Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day - October 31

Reformation Day - Simplified Explanation

Most Protestant Christians observe Reformation Day in honor of Martin Luther and other Christians who removed false doctrine and destructive practices from the Christian church.

Because the Roman Catholic Church was desperate to raise money to complete St. Peter's in Rome during the Middle Ages, many clergy used fear as a tool to obtain money from poor and unsophisticated people. They told the people that they had to pay money to the church so that their sins and the sins of their families might be forgiven. The people bought pieces of paper called pardons and indulgences from the church so that they could believe that they would go to heaven when they died.

Luther was deeply disturbed by these and other abuses in the church. At the same time he was aware of his own sins and imperfections, and he tried very hard to make himself into a person that he thought God would like. The harder he tried, the worse he felt. He thought he was growing farther and farther away from God, and that it was becoming impossible for God to like him at all.

In despair, he began a deep study of the Bible, especially the letters in the New Testament that were written by Paul, most of all the letter to the Romans, and he began to understand what Paul had told the early Christians over a thousand years before.

In his preaching and writing, Luther began to emphasize two main points: justification by faith and the priesthood of all believers.

Justification by faith means that Christians can never earn God's love or forgiveness. All that Christians must do is to accept God as God, and God will love and forgive and cherish them.

The priesthood of all believers means that every Christian has his or her own personal relationship with God, reading the Bible and worshiping in his or her own language, and praying directly to God without anyone's going in between.

So Protestant Christians give thanks to God on this day for the opportunity to lead lives of faith, instead of lives of fear.

Reformation Day is observed on the last Sunday of October, during the Season of Pentecost.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Simple Read: Books by Kathy Herman

Tested by Fire
Tested by Fire (Book One)

When a bizarre houseboat explosion rocks the close-knit community of Baxter, firefighters, friends, and neighbors stand powerless as the McConnells' blazing hull sinks to the bottom of Heron Lake. Grief turns to outrage as new evidence proves....................this is from Kathy's website, the first in the Baxter series.

I've really become a fan of Christian suspense fiction lately, I love that there's a mystery to solve and enjoy it especially when it's a series of boks, just allows you to get to know the folks throughout all the books.

I've been reading Kathy Herman's books lately, she writes multiple series books but the fun thing about the ones I've read so far is that although each series is in a different setting there's still a connection to the folks in the last series.
To read her books in order you would read:

The Baxter Series
Seaport Suspense Series
Phantom Hollow Series

I just finished the Phantom Hollow series today and have to say that I just love her writing. She draws you in from the first couple of pages and her characters are believable and you almost find yourself thinking they remind you of Alice down the street, or Ruby from high school, you know just ordinary folks. The huge draw to her books is that there is suspense, intrigue and just enough about the murders so you know there was one without giving you the gory details that sometimes go a bit far. There's a great storyline with a direct Christian connotation, so you know you're going to be involved in the lives of folks that have to endure problems but walk with the Lord as they do. The beauty of this is that we see a side of these people when they're praising God and also when they're questioning everything they've ever believed about God. That's just how we all are isn't it? When tragedy strikes we're suddenly questioning everything, maybe angry at God but we always know that He's there. When we walk with Christ we will always have problems, we live in a fallen world, but the true comfort is that He walks it with us.

I found that I saw myself in these folks in Baxter, Seaport and Phantom Hollow, at different times through my years I've faced things they have to deal with.

After I finish my Randy Alcorn book I'll be starting on the Sophie Trace Trilogy, which is the next series from Kathy Herman, looking at her website I see that these are all finished and she's started on a new series called the Langley Manor Trilogy which will have some of the folks from Sophie Trace.

These books have multiple mysteries in them, which I love, and they follow a great storyline that keeps you interested from beginning to end. They have a bit of romance, but nothing steamy, which is great because I really do not like reading romance books at all, I just think they can make us all compare our lives to theirs and find that ours comes up short, that's just not a good thing to involve yourself in. Kathy's books have just enough to make you smile and see Christ in the writing and the characters, what a great gift she has!

You can find Kathy's books at, and other Christian bookstores.

She also has a stand alone fiction book titled Poor Mrs. Rigsby that is excellent also. Once again, it's just so wonderful to be able to read a fiction mystery suspense book, without worrying about filling our minds with profanity and all the other filth you find in most modern fiction books, what a blessing to have wonderful Christian fiction authors.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Simply Faith

I've thought so much lately about what is important in our lives and how we should prioritize these things. In a world of despair we can either choose to fall in line with it and have the doomsday theory or we can remember that this world is simply a speck of time before we reach eternity. I know that the things that are going on in our country and in the world can seem just terrible and we can sit and watch CNN 24/7 (I only watch Fox News) and be totally depressed and think, 'what is the point of even going on?', well the answer to that cannot be found on CNN, but it can be found just by opening your Bible. He has the answer to every question we ever need answered right in the Word.

His commandments are there not as a guide to look at every now and then but a guide to how we should live our lives every moment. If words we say go against His Word we can't possibly believe that it is the right thing to say, words can be so very vexing to us and if we choose the wrong words we do not obey Him. For instance, there are words people use to describe folks that are different than them, sometimes because of hatred simply because of their skin color, this is wrong. God created every one of us and we are His creatures, if we believe we are above another human being we are wrong, it's that simple. If we put cruel labels on fellow human beings, it's simply because we are not keeping our hearts and eyes on Him.

When Jesus walked the earth He spread the love of His Father, I don't remember ever reading in the Bible that only if you lived here you could enter into Heaven, or if you lived there and helped all your neighbors you could enter into Heaven. So, if we start being nice to the family down the street that is different just to get some brownie points on that train to Heaven, we will be so sorry when we leave this earth to find out that our deeds were not the ticket to that train.

Indeed Christ died on that cross for all of our sins, it's a done deal, He died to wipe out the sins of His people. Doing good deeds in the hopes of that getting you in Heavens door is like trying to stop up a sink drain with running water, it's senseless.

When we have been saved, we find out that that's it, we now have life everlasting, but it's important that we read His word and live as He commands. We will never be perfect, but in Christ we will have forgiveness for our sins;
1John 1:9 says:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is a loving and forgiving God but to think that He's simply there to sprinkle fairy dust on us when we ask and shower us with wonderful things is totally false. We will always have trials, we live in a fallen world, but His promise is that when we walk through those trials He will be there with us to carry us through, He feels our pain. So you see I don't mind having to deal with clinical depression, everyone will have burdens, what I do mind is when it pulls me so low that I can't look to Him, but at those times I truly believe the Holy Spirit intervenes and takes my burdens to the Cross for me.

We know from the scriptures;

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you." We don't need to fret about things in this world, we need just be content and live for Him, and we know that He'll never leave us, sounds good to me.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Click the image to visit Peggy's daybook
Monday, October 26th, 2009
Here in Kentucky

Outside my window... the sun is shining very brightly, the grass is still green although it's very cold, beautiful puffy clouds in the sky

I am thinking... how nice it's been having Dan home on vacation this past week, I could really get used to this

I am thankful for... for feeling good, having hope, having joy, feeling good is something we should never, ever take for granted

I am wearing... brown jumper, cream colored top with fall colors on it

I am remembering... how I felt a week ago, once again
feeling good is an incredible thing!

I am going... just here and there, no definite plans

I am reading... my new Country Sampler magazine, also a new series by Kathy Herman, Phantom Hollow Series

I am hoping.... to see my Tommy today, he's co
ming over to have chinese food with us

On my mind... my goal of simplifying our home and lives even more, it's always a process

Noticing that... it's really looking like winter outside, it seems like we went from hot to cold, not much in between time

Pondering these words... Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of. Benjamin Franklin

From the kitchen... chinese take out :O)

Around the house... listening to the quiet in the house, all I hear is the water from the shower, very quiet

One of my favorite things~ curling up with a good book under my electric blanket, having my whole family home safe and sound

From my picture journal...
This is a painting by my sweet little mama, and now she's giving my Katie painting lessons, they're two of a kind!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Simple Read - Dominion by Randy Alcorn

After reading the first book 'Deadline', in this series I was anxious yet apprehensive about reading the next one. Randy's books are intense and I find that I'm drawn in after page 2, this doesn't work for me with most books because it usually takes awhile to understand what's going on but in this series he gets straight to the point in the first couple of chapters and then you find that you can't put it down.
I started reading Dominion on Thursday evening after finally getting it from the library, I wasn't sure I wanted to read such a serious book after going through my bout with depression but I couldn't wait so I went ahead and started it that evening and finished it today, I really couldn't put it down.
There are some new characters but we're brought back to the ones from the first book also, this is what I love about reading a series of books, I like getting to know the people from book to book.
In Deadline there were things that were brought to my mind that I had never had to think about before and really didn't want to think about them then, but throughout the book I realized that what I was being brought into was the most incredible things and my thoughts on forgiveness, love, Heaven and Christ were being challenged repeatedly and I had to face some things I had never heard before. There was a reality in it that added a new dimension to my faith and my picture of Heaven. Randy makes it clear that these are the images he personally is writing about, of course we won't know the truth until we get there, but I really had my eyes opened to some different possibilities.

Now, in Dominion you're once again brought into the book almost from the very beginning, since I knew this was a book dealing with gang violence I almost put it aside because I didn't know much about it and thought maybe I wouldn't be able to understand. I was completely wrong, the gang violence is simply a tidbit of the realities in this book and I learned so much, I can't even imagine the research that was done to get this book written, simply incredible.

We follow along with a fellow reporter (Clarence) of Jake's as he deals with some serious life issues and has to face some real facts about his attitude towards racial issues. Throughout the book we learn about situations from the days of slavery, so much that I had never thought of and probably didn't want to think about. I realize that I was never taught very much about slavery in school, we learned some things but I don't think school history books tell you all sides of it, what I saw through Clarence's eyes gave me a whole new perspective on things. I have always known that we are all one in the sight of God and had seen prejudice growing up but these are things that go much deeper. As with his first book, this book is intense and factual on many things while with others we are left to come to our own conclusion.

After I finished it, I put it down and said, 'That's it, no more Randy Alcorn books'. Christopher said you know you don't mean that and I didn't but these books are not full of fluff, prepare to be a different....better...person after reading them. I've already got book 3 on hold at the library and will probably go pick it up tomorrow, I'm already wanting to start it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Simple Joy

Oh, such joy I feel! Yesterday I was feeling 50% better, today I feel 150% better, I'm on cloud nine and praising Him all the day. I just feel covered with His grace today. Such simple joy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Simple Update

Not much time to post, have lots I want to do today. But I'm feeling very blessed because I'm about 50% better, I know it'll get better every day now. God is good.

I got up this morning and jumped in the shower first thing, just talking to God and praising Him for everything, I wasn't sure if I was better yet, but there is so much to be thankful for.
After my shower I waited for the blahness to start but it didn't and here it is afternoon and I'm still feeling good, this is definitely the beginning of the recover, I'm very thankful.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Simple Observations of the Clinically Depressed

I discovered this morning that when I first wake up I feel absolutely normal, but simply standing up seems to bring the cloud back. But, for that moment I was given a glimpse into my normalcy and had so much hope of what it will be like next week...or the week after...the important part is the hope.
I'm a person that loves to craft, I love to paint, scrapbook, make cards, work with wood, garden, decoupage, basically anything that involves working with my hands. While I'm in this mode I can think about doing those things and how much I love them but there's absolutely no inspiration, the effort it would take to start a project would be much more than I could deal with right now. Truthfully I guess the point I'm making is that right now I think...why bother? Everything seems totally unimportant, I can't even talk to my little mama on the phone which is something we do everyday, simply because I can't focus that long and I don't have any emotions to give me the inclination to even call her. She understands, she's also praying for me and that is so wonderful, she actually went through this just for a few days years ago and has never forgotten the feeling of it so she understands and let's me be alone until I get through this.
Through the years I've always thought that I actually lose a few weeks of my life every year when I go through this, I function only on a need to basis, I do not 'want' to do anything. As I look back at those words I think that maybe I'm wrong about losing this time, maybe it's about a time of contemplation and of being given a glimpse into what some folks live with all of their lives. I know that since I've been dealing with this I watch for it in others, I've been able to help some through the years to get to their doctor for a diagnosis and then helped them through until their meds kicked in and rejoiced with them when they realized they could feel good again.
I do not resent having clinical depression, you see God knew all of this way before my time on earth, I see this as a test of how I will deal with the feelings of hopelessness, physical pain and sadness, even the times that I could not put my prayer into words I knew that God understood, even in our tears, moans and gut wrenching groans, He is there, He is always there.
My sweet little mama has rheumatoid arthritis and I've watched her through the years deal with the physical pain that most of us could not begin to endure, but she is not bitter, instead she comes home from getting her IV meds every six weeks telling me about this poor dear person or that sweet elderly man, etc. My mother puts everyone before herself, she is without a doubt the most unselfish person I've ever known, what an inspiration she is to all of us. Rheumatoid Arthritis is debilitating and will never get better, she has a distinct limp, her hands are disfigured, and she takes more meds every day than most people do in a month but she is just fine with all of that. She says that the one thing she can't do is play the piano, which saddens her..but only for a moment because she chooses instead to see all of the things that she can do, she figures out ways to do what she needs to do, doing it her way, her handwriting is as beautiful as it ever was and you better believe her shoelaces are all straight and neat and tidy when she puts her reeboks on, which are the shoes that work best for her. She even has to buy two pair of shoes because her feet are two different sizes because of foot surgery, her only wish is that she knew someone who could wear the two different sized shoes she can't!LOL Wow!!!! I just found myself laughing out loud at that, that's a breakthrough! If you knew my little mama you'd know why just thinking of her is enough to make you feel better, we all love her dearly!
It's 7pm and I'm still in my gown, I don't do this everyday but today has been just exhausting, haven't been further than the living room all day and feel exhausted just thinking about doing anything, but the good news is that I spent the whole day with my family, Christopher and Katie stayed in my room with me most of the day watching Manchester United and then Milan play, I love them being in here with me and Dan comes in now and again to say something to make me laugh, he doesn't leave until I laugh....they're so kind and loving, I am blessed.
Well, this has been day 10 of taking my added meds and I know within the next few days I should....will be feeling better.
God is good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Simple Observations of the Clinically Depressed

Walking this valley I'm currently in I find that the smallest things mean so much to me. You know in a normal day I just sail around my home doing this and that, sometimes too busy to notice the simple joys of the day. Right now I'm spending a lot of time in my bedroom, since a big part of being in clinical depression is the inability to concentrate on any one thing for very long I move from reading to looking through craft and country decorating magazines to just sitting quietly.
In my normal days I don't sit quietly very often, there's always something to be done and I'm usually quite happy just puttering around getting things done, but right now I can't do it, not until the cloud lifts.
This morning Dan walked in and said 'why are you sitting there just staring?', I told him I was okay and was just thinking but I realized I had been sitting that way for over 15 minutes and had completely lost track of time. Clinical depression is like that, you just zone out and get lost deep down in your thoughts. My thoughts are not bad thoughts, it's just that since I can't really concentrate my thoughts are like leaves blowing in the breeze, they go in so many different directions and I can't really stop it or stay in one thought very long.
I've found through the years that going through this sometimes means I have the inability to pray, I just can't do it, but it's not like that this time. It's almost like all I want or need to do is pray, I'm not speaking of a methodical, repetitive prayer, I'm speaking of feeling deep in my heart that Christ is just a breath away and can hear my unspoken prayers and knows what I need right now because I don't. If you would look at me during these setbacks you would see blank eyes and a solemn face, I'm almost devoid of emotion and I think it's because if I felt any one emotion too much I would be overwhelmed and dive too deep into it, instead I don't feel empty but I just feel like I have nothing to give and at the same time want nothing in return, feelings are just too hard to decipher right now.
I share all of this with you not for pity or sympathy, I want neither, instead what I think I want to do is help others to understand the mind of a clinically depressed person. My sweet little mama has always said that I have a gift with words, I think it's more that I need to write as an outlet for feelings and thoughts that cannot be said.
I want you to know that this will be over soon, I know it takes appr. 2 weeks to get back on track and I've already been on the higher dosage for 8 days so in a few days I'll feel much better. I might actually be writing these words because I want to read them when I feel better.
The light will be here soon, I'm sure of it. The day I wake up and know it's over is like the air is new, my mind is fresh, life is incredible....I'm crying as I type this because I have such hope of that day.
In this valley I know I grow, Christ died on the cross a painful death just for me. If the worst I have to deal with is a couple weeks of being down in the dismal, dark pit, I will not complain, the one enormous light in all this is too know that He is with me, in every tear, every sob and every dark thought, His light still shines through. Please have not pity for me, because you know so many deal with so much more. I am so very blessed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Click on the image to visit Peggy's daybook

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Here in Kentucky...

Outside my window... chilly and cloudy, but sunny

I am thinking... how wonderful it is just to be cozied up at home with my family

I am thankful for... the Lord's comfort, mercy and grace

I am wearing... white long sleeve top, plaid jumper

I am remembering... our evening with Tommy on Friday, his birthday, we're so proud of him

I am going... nowhere unless absolutely necessary

I am reading... a new series by Kathy Herman

I am hoping... Dan has a nice vacation this week, we'll be home all week, he's happy to just be here

On my mind... awed by Him alone

From the learning rooms... lots of painting lessons, my mom is teaching Katie and I'm teaching myself to do some tole painting

Noticing that... life seems to be smooth right now, I know God knows what I can handle

Pondering these words... this too shall pass...

From the kitchen... spaghetti casserole, salad, homemade bread

Around the house... just waiting for Dan to get home from his last day of work before vacation

One of my favorite things~ Laughter throughout our home

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Small Glimpse into Clinical Depression

For 15 years now I've suffered with clinical depression, it was diagnosed years ago while Dan was commuting to Washington D.C. every week for work, this went on for three years and eventually my mind went into shutdown mode and I was unable to function normally. I went to my doctor and told him something was wrong, I just didn't feel well, I hurt all over and my mind didn't seem right, he told me it was stress from being a single parent all week, etc....he was right and I actually didn't give him symptoms so we left it at that. A few weeks later I was just a mess and starting chatting with our pastor and it was that evening that I discovered that I was in the depths of clinical depression, he'd seen it before so gave me some more info to give my doctor, I started on medication shortly thereafter.
A lot of people with clinical depression have it just for a while and can take the meds and after awhile go off of them, I am not one of those people. Through the years I've tried going off of them only to fall back down into the abysmal fun at all. Most of the year I am on a fairly low dosage and can cut it down lower sometimes, but unfortunately in the fall I always have a setback.
Generally I watch for symptoms and can up my medication and catch it before I fall all the way down, this year I did not. I'm currently in the midst of it right now, I've upped my meds but it generally takes a few weeks for it to kick in so I deal with the symptoms the best I can. I'm very thankful that I don't work so I can just do as much as I can daily, my family take very good care of me and try their best to make me laugh, they're very good at it! Christopher just says 'Judy' and cracks me up, Dan is hilarious and keeps me laughing, Katie's thing is to say 'Mommy, depression hurts, you don't have to' I know this is a commercial for a serious problem but the way she says it just cracks me up. Unfortunately I'm generally crying while laughing, that's just the way it is.
I thought since I'm in the worst of it right now I would give an idea of what it's like to live in the body of a person with clinical depression and give you an idea of how to deal with a person that is currently suffering from it.
First of all, the symptoms are:
  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Feeling sad or down
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Unintentional weight gain or loss
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Being easily annoyed
  • Feeling fatigued or weak
  • Feeling worthless
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
If you know someone with more than half of these symptoms please have them get help, most of the time when you are in the midst of it you have no idea that you are dealing with symptoms of a treatable illness, you just assume you're crazy...and you definitely are not.
I will say that when I was initially diagnosed I had every symptom, it was both enlightening and terrifying. I was so glad to give my problem a name and know there was help but I hated the stigma of it. If you don't know about clinical depression it is a chemical imbalance, not just the blues, it needs to be treated with medication, it is an illness just as any other medical problem.

Now for my thoughts:
If you notice I am acting different than usual, say something, I may not even notice that I need to up my meds without those around me telling me. Then followup with them to make sure they did something about it. When you're so very down you just think nothing will help, there are plenty medications for it now so generally there will be med just for you.

If you know I'm in the middle of a setback and am waiting for the meds to work:

Don't tell me to cheer up, your normal mood is totally unattainable for me right now, sometimes it's more than I can do just to get up in the morning.

Don't tell me to have more faith, if the Lord chooses to heal me it will be His decision not mine, this is just being downright cruel.

Don't tell me to just smile and I'll feel better...won't work.

Don't tell me that you know this or that person that tried something that worked for them...I've been dealing with this for 15 years, I know what works for me.

Don't tell me horror stories of people you know with my illness, this will just knock me lower down in the pit.

Don't tell other people about my illness unless you ask me first, I know the look people give you when they think you are 'depressed', I'm not depressed, I have a chemical imbalance that needs to be fixed with meds.

Don't look at me with the look I mentioned above, I don't need your sympathy, I just need you to treat me normal and understand that I will be okay in a few weeks.

Don't tell me to see a psychiatrist, my doctor will know if I need that much help.

Don't stop at my home without calling, life is not great right now and I may not want to have any visitors.

Don't expect me to do something just because you think it will be good for me, when you are so very far down it's impossible to see the light, even looking at the sun is sad because I so love the sun but it just reminds me of how I cannot enjoy anything right now.

Now for the Do's:

Do pray for me and tell me you are, I love the thoughts of being lifted up the Lord when I may simply be unable to pray.

Do call me and talk, I'll let you know if I need to helps to sometimes have someone cry with me just because they're sad that I'm sad.

Do tell me you love me, right now I feel so unlovable and truly I can't love back right now, that emotion is just too far away.

Do hug me, but gently and just for a second, a big part of clinical depression is the physical pain...I compare it to what I've heard of Fibromyalga.

Do help me if I have no one else, so many folks suffer alone and my heart breaks for them, it's simply hard to function right now.

Do get others to offer to help me, I can use all the help I can get right now. (Not me personally, I have my family that caters to me right now, as I would them if they were ailing).

Do demand that I see a doctor if you notice the symptoms and know I'm not getting help, the symptom of thoughts of suicide are very real and sadly take too many folks that just needed a diagnosis and some meds. (again, not me personally)

Do remember when I'm better to start including me again, this is only a setback and in my case I generally only have one a year just for a few weeks.

Remember, that I will be myself again soon, don't pity me, just quietly understand and once I tell you I'm better treat me just as you did before...unless you didn't treat me well, if you did you might want to be nice!...LOL...see I can still have a bit of humor!

Also remember...these are just my thoughts but I know from all these years of having clinical depression what helps and what makes things worse.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Simple Sweetest Day

Of course I didn't even know it was sweetest day, but now I do! Dan came home from work, threw some chocolates over to me and said 'Happy Sweetest Day', this is a big deal because Dan never knows when these days are...LOL. I had forgotten so just told him the same back and we had a little bit of chocolate!
Living in our home you know that special days are not really that special to us, we actually believe that we treat each other with lots of love and tender care every single day of the year, not just on special days. Of course we're also not folks that spend a huge amount of money on birthdays, anniversaries, etc., we've always been a one income family and live on a budget so we choose not to spend a lot of money on things that are not needs. We do sometimes through the year get treats every now and then for ourselves and the kids, it's more fun to surprise them just for the fun of it instead of waiting for a special day.
Actually our wants are pretty simple anyway, I love anything that has to do with crafting, scrap booking, sewing, does Katie and Chris likes power tools and all three of us love our books, we read constantly, Dan loves anything that has to do with the Kentucky Wildcats or Nebraska Cornhuskers and I mustn't forget to add Chris and Katie love anything Manchester United, Milan or Inter Milan...they love their 'football'. But my point is that we've never gone overboard with expensive gifts, it's just not us. Through the years Dan has bought me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, sewing machines, computers and various household items...those are huge treats for me...much better than diamonds or gold!
We are ordering a beast from Snappys for supper and just staying home, that's the perfect Sweetest Day for me...being with my sweet family and nice and warm and comfy...true joy!
Hope you all have had a nice Sweetest Day also!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Simply Choosing the Road to the Cross

I've spent many years as a Christian, most of those I must say, were an idyllic fantasy of thinking I was living for Him. My choices were my own choices, I didn't consult His Word nor did I pray about most decisions, I just wore my Christianity as a pretty adornment, I was overflowing with the pride of being a Christian.
What a fool I was, what a sad, sad fool I was. You see I was sure that going to church once a week and raising my children in the church were all that was needed. Yes, I was very involved, most weeks I was at Church almost every day. I taught Sunday school, attended meetings on Saturday, worked for the Mother's Day Out program, attended on Wednesday nights, etc. If I was not working at the church I was visiting the office staff just to say hello, etc. Well now, I was a Christian because I wore it well, folks saw me at church so I must be a good Christian. Such a fool I was.
In some recent years I've learned so much from my children. Yes, I homeschooled them and taught them but they have shown and taught me so much more than I have ever taught them. You see, I've always taught them to put Christ first and to hold tight to the Scriptures, as that's where we find the answers to the questions we need answered. Looking back I see that they bypassed me a very long time ago. As children they saw the truth in the Word and chose to live that every day, not in the showy way of attending church because for quite a few years we didn't attend church, there simply was no church in our area that taught as we believed. Since we did not have a church to attend they simply dove in and found the answers for themselves, and those answers were thrown in my face time and time again.
Growing up I never thought about whether it was important to tell the truth all the time, I've even known pastors that have told lies, little small white lies can't be that bad...can they?
Suddenly I had three young people listening to every word I said and catching me repeatedly in those little white lies and sometimes they were not so little, they were whoppers! I attempted to justify them again and again but my children would have none of that. They would simply say, 'It either is or it isn't, which one?'. I actually had arguments with my children about this, I was just so very sure of myself and hey I was the adult here...but you know what happened?...they pointed me to the scriptures..the very ones I had led them to search..and many, many times they found falsehoods in my daily life. This was very humbling I must say and I was so very prideful and telling them they just didn't understand, anything to justify my actions, I couldn't have my children thinking I didn't have all the answers!
They say pride comes before the fall...well, I fell and I fell hard, I had to really look at my life and see what I had become and it was not good, instead of delving into the scriptures or spending time in prayer I had been busy in church and thought that was what made me a good Christian. Once again, such a fool!
I spent a long time thinking about what they had been telling me and eventually had to apologize to them for my false arguments, this was really hard because I am the parent...I am supposed to know it all and have it all together, I would like to say that life changed at that point and I really started to get my act together but in fact problems starting coming up that I could not fix and in that situation I dropped myself at the foot of the Cross and asked Him to take it all, I had finally learned that I had to die to self daily and lift up the cross, my job is to be an empty vessel for him to use, not a vessel full of my own hot air.
Sometimes it's from the voice of our children that we see the ugly truths about ourselves, a tough thing to face but for me it changed everything. I'm so thankful for each and every one of them. Today we celebrate our oldest son's 25th birthday, these have been the most incredible years of my life, I simply love being a wife and mother! My cup runneth over from His showers of blessings!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Simple Thoughts on Our Attitudes

These are just some thoughts I found in my hope to cleanse myself of a bad attitude, every moment of every day:

Give up Complaining -
focus on gratitude instead
Give up Harsh Judgments -
think kind thoughts
Give up worry -
trust God
Give up discouragement -
be full of hope
Give up bitterness -
turn to forgiveness
Give up hatred -
return good for evil
Give up anger -
practice patience
Give up pettiness -
put on maturity
Give up gloom -
enjoy beauty
Give up gossiping -
control my tongue

You'll notice that with all of these, it is our choice...we must give up the bad for the good. It's all about how we respond to a situation, are we going to let it dictate our response or can we make the choice to respond in a Christlike way. Although I have to daily be reminded, I choose to look to the Cross for my choice.
We can't possibly come to the cross to worship Him with any of the above attitudes, He wants us to be cleansed of what the world would have us do, but ultimately it's our decision. I've disappointed a lot of people in this world, but the thought of disappointing Him is simply too much to bear.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Simple Life Choices...To not 'Go with the Flow'

For most of my years on this earth I simply believed that the world dictates certain things and we are to simply follow, never to veer from the course that's been set forth by the generations past, generations present and generations in the future. In other words you are to simply 'go with the flow'. I was raised in a normal household, climbed on the school bus every morning and went to our local public school, went to the dentist every six months, had all my childhood vaccinations....we followed along the same as everyone else never questioning whether the decisions were right or wrong, you just follow the crowd.
I'm 49 now so my peers and I grew up in the 60's, learned a lot about life in the 70's, started our families in the 80's.....but.....then it seems we started questioning some decisions that were being made for us and not necessarily by us, so coming into the 90's we were suddenly faced with some questions and we either stopped to answer these questions on our own or we filed along diligently with the 'crowd'.
This is where I believe we realized that all the decisions that were being made were maybe not the best decisions after all. The generations of the past had been learning generations, they had to make life or death decision in their lives about their families but we were simply sailing into what was already established and surely with all of the 'intelligent' folks in the scientific community we had answers and didn't need to decide for ourselves whether they were correct or not. It is at this point that I will explain where I decided to veer far away from the 'norm', you see suddenly it was a matter of the norm maybe not being the best or safest thing for our families.
I'm not an anti-government person, quite the contrary I love being an American and love the freedoms that we have in our country and will defend to the end the truths that this country was founded on....not the truths that are now being twisted....the truths that our country was founded on over 200 years ago. I certainly may despise what you say but I will defend to the end your right to say it, freedom of speech is a wonderful thing!
My first question was 'why do my children have to be vaccinated?', you see if your children are in public school they have to be vaccinated. Well, my sweet pediatrician (who by the way was also my husbands pediatrician when he was a child) said that with the laws in place now we had to have our children vaccinated for them to attend public school, this should have been my first red flag but instead I said 'okay' and allowed all of the vaccinations. We now know that these same vaccinations are 'probably' responsible for the huge increase in autism, neurological problems, physical problems etc. that our children are now living with, yes they've been dealt this hand because of our lack of knowledge and unfortunately they're living with problems because of our decisions. Our two youngest children both have epilepsy, this didn't show up until a few years ago but we do know that the problems from these childhood vaccines may now show up until their adult years, of course not every child will have problems, some will have none at all while I knew of children that died the same day they were vaccinated. I of course signed the papers for their vaccinations and looking back wish I would have done more research on them but our sweet old pediatrician said 'it's okay, they need to have these', he's been dead a number of years now but I wonder what he would think if he knew the effects we're now seeing from those same vaccines.
I compare this to those commercials you see for medications that tell you what a wonder drug this is for 30 seconds and then spend the remainder of their 2 minute commercial on the 'possible' side effects, let's face it a lot of the time the medications sound far worse than the symptoms you were facing with the problem to begin with and do we really have to grow more eyelashes, erase every blemish...and oh the list for the birth control products are simply frightening...yeah, maybe what the Bible says about children being a gift from the Lord makes some sense...huh???...and of course with the deadly diseases out there an unwanted pregnancy should be the least of your worries if you decide to be free with your body to whomever comes along.
I wish all those years ago there would have been rules in place that listed every possible side effect our children could have from those vaccinations, the paper I signed simply said I gave my permission, nothing about the possible side effects. I realize this was 25 years ago and rules maybe are more stringent now than they were then, not having any little ones now I just don't know.
We've veered from the norm for many things in our lives, I quit my job when our oldest was born, our children were never with a babysitter unless it was my mother or my sweet sister, otherwise it was Dan or I, no we didn't go out to get away from our kids, we took them with us everywhere we went....oddly enough we even had fun with our children being with us!!!
We pulled them out of school and homeschooled them when everyone (except for my brother) told us it was the stupidest thing we could ever do....if you knew our adult children you would now know how the stupid ones were!
None of our children have been interested in college, Christopher may have to at some point to attend seminary but right now he's just home with us deciding and studying on his own, we do not believe that kids have to have jobs at a certain age, we do not want them to be rushed into decisions that they might later regret. I'm still a stay at home wife and mom and we live in a small house without brand new cars but we are blessed beyond measure, the love and laughter in our home is worth far more to us than all the money in the world.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Simple Read - 'Boo' series

While anxiously awaiting the Randy Alcorn book that should be coming in at the library, I started on one of the books I already had from the library, actually this is a series. The books are called 'Boo', it's a series about a writer of horror books that becomes a Christian and is led to stop writing the horror books much to his town of Skary's chagrin. I finished the first and just started on the second, these are actually humorous and lighthearted, I'm enjoying them immensely, I find myself laughing out loud at some parts!
The books are very well written and have a good story line that goes along with the humor, I love the characters also, very good, simple read!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Mother's Mission

A Mother's Mission

A mother's job is special
And carries strong demands.
With the molding of
the little life
God places in her hands.

Though her life may not

be glamorous,

The world will see her worth.

For 'tis true "The hands
that rock the cradle

Are the hands that
rule the earth."

To bring her children up
in Christ.
Indeed is very much,

For the years will show
her value
By the lives, their lives,

will touch.

Ramona K. Cecil

This is on a bookmark my mama gave me some years ago, It's just so true!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Simple Treats! Caramel Apple Cider..yummy

It is getting unbelievably cold here in our part of Kentucky! I was out in the garage in our woodshop a few minutes ago trying to paint and my fingers were getting numb from the cold! We usually have a pretty mild, sometimes too hot October and then a bit chilly in November but this is downright cold for October! Oh, I love fall and all the beauty of it and the coziness of filling our home with warmth, pulling out the extra blankets, making cocoa or warm cider, but it seems to have caught me off guard this year. It is a bit disconcerting because the Proverbs31 woman would be ready for each season and her home and family would be clothed with proper clothing, her home would be prepared with all the lamps ready for the darker days, I'm a bit disappointed with myself but am trying to play catch up so I can have everything prepared for our family. One thing I have really been very lax in is keeping up with my to-do list and having my home management binder all set for the next season, time seems to be moving at rocket speed and I'm still sitting in the slow lane. I have decided to get my self in gear and get things prepared for the coming season, actually I think it's already here!!! Tonight, Katie made us a nice warm cup of caramel apple cider, so yummy! We got some cider at the grocery (it was made locally) and bought a bottle of caramel ice cream topping, she just puts a bit of the topping in the cider and warms it up....soooo comforting and soothing! The beauty of it is not only the taste but the smell, the whole house smells so good with it simmering on the stove! Well, I'm off to get some summer clothes put away and get things ready for the cool temps!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Katie's Yummy Surprise Dessert

For years I've heard about churros, they always look so yummy on TV but I've never been to a place that serves them. Last night Katie and her assistant (Christopher) made us some Churros and some very thick, rich, creamy, sweet chocolate to dip it into. The chocolate is supposed to be a very thick hot chocolate but there's no way you could drink a whole cup of it, just too rich.
If you would like the recipe for the churros and chocolate you can find it at Katie's blog:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Click the image to visit Peggy's daybook blog.

FOR TODAY...October 5th, 2009
Here in Kentucky...

Outside my window... sunny, lush and green, temps are almost to 70 today

I am thinking...
how wonderful fall truly is, a cool down from the heat and such beauty in nature

I am thankful for...
a family that loves me, just the way I am

I am wearing...
navy plaid skirt, navy top

I am remembering...
how much I love having a paintbrush in my hand, sometimes I forget how much I love to paint

I am going...
to deliver supper to my little parents and then run a few errands

I am reading...
a series by Kathy Herman, still waiting for my second Randy Alcorn book to come in to the library

I am hoping...
to accomplish all I need to this week

On my mind...
the blessings of this moment

From the learning rooms...
we're still tweaking some soap recipes

Noticing that...
the days are shorter and I'm enjoying the dark evenings

Pondering these words...
'I never remember being tired by work, though idleness exhausts me completely' Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (so very true)

From the kitchen...
pork chops, green bean casserole, baked sweet potatoes, salad and a special surprise that Katie won't tell me until she's finished with!

Around the house...the usual tidy from the weekend, Katie keeps 'her' kitchen so nice and tidy!

One of my favorite things~ hearing Christopher (my son) call me 'Judy', such a funny guy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Scripture Proverbs 31:10-31

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Simple Thoughts on Raising Children

I've been listening to the news and have decided that we're a nation of news overload. I know we need to be aware of what's going on in our world but do we have to know every little detail of every little thing that happens? I have no desire to listen to news about celebrities, I don't know many of them because I never go to movies and don't watch CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. We watch PBS sometimes, although you have to really watch and gauge what you watch on the PBS stations also. We like to watch the DIY stations but lately are getting tired of those also, way too many reality shows on, I just want to learn how to do something, I really don't need to know about the lives of those demonstrating it.
I watch Fox News Channel to get my news and between that and what Dan tells me that he's heard while at work I really think we get enough news. I learned years ago that, contrary to popular belief you have to monitor the news stations closely when you have young children in the home. It does not do them any good to hear about the horrors that go on across the country with this family or that, it simply puts fear of everything in their minds and fear is what Satan grabs on to and can distort our minds if we let the fear fester.
Years ago when our kids were little I had a sister-in-law that would simply thwart every idea I had and manipulate it to sound as though I was such a strict and domineering mother, so many times it was 'Judy won't let her kids do this....or that', I have always thought that being cautious with my children is first priority, my decisions would determine their future and I found that to be a huge responsibility.
Just because some person somewhere decides that a movie can be viewed by children by making it G, PG or even PG-13 doesn't mean I have to believe it, and I think it's our responsibility as parents to view things before our children do. I had lots of people tell me that was wrong because it's government guidelines. I follow the laws as an adult and am very proud to be an American....but when it comes to my children, Dan and I have always had the final say in every decision, I believe this to be the way God ordained it.
Homeschooling was very rare in our area when we first started, we were definitely the 'oddballs' when people found out we homeschooled, yes, they thought we were nuts!
I am not anti-public schools, this is just the decision we made for our family and it worked for us, our kids are also pro-homeschooling and have never had a thought to sending their own future children to a school, we believe homeschooling to be the best way for parents to influence their own kids.
Now that our kids are grown they're free to make their own decisions and they seem to be making good ones, it was all the seeds that we planted in their formative years. This does not mean we brainwashed our kids, far from it, we want them to be determined, decision making adults, not some clone of us. The have their own likes and dislikes and that's find, ultimately they will make their own decisions and we will always stand behind them, as long as they're making sure to look to Him first, we know they will do fine.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Simple Anniversary!

Today we celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary! We still can't quite remember where the years went, time just goes by so fast, sometimes I feel like I wish I could stop time so I could catch up, just way too fast!
We will spend most of the day together but not really sure what else we will do, we're not really folks that make a big deal out of one day out of the year.
Even for birthdays we don't have huge celebrations, we treat each person in our family with love every day. We have love, laughter and joy every single day...every day is a celebration!
Looking back I see God's hand in so many decisions, He has blessed us so by walking the journey with us.
I uphold what the scriptures tell us:
1. God
2. Spouse
3. Family
This isn't just said to give us an idea of how we should live, it is to dictate that this is how we must live.
If it's in The Book, it is. It's that simple.
The photo is Cumberland Falls, which is where we spent our honeymoon, such sweet memories!