Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sound of a Soft Breath

- sound of a soft breath -
...listening for the "still small voice." 1 KINGS 19: 11 - 13

My top dropper is almost always guaranteed to be Brad at sound of a soft breath, the most wonderful Christian blog on Blogger in my humble opinion. I am not sure as to whether Brad discovered me at TheZooCrew, or whether I discovered him at sound of a soft breath, first. Either way, I am glad to have such a wonderful, inspirational blog to visit at my leisure.

sound of a soft breath is a storehouse of resources and inspiration. Brad really takes the time to create a space that provides information relevant to general Christianity without selling any one religion. When visiting sound of a soft breath one never feels preached to. Rather you feel a sense of friendship through the common bond of humanity.

If you need a boost in spirit, be it emotional or actual spiritual uplifting, your needs will surely be met at sound of a soft breath. Maybe you are interested in making a difference in the world. Brad has several resources that give you that opportunity as well.

No matter what, there is always something to be learned, shared, or savored during your visit at sound of a soft breath on any given day. Take the time to look through the site. Peruse the archives. You never know what may speak to your heart at sound of a soft breath.

My Top 10 Droppers for January:

sound of a soft breath
Lola's Diner
The Art and Science of Parenting
Serian Man
FickleMinded-A Life That Is Less Ordinary
House of Book
THE Andrea
Bingo Sites Online for Women
Diet Recipes Blog
Melissas Homeschool

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Sabbath!

This Sabbath I thought I would share a recipe that I found over at The Krazy Kyles. This is a great recipe for Sabbath since it can easily be made ahead. I will be trying it very soon. Enjoy!

Bran - Orange Muffins (Jerry & Patti Kyle)

Makes enough for 4 batches

4 cups Oat Bran
4 cups Flour (white)
3 cups Oatmeal
3 cups Raisins
2 cups Brown Sugar
1 cup Chopped Dried Apricots
1/4 cup Baking Powder
4 t. Cinnamon
2 t. Salt

Mix up and store for future muffin making.

To make the muffins add:

2 cups of mix
equal parts of applesauce and soy milk producing a consistency similar to hot cereal

Also add goodies such as:

Orange Rind
Diced Apples

Put in muffin cups and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Down with the Flu

I have posted about remedies before, and I guess I am giving them a plug again. The Boiron site is very informative. I started coming down with something Sunday night. I managed to fend it off until late Monday afternoon with a lot of prayer and a stomach remedy I happened to have on hand. It was not exactly what was called for, but it kept the nausea at bay. I had something VERY important to attend to that day, and it was imperative that I make it through able to speak and drive back and forth on a two-hour, round trip drive. Fortunately, I made it home before running to the bathroom.

I even managed just enough time to stop off at my local health store and pick up oscillococcinum. (Too bad I did not know about the two dollar coupon offered on their site.) Having watched my granddaughter while she was sick, I knew what I was in for! It was not going to be pretty.

Having had the gumption to stop and pick up my reliable remedy was just what was ordered. I took it from the outset and was only literally ill once. What a relief! I do not know about you, but "praying to the porcelain god" is about as low on my list of things I like to do as you can go. I spent all of Wednesday evening and Tuesday in bed and moved a little slow on Wednesday, but I am just fine now.

I am telling you, if you have not ever taken the time to learn about homeopathy, you really should give it a look-see. It is SO worth your time to check out. For the most part, they are affordable. With our family spending most of our years uninsured they have been the ultimate blessing. I have actually grown to appreciate not having health insurance. The freedom that comes with that is life altering. We can make all of our own decisions, and I choose natural medicine with gratitude.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Enjoy Being a Parent

I just L-O-V-E, love Scott Noelle at Enjoying Parenting! His daily emails are inspirational, challenging, thought provoking, and encouraging. Scott really has a gift of showing us what is so blatantly obvious, but somehow society has managed to snugly secure blinders over our eyes preventing us from seeing what has always been there; pure, gentle spirits.

Our nature as humans really is pretty simple. We are creatures of habit, and when our habits get changed to something less than desirable we can flounder there forever if left unchallenged. Scott provides that challenge in a kind and gentle way. He is so simple and loving in his presentation that I often find myself thinking, "Well, duh! Why on earth don't I think that way already?"

It is SO very easy to get caught up in the daily grind that we can slip right into negative behavior and bad decision making and be completely unaware of just exactly where we have allowed ourselves to go in our thinking and behavior. Left unchecked, as humans we can go rapidly into a downward spiral. Our children are first, right after ourselves, in the line of those effected by the decisions we choose to make.

When you think about it, our children are really quite vulnerable to our behavior. They are directly effected by our state of mind and actions. I know my kids are VERY in tune with me. If something is bothering me, and (I think) I have not given any outward indication to that fact, my children ALWAYS ask me what is wrong. I am definitely a person that wears my heart on my sleeve, but even when I want to keep things under wraps it is impossible to do so in regard to my children. So, if they are so susceptible to something we are trying not to share just imagine how they are impacted by those things that we do without thought on a daily basis. The impact is profound!

I always think of little ones as a sponge. They go around soaking up everything around them until they are overflowing. Imagine the difference we can make if their little sponge selves are filled with positive emotion, creative thinking, and useful information. In my thinking filling them with good things better equips them to keep the negative things at bay. A sponge that is already full has no room for more. You have to squeeze out some of the water down the drain in order for more to be soaked up. What better to refill our child sponges with than good, clean parental interaction. Modeling positive and creative thinking for them as youngsters can only have a positive impact on them as they grow and mature; not to mention the bond you create with yourself and your children through such positive interaction in childhood.

Take the time to visit Scott's web site, Enjoy Parenting. You and your children can only benefit from the resources and articles available there. Scott's advice is perfect for parents that have children of all ages. At first glace it may seem like his information is only directed toward parents of young children, but my youngest is soon to be 15 years old, and I still love reading Scott's daily emails. They're FREE, so you might as well sign up while you are there!

Monday, January 26, 2009

How it is Going

Well, our first week with our new schedule has concluded, and I learned that...

1. I am more sane today than I was a week ago!

2. Remembering to be flexible is the most valuable thing in trying to keep to a schedule.

3. Schedules are good to use as a guideline to help keep you focused and moving toward a goal.

4. Lists are great and keep your thoughts from running around like wild horses out of the corral.

5. It is great fun crossing things off of your list!

6. Getting plenty of rest, and the occasional cup of coffee, is greatly helpful in achieving what is on your list of things to do.

7. There is nothing wrong with asking for help in achieving some of your tasks.

8. Organizing things into manageable bits makes completing large projects much more enjoyable and easier to accomplish.

9. Everyone around you benefits when you are organized.

10. A hot bath with Epsom Salt should definitely be high on your priority list when your list is large like mine was!

All in all, great things were accomplished. I feel good about it, and I am glad I avoided a breakdown. I just verified once again that I definitely am a list person.

* Thanks to Goddess Spiral for this totally awesome picture!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Entrecard Toolbar

Last week I was exploring the Entrecard Blog a little. I visited the blog, poked around, and what should I find? There is an Entrecard Toolbar for Firefox! How on earth did I not know about this?

I had pondered on more than one occasion, "Just how do people drop so many cards in one day? Do they have nothing else to do?" Well, the answer is clear as crystal now! They use the Entrecard Toolbar for Firefox. I installed it immediately, and I am a dropping to I just love it! I can find so many more blogs in a much more efficient manner. AND, I can reach my maximum drops of 300 in less than an hour. However, I do get sidetracked every now and then. It is so much more fun to explore the vast abundance and variety of blogs out there now.

Another way I like to explore member blogs is to visit a member site, click on the Entrecard that is currently on their site. See where it takes you, and continue doing it from site to site until you find an Entrecard that you've already dropped on. Try it sometime. It really can be fun and interesting.

Take a minute to install the Entrecard Toolbar for Firefox and see what you have been missing. (Of course, you need to be using Firefox to do so.) It is such an awesome way to find fellow Entrecarders and read what they are writing about. There is such a vast array of blogs, topics, styles, and information! Searching and reading what everyone is working on is inspirational and informative. Have fun dropping your card!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Coke Bottle Music

I was doing some research for our Ancient History curriculum and stumbled upon this. I think it is so cool that I decided to share it here. Who knew you could make such cool sounding music with a Coke bottle and a tambourine?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Booger Picking?

After spending five days at a good friend's house, three of them hanging with her five youngest children, I found myself pondering booger picking. It amazed me that a nine year old would pick their nose and eat it without batting an eye. Honestly, I thought that just little, little kids did that and only because they did not know better. Well, I did a little research.

According to, boogers are mucus with an important job in our bodies. They protect our lungs from things like dust, dirt, germs, and pollen. This prevents our lungs from getting irritated or infected and keeps us breathing freely. Their advice is to blow your nose instead of picking to rid yourself of unwanted boogers thereby reducing your exposure to the germs trapped in boogers.

It has become evident to me through this brief research that children are not alone in booger picking. Apparently, people of all ages pick and eat their boogers. Can you say gross? However, this does remind me of an English teacher who shall remain nameless that I had in Junior High School that picked his boogers and put them either behind his tie or his ear. Yes, it is true! I saw it with my own eyes. Anyone that had this particular teacher could easily vouch for my accuracy.

Booger picking is such a happening thing that there are actually medical terms to identify various aspects of booger picking. Here's a quick English lesson:

Rhinotillexis - using one's finger to extract a booger.

Rhinotillexomania - compulsively using one's finger to extract a booger.

Mucophagy - the act of eating one's boogers.

Joel, at The Straight Up Truth, has apparently wondered about booger picking himself. His article, Eating Boogers Is Like Really Grody Penicillin, informs us that there is actually evidence that picking and eating boogers is good for our health. It seems research has been done to support such a claim. Seriously, just Google "eating boogers", and you will find numerous links to support this claim.

Happy hunting!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Getting it Together

Things are FINALLY falling into place, and my head seems to have quit spinning, at least for now. My To Do List is shrinking, and I am getting more planning done. This is likely due to the fact that I have left the building. That is, I am away from home until Sunday. This is allowing me time to think and wade through the details of what needs to be done.

Two things that I am doing that have made a huge difference in the static content of my brain are planning my educational calendar and making a meal plan. It is nice to be able to open up my planner, look at what needs to be done, and not have to think about it. By the end of the weekend I will have our school plans laid out in more detail through at least February. I will also have planned our meals through the end of the month. It is SO NICE to not have to think about what I am going to make for dinner each and every day. If you do not practice this habit already, I highly recommend it. It is very beneficial and quite the time saver.

After I have completed my meal plan I will be writing my grocery list so that I am fully prepared for next week upon returning home. The real challenge will be getting back on track with our school day and incorporating my 2.5 year old grandson into the schedule with two teenagers! Fortunately, my good friend is giving us some age appropriate items that her children have grown out of that he will likely have fun with. I am going to try to give him things to do that challenge him and provide stimulating activity not just television style babysitting to keep him out of our hair.

Part of lowering my internal vibration will include a drastic organizational overhaul of our office area. It used to be our master bedroom, so it is descent sized. Over the course of the next few weeks we will be converting it into an office/music room, and I am VERY excited to finally gain control over the space. It is the last area of our home that needs organizational attention. It will be a TREMENDOUS relief on me to finally have it functioning effectively for our needs.

Check back next Monday to see just how all this positive progress has really panned out for me...

Friday, January 16, 2009


Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. ~ Exodus 20:8

The fourth commandment is the one commandment that God specifically tells us to REMEMBER. The Sabbath is a special gift of personal time from God to us. It is a day of delight. Sabbath is a time for rest and reflection. It is a special time set aside for family and peace. There is much to be gained from honoring the Sabbath.

Anticipate and look forward to the weekly Sabbath rest. Plan your time with God and family. Make it special. Use special dishes for dinner, or make a special meal. Study and pray together. Enjoy time more slowed with focus on God and eachother. Open Sabbath as a most precious gift. Share it. Bask in it.

Peace to you, and Happy Sabbath!

Beautiful Orchid

Marla's Orchid still blooming since October!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Five Generations

There are only four of us pictured here, but I wanted to share the picture anyway. Unfortunately, my grandma could not be here for Christmas this year. They spent it in the mountains of Arizona with my uncle. He lives totally off the grid. My hero! One day I would like to be just like him.

It is SO cool having so many generations together at once. What a privilege to have young grandparents. My grandparents are actually younger than Pat's parents. Talk about weird. I do not recall their exact ages, but my grandparents are only in their mid-70's. My mom, pictured at right, will be 59 in March. That is pretty cool, too. Pat's mom is 78, I think. His dad was 79 when he passed away in November. He would have been 80 this coming February. I am sure that time will be hard for everyone. I know the first couple birthdays, holidays, and Father's Day's were hard for me when my dad passed. He was only 57 when he died of Male Breast Cancer.

I am pictured to the left in the picture. My birthday was last week, and I turned 38. My daughter, Amy, is 22 and holding our oldest grandchild, Harmony, who is three-and-a-half. Those halves matter when you are young! Have you ever heard a mom tell someone the age of their child and the child chimes in, "AND A HALF!"? I think that is too cute. If only they knew that making oneself older looses it's charm at about 29 years old.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Isn't he cute?
This little guy visited the roof of our garage recently.
It was rather shocking to see him just looking
around in the middle of the afternoon!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Getting a Handle on Things

Well, I cannot recommend a To Do List highly enough to remove a sense of burden from your shoulders and clear your head. However, if your list is as insane as mine, the feeling will come and go until more items get crossed off; ACCOMPLISHED! Fortunately, I have managed to cross some things off, and I will have opportunity to cross off more throughout the week. I am now in manageable, bite-sized chunks. Don't get me wrong, it is still overwhelming at times, but the list does help immensely.

Nothing eases my mind and soul more than doing things for other people. Tomorrow, my best friend of 27 years will be coming to pick me up for an extended visit. I will be going to her house for the remainder of the week with my husband to join me on Friday evening.

My friend's husband is out of town for work, and tomorrow is her birthday. I will be making her a lovely dinner with her children while she takes a relaxing bath. As a homeschooling mom to SIX children all 15 years and under she rarely gets such a treat. Tomorrow afternoon and evening is going to be ALL about her. It will be a lot of fun!

By Friday her husband will have returned, and they will head out with their oldest daughter and some other teens from the church youth group, Pathfinders, for Teen Snow Outing at Camp Au Sable. Pat and I will stay with the remaining five children for the weekend. It should be a lot of fun. We are back by popular demand! This will be our second year doing this per the request of the children. What an honor to be requested!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Entrecard Bargain!

I have been SO busy that I haven been unable to work my site as much as I would like. With computers down and To Do Lists taking over my life it is amazing I am keeping up as much as I am. Due to the aforementioned challenges my Entrecard price has dropped to an all time low. Anyone interested in advertising? You can get your ad for THE ZOO CREW for a mere 8 credits! Act now, it won't be that low for long.

Friday, January 09, 2009

How Many Hats?

I am thinking this post will likely speak more loudly to women than it will to men, especially those women that are moms. There is a magnet on my refrigerator that a good friend gave me years ago. It is ringing ever so true for me right now. It reads, "I try to take one day at a time, but lately several days have attacked me at once!" Who knew that a magnet could speak so loudly through the morning silence.

Pat is off to work, and with him Andrew is at martial arts. This leaves Adrian and Amie in bed and me on our new computer. (Who knew our old one was SO old. I guess you just do not know what you are missing until you have something new. The old computer pales in comparison.) You would think that I, being the solitary type that NEVER gets enough quiet time, would be reveling in the silence. That would be true if my list of THINGS TO DO was not screaming inside my head!

Talk about overburdened. Check this list out, and see if you don't get a headache:

- Take post-Christmas stuff from kitchen to garage.

- Reorganize garage before tomorrow in preparation for husband unloading contents of our old transmission shop into it in preparation for going back into business at new location this year.

- Regain control in office which is still being attacked from post-Christmas remnants.

- Do 2008 filing and prepare for filing taxes.

- Update the bills, and do a new financial plan for the year. Put in place new savings plan in preparation for new business.

- Do the laundry, again!

- Update calendar to include new weekly and monthly commitment.

- Update calendar with Dustin in mind adding Tabitha's school and work schedule. (Dustin is our 2.5 year old grandson that I will be watching while his mom goes to college and work.)

- Prepare candy vending machines to be placed back out in the community in support of Solid Ground. Write up plan for Amie and Andrew to run business. Clean and empty machines. Get new candy. Get new stock of fliers and newsletters. Compile list of businesses.

- When old computers come back from repair capture bookmarks, email files, address book, and program files to disk for new computer.

- Create meal plan for month to prevent me from totally going insane.

- Write and mail Thank You cards for Christmas gifts.

- Box up gifts for Tammi and Rocco, daughter and grandson in Indiana, and mail. Do the same for grandparents in Florida.

- Plan our remaining educational calendar, and update my records. Gee, that's a quick and easy one!

- Get Amie's college books. They run almost $300, and she starts next week.

- Start back up with the Homeschool Teen Community Service team yet. We haven't met since October!

- Start planning VBS and the games for my family reunion in June.

- Start planning Christmas this month. My plan is to work on it one day per month until it gets closer. I just need to set aside the time.

- Get Adrian to make some real progress in his Pathfinder workbook. We have a ton of reading to do.

- Call Micro Center about new computer in regard to bright pixel on new monitor, missing product code for software, and the camera not staying closed.

- Pay cell phone bill and mortgage.

- Make sure kids' plans are straight for weekend outings and trips this weekend and next. Especially next weekend since I will be out of town.

- Plan a night away at nice hotel with husband as his Christmas gift to me. (Too bad he's not planning it, too, as part of the gift!)

So, do you have a headache yet? I know for sure that is not even everything. How does that happen? How do we get SO overburdened? How do things snowball to such an extreme? It seems to happen to me at least once, but more like twice, per year. I always make it through, but this time it seems so overwhelming.

Just how many hats is a mom supposed to wear, and can she possibly wear them all at once? How does she choose which one to wear and when, when the rack is so full of choices? I honestly feel like a toddler trying to choose what clothes I want to wear. Why can't someone just set out two choice for me to minimize my burden? All I have done today is get up, talk to Pat and Andrew briefly, send an email and do my Bible Study. I am already ready to go back to bed. It feels like 11 o'clock at night, not eight o'clock in the morning.

I am thinking the remedy for me right now is to go take a long soak in the tub with some Epsom salt. You would not believe the health benefits of an Epsom soak. We have a 1920's claw-foot tub that is five feet long. I am only five foot, four inches. It is the perfect tub for a soak. My husband and I found it in a salvage yard and re-did it when we remodeled our downstairs. The bathroom is by far my favorite room in the house. I seriously consider taking the tub with us when we finally get around to moving.

That is another thing I need to deal with. We have had our house on the market since mid-November. It is a terrible time to move, but we have wanted to for so many years. I need to get with the real estate agent and discuss our options again. It's time to review what they are and are not doing in regard to selling our home.

Johnathan Hatch at How to Get Rid of Things: A People's Guide to Better Living has a great article on How to Get Rid of Stress. There are some wonderful tips there as well as some great resources. I am going to start off first by making a TO DO LIST and hanging it on the refrigerator. It will put things in perspective for me. Next, I will update my calendar including allocating time for the things that I need to do. This will give me a light at the end of the tunnel and make things more manageable for me.

Stay-at-home-moms, home educators, working moms, single moms; MY HATS OFF TO ALL OF YOU!

Friday, January 02, 2009


There is much to learn here, and I am starting with reliance. I have been learning this pretty heavily over the past year, not to mention my entire life, but it became a solid understanding in me this past year. God has ALWAYS taken care of me. Have things been tough? You better believe it! BUT, have I ever gone without my needs being met? Absolutely not. God has ALWAYS provided, and he is continuing to do so.

Now, more than ever before, I truly understand the importance of tithe and can see the effects in my life. We are called as servants. God wants to use us, but we need to be submissive. One pattern I have noticed is that, when I faithfully tithe, my finances stay in order and actually improve. However, when I mess up and become even slightly unfaithful, my finances become a mess. It's almost instant!

God uses so many things to teach us, and our lessons are tailor made. Have you ever noticed how God will repeat a lesson as many times as it takes for us to learn what it is we need to know? If we do not pay attention, a gentle nudge could turn into a whack upside the head! As I've grown and matured in life and my relationship with God, thankfully, I have learned to pay closer attention to the details of my life.

What is God trying to teach you? Are you open to His leading? Do you get the lesson the first time, or does it take more than a gentle nudge to get your attention? Are you conscious of life's lessons that play all around you everyday? I continue to become more present and aware in my life and what is happening around me. It definitely pays.

Being more conscious and aware has great rewards. For me the greatest has been peace. When we know and accept that God is in control the benefit is peace. What could we possibly have to worry about if we are not the one in the driver's seat? Try stepping back and observing what happens around you. Let go of control, and learn to be obedient. The rewards are bountiful!


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