Friday, April 24, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Through the years many things changed; time passed; I grew up. At some point in time, C and I parted ways for a multitude of reasons. But Miss B always kept in touch with me, writing letters every so often. After school I enlisted in the Navy ... life continued .. and Miss B wrote letters. Then I married DadToCherubs. God blessed us with a child, then our second child, and then our third. It was when our first three children were still very young that we moved to Tennessee. (Miss B and Mr. B had moved south several years earlier.) Today, Mr. B and Miss B live close-by in a neighboring town. And through the years they have become part of our family -- they are still like second parents to me, are very dear friends of our family, and are like grandparents to our children. Needless to say, we all love Mr. B and Miss B dearly !!
It was determined several years ago that Mr. B had Parkinson's Disease in addition to a few other managable health problems. At first there were only tremors and a few "symptoms"; medications helped stem the tide of Parkinson's for a while. But in just the last few years, Parkinson's has really taken a toll. Miss B has been caring for him for him as this terrible disease has advanced, tending to her husband's needs day and night. She tirelessly tends to Mr. B, often reminding me (and herself too I suppose) "in sickness and in health, till death do us part". True love from a true wife ! And now, over the course of the last several days, Mr. B's health has taken a major turn for the worse; his kidneys have stopped working completely and his other organs are slowing. He is not eating or drinking at all, and is nearly unable to sit up, much less stand, anymore. He is only awake during those times when the pain is just too much to bear, and stays awake until the pain medicine brings much-needed relief to his broken body. Hospice has been called and the nurses are visiting, both saying that Mr. B is not likely to last much longer. He knows. He has said, in those brief awake moments, that he is going .... that he is going soon ....
Please pray for Mr. B, that whatever time he has left is without agony and pain. He has suffered so much in recent years as age and Parkinson's have ravaged his body. Please God grant him relief.
And please pray for Miss B as she tenderly cares for her husband of so many years; she is devoted and determined. And she is heartbroken, as she helplessly watches her husband of many years suffer, knowing that she can do nothing that will ease his distress. She loves him ... as she always has.
But there are more URGENT needs than these .... they need you to please pray for their hearts ! Even though they have tried to forget Him, God has not ever forgotten them ! You see, many years ago they were Christians. They prayed and worshipped and commited their lives and their family to Him. They were involved in church and were counted among the faithful. I was just 20yo when the difficulties began ... an awful span of two or three awful years. First, their youngest son (my friend C) had begun running with the wrong crowd, using drugs, and getting into major trouble, ultimately ending with him serving a sentence of several years in a Maryland jail. Then, within those same few years while C was in jail, Mr. B and Miss B buried their other two adult children (one age 30 lost in a fatal car accident, and the other age 27 lost to drug addiction that continued despite a jail sentence and repeated detox treatments). Then, after his release from jail, C moved to California and fell back into his old habits of bad company and substance abuse. And he spent a few more years in a California jail for drugs. While C was in jail this time, Mr. B and Miss B moved south from Maryland to Tennessee ... an effort to create a new beginning, they thought, without the painful memories and saddness surrounding them. They stumbled ... they faltered ... their faith was shaken ... and according to them, all was lost. They stopped believing. They were overcome with frustration and despair, even in their new home with their new beginning. They stopped going to church, stopped praying, stopped worshipping ... their hope disappeared. They often shared aloud their "thoughts" ... did God ever really care ? ... Did He ever love them ? ... Why did He fail to protect them ? ... Why didn't He protect their children ? ... Why did God desert their family when He was needed most ? ... Why did He let all of these awful things happen to their family ? Their aching hearts have never healed, and those doubts and fears (and perhaps blame ?) have remained strong, perhaps growing stronger even, for all of these years. They still mutter those same thoughts, even today. They say they used to be Christians ... but not anymore. It is in this dark place that Mr. B and Miss B have remained ... for nearly 20 years now. I have told them over and over that God has not forgotten them ... that He was with them through all of those tragic times ... that He has never stopped calling to them .... that He has never lost hope that they would return to Him. I have told them again and again of His Love for them. But .... they still have broken hearts and remain apart from their Loving Father. Please pray for these two broken hearts, that they might return to God, who has loved them and grieved with them through all of these long sad years.
And finally, please pray for me today. It is between them and this dark place that I will stand today ... again. I am going over there to visit ... and to take some food ... and to love them ... and to help out with some household chores ... but most of all I am going to "stand in the gap" once again. Please join me today in praying that they finally lift their eyes from the darkness to the light of Our Father, that their doubts and fears can finally be removed, that they can truly feel the loving arms of God surrounding them and drawing them close. Please pray that they will soften the facades of their broken hearts and give themselves over to Almighty God again. Please pray that the Love of God flows powerfully through me and floods their hearts .... that God grant me a word if He should have one ... that He may break through the pain once and for all, and speak to their hearts ... that they might hear Him, once again.
Please pray ......
UPDATE: Bill passed away on Monday, April 27th. Please keep his wife in your prayers. They met when she was 10yo and he was 12yo ... and this Sunday Bill would have turned 82yo.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Above: Cherubs protesting.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
April 24th will be our "official" last day of "formal" school. The books and papers and "assignments" will be finished.
But there's more ....
We are attending the Tax Day Tea Party in Knoxville on April 15th. That should be very interesting for the Cherubs .... their very first protest.
During the last week of April (April 27-May 1), we will be going on a few end-of-the-year field trips. Our Field Trip Week will include:
And on Sunday, May 3rd we will have our Annual School's Out Celebration - a nature hike in the mountains with swimming and a picnic dinner (weather permitting - if it is cold or rainy we will postpone this for Monday May 4th).
So, this week and next, we are finishing many many things ... our history lessons, literature readings, artist studies, read alouds, composer studies, art instruction, maps, vocabulary lists, spelling reviews, grammar lessons, phonics booklets, the typing course, science modules, penmanship and cursive lessons, math courses, and more. As we conclude these lessons, we are also reviewing. It seems hard to believe all that we have covered this year.
We are "in talks" about next year too. We are also discussing some light "planning" as we review and talk too -- things everyone loved, hated, learning interests ... struggles .... concerns ... aspirations.
What a blessing for the children to have some input in their schooling ... and to be able to watch them mature and learn ... homeschooling has been such a blessing for our family (well, most days ... ha !).
We are also in the process of assembling our Summer 2009 To Do lists ... books to read, projects to work on, adventures to plan ... we try to visit the library and do a lot of reading in the summer monthes, and we try to do all of the things that we just simply do not have time for too - places to go, things to see, projects to do, experiments to try, new skills to perfect, and more. It is not a fancy list really, but is rather a checklist of things to do ... so that when the novelty of summer wears off, and boredom (aka bickering) sets in ... there is a good list with plenty of things to do. This list also keeps track of the things we want to do, so that by July's end we don't wonder about that age-old question .... "What I Did On My Summer Vacatoin ?".
There is one element (it's a new rule -- gasp !!) of our summer, decided by DadToCherubs, that has yet to be announced to the Cherubs. He will make his Beck's Bounty Summer Declaration this coming weekend ... and in the mean time, I have been sworn to secrecy ...
I'll post our Summer 2009 To Do list when we have it all assembled.
Monday, April 13, 2009
04/13/2009 around 2:00pm.
It was flying over the fields and treelines behind our house -- coasting on the strong winds.
The many photos (25 or more) we tried to snap turned out blurry. We cannot seem to get good "motion" and "zoom" photos when both elements are happening at the same time. So, we borrowed this photo from online.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Lest I forget Gethsemane,
Show me the tomb where Thou wast laid,
Let me like Mary, through the gloom,
May I be willing, Lord, to bear
Friday, April 10, 2009
1 whole leg of lamb (about 9 to 10 pounds)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
6 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoons cayenne
1 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup Creole or whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups dried fine bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Emeril's Original Essence
8 medium red potatoes, halved
3 large carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
4 medium onions, quartered
4 celery ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and fit it with a rack. With the butt end of the roast facing you, make about a dozen slits in the fleshy part of the meat with a sharp knife. In a bowl, mix together the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the rosemary, 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, and 3 tablespoons of the mustard to make a paste. Using your fingers, insert equal amounts of the paste into the holes. Tie the leg crosswise with the kitchen twine, at 3-inch intervals. Season the outside of the lamb with 1 teaspoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cayenne. Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a pan large enough to accommodate the lamb over high heat. Sear the lamb for about 3 minutes on all sides. Remove the lamb from the skillet and set aside. Combine the bread crumbs, the remaining 3 tablespoons rosemary, the rub, and 1/4 cup of the oil in a bowl. Rub the top and sides of the lamb with the remaining 1/4 cup mustard. Using your fingers, press the bread crumb mixture evenly and firmly onto the mustard-covered area. Place the lamb on the rack in the roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Toss the potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery with the remaining 2 teaspoons salt, remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables on the rack around the lamb. Return the pan to the oven and roast for about 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the lamb registers 160ºF. on a meat thermometer for well done. If you prefer the lamb to be rare, roast for about 1 hour, or until a meat thermometer registers 140º to 145ºF. Remove the roast and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Serve with the vegetables. Yield: 10 to 12 servings
(Recipe c/o The Vegetarian Times Cookbook)
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup each chopped parsley and mint
In a large bowl, combine bulgur and 1 cup boiling water. Cover for 30 min. In a glass measure, combine oil, juice, salt and pepper, set aside. Add tomato, cucumber and onion to bulgur. Stir in parsley and mint. Add oil mixture and toss, then serve. Yield: 8 servings.
WHOLE WHEAT UNLEAVENED BREAD
4c whole wheat flour
1 1/2t salt
2 egg yolks
2T vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400F. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a stand electric mixer with a dough hook, beat the butter, egg yolks, and vegetable oil until combined (not smooth). Slowly alternate adding flour mixture and milk to mixer bowl while mixer is on a medium/low speed. Dough should be crumbly but moist.Lightly knead dough by hand to form smooth ball.Lightly flour a bread board and pinch off a quarter of the dough. Pat the dough into a flat disk, then using a rolling pin, thin the disk to approximately 1/8" keeping the board floured and flipping disk as necessary to avoid sticking. Carefully transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. (Optional: Lightly pierce surface of bread with a fork to help avoid bubbling, and mark squares onto surface with a knife to aid in seperating servings). Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, or until lightly browned on edges.
PASSOVER APPLE CAKE
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon white sugar
3/4 cup and 3 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon matzo meal
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon potato starch
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5-1/4 large apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C ) and grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.
2. Combine eggs, oil and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer. Stir in matzo meal, potato starch and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, toss apples with brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg.
4. Layer half of the dough into the prepared 9x13 inch dish. Pour the apples into the dish then pat remaining dough over the apples. Sprinkle with some brown sugar, if desired.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 45 minutes. Allow to cool to "just warm" before cutting. Yield: 12-16 servings
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
"We thank you Lord for the wonderful gift, a son, which you have given to the B family. We thank you for this precious little one (J.) who is healthy and strong, for the health of his mother (K.) during her pregnancy and delivery, for the excited and love-filled heart of his big brother (I.) who has faithfully prayed soooo long for a sibling, and for the strength of his father (E.) who passionately shares his love for You with everyone he meets. Lord, we thank you for the capable professional hands that helped them through the pregnancy and delivery. Cradle this precious family in Your Arms, and bless these special "birth-day"moments. Bless their family, that they may continue to bring Glory to Your Holy Name."
Monday, April 06, 2009
I am outraged at this depravity !! What an absolute disgrace !!
Those who lifted the ban should be truly ashamed ... and the press should be ashamed. And the miltary -- how could the military have possibly let the lifting of this photograph ban happen ?? Brothers in Arms -- you are called to look out for one another in life and in death; you are called to honor one another in life and in death, because we are bound to one another in the effort of defending and serving The United States. These fallen soldiers deserve farrrrrrrrrr more than this ... from their Brothers In Arms ... from their fellow citizens ... from their country ... and from the almightly-powerful and ever-prying press. They deserve dignity and honor ... they deserve the utmost respect from everyone !!
I am a true Patriot ! I am an American, a Navy veteran, and wife of a former Navy and former National Guard soldier. And today, I am stunned that my nation ... which I served ... which my husband served ... and our fathers served before us ... and our grandfathers served before them ... that my nation of fellow citizens and veterans would stoop so low as to inflict this indecency on those brave men and women who have died to preserve the very freedoms America loves and so often takes for granted. That they would so willingly and callously ignore the dignity of these slain soldiers and cause further harm to those soldiers families ....
Has our nation no decency anymore,
The Cherubs have been learning to ride ... and LOVE it. And so, DadToCherubs and I are toying with the idea of fencing off a portion of the land out front to house a horse or two ... and two cows for beef .... but are still looking into the "fence" part (financial). Does anyone have and advice or experience to offer to potential new horse owners ?? We like to research these things before we dive in .... so we would love to hear whatever someone has to offer.
This is the remains of a roundbale of wheat hay that the farm brought us -- we used some of the hay in our chicken pen to bind up the thicky soupy mud after having had a lot of rain. The rest of the bale ... well, let's just call it "the mountain" ... as in "King of The Mountain". They Cherubs had a grand time playing on it, esp since they are not allowed to play on the hay bales on the farm for safety reasons. This one was very secure ... so we let them play. Now the haybale remnants are gone -- to the cows. (The Diva in the foreground was enjoying a bit of sunshine with the Cherubs playing nearby).
Sunday, April 05, 2009
(above) Cherub 1 & Cherub 4 - April 2007
(above) Cherub 1 - Fall 2007
Saturday, April 04, 2009
I had a very inexpensive Brother machine that I lent to a friend several years ago. She is so sweet in fact that she returned it to me after our housefire ... but it just does not work well ... and we had it repaired ... and within a very short time it was not working properly again. The repairs at this point cost more per repair than the machine did brand new. So, it was frustrating. After spending dollars and dollars repairing this $99 (originally) machine, I just gave up. It just seemed we were throwing good money after bad, again and again.
Also, I had a wonderful Singer machine several years ago, purchased by my mother one year for my birthday, but of course it was lost in our March 2007 housefire. It was a major workhorse that never gave a bit of trouble, and we loved it. Cherub 2 and I used that Singer for so many projects, and it handled everything with ease, sewing each stitch beautifully.
So, the story is ... we have been without a properly working sewing machine for just over 2 years now. Of course, many households survive indefinately without a sewing machine. But our machine was a staple in our lives .... making crafts, stitching and restitching clothing worn a bit too hard by our 4 boys .... replacing hems in Cherub 5's clothing (she is unusually hard on hems !) ... creating simple modest dresses and skirts for the girls which they adored ... hemming pants for all 8 people in our family, who are all vertically-challenged (aka SHORT !) . We have made due without it, simply putting mending into a basket to gather dust and taking alteration projects to the drycleaners -- but our household sewing machine has been missed dearly.
DadToCherubs apparently noticed not long ago that we miss our Singer ... he witnessed a conversation between Cherub 2 and I in which we discussed some sewing projects she wanted to work on (summer clothes). I explained that the Brother machine was broken, again .... and that we were not able to sew. DadToCherubs was apparently frustrated too at the thought of having the Brother machine fixed ... again ... and again (he was usually the drop-off and pick-up man - and it was always something different - the tension would foul-up despite not being touched, the feeder on the bottom would literally eat fabric, the needle function would just stop going up and down - ARG !!). Shortly after that discussion apparently, he was hunting for his favorite khaki shorts that separated at the seam last summer ... and found them ... well, you see, we have this "mending basket" which has been filling up over the course of 2 years ..... He asked about the contents of the mending basket, and I explained that we had been unable to tackle it, given the sewing machine sitaution, and that I would try to handstitch some of those items soon. And so ..... well, come to think of it, perhaps that is what inspired him to get this gift ? Hummmmmmmmm. I wonder .......
Sewing not only takes a machine and some fabric though .... but fortunately there are big after-Christmas sales at Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby. Cherub 2 and I have attended these sales for the last 2 Christmas seasons, and have gradually purchased many of the necessary sewing items for our sewing corner -- bobbins, pins, a seam-ripper, a good heavy iron, various linings, scissors, a rotary cutter, patterns, needles, threads, elastics, ribbons, buttons, and other such notions. We knew that eventually we would replace our sewing machine and begin sewing again .... and that sewing notions add up to $$$ fast just in order to be able to complete a simple project. So, we have restocked much of our "stash" at these 50% off sales. Our sewing desk was painted this winter when we painted the sunporch (thank you Mrs. Z for giving it to us !) , and has been officially well-stocked for a few monthes now. All that was missing was a properly working sewing machine which I just had not purchased yet because it simply was not a top-priority on our post-housefire "need to replace" list ... well, I should say that we did not have a working sewing machine until yesterday.
Coincidently, Cherub 2 and I had also purchased a few patterns (at a 75% off sale) this year at Christmastime when we happened upon a deeply-discounted pattern sale -- some simple skirts and dresses for the girls, a few shorts patterns for the boys, and some PJ-pants patterns that everyone wants made for them. And some patches for the knees of pants ... we use A LOT of those with 4 outdoorsy boys. HA !
And so ... we are all set ... and the fun will begin today. Cherub 2 and I are going to work through the bulk of the mending basket (first things first, right ??), while prepping fabric for some projects (washing, drying, ironing, cutting, etc). And we are going to mend DadToCherub's items first .... as a thoughtful way to say:
"The Singer Simple is a very easy to use sewing machine with many features seen on higher end machines.
· 18 stitch patterns including a 1-step buttonhole
· Drop feed
· Needle threader
· Adjustable stitch length
· Free arm with accessory storage (screwdriver, seam guide, seam puller/brush, needles, bobbins, spool holders)
· 4 snap on feet included (ZigZag, Buttonhole, Button, Zipper)
· Dust cover
· Manual in English/French/Spanish
· Easy bobbin winding
· Front loading bobbin
· Horizontal threading
Sewing Machine Type: Manual
Stitch Function Count: 16
Auto Buttonholer: Yes
Built-in Stitches: 16
Auto Needle Threader: Yes
Drop-in Bobbin: Yes"