Galatians 2:20 & 21 "For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Experiencing Temperature Shock

We are back from Honduras. I have got so much to post, good and bad. You know that you are on the right path and making positive differences for God's kingdom when Satan focuses his meanness on you and your family. We experienced that this week. BUT, Praise the Lord, Satan was not victorious! There were at least 49 new believers birthed into the Lord's kingdom this week and over 2000 heard the gospel message as they received their medical care. Everyone on the team was safe and no one had any serious injuries or illnesses.

I will post more on that later. And my dear husband, who is my techie, nerdy, brainy guy will download all my pictures to share!

Now to temp. shock...it was about 95 degrees in Honduras all week long. But when we got to Atlanta it was 41. Over 50 degree drop in temp in just 4 hours. And today, driving home from GA., it was in the 30's all day. Greg, Katie & I have stuffy heads and runny noses now. That coupled with the post mission trip exhaustion is going to be the cause of some early bedtimes.

More to come....I am really excited about sharing all about our trip! Thanks for the prayers!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Posting from Honduras

Please forgive any misspelled words or funny symbols...the keyboards down here a a little different.

The weather is beautiful and sunny...HOT. Something has got my allergies to going and I have a cough and runny nose. Am taking allergy stuff and using my inhaler. It seems to be pretty calm right now.

We are thrilled to have a large stove top and oven at the church, plus a fridge and freezer. We have hit the big time. We have walked and walked...4.5 miles Sat. and 4 miles Sun. Hopefully burning calories too! I have drunk lots of Mirinda, my very favorite drink down here.

The team is drinking 5 gallons of sweet tea every night and asking for more. It sure is a hit. Last night we had grilled hot dogs, sloppy joes and baked beans plus 4 chip dips Greg concocted and lots of chip selections. As usual, we cooked too much. At the end, we combined the sloppy joe sauce and baked beans and Katie and Greg started giving bowls to the church members as they got out of the services. They were very popular! Even to the children wanting the juice that was left in the bottom of the pan. They called it soup. Then we hauled out the leftover hotdogs, put them in buns, cut in half, and gave more away. We had men coming up and asking for the recipe in Spanish. Greg tried to explain as best he could. Several children laughed at my non-spanish. They love to see their pictures after I take them with the digital camera.

PRAISE REPORT: My little friend M that I have prayed for many months, is back with her foster father. I heard him talk about her the other day and found out she came back in Oct. About an hour later she ran into the kitchen and gave me huge hugs! It was great. I got to see her again last night for a few minutes.

I am typing this in an internet cafe, it cost about a $1 for an hour.

I am reminded again how totally spoiled I am and how much I take for granted. I can turn on my faucet and get warm, water. I can put my clothes in a washer and pull out clean clothes. I can shop once a week and come home and put the groceries in my fridge. We take so much for granted! Count your blessings.... I AM!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tornado Warnings In Jan.

Since I moved to Mississippi 4 1/2 years ago, I have wondered if the tornado sirens would wake me up in the middle of the night. Would I hear these or would I sleep through it and be in danger? Well last night the question was answered for me...not only would it wake me up...it would jolt me awake out of a sound sleep. Greg jumped up and ran to get the kids from upstairs and we all huddled in our bathroom. After the siren went off, Greg turned on the tv to watch the weather tracker. That storm was huge but it did pass us by (thank you Lord). Since the storm extended way in Louisiana, we decided the kids were sleeping downstairs with us...so as not to repeat the waking up to fetch kids. The 2nd round of storms came through but no more warning sirens.

It was hard to get up this morning but we were driving to GA. We passed 2 really bad wrecks on the way. The last wreck was westbound on I-20 at the Al/Ga line and it looked really bad, traffic was backed up for miles. We heard on the radio that there was a possible fatality and I had already guessed that. The cab of one of the trucks was crushed and the engine was inside the cab area. It was funny to watch the cars that were backed up, try to cut across median and get off the expressway. They got bogged down in the muck and mud in the median and got stuck! Then there was the guy sitting in his camp chair, beside his car stuck in traffic, playing his guitar! He had been there a while!

Right now, we are at Mom's. The kids are in Mom's bedroom with the Wii hooked up. They are teaching Shelby how to play. From the sounds, they are having a blast! Mom has cooked us a wonderful dinner of roast, carrots, potatoes, and green beans. And its dinner time.

Bright and early tomorrow morning, we are headed to the airport! Its time for Honduras! We have packed, prayed, and are ready for our adventure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting ready to Go!

This was my day to get school done, finish the laundry, and get completely packed.

School got done
Last laundry is in the washer

We are almost packed. We keep thinking of things we need to take. Being the cooks, Greg & I want to take some of our knives and spices and stuff to use down there. Which means, getting the stuff in the suitcases. We can each have 1 suitcase, weighing no more than 50 pounds. Greg's weighs 45 right now. Katie's is 30 and mine is 35. He has got extra stuff in his already for us to use for the week. The additional stuff we find will go into mine and Katie's. Need to make extra copies of the passports. And be ready to drive to GA at 8am.

We had a few distractions from our ready-ing today. One was a trip to the dentist for teeth cleaning. Everyone is in the No Cavity Club for this 6 months! Yippee!

I did a little reading on the internet about Honduras. I did find that the median income per year is $1,800 or so dollars. And I believe the website also said they were the poorest country in this hemisphere. I will have pictures when we get back.

There is an internet cafe across from our hotel so I can check in with Mom and Amy and Will and they can email me too. I don't know if we can get into the blogs or onto Facebook, but we will probably try!

Its gonna be a great week! I pray the Lord prepares the hearts of the Hondurans that will be coming to the medical clinics and hearing the gospel message. I am praying for safety for the folks traveling to the clinics and for our team as they travel around. I am praying for safety for Greg & I as we walk the streets of El Progresso buying food for our team meals (remember red lights are just a suggestion down there).

Speaking of traffic lights etc., Greg reminded me about the car horns. You should always honk your horn when driving. And just lay on the horn when you blast through the intersection on a red light...guess thats to call attention to the fact you just ran the light!

Gotta finish packing!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

Today was a marvelous Monday. First of all, Greg was off work today! I really could get used to 3 day weekends. We slept a little later than normal and then started our busy day.

Monday is laundry day and since it was warm & beautiful outside, I hung a couple of loads outside on the clothes line. The rest got dried/or are drying in the dryer. Laundry is a chore I really don't mind doing. And I do like hanging the clothes on the clothes line. I love to take advantage of the sun and wind.

Greg decided to cut down some little trees that we have been wanting to get rid of. He put his chain saw into action and got busy. Some of the pieces got put in our "fire pit" stack and the branches got hauled to the street. He got 3 trees cut and the garbage men have a big stack to haul away.

Then he and I went out for a lunch date and ran some errands. He dropped me off at Hancock Fabrics to take advantage of some sales and he went to Office Depot. Hancocks is really annoying me these days...they had some Novelty Cotton Fabric advertised for 50% off. The lady told me it wasn't on sale and I had to prove it with my ad (good thing I remembered to take it), the exact print was shown on the ad and she grudgingly gave the discount on that piece, then she didn't want to do the sale on the 2nd piece. (what a run-on sentence) Finally, I got out of there with my 2 sale piece fabrics and 4 patterns. But, you would have thought I was trying to rob the store. And I only bought 2 - pieces, 1/2 yard each, not a huge quantity. We really need a JoAnn's in Miss., then I wouldn't even fool with Hancocks.

Next was mulch buying at Home Depot. Greg and the kids got 10 bags of mulch spread behind the RV and around all the leyland cypress bushes. We got several flower beds raked out (and even found 3 little snakes, yuck)!

We are planning our garden boxes and trying to figure out how to arrange everything. It'll all be great when its done but we've got lots of planning and more work to do. I would love to plant enough green beans and squash to preserve for over the winter and not have to buy any at the store. And we are planting more cucumbers and bell peppers for our pickle relish that we all love. Then theres the tomatoes, peppers, sunflowers, corn, hot peppers, etc.

Greg and the girls fixed our dinner tonight. The girls fixed baked potatoes & green beans. Greg grilled us steaks on his new grill. Yummy and I didn't have to do any dinner prep or clean up!

Hope everyone had a Marvelous Monday, I know I did!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Images from Honduras

When the town wakes up every morning...the sliding doors open up over the store fronts & the tables of goods are set up on the sidewalks. Two or three generations of families work together to make money.There are many cars in El Progresso, but you will also see horses and carts. This driver and horse are taking a Siesta in the shade, trying to beat the heat in the middle of the day. There are also lunch carts that go out everyday on the streets selling hotdogs, chips, drinks, nachos, etc.
Beautiful children at the church. I gave 2 or 3 children packets of cookies and they went to find their friends. Good thing I had lots of cookies! Sweets bridge the language barrier! And digital cameras are a wonderful thing...they love to see the pictures that I take and everyone gets really excited to see themselves!
According to the "locals" if you don't protect and guard your homes, churches, etc. , others will think you don't care about your possessions and will help themselves. Bars, razor wire, etc. are common sites on the more affluent homes.
The medical teams suitcases full of medication, vitamins, etc. to take to the clinics where they will be working. The medical teams consist of general doctors, dentists, optometrists, pharmacy and evangelism. The dentist will pull about 30 teeth a day, be comes back at night exhausted.
These are pictures from 3 years ago. I'll take lots when we go this year! Can't wait to share about our adventures and how the Lord works during the week. We will drive to Atlanta on Thursday and get up bright & early on Friday morning to get to Atlanta Airport. The flight is between 4 & 5 hours. Looking forward to Friday!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cool contest I found to win free groceries for a year

Hey, I just entered this contest on Cozi.com to win free groceries for a year. All you have to do is put in your email address.

Even if you don’t enter, please click the link to help me win. (I get an extra entry for telling you.) Thanks!

Meals for the Mission Trip

Now to the fun part! I've explained about shopping and our kitchen in Honduras now lets talk about food....

Breakfasts - these are always full meals - every morning we'll have coffee, tea/juice, oatmeal/grits plus...scrambled eggs or sausage gravy & biscuits or pancakes or eggs & bacon. Lots of protein & carbs. You may be asking yourself "now how are they going to cook biscuits with no oven?", its really easy..there is a KFC in town and Mario will call and place our biscuit order and go pick it up for us. Yes, some may call that cheating, but its affordable and handy. Mario also has a farm, so we will have all the farm fresh eggs we need every morning. On Tuesday morning, we will have lots & lots of breakfast burritos. The team leaves at 7 and drives 3 hours to their mission for the day, and they eat breakfast on the bus. They take lots of snacks and drinks that day for the long rides.

While Greg & I are fixing breakfasts, the sandwich team will be assembling and fixing lunches for the day. Everyone will get a lunchmeat sandwich & a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chips, cookies/crackers, water and soft drinks. Not everyone will eat 2 sandwiches but they will be eaten for snacks later in the day or given away. Each team will have a cooler for drinks and sandwiches.

Dinners - once again - big full meals. We've done spaghetti/salad/bread/fruit/dessert night, tostados/spanish rice/nachos/fruit/salad/dessert night, pork chops/vegetables/rice or noodles/salad/dessert night, shephards pie/salad/fruit/dessert night, chicken & dumplings/vegetables/salad/fruit/dessert night. Its a treat to have fresh local fruit in January to serve (& eat). The cantaloupe and watermelon is super yummy. We have found some really good bakeries run by talented bakers. We have bought beautiful cakes, yummy cookies and sweet breads to serve. Once again, the prices are great and the goodies are delicious. (Of course quality control has to sample to make sure we won't poison the team! Its a hard job, but someones gotta do it).

The first night, the whole team will eat at the local Wendy's for burgers and fries. This Wendy's serves nachos too! This gives us a chance to shop and set up the kitchen for breakfast the next morning. The last day, the whole team will have an "off" day and travel to a resort area for swimming, fellowship, walking on the beach, and eating lunch. That night, everyone is on their own for dinner. The cooks are packing up the kitchen. The last morning will be in the hotel lobby, we will have breakfast pastries, breakfast or granola bars, coffee, juice, etc. available. Then we head to the airport!

Any packaged food that is leftover will be donated to either the orphanage or feeding center, the church, or the Christian school. One of the things that Greg & I love to do is find folks to give our leftovers to, everynight. We will feed the night watchman, the pastor and his family, and anyone who comes and asks for food. One night, a man came in the gate talking rapidly in Spanish. I didn't understand a word and finally he said "I hungry". OK, that I understand. All we had left that night were leftover sandwiches from the teams lunch, but he took them graciously and left with many thank you's!

We take out our garbage everynight and put in the big, cage looking boxes for pickup. Its very humbling to come every morning and see that our garbage has been gone through. This gives a whole new meaning to dumpster diving.

Next, I will talk about some of the sights we will see on our walks through El Progresso!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Kitchen in Honduras

The kitchen we use to cook for the Mission Team in El Progresso is located at Inglesia Bautista Betania (Bethany Baptist Church).

The kitchen is constructed of large cinder blocks for 3 walls. The 4th wall contains the door and a huge window opening with bars over it. The window has an aluminum screen that shuts down over it at night.

The left side of the kitchen is a long tile counter and double sinks. Underneath is open. On the counter we keep all the bread (I just can't bring myself to put it on the floor). The sinks do have running water that travels to the sink from collection cisterns on the roof. It is only cold water...the hot water faucet is just there as a decoration. At the end of the counter is a tiny, tiny oven/stovetop combo. We can balance 2 large soup pots catty-corner on the burners and they won't fall off. But we have to stir pretty constantly because they only heat on the edges that are on the burners. Then there is the oven...its never worked, so its just a decoration also. Next comes the super,huge works great propane griddle. We can cook pancakes, fry sausage, scramble eggs, brown ground beef, or whatever on that monster...its about 3 feet wide and 4 feet long. Praise the Lord for the griddle. Greg will have to work on it when we get there to get the thing clean enough for us to use.

Next the food cooling machines. Last time we had a big fridge/freezer combo. The fridge door didn't stay shut and we had to keep it closed with a cooler propped against it. The freezer worked good (if the fridge was shut) Mario brought us in a Coke drink cooler with a glass door that we used for our butter, juice, etc. The cabinets on the right side of the kitchen will be filled with the peanut butter/jelly, coffee, tea bags, cookies/crackers, etc.

The church tiled the floor and its gorgeous and shiny. But man, is it slippery when wet or greasy. We are taking some foam shelf liner to put on the floor in front of the sink so we don't slip too much.

Tomorrow, I will give you a run down of our day and typical menu's that we serve.

I couldn't find any good pictures, so I will post when I get back.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Salad Making in Honduras

Salad making in Honduras is a tricky, lengthy process. After all, I don't want anyone contaminated by unclean lettuce or salad fixings when I am in charge. You can't just buy a head of lettuce, wash the outside and start making a salad......thats just nasty!

So here goes...if you have a weak tummy you may want to skip this blog entry...

First step is to prepare 2 bowls of purified water to wash the lettuce and a 3rd extremely clean container to put the washed lettuce in.

1. Pull the lettuce apart leaf by leaf and first wash in a pur. water/bleach solution
2. Then rinse in the 2nd tub of just purified water.
3. Then break into bite size pieces and put in the serving bowl.

Notice, I said leaf by leaf. When you do 4 or 5 heads of lettuce that way for dinner each night it takes quite a while. And you totally understand the washing each leaf part when at the end you look into the first washing bowl - its not pleasant. No little creepy crawlies in my salad!

Tomatoes get washed with soap and water, then go through the bleach water, then plain water and then get cut...the knife and cutting board get bleached too.

The cantaloupes and watermelons get the same treatment as the tomatoes. The pineapple skips the scrub with soap (can't figure out how to do that and not get torn to shreds). Each banana gets washed before it is used for anything.

I wear aprons down there but still manage to get bleach spots on my clothes. So I have a pile of designated Honduras clothes now, pre-bleach spotted.

And yes, you can get tooooooo paranoid about germs and use too much bleach. I know from experience and ended up with chemical burns on my hands and arms the first trip. Now I go with rubber gloves to protect the skin!

I'll talk about our kitchen tomorrow!

Notice I typed this in green, keeps with the lettuce theme!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grocery Shopping in Honduras

OK, fasten your seatbelts, here goes.

When we land at the airport, we will be met by Mario who will take us to San Pedro Sula to the Price Mart store. Price Mart is like Sam's Club or Costco, but not as big. We get in on Mario's membership (he runs a Christian school) and start stocking up on our basics. We will get big packages of plates, bowls, napkins, forks, spoons, knives, aluminum food trays, cups (hot & cold), prepackaged crackers/cookies & chips, some meat, sandwich bread, sandwich bags, etc. We use disposable everything we can because washing dishes for 45 people in cold water (more on that later) is just too much time wasted in our day. Oh yeah, left out garbage bags, paper towels, extra large bottle of hand sanitizer & toilet paper. If they have large cans of tomato sauce, vegies, ketchup, mustard and mayo we will get those too! The meat department is a "treat" (some sarcasm here). We can usually find ground beef, pork chops, breakfast sausage, etc. Then we run across such delicacies as brain & tongue (obviously an acquired taste), but these are very popular down there.

Our next favorite store is in El Progresso and its the Maxi Bodega. Like the Price Mart it is super clean & very organized. At this store you have to lock your bags in a locker. You can carry your shopping list, a pen and have your money in your pocket. There is an armed guard at the door and guards in the store and parking lot. They don't mess around with stealing at this store, these men have big guns. This is our go to everyday store. We can find most stuff we need and the prices are reasonable. Instead of buying whole chickens to cook for chicken & dumplings, I buy the rotisserie chicken...they are the same price! They have great salad ing. and fresh fruit that is locally grown. Yummy cantaloupe, watermelon & pineapple in Jan.

Then comes our hole in the wall, super crowded, messy, we can find some great bargains grocery store. You walk in the front doors and once inside you realize the store takes up a whole city block. This is where the locals shop everyday. We get our vanilla there for .75 - $1 a bottle, hot sauces for .20 a bottle, and other goodies. This is the store that has a meat dept. that just turns my tummy. I won't buy meat there. They probably have a slaughter station outside for fresh meat...just a little too yucky. They too have a good produce dept. and canned goods section.

The locals shop daily for their food. Alot of the houses don't have power, so they have no way of refrigerating their meat, milk, cheese, etc. Our kitchen at the church usually has a freezer and may have a fridge. Last time our fridge was a drink dispenser with a glass door, but it was better than before when we had nothing. We buy the milk in boxes "shelf stable" when we need it for a recipe. What we can't buy down there are packets of grits/oatmeal and tea bags. Their tea is different and very weak. We have already shipped those down. Any items that are produced down there are very inexpensive to purchase, imported items are a whole lot more.

My very favorite, I can't wait to get it drink is ... Mirinda. It is an orange flavored soft drink that puts any orange drink in the states to shame. It is so orangey and so good! I will drink it everyday, several times a day! I brought a 2 liter back with me last time for the kids to taste and Amy is hoping I can bring it back again. I packed it in my suitcase and checked it, we'll see. This is made in Honduras, and I think Pepsi makes it. The closest I can find here is at Kroger in the Mexican section. They have a bottled orange drink that's close but not exactly there.

Tomorrow, I'll tell ya about food prep and cooking in our church kitchen.


Just in case you didn't believe me about the tongue...there it is. Its in the package on the left. Doesn't that look appetizing?

Monday, January 11, 2010

In just 10 days........

In just 10 days, Greg, Katie & I will be at Inglesia Bautista Betania (Bethany Baptist Church) in El Progresso, Honduras. We will be part of a medical/evangelism/vbs Mission Team. Greg & I will be the cooks and Katie will be on the medical team in the pharmacy. This will be Greg's 13+ time, my 3rd time and Katie's 1st time in Honduras. So for the next week and a half I am going to blog some about what we will be doing for a week. There's alot to tell and you probably won't believe some of my stories...but they all happened.

Sorry about the sideways stop sign but I wanted to comment about what Stop signs or red lights mean in Honduras. STOP is really just a suggestion or a hint at what you should do. Most don't take it seriously, here's what could happen at a red light: 1. they could zip right through 2. they could pause and then zip right through 3. they could stop but you had better not count on that. So crossing the street is somewhat risky.


See those innocent looking taxi's? Behind the wheel of that taxi is a wanna be Nascar driver. They follow the same stop sign/stop light rules listed above. After Greg & I grocery shop, we take a taxi back to the church for a couple of reasons. First of all, its incredibly cheap, as in $1.25 or so for the ride and the taxi driver loads and unloads the groceries. Greg tips the drivers, so they are always willing to help and may be waiting outside the grocery for us the next day! Second, walking 5-10 blocks through El Progresso carrying grocery bags filled with food for 40-50 people is exhausting. Third, its hot down there, it will be mid 90's most days. The taxi is the way to go, I sit in the backseat and pray! So far, no accidents!

On really cool thing I saw on my first trip down there. We were driving to the "PriceMart" store which is like a Costco or Sams club and went by a Soccer Field. It was time to cut the grass on the field so the owners let a herd of goats out onto the field to eat the grass. I didn't get the camera out in time to capture that moment but it was really funny...ya gotta do what works!

Prayer Requests
1. For all the team members to be in good health and have safe travels.
2. For the Lord to bring the souls he wants to be reached to the teams.
3. For safety and good health while in Honduras.
4. For good weather and safe travels for the Honduran's coming to medical or vbs.
5. For a week beyond all our expectations!

Special prayer Request
Promiscuity, extra marital affairs, & teenage pregnancy are very prevelant down there. My little friend "M" has left her foster family, her Christian school, running water and electricity, to go care for her "Mother". Mom played on M's tender heart about being all alone while she was pregnant (child # ?, affair # ?). M is now living in a 1 or 2 room shack with Mom, a friend (who works in a bar) and the friend's teenage son. I am afraid that M is on the path of "nothing good can come from this". She is only 13 years old.

Maybe tomorrow I will share about grocery shopping. Buckle your seat belts, it'll be a wild ride!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Keeper at Home

When I was growing up, most mama's were keepers at home only then they were called housewives. It was great having a Mom who was always there to take care of us. In elementary school, I don't ever remember coming home to an empty house, latchkey kids were unheard of. We are talking the 60's here folks! And even in highschool, Mom was there a majority of the days. We didn't eat takeout food at night because everyone was too busy to cook. We weren't enrolled in every activity under the sun that took up our homelife. We sure didn't eat dinner sitting in front of the tv at night. I had a great Christian home.

Fast forward to 2010. The housewife is now a "Keeper at Home". To me this means that I am honored to keep my home...in order, in food, in cleanliness, in learning, in exploring, in loving, etc. some folks ask...what do you do all day. In the course of a week, I make the bed, fix breakfast, homeschool with the kids, fix lunch, drive to dance lessons or co-op classes, bake from scratch, plan menu's, grocery shop, vacuum, do laundry, dust the house, blog, answer emails, do leadership work for homeschool group (treasurer), encourage my children, run errands and help my husband, play games, read books, watch tv shows with my kids, cook dinner & encourage girls to help. I also read magazines, cross stitch, sew, quilt, read blogs, talk to older children when I get a chance, pray, attend church service, etc. Most of my "chores" I do at home. I couldn't get all this done if I was running around. Some weeks, I run more than others but I prefer to be home.

Being a Keeper at Home is my job. I don't get a paycheck, a regular review, a bonus, days off, or any other ammenities you would associate with a job. Sometimes I work insane hours and I even feel unappreciated on occasions. But I do get to spend hours with my wonderful children and I get to help and assist the most wonderful husband in the world. This is the best job I have ever had!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Noah Websters 1828 Dictionary

One of the books I wanted from Vision Forum this year was the "American Dictionary of the English Language" by Noah Webster 1828. Greg ordered me this book and it is huge. It has been very interesting to thumb through and see the differences in definitions in words between then and now & the words in 1828 that aren't even used now. So I thought I would look up some words and share what the definitions were then.....

BLESSED: Happy; prosperous in worldly affairs; enjoying spiritual happiness and the favor of God; enjoying heavenly felicity

FRUGAL: Economical in the use or appropriation of money, goods or provisions of any kind; saving unnecessary expense, either of money or of any thing else which is to be used or consumed; sparing; not profuse, prodigal or lavish.

FRUGALITY: prudent economy; good husbandry or housewifery; a sparing use or appropriation of money or commodities; a judicious use of anything to be expended or employed; that careful management of money or goods which expends nothing unnecessarily, and applies what is used to a profitable purpose; that use in which nothing is wasted.

HUSBAND: 1. A man contracted or joined to a woman by marriage. A man to whom a woman. is betrothed, as well as one actually united by marriage. 2. verb form: to direct & manage with frugality in expending any thing; to use or employ in the manner best suited to produce the greatest effect; to use with economy.

MARRIAGE: The act of uniting a man & woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which both parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them.

WIFE: 1. The lawful consort of a man; a woman who is united to a man in the lawful bonds of wedlock; the correlative of husband. 2. a woman of low employment

HOUSEWIFERY: the business of the mistress of a family; female business in the economy of a family; female management of domestic concerns.

DEBT: that which is due from one person to another, whether money, goods or services; that which one person is bound to pay or perform to another. In scripture debt is referred to as sin; trespass; guilt; crime; that which renders liable to punishment.

EDUCATE: to bring up, as a child; to instruct; to inform and enlighten the understanding; to instill into the mind principle of arts, science, morals, religion & behavior. To educate children well is one of the most important duties of parents and guardians.

and one more just because I have seen it in several definitions...

FELICITY: happiness, or rather great happiness, blessedness; blissfulness; appropriately the joys of heaven. Prosperity; blessing; enjoyment of good.

So, do these words mean the same thing today? Or how have everyones views changed since 1828? In my opinion, a great deal. I rather like the 1828 definitions of these words and the views they represent.

Lets have alot of Felicity in our lives as we carry on with our Housewifery & Frugality and Educate our children. And remember...we are BLESSED!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jumping off the Deep End

At our house we are jumping off the deep end and treading waters unknown. Some of them may be murky and some may be crystal clear. We are rethinking lots of stuff, which may shock lots of folks. Greg & I are discussing, praying, talking, and praying more.

We are rethinking education, specifically higher than high school education. Homeschooling is still happening at our home, after 14 years, I am not going to quit with the end in sight. The end of my high school days will be in 4 years. Thats right in 2014, I will have graduated from highschool 6 times, once personally myself, then with James, Allen, Katie, Will & Amy. But onto higher than high school education, How many of us actually use the degree we got from college? Could you still do the same job without a degree (thats a yes for alot of people)? Now, I guess its rare Greg & I actually use the degrees we attended school for. His is an engineering degree and he's an engineer with the State. Mine was a 2 year education diploma for being an assistant public school teacher or a lead private school teacher. But, if my goal 30 years ago had been to home school my children, then I didn't need a degree for that. And sometimes, after graduating with a 4 year degree, you can't use it till you get a Masters.

So, we are rethinking the future higher education plans for our 3 youngest children. We know that living on a campus is not going to happen. At least for a couple or more years. We are thinking about online classes (then we can still travel with Greg), taking community classes together, taking some business courses that could help us in our future business/es etc. We just don't know. This would affect Katie first since she graduates this year from high school. We are all leaning toward online or community classes. She is in this decision also. She would like to find some home ec type courses. We have also thought about apprentice opportunities with dance classes or younger grades co-op classes. We would all like to take some culinary classes and learn new kitchen skills..this includes Greg.

Another jump was made today into the sea of "no landline telephone". Yep, we cut it off. It will save us $40 a month and we can still keep the internet. Greg also went a step farther and signed us up for the new AT&T fiberoptic cable service and cut off direct tv. Saves another $40 or so a month. We are serious about finding ways to put more money on the mortgage payoff. Yes, we could have cut off the tv altogether but we aren't that drastic yet. I do remember the days of only 4 channels (in Atlanta it was 2,5,11 & 8) and if the President was on, your night was shot!

We are limiting & restricting internet access in our home. Both for protection of innocence and protection of time. We will have to work out all the kinks on this one. Sometimes the kids need it to research for projects, but cruising for whatever site has come to an end. And some of their subjects are on the computer but that doesn't involve the internet. Katie will need more access if she does online classes and Greg needs it for his Masters classes.

The girls are going to be learning more cooking and homemaking skills. I want them both to learn to sew some items from patterns...pj's/gowns, skirts, etc. We are going to be expanding the garden and canning more. They both want to be stay at home moms and homeschool their children, so we will be investigating skills that will help them in that future. Will is going to be learning some more kitchen skills also. He needs some basic sewing/mending skills such as sewing on a button. He and Greg are going to be working on woodworking projects and one will be building more garden boxes. We are praying the Lord reveals some business possibilities to us so we can tailor some learning around them.

If, in the future, a traditional college education will be needed, then it won't be too late. We are never too old to learn.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goals for 2010

I am ready to start the New Year off right! OK, I know its Jan. 4, so you may think I am a little late in this area but we traveled last week and there is only so much you can accomplish in an RV. But, I loved spending the time with Greg, Katie, Will & Amy. They are a blessing to be around and fun to play with and explore new places.

So here are some goals I would like to achieve, this year and beyond.

1. Spend more time reading my bible, praying & being quiet before the Lord. I spend alot of New Years Day praying for my family as we were driving around the Outer Banks. Some of my prayers included wisdom, discernment, and seeking the Lords Will for each of my children.

2. Pay off our house. This will take longer than just this year, but I would love to accomplish this before Greg retires in 5 1/2 years. What a blessing to not have a house note every month. I have been inspired by Crystal's story over at www.moneysavingmom.com. She and her husband came up with the idea of saving for a 100% downpayment for their first home. She has been updating every month this year and they made their goal in Dec. So this young couple with 3 children will be able to buy their first home and pay cash for it ~ what a totally cool blessing for this family and their future.

3. Make a more diligent effort to menu plan and shop around the plan. This would mean incorporating more sales and coupons and sticking with the plan. I would also like to cut the grocery budget $100 or more every month and put the leftover toward the mortgage. We have freezers, pantry and refrigerators full of food, so thats where the menu's are coming from this month. I will have to go to the store for milk, fruit, toilet paper, etc. When I share this goal with Greg, he was fine with it as long as I didn't compromise the ing. lists of food labels to save .50 on a can of food. In other words....still no HFCS or MSG. Not to worry there, I try to avoid those at all costs.

4. Venture into my vast cookbook collection and try new recipes. I love cookbooks and just love to read them. I got 5 cookbooks for Christmas. I especially like the recipes that use common ingredients and I don't have to buy lots of funky stuff. Cooking from scratch is a great way to save on the grocery budget. I want to learn to cook dried beans (not use canned), make hotdog and hamburger buns & rolls/biscuits. We've got buckets full of wheat just waiting to be used in some of these creations.

5. We are exploring different business opportunities. Our vision is to have a business or several that we can run as a family. We are getting some great insight from a CD series Greg ordered us from Vision Forum entitled "Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for the Christian Families". This set contains 20 messages on 20 CD's and we are ready to start CD #13. In listening to these messages (while riding to GA, VA, NC, SC, back through GA & AL) we have been inspired by their stories and advice. We will be listening again and taking notes and jotting down scripture references. We are also reading books on the Biblical Perspective of money. About 8 years ago, I started making doll clothes that fit the 18" dolls (AG) & the 15" babydolls. I sold them at consignment sales, through word of mouth, at the dance studio, etc. I've had them packed away and last month had a request for clothes and made 3 sales. While these didn't total alot of money, they did spark the idea of selling them on ebay. We are going to explore this and see if it can turn into a business opportunity for the girls & I. We've got enough "stock" to start and then will replenish when needed. Katie & Amy will get to cut out patterns, pick fabrics and learn to sew.

6. Expand our garden and plant enough to can for the winter. Especially green beans, which I love. We planted garlic & onions in the fall and will get to pick them in the spring. It will be interesting to see a head of garlic develop from the 1 clove that was planted. I am reading and re-reading a book called "The Backyard Homestead" that has some wonderful ideas for small space and container gardening. Planting and growing some of our food will help with the grocery budget also. I would love to have enough to preserve for the fall/winter. It will be healthier and less costly. Honestly, I lose some of this enthusiasm in the July/August Mississippi heat but maybe I can do a little better this year. We want to buy some netting to cover the blueberry bushes so that maybe we can eat some this year instead of the birds getting all of the berries.

7. We've got lots of household projects we want to start on. Greg wants to build some new garden boxes for the back yard, install our rain barrel for watering the garden, build a deck for his new outdoor kitchen (he loves to grill and smoke and we love to eat his creations), & turn our little outbuilding into either an art studio or wood working shop. I would also like to put a picket fence in the front yard and plant some dwarf fruit trees out there (this is still in the dream stage).

8. There are also some "crafty" items I would like to work on with the children and skills I want them to develop. We've got sewing projects and wood working projects to plan out for the year. I would also like them to help more in the kitchen & come up with recipes and menu's they want to be in charge of and learn to do.

9. Read, read, read, read, read & read. Books are wonderful and I love to read. Right now I am reading..."The Backyard Homesteader", "An Amish Christmas", "Family Feasts for $75 a week" and more. When we travel, I pack lots of books to take along. Mom has got 2 Beverly Lewis books for me to read, so they may be going to Honduras with me in 3 weeks!

10. Be open to what God wants us to do and how he wants us to do it. Greg, Katie & I are going to Honduras on a mission trip the end of this month and the end of June the 3 of us plus Amy & Will are going to Ohio on a family mission trip. He is leading us to a new church where we can worship and serve as a family. He is presenting opportunities and blessings to us that we are in "awe" of. One of the CD's we listened to talked about how our finite minds limit God. The Lord has no limits and we need to diligently work at seeking him and his plans for us. Yes, this directly ties into specifically #1 but also all the rest of the goals. With the Lord, nothing is impossible. He may very well have plans and opportunities that we have never thought of or considered.

This is going to be an exciting year!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year & Travels

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone was safe and smart in their celebrations...especially my older boys!

We left VA yesterday morning. It was icy & nasty weather was coming so we wanted to get out of the mountains. We drove east across VA and ended up at Bell Island near Currituck, NC. It was so foggy when we got there that we really couldn't see anything. We checked in at the campground, hooked everything up and found out we had a busted water connection...it froze. Praise the Lord for extra water on the RV, it was a needed necessity! After our yummy dinner of Chicken Stir Fry the kids and Greg settled down to watch GI Joe. I opted for reading & cross-stitching. Then the rain started and kept up all night long. And we didn't stay up till midnight, 2010 came with us sleeping.

Friday morning dawned damp, dreary and cold. It got colder and colder during the day. We saw 3 lighthouses, including the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We also went to the Wright Brothers Memorial and saw a reproduction of the Kitty Hawk...the original is at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. We drove the loop road around the memorial on Kill Devil Hill, but didn't climb the hill, it was so cold and windy.

We decided to head back toward home. Since we have no water, we decided to camp at a Hampton Inn tonight. Hot water & a shower, it'll be great. The kids are clean and its my turn now!

I'll put some pictures up when we download them from the camera.