Thursday, July 31, 2008

Life is School

(picture taken in our living room)

A Summer Re-Run (orginally published 6/5/07)

Recently I was sharing (whining) to one of my daughters about having to do something I didn’t really want to do. Something that will infringe on what I want to do with my time. Circumstances over which I will have no control.

My daughter, Erin, who is facing a huge change in her life with her husband heading to Iraq for a year reminded me, “Mom, I hear what you say all the time echo in my head many times a day: ‘Your life is not your own, you’ve been bought with a price.’”

Later that same day, I was having a heart-to-heart with another daughter, Anna who has recently moved to her own apartment after starting a new job. She is experiencing many changes and a few struggles in her young life. After sharing some of those struggles with me she said, “But mom, I remember you always saying, ‘Your life is not your own, you’ve been bought with a price.’” She went on, “I’m learning that life is not all about me.”

I thought, “OK, Lord….I hear You.”

Isn’t it funny how our own words, or more accurately, Paul’s words, come back to us?

My own daughters are now teaching me, reminding me that life is a continual learning process.

Some of this I thought I would have down by now, but I know I still have a long way to go. Thankfully, the One who purchased my life is also very patient to remind me that it’s really not all about me.

And that’s a good thing!

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. I Corinthians 6:19-20

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I’ve got some school-year planning to do, but I’m really putting it off. I think I’m trying to get the most out of summertime.

I have a few more things I want to do before I have to think too much about the next academic year.

How about you?

1. When do your kids begin school?
2. What do you need to prepare to be ready?
3. What are you going to do with the time you have left?

I’ll go first.

1. We never begin school until the Tuesday after Labor Day (I’m just rebellious like that) ;)

2. I need to do some Algebra 2 review, plan some science and World History and get together some Bible teachings and memory work. I also plan to do a book study on dating (or not dating) with the boys.

3. Get Theresa’s room ready
Have lunch with my girls, sister and mom
Have a few more family get-togethers
Go to Wichita Wildlife Refuge and climb Eagle Mountain
Go on some more motorcycle rides
Replace the window covering in my living room

Your turn.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Happy Heart

Relationships take work and both people must be willing to give 100% of themselves for the other person. Do you agree?

There’s no doubt my oldest son’s first marriage didn’t go well. And he would be the first to take responsibility for his weaknesses and shortcomings. He's said so.

But, in any dissolved relationship, there is usually one person who is ultimately rejected by the other. And he was rejected.

I’ve seen Andrew go from the deepest, darkest depths of immeasurable pain to a place where, in his own words, “it seems too unbelievable and too easy”.

I tell you this to explain how much my mother’s heart rejoices at the story Abbi shares on her blog today.
Andrew recognized the emotional pain a sales lady was experiencing and was able to encourage this woman to have hope!

Read the story of how he knew it was time to “pop the question”. You’ll be blessed….or at least, I was!

Monday, July 28, 2008

We're Having A Daughter!

“I’m going to be your daughter!”
She enters with our oldest son, Andrew, a smile bigger than the one she usually wears, if that is even possible.

And we couldn’t be happier. Abbi Zeliff is going to be our daughter-in-love!

Sierra (9) and Mesa (6), Andrew’s daughters, were at our house waiting for their dad to get back from his special date with Abbi.

That is when Mesa first heard the news. She was so excited. She kept asking, “Mimi, aren’t you so excited for us?” and “Mimi, are you coming to our wedding?” and “We have to make sure Aunt Erin, Aunt Ali, Aunt Anna and Aunt Kate-Kate come to our wedding”.

I understand Sierra has already started a notebook called “Wedding Ideas”.

And I was teary all day since Andrew told me that morning that he was asking her to marry him.
He called his dad and all his siblings to tell them---now that’s a few phone calls.

But, I lost it again that evening when he asked Sierra and Mesa to walk him down the aisle at the wedding.

Abbi will be posting the story that leads up to Andrew’s question tomorrow. Don’t miss it. It will bless you, I promise!

I couldn’t be happier if I had chosen her myself….oh wait! Maybe I did! ; )

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Finds

My new friend, Theresa wrote something to think about. Read it here.


Anna wrote some fun fiction this week. Start here and then read all three posts. Let her know what you think ;)


Do you get Hungry Girl's daily e-mails? They are great for low-calorie eating ideas, even eating out suggestions and warnings. Also, they list Weight Watchers points on their product recommendations.

And today is this girl's birthday! Give her a little love!!

Weekend plans? Plenty of work around here, canning dill pickles, freezing more green beans, church on Saturday night. A day of rest on Sunday? Wow! What a concept!

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Am I Doing Enough? (Part 1)

A Summer Re-run (originally posted 7/22/07)

This question has been resounding in my spirit for a few weeks now. In separate conversations with home educating moms, this question was a heart-cry of three different people.

“Every night when I lay down to sleep, I just worry."
‘Today, have I done everything I could to direct and teach my children?’”
“How do I know I’ve covered everything that needs to be covered?”
“Am I doing enough or requiring too much?”

These are legitimate questions, but also ones that can bind us up in frustration and insecurities that will only pull us and our children down. Most of us are concerned that we’ll forget to teach some subject or an area that will end up being a hindrance to our children’s future. We feel that deep responsibility to make sure we’re “covering it all”.

Guess what? We won’t cover it all. We’ll leave gaps. There will be things we forget, don’t know to teach, or don’t do a very good job teaching. And if we’re fearful and concerned at night or at the end of a school year that we somehow failed, maybe our focus is on the wrong thing.

Is our real goal as home educating moms to raise superior academics; straight A students; cum Laude college grads?

Or has God called us to raise children whose hearts are completely turned toward Him? To guide them into a heritage of love and godliness that will continue long after we’re gone?

At the end of the day, or the end of 12th grade, my goal is to have poured my love into my children’s hearts. To have shown them the importance of choosing for themselves a life dedicated to a relationship with Jesus. To make opportunities for their character to be challenged to become the men and women that God has called them to be.

I’ve seen the fruit of that goal lived out in the lives of my five oldest children. What a blessing!

Did we leave gaps in teaching our children? Of course. Plenty. But God is faithful to teach them everything we didn't or couldn't. After all, He loves them even more than we do!

EVERYTHING that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. 2 Peter 1:3 NLT

But he said to me, "My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak."
2 Cor. 12:9 NIRV

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Overwhelmed By Our Blessings

Mark 6:31-34

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

Jesus went through it too. He understands.

So they left by boat for a quiet place, where they could be alone.
But many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them.

Sound familiar? Like your life on any given day? Jesus was overwhelmed too.
He was human.

And He was God.

Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

May we all have the strength and heart of our Father to teach our “crowd” many things even when we are overwhelmed by our blessings.

Psalm 62:11 (The Message)

God said this once and for all;
how many times have I heard it repeated?
"Strength comes straight from God."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


It’s pretty obscure. At least it was to me.

I saw the seeds at one of those bins that have the 10-and 25-cent seeds. So, I bought a packet. 10 cents is pretty cheap, even if it didn’t grow or we didn’t like it did grow.

So, I sowed them, watered them, and let them grow. And they did.
And they’re good!

Really good!

Kohlrabi is from the same family as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower…you know, all those good-for-you vegetables.

It tastes much like a broccoli stem, but is sweeter and milder. It can be eaten raw, or tastes great in a stir-fry. You can even use the leaves!

We pull them up when they are a little smaller than a tennis ball.

Pick up a 10-cent packet and try them yourself. C'mon. They’d look good next to your rose bushes!
Or at least buy a couple the next time you're at the grocery store.

Monday, July 21, 2008


While talking about cleaning our new pool deck Dirk and I had this conversation:

Me: “Honey, what do you think would be the best way to clean the deck? There are popcorn and peanut oil marks on it from the grandkids snacks.”

Dirk: “I know, and you should see what the marshmallows did.”

Me: “Marshmallows? Where did they get marshmallows?

Dirk: “Well……. they wanted them….” (guilty grin)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Finds

Our boys left for camp on Wednesday and Dirk took a few days off work, so we are playing!

Wednesday after we dropped them off, we took our bicycles and rode at the Oklahoma River Trails.
Then we went to see Get Smart. Pretty cute. And we really like Steve Carell.

Next we went to Pei Wei, got some take-out (chicken Pad Thai and lettuce wraps.....yum!) and went home and watched a movie by. our. selves. with. no. interruptions. ;)

Today we hopped the motorcyle and headed to Pop's Soda Ranch for a late breakfast.

We came home, worked outside a bit, swam, and rode the bike again into Edmond to eat at El Parian (recommended by Roger). Great food! Be sure to share a meal....there's LOTS!

Then we decided to walk it off at Hafer Park. When we arrived, a jazz concert was being held outdoors. The Vance-Orange Project was playing. Great harmonies. Dead audience! ; ) C'mon Edmond...wake up!

We have until Sunday afternoon to get in a few more movies, bike and bicycle rides and whatever else we choose to do!
yes, we wear helmets

How about you? Any fun weekend plans?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just Smile

A Summer Re-run (originally posted 6/13/07)

So, the Legos, Hot Wheels, dolls and doll clothes are scattered all over your house. You move the furniture, and there they are……You walk into the kitchen at night and nearly break your neck stepping on a Hot Wheels.

Maybe at your house it’s Dora stuff, Transformers and miscellaneous McDonald’s toys. And you wait for the day when those things no longer clutter your home, right?

WRONG! Guess what? I don’t think they EVER go away!

But, finding those surprises is more a delight to me now, because it means that my grandchildren have visited.

I’ve learned that things that used to bother me really aren’t all that important any more. I’m choosing bigger issues to deal with and not sweating the small ones as much. Learning to “lighten up”, as my husband used to encourage me to do.

And I know there may come a day when my house is too quiet, too clean and too empty. So, for now, when I find those small toys in unpredictable places, I remember the fun my children and grandchildren had playing with them……and I smile.

Now, finding my teen boys’ dirty socks in the living room is another story…..

Picture taken Mother's Day 2007

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He Says She Says

When Dirk and I started dating (a million years ago) I noticed there were some terms that he used that were different from the ones I grew up using. Some of these I’ve adopted. Some are still the same.

Glove box or glove compartment?
Commode, stool, pot or toilet?
Ice box or refrigerator?
Foot-feed or accelerator?
Turn signal or blinker?

And that doesn’t even count the bodily function terms that I don’t dare go into.

How about you? Which of these terms do you use?

Have any term discrepancies in your own home or relationships?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Green Beans.....Again

Remember these?

Last weekend, Erin and I put some of those green beans in the freezer.
(yes, she's dressed. She has on her swimming suit)
(also, she's multi-tasking: talking on the phone, snapping beans, and watching kids in the pool)
While Erin snapped the beans, I kept them going in the kitchen. We're freezing these, and vegetables keep better if they are blanched first.

Next, they are cooled quickly in ice water.

Yum! Fresh, blanched beans.

This group made 20 cups. They sure will taste good this winter!

Have you ever canned or frozen food for later use? Or did your mom or grandmother?

Monday, July 14, 2008


Do you ever find yourself thinking, I’ll be able to spend more time with God after my kids grow up, or when this week is over. Then everything will be alright; I’ll be able to get back to God. Right now, there’s just too much going on.

Ask yourself: When was Jesus ever apart from God? Did Jesus choose His own circumstances? Or did He go where God sent Him?

When do we begin to abide? Live in? Remain?

At first it may take effort, some discipline on our part; making an effort to spend time in His Word, setting our hearts and minds on Him. Soon, it will become so much the way of our life that we will abide in Him unconsciously.

Abide. Period. It’s a good thing.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91:1

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Finds

This will be a full weekend of celebration for us. Katie (our youngest daughter) and Alexander return today from their 8 weeks of travel! We are so excited to see them later this afternoon. They will be staying with us while they locate a new home in Edmond, since they stored everything and moved out of their apartment before they left. (if you know of a cute house or duplex for rent near UCO, let us know).

We have a welcome home party planned this evening.

Read about their travels here.


Also, Dirk and I celebrate our 34th wedding anniversary on Saturday! Wow!! That's a lot of years! l'm married to the best guy in the world. Really!

AND, Katie and Alexander celebrate their FIRST wedding anniversary the same day. They were married on the same date at the same church(Northwest Baptist in OKC) as we were AND as my parents were!

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Our 8th Child

A Summer Re-run (originally posted 11/11/07)

We have raised an eighth child. He has lived with us for many years, and is nearly grown now.

He has rarely gotten into trouble, or needed any discipline. He is always on time, right where he is needed, and is very responsible. He never talks back or has a bad attitude. He even gets along with his siblings very well. In fact, sometimes he is their best friend.

My children think he is perfect, but even with all his great attributes Dirk and I are not very fond of him.

His name is “Notme”. He’s quick to show up when certain questions are asked: “Who left their towel on the floor of the bathroom?” or “Who left all these lights on?” (or “Who ate the other half of the peach?”)

Notme is not around as much as he used to be. As my children have grown, so has their sense of personal responsibility.

He still comes around now and then, when he’s needed.

I think I even called for him the other day.

Have you seen him at your house lately?

Pay it Forward

Kaden was taking pictures, I was taking pictures, and Erin even snapped a few.

Then we watched the fireworks and took a few more.

Come Monday morning, I wanted to take some vine pictures at the garden.

But, my camera was nowhere. I looked in the car---three times. I looked in all the places it might have been (hey, and I found that lost library book from last year!)

In a panic, I called everyone who was watching fireworks with us .

I called Edmond and UCO. No camera was turned in.

Dirk and the boys even drove to the area where we were on Friday night and looked around. No camera.

Then, I put an ad on Craig’s List.

I wrestled with how stupid I was for a while. How disappointed I was in not being more careful. Thought about how wasteful I was in losing something that cost so much. Believed some lies for a while.

Then, I just released it. Let it go. I thought about how it was only a camera, and not my child.

Tuesday morning I found two e-mails in my inbox from my Craig’s List post suggesting I check the classifieds in the Edmond Sun. There was a listing of a camera found at the UCO Fireworks display! I politely waited until 8:30 am to call the number. Matt Smith, co- owner of Smith’s Carpet in Edmond answered.

And you guessed it! It WAS my camera! I described some of the photos on the camera and the young gentleman said, “ Yes, and there are a lot of garden pictures on it too.” ;) Yep, it’s mine.

I called my family giving them the good news, and Andrew tells me, “Oh, Matt Smith? I know him. He used to hang out with Erin and I back in highschool."

Well, I never got to meet Matt. He was away from the store when I went to get my camera. I left him a long note giving him my appreciation and explaining the connection. He left his business card in my camera case saying, "Pay it forward". Cool, huh?

So, if you are struggling with the perception that people just aren’t kind and thoughtful and have a lack of quality character anymore, give it up. It’s just not so. Complete strangers went out of their way to make sure my camera came home where it belongs.

Yeah, I’m God’s favorite.

You are too!

Oh, and if you need any carpet, consider giving Matt a try. He’s an honest guy.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Many cucumbers, winter squash and tomatoes grow on vines.

Without a stationary fence, support or boundary, these vines will grow all over the place.

Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set. Prov. 22:28

Those vines send out tendrils just searching for a support, a boundary. They will reach for whatever they can find to attach to.

For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. Phil. 2:21

They must be trained back to the boundary or support system.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
Prov. 22:6

Sometimes a vine will even break during the training process, but it is rarely damaging to the plant. In fact, it continues to thrive.

Don't be afraid to correct your young ones; a spanking won't kill them. A good spanking, in fact, might save them from something worse than death. Prov. 23:14

When fruiting vines are grown on a trellis or other support, there is less chance for rotting or disease. The fruit will be healthy.

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Gal. 6:9

Think there's an analogy here?

Monday, July 07, 2008


It’s our nature to compare.

We go to a friend’s house. Their stuff is better than ours. Or, our stuff is better than theirs.

My kids are all right after all. They sure don’t act like those kids!

We think a family has it all together. It makes us think we don’t.

That mom is a much better mom than I. She does those great and fun things I’ll probably never do.

She’s prettier. He makes more money. He probably prays with his family.

The list goes on and on.

And, it’s a tool of satan to get our eyes and heart on the wrong things. To make us discontent.

II. Corinthians 10:12 has been a great encouragement and determent for me in the area of comparing.

“…but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” NAS

Other versions say “they are not wise”. Same thing. But I prefer the NAS in this instance. “Without understanding.”

Without understanding, I may miss the Truth. I may fall into sin, unaware.

I don’t know about you, but I really desire understanding. Even more than being really good at something, or having the best stuff, or even being the “example family”.

This verse has saved me many times when my mind wants to wander to those thoughts of comparing.

Who is our Standard of measure?

I choose understanding over comparing.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday Finds

Happy 4th!

My youngest son has started a blog. Check out some of his friends' blogs too. See what this generation of youth has to say. You might be surprised!


Alexander and Katie are back to Jerusalem from Egypt. Read about their "coming out of Egypt" experience. They will be back to Edmond next Friday evening!! Yay!!

Weekend plans? Swimming and eating with the ManyMeadows Plus (minus several this time!) Fireworks at UCO. Church on Saturday night. A bike ride!

Your plans?


In honor of our nation's birthday: a headstone at the burial site of George Washington at Mt. Vernon. Teach your children about our nation's Godly heritage!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The -ER Factor

A Summer Re-Run (originally posted 9/27/07)

Consider the “er” factor while your kids are young. Everything will be hard-ER, take long-ER, be messy-ER , loud-ER, rowdy-ER. You may be cranky-ER, and you will definitely be tired-ER at the end of the day.

Last week, while caring for our grandsons, it took all of us to help out to make our days go as smoothly as possible. We all had to work harder than usual. We had to sacrifice some things that we normally did. We had more messes to clean up, more snacks to fix, definitely more diapers to change, and many more interruptions. One night, my husband jumped in and cleaned up the kitchen. One of my boys took initiative to give baths at night.

But, it was a short, temporary situation. And even if it doesn’t seem like it, it is a short, temporary situation for all you moms of young children. Try enjoying, rather than enduring. Embracing, rather escaping. And take all the help you can get---even if you need to recruit it from your own children!

There are some –ER positives when your kids are young. You are young-ER, pretty-ER, and lively-ER. So smile and be happy. It will get easy-ER!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Psalm for Moms

David wasn’t a mom, but it sure seems like he knew how a mom can feel sometimes.

Read this on those days when you're overwhelmed by your job and feeling like your own children might be the “enemies" and “persecutors”.

You’ll feel better, I promise! ; )

And don't forget who is your real enemy.

Psalm 142

I cry out to the Lord;
I plead for the Lord’s mercy.

I pour out my complaints before him
and tell him all my troubles.

When I am overwhelmed,
you alone know the way I should turn.

Wherever I go,
my enemies have set traps for me.

I look for someone to come and help me,
but no one gives me a passing thought!

No one will help me;
no one cares a bit what happens to me.

Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.

You are all I really want in life.
Hear my cry, for I am very low.

Rescue me from my persecutors,
for they are too strong for me.

Bring me out of prison
so I can thank you.

The godly will crowd around me,
for you are good to me.”

Feel better now?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

She Smiles

Proverbs 31:25

Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

Smiling at the future. How does this Proverbs 31 woman possibly smile at what is to come? At things she doesn’t even have any idea about?

I mean, think about it. None of us knows even what tomorrow will bring.

Some of the fears I deal with and have dealt with in the past are for my kids’ lives. For my husband’s life. ( I’ve even had Dirk’s funeral all planned out before he arrived home late from work. (pre-cell phone days) ; ) )

And some days, I still have to fight that fear that something might happen to Dirk, or my kids or my grands. Then where would I be? How would I make it? How could I survive?

So, just how does this model Proverbs woman smile at the future?

I believe she has such a whole, complete trust in God, in His faithfulness, in the fact that He is in control, that she has true peace and restfulness in her heart. She smiles. She smiles at the future.

I still want to get there. To that place where I can rest and trust and just smile. And most days, I find it getting easier. Some days, I still have to force that smile by knowing that it’s the Truth…my mind just has a hard time wrapping my heart completely around it.

How about you? Do you have any fears that keep you from smiling at the future?