Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Humbly Resolve ....

For this year (2009), my Resolutions concern the true focus of my heart, the quality of my character, the seeking of of true wisdom, and the overall purpose of my life.
Christ spoke of treasures .... declaring that whatever is a treasure on earth, there the (person's) heart is also. Recently God has been pressing on my heart that my priorities are a bit out of order. I have tried to keep my heart focused intently on Our Father. However, it has become abundantly clear that there are "places" in my life where the "treasures" on earth (and the want-to-do's and need-to-do's in life) are getting in the way of my relationship with God (and with others), God's ability to use me for His Purposes, and His Abundant Love ...
So ......

I intend to continue to strive toward living a more simple life, only now with a more determined effort to keep my eyes and heart focused on God at each and every step. Also, with regard to living simply, I resolve to rely solely on God's Wisdom rather than my own, through careful diligent (daily) study of His Holy Word, the Bible.
I intend to give more ... of myself. Love, time, resources, assistance, praise, encouragement, understanding .... to be the "salt and light" , the "servant", and the "virtuous woman" that God calls me to be.
I intend lower my expectations of others and of myself, and to, instead, allow God to set the parameters.
I intend to LIVE WELL meaning that I am going to focus seriously on making every day "count" for Christ, and for those I love.
I intend to LAUGH (more) OFTEN .... inspired by the verse which says "make a joyful noise unto the Lord". I feel convicted that my heart is not as "joyful" as it once was ....
LOVE MUCH .... I intend to love ALL others with the unconditional love of God ... to see in every person the image of Christ (as recommended by Mother Teresa of Calcutta when asked how she "stomached" serving the poor and the sickest of society). I intend to express this love more freely and more often ... His Love. I intend to be more gentle in my words (and to say fewer of them). I intend to give more encouragement and praise to those around me.
And lastly, I intend to complete a very in-depth study of Proverbs 31 -- with prayer, His Grace, and His Mercy, I indend to very seriously undertake the "work" needed to become this Godly woman in 2009.
It is my humble prayer that God continue to work in my heart, that I might be a blessing to those around me .... "a light unto the world" .... "far above rubies" ....

Here is the song (Create In Me A Clean Heart, by Keith Green) on my heart as I lift these petitions in prayer.
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me.
Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away From thy presence, oh Lord.
Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,
And renew a right spirit within me.
Grace and Peace to you in 2009 !

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The New Year and Resolutions

Do you make Resolutions for the New Year ?
If you do, what are they, if you do not mind sharing ?
DadToCherubs and I make 1 "Grand" Resolution" each year.
The Cherubs make one grand resolution each year as well.
And usually, well, for the most part, we do pretty well with them.
But this is a New Year ... with a New Plan ... so we shall see.
Ultimately, we find it rather funny ... this idea of New Year's Resolutions.
Where did it come from ? How did we get "hooked" into this idea ?
So, through the years, we have collected some "funnies"
about just that very thing .... New Year's Resolutions ...

Lucy, of course, has such a "gentle" way about her. HA ! Poor Linus ....
This particular Calvin & Hobbs cartoon is my personal All-Time-Favorite ....

... and this (above) Angus and Phil comic is new to us this year,
and made us all giggle.
Although this Garfield comic is not "quite" about New Years ...
we thought it "fit" well because so many people aspire to diet,
shed a few pounds, exercise more, eat better, and such
in the New Year ... and of course, "he" has that special
way of saying things ...
from Beck's Bounty !

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's Nearing That Time Again

In yesterday's mail, we received our first seed catalog for the year from Burpee Seeds. We have ordered from them in past years, but had in mind for this year a brand new project, in three parts.
Part 1: We plan to order Heirloom variety seeds this year, rather than using hybrids and other engineered seeds.
Part 2: We are planning to use many of the Heirloom seeds to start our own plants for our garden this year --- tomato, potato, lettuce, melon, squash, and more. We also hope to start some plants for perinneal flowers, perhaps including some old-time favorites like FoxGloves.
Part 3: If all goes well with the "starting" of plants, and then with the transplanting, Part 3 will be the saving of Heirloom seeds for the following season's use. Seed saving is a project unto itself, and so we will have to do some research before "the" time comes for seed harvesting.
It is nearly January 1st, and we are getting more excited as the weeks pass about this year's garden. We have a bit of garden clean up left to do before starting on this year's plans. Cherub 3 has done some research on amending our soil (naturally rather than with chemicals and synthetics), and we will ask the farm to cover the whole garden well with composted manure in the next few weeks. So, when it comes time to till for our spring planting, our soil should be in great shape.
We did an internet search for Heirloom Seed suppliers, and found a list (and the above photo) of Heirloom Seed catalogs, so we are now on many of their mailing lists. We are compiling our list of "wish to plant" ideas, and will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of these new seed catalogs so that we can begin ordering.
Spring is coming soon ....
eventually ....

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day Highlights

Cherub 6 received some more pieces
for his Thomas the Tank Engine train set.
He loves Thomas and took lots of photos of the track,
old and new pieces alike.
Cherub 5 and Cherub 6 playing Elefun.

Cherub 2 and Cherub 5 having one of many
Tea Parties with their new Tea Set.

Another Tea Party.

Everyone got their very own Digital Camera this year ...
and DadToCherubs and I were nearly blind
when evening came due to all of the
"flashing' from the photographers.
Cherub 2 was so excited to receive an
American Girl Doll Bitty Baby.
What a wonderful mother she will be someday !

Cherub 1 .... having a grand time.
He made a point of playing with each of his siblings
1:1 on Christmas Day, doing whatever they
wished to do. What a Christmas Treasure ....
brotherly love ! He played Thomas, sipped tea,
assembled Lego castles, chatted on walkie-talkies,
helped with puzzles, played board games, and more.
And then, he played Mommy's favorite hymn
with his acoustic guitar after practicing
in secret for some time --
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Isn't he sweet ??
Thank you Cherub 1 for these precious gifts
that will forever last in our hearts !!
Four people in danger of developing Wii-itis ....
playing Mario Kart (our new Wii game).
You should have heard the giggles and chuckles !!
Another near- wii-itis case ...
with lots of chuckles while playing Mario Kart,
despite not having any sleep Christmas Eve
(he was working).
Grandpa came in the afternoon to visit.
And he gave each of the children a 1-day lift pass
to Cataloochee for skiing this year.
Yahoooooooooooo !!
We're going skiing sometime this winter.
Thank you Grandpa.
We had a wonderful Christmas Day together,
playing board games,
eating turkey sandwiches,
playing the Wii,
reading some new books,
assembling puzzles, and more.
We pray you had a Merry Christmas ....
and that you hold in your heart
the greatest gift of all ....
Our Savior, Christ !

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Caught ... Red Paw-ed !!

T'was the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the stairway with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The Cherubs were nestled all snug in their beds,
While someone silently nibbled on gingerbread heads;
Mamma's checkin' email and dad's on a call,
Each had settled in for a long night's stall.
When out by the tree there arose such a clatter,
We sprang from our chairs to see what was the matter.
Away to the doorway we flew like a flash,
Tore open the door and made the lights flash.
The light on the floor and the carpet did show,
A smattering of cookie crumbs scattered below.
When, what to our wondering eyes did appear .....

But a giant white dog with dripping milk on her ear.
(revised poem written by Cherub 3 and MomToCherubs)
Late on Christmas Eve, we had a wonderful evening. We read the original version of this poem and our traditional Luke 2 reading. After the children were in their PJs, their faces were washed, and their teeth were brushed, three certain Cherubs took particular delight in setting out some cookies and milk for Santa on the special plate given to Cherub 1 on his first Christmas (by Grammie - DadToCherub's mother). They also counted out 9 half-pieces of carrots. Why nine, you ask ? Well, Cherub 5 was particularly irritated the the reindeer should have to take turns house to house, having to share their "snacks" among the group. HA !!
Back to the story .... all was set ... a storybook scene ... and the children were off to bed.
And all was wonderfully calm and quiet, until the SANTA MUTT IMPOSTER (Bella - our Great Pyrenees) swiped Santa's snacks. She did not even show any remorse, but rather kept lapping up the milk (the cookies were longggg gone !).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nativity

Caravaggio - Nativity with Saints Francis and Lawrence., 1609

Luke 2
The Birth of Jesus Christ
1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" 15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. 21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Merry Christmas
Beck's Bounty !

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wii-itis ??

We have had a Wii. for a few years.

And we have enjoyed a lot of Wii games, Wii Sports being our favorite, with Monkey Ball in second place. We also enjoy playing Mario Baseball and Sonic, amoung others.

We play as a family occassionally on weekends, or during school vacations, and with company occassionally.

But I have to say, that in all of our Wii-playing, not one of us has developed Wii-itis, which seems to be devastating our nation. HA !!

Check this out:,2933,471364,00.html

I cannot imagine !

Our Christmas Visitors

We were blessed to have some very special Christmas visitors from Maryland. Our cousins, the "M" family !
While they were here in Tennessee, we had a grand time ... we baked cookies and then decorated them, we played card games, rode bikes, played with the "kittys" outside, went for walks, were taken on tractor rides, and more.
Thank you for coming to visit M family !! We are already missing you and are looking forward to your visit this summer !
(above) Our Cherubs and the 4 "M's" decorating Sugar Cookies.
Miss A and Cherub 6 "taste testing".

Little Miss M sitting in her Momma's lap.
Little Miss M was in change of Quality Control. (HA !)

Everyone was hard at work.

Some of the finished cookies.

Dumma and GranMickey ... or Aunt B and Uncle M ... depending on whether a Beck or an "M".

Miss A, very pleased with her Make-up Kit.
Later, she and Little Miss M put on make up
... lots of it ... and each little lady looked ADORABLE
with their pink noses and purple eye lids.
(Momma M and Little Miss M in the background, along with Cherub 2)

One evening we went out for pizza.

Miss B, who is the oldest M, rolling and cutting cookies.
She was very precise !

Cherub 2 helping Little Miss M to roll and cut the cookies.

Miss B's lovely smile !

Miss B and Cherub 3 playing Uno.

Miss A really enjoyed helping Cherub 2 roll and cut the Sugar Cookies.

Master L spent a lot of time playing with the Thomas Train Set.
Having 3 sisters, he was very pleased to play with Cherub 1,
Cherub 3, Cherub 4, and Cherub 6 (our boys).

Cherub 2 "mother-henning" Little Miss M ....
they were nearly inseparable during the M's visit.
How sweet !!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fourth Week of Advent

Prayer for the Fourth Week of Advent
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we beseech Thee,
and come; and with great power come to our aid,
that, by the help of Thy grace, that which is
hindered by our sins may be hastened
by Thy merciful forgiveness.
Who livest and reignest, with God the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Sneak Peek

The 2008 Christmas Photo of the Cherubs .... our only regret is that we could not have done it on a sunny day, but we have not had a sunny day in .... well .... forever ?!?!?

He's Not A Baby Anymore ....

... but he will always be MY baby.
He promised !
(above) When he was 3yo ....
On Cherub 6's "real" BIRTHday ...

Showing his "Picture Smile". Age 3yo.

On a walk in Great-Pop in November 2008.

Age 5yo, "hamming" with Cherub 5.

On Dumma & Gran-Mickey's boat ... age 4yo.

On a "Just Big Guys" camping trip with Dad and Mr. Potts
and quite a few other boys. (age 4yo)

Age 4yo ... when grandpa gave him his first Tonka Dumptruck for his birthday. This is the only toy Cherub 6 still has (after our housefire) because it was outside in the mulch. This little truck has been a workhorse --- moving weeds and rocks, mulch, and petfood. Rarely does a day go by that this truck is not "working".