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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 ...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Very Merry and totally Miraculous Christmas!

It all started back in late October or sometime in early November.  Projecting our finances, especially after the demotion at River Grille on The Tomoka, I knew we wouldn't be able to afford our "regular" $10 gift Christmas (giving each person $10 to spend on each other person in our little family).  While our norm is really quite reasonable, when you do not have enough coming in, there isn't anything else to go out!

While, in truth, this was at first sort of depressing to me, I came up with a plan that was exciting to me and would include wonderful lessons for our whole family...  The plan?  To allocate only $50 ($10 each), which would be a stretch but much easier than the alternative, and spend it on gift certificates which we would then give to individuals at the homeless camp near-ish our home.  When we discussed this plan as a family, the girls were, at first, sort of disappointed about not getting any presents themselves, but then they caught the vision and were excited about giving to those who need so much more than we.  Ria even came up with a plan to have an art show to sell their art work so that they could have more money to buy gifts for those in need.  Jess agreed with the plan.

Unbeknownst to me, Jess began to reconsider our family agreement.  He was trying to figure out ways he could have gifts to give our girls on Christmas.  Then he was fired from RG and he became, it seems to me, even more anxious to provide gifts for the girls even though the way for him to do so in and of ourselves was even more impossible.  All this without telling me a thing about his thoughts or feelings.

Then, one day in early December he received a phone call from our midwife.  He was out grocery shopping.  She told him about an organization that chooses 100 Chef's in the area each year and then provides gifts for theChef's children.  (My midwife did not know Jess had been fired from RG.)  Jess told me he was in shock when he heard her tell him this and then ask if she could submit wish lists for our girls.  He thanked her while on the phone, but the magnitude of the magnitude of the blessing only hit him when he got to his car, where he promptly began to shed tears of gratitude.

He came home and told me all about it.  I felt angry at first (because he started by telling me he'd been trying to think of how to get gifts for the girls), but as I listened I became aware of the blessing and miracle.  My reaction: "You know this is not about our girls.  This is about YOU.  This is a gift from Father to YOU for our girls because He knows your heart and the wishes of it and He wants to show you that He loves you and that you are worthy in His sight."  I think Jessie heard me this time....  He acknowledged the truthfulness of what I said, at least.

There's more.

My Ward family (earth angels, in my sight) gave us gift certificates to use at Wal-Mart for the girls.  A lot of them.

There's more.

A really sweet family in our Ward was given dresses (just about the sizes of our daughters), which they wrapped and gave to our girls as well as a matching shirt for Mama.  Then, Christmas Eve that same thoughtful family came over to deliver gifts for the girls (2 each, I believe, plus a few gifts for all three)!  A whole family of earth angels, that!

So, our Christmas Tree, when we moved all the gifts to places around it, was so very FULL of gifts.... More full than any Christmas I can remember from my childhood... and I have 5 siblings!  More full than any Christmas Jess can recall (though he does have only one sib).  The only "match" for this Christmas is the Christmas Jessie's sister Anni visited and my sweet, dear friend Heather came to deliver more than 3 large black garbage bags full of presents for our family on Christmas Eve back in 2008 (I think)....  We are so very blessed!!!

Now, some might consider all this story a series of sweet coincidences.  Some might write it off to synchronicity.  Others might say it's a chance collaboration of unlikely events.  Another might say it's luck, or a happy accident, fate, or some other such verbal "write off" of what is REALLY miraculous.  You see, to see miracles, I have learned, it takes an Eye of Faith.  It requires Spiritual Eyes, which are only ever opened BY Fiath, to see what can not be seen by those who would name away that which is plainly seen through Faith... who would close their eyes to what is real and readily before us, but easily explained away.  Yes, it IS easy to explain away!  I used to do it.  Jess has only recently stopped!  But let's call a miracle a miracle and open our dimmed eyes to see the fine threads, invisible without Faith, of Father's awesome plan.  Let's see them as they intertwine and combine to create this magnificent tapestry we live, it makes up our lives!  God's got it!  For sure.  Let Go, Let God.  He will bring so much more than we can provide, if we'll just WAIT ON THE LORD in ALL things!

And so, seeing with my Spiritual Eyes, opened by Faith, I proclaim that THIS, my friends... this Christmas is for Jessie (as well as our daughters, of course... and for me, too, I'm sure, but I just feel SO much that it's FOR Jessie most of all cause it's the wishes and hopes of HIS heart that was answered upon the heads and into the hearts of our children!).  Do you see how the Lord loves him??  And our Father loves us ALL this way!!!  Isn't His Love amazing??!!!??  The way our AWESOME God knows the wishes and hopes of our heart and manifests them in the world when we are simply TRYING to live as He would have us do to the best of our ability at any given time!??!!

Our God is a personal God.  He knows us as individuals and Loves us no matter what.  He knows what we are capeable of right now... as well as what we MAY do in the future if we'll just submit to Him and His knowledge and His guidance and do our best understanding of His Will!  And He blesses us so tremendously for our pitiful and puny efforts to be like our Dear Savior, Jesus Christ.  I must confess Christ in all things.  We are commanded to do so and so I do: This is ALL from Him and we are SO VERY THANKFUL!!!  We are so thankful to those who have acted as instruments in His hands to bless our lives, to bring such temporal manifestations of God's Love into our world this Christmas.  THANK YOU!!!!

Thank you, God.

Merry MERRY Christmas!  I hope His Birthday was a lovely day for you and yours and that some of the wishes and hopes of YOUR heart were manifest in this temporal and saddly fallen world of ours!  :)

This is my truth.  This is my testimony.  And I bear this, my testimony, in the name of our Savior and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ.  AMEN!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

End Times: Interesting Stuff

Apparently I did not share much on this when I learned it about a year or so ago. I wanted to fix that especially since my Dad showed interest in this particular aspect of the Path Father has had me on in learning things to bring me to Peace (also more completely to Christ who is the only true bestower of Peace, of course).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's New With You

As for us:

Jessie is no longer employed at The River Grille on the Tomoka. Good riddance, but I wish it had been under our own choice more than it was. If you're not "in the know," this place of employment has been a pain in the keester for some time now. The "big boss" is not the best of characters and worked hard to manipulate and generally just treat Jessie poorly while he was still the Executive Chef. Jess made it to 18 months in that position, which is about three times longer than any other in a similar position under the "big boss". What does that say about "the man"? Well, I won't even go there, unless you'd like to call and see what I have to say. Surely you can imagine it's not the kindest of stuff.

Yet, we have thanked the Lord for an steady source of income enough to pay for food and gasoline. And now, no more as of Friday.

But then... the Lord steps in. Seriously. God is GREAT. Jessie has a meeting/interview at the work place of a friend's and to our best understanding, he will have a job there with the strong probability that he will be able to work 40 hours per week AND get paid as much or more (hourly) than he was making at The River Grille after he was demoted to a line cook and until yesterday. So, even though it won't be a long-term position (Chef job), he'll be a line cook, we'll be better off than we have been by at least a little bit! Isn't God awesome!?? He turns the bad the world intends, around to the benefit of those who love Him. I BELIEVE this and we have experienced the truthfulness of it over and over. What a GIFT to have such a loving and Faithful Father as our Heavenly Father is!!!

Do not mistake all this praise for a doubtless daughter. Unfortunately I endure darkness of mind and doubts galore. Yet I struggle to argue the deceiver down and out and strive to remain faithful to our Lord. I'm so not terribly successful, but I keep on keepin on... at least. :)

Ria is plugging along with her studies. She is still studying: Language Arts (spelling, parts of speech, how to write, etc), Math, Spanish, Piano, Handwriting, Science (Botony currently), and History (Greek). Hopefully we'll add in an art class soon. Oh, and, of course, she reads daily.

Kat is almost through with the How To Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons book. She's on lesson 88 as of Monday. How exciting, right? She's actually a very good reader and should really be finished by now, but she is a VERY determined little lady and she has wanted for quite a while to NOT learn to read.... So, we couldn't very well make much progree without her participation! ;) What changed? She wanted to learn to write. She started to sort of try to teach herself by tracing letters from books (like Ria's Math book). She did this for a couple weeks. Then I showed her that I had a special HANDWRITING book just like Ria's and all she had to do to be able to do lessons in there with me was to do a reading lesson each day. And what-do-ya-know... Kat WANTS to do her reading lessons now! Amazing, right?

So, just this past week (Wednesday, I believe), Tea decided that she was not going to be left out and left behind. It took me a couple days to understand what the fuss was all about, but Wednesday I finally got it. She was determined that SHE should also do reading and handwriting classes JUST LIKE KAT. She is just SO tickled when I sit with her and work on doing school with her. She is now in lesson 4 of the 100 lessons book. She is two years old, by the way. UH-ma-ZING, right? ^_^ Fun stuff.

As for me... I'm enjoying the movements (STRONG) of our newest addition. I'm very much looking forward to welcoming this one to our family. As of tomorrow, I'm 25 weeks... so I still have a bit to wait. I definitely have enough to keep me occupied. Between my number 1 calling: wife, my number 2 calling: mother, my number 3 calling: compassionate service leader... and then still trying to be a friend, visiting teacher, and so forth.... Well, life is pretty busy.

I'm super happy to have a Washing Machine as of today. An angel had it delivered by two fellows this morning. We were out a wash machine for a couple weeks cause the one we were given soon after we moved here completely died in a way Jessie could not resucitate it. ^_^ Let me tell you, I've been SO very VERY thankful for the "over"abundance of clothing the Lord has seen fit to provide for my kiddos (especially Kat and Tea cause they run through clothes like I don't know what!).

Your turn. What's new with you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another of the Things

Tonight I was outside sitting near where my girls were hanging out. Both Ria and Tea had sticks slightly taller than they are - giving them the appearance of shepherdesses. Ria was sort of leaning on her stick (which is actually Jessie's walking stick brought here from our last residence) and Tea was mimicking her posture.

Then Ria got a really dreamy expression on her face and she began, "It's just so lovely here. We're so blessed to live in this beautiful earth and have this wonderful house. We are just so very blessed, aren't we!?"

"YES!" my heart screamed and I told her quietly, so as not to freak my kid out. ^_^ And the spirit whispered, "Singing hymns is really sinking in!" And WHAT a gift and treasure THAT is! I'll share more about the singing hymns thing, in November. It's part of a bit of a project. ;)

Yes, Mom, you know what it is. Please don't give it away in comments - or I won't publish what you write!! ;) heehee ^_^

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Things They Say

Jessie wears glasses because he cannot see well without them (of course).

This morning Ria asked Jess why he wore glasses. He told her he needed them because things looked fuzzy without them. And then her suggestion: "Maybe you see things fuzzy because you haven't cleaned out your eye buggers!"

Jess just looked at her with an sardonic expression. I LAUGHED!

What do YOU think?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fun Day

Saturday the 24th was a fun day. It was the third annual Water Day sponsored by the Primary of my Ward. It was quite cool. The most entertaining activity was a slip and slide. Now, if you have in mind one of the small narrow blue plastic 'slip and slides' like that which I remember from my youth... well, you wouldn't have a good idea of it by more than half. The actual slip and slide that was employed for much water fun was a white-ish/clear plastic of about 12 feet wide and probably 100 feet long. It was set up in a nicely sloping area of the church yard. It was SERIOUSLY cool.

There were two water hoses held by adults to keep the slide slick AND, said adults, squirted watery dish soap into the mix to make the slide more slick. The kids had a GREAT time with it and it was quite enjoyable to watch. The most fun was had, it seemed, by those adults who took a couple turns to go down.

Tea was not much interested, so I was spared the indignity of trying to skid down for a slide and, instead, landing plop, kerplunk and immovable. Now, I know remaining steadfast and immovable is a commendable trait. It is one I am ever striving to attain and maintain, but on a slip and slide to be as successful at it as I would surely be, well... that's only degrading! ;)

While that all was fun and funny enough, I have to say my greatest enjoyment came from a private experience. Tea, Kat, and I had to use the potty. We rushed around to find a door open, only to realize that the building hadn't been disturbed yet. Thankfully a dear brother came rushing over after someone alterted him to our impending danger! We made it to the bathroom in just the nick of time... for ME! Well, it was not QUITE in the amount of time I would've needed to help Tea AND take care of myself as per our normal routine.

So, since Tea has been doing SO well using the potty on her own, I put her in place and went to the stall right next to hers to do my thing. Just as I finished my stream, I heard, "Yeeeaaauuuuhhhh." It wasn't a rejoicing or a talking noise. It was a distressed one. I asked what was wrong and Tea just sort of whimpered. I consoled her telling her I was geting up right then. Before I even pulled myself together, I checked on her cause she just sounded so pittiful. And what did I find? My youngest and smallest sitting IN the toilet, looking up at me with worry and a sort of disgust in her bright blue eyes. And ALL I could do was laugh! Seriously, I couldn't even pull her up out of the toilet for the first 3 seconds 'cause I was laughing so hard!

When she saw me so full of mirth, her expression slowly changed. First her eyes got a bit crinkly and eventually she smiled, too. Thankfully only a small part of the bottom of her shirt was wet by the toilet water (and her pee-pee). But her shorts protected her from constant contact with it. Perhaps that's really odd to some, but I rarely carry extra clothes with us because my girls have really rarely ever needed such a thing. And I guess I honestly just don't think about accidents of the toilet kind! ^_^

What fun we had on Saturday morning!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Ben!

Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to YOU! Happy birthday, DEAR Be-en! Happy birthday to YoooOUUUuuu!

I hope it's a lovely day in every way!!

We love you down here! ;)

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Same, but Progressing

I've begun to get a sense of the whole "one eternal round" thing that is one of the major phrases used to refer to our Lord. Life is a bit of that, isn't it? I mean, there are lots of minor differences, but mostly lots of similarities... hopefully with some progression stuck in here and there. *_* Yet another way the Lord has us in training to become like Him, seems to me! :)

The things that are the same are the majority.

The new things include, but are not limited to: my calling in my new Ward. I've been called to be the Compassionate Service Leader. I've always thought of the Compassionate Service Leader as a RS calling, and technically it is, but when Bishop set me apart he referred to me as the Ward's Compassionate Service Leader. So... interesting. I've been officially in the calling (with sustaining and setting apart done) for about 1.5 weeks. Apparently a mother of a member in my Ward seems to be on death's doorstep. It will be interesting to see what I'm asked to do after she passes. It could be a lot... or barely anything. Just depends on how much they want to turn over to me, it seems. There is no handbook for the Compassionate Service Leader. That's a tough thing for me because I'm big on following the rules and enjoy being able to see responsibilities I'm meant to fulfill and working to fulfill them. So, I kinda have to make up my own guidelines and such along the way and accept those give me by my Bishop and my RS Presidency. Should be interesting! :)

So far I've sent out a couple cards to Sisters I've felt could use the support/encouragement. The cards were homemade, which I hope makes it more special. I've made a couple calls. Not a big deal thus far. I'm super glad to have a calling again, though. I was feeling SUPER itchy... spiritually... cause I didn't have a VTing route or calling. Still don't have a route, but I know why, so that's all right.

New things for me/us also include a trip to LA on the horizon. I'm so blessed with a Mom who wants me to go with her to see her family there. So, if we Golly's pay out anything for the trip it will be really minimal. My only sorrow over the whole thing is that the girls and I will have to go without Jess... AGAIN. He'll stay home and continue to be overworked, underappreciated, and underpaid. :( I'm still hopeful that we'll ALL get to VA for Christmas! If Jess canNOT go this year, the girls and I will stay home. But if he CAN get vacation, which he's technically eligible for since he's already in his second year at The River Grille, then we'll all go! I hope and pray so!!!

Additionally, but not less importantly, of course, we are 14.5 weeks preggie. I've waited longer than ever to share the news this time because during the first two weeks after I found out (weeks 4 and 5), I had a good bit of spotting and have been worried about the viability of the pregnancy since then. Additionally, though less importantly, yet still a factor, one can never tell, after having two children, how people are going to react to the news about another addition. Why is this important to me at all? Well, I don't want to cast my pearls before swine (and my children - even in utero!- are DEFINITELY pearls of GREAT worth to me!). So, if I wonder if someone will be even a bit negative when learning that I'm preggie, I'd rather note tell them because I want to continue to enjoy the anticipation of meeting my new little person without the negativity of others - including those who have been deceived about the populations' sustainability and/or those who do not believe in God and/or understand His first great commandment and the fact that it is still en-force. So, I keep my joyful news to myself, for the most part. I have started to share the news with a few people who I believe will rejoice with me and/or who I like a lot and believe they will at least pretent joy at seeing my joy. :)

Brace yourself because this next bit may come as a surprise to you: At 11 weeks we actually had a 3 minute ultrasound (I KNOW!) so we could see if the baby's heart was beating. It was. The ultrasound was used because we could not get a heartbeat via the doppler and I'd had some horrible thoughts/feelings (especially the night before the appointment) that the baby was dead, but because I wanted the baby so very much, I was not allowing my body to release. Since we're out of the first tri-mester, I feel more confident that the baby will come along and be born healthy and whole at it's appointed time.

No, we will NOT find out what we're having until the baby arrives. (Due date: early March.) So, don't ask what we're having. We have thoroughly enjoyed finding out which gender baby we just made by looking between the legs at each previous birth thus far.... For me it provides extra motivation during the whole labor and pushing phase. With my history of LONG labors (and not just prodromal!), I need the incentive! ;) At this point, we're simply expecting another girl. If we get a boy... well, that'll be just fine. But we know we make 'em smart and pretty when we make 'em female, so we're totally fine, happy, and excited about that likelihood and eventuality. Based on personal revelation, I expect at least a few more girls who will arrive in our family over the next 8-10 years. So, if one comes along in March (hopefully on Ria's birthday... how FUN would that be!), then it'll be one of the few more we're expecting to welcome. ^_^ Ria wants a brother. I don't mind if she gets what she wants, but I'm rather leaning toward preferring a girl. THAT desire makes me think we'll have a boy simply because I rarely get what I want when I want it. I'm okay with that. Seriously.

If we have a girl, her name will be Evelyn. I've decided on middle names, too, but Jessie has not officially approved them. But we'll call her either Emi or Emm... depending on the middle name(s). I was sure it would be Emi at first, but now I REALLY hope for Emm (because of the middle names I want Jess to approve/like.

Let me tell you about our girl's name and our naming process in general. I've sort of chosen the names all our children. I have these specific ideas about the names I would like and why. I share them with Jess and he approves immediately if it's a go OR he'll say something like, "I don't know... we'll see...." if he doesn't like it. Well, I had suggested any number of girls names after Tea was born for the next girl to join our family. He said no, in his way, immediately to all of them. I was becoming frustrated because for each of the other girls (the ones we already have) Jess was immediately cool with the names I'd carefully considered and presented. Well, I thought really long and hard and finally suggested my sister's first name "Evelyn." Jessie IMMEDIATELY loved it and said YES. So, that's how our fourth daughter has become Evelyn. Now, he has, thus far, disapproved all middle names I have suggested. So, I'm REALLY hoping when I make the suggestion I have carefully considered for some time now, he will immediately jump on board. I have such a strong feeling that Jessie is immediately on board with certain names because he has a sense of who that child is/will be and what his/her name should be. My husband can be a truly amazing and inspired Captain of our little family's ship!

Thus far, should we experience the surprise of a boy, his name will be John Matthew (Mark). Mark is not officially approved by Jess, but I'm hoping! We will call him Jim(m) either way. :) Both Jess and I have Dads whose names are John. Additionally, I have a brother John and a great Uncle John. Matthew is the name of my Uncle who is most like an Elder brother to me and Mark is the name of another Uncle who has been super good and loving to us. I also have a great Uncle Jim who has passed. So, we honor those who have loved us so very much and/or we who love... at least, that's one of the reasons we name our children after members of our family! :)

Progressing... I can see progression in me - especially through the difficult trials I have faced recently. It seems it is true that as we progress, the trials become more intense. Yet, even though that is true for me, my ability to cope and deal is far greater than when the trials were less and easier. The only explanation for this is the strength of the Lord, which I experience in far greater abundance as I apply myself to His Will and turn to Him in all things.

I've been learning in such personal ways the truth of "my yoke is easy, my burden is light" (a quote from the New Testament... I have been striving to make His Word a part of me and will, in the future, learn where I found His Word). I remember a lesson I heard when I was a youth. It was about yokes. Basically the yoke was described as a wooden long thing with two grooves (rises/dips) in it for oxen. The oxen were strapped/tied in and then both stepped in time to pull the load to which they were attached. Father has been showing me how I get in the way of the "machine" by raising my "shoulders" up to bare too much of the burden and/or stepping out too fast, which results in the same effect. Because I am a believer in Christ and His Atonement for everyone, Jesus is in the other yoke right there next to me. He is always in perfect accord with Father's Will, of course, so he will step forward in time with Father's Will. If I do not, I will bare too much of the load or cause the journey to stall (if I'm lagging). Not that the load/burden is not all mine anyway... cause it IS, but because I believe in Christ, I am able to rely on His strength, as I do things in His time, to bring to pass His eternal purposes. It's amazing stuff. And though I've KNOWN these things for basically my whole life, I have come to a deeper and greater understanding of them these last few months. My heart is learning the lessons poignantly!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Happy happy birthday Mo-om DEAR! Happy days will come to you all year! If I had a wish, then it would be: a HAPPY happy BIRTHDAY to you, from ME! ^_^

You are an amazing person. You provide a tremendous example. I am ever priviledged to consider you and call you my friend. Thank you for loving me the way you do and always striving to be the best person you can be. I love you, Mom!

I plan to/hope to call. Just wanted to make sure some of my thoughts were here, too! :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Living Without AC: mold

It's something most people don't think about because we don't have to think about it. But air conditioning is a form of slight refrigeration, which is a preservative. If you do not use AC, as we do not use AC, you will learn, at some point during a tremendous summer as we have down south, the truth of "moth and rust doth corrupt" and understand more fully why we should not lay up our treasures on earth where those things (AND MOLD) will destroy those things we value.

The mold started about a month ago. August hit and so did the mold. On the walls. In kitchen cabinet. In boxes: on shoes, clothes, and other random things. It showed up on cavas containers, inside of plastic containers, on containers.... It's everywhere. And it doesn't smell good. Of course, it doesn't look good either. The most upsetting place I found it, though, I think, is on my couch. Behind the big cushions. I found it on a Sunday. So I broke the Sabbath. I felt like it was an"ox in the mire" issue because I was told as a youngster that I am allergic to mold. I would imagine my kiddos may be as well. Anyway... It's been interesting. Frustrating... and on top of all the other trials that have hit over the last month or so... almost debilitating.

Thankfully, as I write, I have begun to feel a lightening of the heaviness and darkness that has hung around our home and the peoples within it. So, things are still difficult (mold is showing up in new places), but I'm managing better.

I hope you can use AC. It's SO much nicer NOT to have to deal with THIS issue!

Friday, August 20, 2010


The whole "living without AC" thing has been going pretty well. It's been hot, but we have been favored with many clouds, good amounts of rain, and many clouds. A body cannot appreciate overcast days until you have to endure a good handfull of Florida Sunny ones with NO AC. I'm tellin' you, the days when the sky is clear, the girls and I roast. It's burning hot, for serious!

So, yesterday was one of those days. Burning. Hot. We endured. And roasted. And sat a lot in front of the fan. And steamed. Seriously hot. Even with 21 foot ceilings in the main living area it is seriously hot. Lately our general area has been experiencing record highs. Yeah. I know. Seriously not cool given our circumstances. But we have been favored (please re-read above if you're not sure how we could be favored whilst living without AC).

I think yesterday I wasn't feeling so grateful. And so, the Lord showed me how it could be worse. (I'm pretty sure I was feeling sorry for myself in the burning heat and feeling like it couldn't get worse.) Well, it did. You see, even during the hottest days of not-a-cloud-in-the-sky and/or no rain, we have the cooler nights to look forward to. It generally gets mostly comfortable by around midnight. Which, because of Jessie's work schedule, is usually when we're going to bed (even though I totally want to fall asleep by 9pm every night lately!).

So, last night, Jess and I were in bed by midnight. Yeay! We weren't up any later! I fell asleep quickly, for me, but woke with a bit of a start right at 1am. I felt super confused. Why did I wake up? What was wrong with my environment? Cause I knew there was something amiss. And then I knew: the fans were not rotating. It was burning hot - already. I'm sure the electricity was off a total of 1-2 minutes. Within that time ALL of us were awake. Ria and Kat to use the toilet, Tea, Jess, and me because it was just THAT dang hot. Tea was screaming in discomfort. Jess and I were snappy. Not a nice night.

The electricity did not come back on until 5:07am. I know the exact time because I checked my phone (THANK YOU EVES!! the one I rolled over in the van gave up the ghost, at least with my SIM card in it, a week ago!) when I felt the fan begin to blow on me.

Between 1am and 5:07am I woke up at least 4 times to spray myself with water from my haircutting spray bottle (just water, of course). Poor Jess had to get up for work within 2 hours after the electricity came back on. During the time of the outage, he got up at least as many times as I did. He got wet fabric and wiped our girls off and tried to make them more comfy as well as himself. Since I'd been kicked out of bed by Tea, I didn't know any of that until this afternoon.

Even if I had known, I don't know that the story would be much different. Jess is a MUCH better night-time parent of older than 1 year olds than I am. Our children are completely and totally my responsibility from birth until around 13-18 months old. After that Jessie takes over and does a bang-up job! It's really a lot less intense if you remember that night nursing requires between 6 and 8 wakings when exclusively nursing and planning to do so for two years. At least, that's the way it's been for me. And that 6-8 times only decreases at around 10 months old - but even then the nursing wakings are between 4 and 6 times per night. Anyway, thankfully Tea slept a while after Jess left for work and then all our girls got along quietly for a while, so I got a bit more sleep than he did.

So, living without AC is really not all that bad. Living without fans... now THAT would be hellacious. Seriously problematic! Thankfully, as a result of the fine-tuning of our electricity consumption, we've been able to reduce our electric bill just below the budget allowance and I'm hopeful we can get it even a little bit lower since we're turning off our water heater daily. We'll see!

The point is, it's working... this whole living without AC. It's endurable AND it's helping our finances. Difficulty in the short-term... sacrifices and all, so that later in some unforeseeable future time, we can maybe have things a bit easier AND have no debt to worry about! So, as long as we can run the fans, it's working. ^_^

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jessie Is Published

I hope you'll read his work. It's sort of a joint effort, really. I write, he reviews, changes, and approves for publication. Sometimes not in that order, but that's more due to his work schedule than planning or anything else.

So far he's earned $0.02!!! ;) heeheehee That's not much, of course, but with your help we can get up to the $25 for first pay-out. And that would be SO nice! Any extra income is always appreciated. I'm sure you feel us on that!

How can you help? Well, read his articles, of course. ^_^ He gets paid for the traffic to his pages, subscriptions to his writing, and page view quality (time spent on his pages, as I understand it). So, check us out often... if you would. It'll certainly make a difference to us!

Our goal is to publish at least 3 times each week. This week most of the publishing was today, but hopefully it'll be more spread out in the future.

I'll make sure to share when he's got new stuff up, too. THANK YOU, in advance, for your support! :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Lesson Blackie Taught Me

First: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dad! I won't tell everyone how old you are, but I hope your day is a really happy one. :)

So, the lesson is not all earth-shattering or anything. But it IS meaningful to me. What is it? Well, the lesson is: it's really okay for a Mama hen to spend time away from her chicks so that she can return to being a really good Mama when she returns. Now, I DO think this principle can be over extended, as in Blackie's case (but, then again, she's a bird... so probably it's just right for her kind)... but what I mean is that people acting like Blackie would be inappropriate. How is Blackie acting? Well, needing to be away from her chicks ALL day is a bit extreme... at least, that's my opinion. And since this is my blog, that's what you get! ;) But taking some time away is quite okay.

I have long known this, but the lesson is especially well taken at this time when there really isn't a WAY for me to get away in a meaningful way... MAN, that's a lot of "way"! ;) With Jessie working ALL the time and doing some specific and necessary other work when he should otherwise be home and available for relief of full childcare responsibilities, I have not had a real break from full responsibility for our daughters since the last time I was able to spend a couple hours in the temple. I can tell you, the strain is beginning to effect me. Not positively.

Hopefully there will be another temple trip, at least, in the near-ish future. 'Cause it doesn't look like Jessie's "weekends" will be available for childcare-relief of any sort worth mentioning. We can hope....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All's Forgiven

We just found an egg. Our first egg!!!

Okay, so, actually, JESSIE found the egg. :) It's a lovely light greenish color. Reminiscent of "Green Eggs and Ham" which, of course, is totally perfect since my kiddos LOVE Dr. Seuss! Kat actually wants to call our puppy Dr. Suess. ^_^

So, ALL IS FORGIVEN... Blackie is now an egg producer!!!

Maybe that's why she's been acting so crazy! I mean, humans get kinda crazy when they are fertile... or their bodies are able to reproduce. Maybe chickens do, too.

I'm definitely letting Blackie out daily now - with few qualms. I just hope we continue to be so blessed as to keep her near home. She WAS trying to investigate our neighbor's yard today... and since the fence is a bit of a problem... *sigh* We'll see.

Lessons from Blackie

FIRST... HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO KIRSTEN!!! I cannot believe you are already TWO!!! ^_^

So, for the past many days Blackie has been acting a bit differently. She's been FAR less patient wtih her growing chicks. She's been especially hard on the two birds who seem most surely to be males. She's hen pecked them, pulled feathers and then consumed them... and basically been a bit mean. Additionally, she's been acting a bit nuts... like almost flying into the main door I use to access the outdoor part of the chicken tractor. She's definitely been more anxious and nervous... and her chicks have seemed more anxious and nervous and definitely afraid of her.

Blackie came from a farm. She was a chicken who roamed 34 acres. Or very nearly. There were that many she could've roamed. When she hatched her chicks, she was confined with them to a small space. Apparently other hens will kill the chicks that are hatched. I'm not sure why. I'm still really new at this whole thing. I can imagine, though, that it's far too much of a job for one hen to protect her brood from lots of other hens. So confining her with her chicks is a good safety measure.

Well, I've seen the confinement area for the hen and chicks. It's quite small. So, when Blackie came here, she was moving into a larger home than the one in which she'd been confined.

Until her chicks grew some.

They are now flattening the grass area in about 24 hours when they are moved to a new area in the yard. This would not serve a chicken who has been used to fresh grazing every day for her whole life prior to babies. At least, it wouldn't serve or be sufficient when he chicks are more able to fend for themselves a bit more.

What resolution could there be? Well, I decided, even though my fence is no more in place than it has been, to let Blackie out to fend for herself. I did so for a few hours yesterday afternoon. She was nowhere in sight when I went out to put her back in the tractor. I looked. Didn't see her. And then I called her. And there she was... walking right toward me after I called her! She came to the tractor, wandered around it looking for another way in than the one I offered, and then reluctantly made her way in when I moved out of her way. She investigated the run area a bit and then made her way into the coop.

I let her out again today. Hopefully it will continue to work this well until I ca let all the chickens out all day and close them up at night. That will happen when the fence is fully in place. Thankfully the chicks really have not known anything other than confinement for their short lives. They are not really stir crazy!

So, the lesson? Any guesses?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

And Then There Was...

A phone in my yard.



Yes. Especially to my wondering eyes!

It should not have been, since I actually DO know myself quite well. And for those of you who know me pretty well, you will likely not be surprised at all when you consider who is writing.


Okay, so... my old small silver phone that has SO many phone numbers I could not have otherwise replaced has been recovered! On top of it all, it's been recovered by none of than me! Weird, right?

And how?

Well, a few days ago I felt that I absolutely must mow the lawn. At least half of the front yard lawn. Our mower is a Reel mower - THANKFULLY under the circumstances about which I'm going to tell you, at least. A powered push mower probably would've sucked my phone right up and spat it out in millions of small pieces! Seriously.

In addition to being in our own yard, which I could've only found AS I was mowing, it was squished into the ground (mostly sand, which one could only be thankful for having a mostly sandy yard in circumstances like these!).

How? Why?

Well, the night I "lost" the phone, I honestly do not remember putting my phone back in my pocket after using the toilet. Rather, I clearly remember putting it on top of a TP dispenser in a public bathroom (and if you know me, you KNOW memory is an issue at times!) and NOT picking it back up because I was dealing with Tea, too... well, obviously I did pick it up. It promptly fell out of my pocket when I raced from the van to the bathroom upon arriving home. We have a turnaround spot in our yard, off of our driveway, into which we turn when we arrive home, so that we can pull into our carport in reverse. This makes future departures much easier because our driveway is rather long and we're more used to backing IN to it than OUT of it - since that's what we've mostly always done since we've lived here. Anyway... the phone fell out of my pocket when Jessie pulled into the turnaround spot and I hopped out to race to the bathroom in our house. It had obviously been run over a couple times after it fell to the ground there in our sandy yard. Thanks be for sand there for these circumstances, right!? But the only thing amiss was a small piece which seems squished out of place. I pushed it back in line with the phone (where it was supposed to be) and the phone seems to be fully functional. Love my OLD phone! It is one durable piece of technology! It's a Nokia five faves phone... maybe not quite 8 years old. Jessie thinks it is more like 5 or 6 years old. But that IS ancient as this technology goes... isn't it?

So, all of this worry and weirdness and world-full-of-lonliness for the few days of torture I endured living without my phone would have been averted if only Tori's (my) memory was sure and clear. Let me tell you, living without AC is CAKE, even here in the heat of the deep south, compared to living without a phone!! And the craziest things about THAT is that I haven't used the phone to speak to anyone other than Jessie since I've had it back! Seriously.

I've been observing Blackie some more and she's taught me another valuable lesson that is sort of related to this phone-less experience... stay tuned for that!

Thank you to those who acted as angels in my life by offering me their no-longer-in-use phones! I was offered four different phones by four different people and I am SO very grateful for the blessing you are and the miracle you brought to pass in my life! Seriously. Really and truly!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Life Without...

So, I've willingly given up a lot pretty recently. They were things I would've had to let go or do without (once I got the electric bill!), but giving it up of my own accord certainly made it easier. I definitely know the difference since we lost AC in the house we used to rent about 2 months before we moved out of it. So, I already knew what it feels like to lose something I like and didn't want to give up.

As of today... I am without phone. Oh, the pain! No... SERIOUSLY! My anxiety level has about tripled. So, what did I do? I watched a movie. I've said for some time now that TV is the middle-class man's opiate. So, once more I prove myself super weak and ineffective. But at least I didn't do what I first thought about doing! Wathing the movie definitely DID the work I hoped it would do. Now... need to borrow many more movies from the library... No, not really... but maybe. *sigh*

Obviously, it has not been easy for me to lose my phone. One of my first thoughts was that I would just return to FaceBook use a little earlier than I'd planned. Well, I've talked myself down from that skyscraper, but it's still really tempting! So, you see, I really have done better by watching a movie than my first thought!!!! ;)

Don't we all feel a bit safer because of phones? I mean, we can call for help at home or abroad and know that someone will answer almost immediately! We can call and check on our loved ones when they have been absent a bit too long. We can SPEAK to another adult using large-ish words AND be completely understood... or at least, with a phone we have the ability to do so at any given moment.... Even if we don't actually make any of those kinds of phone calls... we could! Now, I can't. I think that's among the top reasons my anxiety has increased so dramatically. Thankfully my modern-day opiate is still effectively working even though the movie ended a few hours ago.

I was able to return to my current "extra" work with the opiate soothing my jangled nerves. The work? Helping Jessie find restaurants to which to apply in person as well as and applying on his behalf online. It's time consuming work and the online applications can require some writing (but not the fun kind)... so it can be stressful on top of the effort to simply maintain things around the house.

Pray for us. We are praying for a miracle, really, at this point. Jessie will submit his two weeks' notice in about 5 or 6 days. So, I'm sure you can now understand more fully the number one reason for my anxiety level to be anything more than the regular mild stress of home-stay-Mama-ing.

The Lord directs and we do. THAT is the reason for the upcoming submission of notice and that's all there is to it. I honor my patriarch and must trust in his understanding (after questioning much). So, I'm sure it'll be all right. But I'm equally as sure that your prayers will carry us some... or, maybe, I'm hoping they'll lift me. I could really use it right now. Thank you, in advance, for caring enough to send a few good thoughts and words of support to our Father in Heaven on my little family's behalf!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


When I was a baby/wee one we had some dogs. I don't remember them. When I was around 12 my parents got a Lab puppy. I suppose we didn't do a good job of taking care of him and he was gone within a year... before the birth of one of my male siblings. What a bummer.

Jessie pretty much always had pets growing up. Cats. Dogs. Horses. A goat. Seriously. I'm glad cause I think it gives a person greater experiences with love and loss. Important in life considering that in all birth is the surety of demise. Knowing this is helpful, of course, but experiencing it is irreplaceable to understanding. True understanding. My understanding is sorely limited. Jessie has a LOT more experience with the various forms loss takes. I picked a good man to match me, eh?

So, anyway... my friend who gave us chickens has also given us a puppy. He's about Tea's age, actually. His birthday is a few weeks before hers. His name is (written phonetically so you do not think us blasphemers!) Heyseuss. ^_^ Actually, being silly, and choosing an outrageous name, we've chosen to register him as Heyseuss (Jesus pronounced using Spanish phonetics) de Slovak para Gollihugh. He is, afterall, sort of Mexican. I mean, that's where Chihuahua's originate, right?

If you'd like to see what he looks like, check out the FIRST picture on THIS link. Except, Heysuess is almost all black. He has very small white socks on three feet. Almost all the way at the bottom is a picture that has the name SASSY under it. Once again, Heyseuss is almost all black, not the color of Sassy. And he's only looked as happy as Sassy once (today, 7-31) since we've had him (brought him home the evening of July 30th).

Among the many promises we made our girls, to soften the blow of moving away from their friends and beloved teachers (at church), we built up the whole "farm" idea. They all wanted a dog. Kat specifically requested a pig. They are all excited about angora rabbits. They are all excited about goats. They know we'll raise meat rabbits, but those will not be for pets. They are still excited about the chickens (we've had them about a month, now, I think).

It'll probably take a bit longer to get Kat her pig (even though she asks about it REGULARLY) because it'll cost around $150-$200 to buy a baby teacup pig (the only kind I'm willing to deal with in our house since we definitely do not enough land for a large one or for breeding multiple pigs!). I'm sure Kat will be happy whenenver we get her pig - regardless of eventual full size. She just has a THING for pigs! Apparently, teacup piggies will stay 11inches short (or shorter) and rather light - for pigs and that size. But they are still super smart, as pigs are. So, I think it'll be fun. Also, I think we can deal with it!!

The Nigerian Dwarf goats will be a little taller than the pig, probably, but weigh less. Our dog will likely be the smallest pet (among the pig, goats, and dog... though the goats will not sleep inside!). Of course, the agora rabbit (which will live inside in a cage, as I have planned thus far) will be the smallest pet. I want to start collecting wool to build up a store to spin! SO much to learn!

Heyseuss is probably about 6 pounds, maybe less. He will likely not grow any more, which is a-okay with me.

Oh, he (the puppy) was given to us by my friend because she cannot sell him. He's almost a year old and everyone wants to buy puppies. Understandable. So, she gave him to us. (We actually got to choose from 3 year-old males.) Because she's an actual breeder of many dogs, Heyseuss has not been socialized with people. He's been living with an older male for quite a while, so he's been treated as the inferior. So far this is all right cause he's very quiet. He's scared pretty much all the time, which is sad, but he seems to be warming up to us quickly. The girls just LOVE him. Jessie is super happy to have another testosterone producer in the home. Seriously. That was one of his qualifications for our first pet. It had to be male. ^_^ Funny, right? ahwell

Next the angora rabbit? Or the Nigerian Dwarf goats? The latter would certainly help more (by keeping the lawn in check at least a little bit), but the former would be a bit easier... especially on the wallet. We'll see! Keep posted to find out! ^_^

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PeaHens Today

Today was a quiet day. Not nearly as showy or exciting as yesterday. The perfect day for the PeaHens to stop by. There were three. My poor chickens were just itching to get out and be among fellow birds. I could tell.

So, now I wonder if we are on the rounds with the PeaFowl. How exciting, right? I'll let you know of any further sightings. Wouldn't it be fun/funny if the days on which the PeaCock came to visit were all exciting? And the ones the PeaHens dropped by rather quiet? :) We'll see.

Tomorrow should be interesting. I'm hosting a meeting at my house. It is SO not up to par. But I'm hoping my new friends will pass a blind eye over ALL the faults! At least the lawn is mowed! ;) THANKS to Grampa!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Peacock Kind of Day

How do you describe a simply and utterly wonderful day!? Well, I'll call yesterday a "Peacock Kind of Day" cause it WAS utterly and simply wonderful. :)

Our friend, Brother Marks, who the girls call Grampa and I'm adopting as a "Local Dad" came over to mow our lawn eary in the morning. Though Jessie has been home some, he's not been able to get even the majority of the lawn taken care of. It's been very frustrating to both of us, but has weighed most heavily on Jess, I believe.

The first thing I saw after getting out of bed was a PEACOCK in our yard. Now, perhaps this should not come as a surprise, given that we DO have peacocks down the block. But we've never had one in OUR yard... at least, not that we've seen. And with the windows in this place, we would likely see it if it had visited! Seriously, lots of windows. :) He visited a few times during the hours Grampa was mowing (with a riding mower). Mr. Peacock departed for good (at least for the day) around the time Grampa pulled out.

Also, during the time of mowing, I discovered that the first-time-home-buyer-credit had hit our account. So, I executed the use of it for the purposes Jessie and I had determined. We became offially "Revolving Debt Free" as of the A.M. on July 27, 2010. The weight... so much lighter now!!!!! We are so hopeful to tackle our ridiculously high student loans next. And then the house.... Eventually. All in due time. (These are goals for the next 15 years, probably! Especially given the expectation of future babies to join our family and the inherent cost of our chosen birthing method.)

After Grampa finished mowing, we asked him to help us move our chicken tractor from the carport to the yard. He was happy to help. (He ALWAYS is!!) The guys took the heavy end, I guided the light end. And it took about 5 minutes.... This is a job that would've taken just Jess and me at least twice that! I was really surprised at my feelings of euphoria upon seeing our chickens scratching in the grass, running around in a manner that looked and felt really joyous to me, and giving themselves dirt baths! How funny, right? I'm so silly for those silly birds! We're now thinking about names for the hens. I know, perhaps not THE smartest move... but if any of them turn out to be Mamas anywhere near as good as Blackie, they'll be around for a LONG time to come. :)

We also went to library yesterday. Library visits always make for happy times. At least, they do around here! And since it was SO super hot yesterday (and we are still AC free), it was extra nice to spend time in the AC someone else pays for... okay, so it's actually tax dollars, so we kinda pay, but still....

So we had a "Peacock Kind of Day" yesterday! How about you??

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Microwave Ovens

I posted quite a while back on this subject. Someone asked me recently for more information on why we threw our microwave oven out around a year ago or more. So, I'm reading as much as I can of the most helpful sites I've found before I send the information along. As I re-read this information, I feel an urgency to share it more broadly than the email I've sent out to the requester of information.

If you use a microwave oven, please ponder on whether you should continue to use it. Read what I've colleceted here. Pray. See if Father would have you put the microwave you have to the curb. Conventional food preparation methods may take a bit more time, but they are FAR healthier... WAY less dangerous! I mean, some of the foods we have access to currently can increase our chances of cancer, but using the microwave on top of that... well, recipe for disaster is what I'm getting from what I've been learning and re-learning.... and the Spirit says so, too. I believe it will to you as well.

ONE link to read for lots of good information. As I skimmed heavily, I found much of the information it took me ages to find in all kinds of different places when I initially learned this stuff. So, this one site is REALLY helpful!

Also helpful, though I didn't skim as heavily.

I always appreciate Dr. Mercola.

Some REALLY good info on the body's electrical systems and how microwaved food effects them. NEAT stuff.

Very nice list of the deleterious effects of microwave oven usage. Nice.

I hope you find this information useful... especially if you are trying to become healthier! I know that at the time I found this information, initially, the Lord led me to it. I know microwave ovens to be harmful and that putting ours to the curb was one of the really good things Heavenly Fahter led us to do!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Farm Visit

We were finally able to get out to the farm of a friend of mine from my previous neighborhood. She invited us, specifically, to come pick figs (because we'd chatted briefly about farming and she's learned that I wanted to have fig trees some day). She has a fig orchard (5 or 6 trees) and we had a blast picking a bunch on Monday evening! If we'd had to purchase the amount of figs we picked from the grocery store, we would have spent FAR MORE than $100! Seriously. And my friend would not take any money for our harvest! In addition to the figs, she gave us eggs, bread, raw honey (from HER bees), and bottled figs. I know... SO generous, right!! I'm going to be drying a bunch of the figs we picked today. We picked 'em on Monday, went to Orlando yesterday, so today is the first chance to do anything with them.

My friend has a farm of 34 acres! It is AWESOME!!! They have chickens, peacocks, peahens, cows, sheep, 5 hives, and dogs. She breeds dogs. She's giving us one of her dogs; a 1 year old male who just hasn't sold. He's very sweet and we're looking forward to taking him home soon.

I definitely prefer visiting farms to making a trip to Disney. Funny? I kinda think so, but can't help it. It's SO much more fun!!! I don't know if our girls would agree with THAT assesment, but they loved hunting for eggs and romping around, holding small puppies, observing wild turkeys, deer, watching the sheep, cows, and, of course, we definitely love the peafowls! They collected peacock feathers with eyes the whole time.

The girls are totally excited about finally getting a dog. :) I'm nervous, but also excited. Jess is glad to add a male to the household! ;) (I think that's mostly a joke.)

Our day was very good yesterday. I really REALLY needed the Orlando trip this time. I mean, I thoroughly enjoy it every month, but there are some months that I feel the NEED for it more than others. This was definitely one of those. Jessie was really relaxed and had a good time with the girls. The girls, of course, LOVED spending lots of time with just Daddy - as they always do!

So, we are well and happy. Taking it easy - or trying to and trying to focus on the silver lining and playing the "Glad Game" every day.

How are you doing with the "Glad Game"?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lessons from "Patience of Blackie"

Lesson 1
I need to be careful how much I alert my kiddos to dangers (especially with that really alarmed sort of tone) cause I want them to take me seriously every single time.

Lesson 2
Because each of my children are different, I need to deal with each of them differently. Different moves (diciplinary and otherwise) are necessary to end up with the same result.

Lesson 3
This too shall pass.

Just as a note, I've already discovered these things from actually BEING a parent, but it's nice to have the reminder Blackie has provided. And nice to feel the lessons sinking in a little deeper and in a little bit of a new/different way.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Patience of Blackie

Like unto the "patience of Job," but since I'm totally a human and have a really hard time comprehending fully that which is so extreme as his experiences were... I find it helpful to look at things I can comprehend more fully to help me learn important lessons to and in my simple little life.

Blackie is our hen. She has seven chicks. They like her. She seems to like them. At the worst, she tolerates them very VERY well. They like to take food out of her mouth. For the most part, this behavior has only been attempts, really, but still! They jump on her back and try to stay there when she moves. Her chicks follow her around constantly. They respond to certain sounds immediately.

When Blackie perceives danger, she makes certain sounds and the chicks (for the most part) come running and she puts them in a corner and stands between them and the perceived danger. She protects her chicks. When she makes those sounds too frequently, though, some of her bolder chicks stop paying attention and might only head in her direction and then stop and head back to what they were doing. Lesson 1.

A couple of Blackie's chicks really like to try to sit on her back. I'm not sure why they want to be there, but it doesn't seem to bother her too much. She has certain moves that simply put the chicks off balance and they go tumbling off. She seems to know, generally, which chick requires which moves to be unbalanced and tumble down - thus she uses different moves for different chicks. Reducing her personal effort to enjoy the desired outcome. Lesson 2.

Why is it that young seem always to want what parents have (especially food)? Blackie's chicks are definitely in line with that tendancy. When they are after what she has, she generally gives it to them - or has already consumed it, thus they lose interest in the no-longer-visible thing. She seems to have a deep knowing that this phase of her life will pass and she'll be able to eat most anything with similar greediness from full-grown chicks, but over whom she'll still have authority (I would guess, anyway since she's the senior hen). Lesson 3.

And this final bit is mostly just as commentary on chicken life. For whatever reason, the chicks we have seem to enjoy their feed even more once one of their siblings has peed on it. Strange, right? Kind... okay, REALLY gross. I'm hoping this is really just normal chicken behavior! :)

By the way, I numbered the lessons cause I'm interested in knowing what YOU think the lessons are from each! I'll try to remember to share what those lessons are for me, with you, later. What lessons do YOU see?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I'm feeling broken right now. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think it has a LOT to do with reading the parenting books I've been reading when I have spare moments. They are GOOD books, but my reflections are disturbing... mostly, strangely enough, having to do with my childhood. How strange to have these thoughts and feelings after feeling such peace over the same for some time!

The driver's side window on our van is a bit broken. The motor doens't work efficiently or well, so putting the window up and down is difficult, at best. Often enough it simply doesn't work. This past Sunday (and I actually think this is funny, which I state because I fear it may not come across that way given my current state of mind) I left the windows down when we went in to church. I figured it wouldn't rain. I obviously was not listening well to the radio (our FAVORITE station z88.3: safe for the little ears in your car!) on the way to church because Ria told me on the way to the van that they'd said it was going to rain. My ears were not hearing right then, obviously.

It was fun/funny to experience the concern of a few of our Ward family over the expected wetness in our van after the tremendous storm we'd had. I figured it would be wet. The storm struck during sacrament meeting. And I did have the opportunity to reduce the wetness, but I decided staying where I was had greater import than worrying about the water on my seats. I figured they would dry (since we park under a carport and I basically always leavce the windows open) AND I would dry after sitting in the wet seat.

There was a surprisingly LITTLE bit of water in the van or seats of the van. The storm was really tremendous. What a blessing. It was completely dried out by the time I went grocery shopping on Monday! Nice. Right?

So, my chicken tractor isn't officially broken, but I still don't have wheels on it, so it IS still under the carport. My poor chickens. I hope we can get that remedied/fixed (thus it falls into the "broken" category) very soon!

Monday, July 12, 2010

AC Free

So, we're getting into hotter months. All right, one, but still. I perceive time differently when I remove and/or reduce use of modern day conveniences. Somehow, it's slower. In a nice way.

Of course, on the days (thankfully only a few so far) on which I feel a desire to ONLY sit in front of a fan, the slowness doesn't feel nearly so nice! :) But, the niceness is true, generally.

Heavenly Father has truly been merciful. Even though Jess has always touted his preference for the heat, he hasn't done all that well with it when he's been home. It's been really interesting. After the one pretty bad day, each weekend he has had to be home, the weather has been REALLY cool... well, at least relative to what I've been dealing with through the rest of the week. This seems to me another confirmation that this is definitely what Father would have us doing right now... AND that this "testing" time is more for me than Jess. Interesting, right?

In other "living AC free" news.... I've been doing REALLY poorly at maintaining our yard (even just the front). The reasons are myriad. Suffice it to say, "Man plans, God laughs." ^_^ This is definitely true for my experience of maintaining our yard with tools powered only by our (my) efforts. It's disappointing... I'm disappointed in me, but I'm hoping to get things back under a semblance of SOME control in the near future.

Thankfully, laundry with no dryer is still going well. I've only "cheated" once. Jess needed some shorts and I couldn't find any that were already ready (he was home REALLY early from work one Sunday and I wanted him to come with us to an activity, thus the shorts were needed in an unexpected manner and time). So, I stuck 'em in the dryer and got them mostly dry before we had to leave. These particular shorts of his normally take 1 (very hot dry) day or 2+ (muggy) days to dry. So, I feel like, given the circumstances and all, it was kinda an ox in the mire situation. ;) Otherwise, the laundry has continued to remain low to completely maintained (no full load of laundry to wash) during the past few weeks. This is a WINNING streak for me! ^_^ And I DO attribute it to the method of hang drying that I need to do with our space and such.

I'm becoming less internet crazy again. (Also an AC-free type thing, in my opinion.) I haven't been thinking about posting blurbs on FB every day or every time something cools happens. I didn't think to post about our chickens until yesterday and decided I'd rather write to a friend and hang out with another In Real Life friend instead. And there were two days last week that I was just busy enough to forget to get online. :) Nice.

So, we continue to progress in our efforts to live as the Lord would have us do! Oh... and I'm less blustery lately. I've read some good parenting books and am feeling more confident in my dealings with my girls. I'd been feeling really unsure and generally frustrated with them before. So, I'm using my not-on-the-internet-time very well! ^_^

How is life treating you!?


We've got chickens!

Last week was full of building a chicken tractor. (Of which I am PLEASED as punch to say I built about 80%!!!) And worrying about a number of things.

I was very busy.

Then, on Saturday, a wonderful lady from my previous church group brought me over a hen with her SEVEN chicks! (Older chicks, but still....) We don't know how many hens we have yet, but she's got another hen with FIVE more chicks she wants to give me... I just need to build another chicken tractor. How exciting. A GOOD reason to have a LOT of fun!!! ^_^ (I really did enjoy building the chicken tractor. And now, with one done, I'm sure I'll have even more fun cause I know more about what I'm doing!!!)

So... we've been busy.

The girls LOVE that we have chickens. As do I, of course.

Our first step into becoming farmers! :) Hopefully, more news of a similar vein will follow soon-ish! How fun!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chris, Among Brothers

Among brothers,
and I have more than a few,
there is much I can say of example.

There are good things.
And perhaps a couple bad, too.
Upon the silver, let's take a sample.

John is courage.
The boy I knew.
He will return, when given time, ample.

Josh. True, just, giving, loving.
I could go on, but refuse to do.
He is a marvelous example.

Ben is big.
A big man with a big spirit, building his crew.
His career will enable him to, the deceiver, trample.

Eddie is Eddie.
His way with words, Oh! If you knew!
His time is spent now, to, life sample.

Now my brother added last.
Dear Chris, only missing a t at the end, is you.
No, you're not there yet, but progressing you ARE an example.

Your joy in your new addition, such a pleasure to hear.
From all I can see: Faithful and true.
This is not nearly ample.

I'm sure it will be for far more than me,
If you only knew,
How I have been benefited by your example.

Of course there are weird
and perhaps annoying things, too.
Like the "butt change" thing, as a sample.

But when held to the rest,
that is a mere speck to rue.
For something so small, I would not YOU trample.

I'm so glad you're part of the family.
I'll say it for all, sort of 'in lieu'.
Thank you for your exmple!

Oh, and by the way: ^_^

HAPPY happy Birthday, Chri-iis dear. Happy days will come to you all year! If I had a wish, then it would be: A Happy HAPPY Birthday to YOU from me!

Hope your day is WONDERFUL in every way!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday DEAR Evelyn! Happy Birthday to you!!!

How old ARE you, anyway! I'm pretty all right keeping track of the little ones' ages, but I'm having an increasingly difficult time keeping track of my sibs ages. John and Josh are pretty easy cause they are each two under me... but I always get confused after that! SORRY! Old age, I guess. ;)


A Birthday Poem for My Sis:

You've earned every year.
Sometimes with a tear.

When the time arrives,
As it does in most everyone's lives,

that you find a gray hair upon your head,
think NOT of how to cower in bed!

But own it with joy.
Use this tool, I employ:

It's proof of your fire.
Each gray, payment for your hire.

Some day when your head is full
you'll hear the call and your heart will pull.

You'll arrive in Father's presence.
Pure and fully white down through your essence.

And the hairs upon your head.
Will match those on others' long dead!

Joy will fill your heart and you will desire to show'em
these words. And you'll feel the truth of this silly poem.

I LOVE YOU, my sister of blood. You are a treasure in my heavenly trove! May God smile upon you this day, as always, and continue to bless you and yours beyond measure!!!!

Happy Birthday.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good Stewardship

I believe I have yet to share a part of our effort to be more frugal, natural, and better stewards of the blessing that is our earth. We have purchased (I KNOW, RIGHT! we rarely purchase much of anything new, so this is huge): a swing blade and a reel mower.

Do you know what the first tool is actually called? It amounts to a handle with a blade on the bottom which is bent so as to be parallel with the earth as you swing it like a golf club to beat down (cut) the really TALL weeds/grasses before you Reel mow them. I've gotten quite good at weilding the swing blade, if I do say so myself (which, of course, I am!).

The Reel mower is fun. As long as there are no sticks in the way, it REALLY IS fun. However, unfortunately, there are LOTS of sticks in the yard. I think there were plenty to start with, but then the tree that fell on our house was piled in our yard for a while and LOTS of sticks remained when most of the tree was hauled away. This week I was able to get the front yard into some general order ALL by myself! What did this take? I know you want to ask mehow I did it (since you know how huge our yard is (almost 1/2 an acre all told - front and back), so I'll tell you!

It all started on Wednesady. I decided the front yard was starting to look unsightly again. The Mimi-grass (okay, most people call is grama-grass) was about as tall as Tea's hip, which is just under my knee (I think). Thankfully it was not as thick as it was the first day we hacked at it (actually, Jessie hacked at it then). It took me a bit more than 1.5 hours to get the tall stuff down in the LEFT HALF of our front yard. I DO think that is the larger side of the yard, but still! As you picture me in your mind, you must consider that I am still a very heavy girl even after losing the weight I have gotten off. So that amount of continuous effort was significant for me. I was definitely red in the face for some time after I was finished.

Thursday, I mowed that side of the yard. That took me only about an hour.

Friday, I hacked away the tall stuff in the right side of the yard. I think that took me about an hour. So, either I'm getting a LOT better or that side of the yard IS smaller!

And today, I reel mowed the right side of the yard (which is also the side that held the felled tree for about a week). The mowing should have taken a lot less time, but because of the branches, it was another hour.

I have a plan to use the mower BEFORE the high stuff sets in... probably at the end of next week. That way I can, hopefully avoid the use of the swing blade. That thing has given me lots of blisters!

"What do you do with the kids during all this outdoor work!??" I can hear you, ya know!!!

Well, anyone that might try to attack me about how much time my kids play outside would be absolutely telling tales and trying to make something out of nothing in the past AND now. The kids play in the yard while I'm working ON the yard. I AM only working on half of it at a time, afterall! Also, there is a big long wide driveway in which they can play!

Now, if someone who might choose to accuse me were to look to my children's complexion for proof that they are outside about an hour a day at least 4 days per week (my minimum requirement is 20 minutes per day at least 5 days per week, but striving for 7 days pers week)... well, they would be just foolish to try to see that as proof or disproof. You see, my kids turn a sweet and BEAUTIFUL golden color. They do NOT become tremendously dark, neither do they turn red like their Daddy. I think their lovely color is a gift of the combination of Jess and me cause I can get a bit darker than they do, but it's still more like their color than Jessie's is.

Their coloring remains darn consistent whether we are outside at high noon or later in the evening - at least it's true thus far. Their hair turns blonder faster when we're out in the heavy sun. However, because I am aware of the dangers of high/hard/heavy sun exposure, I try to DRASTICALLY limit their time in the sun between 10am and 4pm. Today and the last three days we've gone out for Mama to work on the lawn at around 5pm. That works out PERFECTLY because when we're done they can get into the shower, snack, and it's bed time! It's been working out exceedingly well.

I'm so glad because next week I need to begin to tackle the BACK yard. And it's not going to end after the back is somewhat under control! In the back, though, talk about amazingly crazy high grasses. I REALLY want to get pictures before I start on it again. Yes, you read correctly, I've already tried to begin to manage it back there and have been unsuccessful in putting much of a dent in the highness. I wish I could get a goat or three NOW!!! And some ducks and chickens. They would take care of this lickity-split! *sigh* That darn fence! I'm sure it's all for our good. Just have to wait on the Lord! :)

The whole process of constant maintainance (laundry, dishes, and yard specifically) has got me thinking a LOT about the "one eternal round" thing that Father God references quite frequently in scripture. And I can't help but feel so joyfully thankful that our Father would design our test to include such activities that move us ever so gently into doing what He is about! I mean, that's how it seems to me, anyway!

I do have a plan of attack regarding the yard. I'll try to remember to let ya know how it's working/worked out! :) So, far the seed of my planning is producing good fruit. Not only is the front yard looking mostly pretty (I don't yet have a hand tool for weeding... neither do I have any other kind of tool for that work), but dishes and laundry are basically caught up! Whenever this has happened in the past (I start to feel like I have things mostly under control, I mean), I end up preggie. So... here's hoping! ;) ^_^


The girls and I went to our friends' farm again on Friday. It was, once again, luuu-va-leee (like from My Fair Lady). We were given a bunch of MILK, taken to a garden to pick some malabar spinach, and then brought to meet my friend's Mom and Dad. Her Mom makes the phenomenal cheese from their goats' milk.

I'd suggested to my friend that I could learn how to make cheese, from her Mom, and then work as a helper when they had lots of milk (as they do right now) and that I would be happy to work for cheese. A bit like a mouse, right, but you have NOT tasted this cheese! Seriously good stuff. I asked if I could buy some of my fave: the horseradish. Instead they gave me some and the girls and I ate a bit over half of it with a fork. SERIOUSLY good stuff! Seriously.

So, we went to Grama Doris's house and I think she and I made fast friends. Now I'm just waiting for the call and she's going to come over and give me lesson(s)!!! How AWESOME is that!?!?? Totally awesome to me! ^_^ I don't know if you know this, but I've been wanting to learn how to make cheese for longer than I've wanted to become a farmer. So, this is seriously cool stuff to me! :)

Spending time with my friend at her farm was a tremendous treat for all of us on Friday. I've already got a friend from our previous County who wants to visit and I'm hoping I can talk my farmer friend into letting us come visit her famr when my family comes to visit. My Mom suggested a farm visit might compete in coolness with Disney. In my opinion, it TOTALLY beats Disney, hands down! Totally.

My farmer friend is my first mentor, though not able to actively mentor me right now since I don't have any of the animals we want to have. I think we need to address our fence issue first. ;) And her Mom is my cheese mentor. How blessed am I? Well, completely and utterly, if you ask me!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

for Father's Day

My Dad AND Dad Gollihugh
John, Josh, Ben, Eddie, AND Chris!!!
(my brothers are listed in order of addition to the family)
We hope you've had a VERY happy day!
To share something yall might enjoy: Jessie really enjoys the whole "Chuck Norriss movement". I don't think that's an official name or anything. That's just how I think of the whole "Chuck Norris" jokes frezy that happened a little while ago and which, with some people, continues strong. Some people like Jessie! ^_^
If you haven't heard of this movement, I will aquaint you with some jokes from within it. They are, some of them, quite funny. And the sharing will help you understand the awesomeness I'll share later.
These are the top of the top ten Chuck Norris "Facts". Jess would not like my quotation marking that last word, but I consider it a necessity. ;)
#1 Chuck Norris tears cure cancer. Too bad he's never cried. Ever.
#2 Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.
#3 Chuck Norris does not go hunting because the term referrs to a probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.
#4 If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you cannot see Chuck Norris, you may be only second away from death.
#5 Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and his unparralleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in his face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and said he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the Month.
Now, Jess tends to prefer the jokes that can be stated as questions with a response. OR the simple one-liners. One of his favorites is: Chuck Norris makes onions cry. And if it's not one of his faves, he's told it to me the most, so it seems like favorite TO me. Jess has also told me recently: "Crop circles are just Chuck Norris's way of telling the world that sometimes corn just needs to lie down." Anyway... I could go on, but apparently on some of those sites, there are lots of bad words. I'd rather wait for my sweet man to edit them for me. :)
So, as THE Father's Day gift this year... (I actually got him TWO!)... I bought a... da-da-da-dum... T-SHIRT! Okay, so that might not be so great to just any guy. But Jessie really digs fun t-shirts. He's got one that reads: "Let the praise for my cooking begin." (Courtesy of his Dad and Diane for his graduation from Culinary school.) Fun, right? He also has another one from a Father's Day long ago that reads: "Best Freakin' Dad Ever!" And, yes, he does wear these often! I mean, given that he basically has only two days per week he can wear shirts that say anything OTHER than "River Grill on the Tomoka," he wears them ALL the time. ;) Anyway...
This year's T-Shirt is a plain black one with white words. The words read: "DAD makes onions cry." I had to go with that one cause it's THE only one I could find of that sort that also referrs to food. ^_^ And he DID love it. He wore it to work Saturday since he had to wear a new style of RG shirt to the Seafood Festival today.
His other gift was $50 in gift certificates which enable him to choose restaurants at which to eat through restaurants.com OH! And I didn't spend even ONE dollar on those gift certificates!!!! Seriously! I used 800 swagbucks!!!!! ^_^ I'm just SO tickled to get that gift for my Jessie simply for using the swagbucks search tool bar! Better believe I'm stickin' with it! What did Pavlov learn... eventually the dog will salivate to the bell - no food needed. Anyway.... ^_^
I'm only sorry no physical gifts will be forthcoming for either of my Dads or my brothers! I DO love you all, though!

Farm Visit

What a lovely family (among a WHOLE WARD full of lovely families) we were so blessed to spend time around yesterday! I learned about a "farm visit" possibility the first Sunday I was in my new Ward. And they keep GOATS! I was SO excited about the possibility of bringing my girls to a farm with goats, so I made sure to talk to the sister I'd heard was having the visiting days. She was! And she was so super kind and helpful, to boot! She drew me a map, gave me her card, and told me she would be happy to have me at any time I'd like to come on either day.

Well, I was planning, from the get-go, to visit on Friday, but I woke Friday morning feeling like pooh! Seriously. I felt just wonky. So, no go for the Golly Girls. Thankfully, I'd kept my trap shut about the specific day of the plan to the girls. Thankfully, also, Jessie didn't mention it to them that morning! We made the trip Saturday morning. What a blessing cruddy feelings can be! Come to find out, my friend had another family visit for milking time (which, OF COURSE, is when I HAD to be there!) on Friday. The funny thing about that is that lots of families talk about coming to the farm on visit days for the milking hour (8am), but don't. I think my friend even said no one had come yet. But this year she had one family on each day! So, our visit NOT working out Friday was really for the best. Had we been there, we would have simply extended the whole process overmuch for the goats and, perhaps our hosting family. His ways are not our ways... but they are GLORIOUS! How well he knows EACH of us is just miraculous. And such instances, when I can see them, are JUST such a treasure!

It was just wonderful. The girls got to enjoy milking! I got to try it, too! We also saw some geese, chickens, baby goats, a couple dogs, and a couple pet rats (as well as some pet birds). Pretty neat, right!?

How could such an awesome adventure get better? I will tell you true, it DID! The hubby side of my friends took my girls to his workshop (with Mama in tow, of course) and invited them to pick out a toy! Yes, you read that right. He GAVE them each a toy. There were some amazingly lovely horses, some giraffes, some planes, as well as some elephants. If I was a little girl, I would've picked one of the ponies. They were just painted SO pirdy! ;) My girls chose a herd of something. Wanna guess what? Well, planes don't fly in herds... do they? ;) Giraffes? Well, I'm not sure if their family groups are referred to as herds. But I do remember watching a Discovery show (ages ago) in which a group of elephants was referred to as a herd. How they can be a herd, I'm not quite sure... they are just too gargantuan to be a herd - at least to my way of thinking. But that's what my girls chose. Each one chose an elephant. So, we have three adorable wooden elephants on wheels!

I don't think anything could top that for a Saturday morning. Wanna know what the girls (particularly Ria) have talked about the most? The food. OH! I forgot to mention it, didn't I? How could I... with a chef as a hubby... SLAP my hand!

Well, my friends put out crackers, gave us homemade goats' milk cheese handmade by the Mama of my friend! And MAN! That cheese is the kind one would rather eat off a spoon than spend on a cracker! (At least if that "one" is me.) That cheese is knock-your-socks-off GOOD! Seriously. My favorite was the horseradish. I think Ria's favorite was the Ranch. Kat and Tea's faves? Any - so long as you gave them more of it! ^_^ My friend also gave us tastes of plain milk, chocolate milk, yogurt, and ICE CREAM. The last is probably the greatest hit with my girls since they really don't get that kind of thing often. My friend also gave us some goats' milk to take home, AS WELL AS TWO duck eggs and a chicken egg (for comparison purposes). My friend LOVES her ducks and it didn't take us much to understand why... though her chicken's egg was basically the same size as the duck egg, the flavor was a bit nicer on the duck egg and the shell as well as the yolk color were definitely cooler. ^_^ It was all really wonderful! What a gift, right?

On top of sharing their lives with us for a few hours Saturday morning, my friends sent to me the pictures they took of us. How nice of them right? Yes, I thought so! I'm so grateful for such efforts of love and kindness! They are SUCH a treasure to me. So, if you have an invite, hop on over to the other blog and check out the few pictures of my greatest treasures (my girls, of course!). If not, check out these awesome extras my friends shared with me! ^_^

The bird coop.
Well, except for the geese.

One of the two farm dogs watchin' a hen.

Some of their kids.
Goat babies ARE kids, don't ya know!? ;)

Their herd sire.

Okay, so we did NOT see their peacock,
but I included their picture because my girls
peacocks (and peahens, too, actually)!!!
There are at least 3, and, I think, actually FOUR
in our neighborhood and the girls always ask
to drive down "the peacock street"
cause we sometimes see a peahen
or peacock as we drive on it.

Herd sire smiling.

I would, too, if I had such a pretty herd!

Friday, June 18, 2010


I now understand the practice I learned about in my high school Spanish classes. I had an awesome teacher, by the way, but I never could understand why a whole country, basically, would close down in the middle of the day for lunch.

Well, I understand now! Living without AC, one begins to understand MANY things, both temporal and spiritual that are directly and tenuously connected to physical comforts. Specifically regarding siesta... It begins for us around 2pm and ends sometime around 5pm. Why? Well, unless it's cloudy all day: because it's basically rediculous to keep moving! Okay, so I haven't actually begun it officially because there are lots of days we simply must work through those hours, but I can see WHY a whole countrty would close for those hours! Seriously.

My Spanish teacher told us that between those hours (or something similar), when she went to Spain, she could not find a single shop open. The people went home to eat and then nap after eating. (I'm guessing the people who were napping were probably NOT the Mama.) ^_^ She soon learned that the reason for their absence from operation of their shops was really more of a necessity than a leasure sort of thing. And I add my understanding to that which she gained. The weather, when we live in it more than in opposition to it, maybe should define a lot of our lives... and why not!? I mean, we are created from the earth. We are to be in dominion of it, but I don't think defining things one does based upon weather is allowing the earth to be in dominion of us... rather I think it has MUCH more to do with living in harmony WITH the earth.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Couple Items from Life to Make You Laugh... I hope!

Jessie read from the Bible for FHE. He became frustrated by the girls' inattention and said something about their behavior. Ria said, "I know, 'You will have power over squirrels and serpents.' is what you just read!" Jessie said, "Uhhh, no, not exactly. It says, 'You will have power over scorpions and serpents.'" But, at least, it was obvious she was listening! And it was pretty funny to me, too! ^_^

Ria and Kat were running down a hill on the temple grounds. Kat took a spill first, apparently. Her fall was a mere trip. Ria took a dive. And, from what I heard, her fall was epic! She fell forward so hard that her legs kicked up super fast and high, as if they were meant to touch the sky, and her face was pushed hard into the grass, which was, actually, mostly dirt and sand. Jessie saw everything and shared the story. He told me that he had no idea Ria had landed in dirt until she was walking back toward him and he realized she was chewing on and spitting out dirt and grass. Now, I don't know if I've done an adequate job of sharing the visuals of this experience... after all, I didn't actually see it in real life... but when Jessie was telling me about it, I saw it as a movie in my head and I literally could not stand. My knees grew weak and I fell to my bum! My girls, worried, said together, "Why did you fall down while you're laughing, Mama?" And all I could do was laugh some more.

*NOTE: No children were hurt in the creation of these roses that Mama and Daddy will pull out in December! What a gift our children are!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Living Without AC

We have decided, in our effort to reduce electricity consumption, for reasons previously expounded upon including our effort to become better stewards, and do things more naturally (along the same lines as "living AC free") we are currently living without use of our electric dryer. We started this about three weeks ago and it's going really well. Only three weeks in, of course, but the GOOD of it is really surprising to me!

I feel I must reiterate here and now that CHOOSING to go without a luxury is MUCH easier than being in a position that we MUST go without it. When we first moved to Florida, we didn't have a washing machine or dryer. We did take our things to a laundy-mat for a while. But we just didn't have the money for the amount of laundry we produced. (Cloth diapering exclusively at the time... if you've done it, you'll TOTALLY understand!) I definitely had more time than we had money! So, I ended up washing loads upon loads of laundry by hand in our bath tub. Let me tell you, doing such a thing grows a new perspective in a person! I could see SO clearly how the women of the past might THINK about how their situation was not just and THINK about how they should have certain rights that only men of the time enjoyed... but they didn't have TIME to do anything about those thoughts!

Washing by hand is way too extreme for me at this time - given all that I have listed in my mind that must be done (including unpacking, tiling, kitchen cabinet cleaning and replacement to name some of the HUGE time consumers). Still, we want to do something more (than living AC free) to reduce our electric bill. To that end, we turn all things off when not in use and try to unplug most of them. So far I've only forgotten the computer turn-off one night and MAN I was P-Oed when I realized I did such a thing! We do not use lights unless it's dark night out and they are pretty necessary (at least, I'm trying to teach our girls to do this!). AND, of course, we are trying to avoid use of the dryer as much as possible.

So far (only three weeks, of course), I have been 100% successful at NOT using the dryer! :) I, as yet, have only my laundry room, dining room chairs, and my patio table on which I can lay or hang things out to dry. I'm hopeful that we might get one of the really NICE drying racks I've found online. I like these TWO because one I could see being for most of our wardrobe items and so forth, while the second would be better for towels and linens. We'll see....

So far my laundry time really has been only a little bit more time consuming than it was using an electric dryer. Hanging or laying our things out to dry is a bit more time consuming. Checking on them before removal to put away is a tiny bit of work. But putting things away is SUPER fast! Remoal from drying, folding and moving to put away is almost the same thing so it feels like so much LESS a burden than the loads and piles of dried laundry I'd have pile up before I could get to fold them previously.

Now, one might think and even suggest that such piles could be reduced simply by folding upon completion of the drying process. And to them I would say, "Yes, that worked some times. And when it worked I felt SO good about my endless laundry job. But other times... well, you must either be TOTALLY anal (which I'm trying to overcome in myself) or you just do not know what it's like to homeschool with three children!" Heck, take out the homeschooling part and most Moms... and then especially Moms of three or more would understand that sometimes you can get the stuff out of the dryer, moved from the washer to the dryer and then just NOT be able to fold 'em!

Really, at this point, I feel much MORE enjoyment of the whole laundry process than I felt when we were using the electric dryer. What a gift, right!?? I'm actually REALLY surprised by this new feeling in me and haven't been able to quite figure out the reason for the change. Any suggestions?

I'll try to remember to revisit this subject again and address any reasons I may be able to come up with to explain my newfound enjoyment of doing laundry. Feel free to remind me, if you think about it and want to hear what I've come up with!

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