Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Maybe you read this about our dining room furniture makeover.  No?  Go ahead.  I'll wait.

OK - now you know about the top being refinished, and the parts you can see being repainted.

What I didn't tell you is a little secret I discovered underneath the table top.

Being that this is written in cursive, I figure Katie must have been about 8 years old when she signed our table.  Certainly old enough to know better.

And here's what I find interesting about this recent discovery.  What once would have caused me to be upset, wonder where I had gone wrong in teaching her, or trying to figure out the best strategy for discipline now only brings a smile to my face.

Why?  Katie is grown now.  She is 21.

She is the wife of Alexander, working on their 3rd year of marriage.  She is working full time at McBride Clinic,  is paying her own way through nursing school and will graduate this May with her RN degree .  She is a loving sister, a fun Aunt Kate-Kate, and a wonderful daughter. She's hardworking, extremely talented and our go-to for medical questions.

So moms and dads.  When you discover those signatures and masterpieces in your closets, cabinets, window sills, etc., just know that some day it won't bother you so much. Your little artists will have grown into amazing adults!

Besides, I'm sure Katie knows by now not to write on the furniture. Wait... maybe I need to have Alexander check underneath their table!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dining Furniture Makeover

Several years ago, when  honey colored oak when VERY stylish, (of course) we purchased a larger dining table for our ever-growing family.

Now, since honey colored oak is no longer very stylish, and at the suggestion of my stylin' daughter, Ali, I decided to make a change.  And we are all very glad!

First, I started with the bar stools.   A nice improvement, don't you think?

I lightly hand sanded the legs, and spray painted with a black satin finish.  No drips!  The top I sanded with a power orbital, removing the finish.  I used dark walnut Min-Wax Wood Finish for the top, and finished with a couple coats of clear satin water-based polyurethane.

Then, I really got busy!

I sanded, and sanded and sanded and....well, you get it.  It took a LOT of sanding for the top.

Looks better, right?

Again, I removed the finish and stained with the dark walnut, applying several coats of polyurethane to protect the top.  I lightly sanded the legs and this time used a brush and satin finish black latex to paint the bottom part of the table the the four chairs.

So, for more than a week's worth of work, dinner in the living room, a mess in the house, and about $30 of materials, we have a new-t0-us table and chairs.  I think Dave Ramsey would approve.  So does Ali!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Number 23!!

We have GREAT news!!  We are adding ManyMeadows, Number 23, and GRAND number 8 to our family in July!

Andrew and Abbi shared the news with her parents yesterday in Nebraska.  We've known for a short while and have been BUSTIN' to share this happy news with everyone!!

Read more of their story here.

We're so very excited for them....and for us!!

: )

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dread or Great Expectations?

So you're headed to your in-laws tomorrow.  Anxiety is already building, causing spats with your spouse and conflicts with your kids.  You're already dreading the prying questions your Aunt will ask, the tension and comparisons with your siblings, the unresolved issues with your dad.  Or things even worse.

Thanksgiving?  Ha!  It will be more like "Terrible Taunting Turkey Day".  A day you can't wait to be over...and then, there will be Christmas to think about and all those issues to be  revisited again!

But get this!

God's word tells us in Ephesians 3:20

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! (The Message)


through his mighty power at work within us (New Living Testament)

Is it possible  in pressing circumstances that we could be setting limits on the power of God working in our behalf ?  Might this scripture indicate that He will do just as much for us as we will allow him to do in us?

So why dread the day?

Instead, allow His Spirit to have free reign in your heart, and go to your extended family gathering with a great expectation! Watch for His Divine encounter.   According to His power within us, He can  do more than we can even think or guess or imagine!!

Now, that's a great and freeing thought!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Name Your Dish

What is your favorite, must-have-at-Thanksgiving dinner dish?

At the Meadows Thanksgiving event, the most asked for side to Dirk's famous smoked turkey, is loaded mashed potatoes, followed by Erin's to-die-for stuffing, and Katie's new asked-for-often recipe, cheesecake squares (minus the nuts).     This year we get to sample Abbi's grandmother's corn casserole.   Can't wait!

So?  Tell us.  What is your favorite Thanksgiving food or side-dish?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Number 19

We gained a daughter-in-love on May 29 this year.  Abbi is now a Meadows, bringing the ManyMeadows' number to 19!

We joke that I hand-picked her for my oldest son, Andrew....and maybe it's not really a joke.  I knew her before he did!

She's an artist...he's a cowboy. She took him to his first art show, he took her to her first rodeo.   She loves New York, he loves home and being outdoors.

And they deeply love each other.

She's a great  5th daughter and a wonderful 2nd mom to Andrew's daughters, Sierra and Mesa.

Check out her blog, and her creations.

She's quite a girl and we're so proud to have her in our family!

(We now have more members in our family!  I'll introduce you to them soon.)


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I had it Backwards

No, not my shirt, but I’ve done that before.  You know, half-asleep, or in the dark, you slip your shirt over your head, and it just doesn’t feel right.  And then you realize, Goofy... you put it on backwards.

Just today, after a very long time, I figured out I was doing something else backwards….in my thinking, in my heart.

I discovered yet another way I get offended.

‘Bout time, you say.

Well, thankfully, He isn’t through with me, yet!  I’m still learning.

I discovered that I expect other people to treat me the way I would treat them.   I know.  A revelation, huh?

When someone, especially someone I expect to know better,  does or says something to me that I would NEVER do or say to them, it is offensive to me.  I take it personally. I get a little bit indignant.

Self-righteous of me, don’t you think?

You know the scripture.  “Treat others the way you want them to treat you.” (Luke 6:31 NLT)

I just can’t find the one that says “Others will treat you as you treat them.”

If you find it, will you let me know?

Otherwise, I think I’m just going to have to let Him change my backwards thinking, my backwards heart.

And stop being offended.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A River Runs Through It

Last night I attended Converge – the first in a series of monthly meetings at the NW campus of on worship.  There were nearly 100 people who came, bringing their talents in the areas of music and tech.  Chuck Dennie did an outstanding job of casting vision for this group—a vision which included exhorting us all to be servants in the other ministries of Lifechurch.

His words stirred in me something I was able to share with our youngest sons (also musicians) as we were driving home.

Worship isn’t just about singing, playing instruments or singing on the stage during a weekend experience.

Worship is the outpouring of our hearts, even through the most mundane, regular things we do.

Worship is seeing God’s hand in the beautiful sunrise.

Worship is smiling at that little one while you’re changing his poopy diaper.

Worship is choosing to love that office or school mate, even when they are unlovable.

Worship is embracing your circumstances, not merely enduring them.

Worship is thinking of others as more important than ourselves.

Worship is accepting that He is in control, and I am not.

Worship is serving.

Worship is loving.

Worship is a natural outflow of what is in our heart.  It is the River of Life flowing through us.

John 7:38

Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’”

Romans 12:1

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

May we be so connected to the Source of Life that nothing comes from us but pure, joyful, humble worship BECAUSE of our relationship to Him---in ALL that we do.


Monday, August 31, 2009

A Quick Story

She came on a Wednesday night...was assigned to my group. Her dark skin and shy smile attracted me to her immediately. I'm a hugger....and she readily accepted my tight squeeze.

A good listener, she was not distracted by the normal 6th, 7th and 8th grade girl giggling and whispering that happens weekly in our small group. She is serious and has questions and likes to enter into the discussion.

On the 3rd week of her attendance, during the close, her hand went up as one who was ready to give her heart fully to Jesus. At the end of the evening, she came and greeted me with a bright smile, proudly holding her new paperback New Testmament.

The next week, Switch was a little different, as we spent some time praying over the students in our group. She was one of the first ones in my line...tears already steaming down her beautiful brown cheeks. I remember praying about the future and what God has in store for Jamiyah. About her influence in her family and friends.

Last week, we took a little extra time in our fact, we were late getting back to the experience room for the video. But, it was only because Jamiyah was praying aloud for our group. She prayed for each girl's influence in her family and at school. It wasn't the simple prayer of a young believer, but it was a bold prayer of a young woman who is sold out, unashamedly all-in.

As we quickly made it to our seats, video already running, my heart was full. What Jamiyah doesn't even realize is that she influenced a 54 year old lover of faith was made even stronger by her young, yet passionate new faith!

I wonder why it's called "serving" when I always receive more than I could ever possibly give?


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Help us Out....Ask a Question

Dirk and I are scheduled to speak at a homeschool event in early September.  What would you want to hear from us if you were at the meeting?

After 35 years of marriage, 7 kiddos, 5 sons/daughters-in-love, 6 grands (+ another the end of October!), home educating for about 30 years (and still going), there is one thing we DO have......NO, not all the answers, but we do have a bit of experience.

Go ahead.  Ask us anything you want.  And it doesn't specifically have to be on home education.

We're going to be on a vacation for a week, but your questions will help us decide what to speak on....and who knows?  They might even spark a few blogs from THAT would be something new, huh?


Dirk and Robin

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No News is Good News

It's true!

So sorry I haven't updated. I've been gently chided because I haven't let all of you (5 or so ) readers :) know that Dirk's report came back negative/benign.

We are all relieved and rejoicing. It was another learning and growing experience and I'll share some of those thoughts soon...when I'm not still sewing/baking/wedding planning.

Thanks again for all your well-wishes, thoughts and prayers!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Still Overwhelmed, but Completely Blessed

About 2 months ago, Dirk discovered an enlarged lymph on his left side.  It didn’t go away.  He scheduled an appointment with our family doctor who suggested he have it checked out by a surgeon.

The surgeon discovered enlarged lymphs under both his armpits.

Tuesday morning, June 9, Dirk undergoes a surgical biopsy.

Now, I don’t have to tell you where my mind wants to wander with all sorts of fearful and discouraging thoughts.

So, I’m choosing instead, to believe that God works ALL things for our good.  I’m choosing to replace my fears with trust in our Healer, Provider, Warrior, and Friend.

If you’re reading this today, I know you are already praying for all of us.  And I thank you in advance!
You are a blessing to us.

Another blessing

A&A wedding week 277


Sunday, May 17, 2009


In juggling the preparation for two weddings in the very near future (our oldest son’s, May 29, and one of our daughter’s, July 31), and beginning a new family corporation, people have been asking me, “How will you get it all done?”.

It reminds me of when our kids were young and I’d hear the same question:

 “How do you do what you do? I sure couldn’t raise seven kids.”

 My answer then was the same as it is now:

 “I don’t get it all done, and sometimes I don’t even do a very good job of what I do.  I just DO it” =)

We all have seasons in our life where we are completely overwhelmed with the tasks at hand.  (And I fully believe God does give us more than we can handle so that we’ll be totally reliant on Him.)

There are some differences in my thoughts during this season of being overwhelmed. Time and experience have taught me:

*it might not all get done, and that’s ok

*no one will love me any more  or any less if everything isn’t perfect

*I will still love myself even if everything is not perfect

*there are still adjustments to be made in order to “get it all done”

And the adjustment in priorities this time will be this blog.  We’re not going away, but you might not see us on here quite as often while we work together to “get it all done” this summer.

Check back occasionally.  We’ll give some wedding updates, force you to see pictures of the cutie grands, and maybe even have some gardening tips and pics. 

Meanwhile, I'm working on NOT being overwhelmed.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our Family Vision Statement

The Meadows’ family vision statement is:


Living, loving, learning, leaving a legacy of Christ-followers impacting the world.


It’s an easy statement for us to remember, and it is descriptive of many of our core values:


Life is school


Leading our family to be Christ-followers


Deut. 6:6-8

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.

Do you have a family vision statement?  Share it!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Family Vision Statement-Q & A

How can you discover the vision for your family?

Think about these thoughts:

Your vision needs to be everlasting, and an on-going goal for generations to come.

What is your calling?

What is important to you?

What will you want to be remembered for?

What makes you come alive?

Next: write your thoughts down.  Share them with your mate.  Brainstorm and write different phrases.

Try to make it around 10-12 words.

Teach it to your family.  Place it on your wall. Refer to it often to cast vision to your family.

What if my husband or wife doesn’t see the need to have a vision statement, but I really desire it?

Pray!  Don’t nag, force-feed, continue making suggestions or get in a huff because they’re not on the same page as you.  Pray!!  Never discount the power of the Holy Spirit.  Live your life with your own vision statement in mind.  Be consistent to it.  Pray!

What makes you or your family come alive?

Tomorrow, we’ll share our family vision statement with you.

Dirk and Robin

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Write it Down

Robin and I had never written our family vision down until a few weeks ago when we were asked to do it for a project we are working on. I don’t really know why we had never written it down. I’ve been around a lot of people who have written their vision statements and even some that lead seminars to help families with their family vision. But we just had not done it. We knew in our heads what it was but we had never written it out where we could look at it or show it to others and really understand what our vision is all about.

When we did it became clear why everyone should.

Interestingly, because we have been living it for years, it only took a few minutes to do it, and then a little more tweaking the next day.

It’s not magic but it just clarifies what you have maybe known (or maybe not known) about the direction of your family. Since we have written it down I have looked at it for guidance and direction. Your vision statement helps to keep you on track. It can also help others around you to understand why you do what you do. I’m big on passing down to my family what is and has been important in our life. I also want my family to know the direction they might go to accomplish what God has called them into.

Maybe your family is about helping the poor, maybe you’re about loving and serving others, and maybe you haven’t even thought about a direction for your family.

What is your reason for being here together? There is one.

Have you got a family vision statement? Have you written it down? Do you think it’s important?



Friday, May 08, 2009

Gardening with Kids

I went online to the library website and reserved a bunch of books both fiction and non-fiction on kids gardening.  My boys have a lot of experience with gardening, but the books got them even more excited.

We had fun picking the lettuce that is now ready in addition to our swiss chard and spinach.  Lettuce is an easy and fast grower that can be done in pots or in the ground (needs lots of sun) that kids can enjoy watching, picking and eating.

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My kids' main interest in the garden is, "What can we eat?"  Currently asparagus is about the only semi-clean vegetable that is producing in our garden.  They chomped down on that and were asking for more!

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A few weeks ago my boys planted carrot seeds.  Kaden is checking them out to see if they're ready yet.  Not yet, but soon!  How exciting for them to see that their seeds are growing though.  Most of their friends think carrots come in bags from the store called baby carrots!
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Bush beans are another great seed to plant that kids love to pick (and of course, my kids eat them raw in the garden).  Another favorite are pepper or tomato plants that can be bought at nurseries right now.  (Good producers that kids love to pick).  Again all of these things can be planted in pots, in your flower beds, or a small plot you pick in your yard as long as they get sun most of the day.
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Kids can also get into digging in the dirt, watering, hoeing and picking weeds.  Gardening is a great education tool and a good way to spend quality time with your kids while producing something to eat for your family!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Dear Mother-in-Law

We are so blessed to have Jon, Brad, Alexander, and soon, Abbi (May 29, 2009) and Cody (July 31, 2009) as our sons- and daughter-in-love.

There is just no greater joy in a parent’s life than knowing that someone else loves your own children as much as you do.

And that means that I am mother-in-law to three and soon FIVE lucky exceptional people who love my own children.

Now, most of us have or have had mother-in-laws.  Unfortunately, and usually for very good reason, the term doesn’t bring great feelings of endearment.

And I don’t ever want to be one of “those”.

So, today, I’m asking for your advice.

If you could tell your mother-in-law any piece of advice on how to relate to you what would you say?

(There is a qualification to leaving your comment.  It must be positively stated. We don’t want you to go hating on your mother-in-law, now, do we? ;)


Sunday, May 03, 2009

How Do You Measure Love?

Ever find yourself measuring how much you are loved? 2932951524_bccb30b904

Maybe your measure is the number of people reading your blog.

Maybe it’s the number of times your husband or wife tells you they love you.

Maybe it’s whether or not your family cleans up after themselves.

Maybe it’s when life is going well.

And when those things aren’t happening, we just don’t feel loved.

Why do we do that to ourselves, to our family?

There is only one true measure.  The capacity for how much we are loved is really only measured by the truths and promises of God’s word.  His love for us has no limits!

Why don’t we believe it?  Why do we search in places that will leave us disappointed and let down?

Ps. 103:11 – How great is God's love for all who worship him?  Greater than the distance between heaven and earth!

Eph. 3:17-19 - Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

YOU are loved more than you’ll ever understand.  Believe it!


Friday, May 01, 2009

Weekend Gardening

This weekend in the OKC area, it looks to be cloudy and rainy.  It's great weather to get your flower and other plants into the soil or pots.

It's also a great time to fertilize or sow seeds.

I hope to get the green beans and cucumber seeds in.

Yesterday, Jacob helped me get more  fences into our new garden plot.  Growing pole beans, cucumbers and tomatos on fences is a great way to keep them up off the soil and makes for easy picking.


Now is the time to prune any flower bushes that have finished flowering.  Alway prune AFTER flowering.

Plant your caladium and elephant ear bulbs now.

Potatoes looking good after the  frost got them.


Spinach almost ready to pick!


"Milk carton" Columbine from last year.


Erin and I are keeping these two cuties (the little ones)  this weekend while Brad and Ali head to Florida for a week!


What  are you doing this weekend?


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Faith and Sight

What are you looking at?

Your checkbook?

Your health?

Your disobedient children (or spouse)?

Your fading hope in dreams that may never come true?

All the pieces of your life that seem scattered and disconnected and falling apart?

Stop right now!

Faith believes God no matter doesn't go by sight or discouraging reports.  Faith = taking hold of Christ, keeping hold, and not letting go.  It's putting your hope and trust in the truth of His Word, and then walking it out.

Whatever the circumstances of your life, keep praying, keep holding on.

Pray prevailing...He's listening even when it doesn't seem like it.

He knows.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Give Me Your Light

Our son, Kody, recently completed a music innovations class offered by Paul and Jennifer Colley at their recording studio in Oklahoma City.

The class came along at a time we were praying for more open doors and opportunities for Kody's abilities.  Amazing how that happens, huh?  You'd think Someone was guiding and directing us!

This is a song he wrote and recorded during the class.

Enjoy the audio,  "Give Me Your Light". (he especially likes the guitar solo towards the end of the song)



Sunday, April 26, 2009

We're Having a Son!!

While this blog should be about the amazing running feats accomplished by Ali, (5K) Abbi, (13.1 miles) Cody, Anna (26.2 miles each!) and many others of our friends Sunday at the Memorial Marathon, that news actually took back-seat to this news!

Yep, we're adding another member to the ManyMeadows!  Abbi made it 19 and Cody Light, who will be our fourth son-in-love, will make us a 20-member family!   (Ck out these heart-warming shots)

We couldn't have chosen a better-suited man for our daughter Anna.  He came and asked Dirk's and my permission to marry Anna about 3 weeks ago.  It was a sweet and blessed time. He had already planned on asking her after their run....and he did....and she said, "Yes!"

They're looking at a July or August wedding!  Guess what we'll all be busy doing in the next three months?  (And, we have Andrew and Abbi's wedding on May 29!)  Fun!!



Friday, April 24, 2009

Garden and Gallery

Even  with the recent cold snap, the lettuce spinach and  swiss chard are coming in nicely.  We'll be picking by next week if these temps keep up!blog-310

The tomatoes are growing!


See the bloom forming?


One that didn't make it.  I'm guessing a cut-worm.



We like to grow our tomatoes vertically, by weaving the vines in and out of the fencing.

Some of the blooms around the ManyMeadows.





Fresh is best!  A little olive oil, some fresh rosemary, a couple of microwave minutes.  Yum!


You have plenty of time to get some things growing.  Start with a couple of tomato plants and a couple of peppers.  Place them in a sunny bed with your flowers, or put them in large pots on the patio.  You'll be glad you did!

We'll be at the OK Memorial Marathon Sunday morning watching Anna, Cody Light, Ali and Abbi and other friends cross the finish line.  Then we have an "After Marathon Celebration Party" (otherwise known as a junk-food fest) here at our house.  Wish the runners luck!!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dissolving Mountains - an update on Erin

Erin's bloodwork came back and it's still inconclusive.  No chicken pox antibodies showing up.  Her OB is sending her to a pathologist (Dr. Stanley) to have further tests.

And in the midst of all the questions and confusion, she has no fear.  Her faith holds strong.  She shared some thoughts with me today and I encouraged her to write them down and share with you.  Amazing....truly amazing.  It'll blow you away.

Her faith has said to that mountain of fear, "Go throw yourself into the sea" (Mark 11:23).  And in that sea, (the Living Water) that mountain is dissolved in the depths of His Truth.  It's gone!

What mountain do you need to dissolve in the Truth of His Word?


Monday, April 20, 2009

God's Thoughts on Our Thoughts

"I think if I sat down with a psychologist and told him my thoughts, he'd say there is something really wrong with me".

I've heard this statement more than once recently.  It just makes me smile. See?  I think we all feel this way at one time or another, or maybe even quite often.  We think our thoughts are weird and "off-the-wall".  We think we're extreme.  We think we're losing it.

Here are a few of God's thoughts on our thoughts:

for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts        I Chronicles 28:9

No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit, and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit.  And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. II Cor 2:11-12

You will keep in perfect peace
      all who trust in you,
      all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 

It looks to me that as our thoughts mesh with His thoughts our minds will be healthy and secure.




Sunday, April 19, 2009

God, You Know

Last Thursday, Erin came over to show me her rash.  "Mom, I think I have chicken pox."

Now, that's not a normal thing to hear from your 30-year-old child.  Even if she is the oldest of our seven children AND NONE OF THEM EVER HAD CHICKEN POX!

Yes, they all were exposed plenty of times.  And when the immunization came out later in the 1990's, the three youngest had the immunization.

Here's the hard part....Erin is 12-13 weeks pregnant.  She gets her blood results back today telling us for sure whether or not she has chicken pox.  Her doctor was honest and clinical about the risks to the baby from the virus.  And Web MD isn't favorable at all.

It has my mother-heart wondering, why now?

But, Erin shared with me yesterday that she took a long walk and cried and prayed.  The only prayer she could pray was "God, You know,  You know."

 And she rests in that. 

 Her hope and faith is not in what the doctor says or doesn't say, and it certainly isn't in Web MD.

 Her hope is in God alone.  He knows.

 Whatever you are facing, no matter what anyone says.....God knows.  Take a lesson from Erin's faith today......I am.  ~Robin

She sent me this post this evening:

You know those times when you are going through something super hard and you just don't know what to do?  Your mind won't settle down, you know you should be in the Word and praying like crazy, but frankly you can hardly make yourself function.  What do you do at times like this?

I had moments like this over the weekend as I was faced with hard and bizarre circumstances.  I kept thinking where's that book that tells me step-by-step how to act and what to do when you possibly have the chicken pox (at 30 years old, pregnant with my third child, of all things), and the chance that my unborn child may come into this world scarred, handicapped, or with mental retardation.  Where in the heck am I supposed to get answers?

Well, for me, when my mind won't settle down I need to get my endorphins going and this means some sort of exercise for me.  I went on a 4-mile power/prayer walk and even though I tried hard to pray, about all I could get to was, "God . . . you know."  And really I kept repeating that phrase over and over for the 45 minutes that I walked.

I came home and sat down with my Bible and just chose a Proverb.  I really wasn't getting anything out of it until I read Proverbs 16:20b "Things work out when you trust in God". (The Message)  I closed my Bible.  That is all I need to know.  I prayed that God would keep that verse in my head all day, and He did.

He was able to calm my mind by me just praying, "God . . . you know."  And He would answer, "Things work out when you trust in Me."  And that's all I needed.  I truly believe this.

What do you do when things seem out of control?


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Asparagus Tips and Tomato Time

We're just beginning to get a bit of asparagus each day.  And asparagus is one of the ManyMeadows' favorites.

Whether you grow it, or buy it, the very best way to store fresh asparagus is upright, in a glass with a few inches of water, in the refrigerator.


If you purchase it, look for the bunch with the least shriveled ends.  When you get home, trim the ends, and place the bunch immediately in the glass of water.

It will keep for several days this way!

For us, asparagus goes in salad, pizza, and stir-fry, even omelets.  Or we steam it in the microwave with a tablespoon of water until tender-crisp and bright green.   Or drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and put it on the grill.  Yum!

Do you like asparagus?


Time to get those tomatoes into the soil (or containers, if you plan to have a patio garden.)  Just be ready to protect them from the brutal winds until they are more acclimated.  I plant mine next to a fence and grow them vertically, weaving the vines between the wire fence.  You can also use a large cage for support.

Today, I planted some squash seeds and some kohlrabi, hoping to take advantage of our expected rain this weekend.

It's also time to get the green beans and cucumbers in.  Peppers prefer a little warmer nights than we're having.

Flowers can go in now too.

Do you plan on growing some vegetables?  Have you already planted flowers?



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Give it Up!

If you know anything about my story, you know I am SUPER frugal.  Read here to get the full scoop.

There are a lot of things I have been willing to give up in order to meet our goals of building a dream house.  As Dave Ramsey says, "Live like no one else now, so you can really live like no one else later."

Maybe with this current economy you have had to let some things go as well.

Here's some things I gave up during our last 5 years of extreme savings:

A big house

Cable TV

Gourmet coffee

Ready-made and packaged foods

The latest fashions

Brand name products

Here's some things that I consider splurges that I'm just not willing to let go of (unless I really had to):

Coffee creamer

Brand name dishwasher soap (I hate spots!)

Healthy foods (lean meats, LOTS of fruits and vegetables, nuts and occasionally fish)

What have you given up (or thought of recently that you should give up) for helping you get in a better financial situation?

What are some splurges you just can't live without that you allow for in the budget?



Monday, April 13, 2009

Sell Something!

Recently, Dave Ramsey spoke at on getting out of debt.  He suggested one strategy for a quick start is to sell something.  We'd like to increase our cash-flow around here and we have a few things to sell:

*a nice beginner drum set (Pacific) $550

*a US Kids youth golf club set (really nice) w bag $125

*2005 Ford Ranger pickup (57K) $9900

*1989 Ford F-250 pickup (117K) $3000

*AND GET THIS!  Dirk is selling his 2006 Honda VTX-1300 motorcycle with LOTS of extras!! ($7750)

So?  What do you have to sell?  List it with a contact e-mail.  Who knows? One of our readers might see it and drop you a line!



Mommy Break

Last week Erin's Mother-In-Law kept her two boys (ages 5 & 3) for two hours so she could have a Mommy break.

Guess what she did?

She worked out at the gym . . .

For two hours!

What would you do with a two hour Mommy break?


Friday, April 10, 2009

Seedlings, Blooms, Plants

The recent cold snap was brutal to a lot of plants.  Our azaleas, which normally have heavy pink blooms are looking pretty measly this year. A few hostas received some damage, as did the potatoes and lettuce, and a few asparagus spears. 


I fully expect these plants will make a comeback.    I’ll let you know.

Have you planted any tomato seeds or do you have plants ready for the garden?  It looks like we’ll be able to get those planted out soon.

If you have seedlings coming up in milk jugs or small containers, repot them to something larger.  Those roots need room to grow!  Be sure to protect them from all the wind we’ve been having.


What’s blooming in your yard?  I still have some tulips blooming and the creeping phlox is popping out. And one of my favorites...Star of Bethlehem which is sprinkled


It’s still not too late to start some lettuce, or other greens.   Are you trying it this year?  It’s really easy.

And we’ll be at church on Saturday night.  Why not attend a less populated church service than your normal one this weekend and leave your seat for someone who only comes at Easter?

What are your Easter plans?  We have family coming over Sunday afternoon and will have an egg hunt with all 6 grands. (may be indoors if it rains!) (a pic of the grands from last year) 

May my heart be filled with the overwhelming Love of a Father who would sacrifice his only son....for me.



Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Beans, Glorious Beans!

White Bean Hummus

1 pkg cooked  (or can) white beans

2 cloves garlic

one sprig fresh rosemary (about 1 T.)

2 t. olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

a few shakes hot sauce

Place all ingredients into food processor and whirl until smooth. Add a couple teaspoons water, if necessary, to make smooth.

Serve with vegetable stick or pita chips (pita bread quartered and baked in oven until crisp)

Mexican Black Bean Dip

1 pkg cooked and thawed (or 1 can) black beans, rinsed
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup cilantro leaves ( or more, I love cilantro)
1 Tbs. lime juice
l clove garlic

Drain and rinse the black beans. Combine the black beans, salsa, cilantro leaves, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

Serve with tortilla chips or vegetable sticks.

Bean Flautas (1 pkg beans makes about 5-6 flautas)

1-2 pkgs cooked and thawed (or 1-2 cans) pinto beans

2 t. chili powder (or to taste)

1 t. cumin (or to taste)

salt, hot sauce to taste


non-stick spray

Place beans in skillet and mash with potato masher until mostly blended.  Heat through.

Place 2-3 Tbs. beans on softened corn or flour tortillas.  Roll tortilla.  Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  Spray flauta with non-stick spray.

Bake at 350 degrees until flautas are lightly browned and crisp

Serve with salsa (or salsa mixed with Ranch dressing, as my boys do).  This is one of my teen sons' favorite lunches.

Find a few other favorite beans recipes here.

Hope you enjoy trying these good-for-you, low-fat, high fiber recipes.