Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful to be a Grandma!

crunchy leaves

Hi Grandma~

it was a long day!

"helping" Grandpa

exploring Uncle Robs pickup

Mmmmmmm...Auntie Amy makes great cupcakes

watchin' the wabbit

HI wabbit!

shhhh, don't tell Grandpa I swiped his phone!
And in Feb. we get another little buddy to enjoy and play with!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful Eve

I am thankful that ~~~~
Greg took the day off work
for laughter & fun
for gloves
for sunshine
for not getting the snow that was predicted for Mississippi
for a helpful daughter
for a loving husband & daddy to our children
for healing that is allowing 2 of our children to travel home for the holiday
for 48 pounds gone with the wind
for a lab that is slowly but surely learning
for a computer that "brightens" pictures!
for yummy smells
for the anticipation of Dressing (not stuffing here in the south)
for AmyKates job even if it doesn't allow them to come for Thanksgiving dinner
for painkillers (James has a kidney stone this week ~ argh!  Like he needed something else to deal with after last week...)
for the hospital being right around the corner from our house ~ makes it handy to visit him ~ he was released today
for sales & a little $$ to take advantage of them
for not having to cook the turkey ~ that's Gregs job now ~ we do fried turkey
for the 1st sandwich I've had in 5 months ~ Grilled Cheese on low carb bread ~ awesome!
For that same low carb bread going into our breakfast casserole so Greg and I can eat it too!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Thankful Season

The Thankful Season
Elisabeth Weaver Winstead
thanksgiving is the splendor
Of our treasured autumn scenes,
Golden corn and waving wheat
with fruitful fields swept clean.
It's the memory of the fertile earth
Turned for planting in the spring
And praise for the abundance
That bright harvest days now bring.
Thanksgiving sends sweet messages
That reach from heart to heart,
Uniting friends with loved ones
Although they're miles apart.
It's an old but joyous feeling
As our cheerful spirits mount,
For past efforts are rewarded
With rich blessings left to count.
Thanksgiving Day is cherished
In this great land where we live,
reflected in our happy hearts
and the grateful praise we give.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Not So Good Week

Last week I posted out car was broken into in St. Louis that was on Sunday ~

I am thankful I got to spend Sunday night, Monday night, & Tuesday afternoon/night with our St. Louis Family!

We drove home on Wed. ~ James had been staying at our house with Will while we were gone.

James drove to his place on Wed. ~ to find his tv stolen & some other stuff.  Police were called & came out ~ wrote up the report & told him not to disturb anything because they wanted to come and he drove back to our house for the night.  He stayed 2 nights ~ went home on Friday to find IT HAPPENED AGAIN!  argh!

This time they hauled off paintball guns, computer equipment (he had his laptop with him) and other junk.  James & Allen both collect swords & knives ~ all of James collection is gone.

The WORST things that were taken ~ 2 rings that were his 1st dads that I gave engraved signet ring Scott got for highschool graduation & his Marine Corp ring ~ these are NOT replaceable.  His 2 mementos from his father.  That's low down and dirty of those crooks.

A friend of ours came out and installed new locks on his doors ~ new, reconfigured locks that can't be picked ~ our friend is a locksmith.  Greg and Will built a new cover the the window that was busted ~ we think that's how they got in the 2nd time.  But they got out the front door toting his belongings after they picked his lock.

Is there something to be thankful for in this ~


they left ALL his Eagle Scout stuff
they left his Scout Scrapbook
they didn't find his cash or coin collection
he wasn't there & wasn't injured

We are really praying for a very DULL week!

They SHOULD HAVE stolen one of his Bibles & started reading it ~ would do them a world of good.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful for.....

I am thankful for ~

getting my Thanksgiving grocery shopping done

a huge variety of recipes & ideas from the internet

household projects getting started/completed

a slightly calmer 8 month old lab (she hasn't been tossed out of puppy school!)

anticipation of family visits

quiet evenings at home

cold medicine

J ~ getting her needed prescriptions from the dr. today

comfy shoes

the weekend

dusted furniture

working at the Operation Christmas Child relay center (yesterday ~ FUN)

photo books from Shutterfly ~ especially when I get them free from My Coke Rewards

Net Galley Book Review

"The Amish Groom" authored by Mindy Starns Clark & Susan Meissner

The Amish Groom is the story of young man named Tyler.  Tylers mom was Amish & left home & the faith at an early age to pursue what she thought was a better life.  She met & married Tylers father and they followed him where ever the military moved him.  At 6 Tyler's mom died & after the funeral he is sent to live with his Amish grandparents ~ from age 6, Tyler is raised Amish, with their clothing, customs, faith.  His best friends are his cousin Jake, his girlfriend Rachel, and his dog Timber. Tylers father remarries & has another son, Brady.  Tylers story fluctuates between his love of the Amish & everything they stand for & his "jealousy/confusion" over the life he could have been living~ the life he was born into.  Tyler spends much time comparing the 2 different lifestyles, faith, clothing, & freedoms before he reaches his final decision of whether or not to be baptized into the Amish faith.  While a fiction story, its probably similar to many conflicts that youth of the Amish deal with when they are deciding their future of either staying/being Amish or leaving for the "English" world. 

It was a very good book.  I enjoyed reading it & am looking forward to the books to come.

Donna Jackson

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful for ~

And the list continues ~
(and I pray it never ends)
Travel Mercies
Cracker Barrel for lunch
lots of sewing time
gifted preachers/teachers to listen to while we ride
current favorites are
Todd Friel (Wretched Radio)
Jim McClarty
Steve Lawson
John McArthur
RW Glenn
Kevin Swanson
The ability to download these talks/sermons & travel with them
warm clothing
new shoes
reading to my grandson
sugar free Spice Tea
Stevia ~ my sweetener of choice
books on the Kindle
relaxing hours with Amy
coming home to a clean house (thanks Will & James)
the scale dropping below my "next" goal (now to set another one)
laughter at choir
sweet hugs from my twin friends
planning menus for Thanksgiving weekend
time to serve
More thankfulness to come!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Different Blog Titles ~~~~~

Wow, look what happened!
What Idiots!
This is a mess!
Did they steal anything?
Is my camera still in the car?
Somebody call the police!
So, we are in St. Louis ~ got here and checked into our hotel & headed to Katies house.
We got there, ate dinner, played with the baby, and headed out to go bowling.
Katie, Bryant, and Amy bowled ~ Greg and I played with Robert.
Walked out to the car to find our passenger window SMASHED in. (Don't know why the car alarm did not go off)
Called the police, realized the gps was gone, the idiots left the camera in the back (praise the Lord), and stood out in the parking lot for 1 1/2 hours while the police & detective wrote up the report, dusted for prints, did mine & Gregs fingerprints to eliminate us, etc.
A bowling alley employee swept out a lot of the car and cleaned up the parking lot.  Bryant went to walmart and bought us plastic & duct tape......duct tape doesn't fix everything ~ a shocker, I know!

yep, I got fingerprinted!

Thankful for ~

no one being injured
an appt. to get our window fixed tomorrow
pretty low deductible
the ability to laugh at bad situations
my camera being left I the back of the van
a warm snuggy coat and gloves


Friday, November 15, 2013

Burlap ~

I've wondered what the fascination with burlap was ~ seemed to happen overnight.
JoAnns & Hobby Lobby have a great variety of it ~ either by the bolt or sold in ribbon spools.
And lots of people are posting pictures of their loopy wreaths made with the burlap ribbon.
I decided to tackle one and see if I liked it.
Greg & I went to Hobby Lobby armed with our coupons ~ since I would have needed 2 spools to do my large front door wreath ~ we went with the option of buying a couple of yards & I cut and serged the edges myself....made my own "ribbon".  And since the fabric was 1 cut ~ I could still use a 40% off much cheaper to make than buying the ribbon spools.
I also remembered burlap being VERY hard to work with and it shedding everywhere ~ it must have improved some since the old days because it wasn't terrible.
It took 1 1/3 yards of 4 inch wide serged strips to do this wreath ~
It was kinda difficult to figure out how to loop the ribbon through the wire wreath frame so that it stayed but I finally got it.
Since I liked that one ~ I went and bought some brown burlap & orange serger thread and made these for Thanksgiving centerpieces...
I made 2!

I cut 3 inch strips of the burlap & serged ~ it takes 4 strips to make the small centerpiece wreaths.  I got the little jars & orange candles at Dollar Tree ... mason jars would have worked well too but mine were a little too tall for what I wanted. 

You do have to stop every 2 strips or so and brush out the serger but at least the burlap didn't shred & flake all over the sewing room!

It was lots easier to do the smaller ones than the larger one!  It came together quickly! 
Today I am Thankful for crafts that are easy to figure out!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Packing Shoeboxes!

For many years, we have participated in an annual ministry with  Packing shoeboxes for children in over 130 different countries.  Its a simple project, one anyone can do.  Doesn't have to be costly or take a great deal of time ~ shopping for the items & dropping off the box/boxes is the only time you need to leave the comforts of your own home.  Your box can bless a child anywhere in the world ~ and the box doesn't need a passport or need to know the local language.  These boxes speak love & care to a needy child. 

The last several years, we've put aside money each month in our budget for shoeboxes.  The kids and I shop for them one day each month & all the stuff goes in a big bin or bins in our attic ~ or the bench upstairs in the hallway.  The ages for the boxes are 2-4, 5-9, 11-14 boy or girl.  We "try" to shop for either boy or girl each month but sometimes we find a great deal and buy whats available.

Back to school sales are awesome for pencils, pens, notepads, spiral notebooks, crayons, sharpeners etc.  This year we did more boxes for the oldest age group for both boy & girl.  I had heard of sewing kits for the girls (the older girls can have sharp scissors) & fishing kits for the boys.  So we put our imaginations to work ~  here are some pictures from yesterday

all our boy box goodies ~ we had a big shoe box

homemade fishing kit ~ bobbers not shown
it all fit!

items for our girl box

homemade sewing kit

this stuff just barely fit!

The fishing kits contained ~ line (I bought a big spool and rewound it onto empty sewing thread spools), bobbins, weights, & sinkers ~ all bought at Bass Pro Shop (that was cheaper than Walmart).  I split all the stuff between 4 boxes and still have lots of fishing line for next year.  The tools - screw driver sets, multi purpose scissors, work gloves & tape measures were all free from Harbour Freight tools ~ they put out coupons every week for a free item...we collect these all year long.  We also added a warm pair of socks, school supplies, bungee cords & string or twine ~ all from Dollar Tree.

The sewing kits contained ~ scissors, 3 or 4 spools of thread, buttons, needles, straight pins, ribbon, fabric or fat quarters,  cross stitch kit,  & some crochet kits. The crochet kits were from Dollar Tree & the cross stitch kits were from the clearance bins at Michaels ~ .25 each!  We found some girl t shirts at dollar tree & some flip flops.  Plus all the school supplies & personal care items.

Walmart is the cheapest place for the toothpaste ~ I think we paid .68 a tube.  Our little "loveys" for the little kid boxes were bought in Jan. last year on clearance for .25 each.  The silly band bracelets were .25 at a speciality gift store.  We buy IVORY soap (it floats!) at Kroger and washcloths at Walmart or crochet washcloths).  Large boxes of pencils, pens, hair bands, candy, etc can be broken down and put into Ziploc baggies for different boxes.  We get multi packs of combs & toothbrushes and split them up also.  New this year was adding plastic cups ~ where we could fit them in ~ you can cram a lot of stuff into a cup!

I saw this picture over the year and its stayed with me ~  I can't even imagine this life!

An image of a child receiving an Operation Christmas Child shoe box:  Street children in Ukraine - living in holes in the ground - c2006. This is why I continue to fill  boxes.
There is evidentally more than one child living underground in this pic ~ it shows more than one box ~ this is in Ukraine

How can we NOT pack a box?
I know there are people all over the world that live in these same conditions or even worse ~ we can't bring love to everyone but we can show love to one child ~ through a Simple Shoebox gift.
Its not too late ~ National Collection week is next week ~ its always the full week before Thanksgiving.

If your children are like mine ~ they don't need anymore little trinkets, gadgets, or doo dads ~ enlist their help in making boxes.  Amy comes up with ideas that I never thought of (next year she wants to add a skirt with an elastic waist to the girl boxes along with a dollar store t shirt)...we will be making skirts next year.

We start our collecting for next month!

Its an awesome ministry!

We are blessed by packing a simple shoebox & are thankful for this ministry that allows each of us to participate!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thankfulness ~~~~

Today I am thankful for ~
a business trip to St. Louis (and I get to go)
medicine that works
projects getting accomplished
buying smaller clothes
warm blankets
the stone front on our fireplace (Gregs project last weekend)
a creative husband
puppy obedience classes
crunchy leaves
hot chocolate/spice tea
different recipes to try ~ low carb
40% or 50% off coupons for Michaels & Hobby Lobby
the Grand Opening of Miss. Outlets ~ tomorrow
here are before/after fireplace pictures ~

the little white gap at the top is now cover with a piece of oak
When we find some 12 or 18 inch tiles we like, the hearth will be covered also.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NetGalley Book Review

"An Amish Miracle" 3 stories by Mary Ellis, Ruth Reid & Beth Wiseman

The novella stories contained in this book are "Always in my Heart" by Mary Ellis, "Always His Provision" by Ruth Reid, and "Always Beautiful" by Beth Wiseman.  "Always in My Heart" follows the Bowman family as Hope (the wife/mother) struggles to overcome her past and what she feels is a curse from the Lord, only giving birth to girls, after she was forced to give up her firstborn, a son.  This story contains many twists and turns, surrounding the Son & his adoption, that she had kept secret for years.  It also deals with her relationship with her husband and her father.  Hopes friend Rosa, a widow, knows the secret.  Rosa loves Hope and her girls & is an encourager in her life.

The second novella is "Always His Provision" and is the story of Rosa.  Rosa is a 30 year old widow & was not blessed with any children during her marriage.  Through the unfolding of the story, she discovers that her late husband Uriah left some back taxes unpaid and Rosa is in a panic over how to cover the cost of the taxes and not lose her home.  Her neighbor Adam feels bound to protect and take care of Rosa because of a promise he made to Uriah before his death ~ Uriah died after saving Adam's life following a barn fire.  Rosa has a home business selling her chickens eggs to neighbors and businesses.   Rosa's troubles escalate when a new neighbors dogs start attacking and killing her chickens.  The story follows Rosa through her trials, struggles with her faith & finances & her feelings for Adam.  There are also some very funny descriptions of Rosa trying to protect her chickens with her husbands shotgun!

The third story, "Always Beautiful" focuses on Becky.  Becky works in the Bakery owned by her family & is a young woman who has always struggled with her weight & self esteem.  The story follows Becky as she vows to lose weight.  Her friends and family become concerned about her focus on weight and the obsession that focus has on her life.  Her friends, Hope & Rosa try to encourage her on whats really important.  Becky becomes aware that 2 young men have an interest in her.  Matt & Elam have both had an interest for a long time, but she thinks its a result of her losing weight.  The story progresses with Becky's struggle over the sin of vanity & her feelings for both young men.  She does get her priorities in order & follows the Lords leading for chosing which young man to marry.

I liked the 3 books written in this way because you could follow the other characters from the previous books through the new story.  Each story was distinctly different but intertwined.  The writing styles of the 3 authors were similar which made it easy to follow along.

I was given this book by Thomas Nelson Publishers through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Donna Jackson

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Heres whats been going on around our home ~

the reading circle~don't know if the 4 dogs are getting anything out of it~

Amys cupcake display at the craft fair ~ we made the pedestals in ceramics class

craft  fair table

Jack like to hop around the living room

Me & Rosie "dancing"

beautiful fall roses

Green beans decided to start growing again!

picked 1 1/2 buckets of beans~1 gallon bag, cleaned & snapped

a happy cupcake customer

down 65 pounds~

goodbye brass & brick

hello wrought iron & stone

Friday, November 8, 2013

More Thankfulness ~

There is so much to be thankful for ~~~~~

3 day weekends

ceramics crafting time

Amy's cupcake orders

puppy training classes

a new cozy sweatshirt ~ 2 sizes smaller than last year!

holiday music

sharp cheddar cheese (my favorite!)

home projects

freshly laundered sheets

sleeping late on Saturdays

picking a bucket of green beans ~ today!

dates with my husband

surviving driving lessons with A & W

football season

no/low carb food

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful for ~~~~~

Thankful for ~~~~~

cell phones with unlimited minutes

blog friends



the internet


hot chocolate

family movies/tv shows

pictures of my grandson

learning to quilt

donating clothes that are toooooo big!

quiet mornings

cozy sweaters

fun at ceramics

drinking sweet tea (with stevia) year 'round

new recipes

a husband/family that will try new recipes

newly painted kitchen cabinets

reading books for book reviews



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review for Net Galley

"Return to Me" authored by Lynn Austin
Book 1 in "The Restoration Chronicles" series

This fictional book is centered around the life of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah.  The story starts in 539 BC in Babylon.  The reigning king at the time was Belshazzar grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar.  Zechariahs family is living in Babylon because his grandfather Iddo was exiled with most of the other Jews from Jerusalem fell to their enemies.  After 47 years in Babylon, the city it overrun and conquered by the Persians & Medes.  This story is a fascinating look not only at Ancient History but also at the Jewish laws, customs, struggles & triumphs in the face of their enemies and great oppression.  Also revealed through the fictional story are the superstitions of both the Jews and the Gentiles, why they were not allowed to intermarry, why the Jewish men were so intent on rebuilding the Temple of God in Jeruselem and the ancient observances/feasts/Holy days in the Jewish faith.

While the story is a fictional account of the times, it is also grounded in the historical scriptural references of 2 Kings 17:24-40, 2 Kings 25:1-21, Ezra 1-6, Haggai 1-2, Zechariah 1-14, Daniel 5 & 9.

To me, book 1 was incredible.  Very easy to read, captivating, & compelling.  I am looking forward to future books in the series.

Donna Jackson

This book was given to my by Bethany House Publishing through Net Galley for my honest review.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Month of Thanksgiving ~

More things to be thankful for ~
humble spirits
teachable hearts
getting along

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Do We Base our Faith On?

Last week, a prominent gentleman in the homeschool community & avid proponent of strong Christian families stepped down from his position with his company, and canceled his future speaking engagements.  He has been convicted of the sin in his own life that is contrary to what he is preaching, teaching, encouraging others to be strong in.  My heart is saddened by his admission & what he said about the circumstances ~ I will be praying for his wife, family, and others this directly affects.

With that being said, what is even more disheartening is reading the comments about him.  Many aren't even about the situation but more attacks on his beliefs, his teachings, the homeschool community, stay at home moms, etc.  Several blogs have cut off their comments sections because of the viciousness of the attacks and erased nasty comments.

And that brings me to my title "What do we base our faith on" or "in"?  Do we base our homeschooling faith and encouragement on a person?  Do we base our methods of teaching our children on someone's exact model of what they do, how they do it, and when they do it?  If so, we aren't doing our families justice ~ we are just copying.  What about our homemaking?  Do we follow exactly what our mothers, grandmothers, or neighbors do ~ or do we do what works best for us?  Getting tips, pointers, advice, etc. is great ~ it doesn't mean you have to do everything but instead folks are sharing what works or has worked for them.  It helps to be polite, listen, ask questions, then implement what will work in your own household.  I could say with both of these examples, that women that have homeschooled many years & been keepers at home many years will be able to guide you much more effectively than someone who has no children or works outside the home will ~ its what they know!

What about at church?  Do we worship the God of the Bible or the God of our own imagination?  Do we follow what the Bible says about how we should live, what we should avoid, how to deal with temptations, how to daily follow Him?  Or do we base our lives on what someone says about the scriptures without seeking out the truth ourselves.  Believers can read the Lords words in the Bible and discern His will for their lives ~ this takes time, effort, truly seeking His will, prayer, study, etc.  And oftentimes the Lord reveals something in our lives that for us is a sin.  But it may not be a sin in others lives ~ this is difficult from both sides in understanding, obedience, attitude, etc.  Paul wrote on this in teaching about freedom.  However, freedom exercised that causes a brother to sin, could be sin for the more mature believer.  We have to work it out for our own families. 

My life style decisions on the freedoms in Christ are not done as an effort to win brownie points or earn my salvation.  Christ paid for my sins/short comings/failures by His sacrifice on the cross.   Our decisions are based on searching the scriptures, listening to sermons by different pastors, family discussions, my husbands counsel, and not made hastily but over a period of time (sometimes months).  In our family, on some of these points, others may view us as "legalistic." We do not.  We are free in Christ to say no to the standardized living of the world ~ or in common words, this is how we live and it works for our family.

The gentleman in question is still a human, still subject to temptations from Satan, and must answer to the Lord, his family, his church elders and others for his actions.  Just like the rest of us.  For the believing, the Lords grace covers his sins.  His embarrassment is very public because he was open and honest about it.  It could happen to any of us.

Romans 3: 22-26

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all believe.  There is no difference for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood.  He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed before had unpunished ~ He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 6:6

For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

Romans 7:6

But now by dying to what once bound us, we have ben released from the law so that we serve the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 12:3

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus paid the price for our sins (His children, believers, those whom he draws to Himself), that we shouldn't be slaves to sin, that we are to live by His grace & mercy & not all the Old Testament laws, and we shouldn't think too highly of ourselves ~ pride & arrogance should have no place in our lives.  And finally ~

Romans 16:17-18

I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned  keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of na├»ve people. 

There are, unfortunately, folks who will set out to deceive you (wolves in sheep's clothing) ~ whether purposefully or through their own ignorance.  This is where you have to discern what the Bible actually says ~ read the text in context, know if it relates to a certain people group or to everyone, is it interpreted correctly or is it the speakers opinion or preference? 

(Scriptures quoted are from the NIV Bible version.  They are from Pauls letter to the Romans.  In the book of Romans he summarizes what he has been teaching about sin, Christ, and the way of salvation.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy November! A Month of Thanksgiving! 2013

I love counting my blessings ~ we are all richly blessed by the Lord in many different ways ~ here is the beginning of this years Thankful list.  These will be listed as the come to me and will be in no particular order of importance ~ every blessing is important & meaningful!

*Beautiful, brilliantly colored fall leaves
*shorter days & cozy long nights
*safety when traveling
*watching my children minister to others
*long phone conversations with my mom
*praying with my husband
*singing in the choir at church
*sweet hugs from my little friends
*sugar free recipes
*41 pounds lost (that I never want to see again)
*4 Chihuahua's that love "their" people
*warm quilts
*2 new daughters added to our family
*kisses from my grandson
*fresh eggs from our chickens
*family get togethers
*watching Sat. afternoon football games on tv
*Amys cupcake business
*Wills success with his Kroger job
*Allens new job this year
*putting past mistakes ~ in the past for 2 children
*free books for the kindle
*ideas with directions on pinterest
*time to be creative
*the opportunity to return to Honduras in January
*mission trips
*"shopping" in my fabric stash for quilt fabrics
*blue ribbons
*sewing machines
*helpful advice when I am stuck on a project
*smaller clothes sizes
*colorful quilts
Many more to come during the Month of Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving printable