Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gratitude...Learning Love

Today I finished reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I was reveling in how the Holy Spirit leads as and God links the message at the church we went to on Sunday, not our usual church, but one we were trying out... and the Fireproof Couples Study that we're going through again (with a different couple)... and Ann's blog, A Holy Experience, and her wonderful book.  I was reminded of how wonderfully God linked together my reading of The King Will Make A Way with the Ladies Bible Study that I was in to show me the simple truth, that I should have already known, that what God really wants from all of us in for us to know Him...he wants a relationship with us, and the truth I realized again today, that He will make a way.  I thought for so long that the point was that Christ died to that we might live with Him when we end this life on earth, and certainly He is with us all the time, He lives in us, but I didn't really understand how that worked... God living in us.  The beginning is our accepting the relationship, communion, if you will.

I knew that there was the great mystery, the relationship between a husband and wife that is the example on earth that we can see with these human eyes of ours to show the relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church.  Then Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts clues me in to the gratitude and blessing that is the opening, blossoming, and understanding that relationship.  The church we went to showed me the history and the betrothal and wedding traditions that Jesus used to show us, His disciples, His students, His Love, how he was pledging His self to us.

And I felt like the light bulb finally turned on, I understood how this relationship, the oneness worked.  I didn't just want to understand how to be one.  I wanted the experience, the feeling... how Ann described the culmination of her own understanding in the last chapter of One Thousand Gifts.

I was driving the family home tonight, listening to my mix cd of Contemporary Christian music made up of downloads from my itunes gift card gift from Mother's Day.  Ellie keeps me up on new Christian songs and artists by watching the music videos on JCTV (when I wasn't much younger than her, I discovered new Christian artists the same way, but I had to stay up extra late on the weekends to catch them on our local station that aired Christian programing).  One of the songs that she tuned me into was The Invasion by Trip Lee.  So, I added that song to my downloads about a week ago. 

Thomas listens to Christian music on the radio, and introduced me to the two songs before that The Invasion on the cd, and I was thinking about the words as we listened to the songs:  Closer by Shawn McDonald "I just want to be closer to you.  I just want to be closer.  I am yours. You can have all of me, anything, everything..."

and More Like Falling In Love by Jason Gray "It's gotta be more like falling in love, than something to believe in, more like losing my heart than giving my allegiance... it's like I'm falling in love"... and I so wanted that... like I said, that feeling of closeness, oneness, falling in love.  I wanted to be able to bless God with my thankfulness.  More Like Falling In Love  reminded me of the quote on my refrigerator, "Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair." G.K. Chesteron. 

Then I listened to The Invasion as much of the song went by, because I don't know the song well enough to rap along with the lyrics, but part of the song is sung (not rapped) and I sing along with the woman singer, Jai, "I give my gratitude, Jesus.  You died to make all things new-yeah.  My knight in armour, when our world in falling.  Your love's never failing.  I find safety in your arms."  I meant every word, and I felt that feeling I was asking for.  Oh, we just have to ask.  As Thomas says, "We have a rich Daddy, who wants to bless us with gifts... and we only have to ask."

I'm still reveling in all of this... gift.  I just had to write it all down... and share.

I'm pretty sure I'll share more on One Thousand Gifts.... I wrote pages in my notebook today while the kids were at Vacation Bible School.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Abraham Lincoln and I would have been friends

Thomas brought home a bunch of info about President Lincoln, because he is considering taking the family to visit the Lincoln Library and Museum in Illinois (a family vacation/field trip).  In the information he brought home, was quote from Lincoln:

"When any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of substance of both law and Gospel, 'Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,' that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul."

The quote was a part of an article about our 16th President's faith, because he never signed on and formally joined a church, or identified himself with a certain denomination.  I firmly believe from that statement, and the many speeches and writings of Abraham Lincoln that he was a Christ follower and I will meet him in heaven someday. 

The important thing is that we are a part the the Church, the body of Christ, not that one is aligned with a certain denomination, brick and mortar, or wood structure here on earth.  None of that will last, but our relationship with God and other Christ followers will still be with us when this world is no more.  This is not to say that Lincoln (or myself) did not attend church services in a building;  his family was Baptist, and he attended Presbyterian church with his wife in both Illinois and Washington, D.C..  President Lincoln's words and example show that he was a Christian, I have no doubt.  Since President Lincoln and I apparently have similar beliefs about joining a church and man made rules, I am pretty sure, had we known each other in this life, we would have been friends.

Homemade Snow Cone Syrup

I've seen this simple homemade snow cone recipe on several sites, but I believe the spot I originally found the recipe was the Hillbilly Housewife newsletter.  The formula is so simple, even Ellie and Wyatt have the ingredients memorized.

Homemade Snow Cone Syrup

2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid (or other drink mix)

Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan and boil, stirring almost constantly to make a syrup.
Then let cool and pour into your squirt container.

So easy!  I love that we don't have to have high fructose corn syrup in our snow cones.  Now I'd love to find a recipe that doesn't have any artificial flavor.  I have an idea to substitute the Kool-Aid and water for a cup of lemon juice... I think that would make All Natural Lemonade Snow Cone Syrup, but I haven't tried that yet.

We have a huge supply of Kool-Aid, because I used to buy the packages whenever they were on sale.  Even though the kids have been making at least two batches of syrup every week, we are no where near running out of Kool-Aid packets.

I don't make Kool-Aid very often anymore, because of the artificial flavor and coloring.  I especially like the Invisible Kool-Aid for the non-staining properties and lack of artificial color.  I grew up on Kool-Aid.  My "oldest" friend (because we've been friends since we were toddlers, ages 2 and 3... I'm the older one) lived right across the road. Her house smelled like Kool-Aid every time you walked in.  Her mom would never put a whole cup of sugar in, so whenever she left the kitchen, us kids (the two of us and our little brothers) would grab the sugar canister and add some more!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day

This is the second year that we have participated in Chik-fil-A's Cow Cow Appreciation Day.  Last year, I thought this was just a day for kids to dress up and get a free kids meal at Chik-fil-A.  When we showed up last year and I saw grown ups getting free Chik-fil-A, I knew I was dressing up this year.

So, here is a group photo on the front lawn:

Ellie and I are holding our tales.
Look close and you can see my ears sticking out of my head scarf.
I had to make both kids new ears, because we managed to lose the ones from last year.
Wyatt couldn't find his shirt either, so you can see his tail easier.

If you want to see the kids pics from last year, click HERE.  
FYI, you'll have to scroll down a bit, I was catching up on A LOT in one post.

4th of July

Not only is the 4th of July our nation's birthday, it's Thomas and I's wedding anniversary.
This year, we celebrated 12 years as man and wife.

We got this cool patriotic shirts for the 4th and for an upcoming family reunion.
The shirt features Psalm 33:12.
We hadn't bought matching shirts since my second trip to the homeschool conference.
Ellie has now outgrown  her "I am homeschooled and so were..." shirt.

The free concert this year was BlackHawk.

This concert is so fun in the park, because Wyatt plays on the monkey bars...

and Ellie swings.

The boys relax in our lawn chairs.

The girls hang out on the picnic blanket.

We get to see my cousins and their kids.
This is the back of Thomas's pickup with some of my cousin, Ruth's, kids (she has five kids).

Ellie is only 3 months older than Elise.

My cousin, Ruth, and I (she is older than me, but I won't say how many years).
We try to visit her family once a year.
It's always a treat when we get to see them more.

Had to take one of the boys while they were looking, too.

We always  have fireworks on our anniversary!

The Great American Drive-In Movie Theater

One of my favorite things about summer is that the Drive-In Movie Theaters are open.  I remember my very first drive-in.  I saw the movie Annie, here in the very town where I currently live.  That drive in is now built over with town homes.

Luckily, as I was lamenting the lose of drive-in's in college, a co-worker told me there was still a drive in near where she lived!  I got to take my hubby to his very first drive-in movie!

Then we found out there were actually two drive-in theaters somewhat near us.  We've been going ever since.

Drive-in theater theaters are my favorite, for many reasons:
Where we live, anyway, there is always a double feature (Friday and Saturday night are triple feature!.. if you can stay up that long.)
Kids age 12 and under are still FREE!
We get to load up our own snacks... popcorn, popsicles, chocolate... all the good stuff.
The pickup bed is pretty comfy, better than a lot of movie theater seats.
I enjoy watching the movie outdoors.

The downfall to the Drive-in theater is trying to find two good movies playing together.
We have done well so far.  In June, we saw Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rio.
In July we saw Cars 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2... but we left before Kung Fu Panda 2 was over.  We liked the movie, but Thomas thought we were all falling asleep.  I was just trying to get comfortable, because I forgot extra pillows... again!  And Mommy is always the one who goes without.
Wyatt with our Burts Bees Bug Spray.

Ellie with our Ghiradelli Vanilla White Chocolate.

Daddy with popcorn, Wyatt with the popcorn and bug spray, Ellie still with chocolate.

Me, being dramatic, because I had to set up the pick up bed for everyone.

My "Hurray! We're at the Drive-in."

Look to the right and you can see the old speakers hanging on the pick bed side.
The family looks comfy!

Should always carry a tripod.... ha, ha!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ellie's New Nintendo DS

Guest post by Ellie

I got a new Nintendo DS for Christmas (from Grandpa James).  I got it on Christmas Eve.  It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  Oopsies, I was getting into a story about Christmas!

Well, that Christmas Eve, I was so excited that we went to Walmart and got me a DS game called SillyBandz.  The day after Christmas, I got a game called Littlest Pet Shop.  Then just a couple months ago, me and Wyatt saved up together and got a game called Chucky Cheese Play House.  I play on my DS all the time.

Misty's Notes:
I guess it's a good thing that she still calls her DS "new" (not because she has an old and new one... this is her only one).  She really doesn't play it "all the time", but she does still enjoy the toy six months later... which is a really good thing for a toy that is that expensive.  Ellie asked to write a guest post since Wyatt did one recently, this was her subject of choice for the moment.  Which is probably also good, because we don't have much time right now to be posting.

Deanna Rose Farmstead

 We had a special treat last month.  My best friend from Jr. High and High School, who now lives states away, was in town for a couple days on the way to her sister's wedding.  I know we both had other friends we called best friends along with each other and along the way.  She is the only one of those girls that I still talk to and hang out with.  The rest have become Christmas card and Facebook friends.We just happened to have the day free and they were planning to visit Deanna Rose Farmstead.  My friend, Sara's, sweet mother shared the day with her daughter and grandkids with us.
This was Sara's pic of all the kids when we first got into the farm.
Sara's son, Cael, wanted to push the stroller, but without him in it, the stroller wanted to tip backwards.
Ellie was happy to help him keep the stroller upright.
This is one of the smaller of the huge wind chimes the kids got to make music in the woods with.
This is one of the kids pulling on the wind chimes strings.
This is a little more animated of Sara's little guy working the chimes.
I could not believe there was a bench with Ellie's name on it!  Spelled the same even!
An attempt to get a picture of the four together like stair steps.
I just thought this carving was neat.
I sometimes call my hubby a turkey (affectionately), so I couldn't resist this pic.
Thanks, Sara, for the ice cream pic.
I can't believe I didn't take one myself.
Ice cream and our family go hand in hand.

There was a little black goat Wyatt started to feed, but this spotted one head butted the black one away.
Wyatt was pretty upset with this goat, but couldn't get the bottle away; he tried to smile for me.

My kids could not wait to get to the baby goats so that they could bottle feed them.

Wyatt found his little black goat.
He even memorized the goat's number... number 28.

The goats were actually more excited than the kids.
Someone needs to teach them patience!

We all bought another round of bottles, but Sara's kids had had enough of the aggressive goats.
They gave the rest of their bottles to Ellie and Wyatt, so they got to feed two fisted.

Two happy goats, and more hoping for a taste.

This was grinding corn into flour in the Indian Hogan.

Payton, with the cook pot in the middle of the hogan.

Inside one of three tepees.

Wyatt and Ellie fought over pushing Sara's son in his stroller!
Wyatt was so fast, but I promise Cael was smiling really big while Wyatt raced around the path.

Me and my kids in front of the one room school house.

Wyatt and Ellie in front of a tepee.
I love this picture Sara took of Wyatt and I.
Thank you, Sara!
Inside the one room school house.
I love Ellie doing her "thinker" pose, while Payton looks on at her.

This is one of Sara's pics of the kids inside the schoolhouse.

Sara's Mom took this group photo for us.
I said no one should see it, but Sara thought it was cute,
and I think it's funny... so it made both of our blogs.

Here's the other pic that Sara's Mom took for us.
We really were mostly out of the sun,
but the girls look like they're grimacing...
I think they are just doing their
"I have to smile, AGAIN" face.
What I loved was that afterward, Payton was talking about how Ellie and Wyatt were her new friends!  I also love that although we hadn't seen each other in person for almost three years, it didn't feel that never does.  That's one of the great things about good friends.  I'm sure that blogging helps... that last time we saw each other was when Sara convinced me that I was capable of such a feet. ;)

Wow, after seeing our pictures side by side, I think my camera is due for an upgrade.