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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Blessings in Trials and Trials in Blessings: Focus on the Latter

As 1 example of a trial in a blessing is our last Christmas.  How could anyone consider LOADS of presents a trial?  Well, trust me, I can.  My heart was set on honoring the Holy One, not focusing on selfish items which often result in bickering.  We did still do our Devotions and Worship, but there was also the idol of stuff to draw the attention of my little ones away from what preceeded their "joy."  *sigh*  Yes, we talked about the actual reason for the presents even during the unwrapping and tried to remind them of the true focus... but they were all 6 and younger at the time.

Another example is the sun.  It is necessary and wonderful.  But if you live without AC, you learn rather quickly to find great enjoyment in overcast Spring and Summer days and pray for cold fronts - even though they are so highly unlikely during those two seasons in these our subtropical climes.

Our house.  Huge.  Need I say more?  Focus on the huge.

All of these things are INarguably blessings.  I am tremendously grateful and constantly thankful for them.  The first, because it has effected Jessie so tremendously.  His understanding of the Lord's love for him was impacted greatly by those Christmas gifts for his girls.  The second... well, I don't think I even need to explain that I think the sun is awesome and I'm thankful for it and know we could not live without it.  I'm not a twit.  ;)  The third, I enjoy our home.  I'm grateful and thankful for it.  It has changed Jessie's heart drastically about a subject VERY important to me.  It enables us to learn and grow in news ways.  It's awesome.  Even with all the awesomeness of these blessings, there are trials in all of them as well.

Now, the reason I've only done a cursory illustration/explanation of these blessings as trials is because I choose to focus on the good and positive.  My goal is to bring Light IN to the world.  If I truly want to fulfill my role as a Disciple of Christ and Light bearer, I cannot focus on that which dims my Light and shifts my Focus from Him.  The dominions of the Saints was forseen to be small (1 Nephi 14:12)... but the intesity of the Light shined forth was not described.  So, I'm just trying to enable my Light to shine like the Son/sun!  Thus, I focus on the blessings in my trials AND the blessings in my blessings!!  ^_^  That's what Jesus would do, me thinks.  :)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Friday, April 22, 2011: I'm exceedingly thankful for my Jessie's diligence in caring for our sick Tea, applying around in search of a new job, and trying to help me around the house.  I'm also thankful that Tea's fever broke in the late evening.

Saturday, April 23, 2011:  I'm thankful that Tea began to more fully recover.  She actually walked around on her own and ate!!  ^_^  I'm also amazingly thankful that Jessie worked so hard on getting things in order to put up fencing to contain some of our alternate streams of income, helped me in our home, and did job searching without narry a suggestion, prod, or plead on my part!!!  :)

Sunday, April 24, 201!: I'm thankful for an Elder Brother who loves me, (us, even the whole world) so much that He submitted fully to our Father and completed His assignments.  Among those assingments which He completed to perfection and which He was set apart to do, He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, died a more horrible death at Golgotha, after extreme persecution, than I can truly comprehend, and then rose on the third day to fulfill the law (every jot and tittle) and prophets so that I (WE!) might hope in Him to return to God and live in His presence for Eternity!  Praise the Lord!  He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!!!!

Monday, April 25, 2011:  I'm thankful for the sleep I was able to get sitting up in the living room, which, I'm sure, helped my body overcome the crud.  (Just in case you're not aware: Tori sleeping during the day is usually a sure sign of #1 illness or #2 pregnancy.  Sitting up while sleeping during the day (OR night, for that matter) is just basically unheard of!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011:  I'm thankful for pediatric chiropractors.  I'm also thankful that Jessie continues to be completely WELL... he drove to AND from our destination, which was a huge blessing cause my eyes are still readjusting from the hormones and this illness has caused them some extra wonkiness!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011:  I'm thankful for good tires on reliable vehicles that transport us tremendous distances in an amazingly short amount of time (especially considering our very near history)!

Thursday, April 28, 2011:  I'm thankful for a husband who sleeps off illness super fast.  He's got a seriously amazing immune system!

Make sure to visit the blog of the girl who started me on my Thankful Thursday posts.  ^_^  She's an awesome source of Light in the lives of ALL who know her!!!   :)

Blessings in Trials and Trials in Blessings

Have you ever thought about how it goes both ways?  I have.  Quite a LOT lately.  The truth of, "For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. (underline added by me)" (2 Nephi 2: 11) is becoming ever more and more real and apparent to me.  How funny... I've been using 'apparently' in my verbal communication more than I am comfortable with, but it's rather appropriate, too, because much IS becoming apparent and clearer to me!  :)

And it's amazing what things can happen when we obey the command, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (boldened words made that way by me)" given in Ephesians 5:20.

I hope you'll stick with me to see what I'm referring to!  ^_^

My sister sent a note to my Ria a bit back.  With the letter she included a paper cut-out cloud.  The cloud was lined with aluminum foil.  My sis had written a note to Ria on it, reminding me that I'd helped her make a bunch of those clouds when things had been a bit difficult for her and she'd posted and hung them around her room.  I totally didn't remember that at all until my Ria received that gift in an envelope.  I consider it one of the huge gifts of my life (even though it wasn't mine at all!) because it has heavily impacted MY perceptions and changed our home over time since receiving it.  Seriously.  Awesome, right?

At the time, I believe we were in the midst of one of the illnesses of Tea's 18 months of monthly sicknesses.  I was overwhelemd by fears about my children's well-being.  I was feeling drowned by the trials of my life.  That little cloud, which cost the price of postage to send, reminded me of the principle of "opposition in all thing," without mentioning it at all.  And I'm quite sure I didn't think of it in those terms at that time, either.  But I began to TRY to see the trials I was facing as something that might be hiding something else worthwhile... some silver around the edge.

I began to wax both philosophical and poetical about the whole silver-lined-cloud-thing - mostly to myself and in my own head.  As I write, I realize it must have been significantly more than a year ago because I even mentioned some of my musings in a testimony which I shared with my previous Ward.  These ponderings were certainly guided, at least in part, by the Spirit.  Because of the thoughts (my own and some certainly were whispers of the Spirit), I began to be much more accepting of the trials that came my way.  Acceptance is the first step to Peace and Peace is a necessary precursor to Joy.

Now fast forward more than a year.  (At least 15 months, but probalby a good bit more... and time reference is important because my progress has NOT been swift... but the tortoise DID win....  heehee... I know I'm only racing against myself... but GOSH, I wanna win!   -_^wink)

This illness (throwing up, fever, diahrea) has definitely "rocked the Gollihugh family boat" a bit for the last week.  And it continues.  Jess got it over-night.  It has been a trial of one of the bigger sort - especially as far as stress goes, because our baby is merely 6 weeks old.  But please do not mistake.  I am NOT complaining.  This trial, as large and dark a 'cloud' as it could be compared to, is lined with loads of silver.  The silver, in fact, is greater in worth than the evil inteded by the darkness within illness and pain.

Jessie has been our nurse.  He has taken complete charge of each of our sick kiddos, in turn.  He has helped them with their throw-ups.  He has walked (and sometimes carried) them to the toilet for the diahrea.  He has diligently sought information that he might use to provide relief and healing and then prepared and administered teas, chicken broth, chicken noodle soup, roasted onion dip for crackers, baked sweet potatoes, and ensured that each and every one of us was consuming (when we could not eat especially) lots of hydrating fluids (especially electrolyte replacements) as well as teas.  To see him in action this way, solicitous and tender has been a tremendous gift to me.  And, as part of the even larger trial of his being unemployed again, the ABILITY and TIME he has to do this work in our home for all of us sickies is an amazing strike of silver in the black thundercloud of the unemployment trial.  So, see!  How could I wish the trial to never have come when it gives me such riches BECAUSE it has visited us?

Yes.  It's a trial.  Yes.  It's difficult.  Would I WISH it here?  NO!!!  Would I wish it away given that it's already come... yes, when the time is right in the Lord.  Would I wish it away before it's purifying work is done?  No.  I cannot.  I can see how the chaff is blowing and the dross is burning to leave greater purity than was present before its arrival.  The greater good is most certainly being served.  How could it be otherwsie when we truly do strive to live as God would have us do?

With the trial of the illness, I have experienced something amazing.  I have finally applied the principle in Ephesians whilst still facing my natural tendancy to fear illness and while still in the midst of this trial.  Over the last year or so, I've gotten better about expressing thanks for trials... AFTER they were passed.  This time is different, as I've mentioned.  And WOW!  The payoff for THAT!  As a result of thanking the Lord for the trial and praising His name for knowing what we can handle, He has opened my mind and I have experienced a flood of revelation.

I exhult in and praise our Lord that we can pray and receive answers.  Even instantaneous.  I definitely have had that experience - even on a regular and ongoing basis.  But since giving thanks for this trial... it's like the highway for communication (reception, most likely) has been straightened and widened significantly.  It's like I don't have to listen nearly so hard to "hear" and understand the answers to the questions I ask the Lord in my mind.  Additionally, as I've been thinking about something (not praying or expecting any info from the Lord), I've received really amazing understandings as sort of "downloads" of pictures to illustrate a true understanding of the thing over which I was pondering.  In addition to the pictures there are explanations in whispers when I ponder on the pictures!!!  It's been amazing and WONDERFUL and I'm SO thankful!!!!  I feel so excited to thank the Lord for all our trials and am actively trying to do it more - and do it audibly so our children will learn the habit!  Perhaps they will always have a more open channel of reception in their mind and only have to work on the 'fine tuning'.  Wouldn't that be wonderful!!!  ^_^

Have you found any treasures in the trials of your life?

Next regular post, I'll illustrate a little about how I have found there to be trials in blessings.  It will be more a cursory examination and I'll explain why at the end of that post.  ^_^

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When Family Calls

Perhaps it's different for you and yours, but around here it's a joy to hear from our folks, though we really only hear from mine regularly.  Jess and his Dad talk frequently, but I'm pretty sure Jess calls out... not absolute on that, but I'm pretty sure.  And I think he calls out as often as he does because of the conversation relationship he observes that I have with my family of origin.

My family and I are pretty close and we have relatively good relationships.  I think we enjoy one another quite a lot - most (if not all) of the time - especially thinking about when we're together.

Regardless of our intentions,  however, conversations don't  happen nearly as often as we'd like especially now that Jess and I live rather far away and the conversations are limited to the phone, email, facebook, or snail mail.  We (my family of origin or I) mean to call, but then don't (read: emergencies in the moment crowd out ability to conversate coherently).  And so it is sometimes really rare that I/we talk to my family.

When my brothers call, especially, my reactions are (and probably in this order) #1 worry (because maybe something bad happened that they feel I should know about), #2 get excited (cause they may be calling to plan a visit), or #3 try to remember what special thing may have happened about which they are calling to tell me.  Seriously.  Does this frustrate or trouble me?  No.  I feel like I can call just as easily as they can, so I cannot be upset with them for calling infrequently... unless I'm willing to be equally upset with me.  I'd rather not be upset or frustrated with anyone, so I choose to enjoy the phone conversations when they can AND do happen.

My sister calls more frequently.  And I actually DO call her more often, too.  Why?  I'm not sure.  Perhaps because I think she will not mind my noisy interruptive children as much as my brothers may (have in the past?).  She does, afterall, have more experience dealing with those same issues as I... so she's more compassionate about dealing with them second-hand.  And I certainly do NOT mind dealing with whatever she may have to deal with, too.

My Mom and I talk a lot more often.  That's REALLY mostly because she calls to keep tabs on us REALLY regularly.  Like, if she's NOT heard from us in too long (a week or two), she'll call every couple days to try to reach us... cause I do NOT answer the phone when I cannot deal with it.  The phone in a tool, NOT a ruler.


When we DO get to talk... we sure do enjoy our conversation time.  It always feels like it was just the other day that we talked.  I LOVE this gcharacteristic of my relationships with family and good friends!  My family and I talk and enjoy one another like no time has passed (after a 1-5 minute warm-up period, the length of time dependent upon the person with whom I'm speaking).

What is your conversation relationship like with your family?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I know a really cool girl who does a weekly post to share some of the things she's thankful for each week.  Because I love her posts and because I think it's an awesome way to shine out and share Light into the world, I'm joining her in working to make Thankful Thursday a weekly post.  :)  So, for my introductory Thankful Thursday:

Friday, April 15, 2011: I'm thankful for the excitement my family and I feel in anticipation of our house-guests!

Saturday, April 16, 2011: I'm thankful for updated information about my sister's itinerary and expected arrival day/time for her upcoming visit.  I'm also thankful that their arrival was slightly delayed as we were dealing with some rather heavy stressors.

Sunday, April 17, 2011:  I'm thankful for a loving Ward Family who welcomed me to church (my first since the birth of my #4 child) with great love and affection.  I'm also VERY thankful for the safe arrival of my sister and her family for their visit to and in our home!

Monday, April 18, 2011:  I'm thankful for simple pleasures, safe travel, yummy ice cream, and time to "just" BE in my sister and her family's company!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011: I'm thankful for the gift of a safe and enjoyable visit to a local "tourist" spot with a yummy Greek lunch after.  All of which was made even more fun and exciting because it was enjoyed in the company of family!  I'm thankful for the opportunity to see a valiant Priesthood Holder, hubby, and Daddy in action, caring for his "flock" with great Love, Patience, and Devotion.  I knew my sis would be as wonderful as she was!  ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011:  I'm thankful for sweet service and loving kindness of those who do NOT need to do, but do anyway BECAUSE they Love as Christ Loves!  I'm thankful for Tea's SWEET temperment - which has extended into this illness.

Thursday, April 21, 2011:  I'm thankful for the gift and blessing of Priesthood Blessings and the loving "Mom" and "Dad" (adopted initially by Kat) who came to our home at 12:30am to administer th blessing of comfort and help with ill Tea and then came back half-a-day later to check on us and give Easter gifts - NO cany and DEFINITELY no chocolate AND who called after that to check on us again!!!!!  They really know and LOVE us!!!  Tea's gift from Mom and Dad, subsequently, has become her comfort thing: a little character lantern.  "Not oil burning, but it uses batteries," as Ria commented.  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I have been trying to read (and re-read) some books considered, by almost anyone, to be classics.  Some might think I would've gotten enough of that stuff through my University degree since I WAS an English Major.  But I've come to realize that I learn MUCH more of value now that a degree is not on the horizon... and answering questions on a test is not an issue.  I don't have anyone dictating to me what I should see or understand from a given text.  The thoughts I have as reading the classics I've been able to read/re-read thus far are way more interesting than the interpretations shoved in front of me by my professors!  What a joy!!

And sharing the enjoyment and joy of this experience with my daughters makes it even more wonderful.  So far we've completed Great Expectations and we will finish Jane Eyre very soon (within the next two weeks, but it would be much sooner if we were not going to have the joy of visitors in our home very soon).  Listening to my 7 year old talk about the characters almost as if they were people she interacted with in real life and wanted to know better... and to hear her excitement... her anticipation to learn what happens next... well, that is a treasure for THIS homeschooling Mama!

Thus far, in my personal efforts to read classics, I've read: The Chosen, Pride and PrejudiceA Girl of the Limberlost, and The Lonesome Gods.  The girls and I have also started Alice in Wonderland, but because of Daddy's work situation changing we haven't made much more progress in that one.  Ria has already read it a dozen times and Kat and Tea don't really interact with these stories yet (they are "only" 2 and 4 as yet, so when they listen at all, I think it's wonderful!).

For my own reading, I'm planning to begin Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea next.  And if I can find them, I'd like to read Laddie and Little Britches soon after I finish 20,000 Leagues.  I can't remember which it is, but I've only been able to find ONE copy of one of those last two titles in all of my very large county and to check it out myself I have to travel a bit... I could ask for inter-library transfre, but it costs $5 to get it transferred to my nearest branch!  ugh!  I'm SO hoping to begin building up our classics collection through thrift store and yard sale shopping... and I'm HOPING to find Laddie and Little Britches among so many others that I hope to add to our library!  :)  Oh, also on my list for my own classics reading in the near future: Les Miserable, Wuthering Heights, and Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography.  Because I'm also reading parenting books and still a homeschooling Mama of two homeschoolers, plus a toddler and a newborn... I think I'll be quite busy with "just" those for some time!  :)

Why bother?  Why do I love classics (now more than ever)?  These two questions have, for me anyway, basically the same answer: Because they are classic!  ^_^  They are absolutely wonderful because of the lessons they teach.  The strength of charcter (and weaknesses) illustrated in stunning detail through beautiful prose is extremely attractive to me.  The opportunity for deep conversation about said is extremely valuable to me.  The blessing of self-introspection that reading and then pondering the ideas and actions explained so well as to create movies in my mind while reading these books is priceless.  So even though lots, probably even most, of these books can be found for less than a dollar up to around ten dollars each when purchasing them at yard sales, thrift stores and even used book stores... they are of much greater worth than their cost would/could otherwise signify.  Especially to me in our homeschool!

What are your favorite classics?  What have you read lately?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Giveaway for Nursing and Preggie Ladies!

Hope on over to Stand and Deliver to see what I'm talking about. Some great shirts and the blog is just really cool, too! :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011


For some reason my YouTube embed is bad. To be able to read all the print on the screen of the YouTube, please click HERE. There's not a lot to read, but I know I would feel just a little bit frustrated if I couldn't read it easily.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

An Offshoot of Jessie's Affiliate Marketing Stream of Income (Hopefully)

A new Amazon Store.  This one contains things relating to what I write about here.  For your browsing pleasure, I bring you: Chooseing Our WayWe Keep Choosing Us is the blog, of course (you are here, right?).  So, what better store name than Choosing Our Way... since we are, bit by bit, choosing our way carefully through the maze of this world.  Of course, the name for the store does not specify explicitly that we choose under guidance of our Father, but you know that by now, right?  :)

In but not OF the World

I'm thinking about making this a re-occuring theme cause it's been SO heavy on my heart lately.  Regardless, I feel the need to write about a comment made to me yesterday and, sort of, on Wednesday... and pretty darn regularly when I'm out and about and much of any conversation transpires.

The comment?  Well, first I should share that the conversation resulting in the comment revolves around the size of our family.  And the question, inevitably, "So, are you done?"  (and lately, since Jimmy's birth: "Oh, you have your boy!  So, you're done now, right!(?)!)  And Tori-unable-to-lie, tells the truth to much raising of eyebrows.  And they respond back with: "Well, I suppose that's fine as long as you can afford them/that many (if I've shared the number the Lord has laid on my heart for the last 5 years).

My response?  Well, I'm not able to give it every time because of time constraints or lack of real interest on my listener's part, but I can give it fully here... which is a sort of Balm to my communicator's heart.  :)  Yesterday and Wednesday I was able to respond fully, so let me share the gist of the conversations and the responses.

Wednesady we went to the library.  Our first trip of that sort since Jimmy's joined us.  I had late fees to pay and determined that I would prefer to do it at the beginning when everyone's behavior is most manageable.  So, we were about our business and during the course of it we aquired an audience.  The full staff of the front of the library ended up out to admire and watch and comment on the cute kiddies.  And the comments and questions abounded.  I didn't respond to most cause I could tell (from experience) that the commentor/questioner wasn't really interested in my response.  But there were a few who were and I did respond.  So, the fact that I'm pretty sure we are not done came out and one Librarian commented: "Oh, but you have to be able to educate them all!"  She didn't desire a response.  However, I desired to give one.  But at that moment I could not because #1 I was too shocked to think straight cause I thought something like, "How does she know we homeschool and I'm wondering how we're gunna buy the next group of curriculum materials?" and #2 even if I hadn't been shocked, I can't think really swiftly on my feet right now... I attribute my slow brain to fatigue and hormones.  It happens like this (my brain slowing WAY down) at the end of every pregnancy and it has taken a while to kick back into gear after each baby is born.

Well, I was able to think a bit while I walked with the girls and we did our thing in the library.  During that time, I formed my response and decided I would make sure I was courageous to respond to her if I saw her again.  I didn't think I would see her again, of course, which made it really easy to determine to be so courageous.  :)

Well, when we were checking out, she did come out to watch us.  And because she was so close, I felt I had to honor my commitment to myself, even though I felt quite uncomfy in trying to do so.  Thankfully she made it quite easy because she commented/asked, "You homeschool, too, don't you?"  I felt SO relieved at the opened door!  I responded, "If I want more like I do, how could I entrust the care of my precious ones to someone else for their education?!"  She was tickled by my response, which increased my courage.  And so I said, "Did you comment to me about educating all the children when we were here to pay our fines?"  She said yes, of course.  "Would you mind hearing my response to your comment now?  I couldn't come up with it before, but I've put together exactly what I'd like to say and would like to share it with you now."  She, looking a little surprised, but genuinely interested, said, "Yes, of course."

My response, "Have you ever read A Girl of the Limberlost?"  She said she had not, which I was a little surprised at, but continued, "Well, my husband and I both paid for our own University education and I really feel and believe that the experience has only improved our character.  I think I'm a pretty good person and was definitely NOT hurt by the effort I had to expend to sustain myself and attain my Higher Education.  And I know it's benefited my husband, too.  Also, the girl in the book paid for ALL of her own education and she was amazing.  I'd like to think I'm a little bit like her.  Regardless, as a result of my own experience, I do not feel a bit of need to pay for my children's University Education.  And, as a matter-of-fact, my oldest (pointing to Ria) is regularly trying to come up with ways to earn money so that she can buy some of her own educational materials, especially the ones she specifically wants.  And I'm TOTALLY okay with that!"  My Librarian's response was, basically, "You are an AWESOME Mother."  Because I'm trying to be more gracious and loving, I did not refute her out loud, though,  in my heart I said, "Oh, you just don't see me at home and all day long."  I did NOT say it out loud, though!  I'm progressing!  :)

Yesterday my neighborn came by to thank me for something I'd done.  He was very interested in seeing Jimmy, so I shared.  :)  And my neighbor and I talked for a few minutes.  He asked if we were done.  As in done having children.  I answered and even shared how NOT done we are (we're about half-way now).  And he commented, "Well, so long as you can afford all of them, that's just fine."

My response, "Now, I actually just totally disagree with you on that one.  Because, by the world's standards we couldn't have afforded to have Ria when we did.  And by those same standards we cannot afford those we DO have.  But, you see, I know the Lord will provide at LEAST sufficient for our needs.  And, in fact, I know that He provides far more than that!"  I referred to our Disney trip, provided by the Lord through my Uncle.  I referred to this past Christmas and the mountain of presents that not a ONE of them were NEEDED, but the Lord still provided!  "So, I know that if the Lord wants us to have 8 kiddos like I feel He does, He will provide amazingly for every one of them!  At least sufficient for our needs, but I'm sure it'll be far more because it always has been up to now!!!"  My neighbor was amazed.  He mumbled something about how the Lord provides, but I think he was mostly just shocked.

So we are in the world.  We live here.  But we acknowledge our alien-ness and have our hearts fully (in many ways) in acceptance of that.  We do not require for ourselves or our children ALL that the world would have us believe we "NEED".  We know, from experience NOW, that we do NOT need 75-99% of that "stuff" and "the experiences" for our children or ourselves that the World promotes and even declares are REQUIRED to "become".  So, we're striving to be IN the world but NOT of the world!

What has the Lord impressed you to do to take yourself more fully OUT of the World's Ways?

Thursday, April 7, 2011


We need to put our fence "back" up. The work done with the wood that was up when we bought this house was shoddy. Most of the wood was good, but the job of putting it together (as well as some key pieces, read: crossbeams) were just NOT! So, helped along by the neighbor children throwing balls at it (the fence was falling down so much that throwing balls at it helped it along nicely... grrrr) we took the fence down. HA!!! Actually, our the AWESOME Boyscouts in my Ward took it down for us (with Jessie)! We still have most of the wood. Not all of it, though, as I have used some of it to build the chicken tractor, of which I constructed about 80%.  ^_^

Still, with the wood we do have, we could fence a good portion of our yard with some new crossbeams (I'm not sure if that's actually what they are called, but I'm referring to the pieces that are horizontal with the ground and hold all the perpendicular pieces of wood together).

Thanks to Craigslist, I was blessed to find a fencing place that sells used fence panels for $5 each. Yesterday I had a plan for Jess and me to have a long date (with Jimmy along) to go pick out and purchase any good ones we could find there. The place is in Orlando, so it'd be a good trip there and back plus loading of panels....  That fell through. But last night, when I was wracking my brain to come up with a plan to get our fence back up, Grammy Jo called. She suggested that she could come over to watch the girls and I could go with Butch to get the panels - basically my plan was still in tact, but I'd be traveling with my "adoptive" Dad instead of Jessie.

I've felt a good deal of pressure to get our fence up for a while.

#1 Reason To Get The Fence Back Up:  Father has impressed Jessie that we need to develop multiple streams of income so that we are not reliant upon only one.  I have felt impressed that using our land and fulfilling some of the self-suficiency goals He has inspired in my heart is meant also to become productive to fulfilling the inspiration Jessie has received.  We need to contain the chickens.  And I don't prefer to work with an audience.  Pressure to get that fence up.

#2 Reason: Currently, I have to plan my day around our neighbor's schedule.  WHY!??  Well, I, personally, do not prefer to work with an audience watching and questioning me.  To avoid an audience, I must work outside when the neighbor children are NOT home.  I do not like having to plan my day around their school day.  I would like to feel that I can go into my yard and do what I want, when I want (within reason, of course!).  I cannot currently do this and it is amazingly frustrating.  Also, because the fence is NOT up, the children randomly run through the yard.  This is a problem because I'm hyper aware of our property... especially as a result of March's events in a neighbor's back yard.  So, when I see someone or something moving in my yard, it is very interruptive!  I don't want random people - even just children - running through my yard.  I want them to ask permission to come and play - like at the front door.  Not just run over cause my kids are out.  Okay, so I'm very protective.  If you heard  how these kids' Grama yells, you might want to supervise your children's play with her grandkids!  My kids don't cuss.  I don't want them to LEARN how to cuss (any more than they already have from their Daddy's slips!!).  And I definitely don't want them to think it's cool cause their peer does it.  Yes, they are sheltered.  This is one of the bonus benefits of homeschooling.  I get to bless my children with purity in their childhood!!!  I guard their purity and will continue to do so as long as possible.  Doesn't Father God WANT us to do this?  I think so!  Pressure to get that fence up.

#3 Reason: Our neighbor (second house down) was robbed twice in six days last month.  His back fence was knocked down by the power company a while back and he hasn't got it back up, so his back yard was open and accessible to observation and foot traffic.  The result: some crooks stole everything they could move quickly to sell - plus the trailer they loaded it on!  I've been feeling quite concerned about our home since then.  I'm not so worried about our garage.  But I AM worried that said crooks may see a door to our home open (since we do leave a door open for the cool night air - to cool off the house from the heat of the day) and think it's an open invitation to take what they want.  (Read: my biggest concern is that they would take one or all of my girls or harm any of our persons - especially since the door that is open is right into our bedroom.)  BIG pressure to get that fence up.

#4 Reason:  We have lots of unsightly fence posts sticking out of the ground with no fence actually ON them.  It looks WAY white trash.  :(   A good friend of mine once said something about "white trashy-ness" to me and, obviously, it's stuck with me cause now that I have any way of doing anything about whether something "mine"  is deemed such by me, I totally do NOT want to look out and see something that makes me think "white trash"!!!  *sigh*  I know my worth has nothing to do with my yard, but I DO want to be a good steward and I want to feel good about the blessings Father has given.  Pressure to put the fence up.

Talk about some pressure, right?!!

Thankfully we have a little bit left from our tax return.  After paying for Jimmy's birth and covering some escroe expense, it's a lot less than I was hoping for... I'm not sure how we're buying the next round of school stuff.  I DO think we'll have enoug hin out regular budget to purchase some relatively soon... I was just hoping to use our income to get our alternate streams up and working.  *sigh*  I'm sure Father will work out whatever I cannot figure out right now!  I think, though, that what we have left just MIGHT be enough to get the whole yard encompassed about by privacy fencing (with gates! as a result of the trip today).  This may be possible, BUT only because I was able to buy 19 panels (not all of them 8 feet long... but the amount of wood I bought I could've NEVER got for what I paid!!).  I also bought 30 posts, 10 of which I'll leave in the trailer I borrowed from my neighbor.  He'll need to buy at least 5 times that many to put his fence up, but since they were $3 each, I think we both got a good deal from my borrowing his trailer.  :)  I DO hope he feels that way!!!  So, I paid out just under $200 for 19 panels (brand new at Lowes they cost around $36!!!) and 30 posts (at Lowes they cost around $7!!!).  So, we saved a BUNCH of money!  We're going to use Lowes for the panels (as many as we need or can afford, whichever ends/comes first. ^_^) and galvenized screws cause their pricing beat out Home Depot.  But I'm glad to save as much as I have cause it's more likely we'll be able to get the whole fence up now than it seemed before!

So, hopefully we'll have the whole fence up within the next month or so.  Given that Jess only has one whole day off each week, that's a pretty high hope... but God can make it happen!

Do you have any huge projects pending?  What is your pressure/incentive to get it done?
Hope to hear from you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I've been reading a bit lately and wanted to share a bit about it.

First, I finished Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austin again.  Love it!  More recently, I finished Managers Of Their Homes: A Practical Guide To Daily Scheduling For Christian Home-School Families and Redeeming the Time by the Maxwells.  The latter is written specifically for men and I did buy it FOR Jessie, but after I finished the former, I felt REALLY hard-hearted about this whols scheduling thing I really HAVE been feeling led to implement.  So, I started reading Redeeming the Time in hopes that it would soften my heart and help me follow through on this thing that I know Father wants me to work on.  It has helped.  I put the schedule together for the girls and me tonight.  MAN it takes a long time!  I read that it's be a big investment at the outset, but sheesh!  As I understand it, though, it's an investment and I'll see the dividends very quickly - if not immediately.  Now, it would be AWESOME if Jess could work reasonable hours so I could get the sleep I have planned in the schedule!  *sigh*

I started another book today and was totally laughing out loud in the very first pages!!!  (Seriously, I hadn't even started reading the actual BOOK!  I was laughing out loud while reading the Introduction!  ^_^)  It's called: Your Girl: Raising a Godly Daughter in an Ungodly World by Vicki Courtney.  I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

Have I mentioned that we've been working to have Family Reading Time each night?  We've read Great Expectations already.  I was amazed at how MUCH Ria loved it.  She talked about Pip and Estella at various times throughout the day - especially once we were half-way through the book.  Currently we're reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which Ria also really loves.  It's so neat to hear her talk about these characters.

What have you been reading lately and how did you like it?

Friday, April 1, 2011

How to Give a Newborn a Haircut

Very slowly.  :)

So, Jess said something pretty recently (before Jimmy was born) that REALLY stuck with me.  He told me that he hated to have hair on his ears. (Not the old man kind, though I'm sure he would HATE that, too... but the kind that grows from the head and is just sorts resting on or brushing on the tops of his ears).  So, when Jimmy came along and I was really noticing his hair (day 2 or 3) I realized that his hair was brushing the tops of his ears.  And I thought, "Oh, I want my boy to be like his Daddy and NOT like hair on his ears... so I think I need to cut his hair soon."  I should've started when he was a week old, but I wasn't able to focus and I was still super tired.  So I started on his two week birthday.  And I finished a few days later - for the most part.

If you don't know how to cut a boy's hair, you may not understand what I'm going to describe... please forgive me.  If you DO know, then hopefully this will make perfect sense.  And, honestly, even if you don't know how already, I hope it makes sense!  ^_^

I started on that first day with just cutting in his ears.  In case you're not sure what I mean, I combed his hair down and folded his ear down (after I knew where to cut) and cut the hair around his ears so it would NOT touch his ear when they were upright.  That was difficult enough because Jimmy was awake most of the time.

As a result of that experience, I highly recommend that you make sure your baby is sleeping quite soundly when you attempt to cut his hair.   Jimmy was asleep the next few times I cut his hair and it went SO much more easily.

When cutting the length off of the hairs around the hairline (above the ears and around the back of the head), you need to hold each section of hair between two fingers (index and middle) with fingertips pointing either to the hairline or the top of the head, depending on which side you're working on and whether you are right or left-handed.  A section of hair consists of a smallish rectangle running from top to bottom of the area in which you're working.  Make sure you do NOT make your sections from side to side.  This will result in stairsteps along the child's head.  You can ask my brothers!  :(  Poor boys.  They allowed me to cut their hair before I was trained!

So, I started cutting around Jimmy's head on Monday and finished on Tuesday.  Altogether it took about an hour... but that also included the line around the back of his hairline.  So, including around his ears, it probably took me a good hour and 45 minutes.  I'm hoping for a shorter cut next time!  Oh, and I didn't cut the top at all cause it looks really cute all on its own and it's not TOO long yet.

Let me know if you experiment with cutting a newborn's hair sometime soon!  ;)
Talk to ya later,

If you'd like to check out a homeschool carnival click on the link below.  I think it's clickable, anyway.  :)  I linked one of my recent posts there.  If you read here regularly, you've already read it.  But the whole carnival is pretty cool.  ^_^

Carnival of Homeschooling

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