (red), a pepper, several cloves of garlic, some fresh basil and oregano from the garden, and on a “healthy whim” added a large handful of fresh spinach to the blender jar full of tomato juice. I covered it, and turned it on, and the previously red tomato juice turned …….an awful shade of muddy brown! Duh! What was I thinking? Being the frugal person that I am, I decided to go ahead and add the sauce to my already browned ground beef. Interestingly, the sauce was the same shade as the ground beef! I simmered it for about an hour. It looked a bit better. It smelled really good and tasted great! Some of my family came through the kitchen wondering what we were eating for dinner that evening.

“What is that, Mom?”

“It’s spaghetti,” I’d answer.

“It doesn’t look like spaghetti…”
They were right....

Guess what? When we sat down for dinner, everyone enjoyed the meal! Covered with plenty of grated parmesan cheese, it didn’t even look so bad! The dish has since been lovingly entitled “Spin-ghetti”.

And my picky eater, Kody ate spinach without even realizing it!

I think Jessica is on to something here. I just need to learn to color coordinate better!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Crisis? No Way!

Yeah, my husband got a motorcycle.

A younger friend made the comment, “Oh, a mid-life crisis!”

I have to admit, that put me a little on the defensive. I didn’t say anything, but got to thinking about it later.

Why does a 54 year old man getting a brand new Honda VTX 1300 cruiser have to be having a crisis? This is the same man who sold his first motorcycle when our first child was born so we could buy a second car. It’s the same man who has owned his own business for over 30 years, helped me raise seven children, allowed me to stay home with them, and has been married to me for 34 years!

I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis! I call it a CELEBRATION!! Yea!!

And riding on the back is a LOT of fun!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It Was One of Those Days......

It was one of “those” days. It started off okay, but from there everything just went downhill. There seemed to be interruption, after interruption. Neither of the boys seemed to be able to focus on their schoolwork. I was getting a headache. One that
starts in your shoulders and keeps moving up until your head is pounding. Stress! But, we kept pressing on. Must get that schoolwork done!

Next, it was time to go over the science the boys had just read. Fun stuff about genetics, chromosomes, and heridity. I try to make it interesting, but….., well, sometimes it’s just not. My headache was getting worse. Must press on! So, I began asking review questions from what we had just read about genetics.

“What is a fraternal twin?” I ask in my most upbeat “teacher” voice.

Jacob, 13, answers with a grin, “It’s a twin that goes to college and joins a fraternity!”

That broke the monotony for the day! We laughed a lot, tried to get back on track and my headache even lessened a bit. And then we reviewed the correct meaning of a fraternal twin.

A friend told me the other day that you retain information seven times better when you laugh!

I’ll bet my boys never forget what a fraternal twin is.

Now, if I could just think of some great spelling and grammar jokes….

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Which Are You? Carrots, Eggs, or Coffee?

An anonymous story with a great message.....enjoy!

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil.

In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she said, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the Mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich brew.

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, Mother?" Her Mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You hear the frequent horror stories of how some teenage girl ran away with a sexual predator that she met on Myspace. I believe that with a few precautions, those children and parents would never have had such a heartbreaking experience.

Myspace, Facebook and AIM instant messaging do have security measures. And with the added accountability of a family those sites can actually be safe.

Here are some precautions we take:

· “no secret” policy. I know your password you know mine. If you’re not willing to share what you are writing you will lose your privilege.

· the computer is in the living room or another public room

· myspace has private settings that only allow your approved ‘friends” to view your page or to message you

· facebook—only your approved friends can see your page and talk to you

· AIM instant messaging – you are the one to approve or deny a message

· my boys are instructed never to speak to a person they don’t know or accept them as a “friend”

· use good judgment on the sorts of things you allow others to see (don’t post your address or phone number or other personal information)

· I check my kids’ pages daily.

Do you have some good precautions to add?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Confessions of an Internet Junkie!

I’ll shamelessly admit it. I have a Myspace, a Facebook, and even a AIM instant message account.

Here’s why.

Some of my younger teens wanted to have a Myspace. So, I decided to check it out for myself.

The positives:

· I’ve learned more about my kids (even my grown ones!) and their friends than I would have ever known otherwise.
· I’ve been able to stay in touch with my friends on a different level than e-mail or phone.
· I’ve “met” some really great people from my church and other groups because of the technology
· It’s a fun way to communicate with my children, even the ones living in the same house!

The negatives:

· Some of the advertising on Myspace is unprincipled
· It can take quite a bit of time.

So far, the positives outweigh the negatives.

My Myspace

AIM – robinlmeadows

Do you have Facebook, Myspace or AIM? Sign up for yours today, then send me a friend request!

Monday, October 08, 2007


You’ve blown it. It’s been a horrible day, the kids have been extra-disobedient, everything has gotten on your nerves and you finally lost it. You yelled at them, or your husband, and maybe even said some things you wished you could take back. Maybe, you think, they’d even be better off without you.

Guess what? You’re not a bad person. In fact, you’re quite normal.

But, you might consider a heart transplant.

In heart transplant surgery, when the surgeon removes the old, diseased heart, he replaces it with a newer, but cold and lifeless heart. He begins his work and about 30 minutes later, takes the patient off the pump that has been keeping them alive and tests the series of stitches he has just made. Then, he places the patient back on the pump and continues to stitch the remaining arteries. After about an hour, the surgeon removes the patient from the pump again, removes a final clamp, and watches as blood fills the heart, turning it a bright, vibrant red. Life! Because life is where the blood flows.

A person whose life was fading quickly away now awakens to a new hope. A future.

Not, however, without challenges. The patient will forever be on a strict regimen of a dozen medications a day, designed to force the body to accept the new organ.

And here’s another amazing thing. Heart transplant patients are guaranteed they will never physically feel heart pain again. When a heart is transplanted, all the nerve endings leading to it are severed. It is impossible to reattach those nerve endings. If they have another heart attack, they won’t even feel it.

Now, think about it. We have a Great Physician who is just waiting for our permission to give us a “heart transplant”. In fact, He says we can have a new heart every day! It doesn’t take a few hours to perform the transplant; it happens the moment we make the choice to have that new heart. We trade our worn, lifeless, blackened heart for one that is flowing with the lifeblood of the One who went before us to take every burden we would ever have. And the nerve endings are severed! He took our pain as well.

Today, trade in your tired, hurting heart for a transplant. And keep it healthy and alive with a strict regimen of reading, believing, and walking in His Truth.

Lamentations 3:23 Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Ezekial 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

When Crickets Cry

This is absolutely one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I read a LOT! Charles Martin is a master craftsman of words. His descriptions and word choices are nothing less than poetic. Sub-titled “A Novel of the Heart”, the book actually is about the human heart. Martin will pull you into the lives of his characters, and you will learn much about the heart, its physical makeup as well as its emotions.

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you some things I learned about the heart!

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Read the blog Craig Groeschel wrote on Swerve yesterday. It’s something we all need to think about.

"Do you remember the cartoon with the song… “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” (Sorry to date myself like that.)
I’m going to offer one conjunction change that could drastically improve your ministry (or marriage, or family, or school, or whatever).

Most people say “AND” most of the time.
We should learn to say “OR” most of the time.

Instead of…
We can do a singles ministry, AND counseling ministry, AND a sports ministry, AND missions, AND Divorce Care, AND a puppet ministry, AND a quilting ministry, AND a ministry for people with more than five pets…

You can say…
We can do this… OR that… and do it well. We probably can’t do it all. Let’s focus on what God is calling us to do.

The same is true in our families. Many families say “AND” so often they rarely see each other.
Think about your family, your ministry, your schedule, your relationship with God…
Where have you been saying “AND” when you should be saying “OR?” "

Knowing your family’s vision will enable you to know when to say “no” to those ‘ands’. Does what you want to add contribute to that vision, or will it take away from what God has called you to accomplish together? This provides a great opportunity to share with your children why your family chooses NOT to do everything that you could!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Well, it’s October, and already officially fall, but we’re still experiencing some very warm days. Soon, the temperatures will begin to drop and cooler weather is a time that we begin enjoying soup!

Here is a recipe that’s easy and can be prepared quickly. Also, it’s easy to keep ingredients on hand. I sometimes call it “Can Soup”. We make it often, (with variations) in the fall and winter. Keep these ingredients ready in your pantry to make a quick, high-fiber meal for your family on a cool fall evening.

Taco Soup

1 can Ranch Beans
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 can corn
1 can white or yellow hominy (optional)
1 can Rotel tomatoes or enchilada sauce
1 zip-lock pre-cooked ground beef (or about 3 cups browned/drained ground beef)
water as needed for the consistency you want

Warm up and serve over brown rice or with tortilla chips.


Any beans will work
The hominy adds a nice “meaty” texture—try it!
Any canned tomatoes or tomato sauce will work in place of the Rotel or enchilada sauce.. Add chili powder and cumin 2:1 to season.
Chicken would be good in this, too. Or try it meatless!

Add more cans to increase the volume according to the servings you need to make.

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Less Stress!

I’m all about simplicity and no stress! Here are a few things that have helped me through the years.

· have nap times and regular bed times (for your children AND you, if needed!)

· advance preparation for meals and academic lessons

· oldest gets “shotgun”—this has always worked best for our family. I didn’t have to remember whose turn it was! And everyone gets a chance for front seat, eventually.

· nothing is ever divided evenly---not gifts, not privileges, not even time (more on this later)

*give yourself plenty of grace and mercy-- When it’s just not working, take a break. Tell your child, “I just can’t do this anymore right now. Let’s step away from this and come back a little bit later.” (It might be tomorrow, it MIGHT be next week!)

What are some things that make your life less stressful?

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Lasting Effects # 4


    Wikipedia says, “Work ethic is a set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. A work ethic may include being reliable, having initiative or maintaining social skills.”

    Sounds like a great thing to teach our children!

    I’m not sure if it just happened because there was so much to do around the Meadows’ household, or if it’s something that we really believed in when we began teaching our children, but our kids have grown up knowing how to work. They are really hard workers!

    And they’ve reaped blessings in the form of supervisor and managerial positions at an early age. Erin, a dance company director at 20, and a studio manager at 21. Andrew, a shop foreman at 21. Ali, a Super Cuts manager at 19. Anna, an associate youth pastor at 20. Katie had her pharmacy tech license at age 18. We’ll see what happens with the next two, but Kody (almost 15) and Jacob (13) already work with their dad and are able to put in a hard day’s work.

    Teach your children to do household chores while they are still very young. Teach them that with maturity comes responsibility. You, and they, will be glad you did when they are older!