The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Friday, April 29, 2011

Another Day in the Garden

The guys were back in the garden last weekend, before the clouds and rain could move back in.

Fernando told them it was a work day; I think he meant a "cleaning day" for family coming on Resurrection Sunday (see post here) the next day.  Though they did accomplish some inside cleaning, my garden called and we were back outside getting things done.

I put the poles up for my pole beans.  I'm so glad I did this early!  Usually I traipse outside with my trowel and bean seeds, then realize I need to first find the poles and some rope and then get everything in place.  Now everything is ready for bean seeds!

Danny worked on snipping out a section of fence for a cheap alternative to building a trellis--I'm going to try growing snow peas!  They'll be planted the first day it doesn't rain--either Thursday or Friday.  Mmmm...peas on salad.  Oops, I was daydreaming there for a minute.  Sorry.

I also transplanted all the "stray" garlic to the bed with all the other garlic.  It's so nice to see them all growing so early; it seems like I have to wait for everything, but the garlic pops up and it's encouraging to see something growing.

Joseph and Thomas used trowels and hand rakes to work compost and manure into most of the beds, then topped them off with garden-mix soil.

Praise the Lord for work day Saturday!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tea Talk -- Riches, Honor and Life

Welcome to my home!
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.
To participate, click on Ruth's button above.

I'm having...a cup of the regular ol' Irish breakfast tea, in one of our blue family mugs, with honey and cream.  A nice tea to wake me up in the morning.

My Pfaltzgraff honey pot

I'm feeling...a bit of sore throat.  I'm not sure if a cold is coming on, or if I'm just worn out.  Worn out would fit--I've been a busy bee with end-of-year and graduation plans, not to mention a vacation and homeschool convention coming up!

On my taking Danny to complete the math portion of our community college's COMPASS placement test so that he can register for classes this fall.  He plans to complete a two-year transfer degree program, then transfer in to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).  We visited their campus on Tuesday and are now suffering from universit-itis.  ;)

I leave you with...a little Proverb to ponder, which I've pondered as we consider all the issues facing us with activities, plans, finances...

The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4 NASB

It all comes down to this:  be humble and fear the Lord.  Nothing complicated; I can do that!

Various spring images to make you (and me) smile

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Risen! Alleluia!

Oh, what an incredible thought--to know my sins are washed away!  We attended church service this morning with this joyful knowledge, which permeated our entire day.

Sweet thoughts began a few days earlier when I started preparing for the meal we would share with family, and the dessert that would follow.  Yummy cake cools on the rack, waiting to be frosted and layered.

This afternoon, my darling Grillmaster exceeded all expectations by expertly grilling every kind of meat that family members brought to our gathering.  Our sister-in-law Charlotte helped him out a bit--or is it that Fernando allowed her to turn some of the meat on his precious grill?  *grin*

Our family tends to bring a lot of food to its gatherings.  Just look at all that chicken--and there were also T-bone steaks and country ribs!!

Dinner was superb, and it was great to have the family gathered together.  We chatted, ate, cleaned up, chatted some more, enjoyed the halfway-decent weather, and...

...sometimes an unscheduled nap occurred.  Hey, it's nice that my dad is comfortable in my home!  If that were me, I'd never have heard the end of it!  :)

My mom and I started a Scrabble game, and I opened with a seven-letter word.  Score!  The game then went downhill, though we broke the required moron-level of 600 points combined, which made us feel better.

As we waved good-bye to my parents, the Lord blessed us with a beautiful sunset to end His day.  Despite the suburban feel at eye level, I need only to lift my eyes up a little higher to see His splendor across the sky.

Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say:  Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing ye heav'ns, and earth reply:  Alleluia!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

When a Pile of Dirt is a Good Thing

We bought some dirt.  Lots of dirt.  Too bad we don't just have it lying around.  Anyway, we bought a pile of dirt.  It's for a good cause!

We got it covered with tarp just before the rain hit.  This was the day last week with 30+ mph winds.  We used about 20 bricks on top of and around the edges of two pieces of tarp in order to weigh it down enough that the wind wouldn't pick up the tarp and blow it away.  And the wind sure tried!!

A few days later, friends came over.  These are special friends.  Not only are they close friends, but they are gardening friends.  (The very best kind!)

These two families are also filled with boys.  The three moms are the only girls among all that testosterone--four boys in our family, two in Lori's, and two in the A family.  This year, both of these families are "renting" garden space for the summer.  Meaning, they get to garden in our back yard all summer long!  Lori's family "bought" one new raised-bed vegetable garden, and Tressey (in your mind, say "Tree-Cee") and her family are using a square from one of the existing boxes.  It will be so fun to find these ladies showing up in my back yard all summer!  How fun is that!  Can you tell I'm super-excited??

Here are the guys, building boxes, digging out sod, and getting everything ready.

Oh, wait a minute.  They don't look like they're working very hard.  Not in the above photo, anyway.  Well, when one of them hollers, "Look at the size of this worm!!" then they all have to gather around to admire the thing.  Which is what they're doing above.  :)

Below is where they are really working.

Digging out the sod

Mr. A breaks up the sod

Isaiah uses the cordless screwdriver on the new garden boxes

He was thrilled to be able to use power tools!

Immanuel learns the importance of measuring twice

Bryan breaks up the dirt

Getting one box set in place

Loading up the dirt

Filling up the boxes

Our resident ducks showed up halfway through the work.  They chose "balcony seating" and enjoyed the yard show.  Or at least I think they enjoyed it.

After hard work, the guys are h-u-n-g-r-y.  So we fed them.  Lori sent dessert with Bryan.  And Bryan indulged me by helping stage a photo of his raspberry tart!  (I knew he was a great young man!)

Yummy dessert

In our family devotions Thursday evening, we listened to the Bible on tape, from Exodus 35-7 and how God enabled the skilled workmen to perform all the work needed to build the tabernacle.  I love this little snippet of Scripture, which I happily take out of context for the very hard work that all the guys performed this past weekend:

[The LORD] has filled them with skill to perform every work...
Exodus 35:35a NASB

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Tea Talk -- The Heavens, the Earth Also

Welcome to my home!
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.
To participate, click on Ruth's button above.

I'm having...a cup of my regular Irish Breakfast, with honey and cream.  Below is my little Pfaltzgraff "Yorktowne" honey pot I bought on eBay.  I have a butter crock to match.

I'm feeling...just fine, as usual.  (One day I'm going to type a bunch here just to surprise you.)

On my mind...let's see.  I just finished editing images from a photo shoot of a little fife & drum group.  This was so much fun to do!  Well, the session was fun; yeah, the editing is fun, too.  I love all aspects of a photo shoot.  This one was especially fun because it was the first one of the spring, and the first one in the WARM outdoors!  It hit mid-70s that Saturday and we had a lot of fun at a nearby forest preserve.  It was the first warm day we've had in a long time, and it was so nice to spend it outside.  :)

I'm also thinking about the upcoming homeschool convention--I have some phone calls to make, and some planning to complete.  Then, I also have to deal with getting Danny registered to go to our local community college come fall.  It seems too early to work on that, but it's not--I really need to get going on it!

I leave you with...a Scripture passage reflecting Gods ownership of His entire creation!  Spring is starting to, well, spring, and I found a few flowers in my gardens:  the hardy brunnera with its tiny periwinkle blue blooms, quietly popping up in my porch garden; and a few daffodils daring to burst open in my front yard garden--oh, the joy of spring!

The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all it contains, You have founded them.
The north and the south, You have created them;
Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.
You have a strong arm;
Your hand is mighty, Your right hand is exalted.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne;
Lovingkindness and truth go before You.
How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!
O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance.
In Your name they rejoice all the day,
And by Your righteousness they are exalted.
Psalm 89:11-16 NASB

Think spring!  [brunnera from my front yard garden]

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Well, We're Here--What do We Do?

Last Thursday, as Jacob hopped out onto the sidewalk and shut the car door, I found myself back downtown once again.  Joseph was with me this time, and I really didn't have a plan.  Park and walk?  Sit somewhere?  The wind was blowing at least 30mph, and it felt at least 15 degrees colder than the 44 that the Suburban's mirror thermometer registered.

"Hey, Joe--do you want to go to the Shedd Aquarium?"

"Are you serious?"


His enthusiastic "Okay!" made it worthwhile.  So we drove south on Lake Shore Drive and made our way over to the Aquarium.  Many things are the same as they were the last time we visited (six or seven years ago!), but there were some new things.

We walked through the lower level "Wild Reef" exhibit, and Joseph's favorite fish were the first thing we saw.  Thick, curved glass does not help photo-taking, but these aren't too bad!  I told Joseph I would try.  :)

We purchased the outrageously expensive tickets to include the Oceanarium presentation.  There have been some good and some bad changes.  The loud, "rock-y" music before the show wasn't so great; neither were the disco-type strobe lights at the beginning of the presentation.  This was not a rock concert!  The whole presentation is designed to show the animals doing things they would do in the wild, not performing "tricks" for the audience.  It is meant to educate, not entertain; alas, our culture thrives on entertainment...  (I'm done ranting now.)

One of the new good aspects is that they featured a beluga!  We weren't able to see them at all this time, except during the presentation.  We were glad we could experience these beautiful creatures again.

Also new was the penguin presentation.  They have been training these little guys to waddle across the front of the "stage" area in front of the tank.  One trainer releases them, and the second trainer tempts them with fish.  We couldn't see them very well, since we were on the opposite side of the audience.  I snagged one decent shot, though.

Ah.  The Pacific white-sided dolphin.  These guys were great, and yeah, they were worth the price of the tickets.

Although the brand-new "Jellies" exhibit was set to open the day after we were there, we toured other areas of the Aquarium and saw some neat animals--this sea horse being one of them.

A penguin poses for me.  :)

Joseph and I had a great time.  He navigated with the site map, and helped me find our Suburban in the parking garage.  He even guided me back downtown to pick up Jacob from the federal courthouse.  :)

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Word of the Day: Homelife-ing

A Post About Home Life.

Not about homeschooling, per se.  But home life.  Ooh, that would be interesting--do you homeschool?  "No, we homelife."  Life is what happens in our home.  School happens, too, but it's part of life, and the heart of our life is in the home.  So we homelife.  :)  Sorry--that topic would be a completely different post.

For the past several years, we have been spending Tuesdays going bowling together.  We started one week with the T. family, and continued bowling with them for a while.  Then they moved away, and Grandpa and Grandma joined us each week.  Bowling is usually followed by a shared meal, either here at home or at the grandparents' home.

Not bad for a 79-year-old!

Most of my bowling consists of rolling the ball down the lane in hopes of hitting some pins.  My parents, however, are a little more serious.  They actually met in a bowling league, when one of them subbed into the other's league temporarily.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Our family is happy that we brought bowling back into the lives of the grandparents.  :)


Homelife-ing is so wonderfully flexible; we can bowl whenever we like!  We choose to go early in the afternoon, when the lanes are usually empty.  It's so much more relaxing that way.

Our young men are so interesting--each one has a unique bowling style.  And that makes perfect sense, because the Lord created each of them uniquely, with his own personality, his own strengths, his own style.  Through homelife-ing, Fernando and I have been teaching God's truths to our sons in the ways they learn best.  We want His Word to "stick" to each son as they grow up and conquer the world for Christ.

The analogy has been aptly made that we are fashioning arrows so that when we eventually "shoot them out of the nest," they would shoot straight and far.  Or, if I may take the liberty of applying our "bowling" theme to this Biblical concept, we want the ball to roll straight down the lane to knock all of the pins down.  That is what we have been working at these many years.

So I guess you can say that this post really is about homelife-ing.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tea Talk -- A Good Name

Welcome to my home!
Sit and share a cup of tea with me as we encourage each other in the Lord.
To participate, click on Ruth's button above.

I'm having...a cup of Irish breakfast tea from Trader Joe's.  This is my standard morning drink, and since my blue/white mug broke, I've been using this regular household mug.  It holds a very nice amount of tea.  I tried having two cups of this tea one morning last week, and I was shaky all day--I never knew caffeine could affect me like that!

I'm feeling...fine, as usual!

On my our church bulletin, of all things.  Our family has taken over putting it together and getting it printed each week, and this is our first week doing it.  Danny (18) has done most of the work, but we have to make sure everything is on it and is correct, then send it to the elders for final approval before printing it.  We should have gotten it out yesterday, so that'll be the first task we tackle this morning.  The second thing I'm thinking about is building raised bed vegetable gardens with Lori's family and another friend's family.  Though it hasn't warmed up, we need to get the beds built and the dirt into them so the dirt has a chance to settle before we plant.  Yay for homegrown veggies!  And the third thing on my mind is our state homeschool convention.  I have several things to do very soon regarding this June event!  I'm so glad I made a list.  :)

I leave you with...our Bible memory verse that we as a church will be reciting this week during our service.  Proverbs has been a deep, full book to study each week!

A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1 NASB

And, since I'd like to memorize in Spanish (it has been a while), here is the version that several church members, who are studying/teaching/learning Spanish, use:

Vale más la buena fama que las muchas riquezas,
y más que oro y plata, la buena reputación.
Proverbios 22:1 NVI

My garlic plants have begun to grow!!

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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Afternoon at the Pond

On the way home from church this afternoon, I glanced at the thermometer in the rear-view mirror.  71!!??!!  With the breeze, it didn't feel like it.  But if it said 71, then goodness, we were going to be outdoors this afternoon.  Danny suggested a bike ride, and Fernando agreed.

The three of us left the others at home and pedaled off around town.  We ended up at a pond behind a friend's house (since our friends weren't home).

I am proud to say I carried my own camera pack on my back (I had removed a few lenses and the flash to make the pack lighter).  It was so nice to relax and feel the breeze, with its barest kiss of warmth and the promise of spring.

My Bear on the bench

I had fun snapping photos and relaxing with my Bear, while Danny waited patiently until we were ready to go.  He really wanted to just ride, ride, ride!

Mallard in the water

Cormorants taking off

Checking to see if we had any bread

Canada geese buzzing the pond

Rocks on the shoreline

Mama spent the whole time preening!

So long, seagull!

Now I know spring is on the way!  It's supposed to be colder again this week, but it's coming!  I'm hanging on!!

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