31 January 2008


Tristen burned his right hand tonight on a wood stove. We were with some friends from church at their home for supper. They have three little children and several of the kids were in the basement playing. Tristen must have fallen or reached out to help himself stand up--God knows-- and burned the palm of his hand. Blisters are already showing up just below his fingers and on every fingertip. He screamed in pain for about 45 minutes straight. So far we've used cold running water, an ice pack, tea tree oil, and two different burn ointments. He's finally fallen asleep on the couch. 

On the way over I'd prayed aloud for our time with these new friends. And the Spirit had directed me to pray for protection. Makes me wonder what might have happened. . .

The family we spent the evening with are new to our church. They've been searching for a new fellowship for a while and were eager to talk and ask questions. We hadn't been talking long when this small emergency demanded our attention. It's times like these when I am reminded that "there are no accidents in Aslan's country." Our God makes no mistakes. We were looking forward to deepening a friendship, talking about the things God is teaching us, asking questions about their journey with the Father. And even though our conversations were only beginning, there will be more times to come, God willing. In the times when I don't understand what God is doing (and there have been many of those in the last year) I am always reminded that God is still there. He's knows where I live. And He loves me. 

If God brings Tristen to mind, please pray for healing. It's a nasty burn for a very active 2 year old boy.

Tears. . .

"Never stifle the cry in your heart. God put it there. God puts no special premium on our being perennial spiritual Pollyannas.

His joy springs forth most abundantly in souls that have been soaked in tears. 

Not the tears of self-pity. Never.

But the tears of devotion and longing after Him. 

Weep. But when you weep, weep in His arms.

Doubt if you must, but tell each doubt to Him candidly. You will be surprised how quickly they will melt away. His love and His smile will dispel every doubt as silently and surely as sunshine removes frost.

You cannot look in His face and doubt at the same time!"

Frances J. Roberts in Come Away My Beloved.

30 January 2008

the cookies were great!

I ended up baking a dozen cookies. And then there were those in the family who wanted a baked cookie and also a nice spoonful of dough. 

In case you're in need of yet another cookie recipe here goes: 

Wyoming Whopper Cookies

2/3 c. butter, very soft or even melted
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
3 eggs

Mix until smooth. 

1 1/2 c. chunky (or crunchy) peanut butter
3 T. water
6 c. old fashioned oats
2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. raisins
1 package (12 oz.---or more!) chocolate chips
Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended. This mixture will be very sticky. Drop on greased baking sheet with large spoon. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350˚ for about 15 minutes for very large cookies, less time for smaller cookies. Cool and enjoy!!

When I grow up. . . by Tobin

"But Mama, I don't want to get married when I grow up! I'm gonna be a firefighter." And then another conversation from a bit earlier. . .

"Mama, I had a dream. There was a house on fire and the firefighters rescued the animals but they were dead so they took them to Cabela's and took all the meat out so they could stand them up there."

Cabela's has been a favorite stopping place on our travels. The children love to walk through the taxidermy displays. I call it a "dead zoo". 

Firefighter today, but no marriage please. I wonder what he'll want to be tomorrow?

29 January 2008

Two year olds and bread

Today was bread baking day at our house. And I firmly regret that I have no pictures to prove it. I generally make two batches at one time since our family of 7 hungries can go through at least a loaf a day, sometimes a loaf and a half. 

The first "oh my" came when Tristen (age 2) grabbed a glob of dough and put it in his mouth when I wasn't looking. All the children beg for little bits of the soft yeastiness on bread day, but this time I'd turned my back and was talking to Daniel. This time the eyes in the back of my head must have been closed. Poor baby. He started gagging on that nasty lump of dough and had to be rescued. 

Then, after putting the last of the six soft loaves into their little beds to rise, I ran to the living room to check on something else, leaving the aforesaid sweet little man alone at the table with the aforementioned six soft loaves resting. When I returned to the kitchen I discovered nearly one whole cup of flour dumped on top of parts of two loaves in their loaf pans. 

Somehow baking seems to take longer these days. Everyone wants to help. "Can I crack those eggs for you Mama?" "You stay away! I'm stirring the soup this time!" "Can I finish that up for you Mama?" "Why don't I ever get to help?" Oh my. 

A good friend told me she has a different child help each day with her various cooking jobs, that way it eliminates too many children in the kitchen at once. I've toyed with the idea many times, but today brought it to mind again. I think I really will have to try it. Five children. Let's see, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!! 

Ok, I promised everyone cookies before bedtime. Although around here the dough usually disappears before it ever makes it to the oven. 

26 January 2008

How Great is Our God!

Last night we watched a message by Louie Giglio. Wow. 

It's a "big" reminder of the largeness of this God we serve. 

It's a message that "right sizes God". 

It's a message that made me want to fall at the feet of Jesus, and lay there on the ground, awestruck. 

It's a message that made me want to stand in His presence on tiptoe with my eyes closed and my hands high in the air. 

It's a message that made me want to fall to my knees before Him and weep.

It's a message that made me want to dance a wild exuberant dance, all the while laughing out loud, just for the joy of it. 

I guess you just gotta' see it. If by now you're dying of curiosity, go here. How Great is Our God!

It's about 40 minutes long. You can either download it, or you can just watch it online. 

Come back and let me know what you think. . . 

25 January 2008

Just a basic update. . .

I decided to post a few photos from the last several days. We finally had a little snow! These first two pictures are taken from our front porch. The clouds and snow squall in the distance are actually covering Jack's Mountain across the valley from us. We love the view! But more than the view outside, we love the views of what God is doing among us. . . 

Two little boys eating apples on the kitchen floor.
This very staged picture was thought up by the sisters!
The girls and I had tea again yesterday. They did this arranging themselves. Sweet apple chamomile tea in a teapot from Kris. A pretty yellow candle from Jules. A white gerbera daisy from Angie. 

We used little napkins in the shape of pansies. I explained that many flowers have a special meaning and pansies stand for "thoughts". We talked about thoughts we may have that no one knows about or that would embarrass us horribly if anyone could see them. We talked about taking thoughts captive and rejecting thoughts that don't line up with Scripture or the character of God. I reminded them that God knows our thoughts and imaginations. 

How thankful I am for these moments with my girls! They were asking if I was going to do another girl's retreat like I'd planned and hosted the last 3 years we lived in Evart. I told them that our tea times are like mini girl's retreats. We have our own opportunity to talk about who God is, and how we should live as followers of Jesus. Tea time is girl time. 

And if I never do another girl's retreat again, I will have invested in the most important girls in my life. Who knows, maybe they will be my presenters at the next retreat. 

Wow. I love mentoring. 

23 January 2008


Here is my current "centerpeace" on our dining room table. 

Happy New You!!

That's what Tristen (age 2 1/2) told everyone on New Year's Day, 2008. Happy New You! Truer words have never been spoken. 

Here's what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now! What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people back to him. (II Corinthians 5:16-18 NLT)

Based on that, Happy New You seems very appropriate. Every Christian should be able to articulate what has changed in their life as a result of the newness that Christ has brought to their lives. Otherwise, do we really need Him? 

I'm reading through the book of James for the second time in 2 weeks. Wow. I never made the connection between the passages about faith and works and the words of Paul in Corinthians. But if you look at the chapter above and then read James 2: 17 about faith without works being dead it only reinforces the fact that there is an obvious change in my life B.C. and A.D.S. (Before Christ and After Dying to Self) "So you see, it isn't enough to just have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all-- it is dead and useless." 

And God has given us the task of reconciling people back to him. This is my "New Me Resolution": I want to be part of reconciling people back to God.

I don't know how this will take shape in 2008. It may be sharing the gospel of Jesus with my neighbors across the street. It may be through the discipleship of a friend who is so eager for true freedom in Christ. And I pray it is through the continued mentoring of my own children as they grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  

When (and if!) 2009 comes, I want to be able to look back and see the ways that I have grown in Christ in 2008. I don't want to remain the same. I don't want to be a scummy pond without a fresh spring flowing into it. I want the life of the Spirit of Jesus to be alive and active in me so that I remain fresh and prepared for that task of reconciliation God has given me. 

Happy New You! What's your New You Resolution? Do you have a desire or plan for growth in 2008?

All this newness is from God. . . 

15 January 2008

Mothers should NEVER be sick.

My nose is running a marathon.

We've had colds and sniffles, coughs and fevers at our house over the last several weeks. But so far it's only been in the "childhood" sector. Not anymore. Yesterday the sneezing began. Last night the sore throat. Today the marathon.

So today is the day I want to put my jammies on and snuggle under a nice warm fleece blanket. But I'm a mama. And I homeschool. And today was the day I promised two girls, ages 9 and 7 that they could cook dinner. 

Now, cooking dinner is all well and good, but this requires much mama-intervention in order to succeed. But we did it!! Dinner is actually in the crock pot, and all we need to add is a salad and a dessert. I think we'll do something easy like rice crispy squares rather than the elaborate cookie ice cream sandwiches they planned on making. I just don't have energy for that today. Some other time, please.

After the girls are finished with their reading (soon, I hope!) I'm going to lay down for a while. 

Like I said, mothers should NEVER be sick. And definitely not homeschooling mothers. 

14 January 2008

Tea time for young ladies

Several weeks ago God brought me an idea. 

I really needed a way to connect with my girls in a girlie sort of way. I wanted something that would give me a platform for conversation. Conversation that goes both directions. So, our tea time evolved. 

First of all, tea time happens when there are no boys around. Mostly this means we have to wait until the little brothers are down for naps. I began reading aloud the book "Beautiful Girlhood", knowing full well that parts of it will be over their heads, and we may stop at some point and re-evaluate, but I wanted to let them know that I understand the difficulty of the changes that take place when crossing over from childhood to womanhood. 

Sometimes I'm even tempted to consider writing my own curriculum and call it "Awkward Elegance" or something. Hmm. Can't think about that too long. 

Anyway, we read a little, explain a little, drink a little tea, enjoy a little chocolate. Basically I want to create an every-week (or every other week) environment that gives them a platform for sharing their hearts with me. And I want to do it now, before they are teenagers. I want to have the open sharing firmly in place so that when difficult questions come up we already have a place in which to share them. 

I know some moms do this at bedtime or on dates away from the house, but right now this seems to be my best option. Today as soon as I announced "Tea time!" the girls ran to collect dress up clothes. I did the quickest thing I could and plopped a hat on my head. 

Listening to my children has not been one of my most stellar qualities. What they don't know is that this "tea time" is more for me than for them. I want to listen. And I want to be able to speak into their lives. 

Today we had blueberry green tea using my Grandmother Good's china. We also had swiss chocolate. 

Nothing deep was discussed today. In fact, after tea was cleared away, we played a rousing game of Dominoes. Some days in the spring we may have lemonade on the front porch. Next time it might be hot chocolate on the living room floor. 

The place and the goodies don't matter a whole lot since I am creating an atmosphere of openness for heart conversations that I pray lasts a long time. Because this mama has an awful lot to learn. 

10 January 2008

Showalter Christmas

After spending Christmas Day with the Hobbits in Pennsylvania, we traveled to Ohio. Road trips with 5 children ages 9 to 2 are always interesting and long. It really doesn't matter how far you have to travel. "Will we be there soon?" "Can we watch a movie on the computer now?" "I'm hungry!!!!" "I have to go to the bathroom!" "Me too! Really bad!!" "Can we listen to Narnia?" "Everybody be quiet. Tristen just went to sleep." "How far is it to Nana's house?" 

But once we're there, we discover that it was quite worth it. What a marvelous time with family! Enjoy the photos. I'll post my deep thoughts later. . . 
Elsa with new hiking boots from Nana!
And here is THE gift of the season for the boys. Kevin and Keith thought it was time to introduce the nephews to the world of men. I only wish I had Tobins greatest crash on video. Nothing broken, just a good scare for a boy who thought he was invincible.

We had a fantastic afternoon of ice skating while in Ohio. Nana stayed home with Grandpa and Grandma Showalter and a very tired Tristen. Here is Emelyne. 
Auntie Kris and Elsa skated together a bunch. . . and Sophia too. But we didn't get any good photos of Sophia on the ice! :o(
Tobin started out needing lots of help. But several hours later he was skating by himself!
A very happy skater!!
Papa, Tobin and Tristen watched youtube videos of monster trucks while the rest of us played dominoes! There were moments when the dominoes players paused to see what all the "wows" were about at that end of the table. 
These pictures have to be some of my favorites from Christmas. Tristen was showing Great-grandma Showalter how to do "here's the church, here's the steeple". 
Grandma acted a little confused and wasn't quite sure what Tristen was doing. I'm sure Grandma doesn't remember their little interchange, and years from now I'm not sure Tristen will either, but watching the interaction between the very old and the very young was special to me. 
Christmas clean-up and tear-down after we arrived home from Ohio. 
Sophia was thrilled to find a new use for Christmas ornaments. :o)

So we're left with precious memories of another Christmas past. I wonder if we'll celebrate Christmas in the new earth. . . 

Christmas morning with the Hobbits!

Esther gave me this sweet little hat. 

Emelyne and Sophia were delighted with the new Bibles they received from Papa and Mama. For any interested parents, we chose the New Readers Bible (NKJV) published by Thomas Nelson. It's a giant print Bible just right for elementary age kids. The reviews on Amazon were exactly right. This is an awesome Bible!! And all the extras (maps, details about history, etc.) are fantastic. It comes highly recommended!
Esther gave Daniel this fleece blanket to use during his early morning study and prayer times. When he put it over his head it instantly transformed him into a rabbi!

I often tell Elsa, "Honey, when you smile it's like the sun coming out from behind a cloud after a rain storm!"

Tristen and Tobin: the 80's guy and the skier guy

New swords and shields for the boys. 

I'll be back soon with pics from our celebration with the Showalters!

A little bit of Christmas

The Sunday before Christmas we had a little program at church with the children involved in various parts. Sophia played the part of the old granny. A friend loaned us a wig, and after adding one of Mammaw's old shawls Sophia definitely looked the part! Emmy also had a leading role. Elsa, Tobin and Tristen each had little speaking parts too. 
Christmas Day was spent at the Hobbs homestead with Pappaw (Daniel's dad), Auntie Esther (Daniel's sister) and Great-Ma (Daniel's grandma). One of the special things was a walk in the woods to a favorite prayer spot.

So here are a few woodsy shots:

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