Friday, December 31, 2010

Where Have We Been in 2010?

So here it is, my 2010 blog year in review. (This idea came from one of my favorite blogs, Raising Arrows.) I truly enjoyed going back through the year and reading through some of the posts and hope you do the same!

Where Have We Been in 2010?

In January, I started the year gaining a lot of Perspective as we watched the earth shake and lives break in Haiti. Who knew how bad things were Before or how bad they would still be a year later? Caleb began some important Transitions and Such as our homeschooling days began in earnest. Winter came in a blast bringing 20 or so (minus 8) inches of snow!

February, found us learning some important lessons on Day 2 of 2520 of homeschooling and Nathan celebrating 15 months of life. I struggled with Disappointment, growing ever closer to God because of His faithfulness.

The ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ came out in March. I learned I need to be a be little more Quiet and that You Are What You Read. My boys reveled in being King of the Mulch and My Little Engineer.

In April, we celebrated by Living Easter. I relished and regretted the fact that my life, It Won't Always Be This Way. My family and my cooking took a huge shift in focus as we decided were Buying A Cow and Putting it in the Garage.

May found me learning an important lesson about giving myself some grace when I felt like a Failure. Our garden was planted as we began Hopefully Expecting and we continued to strive on as I gave you a Homeschool Update.

In June, I attended my first (of many I hope) homeschool conference and was faced with Affirmation, Challenges and Overwhlemedness. We faced the Specter of the Blue Slurpee as David came down with mono and I feared we would all share it. (Thankfully we did not!) And in the end. I was Thankful beyond belief that we were not hurt in a really bad accident.

I Could Use That became an oft repeated phrase in our house in July. (Even Nathan says this now!) I wrestled with being Radical and with Growing up Daily in Christ. (Still struggling with the Radical thing!)

In August, I discussed with you some of the Lies I have come to believe and fight with often. We marveled in the Astoundingly Beautiful creation and waited with Anticipation as we be began a new chapter in our life this fall with Classical Conversations.

September found me commiserating about My Kitchen, My BFF with my mom doing a little Kitchen Gymnastics of her own. My attitude went from the Miserable to the Magnificent as I was reminded to rely on God's Power.

In October, we had A Little Change in Scenery. I learned more about what it meant to be a Natural Mom. I asked what Do You Think about little men and yard work and learned just how much My Men Know Me.

Clothing Wars marked November as Nathan turned Two, Already! It's All About the Attitude when looking for Shalom...and going Back to the Basics can truly be the best thing for anyone!

Now it is December and life is Full of Great with many A Weekend Full. I thought of Sodom and Gomorrah: A Christmas Story? and learned that Christmas is much MORE. My biggest is now FIVE! and my littlest is still Too Easy.

And that is 2010 for you in the Richly Supplied life. It has been a hard year in some aspects, a blessed year in all aspects. I hope you enjoyed this recap as much as I enjoyed reading and relearning from some of the posts!

Many blessings to you and yours for 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

FIVE!

My big boy is five today. It is hard to believe that the past five years have gone so quickly. Caleb has grown from a sweet baby, dependent on us for his every need, into a big boy that is becoming more self reliant daily.


Caleb is an incredibly curious child. His desire to explore and understand is insatiable. His self-described favorite activity is "destroying stuff," that is taking things apart to check them out. He loves to take "trash" and build and invent. His memory is amazing and he is a fairly quick learner. I am excited to begin some Kindergarten work with him in the near future!



His energy level is through the roof. He often gets up and runs in circles or just yells for the fun of it. (I think this is to expend some of the energy that his young body seems to produce in mass quantities.) He loves to play outside and he and his little brother are beginning to play together more and more as Nathan gets older.


And if you haven't figured it out yet, Caleb is a talker. He wakes up talking and goes to sleep talking, rarely stopping during the day. The only thing that keeps him quiet for long is a good book or video. Caleb loves both dearly. Bob the Builder is still tops on the video watching list. Caleb loves chapter books and science books. The Magic School Bus books have been a huge hit lately and our latest chapter book, The Magician's Nephew, has caused him to erupt in giggles numerous times.


Happy Birthday to
my dreamer,
my inventor,
my talker,
my big boy,
a true challenge to parent,
and a joy that I could never have imagined.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Tough One

So, he hit me up in the Walmart parking lot. A nice looking, cleanly dressed young man with a story about his car running low on gas and his debit card not working, his fiance was crying because he was having to beg money like a homeless man. He assured me he was not homeless and was a "good Christian."

I checked my wallet and not having much cash, I offered to follow him over to the nearby gas station and fill up his car for him. He told me this wasn't necessary, but I said if he wanted to, I would go. So he followed me over. When I got out of the car, I clearly noticed a second young man laying down in the passenger seat was not a crying fiance.

I asked about the fiance and he clarified that she was at home in Mount Airy and he was trying to get back to her. His friend and him had been on a road trip. I went ahead and bought him the gas, making the statement, "You really shouldn't use Jesus' name in a lie, ya know." The young man assured me he wasn't lying and went on his way.

Hmm. This is a tough one. Did I do the right thing? I read this morning that we are to show our love in action and deed, not just in word. I know we are called to give when asked, even giving more than we are asked. But I can't help but wonder if the guy was lying and I just bought him enough gas so he can go do whatever he pleases.

This same question came up in our 5th grade Sunday School class a few weeks ago. I am sticking by the same answer I gave them: I am to do what God calls me to do and God will handle the person to whom I give. God calls me to give to the needy, without question, but never foolishly. Clearly, we are to be careful with the money He entrusts to us. I can only hope I did this by actually buying gas instead of giving cash.

As for the young man, the verses about loving in action I read go on to say God is greater than our hearts and God knows everything. God will test the young man's motives, just as He will test mine. Furthermore, God is jealous over His name and will protect His name if this young man is misusing it to unscrupulously gain the trust of others.

It is God's name and God's money. I guess I should know God will take care of it. Still, I wrestle with this one, friends. It is a tough one for sure.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Recovery and Recap

WHEW! What a long weekend of fun. We are in recovery mode around here...

Recovering from several days spent enjoying time at Nana and Papa's house. We went to the Science Museum of Southwest Virginia. (YAY for getting in free with our Transportation Museum membership!) It had a large variety of activities packed into a small space. The boy's favorite by far was the HUGE static electricity generator. They loved seeing my hair standing on end and David especially loved SHOCKING the fool out of anyone who came close.

While we all enjoyed the museum, I think I would have been disappointed if I had paid full price for all of us to get in. We also went to the market outside and really "dug" the fossil man and all his relics and stones. (Heehee, get it, we dug him?) The museum is going to be completely redone in the next couple of years and we will go back then, but I hope to go back to the market this summer to check out all the homemade/local goodies.


Recovering from...coming home and having Christmas! YAY for celebrating Jesus' birthday! Christmas eve was spent at church celebrating our Savior's birth. Caleb had all the answers during the children minister's sharing of the Christmas story. He made sure he answered ALL of her questions loudly and in detail so all 500 or so in attendance could hear. Yup, that's my boy and yup, that was me turning bright Christmas red sitting on the stage with Nathan and yup, we have a battery-operated Nativity set (The Little People set to be exact.)

Christmas morning, the boys enjoyed opening their gifts, as you can see. (They enjoyed opening David and my gifts as well.) We asked Caleb later if he was surprised with his gift. He said "Yes, I thought you were getting me a line-painting machine." HUH? "A machine to paint lines on the ground in the backyard like they use at soccer games." Uh, no, that never made the list bud. Maybe next year?? (NOT!)

Recovering from 5 inches of snow... As if Christmas is not exciting enough, God answered a very sweet, almost five-year-old's prayers and sent us a bunch of snow Christmas day! What a fun way to cap off the weekend! We threw snowballs, sledded, made a snowman...you know all the fun snowy stuff. Nathan's favorite snow activity..."I eat ice! Eat more ice!"



(This is the first true snowman I have ever been a part of making, so I have to say I am pretty impressed. Who knew that you really did roll the snow in balls like in all the books? Go figure!)


I have to say my favorite part of the snow was sledding at night with the glowsticks the boys got in their stockings. It was so much fun watching them zip down the hill under the bright stars with the green-glow of glowsticks.


What a weekend from which to recover and just in time for a certain almost five-year-old's birthday weekend!

"Recovered yet?"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Jesus' Birthday!


MERRY CHRISTMAS
with love from us to you!!

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
(John 1:14 The Message)


"The Nativity" by Caleb
Staring:
Lamby as Mary,
Big Pup as Joseph
HeeHaw/Eeyore as the Donkey
Not Pictured: Elmo as Baby Jesus

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

MORE

We have had the boys' Christmas gifts planned for about a month now. While we wanted to make sure they have a nice Christmas this year, we also have been vividly aware this year of how many kids do not have the physical blessings that my boys daily take for granted. That being the case, we wanted to limit the amount of gifts we gave to a couple that we think they will really enjoy and that would create opportunities for fun family time. Content with our picks, we bought the gifts and went about our merry holiday way.

And then the MORE began to creep in.

First in the form of ads on TV or in the newspaper. "MORE! MORE! MORE! Your kids need MORE to be happy and MORE MORE MORE to really love Christmas (and you)."

Then through the off-handed comments of relatives. "That's it? Don't you want them to have MORE than that for Christmas? You always got MORE."

As I got sucked in by the MORE, I began to doubt our gifts and our desires to limit the number of gifts we got our boys. Is it enough? Will they have enough to play with on Christmas? (Forgetting for a moment the bajillion toys they already have. Can't play with old toys on Christmas, must have MORE new toys.) Will Christmas be special to them? I began to look online to see if there was something we could add to the pile. MORE might be ok if it were educational, right?

Then, I stopped. I talked to my wise husband. I remembered reading this and why I don't want gifts to be our Christmas focus. I took a step away from MORE. It.was.hard. Society tells me that a great Christmas is defined by the gifts a child receives. For a moment, I believed this lie.

But then I remembered Christmas is about so much MORE.

THE WORD
The Son of God, Creator of the Universe
BECAME
took initiative
FLESH
to be one of us,
AND DWELT AMONG US
with us,
AND WE SAW HIS GLORY
so we could know Him,
GLORY AS OF THE ONLY BEGOTTEN FROM THE FATHER,
and His DAD
FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH
and so we could be loved by Him forever.
John 1:14

Nothing MORE, nothing less.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy, uh, Birthday?

A thought for the week before Christmas..

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where Have You Been My Whole Cleaning Life?

I have a new friend. Its name is castile soap.

What is castile soap you ask? It is a vegetable based mild soap that is chemical free and can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks.

Being a fairly "green" housekeeper, I was really excited to try it. A year or so ago, I tried to cut out as many chemicals from my cleaning process as I could. Vinegar and baking soda became my staple cleaning supplies. But truly, they did not cut it and I was not impressed. I settled for using some of the commercial green cleaners. While they do the job, they can be quite expensive.

Enter my new friend, castile soap.

Seriously, where have you been my entire cleaning life?

This morning, I made homemade "clorox" wipes with it. I mixed water, a squirt of castile soap, vinegar and some tea tree oil (a natural antiseptic bought at Walmart in the vitamin section.) and poured the concoction over an old cut up cotton t-shirt. (I got the idea for these from this blog.)

Woozers. They work great! My counters, bathroom sink and toilet top wiped right up. There was no residue and the clean smell of peppermint wafted through the air.

So, being the creative one that I am, I decided to try mopping with the castile soap. A couple of squirts in a gallon of warm water was all it took to get my floors cleaner looking than they have been in a while. Even the toughest of goopy spots came up with only a couple of strong wipes of the mop.

I can't wait to try this recipe (found here) for dishwashing machine soap out next:

1/2 cup liquid castile soap
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 drops tea tree oil
1/2 cup white vinegar

Method:

stir all ingredients together until blended. Store in a squirt top bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per load of dishes, shake well before use.


I also fully plan on mixing up some more of the water/castile soap/vinegar/tea tree oil mix to keep in a spray bottle to clean with later on.

Now one side note that I feel like I need to mention. The brand of castile soap that I bought is not my favorite. Not because it doesn't work, it works really well. I did not read the bottle before buying it and discovered upon reading it that it is covered with psuedo-religious philosophies that just do not jive with my faith. I believe that God desires us to be careful how we spend our money and I really don't want my money going to a company that espouses things that are not of God's truth. That being said, there are several different brands available from Amazon and it looks like they work just as well.

Friends, I could not keep this great discovery to myself! This is the happiest I have been about any cleaning product EVER! Seriously, castile soap, where have you been all my life?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Too Easy

Sometimes it is just too easy...


...like getting Nathan to sleep in his big boy bed this past week...


...unlike his big brother, who we spent a week fighting with when he switched over...


Nathan has not gotten up once and loves his bed!
Just too easy this one!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sodom and Gomorrah: A Christmas Story?

Genesis chapter 19 might just be some the ugliest stories of human history in any written form. Incest, molestation, rape, and attempted murder fills this short chapter on the story of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. Each day as I sat down this week to study this chapter (as a part of Community Bible Study's year long study on Genesis), my heart groaned in disgust as I came face to face with the depths of humanity's sin.

Sitting with my Bible open and the Christmas tree lights blinking merrily in the background, I could not but help to ask, "God, why such an ugly lesson during such a beautiful time?" As the week went on and the study dug deeper into the sins of those involved, it became clearer and clearer to me that this ugly story is really what Christmas is all about.

"WHAT? No way! Christmas is about beauty, joy and celebrating that little baby in the manger. Not incest, rape and murder!"

Hang with me here. Yes, Christmas is about all the beauty that comes with a baby wrapped in his mother's arms, but it is also about the depths of our sin, including those of Lot and his associates. The reason that babe was born was not for us to celebrate a joyous occasion with friends and family thousands of years later.

The babe was born to take upon the depths of our sin in its rawest, truest, ugliest forms. Christmas, and the life of that baby, is God's answer to the ugliness of Genesis 19 and to the ugliness of humanity's sin.

For you see, Genesis chapter 19 is not only about the depths of humanity's sin, but also about the depths of God's love for humanity. God knew Lot to be a righteous man and did all that was necessary to save him and his family from the just wrath to come. (2 Peter 2:6-9) Just as God reached down through His angels to save Lot from destruction, God reaches down through the babe at Christmas to save each of us from destruction This reaching out is not because of anything we have done, for clearly our actions, like Lot's, are not righteous.

Instead, God reaches out through the Christmas babe with a grace that overwhelms and a beauty that stuns.

He reaches through the ugliness of Genesis 19 and through the ugliness of our sin, to bring us to a place of true joy, true peace and true beauty.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Weekend Full

This past weekend, we had the awesome opportunity to go watch our favorite football team (GO HOKIES!) play for the ACC Championship game. Even the snow flurries and the COLD rain could not dampen our excitement as we left the boys with Grandma and enjoyed our day on the town.

We arrived in Charlotte a little after lunch time. With the game being a late kick-off, we had plenty of time to wander through the ACC fan park and downtown Charlotte. And wander we did! We walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked (did I mention this was all in the bitter cold and sometimes rainy bitter cold?) and walked and walked.

We passed many an interesting thing...most dealing with drunk college kids, but one group that I found a little bizarre. A group of 6-8 men were standing on the corner, yelling "Death to Israel" and all kind of great slogans like that. We walked by them a second time and they were reading out of what I think was the Bible, but couldn't really tell for sure. (If it was the Bible, I think they might want to read Psalm 122, and think about praying for the peace of Jerusalem instead of its death, but that is just my thought.) While curious about them, I was not curious enough to stop and ask what they were all about...maybe next time.

As dinner time grew close, we began to look for a place to eat and thaw out. Most of the restaurants in our price range were PACKED. We were getting frustrated with walking and walking so we kind of just stopped in front of an empty restaurant, The Kings Kitchen. It was opening shortly, so I told David to Google it to see if it would be a good idea for dinner. (Thank goodness for 4G phone service, right?)

After reading about it, David said, "I think you will like this place."

Let me give you a snippet of how their website describes them...

"We’re a not for profit restaurant serving up southern cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients from right here in our community. And the proceeds go back to the community, helping to feed those in need. So, come on in. Because when you dine, the whole community thrives."

and

"The King’s Kitchen is an outreach of Restoration Word Ministries managed by Jim Noble Restaurants that donates 100% of profits from sales to feed the poor in Charlotte, the region, and the world. Additionally, The King’s Kitchen partners with area ministries to provide employment opportunities to Charlotteans in search of a new beginning."

You think I would like it? Yeah, I think so. (What an amazing concept...use the talents God has given you as a chef/restaurateur to bring God glory while helping those He loves. Crazy, I know.)

It.was.awesome.

The service was courteous and attentive, the atmosphere, warm and inviting. The food was delicious...fried chicken for me and ribs for David and don't even get me started on the biscuits or the brown sugar pound cake! Needless to say, we both licked our plates clean!

I cannot wait to go back. Seriously, if you live or are visiting in the Charlotte area, you need to eat here. I doubt you will be disappointed!

AND our great dinner was topped off by a great game, in which the Hokies soundly beat the 'Noles. It was still bitter cold (and rainy), but under my six layers of clothing, I was quite warm and full!

GO HOKIES!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Lesson in Futility


Taking pictures

of two busy boys

in a very crowded place

full of exciting things to look at


is truly a lesson in futility.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Full of Great

This past holiday weekend was not just a time of gratefulness, but also a time full of greatness. On Thursday, we went to up to David's parents and spent the day with them.




The boys enjoyed playing outdoors... Never to fail, Caleb found some wood to build with and began constructing a new creation right away.


The food was delicious and the company a treat! One of the great and different things this year, is my mom came with us for the day. I think this might have been the first Thanksgiving since we have been married that I spent with her. The boys' great-grandpa was there also and Caleb loves to sit and listen to his stories. Trust me, he has some good ones...the attacking Beaver being one of our favorite of all times.


On Friday, we braved the crowds and did a little Christmas shopping. We had to be a little creative since we were shopping for gifts intended for our shopping companions. "Da, what is that big box?" (The box in mention was so big we had to move seats around in the SUV and it took up over half the entire back two rows.) "Oh, just a box the store gave us to take away."

Saturday, we went to the mountains and picked out a tree. While I immensely enjoyed the time together as a family, I am not sure we would do it this way exactly again.


The place was extremely crowded, the drive kind of long and the wind VERY cold. I *like* the *idea* of going and cutting down a tree, but am not sure what we did matches my idea of what that should be like.
Not to mention that while I am thankful to be able to stop and eat when we are hungry, stopping at the random Chinese restaurant in small town USA might not be the wisest choice. It is hard to be thankful for yucky Chinese.


We spent Saturday evening decorating the tree, The boys loved pulling out the decorations and talking about where they all came from. Our tree style is a hodge-podge of ornaments from when we were young and the ones the boys have made so far. I love looking at them and telling the stories that I hope our boys will remember and tell their young ones in the years to come.

I have to say the results of the tree and this weekend are both something to be grateful for and and something that is full of greatness!
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