Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming....

...for a moment of comedy.

Yesterday afternoon the boys were working in the garage. They took some old boxes and built themselves robots.

They were working in tandem out there, and I assumed Canaan was helping his brother.

I was wrong.

Canaan built himself a T-6000, put it on and wore it around. Zion built himself a robot costume also.

As he was wearing it around, his brother looked at him and said, "Zion, you just look like a broken box."
Poor kid!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Talents, not hidden

I found this wonderful quote on this blog, and wanted to share.

"You may think you don't have talents, but that is a false assumption, for we all have talents and gifts, every one of us. The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, a pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before—colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.What you create doesn't have to be perfect. Don't let fear of failure discourage you. Don't let the voice of critics paralyze you—whether that voice comes from the outside or the inside. As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you.I believe that as you create beauty and as you are compassionate to others—God will encircle you in the arms of His love. Discouragement, inadequacy, and weariness will give way to a life of meaning, grace, and fulfillment." - Deiter F. Uchtdorf

I made a tiny little blanket for a baby shower last weekend. My sister Emilee made an adorable quilt, with amazing patchwork, and beautiful quilting. The blanket I made was super simple, and I still had to have her help me, since the fabric I picked up wasn't exactly what I thought it would be.
Obviously, sewing isn't something I am talented in. Emilee is, amazingly so. (Mom actually said, when she saw my blanket... "hon, maybe you should stick to writing, rather then sewing".... just so you know her opinion of WHO should be doing the sewing in the family!)

I can whip up dinner. My kids aren't going to eat junk food for supper. However, they aren't going to eat fine cuisine either. Basic baked chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans - that is what I am good at. Pretty much anything you can imagine, with a healthy spin - add more veggies, some whole wheat, half the butter - you get the idea. That is how I cook. I'm not going to win any awards that way. I suppose that is creative, after a fashion - but it is hard to see it as a talent.

Kelsey and Mary dance. Andy sees a picture in everything around him, and can create it with a touch of his hands.

But I, I don't DO anything.

So I loved this quote. It reminded me that I do do some amazing things. I teach my children to sing, and to build with blocks, and to stand in the sun and raise their arms and simply soak up the glory of creation. I wake at 5:30 in the morning, when my hubby comes home from working a strange shift, yet again, and I listen to him share about his night. It doesn't seem like an art form, but it has definitely had to have time to be perfected...

I will take the "normal opportunities" all around me, embrace them wholeheartedly, and hopefully "create something of beauty". Just by living.

I dare you to do the same.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Overflowing once again

"The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things." Henry Ward Beecher

I had a last minute visit on Wednesday from my Aunt Beth. She was passing by on Interstate 75, and called to say "I'm at your exit - I've been trying to E-mail you for days, and call you for the last hour. Finally! You answer the phone." I hadn't seen her since June, so I am so glad I finally got to the phone! She had a few minutes to spare before she had to hit the highway again, so we shared back and forth the latest updates on the family.
As we talked I realized that so much of what I had to report was negative. We still don't know what is happening with our adoption. Andy is still working on paperwork for OCS. We are waiting, and wondering, and don't know what we are doing. And as we talked I began to hear myself, and I didn't really like what I heard.
Then, Beth said, "So much of the world is down right now - everyone is having a rough time".
She was commenting on several things we had talked about - political, personal within the family, and the state of the world in general. But in a way, that tiny little sentence was a smack in the face.

Everyone is having a rough time.

And really, WE aren't.

Emotionally, I am a bit of a mess. Ups and down, yes, no and maybe - all that jazz. Overall though, we are not having a rough time. Our children are healthy. Andy has a full time job, that not only pays the bills, but leaves a little left over every month that we can tuck away for that adoption, whenever God sees fit to bring us our next child. I'm not exactly healthy, but we have wonderful insurance that covers all my meds, so that I can live a normal life.

There are lots of "rough times" all around. We are not one of them.

My theme has always been to live life with JOY. I am trying. All I have to do is remember to ask - Joy is given freely.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Glorious golden honey

Millions of people, all over the world, for thousands of years, have enjoyed honey on their bread. Fresh white rolls, rich dark wheat bread, delicious fried sopapillas. I myself have had honey on three different continents, on a variety of breads. All of which I enjoyed immensely. I like to try good things, in new ways.
That is why I keep honey, of all sorts, in my house.
But, and this is an important but, I think that those millions of people, for thousands of years, probably prefer that their honey be poured over their bread AFTER it is removed from the plastic wrap.
Not after it has tipped over in the pantry, dripped down through one shelf, coated the entire bread basket (and cloth liner, and everything in the basket) then dripped through that onto the next shelf down... finally coming to a rest onto something solid, and thankfully, washable!

That was last Thursday.
Have you noticed that I haven't written since then?

We haven't been having a bad time - just very full. I realized today that along with not writing, I hadn't even checked my E-mail in almost an entire week! (and I haven't read a single book either!) I am counting on things calming down, and getting a chance to go back and read everyone else's blogs - catch up on life.
In the meantime, I now have to put my nose back to the grindstone.... but perhaps a quick snack first? Toast with honey, maybe?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Paint and blowdryers... but not together, thank goodness!

Something a little lighter tonight:

Our boys have discovered that the blowdryer is a wonderful toy. They get out of the shower/tub, dry off, and spend several minutes combing their hair, playing with the blowdryer, and primping.
What am I going to do when they are teenagers?

A mohawk, just because...

From a different angle - look at him admire himself!!

When I get a cute picture of one kid, I try to get a shot of the other.


We had Art Day with one of our Home school co-ops recently. We met at the church, wore our oldest clothes, and talked about the color spectrum, and mixing the primary colors to create other colors.
Then came the fun part - getting to actually paint.

My boys LOVE art, and I think I am pretty good at offering them an outlet, but getting to paint in a big room with a whole group - now that is fun!

Daddy came by when he woke up and taught Zion some basketball moves.
(you can sort of see Canaan in the background there)

Canaan learned a little about the fine art of Air Hockey.

When all is said and done, who could ask for anything more?

Happy Birthday My Love

Today, St. Patrick's Day, is a very special day. Everyone is supposed to wear green, remember St. Patrick bringing the good news of Christ to the island of Ireland, and look for their lucky four leaf clover.
But for me, it has an even better thing to celebrate - the birth of my one true love.
Today Andy turns 30. My Leprechaun is the same age as me for two short months and can no longer call me his "old lady", as he loves to do for the rest of the year!

On Saturday we had a small birthday party for him.

Ribs, pasta salad, fresh rolls and potato chips.

Kid friendly cake, with the mandatory 3 0 candles.

Adult friendly, very delicious, soaked in liquor, made by my friend Mary, Tiramisu - Andy's favorite desert. (and a very cheesy grin also...)

My favorite birthday guest, Mary's new baby, wearing an outfit that use to belong to my boys - years and years ago. Man, do they grow fast!
Little Maddy, playing with the streamers and balloons.
It was supposed to just be a few friends over, but when Andy ran out to get the ribs, the boys and I ran to Wally world and bought balloons, streamers and a birthday banner.
We had to dress it up a little, right? It is the big three oh!!

Happy Birthday Andy!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Words spilling over

I have had a bit of writers block the last week or so. I have lots to say. Perhaps too much. It is all just jumbled and confused and fighting to figure out what is important. Trying to pick which words are priority to come out first, and how to write them seems to have overwhelmed me.
So instead of writing words, I have just been devouring words instead. In the last few weeks I have read at least 10 books. Three in the last 4 days. We had a 24 hour bug here yesterday, and I spent the day reading to the boys, then reading to myself.

I managed to read "The Host" in it's entirety, before falling asleep. I guess technically it was today before I finished, but not by much.
Now the question is, am I ready to write again, or do I just want to find another book and climb back into my comfortable little world, or even not so comfortable world, of fiction?
Even when fiction is dramatic, or thrilling, or horror, or "deep" and thought provoking, it is still fiction. You can pretend it isn't about you... even though sometimes it seems like it is, in almost an uncanny sort of way. Have some authors perhaps been stalking me, and writing about my life and deepest thoughts, and innermost questions?
Or perhaps more of the world just shares those questions then I thought....

Don't worry, I have the biggest questions all squared away. My Savior and I have had that heart to heart, and I know to whom my heart belongs. Without His saving grace, I would really be wallowing in some deep questions.
But heaven is still, hopefully, a long time away. I am here, on earth, and seeking my purpose, and my position. Where do I stand... and where am I headed?
Both of those are questions I have had thrown at me quite a bit lately.
Where do I stand? Really, on theological issues that seem unimportant, I don't like to make a fuss. Who cares if you were dunked or sprinkled? Does it matter if you sing hymns or praise music? Play piano or keyboard or electric guitar during worship?
I love the Apostle's Creed. It sums it all up so nicely.

Just remember that catholic is little c, not big. So, not specifically Roman Catholic, but catholic, as in the ancient, undivided, Christian church.

So, you know where I stand. What has bothered me lately is that I have felt strongly enough about what is normally a "little issue" to speak up. And it has not really gone over well. So where does that leave me? Am I supposed to leave the group of people I worship with? Am I suppose to ignore the fact that we disagree? I HATE confrontation. But I also hate to slink away like a wounded animal, making them think I don't believe strongly enough to stand by what I said.
ARGHH.... see what I mean?
So, where I stand has been questioned.

Where we are headed - well that seems to be the never ending question around here. Sometimes I just want to shrug my shoulders and give up even trying to figure out the next step. Perhaps that is what God is waiting for? But at the same time, if I just sit on my hind end doing nothing, well then I know for sure that nothing will ever happen. We have to do something to move our adoption and Andy's career forward. The question always remains, WHAT are we supposed to be doing? Which direction are we going, and how fast, and for how long?

And that, my friends, may be why I haven't been writing, and have been devouring words instead.
But I had to get some of it off my chest.

Do I feel better now? The remains to be seen...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just because...

Zion was being a booger today. Seriously, a first class, made me think that perhaps one child would have been enough, STINKER with an attitude.
But then, he gives me these adorable little faces, and I remember that he isn't really evil.

Evil.... of course not. A handful and a half - Absolutely Yes!
(And he knows it!)

Monday, March 08, 2010

Dairy and Bakery field trip, part 2

Still my favorite shot of the day.

Our field trip to the dairy was simply beautiful. Slightly overwhelming perhaps, but beautiful.

It is one of my dreams to have a little farm someday. I want a dozen chickens so I can have fresh eggs, a huge garden to grow my organic veggies in and three or four acres in which my goat can roam (and keep mowed for me). Of course, I also want tons of trees, so I am not sure where the grass to feed the goat is going to grow, but I'll figure that out later.
And after my trip to the dairy, I am not so sure I am capable of milking a goat...

It was definitely harder then I thought!

Canaan was the first one of the whole group, and he thought it was cool.

The tubes running everywhere were fascinating, and the process they walked us through of this eco friendly, goat friendly, family run dairy was a great learning experience. One of the things I thought was really cool was that the whey they drain off the cheese is fed to their pigs, making them extra tasty (so they say). Even though I am not interested in eating their pigs, I thought that was a really cool way to "recycle"! They sell their bacon in their shop, along with their specialty cheeses. I, of course, didn't buy any meat - but I did get some delicious cheese, both goat and cow!

I learned a lot. The boys had a lot of fun looking at the playful goats.

After our time at the dairy we stopped at the Mennonite bakery down the road. We didn't have a scheduled field trip there, but our co-op's fabulous field trip coordinator had called earlier in the week and asked if there was any way we could have a tour.
The owner of the bakery, a mother of nine herself, was very generous with her time and very understanding of how young minds, and hands, work.

She showed them the giant sized mixer, and convection oven, and some sort of really neat machine that shook the dough into perfect sized dough balls. I didn't get a close enough look at it to see how it worked, but it impressed me from afar!

Everyone got to take their dough ball and create their own shape.

One of my favorite things about a homeschool group is the variety of ages you find, all together. The young ones learn so much from the older one's examples, and the older ones are taught patience, and parenting skills and are also reminded to stay children just a little longer.

Everyone gets to participate.

The pretzels were popped into the oven, and our generous hostess sliced a fresh loaf of bread and gave the children bread with peanut butter while they waited.

My children were in heaven -
Warm out of the oven WHITE bread, with peanut butter. Delicious!

When the pretzels were done, everyone got to claim theirs to take home with them.
I loved this shot - one of my friends put all of her kids in a cowboy hat for the trip to the dairy. (she has four). He was so eager to get to those pretzels that I couldn't even get close when they first came out of the oven!

Luckily I am taller then most of the youngins! (although, just barely). Don't those cinnamon sugar, toasty, yeasty, puffs look unbelievable?!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Boys, Goats and Mud - what could be better?

I have spent the last two hours reading the blogs that I have missed over the last week, as I have been slightly anti-internet lately. I am feeling a little more caught up on the lives of my internet friends.
I am also exhausted.
So, rather then a full post about our wonderful field trip to the dairy, I will leave you with just a few pictures of my boys with the adorable goats.

Brotherly love.

A five day old goat - Cute and cuddly!

Eventually I'll post some pictures of us milking the goats, and our side trip to the Mennonite bakery down the road. But for now, sleep is calling to me.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Goodbye old friends

Dearest Washer and Dryer,
Oh, how your extra large load capacity and user friendly self-explainatory settings will be missed. When you were passed down to us in the prime of your life I was so excited and blessed to receive you. Already more then 10 years old, we thought we would be lucky to get just a few years out of you. Now, nearly 10 years later, six houses and three fairly long stretches in storage buildings, it is very hard to say goodbye. But oh, how impressive you have been!
You have washed hubby's uniforms, all the way from Red Lobster in the early days, through three different AF evolutions and even the PT gear. You were there for Dreft, load after load of newborn blankets and outfits and sheets and spit-up rags. Even for those few weeks when I tried to be a cloth diaper mommy - you got a work out those weeks, since every single diaper leaked, and every single outfit had to be washed...
You have survived multiple loads of abuse. Pens run through both the wash and the dryer - yet still, you ran strong. Pocket knives. Enormous comforters. Clanging overalls, coated in paint or mud or playdough. You have loved me even when I would abandon you for the clothesline for days at a time. When the weather turned ugly, you would welcome me back with open arms.
Thank you for the fond memories of my first years of marriage and motherhood!
As we say goodbye, I thank you for the twelve cents you so cheerfully returned as we wheeled you out. Please, Rest in Peace dear dryer. You were loved. You will be missed.

Fondly yours, Bethany

(If anyone wants a washer that works on occasion, although often requiring prayer in order to get it to agitate, they are welcome to have it. The dryer is officially dead.)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A recap

Sorry it has been so long, but my mommy said I couldn't post until I had something nice to say, and my "cheer" was slightly lacking the last day or two.
Savannah was beautiful. Relaxing. Peaceful. We didn't follow a schedule. We didn't plan our day. We just walked, and talked, and ate, and rode the trolley.
Being kid free, and responsibility free, just for two and a half days, was wonderful.
Strangely enough, we didn't use that time to discuss the big plans for our future. Adoption, military and medical futures were all left strangely absent from the conversation. Even the children we already know and love were mostly ignored. We talked about movies and music, food and friends, history and hilarity.

Those who know us best know that it couldn't last though. We actually left Savannah fairly early on Monday, even though my parents weren't bringing the boys home until late that evening. We wanted to test drive a larger vehicle we have been considering, "just in case" we end up with four kids, instead of just three. (I could technically bring two home from Africa... and I certainly wouldn't say no if someone offered me a sibling group!) We also figured we might as well get a jump start on the laundry, and clean up.
Vacation doesn't really sync with our brains very well, does it?

The boys were non-stop bubbling over excitement about their trip to see the Great Grandparents, several extended family members, and best of all DISNEY! Their joy is so contagious - it is beautiful.

Believe it or not, both my dad and I forgot our camera's. BOTH of us. My dad bought a disposable one, so eventually there will be pictures of Disney. I just have to take them somewhere to be developed. If I still remember how to do that after so many years of being digital only!?
Our time in Savannah has no pictures. Not a one. Amazingly enough, I even forgot my phone, so I couldn't even take pictures on my blackberry. Andy could care less about pictures, so although I reminded him a couple of times that he could take a picture on his phone, he would just shrug and say "I don't know how to get them off my phone, so what is the point." So, we have not a single picture of our mini vacation.
But somehow, I don't really mind. The memories are beautiful in my head.

The less then beautiful since we have been home is working itself out. Life isn't always easy, or perfect, or ordered in the way I prefer. I can't really control that.
However, my attitude about how life proceeds is entirely up to me. I have to control that: no one else can! Thanks to a gentle "snap out of it" from my Mommy, an encouraging call from one sis, beautiful pictures of DC from another sis, and several really good friends who didn't even know they were lifting me up - they were just being themselves- I am feeling better.

Plus, I have a new dryer, rather then one that smells like burning wires.

Tomorrow morning is a field trip to a dairy farm. Cows are early morning creatures, and I am not... Perhaps I should head to bed, so that I am a functioning person come 6am?
The camera is already packed for this one, so be prepared - pictures are coming!