Harvest at our house....

Thursday, October 31, 2013
Year after year I report about harvest and it was serendipitous that again I can report that despite a change of address we still own property adjacent to a corn field.  I often wonder that in my 80's I will grow a 3rd arm from the peticides in close proximity but alas you can see where my mind wanders to...
Check out previous harvest reports here and here

This year we arrived home from preschool just in time to see the combine go by on the first sweep of the field.  SO we got to watch all afternoon as he traversed by row after row after row.  I have to say I thoroughly enjoy it too and it fascinates me how the beans go in as a plant and come out shucked - crazy farm technology.

After they emptied, the lady farmer in the tractor honked and waved as she went back to unload the harvest.
And you can't possibly go in to eat lunch so we ate a harvest-side lunch.  It was still warm there (oh how I miss that weather).
What a special experience to share when city meets country in the suburbs of Iowa.  Both of Scott's grandparents were farmers so I am sure their two great-grandpas would smile knowing our kiddos can experience a taste of harvest.

Teach Me Tuesday: Gently Used Toy Give Away...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
It was about the 10th day in a row I was picking up the millions of toys strewn across our floor, thinking of the over abundance we had in our home.  I had in the last week talked to my kids about being thankful for all that they had and that many went without when a thought from last Christmas flickered in my mind.  Gotta love my crazy, never forget anything mind.

We were at a holiday social for my PEO group and we had adopted a family.  What a blessing to bless them with gifts and then one of my PEO sisters said out of the 600 families eligible only 300 would be picked.  300 families would go without the joy of a Christmas present.

Yes I know Christmas is more than presents and bows and pretty packages but God also cares for the broken-hearted and crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18) and He also says to be like Him.  Those 300 people needed some hope at Christmas that a great God indeed loves them!

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:1-4

Those 300 families were laid on my heart for a purpose and over 9 months later while cleaning my home and its abundance, God said share with them...

And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Luke 3:11

My wheels got turning and decided to draft an email to my MOPS steering team that very day.  I knew if I didn't head the spirit in that moment, my life would get busy and I would lose the drive to obey God.  I was not surprised to get 12 quick responses back saying "Yes! We want to help."

My little call from God became a reality...now what? How could my 2 hands accomplish his will, well those 2 hands quickly became many hands.

As with any work of service for God it doesn't come without hiccups. Satan aims to destroy Godly works...but we nailed down a date and started collecting toys.  And we pray daily.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6:9-10

Many fleshly worries have gone through my mind - will we have enough toys, will anyone come, what will we do with the extra toys, what if we run out, what if it is a disorganized mess....will this even work, let alone be successful?

And then today in the midst of another prayer as I prepared to send out the first letter making this even more real, God revealed to me something...

Even if NO ONE comes, I obeyed Him.  I obeyed His teaching and nothing God does is in vain.  Our children will learn the art of sharing their abundance, ladies in Christ will work in fellowship, and our hearts are humbled to eternal purposes and for those reasons and many others this is already successful.  And if even one family is pointed to eternity with Jesus, we made a difference.  
Yes it is just a toy but don't underestimate the power of God.  

He can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
Ephesians 3:20

And Christmas is about pointing people to Jesus and sharing His love.  I can't think of a better way to be like Him and wrap our arms around the hurting.  That is what Jesus did when he walked the Earth.  If Jesus can turn a young man's lunch into a feast for 5000, I trust he can turn a few toys into seeds for eternity.

Pray that our event would reach people for Christ's sake.  It is December 10th and if you know someone who could benefit, contact me!  

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 
2 Corinthians 9:13

A few Solon-isms...

Monday, October 28, 2013
Here is a few tidbits from our precious and precocious 4 year old to tide you over til I update the blog (Soon I promise!)...

From upstairs today...."Mom Vera pooped"
2 minutes later..."and by the way she is wiping it on your pillows..."

"Mom when I grow up I want to be a cowboy or an engineer"
I say you could be an engineer and be the boss of people and tell them what to do.
"Like daddy?"
I say yes...
"Mommy that is not very nice, daddy is not bossy"

Solon's prayer these days...
"Dear God, thank you for the wonderful day (Yes he says wonderful day).  Please help mommy to be nice to me and help us all to not do bad things."
**Think we are in training mode around here?? ;)

Whenever Vera gets in trouble...I here something like this "Mommy I am being so good, aren't I"

And one more...

We were outside playing drive thru window with the power wheels and Solon says we are at McDonalds.

He orders 2 bags of apple slices and an order of french fries

Then he says, "now it is chick fil-a, we need 2 chicken nugget kids meals"

It made me laugh that he knows what we order frequently at these 2 restaurants :)....

Teach Me Titus Tuesday - Being Content

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Well Thankful Thursday ended and this study I am doing called Stuck by Jennie Allen is really just cutting me to the core.  We picked it because we wanted the women in the group to get past the shiny exteriors and dig in to the messier insides we all have.  We might not be stuck in the same places but we all have places we are stuck.  We are too paralyzed by fear, shame or pride to get unstuck.  She covers several topics many of us struggle with.  I highly recommend it if you are ready to look in the mirror and be broken over your sin, because once you are, you can get unstuck.

So this week we are talking about being discontent.

Our world is discontent.

I am, on most days, discontent with something in my life.

And there was something I never realized before about being discontent.  It doesn't just effect me.  It effects my family.  Most specifically my husband.  Let me give you one example of many, I love to look at houses and dream bigger and better.  It is somewhat of a hobby that turns into yearning at times.  One night a couple years ago (before we moved recently) we were having a conversation and I am sure I said something like "I want this house..." and nonchalantly showed him.  After the discussion dwindled about that particular house we got to talking some more...and something he said stopped me in my tracks and I have held on to it since that night.

Scott said, when you talk about a bigger, fancier house what I hear you say is "I am not providing well enough for our family."


Being discontent had caused Scott to feel inadequate in his providing.  (He is an amazing provider by the way!)

In the same way, on my best day, when I am being extra thankful there are parts of my life, I am not thankful for....am I causing God to feel inadequate in His provision.  I am blessed beyond measure by His provision but being discontent (sin) blinds me to it.

In this world, we can chase after whatever our heart desires and the world says chase it.

But what does God's word say...Solomon, a man who had everything he ever wanted said this in Ecclesiastes 1:14.

 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

We will never be content with the things of this world, we will only be chasing a never catch-able wind.  The challenge in our study was to write everything down that would make us content and look at the list.  Would we be content with all of that "stuff".  The answer is no...there would always be something "more".

God alone can quench our thirst for more.  He gives us the weapons (2 Corinthians 10:4) of prayer, His word and His spirit.  We must find contentment in Christ.

The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:17

Let's get broken over our discontentment and sweep those pieces out of our soul so there is more room for contentment and thanksgiving.  If God's people were content in a world of discontentment, think of the testimony He could have!

Vera opens her presents...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013
My new motto is better late than never and I know the grandparents will like an update today so who cares if this over a month late **wink!  Vera did open her presents on the evening of her birthday and we also had a little cake and sung her happy birthday!  She totally got present opening this year, much to her bro's dismay as he wanted to help her (ie open them for her).  He got a brother gift from Vera though so he survived.  She loved her bubble machine and bubbles from Solon and got a new baby carriage, bitty baby stuff, Minnie PJs, and playdoh she got from mommy and daddy.  She also was spoiled with many nice gifts from family on her special day too!  Happy Birthday again our sweet baby girl!

**She would wear character PJ's every night of the week if she could.  She is in love with Minnie, Sophia the 1st, the princess and "Bell" aka Tinkerbell!

A trip to the orchard to get pumpkins...

Monday, October 14, 2013

My parents came this last weekend for their annual trip to the orchard.  We were delighted to spend some special time with them.  My mom and I even snuck in some antique and shoe shopping (while the guys watched football and the kiddos napped) - just the two us...it was blissful!  Then on Sunday, We headed out to the orchard.  Apparently the secret is out because we waited in a line to park and in another HUGE line to get in.  I have NEVER seen so many people there before.  Luckily for us, we have been and will go back, so there was no rush to do everything.  We did our favorite, must do's first including the jumping pillow, hay maze and slide!

Grandpa had some fun playing spider with the kiddos in the web...

...and Grandma and the kiddos made it successfully through the maze not once, not twice but 3 times :).

 And then we stopped over to watch the pig races, it was kind of a random show but Solon enjoyed it!

And of course we hit up the corn pool for some corn wrestling and more silliness.  Grandpa always comes up with the silliest, funniest activities!

Solon and Grandma

We then had lunch and headed out by hay ride to the pumpkin patch.  There were pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and varieties. We had a hard time choosing the most perfect ones...so we came with 6 and 2 gourds!

Our haul...

Checking out the patch...

...and a good day outside wears a girl out.  I think I took a few naps on that lap when I was little...She looked pretty cozy :).

What a beautiful fall day to spend with family out on the farm!  Great memories were made at our annual trip!

Are you ashamed?

Friday, October 11, 2013
Something has been on my heart since I shared I have struggled with depression, I guess I still am but it is better under control with His help and faithfulness.  (praise God!)

The word that I can get out of my heart is SHAME.

Why has society made it shameful to have depression?  And if you say it isn't shameful, then why are so many hiding it?

Why are we seen as crazy because we have a mental condition when people who struggle with heart and pulmonary conditions aren't seen as less than?

Let me be clear, I have gotten over my shame. (Did you hear that mr. enemy?) I am not ashamed.

God made me beautiful, all my bumps, bruises and scars.  They have made me imperfectly perfectly me and God made me this way for a REASON.  Why should I be made to feel shame in that?

"Too many people are spoiling their existence carrying needless shame and guilt" 
~Author unknown

"Shame cannot survive being spoken, it cannot survive empathy" 
~Brene Brown

"There is no greater agony than hearing an untold story inside of you" 
~Maya Angelou

"Out of pain and problems has come the sweetest songs." 
~Billy Graham

If you have shame from a sin, confess it to God. 

 If you have shame from society, don't let the enemy rob you of using it for God's glory.  God gives us our story to inspire others to a closer relationship with Him.  For we all have our struggles, shortcomings and imperfections.  But that is so, so that people can see that we too are fragile made strong only by the saving grace and eternal gift our Father in Heaven has given us.  

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--
Ephesians 2:8

Some of our sin is a little more un-kosher then others but our sin has all made us worthy of Hell, it is only by God's grace that we are offered eternal life.  Don't live in shame.  If you don't know where your eternity will be sent, get that straightened out.  

Don't hang on to the things God has already forgotten (if you are in His family, the blood of Jesus covers it all) - let go of the shame.  Bear it all for the sake of His glory.  Our stories have value because He is at work within us.  And what better way to make a trial into a blessing.

Share your story....He will bless it...and in case you don't believe me, see what He says...

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:16

A trip to the dentist...

Thursday, October 10, 2013
It was time for our 6 month check-ups and Vera was ready for her 1st exam.  Generally, they start with teeth counting and then do whatever the child lets them do...in Vera's case it was polishing the top teeth before she was finished, done, high tailed it outta there...
Mommy went first, then Solon to show Vera how it was done...Solon's an old pro by now, he is 4 after all ;) (he reminds me all the time - 4 means you are BIG, not little anymore!).
And then Vera and her friends got into the chair...
Solon stayed close by 80% because he is a great big brother who loves his sister and 20% because they have satellite TV and he was watching Disney Jr very intensely :).  Doc McStuffins was on (side note that is a really cute show - we don't have cable so I am just now seeing it).
And there she is getting her top teeth counted...

We all survived and to celebrate, we have our friends, The Porter's, over for lunch.

We are good for another 6 months and Vera was a champ for her 1st time.  Next time, we might start with the bottom teeth and then they will all be professionally cleaned once a year.

Soccer Update...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Well we just completed week 4 of soccer and we are becoming more successful.  This week we were on snack duty and in order to get a snack in our house, you have to play.  Extra motivation since Solon picked the snack.  Grandma also called with a pep talk and a promise of a trip to his favorite Mexican restaurant if he played.  AND he did.  The first time was rough with tears but the 2nd time in, there were no tears.  We have a long way to go with actually running with the herd and purposely going for the ball.  We are still kind of running on the fray and hitting the ball if it comes by BUT we will take the vast improvement since we are actually in the game without tears!  He actually scored 2 goals (but they were for the other team - we didn't tell him :).
He loves to practice...
Scott has been a great assistant coach...
Good kickin' skills buddy...
Talkin' to the coach...the team as a whole is still scoring more goals for the other team.  We are a young team in comparison to others and last week a large group started chasing each other.  It was good comic relief...
...and Vera entertains herself...
Getting a pep talk from Daddy...
Us girls hanging out and cheering.  Vera would SO go in if we let her. 

We have 2 weeks left, here's to hoping by the end, we will be playing without tears and running after the ball.  We start basketball in December so hopefully we can keep the team sport momentum going!

A Trip to the Orchard...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
News flash Mother Nature it's fall (just this week it is FINALLY feeling like it).  Last week we went from upper 80's to 50's over the weekend.  Luckily this week we are in the mid-70's with chilly mornings and crisp evenings, it finally feels like fall.  We have been enjoying our season passes to Center Grove Orchard, thanks to my Aunt Chris and cousins, who got us them for Christmas.  It was an awesome idea, THANK YOU!  Our kiddos love to drive the 20 minutes north and every year we see several farmers in their fields harvesting on our trips, what a fun way to be connected to the harvest.  What says fall more then a trip to our favorite orchard :)!

We went with our friends one day and then went back with daddy on the weekend so that is why we have a wardrobe change :)!  It never fails, we have to get a 1/2 dozen of apple cider doughnuts for the trip home.  Vera eats an entire one herself and begs for more :).
A fan favorite is their gigantic corn pool.  I have found corn in my washer/dryer and even in my bathroom and in the couch cushions.  They find their way home with us :).
My dolly :)

We went on a Sunday right after early service of church and we do the orchard backward, attractions at the back forward so we had the place pretty much to ourselves at first.  It was a lovely day but heated up so we were all HOT by the end...dress fail :)!  Vera actually enjoyed the jumping pillow this year and especially loved jumping HIGH with daddy!
They switched up the big slide this year and Solon loved the covered part...he was really excited, because now he can go all by himself...he is growing up so fast.

Vera, of course, took turns riding with us.  Daddy leans WAY back so they fly!
One of my iconic fall favorites is a good ol' fashioned hay rack ride.  My fall is complete :)!  We headed out to pick some apples for the first time this year WITH the kiddos.  It was a near bust but we picked up momentum once we started eating some and by the end we had a great time filling our 1/4 peck (just about 20 apples which was the right amount to pick ourselves).
Vera was our taste tester...
Scott's height proved advantageous BUT I would not stand by, no, not me.  So I tried my hand at a few ceremonial picks.
And a little selfie with my sweetie!
We had a great time out at Center Grove...this was our best shot of getting 2 kiddos to smile.  I don't try hard anymore because let's face it, it is hard work and bribery is normally involved (have to limit that to truly important photos).

We will head back out to pick pumpkins with Grandma and Grandpa this weekend.  Solon can't wait to get a really big one - oh my!

A little photo DIY...

Friday, October 4, 2013
These frames show up on so many design blogs and I have loved them forever.  I got 2 for our family room and knew I wanted to put black and white head shots of my kiddos in them...
For added dimension, I picked up some navy paper with a linen feel to pop behind the photos...I have a serious obsession with the color navy...in clothes and decor and in life!

I just had 8x10's printed and then cropped them to be 8x8's (cheaper for some reason to crop myself ;)...I love their sweet faces and I can update them if I ever feel like it....but they promised they wouldn't grow too much any time soon...*wink!

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