Wednesday, December 23

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/23

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen Today we're baking butternut squash, making mashed potatoes, and decorating sugar cookies. Bread and cranberry sauce are already prepared.

With our marriage It's all about money this week. Job is ending, unemployment is pending, and hubby keeps spending! But God's provision is unending.

With the children We're studying history (birth of Christ), cultures (various Christmas traditions), science (weather, cooking, and how babies develop [thanks, Lizzie, and congratulations!]), math (We received 5 photo cards. What is the probability that each would be from a family with three or more children of only one gender per family? Oh, and you ate HOW many cookies??), music (hymns and carols of all sorts), and of course reading various Christmas books we've collected. We're also trying to keep things low-key for the sake of the young man who tends to lose perspective when things get too exciting at certain times of the year.

Around the homestead… We're locating all the snow shovels in preparation for a Big Snow. I'm also hoping that certain people will take care of a certain issue about which I've instructed and pleaded and refuse to nag... at least for now.

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the friends and neighbors who have our backs during this challenging time. I pray God will show me how and when I can pay it forward.

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Waiting

I had been waiting to shoot the pistol for almost a month. I finally got to shoot it yesterday with Lynae... we had a ball. We set up a target out back and each fired ten shots at it... let's just say the target wasn't full of holes when we were done. For those of you who don't know, I bought a 22 handgun about six weeks ago, but because of the laws in MN, we had to get a special permit before we could pick it up. After we got it, things were pretty busy and I didn't have much time.

I have been waiting to get my driver's (apostrophe? EDITOR?) license for about six months. I could have gotten it long ago, and I've been driving for a year and a half now. I'm still waiting, because I can't pay for car insurance. One more summer of hard work ought to cure that though. But until that summer comes along, I'm waiting.

I will wait until January 2nd to start bragging to 2poor about my weasel. See, every year there is a Largest Weasel Contest on Trapperman.com, and the amount of prizes involved... it's through the roof I'm telling you. Last year I was in the Kids' Division, and I won 1st place. This year I'm in the Adults' Division, and my biggest weasel is a full 2 inches longer than the one I had last year, so I'm beginning to think maybe 2poor was right... I do have a shot at 3rd place (behind the Jack Pine Savage, a phantom and weasel whisperer, and 2poor himself).


I know how much my readers like folklore, so here is your dose for a little while. It occured to me some time ago that in much of Europe there are tales of elves and fairies who played tricks on people and sometimes did good things too. I looked at African folklore and found the same was true there, although in possibly less abundance. I looked at "Native American" legend and found the same was true here. But what got on my nerves is that in the local newspaper, people are still today talking about the same kind of creature... only it has a different name: a nisse. Now something you must understand about this community; the town I live in was settled by a certain group of people from Poland, the town south of us a few miles was settled by Danes, and the town south of that was settled by Finns. Each town has a name in a different language. But the Danish town is still very, very Danish. The street signs are all in Danish, with the English name in parentheses. The Welcome signs are in Danish. And this town is responsible for the newspaper.

In this newspaper, I saw that there was much ado about a nisse sighting in town. Apparently there was a cash reward for anyone who caught or found the nisse. There was a suggestion in this last paper, that to deter any nisses while you were celebrating Christmas, you should carry an Æbleskiver pan around with you.

This information in a reputable paper got me worried. Go ahead, try and translate "nisse" from Danish into English. I tried it using several different translators and while I only got "certain" sometimes, most of the time I got "goblin." Now while this suggests something exciting in the language, I will not go there. The point is, this nisse is out and about. Look out.

All this to say, I am going to wait to drive to the Danish town to shoot a nisse with my pistol under the pretense of checking my weasel traps.


Don't worry folks. This is a joke. I have learned that most of the time, your local nisse will help you out unless you offend him. So I will not shoot an innocent, sweet little nisse.

Wednesday, December 16

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/16

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas! Cookie baking has begun with the annual batch of Russian teacakes... when baking, seems like SO many and when eating, not nearly enough.

With our marriage We will be celebrating -- or at least acknowledging -- our 17th wedding anniversary this week.

With the children School is still in session. Also, lots of letters are being written, plays enacted, and snow forts begun.

Around the homestead… Parts of the house are looking clean and decluttered for the season. The guys purchased and installed a new heating element for the hot water heater, which I hope is the last repair we need to do on it for a long time. We're back to wondering if we can get the chickens to go outside, or if it would be better to not even open their little door during the day and let in the cold breezes. (Input and experiences welcome.)

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… As I talk to my children about being prideful and ignorant, I am reminded of my own tendencies and pitfalls. I am also reminded of my own role in teaching these children, and see that while we're ALL sinners in our own right, there may be ways I need to do better at teaching these children to overcome their own obstacles. My toes hurt!

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Monday, December 14

Hardship

We have had a pretty rough year. With Dad in and out of work since July, we've been cutting down on our wants so we can focus on our needs, but when there are seven people to take care of, it can be tough to cover all of the needs.

It's incredible to me how God can bless us though. In August, Dad was able to see his family and some friends in Maine, and I was able to attend a friend's wedding in Oregon. How? My Dad's Aunt paid for my Dad's trip, and when she heard that I had paid for my trip entirely out of my own pocket, she gave me a check that more than covered the cost of my trip! When I found out, I was astounded. God was using her to bless us, and she was happy to do it for us.

Another way he has blessed us is through our church family. Recently, I was looking in the freezer and thinking about how bare it was. We had no frozen dinners, and absolutely no ground beef. "Well," I thought, "God will provide for our needs.". Well, guess what a family from church gave us? 17 pounds of homegrown ground beef! Why? They said that they had more than they could use, and weren't sure if their freezer was going to keep working until they could use it all. Shortly after that, we got about two boxes of peppers from our churches' food distribution program. So guess what we were able to make in abundance? Stuffed peppers! By this time, our freezers were almost all full. To top all that off, last night, another family from church offered us some more homegrown ground beef! As I was lying in bed last night, I thought, "where are we going to put all that ground beef? We'll be overflowing with blessings!".

God has certainly blessed us through our hardships, and my faith in Him has really grown. So next time you are in need, just put your trust in God, and He will bless you.
Lynae

Thursday, December 10

Hardship

I didn't want to write about hardship, because all the hardships I've been through sucked. But I suppose that's kinda the point, and because it's been assigned I guess I can't really skip it.

Scanning hardship files...

Hardship: a condition that is difficult to endure; suffering; deprivation; oppression

God is good. In fact, he's really awesome. He actually broke a sea into two parts so people could walk through it without getting wet, and then he put it back together, drowning the bad guys. I don't know about you guys, but I would have trouble doing that. Even Eragon wouldn't be able to do that very well, and he's a fictional character. God is so awesome, he can't be copied. But that's beside the point, this blog post is supposed to be about hardship, not a fictional character.

But maybe it's not beside the point at all. Maybe God's greatness has everything to do with hardship. I'll let you figure that one out on your own, but I'll warn you, if you figure anything out, it's only by the grace of God.

Let me help you out. The Hebrews were stuck in Egypt for 400 years. I don't care who you are, 400 years is a long time to be stuck someplace, even if you're not a slave. And I'll remind you, this was after the flood, and after the flood God shortened the lifespan of humans to a limit of 120 years. There are scientific arguments for how this could have happened, related to scientific arguments about how the flood could have covered the whole earth, how earth could have never had seasons before the flood, and how earth survived for 1500 years before rain was even imagined. But once again, I'm getting sidetracked. I'm a pro at that. I feel like the gal in the Progressive commercials. ANYWAY...

So the Hebrews were stuck in Egypt. This was tough for them. Think of the founding fathers. They rebelled against England simply because they weren't being represented well enough and were being treated unfairly. The slaves in Egypt had it even worse. They had no representation at all, and they were also being treated unfairly. But skip ahead a few pages, or chapters, if you will. See that God led them out of Egypt, and even though they were not very appreciative, he led them to the promised land. And he did this through a fellow who had once been more Egyptian than Hebrew, and had married a woman who worshiped false gods. (She was converted, I'm sure.)

And if that's not cool enough, God did the same kind of thing 3800 years later, and now slavery is considered the signature of a savage nation. Now we have people saying we can't even use animals like slaves. I think they took it too far there, I mean, the same God who freed the slaves also gave men the right to use the animals wisely, but I think you get my point.

Hardship really does suck, but it looks like it's a lot easier to handle when God is on your side. I mean, if God be for us, who can be against us? Who would really want to be?

I didn't cite any references here, but if you'd like to learn more, check my information, find inconsistencies in my text, or whatever, I would recommend you purchase a Bible and read it... the story about the Hebrews is in the end of Genesis, beginning of Exodus.

Wednesday, December 9

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/9

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen we'll be making dozens of stuffed peppers and freezing them today. For supper, we'll have baked tilapia with pineapple mango salsa.

With our marriage I hope to surprise Loren later today with a new pair of his favorite work boots. He'll be out delivering packages in the snow the rest of this month, and these will help keep him safe.

With the children we're digging into the school work this week. There's no telling how long we'll go before we start Christmas break, but for now, school is definitely in session in spite of the snow.

Around the homestead… it's cold and snowy out there! We're getting back into the routine of tending the fire to keep the house cozy. It's so much easier to stoke a fire than to start a fire

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… honestly, my inner man is a little hungry this week. Despite my gratitude for God's provision, my focus has been inappropriate these last few days. It's having such a negative effect on me, I really must change it ASAP.

What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.


Tuesday, December 8

Lunch

Sauteed:

  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • garlic
  • cauliflower
Added:
  • curry powder
  • garam masala
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • salt
  • cayenne
  • diced tomato
Simmered while cooking:
  • lentils
  • basmati rice
Added lentils to curry mix, served over basmati rice, topped with plain yogurt, with warmed tortillas on the side.

The verdict:
  • "This is great."
  • "Especially with the tortillas. I give it a 10."
  • "Mmmm! Great!"
  • "It's a very strange dish, but it's good."
  • "It's not really my thing."

Wednesday, December 2

Homekeeper's Journal ~ 12/2

What’s happening in my home?

In the kitchen we are rising to the challenge of seeing how little we can spend on groceries this week. We've got plenty of food, so it's just a matter of using what we've got. We were recently blessed with a fellow church member's "extra" beef. I'm about to break out the soap making tools again.

With our marriage I'm very thankful for a hard-working husband. He just finished working for a very challenging employer, and I'm praying God will continue to refine Loren while showing Himself faithful as Jehovah Jireh, our provider.

With the children the younger set is looking forward to Christmas shopping, crafts, and tasty holiday treats. But for now, they'll have to be content playing outside (supervised!) while Mom works. Toby is busy with trapping and taxidermy, and Lynae is making jewelry and working as my right-hand chica as I send out soap orders.

Around the homestead… the basementhas been refilled with firewood. We still need to gather and store hoses before they are covered in snow. We have one or two hens laying, but most of them are taking a break despite the fancy light set up I provided for them. Christmas cards are sent, and delightful smelling packages are being mailed each day.

In my “Inner Man” (2 Cor. 4:16)… I have rediscovered Stormie Omartian's The Power of a Praying Wife and am working each day to live Proverbs 3:5-6:

5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
What's happening in your home this week? Visit Sylvia at the Christian HomeKeeper Network to participate in the Homekeeper's Journal each Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 1

Cookies

The other day while I was on the computer, Mom gave me a link to a peanut butter cookie recipe and asked me to make a batch. I looked at the recipe, and thought it was a total rip-off. I mean, it only called for 3 ingredients! Well, I started getting supplies out and thought, "If this is as easy as it sounds, I could blog about it!" so I rushed upstairs and got my trusty camera.

I then preheated the oven to 350* and mixed up the 3 magic ingredients. I also added chocolate chips (they aren't in the recipe, but I didn't care). Soon I was staring at this lovely mixture:


I started rolling out some of this lovely dough and soon had a cookie sheet filled. I then made some smaller cookies because varied cookie size works well for us.




I baked them for 10 long minutes, and put them on a cooling rack.

Well, after eating a cookie, I realized this was no rip-off recipe. It was perfect. Quick, easy, and so delightful, I think we'll start making these on a weekly basis!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 and mix all ingredients. Feel free to add nuts, chocolate chips, or anything small and yummy. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet. Press with a fork to make that cool design. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Take out and cool. Or eat them right away. It doesn't matter, but make sure they get eaten at some point.

Tuesday, November 24

My Great Adventure

Mom and I recently made a trip down to the Mall of America, but this was no ordinary shopping trip. We were going to Ree Drummond's book signing. For those of you who don't already know, she is a blogging mother of four and she just published her cookbook, which we were eager to get, so we seized the opportunity with great pleasure.

Because the Mall of America is about two hours away, we had to leave fairly early to get down there. During the drive, we talked about how awesome it was going to be and how cool it was that we could actually go. Well, we got down to the Twin Cities and soon realized we didn't remember exactly which route to take, so we got ourselves kind of lost, but then Mom remembered the right way and we got unlost. Thank God for moms that remember the way!

We got to the mall right as the signing started. With my hands shaking, I bought the book and got in line with Mom. And then we stood. And stood. And stood. And after a while, Mom just couldn't stand it any longer, so she went and sat and watched me inch along with my precious cookbook and a big grin on my face.

You know, when you stand in a line full of ladies for as long as I did, after a while you become acquainted with the ladies around you. Well, the group of ladies in front of me were busy chit-chatting, so I turned around and started talking to the two ladies behind me. They were very nice women, and thought it was great that I was interested in cooking considering my tender age.

While we were talking, I noticed that they were dressed in a manner which I had never seen in real life. These two women were covered from head to toe with the exception of their faces. I had seen women dressed like this in pictures, and knew it was a religious thing, but couldn't remember the religion. Well, after standing in line for about three hours, I finally said, "Do you dress that way for religious purposes?" to which they said, "Yes we are both Muslim converts". "Oh okay." I said, and then thought, wait, some Muslims hate Christians enough to kill them, and I'm Christian! After that we kept chit-chatting, but I was a bit more reserved.

Well, after 5 long hours of waiting, it was finally my turn. The nervousness had worn off into tiredness, hunger, and excitement, but as I got up onto the stage I started shaking all over again. I was about to talk to my favorite author!! I handed the picture-taking lady my camera and sat down next to Ree. Wow! She's beautiful! I thought. Our conversation was as follows:

Ree: Hey sweetie, how are you?
Me: I'm good, and you?
Ree: I'm great! Is this book for anyone in particular?
Me: Just me
Ree: Okay, and what's your name?
Me: Lynae, that's L-y-n-a-e.
Ree: Oh that's a beautiful name!
Me: Ah, well, I owe that to my parents.
Ree: Well they did it all didn't they?

Meanwhile she had written: To Lynae
Enjoy!
Ree/PW

We had our picture taken, and that was that. I got off the stage all trembling and happy. There was Mom waiting for me, and all of a sudden I felt so bad for her having come all that way and not even getting to share the experience, but she said she had been able to watch me which was just as good. We picked up one of the free T-shirts that were being handed out for all the Pioneer Woman fans, grabbed some dinner, and came home.

On the way I kept looking at the picture of me and Ree, and thought, some people would say it's ridiculous to stand in line for five hours just to get a book signed. Really it is, but the memory that I have now is priceless.


Thanks, Ree, for coming to Minnesota!

Tuesday, November 10

Remembering: Thoughts and quotes

Over the past month or so I've been reading a book Mom had me read, called Remembering. It's about a farmer who hates the new style of farming, with big machines and stuff, and has fond memories from growing up on a family farm that had been passed down for several generations. I thought that while the story was a bit rough around the edges, and had been written with the attitude that that was okay, it was inspiring, like it touched a part of me deep down inside that had never been touched, or if it had, I didn't mind feeling it again.

I wrote down some of my favorite quotes from the book. Here are the ones related to farming:

"This is economics we're talking about. And the basic law of economics is: Adapt or die. Get big or get out."
Yep, that's it. All the rest fall into the Miscellaneous category. I wrote them down because I either felt that I would use them again someday, or otherwise found them interesting.

"Even if she does not feel cheerful, she will be cheerful. She will be looking for reasons to be cheerful..."

"The city at night... is like the forest at night, when most creatures have no need to stay awake, but some do, and that is well, for the place itself must never sleep. Some must carry wakefulness through the sleep of others."

"He knows that he is looking at her across an abyss, that if all the world should burn, they would burn divided in its flames. She is wearing the veil of American success, lost in the public haze that has covered the land from sea to sea."
"Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness; according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences... Thou shalt make me hear of joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice... 'Are you all right?' It is the young woman in the seat next to him, who to his astonishment is patting his arm. 'Yes. I've been all right before, and I'm all right now."

"Spare us, O Lord, the logical consequence of our ingratitude. Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers."
These last couple are related to flying in airplanes, and I got a kick out of them, but I see where the guy's coming from.
"... and they are sealed within the possibility of flight, committed to the air. We commit these bodies to the air, O Lord, and to Thy keeping."

"Spare us, O Lord, the logical consequences of our folly."

Thursday, November 5

Request:

Flu + asthma = please pray!

Sunday, November 1

About that hairstyle

In Lynae's "Facebook" post, she mentioned seeing someone with the same hairstyle as hers. I must elaborate.

During a recent shopping trip, I took the kids to lunch. In the restaurant, I saw a woman I'd guess to be about 70 years old. There was something very familiar about her, but I couldn't place it. I knew I'd never seen her before. And it wasn't her beautiful brown eyes... no, it was her hair I recognized. It was thin, fine, light blonde, cut in short layers. She appeared to have a most stubborn cowlick on the right side of her forehead, visible through the bangs meant to cover it up. It was exactly like Lynae's hair!

I told Lynae she should ask the woman what was the best hairstyle she ever had, figuring she's been around long enough to have tried several. And my darling daughter actually did it! She went up to a perfect stranger, told her she'd noticed they had matching hair, and asked what her favorite hairstyle was. Well, the poor woman didn't have a favorite hairstyle. She bemoaned the fact that her hair had always given her trouble, and boy, could Lynae relate. She said her best solution was to wear hats.

That day, Lynae happened to be wearing a hat. So there ya go!

Not one to give up on my darling daughter's challenging hair, and ever willing to cut it shorter, I gave her a pixie cut this weekend. SO cute!

Monday, October 26

Facebook

Facebook has been giving me grief for the past several days. At first I thought it was just because they were doing another makeover, but after the first two days I knew there was more to it than that. I have tried logging on countless times, but it refuses to cooperate for more than 5 minutes at a time. To add insult to injury, Mom, Dad, and Toby are all able to get on Facebook, so I'm all by myself in this one.

So during the time that it has not let me on, I have come up with some great status updates that are now no longer relevant including the one about the person that thought I was 20, seeing someone with the same hairstyle as mine, my experience as my Dad's secretary, our terrific ad-lib play, having it snow in October, and my several trips to Duluth. Oh! And my awesome shopping trip to Kohl's. I have also completed a 1000 piece puzzle by myself, looked at all the blogs I enjoy at least twice each, listened to at least 100 Glenn Miller/Michael Buble songs, and almost called my best friend.

Hopefully, Facebook will let me on soon, and if not, hopefully I will be patient in waiting on it. Oh how I wish I had a laptop!!!
Lynae

Saturday, October 10

Sisters

As many of my readers are already aware, I have two (2) sisters. But only 50% of my sisters are biological siblings so the other half is always flattered to hear that they look just like me. (Haha)

All two of my sisters are younger than me, which is cool because I read that a little sister is one's biggest fan, and it's fun to see some friendly competition over who is a bigger fan of Toby, especially for me. They are both encouraging and good sports. I have made a slide show of Lynae and me for your enjoyment.



Thanks for watching!

Snow

We have snow. It's not often we see it falling on green leaves. It does look pretty piled on the apples still hanging on the trees.

Most years, I love being out in the autumn weather, enjoying the crisp air and beautiful colors and heavenly smells and flavors. I love putting the garden to bed, walking the property to check the apple trees, driving through the golden glow of the sun-lit trees and feeling their amazing warmth, and taking the kids out back for bug-free evenings of fires and hot dogs and marshmallows. I even look forward to putting away the summer clothes and digging out sweaters, coats, boots, and hats, handing down the hand-me-downs and sending away the littlest people's clothes that have survived being used and outgrown yet again. It's a huge and overwhelming job which takes over half the house for a couple days, but I like the organization and the growth and change it represents.

But not so much this year. This gorgeous season has made it clear to me how much zest I have lost over the past few months. Maybe it has to do with the drastic downturn of our personal economy. It could be because I haven't been taking care of myself for a while, and chronic illness is currently kicking my butt. It probably even has something to do with the fact that I've changed seats at the dining room table since last fall, and no longer have a lovely view of the back yard. Whatever the contributing factors, I don't like it. When I looked out the window last night to see our first beautiful snowfall, there was no excitement. Not even a smile. Only a sigh. And that just won't do. Minnesota is too harsh a place to live without anticipation, joy, and wonder at the changing seasons.

And if October feels like February, how will I ever survive February?

By clinging to God... speaking of which, I'd better get to it!

Tuesday, October 6

Brothers

I have three very special young men as my brothers. Each of them has their own talents and weaknesses, and each of them plays an important part in our family. Of all my brothers though, today I would like to focus on my older brother Toby. Toby is a fabulous guy, and he has always been there for me. Ever since he met me 14 years ago, he has treated me like someone truly unique.

For a long time, he was my only friend, and over the years we have developed quite a special relationship. We tell each other almost everything, and of all the people I know, he probably knows me the best. Because we have been through things together, he can relate to what I am feeling. We often find ourselves sitting upstairs talking about what has recently happened, or laughing over things that happened years ago.

I have met many girls who tell me that their big brother is their worst enemy, and every time I hear that, I wish that they could have as good a relationship with their siblings as I do.

Friends

I've got a few friends, in fact if you're reading this you are probably experiencing one of the side effects of being one of my friends and should talk to your doctor immediately. Truth be told, I have way more than a few friends... I actually recently crossed the threshold of 1,900 friends on Facebook. And I'm making more all the time. The MN Trappers Association has welcomed me and given me a column in the quarterly magazine, and just last week they gave me the privilege or doing a weasel trapping demo. As a result, I am meeting a lot of great folks from across MN all the time, adding to my cache of friends.

I decided that "the good ol' days" are a pile of nonsense. When were the good ol' days? Basically any time one was hanging out with one's friends preceding the present time. Am I right? Isn't that why just about everybody loves "The Music Man"? Because we certainly don't love it for its morals!

I have made a short list of some good times I remember fondly, roughly in chronological order, for your enjoyment. Many of my readers will remember some of thes times as well:
The Youngs' house on Wednesday nights for Bible study
PACHEK meetings
Duck "Hunting" in the rain
Primo Voce
Sunday afternoons at Solid Rock
4H Livestock judging, especially at the Western Rivers Expo
Building PACHEK float for the Christmas parade
Trip one, stopping in NY and KY
Trip two, stopping in NY to surprise all the relatives
MTA conventions
Hiking and canoe trips 3 hours north of here
WI convention
MTA district meetings
Goofing off on Sunday afternoon just the other day... especially when we found a 220 conibear trap

Thursday, September 24

Friends

I recently went to Oregon to visit with some friends. I was super excited to be going because not only was this my first trip all by myself (which made me feel grown up), but it was also the first time I had seen my best friend in almost 4 years. Well, best besides Toby.

Well, in the nice good while that I was there, I spent almost every minute allowed with my dear friend Christa. We talked about everything we could think of about what had happened in the 4 years that we had been apart, and still had more to say. And sometime in there, probably while we were laying on the rocks silently enjoying the sunshine, I realized that we had really built a strong relationship over the years.

I mean, we have known each other for like 10 years, but we were never really "friends" until she moved away, because then we started writing as often as we could, sending our messy scribbles across the country to someone who treasured every word. At first, we were still starting to get to know each other, but after a while, we were able to laugh at each other's jokes and trust each other to keep our little secrets. And guess what? When I moved a year after that, I knew that I wouldn't be losing her because as long as I had her address, we could still keep in touch just fine.

As we spent that quiet time together, I realized that after those years, we had built a relationship. Not out of friendship bracelets and sayings like "You're my BFF!", but from paying attention to one another and making sure the other person knew how much we really cared. Sure, it took a long time. It took 10 years! But we both kept working at it for the other person's sake, and look where we're at now!


I love and miss you my dear sweet friend!

Thursday, September 17

Beginnings

I began school. I have been bragging to my friends on Tman about how cool my school is. And it is better than the past few years... at least so far that seems to be the case. And here's a good place to start enjoying school again... at least it's a better place to start than 10 years from now.

I started a new job. It's not too bad. I'm getting paid fairly, and I like that. I also like having a few bucks of lubrication when I go somewhere... I don't have to stick to a budget like a leech to a leg. I like the change. Which brings me to my next paragraph:

It feels like I've started this really cool thing where people want to take me places to do fun stuff... last week Mr. and Mrs. 2poor invited me to come with them to the WI trapping convention, and this weekend 2poor has invited me to come with him and Stinkey to Owatonna, MN for Cumberland's trapper appreciation day. The weekend after that, Pellethead invited me to his place for a board meeting for the MTA, and I hear there will be donuts (due probably mostly to Wheelers' request that they be there) and barbecue sandwiches!

I started a journal. I haven't had a journal since 2001 because I couldn't remember what all the meaningless pictograph was supposed to mean, so I threw it out and gave up hope. This time though, I am writing real words, with real letters, even if they aren't the letters normal Americans can read. About half of it is in an ancient alphabet that hasn't been used for about 700 years... call me Egbert the Scholar from now on.

Beginnings

Well, we have begun a new school year, and I am now a Freshman. I think. Anyway, we have done a very good job staying on task, and I must say that I am under the impression that this is our best school year yet. You might be wondering why I would say that, and even if you are not, I would be happy to enlighten you.

First off, I am very excited to have started 9th grade, because that means that when I'm finished this year, I will have only 3 more years of school left, which is definitely worth celebrating.

Second off, we have stayed on task so well that I am inclined to think that we will finish this year's school this school year. (Isn't that awesome?!)

Third off, I am using curricula(?) that are not horribly boring, which is good, because I get sick of horribly boring curricula very quickly, don't you?

And fourth thing is, I am doing a lot of reading. In fact, I am doing more reading than anything else. Except maybe writing. Anywho, I love reading, so naturally, I love what I get to do.

And these my friends, are the reasons for my being so excited about school this year.

Wednesday, September 9

I dare say it's time for an update

There's a lot I haven't blogged about this summer. I think it's time to share some of it.

This is the ninth week since my husband was terminated (not laid off) from his job. That was a new experience for us both, and the first time he's been out of work in about 20 years. God provided very well for us during that time through our garden, our friends, and our neighbors. I'm sure He did even more than we noticed. He's good like that.

During the 19 years we've been "together", Loren and I have always done well spending time apart. It was a pleasant surprise for me to see how well we got along once we settled into spending every day together. I'm actually going to miss having him around when he starts his new job next week!

Last month was a big travel month for part of the family. In blogging about the trappers' convention, Toby forgot to mention that Loren took all the kids camping there for the weekend. That gave me a nice, quiet break. Shortly after they returned, Lynae spent two weeks in Oregon visiting dear friends. Loren spent time with friends and family. And Toby went on a canoe trip, about which he has already shared. All of them were enormously blessed during their adventures! And since these trips overlapped, I spent several days at home with Jon, Michael, and Grace. I, too, was blessed; it was wonderful to see the "little kids" step up to share the additional household responsibilities.

Those kids aren't going to be little for long. The three youngest have each grown at least a couple of inches this year. And of course, as we wrap up the birthday season, they're all older than they've ever been.

This is the part where I should think of some clever closing paragraph, but I missed my nap today and I'm feelin' it. So it's either publish now or send this post to the draft pile, never to see the light of your screen.

Saturday, August 29

Boundary Waters

I recently went on a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. Pictures may be forthcoming, but then again they might not be. I make no guarantees. But I will tell you about our trip. I went with Mr. Schutt, Mr. Kling (Mr. Shutt's new son in law), David, Isaiah, Daniel, and Austin.

I quickly earned the nickname "paddling machine," because they said I paddled like there was no tomorrow, and they also said I had this look in my eyes that could freeze steel... hmm, I'll have to remember how to do that look. Everybody wanted me in their canoe. That's a good feeling.

I saw fresh moose tracks, some of them only 15 minutes old. I also saw fighting crawdads, one of which was blue. I saw some leeches about 8 inches long. When we were canoeing through some windy river areas,m which were full of beaver dams, I saw muskrat poop on nearly every rock. I also saw a lot of mink and otter poop. We even saw a muskrat, which Mr. Schutt named Suzie, and we saw a beaver.

I caught 2 northern pike. One of them was about 2 feet long, making it the largest fish I have caught. Austin brought with him some smelt for fish bait, which, when he saw that they weren't catching any fish, he cooked up and gave to me. And I ate them. Mmm.

Yesterday, our last day, we had our longest portage. It was 480 rods long, which is exactly 1 1/2 miles. When we portaged, everyone would carry their packs, which averaged around 55 pounds, and then some people would carry a canoe as well, while carrying their packs. They carried the canoes on their shoulders, just like a voyageur, although these canoes were doubtlessly a lot lighter than a wooden canoe. These were kevlar and only weighed about 45 pounds each.

Because I have things to do and places to be, I can say no more. But I would definitely go there again, and I think just about anyone would love it.

Tuesday, August 18

Convention

This past weekend I went to Chisholm, MN, to meet with roughly 2000 other trappers from around the state. We got there early Friday morning, and I stayed until late on Sunday afternoon.

Friday morning, as soon as we got there, I went to a MN Trappers' Association Instructor course. The MTA pays to educate anyone who wants to become a trapper, and the instructors are all volunteers. I became an instructor and got certified, making me one of the youngest instructors the MTA has had.

Friday evening, I wandered around for a while until I found some friends from Tman. I had brought my guitar, and when they found out, they asked me to play for them. This is the picture they took of me.While I was hanging out there, a tough Minnesotan fellow came beeboppin' along with his prize...
Here is a picture of a great trap which was embedded in a great looking log bench. The trap is worth about $125, and I think the bench sold for about $400.
Here is a picture of our friend Cedar. She and her husband 160user are great people, and I'm glad to know them.
I stayed with a few of the other folks from the MTA and helped clean up on Sunday. This is a picture of us after we had put all the tables away. In order from left to right: Wheelers, Julie (Wheelers' wife), Mr. Gary, Bogmaster, Mr. McElmury, and then, on the far right, you can see me standing in front of a few ladies... I believe they are Mrs. M :)
So that's what I did this past weekend. Now I just got a phone call from a fellow from church, he wanted to know if I could go to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with him and some friends this next week. Heck yes. I got some videos from the last trip we took together, but unfortunately I am not too good with a computer and therefore cannot get those where you can see them. However, I am sure my mother or my sister could do it and make it look easy, so I will let them do it.

Wednesday, August 5

Blogging philosophical

From Atlas Shrugged, first published in 1957:

"Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion -- when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing -- when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors -- when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you -- when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice -- you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.

Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'"

Monday, July 20

Stress Relief

Last night the stress of life got to me, and I ran away.

Ok, actually I drove.

I drove out to a nearby swamp, where I found the waxwings I'd been missing! And a goose, too. I also saw some ducks, a fisher, and a 6-point buck.

After all that and a gorgeous sunset over recently hayed fields, I was ready to go home again.

Thursday, July 16

Local Sign


The forecast calls for highs in the mid-50's here tomorrow. I don't mind that a bit!

Monday, July 6

The value of a thousand words

A book I'm currently reading on fetal alcohol effects led me to hunt down the single picture I have of one of my sons as a baby. Thankfully, I found it. That one, poor-quality copy of a polaroid brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. Sometimes it's for the time I missed. Sometimes it's for the hurt that baby had already experienced, and the hurt he didn't know was yet to come -- the hurt I wish I could've protected him from, and the hurt I was a part of.

As well as I know my son, and as much as I love him, looking at that picture makes him seem more "real" to me. It gives me a different perspective of who he is now. That fresh perspective, the tenderness toward him, and the tears are so very important. He desperately needs me to be impacted in that way, encouraged to keep learning how I can better love and help him.

Lord, give me the strength and courage to continue this journey.

Tuesday, June 23

My kids on Daily Kos

How unlikely is that??

Ah, but what a hoot!

And now they're 16 and 14.

Happy Birthday, Lynae!!

Monday, June 15

Temporary Mohawks


Michael and Jon like it when Lynae cuts their hair!

Sunday, June 14

Broiler Update

Remember these little cuties?

Most of them are grown up now.

They're all meaty and tasty-looking, aren't they? I see Stir Fry... Barbecue... Cacciatore... Dumpling... Soup...

Here are our young layers. This is their Amish pose. One of them is clearly not cooperating. Happy free rangers, they are... and that's ok, since they haven't yet discovered the gardens.

All right, you are sentenced to time in the chicken tractor! Just kidding. We put it in for a size comparison. And as you can see, after 7 weeks there's quite a difference.

So if you plan to call or stop by next weekend, we'll be butchering.

The Garden is In

After a few false starts, we got the garden in last week. This picture shows most of it. If what we've experienced so far is any indication, I LOVE these raised beds! I'm doing square foot gardening without the permanent grid. Mel would not approve, but it's working for us so far. I do see the benefit of the grid, and may install it later on. I have my squares mapped out using Plangarden so I can keep track of what's where.

I did not plan to use perlite in my raised beds. I started with vermiculite. When we were ready to fill the majority of our beds, we couldn't find vermiculite in the amount we needed. After calling around in the Duluth area, we found one nursery that supposedly had vermiculite in big bags. When we got there, we found it was perlite in bags that said "Vermiculite Perlite". I was so tired of looking at that point, I just bought it. I'm not thrilled with it, but the plants don't seem to mind much.

The potatoes and onions are already as big as they were by harvest time last year. That's a very good sign. I'm hoping that the horseradish we transplanted into pots to hang out with the potatoes will deter any potato-loving pests.

If the zucchini plant in the front corner produces, it will be a first for me. I just thought of something. Do these plants grow both male and female flowers, or do I need to plant more to get fruit?

I have planted enough beans to feed a small army. In the past, I've gotten a pitiful yield from the beans I've planted. (Really, I've gotten a pitiful yield from everything but my grape tomatoes.) I wouldn't really mind having "too many" this year.

Grace has her own garden again, too. She's growing various flowers, chives, basil, cilantro, oregano, and a tomato... not yet sure which kind. Her garden is right outside the back door, which makes it the perfect location for the herbs we'll use most.

This week we have lots of warm weather and a bit of rain in the forecast, so I'm hoping our plants will grow and be happy!

Thursday, May 7

Spring Break: Week 2

I started a couple more blog posts last week, but we were so busy, none of them was finished. Maybe if things slow down, I can post them.

This week we're making raised beds. I replanted garlic, since last fall's planting failed miserably. It's late, but we'll see what happens. Tomorrow I hope to get the peas and spinach in the ground. Other seedlings are doing well under the grow light.

Wednesday was a big shopping day down in "the Cities". We had a Lowe's card from Kentucky, so we went to the nearest Lowe's and spent what was left on that. We also had a coupon for Home Depot, so we went a little wild buying plants there. Lynae and I both bought shoes at the Nike outlet. I noticed a Claire's across the parking lot, so we took the opportunity to do something we'd been discussing quite often lately; the girls both had their ears pierced.

We went to Perkin's for supper. It was the most peaceful restaurant meal we've enjoyed in years. We had a whole back dining room to ourselves, with wonderful ambiance and classical music. The kids are beginning to recognize classical composers, which made it even more special. We took some time to pray together while waiting for our meal. It was truly memorable.

Before coming home, we picked up a few more things for the garden at Walmart. Then a handsome young man drove us safely home, whereupon all the children soon tumbled into bed.

And now... it's my turn!

Monday, May 4

We may have a breakthrough!

The kids had their annual testing last month. The results aren't all that interesting, except for Jon's. He's tough to figure out sometimes... what IS going on in that brain of his??

His results showed that his vocabulary is extraordinary, and he has a very good grasp on social studies and science, but his language skills and math skills could only be worse if he didn't answer ANY of the questions. So basically, the best way for him to learn is to hand him a book and let him read about a topic, rather than using workbooks like we so often do for grammar and math.

Guess what? I found the Barron's Painless Series on Amazon, and I think we're on to something! I handed him the Painless Junior Math book and said, "Here, read your book." No conflict, no frustration. Within five minutes, he was excited to tell me he understands a concept he's struggled with for the five years I've tried to teach it to him. He keeps nodding his head as he's reading, saying, "Ok, I get it now." And the beauty of it is, it's a book he can read again later if he needs to. He just told me, "That's a pretty good chapter (on telling time). Now I don't even have to count the numbers by 5's anymore."

HALLELUJAH!!!

"I can tell today's gonna be awesome. It's warm out, and a good day to be outside. And also, I just learned how to tell time, so that helps my feeling that it's gonna be awesome."

Tuesday, April 28

Spring Break: Week 1

This morning was the official start of our four-week spring break. By 8:00 we were at the post office, picking up 21 broilers and 10 layers. By 10:00 we were ready to go back to bed.


The light ones won't be cute for long, but will be delicious in 6-8 weeks.

We (and by "we" I mean the kids, mostly) picked up trash from the yard, raked up the hay that insulated our underground pipes and provided traction for our otherwise icy and later muddy paths, and began the daunting task of bicycle maintenance. We also figured out the answer to an actual question typed into my Spring Break To-Do List: What's the deal with the staple gun? The deal was, it was jammed. Should be good to go now.

Tomorrow we will go shopping for all kinds of fun stuff -- a tub and sand for sharpened tools, a new garden cart, chicken feed, and probably a bunch of other stuff we need but I haven't remembered to put on the list. I'm also in the market for an exterior door, a shower enclosure, and a toilet. Doesn't that sound fun??

Jon gets to visit the orthodontist, too. That should be interesting; he's pulled out three teeth since his last visit.

The rest of our week will likely be rainy, but I think we'll still get a lot done. I'm hoping it will clear up after that, though, so we can enjoy more afternoons like this:

and this:

Friday, March 27

The Gulag Archipelago

God was there, too:

Nikolai Aleksandrovich Kozyrev, whose brilliant career in astronomy was interrupted by his arrest, saved himself only by thinking of the eternal and infinite: of the order of the Universe -- and of its Supreme Spirit; of the stars; of their internal state; and what Time and the passing of Time really are.

And in this way he began to discover a new field in physics. And only in this way did he succeed in surviving in the Dmitrovsk Prison. But his line of mental exploration was blocked by forgotten figures. He could not build any further -- he had to have a lot of figures. Now just where could he get them in his solitary-confinement cell with its overnight kerosene lamp, a cell into which not even a little bird could enter? And the scientist prayed: "Please, God! I have done everything I could. Please help me! Please help me continue!"

At this time he was entitled to receive one book every ten days (by then he was alone in the cell). In the meager prison library were several different editions of Demyan Bedny's Red Concert, which kept coming around to each cell again and again. Half an hour passed after his prayer; they came to exchange his book; and as usual, without asking anything at all, they pushed a book at him. It was entitled A Course in Astrophysics! Where had it come from? He simply could not imagine such a book in the prison library. Aware of the brief duration of this coincidence, Kozyrev threw himself on it and began to memorize everything he needed immediately, and everything he might need later on. In all, just two days had passed, and he had eight days left in which to keep the book, when there was an unscheduled inspection by the chief of the prison. His eagle eye noticed immediately. "But you are an astronomer?" "Yes." "Take this book away from him!" But its mystical arrival had opened the way for his further work, which he then continued in the camp in Norilsk.


Coincidence, or Providence?

Wednesday, March 25

Mud season

It's no longer February. And that is a very good thing. In my world, February is the longest month of the year. So long and difficult, in fact, that it takes me well into March to recover. By the time I come to my senses, well, here we are in mud season.

Mud season is serious business here. Much of the outdoor activity is on hold and I, for one, am trying hard not to get stuck in the driveway. (I'm also hoping my guys keep the truck out of rain-drenched fields.) Lynae was right; we're surrounded by puddles. And many of them seem to be headed straight for our basement.

The return of the birds is one nice thing about this time of year. I heard a sandhill crane a couple mornings ago. Toby noticed a robin this week, too. Soon we'll see the bluebirds, the swallows, the warblers, maybe the waxwings. The frogs will come out, and the mosquitoes, the first brave and colorful flowers... and then we'll be well into Spring. Very nice, indeed. And remembering that will get me through mud season, I'm sure.

Tuesday, March 17

Hope

Hope: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.


You know, right now I am living in a swamp, and so right now we're surrounded by puddles. Not only that, but it's hard to find a decent place to park. It is also kinda hard to stay cheerful about the good weather when you're surrounded by water.

During times like these, it is important to stay hopeful. If we are pessimists about it, then of course it's going to suck! But if we just look forward to the drier months, then we won't even be thinking about the water, and the time will fly.

Keep in mind that no matter what situation you're going through, that things are in God's hands, and things will turn out for the better in the long run, if we let Him take care of them.

Tuesday, March 10

Wonderful!

As some of you may already know, we are planning on taking a vacation. I am really excited about that, because it will really be a double vacation. You see, we're going to New York (State) to see some relatives, and then stopping in Kentucky to see some friends before coming home.

I honestly can't decide which I'm more excited about; seeing my relatives, or seeing my friends and my old home. I'm really glad though that we get to do both.

There is one tough part though, and that is finding someone to take care of our animals while we are gone. You see, around here, if people aren't busy all the time, it's usually because they are old. All the kids go to public school, almost all their parents have jobs, and all the older folks that aren't still in the work force are too frail to come over 2 or 3 times a day to feed the chickens and walk the dogs. But I know that the Lord will provide, and that we won't have to worry, because He's good like that.

Monday, March 9

I won the weasel contest!

There was a contest on Trapperman.com recently to see who could catch the largest weasel. They had a separate division for children, and there were 6 other competitors in the children's division. I had the largest weasel and won the contest, which proved to the trappers on Trapperman that I am a devoted disciple of the Timber Midget, which is code name for Mr. Van Driel.

So I went to the Post Office the other day, and I opened the door and I quickly detected the fragrance of skunk essence. I wondered, "why does it smell like skunk, I haven't ordered anything lately have I?" No I hadn't ordered anything, but I had won the weasel contest. I had a large box, and when I went to get my box from the postmaster, he freaked out, as per usual. Don't tell him I said that, because he's getting better at that. Anyway, I had a large package that smelled like skunk juice, and I carried it all the way home. When I got it in the door, my own mother sent me away with it because of the aroma. I had to open it outside. When I did, I saw I had 3 weasel boxes, an F&T hat, some beaver lure, and some weasel lure. The latter of them was the offending odor which ruined the postmaster's day and freshened the scent on the brand new cap. The hat still smells like skunk, but I keep it where Mom doesn't go too often. The weasel lure was in a sealed jar, taped shut, in a Ziploc bag, wrapped in newspaper, in its own box which was taped shut, and inside the big box, and it still stunk up the post office.

In the adult's division, the two top contestants were Jack Pine Savage (Arnie Peterson), and 2poor AKA Timber Midget (Mr. Van Driel). I forgot who got third place, but I know these other guys personally, and they know me personally.

Friday, March 6

Armor of God

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. Ephesians 6:11

Mom and Dad recently discussed a rather sensitive subject with Toby and I. It was about some things that we need to be aware of as young adults, but don't want to learn about the hard way. It was at that time that I realized how important it is to my parents that we remain pure, and how much they would rather we learn from other peoples mistakes rather than by making our own.

That got me thinking about how very blessed I am to have parents who are willing to spend time teaching me and informing me about the world, so that when I am living without them to guide me, I will be able to live as a godly young woman. That they want so much for me to succeed, that they have worked so hard to be a big part of my life, so that during my trying teen years, we will maintain a healthy relationship, and I won't end up looking for affection elsewhere.

With this in mind, I leave you this evening with this Bible verse.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13

Tuesday, February 24

What do you think?

I am not one for political arguments or anything like that, but when something collides with my religious beliefs, I won't stand back and let the government do as it pleases without stating my thoughts on the matter. Now if you are really smart, you have probably figured out that this is about my thoughts on a certain matter that has something to do with the government.

You may have heard of a treaty called U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (the CRC). This is a treaty that the U.N has come up with. And guess what? If it passes here, the United States will be voluntarily ceding its sovereignty to the U.N. Isn't that something? You can read a very interesting article on this here.

Here are a few eye catching excerpts as well:

The treaty clearly bans all corporal punishment, including spanking by parents. Congress would have both the duty as well as the power to implement legislation which directly imposes legal sanctions against parents to spank their children. Spanking could be a federal crime if the CRC is ratified...

The biggest areas of potential conflict, understandably, are the issues of education and religious instruction. If your child decides he no longer wants to be homeschooled and wants to attend the local public school, the decision will likely come down in his favor
...

Children will have a legally enforceable right to complain about anything they wish...

So what does this mean? Basically it means that parents will not be allowed to train up their children in the way they should go. It means that parents will have little or no control over what they have birthed, and kids will be allowed to twist people's arms to get what they want.

I don't know about you, but that makes me furious. Sure, I will still be allowed to do my chores and help in the kitchen, but when I have children of my own, they will be able to turn me in for disciplining them. I won't have control in my own home, and my children will, in a way, have more rights than me.

So what do you think? Should we let this stinker of a bill pass, or should we speak up for what we believe? Whatever you think, please be praying for our country. It needs all the prayer we can give.

Sunday, February 22

Too much of a good thing

Last week, on Sunday, I was pretty grumpy. I actually was really mad. So I went in my room and chose to use my evil energy on something not unproductive. I did 100 sit ups. This was quite an accomplishment for me because my previous record was 80 sit ups, and that was 2 years ago. I enjoyed the workout. I did it again the next few nights. But the pain I experienced in the daytime was unbearable, so after four days of agony, I quit. That was on Wednesday. Just today, my abdominal pain has abandoned me, and I am happy about that.

Today we went sledding in Cloquet. That was a great time. You may have read in a much earlier blog post about the hill in Cloquet. If you haven't, it just rocks. This year, the whole bottom of the hill was covered in jumps. I hurt my knees really badly, but it was fun, so I didn't worry about it. I got close to 3 feet of air some of the times, and usually I landed on my side, with my sled landing about 10 feet away.

Then we went bowling. Lynae, Grace, and I were all bowling in the same lane. We agreed that if Grace beat Lynae or me, whoever Grace beat would pay for a game of pool. The end of the first game was discouraging: Lynae won, followed by Grace, and I was 27 points behind Grace. But then we played a second game, and in the end of this one, I had 157 points, Lynae had 97, and Grace had 94. I was much happier with this one, but I had to pay for the game of pool. I paid for the game of pool. Lynae beat me. As of right now, I am still waiting for her to reimburse me for that.

Wednesday, February 18

I never thought.....

Facebook has really changed my life quite a bit in the past few months. It eats away at spare time and tempts me daily to join in the word games, war games, and other virtual games it has to offer me.

At the same time, it has become a major motivator for getting my school and chores done. It has helped me connect to people that I haven't seen in years (or seen at all). It is also pretty much the most high-tech thing I have.

I never thought that a little web page could change my life, but my facebook has. I now must work every day avoiding things and resisting things that will drag me down. It has brought me into a big persons world, where I must decide what to do with my time.

Thankfully, my parents have put restraints on what I can do with my time. They have welcomed me to the world in a way that has protected me from many things, while at the same time I've been able to see what's out there. Someday I won't have them there to watch over and guide me, and I will have to make these decisions myself. I'm glad that they are working hard to this day to instill good habits in me, and I dearly hope I don't disappoint them.

Wednesday, February 11

Tell me now...

I was at the doctor yesterday. I don't go there often anymore since I upgraded myself to a state of invincibility*, but some things never change, or if they do, it isn't easy. Things that don't really affect your health but you go to the doctor anyway. Shots are a good example, but I never get any shots. The reason I was at the doctor was that I had a wart on the bottom of my foot, and if you ever look at a foot you will quickly notice that the bottom is the part that generally is placed on the ground in an attempt to perform graceful locomotion. During this process, the wart generally hits the ground before the rest of your foot. This requires that the weight of your body drives the wart into your foot every time you step. It isn't pretty.

I had this wart for about two weeks, and then we went to the doctor because it was driving me crazy. Well, wouldn't you know it, halfway to the doctor, we had car trouble. This is not because we are white trash trying to see how much farther we can get our 1986 El Camino to run, these things just happen. So we got it to Deep Rock, and then I ran home to get the car. We finally got to the doctor's office. When we got in the room, the nurse (?) needed to know if I had any health problems. She asked if I was allergic to any medicines, who my doctor is, (to which I replied, "I ain't got one"), how old I was, and then she said, "ok, you're 15, do you smoke?" What do you mean, "do you smoke"? Why would I smoke? Isn't that illegal at my age? Why would I want to do something illegal if it had nothing to do with driving?

So, I told her that I didn't smoke. Then she left and the doctor came in a few minutes later.

The doctor told me all about the method he was going to use, which was the freeze method. I was familiar with this method. I had a wart on the palm of my hand several years ago, and Mom tried to freeze it, but it would not die, and so it stayed there for several years until it just went away. I had a wart on my scalp around the same time, and it too went away after several years. Anyway, I was not too thrilled to hear that the doctor was going to freeze the wart on my foot, but I held still, and it wasn't as bad as I expected.

* This is a joke. Most people my age think they are invincible. I could care less if I'm invincible, all my friends go to the doctor.

Tuesday, February 10

Love

Love: a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

Love is a very strong feeling that each of us has for certain things. For instance, I love my family and friends, but I love them each for different reasons.

I love my friends because they treat me kindly and include me. I love my family because they are always there for me; ready to do me a favor, help me with my work, and teach me so I can mature.

There are also other things I can love; such as the smell of fresh flowers or the sound of a flowing river. This is a type of love but isn't the same as the love I feel for my parents. I love the smell of flowers simply because they smell nice, but I love my parents because they have shown me love. That is something that flowers can't do for me. They can never even come close. My parents have worked hard to train me, care for me, and help me become who I am today.

And yet, there is one person that I love more than anyone or anything else that I've ever known. Someone who has done me so big a favor that I can't even begin to repay them. You see, Jesus died for all my sins. That may not seem big when it's put that way, but if he hadn't done that I would have suffered for my sins for all eternity. By putting my trust in Jesus, I can be sure that I won't have to suffer those consequences. That's a big deal, and I can only do a very little in comparison. How can I show him love though? I can thank him for his wonderful gift, and obey his commandments. I can show gratitude by thanking him and respecting him, and I can share the love with others.

Wednesday, January 28

Economic wish list

I was only able to skim the first 172 pages of the House economic stimulus bill. After that the absurdity was just too much. It reads like a child's Christmas wish list, before the "Ok, now let's get real" part. And yet, most of the Democrats are drooling over the thought of all that extra money, not considering the real cost of such outrageous debt.

In the spirit of understanding, I'd like to share my own absurd wish list:

  1. Physical health - To ensure the optimal physical health of the family, we will need a complete inspection of our home, to include inspection for pests, mold, asbestos, lead, and other harmful substances. We will also hire a chiropractor, nutritionist, cook, personal trainer, and homeopath. All expenses for training, equipment, supplies, and modifications will be covered. So will doctor visits and prescriptions, of course. Dental and orthodontic care will be covered, including general anesthesia when desired.
  2. Mental health - Costs covered will include psychiatric evaluations, therapies, drugs, weekly date nights, monthly retreats, and quarterly vacations complete with qualified respite care provider for special needs children. Hobbies shall also be covered in full, to include additional buildings and equipment as necessary.
  3. Housing - Monies will be provided for kitchen expansion and renovation to include energy saving appliances and code compliant installation of wood cook stove, bathroom remodel to include rearrangement of fixtures in such a way as to reduce skinned knuckles and general irritation. House shall be equipped with iron removal system for all plumbing, new water softener, secondary laundry facilities, walk-in freezer, new and matching siding on all parts of house regardless of age, functional windows in front room, insulation over bathroom ceiling, updated soffits, and solar panels on south-facing roof. Squeaky floors, cracks in walls, poorly painted trim, and faulty drywall fasteners shall all be repaired. Woodwork shall be restored to its original beauty, as shall all hardwood floors. Basement shall be sealed against water leakage, and all possible causes of such leakage shall be eliminated.
  4. Education - Laptops shall be provided for each student, fully loaded with necessary hardware and software for optimal educational opportunities at each grade level. All books shall be covered upon approval by primary educator, with oversight provided by chief administrator. Funding shall be provided for biweekly field trips, to include lodging and meals as necessary. Tutoring shall be provided as deemed necessary by primary educator. Costs of state mandated testing will be covered by local school district; however, chief administrator will retain sole rights to viewing of results of said tests. Funding will also be provided for enrichment classes and activities, to include summer camp, driver's ed, and private music lessons.
  5. Transportation - An outrageous sum shall be provided for shiny, new vehicles for each licensed driver in the household, until September 30, 2012. Vehicles will be chosen based on the needs of the primary driver. Considerations will include cargo space, gas mileage, leg room, temperature control, and typical driving conditions. An honest and reliable mechanic will be kept on retainer, with all upgrade, maintenance, and repair costs covered by this plan. To properly house these vehicles, demolition of the old garage and construction of a new garage will take place ASAP. In order to prevent damage to vehicles occurring on our property, the driveway will be upgraded to asphalt, with special considerations for the swampy nature of the property.
  6. Sustenance - Money and professional help shall be provided for livestock, its housing and equipment, raised garden beds filled with luxuriously amended soil, a lovely and functional root cellar, and a summer kitchen outfitted with all necessary equipment for food preservation. In addition, house shall be equipped with all necessary improvements to ensure smooth operation of appliances and utilities in case of power outage.
Yeah, ok, that was fun. And look at how many jobs would be created!

Now it's time to get real. Some of those things may be necessary, and we'll find a way to cover them without additional debt. But nothing on that list addresses the real need we have, to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.

Does our nation need that any less than you or I do?

And do they really think it's worthwhile to buy condoms on credit?

My painting

I have always enjoyed painting, but drawing on the other hand is a disaster for me. The only two things I'm actually good at drawing are houses and tulips. Well, Mom has been trying to help me feel good about my art, so she recently had me sketch and paint a picture. The rules were that I couldn't copy other work, I had to make it of flowers, and I had to do my best.

Well, I kept putting it off, hoping that I could forget about it, but finally I had to do it. I had 2 days to come up with a flower scene, draw it, and paint it neatly. I finally sketched it, and realized that it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Then came the fun part; painting it. I mixed acrylic paints until I came up with the desired colors, and carefully applied them. Here is the finished product:

This is the first work of art I have ever made that I am not ashamed of. Sure it has mistakes, but I was able to learn from this experience that if I just relax and stop worrying, it will be okay. And that my friends, is worth more than the best painting in the world.

Monday, January 26

-10° in Frigid, Minnesota

It takes longer to clear the frost from the inside of the windshield than the outside.

People here can leave their cars running while they run into the post office... or the grocery store.

And the bagger will still take the groceries out to your car without a coat on.

Back at home, the wandering pup can be sent out to "be quick" by himself; he won't stay out any longer than necessary.

When sent outside to play, the kids will probably decide to come in after just one pair of snow-filled mittens, rather than changing into a second pair and going back out. And the 6yo will probably leave her hat on her head instead of leaving it in a tunnel of the snow fort.

The humid air blowing out the dryer vent causes it to snow on my kitchen windows.

What's not to love about that?

Saturday, January 24

The hopelessness of life without Christ

From The Gulag Archipelago:

"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

During the life of any heart this line keeps changing place; sometimes it is squeezed one way by exuberant evil and sometimes it shifts to allow enough space for good to flourish. One and the same human being is, at various ages, under various circumstances, a totally different human being. At times he is close to being a devil, at times to sainthood. But his name doesn't change, and to that name we ascribe the whole lot, good and evil."

Except for the saving power of Jesus Christ, we have no hope of ever rising above the hopelessness of that cycle. While we may still struggle, through Christ we have the strength to be overcomers. The grace God extends to us is so amazing! Who among us deserves to be spared the penalty for the evil sin nature within us?

Believing in change

It seems I keep hearing Obama supporters say that now that he is president, "we" have hope, can come together and work to improve this country, etc. What were they who call themselves "we" doing before? Were they not helping the poor, the elderly, the sick, the less fortunate by giving of their time, talent, and money? Were they so busy sucking lemons they couldn't see past their own wants and complaints?

How curious that conservatives have more of a reputation for giving to charity than liberals, regardless of income level. Just who is looking out for "the little guy", and who has been passing that responsibility off to the government?

I must echo much of what the Headmistress had to say today:

It's just not that difficult to take the family to a nursing home, to package up supplies to send to hurricane victims, to take a bunch of games to a local childrens' home to play, to bring baby clothes and diapers to a homeless shelter or a crisis pregnancy center, to package toys, school supplies, and goodies in a shoebox to send to children in Mexico for Christmas, to bake cookies or muffins and take them to the older people at church- these things are not painful, not terribly inconvenient or burdensome (so much the contrary that it's embarrassing to mention them)- and you don't need the President to tell you do these things.

Or you shouldn't.
My family and I have done many of those same things, and others as well. With one income. And the busyness of homeschooling. And involving a child with special needs. That doesn't mean we're rich, or special, or have more time on our hands than anyone else. We all find the time and money for that which is important to us.

I am surprised and disappointed that it has taken so many Americans until now to feel they had permission to serve others. Especially those who claim Jesus as their Lord. (Did they read the handbook?)

Just imagine where this country would be now if the Obama followers had been helping others for the past eight (or more) years rather than sitting around waiting for the government to issue more handouts. If only they had believed in this kind of change all along.

Sunday, January 18

I got myself an unlikely new disciple for my cause...

Well I've had a couple of my traps in the house the past week or two, for pictures and whatnot. Last night my baby sister, who is now 6, saw me firing a #1 on my hand without flinching or anything, and she came in to watch me do it some more. Then I told her to try it because I knew it wouldn't hurt her, but she was pretty nervous. I told her she could put her hand in her sleeve to fire the trap if she wanted, so she tried it and she didn't feel any pain, so I told her to try it with bare hands.

She was kinda nervous, she wanted me to give her all my money if it hurt her, so I said I would. She fired it on her hand and started laughing.

I hope that she tells all her friends, especially if she meets any people who are animal rights folks, because if a 6 year old feels no pain in a trap, which, by the way, I used for mink and muskrat earlier this year, then is there any reason that an animal would feel pain?

Saturday, January 17

Well the temperature has warmed up nicely, and we were blessed with a fresh dusting of yard grace last night. The sun is shining and snow is drifting. The trees are filled with the usual birds: chickadees, nuthatches, redpolls, and goldfinches.

We're spending a cozy weekend at home, working on skill development and getting to know ourselves and each other better.

I think I can see February from here.

Monday, January 12

Winter Activities

As you know, there are a lot of different activities that people do in the Winter. These range from snowmobiling to ice fishing. We all have certain favorites, often based on our varying lifestyles, that tell others a lot about ourselves. For instance, there could be someone that enjoys going north from the cities to go skiing, while someone else prefers to stay in their home watching the birds.

Our family has seven people that all enjoy certain things.

  • Grace loves making little snowmen, and going skating on our little pond.
  • Michael likes having snowball fights and sledding.
  • Jonathan likes duking random stuff out with Mike and having snowball fights.
  • I find pleasure in shoveling and sledding(what a nerd!).
  • Toby likes building giant snow forts (yes, I will show some pictures) and walking across town to check traps.
  • The parents prefer to stay inside watching the birds and the football games.
Just by looking at a group of activities, and picking out the ones that different people enjoy, we can gather quite a bit of insight about their personalities. These things all reflect who we are. Grace is a child at heart, Mike and Jon are boys who love having someone else their own size to play/wrestle with. Toby likes doing big important things, and I prefer simple tasks and traditional play, and the parents enjoy being inside enjoying the wonderfulness of Winter.

Not bad, considering my sheltered life

I've seen this around, but it was reading it on Esther's blog that made me decide to actually do it here. The ones I've done (that I remember) are in bold. (Just because I don't remember it doesn't mean it didn't happen.) Which have you done? I'd love to know.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given generously to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea - it seems likely that I did, but I don't know for sure
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - I don't even know what this means, really
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - though it wasn't the money that did it
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Been deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt - I'm workin' on it
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone - my poor toe!
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car - it's not all it's cracked up to be
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - I may have and just don't remember. I'm like that.
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee