Thursday, January 31

be not wise in thine own eyes

"Be not wise in thine own eyes." ~ Proverbs 3:7a

Say it out loud. Say it again. And again. Do you agree? Could this be the motto of mothers who have teen-aged or young adults in their family? I think for many of us who have been there, doing that, done that, glad we're over that, we can easily say YES! The problem would be that we couldn't actually tell our children of that age the motto because they'd think it was funny. Why? Because.they.know.everything. PERIOD.

Thankfully I have to say that my older ones who *do know everything* are for the most part respectful about expressing their opinions of knowledge and wisdom. And I, for the most part, have learned not to have such hurt feelings when they refuse the advice and counsel I offer them. Truly, they will learn the best lessons of life by making mistakes just like I did. It's just hard as a mother to watch them do this when years of experience had brought valuable wisdom.

But as time has passed I have found that not all is lost. For as these children get a bit older a change becomes noticeable. They start seeking advice and counsel from you. They really want wisdom from someone experienced in life as they consider and make important decisions. They've learned that mistakes cost time and money and valuable energy.

Wisdom is an interesting thing, isn't it? The older you get, the more you realize how little you do know. You also understand that the wisdom of the world is meaningless. It is only in God that we find true wisdom to live our lives to the fullest potential He has planned for us.

Be not wise in thine own eyes. It's a valuable piece of wisdom that even *I* can learn from. I'm claiming it as my motto of the day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 30

hibernation



It seems to be a natural flow of life where I've lived most of my life. Winter hibernation. After the holiday rush, everyone lies low for awhile. Perhaps it is the shorter daylight hours. Perhaps it is the unpredictable weather which is either snowy or extremely cold (schools are closed today within a sixty mile radius because of frigid wind chill factors). Perhaps it is a because it is the cold/flu/stomach virus season. Or perhaps it is a natural rhythm of life God has given us as a season of rest. I certainly can't pinpoint the cause, but I know it happens every year here.

With this season comes sleeping in later in the mornings or catnapping in the afternoons. Meals are different, too. Hot foods. Heavier foods. More soups and crockpot meals with sauces. Less fresh produce since the quality of fruits and vegetables tends to decline with shipping. Less exercise unless you are winter hardy. And it isn't unusual to have a bit of the winter blues or have cabin fever set in as the winter drags on for months.

Winter hibernation can spell disaster for a weight loss plan. UNLESS you have developed Living Well Principles throughout the year. Principles that have become healthy habits.

Where does that put me this winter? Maintain. Stable. I am not losing and I am not gaining. Watching what I eat, but not like a hawk. Exercising a bit, but not like I typically do or like the warmer seasons. The winter blues keeps my motivation level low. Almost non-existent some days. Step by step. As long as I recognize that, I'll do fine.

For I know this is temporary. The daylight hours will soon be noticeably stretching. The weather will begin warming. The signs of spring are only THREE months away instead of six months. LOL! Yes, a sense of humor does help :-)

One great benefit of this season is having more time to spend in God's Word. My body may be in a season of hibernation, but my mind is not. There is more time to read and study. I am currently involved in three Bible studies and am being challenged with everything God is placing in my path as I work through Scripture verses. No matter how many times you study the Bible, there's always something new to be revealed!

My hope is that you, too, have developed good Living Well habits that are carrying you through this season. Habits which include God's Word to refresh and renew your mind daily!

To follow the journey of other Living Well participants, go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 29

the heroes of today?

"Recent movies and books have presented a new kind of hero. This hero, male or female, is tough, violent, strong, and cunning. They use few words, usually carry big guns, and they show no mercy. The reason these kinds of heroes are popular is that they mete out vengeance to any and all who do wrong. They wipe out the oppressors, they defend the meek, and they refuse to let the bad guys win. In other words, they symbolize the ideal that good will always triumph over evil. The problem is, the good they offer is little better than the evil they destroy." ~ From Daily Wisdom from the Bible

Ahhhh, we all have heroes, don't we? Especially kids who live in a technological age of movies, computers, and video games.

As I read this paragraph, what struck me the most and something which I hadn't really thought about before was the last sentence. The heroes of today fight battles just as nastily as the evil they are out to destroy. Yes, the ideal does of "good will always triumph over evil" still holds true with these heroes, but at what cost? Has the world REALLY been made better from their influence? Are they people I'd like my children to follow as an example? Probably not.

I guess I would prefer the statement "God will always triumph over evil." Now there's some Truth! And who could be a finer example to follow than Jesus Christ? We even have the armor listed in His Word - Ephesians 6:10-18 - to go out into the world and be a soldier for God.

I'm just hoping this armor comes in the color pink!

Have a good day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 28

bloggy giveaways carnival!

As I was recently cleaning in my kitchen, I determined it was time to thin out my cookbook shelf since the cookbooks were tightly packed together. The result was a handful of cookbooks which seemed like perfect Bloggy Giveaway Carnival items!

These are the options for entering:

Choose to be in all three drawings
OR pick separate categories as follows.....


Set #1 - Vegetarian Cookbooks

This set includes the Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Today Vegetarian Recipes (1993) AND The Quick & Easy Vegetarian Cookbook by Ruth Ann Manners and William Manners (1993)



Set #2 - Lighter Eating Cookbooks

This set includes Better Homes and Gardens Eating Light (1991) AND Bon Appetit Light and Easy Desserts Volume Two (1993)



Set #3 - Cholesterol Reducing Cookbooks

The No Cholesterol Cookbook by Mary Carroll with Hal Straus (1991) and The 8 Week Cholesterol Cure Cookbook by Robert E. Kowalski (1989)


The contest begins on Monday, January 28th, and ends on Friday, February 1st, at midnight (CST) and is open to U.S. residents. The drawing will be held on Saturday, February 2nd with my personal assistant, Lovey, pulling names out of a basket. All winners will be contacted shortly afterward, so please leave a blog or email address in your comment so I have a way to contact you. Cookbooks will be sent out the following week via media mail.

Fruit, dishes, or paper toweling holder shown in the pictures are not included!


To enjoy more of the great bloggy giveaways carnival, please go to the main page HERE


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, January 27

live expectantly

"Keep your life so constant in its contact with God that His surprising power may break out on the right hand and on the left. Always be in a state of expectancy, and see that you leave room for God to come in as He likes." ~ Oswald Chambers

Years ago at a Bible study one of the women would often use the term "live expectantly" and it was a delight to see it pop up again in my devotional this week. We get so wrapped up in our own lives that we tend to forget that God is alive and always moving behind the scenes. All of a sudden something happens and you know without a doubt it can only be God's hand! Unexpected! Unpredictable! Beyond belief! Only God.....

Live expectantly this day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 26

littlest and biggest

My oldest daughter is home for a long weekend to hang out and relax with the family. Most of the boys weren't around this morning and the other sisters are busy with a play production today, so she spent some time with her littlest sister outside playing in the snow. With such a range of ages in our family, it is always a blessing to see the older ones taking the time and effort to connect with their younger siblings. And this is no exception as there is a little over twenty years between these two sisters. But they had fun together outside and when the cat sneaked out the door we captured him in the picture with the icicle :-)

Enjoy your family!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a tale of the fort

Oh ohhhhh! We've had a major happening out in the woods at our home recently. To read more about it, you'll have to go and visit my post found over at Heart of the Matter today.

Enjoy your Saturday! We have a busy one ahead :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 25

tagged on six

Ahhhhh, I've been TAGGED by Charlene! After checking the rules, I have to share six non-important things, habits, or quirks about myself. I think yesterday's love/hate meme was easier! Hmmmm, think random, think random, think random.....here goes:

*1 - I never had a cat as a pet until I was married.

*2 - I had lots of freckles as a kid and used to try rubbing lemon juice on them to try to get them to fade. Now they are faintly there and I'm not certain if anyone even notices the silly things.

*3 - My very favorite scented flowers are freshly cut Lily of the Valley. Spring lilacs come in as a close second in that category.

*4 - A mother can never have too many candles. I LOVE them!

*5 - My morning coffee begins with a spoonful of sugar, a good splash of milk, then the coffee poured on top. It's hard for other people to duplicate the proper mix...hee hee. I do cheat and go for the specialty creamers on Sunday mornings at church :-)

*6 - My favorite piece of jewelry is my grandmother's thin gold wedding band which I wear next to my wedding band just as my mom had done with this ring.

How'd I do? :-)

Anyone else want to play?

Enjoy this day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 24

how low can you go?

NINETEEN DEGREES BELOW ZERO! Clear skies and a big full moon as I wandered out of our home early this morning to go and walk inside the high school's fieldhouse. Really, I keep hearing about the *warming trend coming*, but I'm beginning to wonder if I was dreaming that news as the thermometer just isn't making it above zero lately. BRRRRRR!

So, it seems like good timing to do something fun. Yesterday over at Quiet Life Donna did a fun meme that I thought I'd post here today. Kind of one of those things to get to know one another better. I don't think that anything in my meme will surprise my family and they will probably :::yawn::: as they read it. Feel free to fill it out about yourself in the comment section or carry it over to your own blog. Hopefully you are a little more exciting than me! Here goes:

love/hate meme

I love to eat: chocolate
I hate to eat: cooked spinach

I love to go: to a fabric or craft store
I hate to go: to the doctor

I love it when: the sun shines
I hate it when: there is gray weather day after day

I love to see: my garden growing
I hate to see: the ugly gray snow of spring meltdown

I love to hear: my kids laughing
I hate to hear: my kids fighting

Stay warm my friends!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, January 23

a sweet dilemma



Ahhh, yes....what to do about those love languages that others speak?


This is my husband's slow season of work which means he's around home more right now. His schedule is relaxed so he can hibernate a bit longer in the mornings, eat at regular meal times with us, snick snack a LOT more, and wander in and out of the house throughout the day. It's nice having him around more :-) I especially like that he can run my errands for me because he actually enjoys being out in this frigid cold weather. Crazy, I know!

Oh, but then there's his love language.


Gifts.

I'm not talking big things for the most part. I'm talking little things. And during his off season while running errands for me, he returns with gifts. Like, "Honey, I got you one of those special dark chocolate candy bars that you like so much" or "Look, I got us both a concrete malt while I was out" or "When I stopped to get milk, I picked up some doughnuts, too, and got you a custard filled one!". What a SWEETheart, right?

Yes, his heart is in the right place. But his gifts are going to the wrong place as they add pounds to my body! YIKES!


So, I had to talk to him a bit about his love language which has felt like, well, like sabotage. Honestly, he just never thought about it in that way at all. I mean, for years this was an okay thing for him to do for me. I enjoyed every morsel! But, no longer as my habits have changed and my heart's desire is to Live Well. I thanked him for wanting to bless me, but told him he didn't need to buy something separate for me. I'd be just as happy as a bug in a rug if he bought a treat for himself and offered me a bite. A bite is easy to accept or reject. And I will feel just as loved.

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life......" ~ I Peter 3:7

Now THERE is a gift that it is a delight to share! The gracious gift of life through Jesus Christ!

Follow the journey of other Live Well participants HERE

Blessings,

Tammy
~@~

Tuesday, January 22

on to second semester

Yesterday with paper and pen in hand, I sat down with my son to get his second semester class and work schedule as he will be heading back to college sometime at the end of the week. After noting those schedules, it was time to remind him that he hadn't yet shared his first semester grades with us. Fear and trepidation filled his face. I anticipated much much worse than what he shared with me (and I will not share them here since my life would be endangered!).

His grades were typical of the first semester of adjusting to leaving home and learning a whole new educational structure after being homeschooled all his life. Much has been learned in those few months and he's looking at second semester with a whole different approach. He has a plan of action which should work very well.

As we spoke, it brought back to my mind "why" we homeschool. To provide a solid educational experience for our children, but even more to provide a solid Biblical foundation in their lives to carry them through a life time of maturing. So looking at the spiritual aspect in my college son's life, it is evident that he is continuing on a path of growth there, also. He's involved in the campus InterVarsity program becoming more involved in a leadership role during second semester as well as being committed to a weekly Bible study. We have talked frequently about the *folly* of youth his age as they engage in easy philosophies as the world so smoothly - and deceivingly - draws them and then causes them to stumble in the end. He believes that college will either make or break someone's faith. Makes sense to me. Either the foundation is strong or it isn't.

So as we prepare this week to get him organized to go back for second semester, there's a bit more ease in the process. He goes back with a plan of action giving him more confidence going into the classes he'll have this semester AND his other instruction manual - God's Word - is still solidly in place.

Something else will continue as well. Just as my daily prayers for him in college began the moment we left him at that brick building on a hot day in August, they will continue daily as we send him off on a frigid day in January.

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." ~ Philippians 1:3-6

Go and grow, my son!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 21

a lesson in progress

One of my sons has a car that had been his older brother's car which had been the oldest brother's car which had been a friend's a car who got the car from someone else. I have no idea who had it before him, but let's just say that it's a sweet little car with a kazillion miles on it which everyone has loved driving. The body is in good condition, yet there was major work that needed to be done - transmission and clutch. Friends had a cousin who does car mechanic work who was going to be in our area this weekend, so all the parts were ordered to do the job with his help. So, first thing Saturday morning they began the work in my husband's heated work garage. One problem. The mechanic cousin turned out to be a young adult like my boys who does a little bit of mechanical work on the side. You know, not REALLY a mechanic. And what they anticipated taking one day, well, it took one day just to get the old transmission out. And yesterday's schedule only allowed them a couple hours of work time between church and football games. Let's just say there's a lot of tools and a lot of car parts all over my husband's garage and an undriveable car in the midst. Did I mention they bypassed using the instruction manual? @@@@@@@@@@ (yup, that's me rolling my eyes....HELLO?????)

Isn't that how we tackle life sometimes? We have a big challenge ahead of us we are ready to tackle. We seek advice from someone who may have kind of gone through something a bit similar. We leap ahead with a particular plan in mind and things start going wrong. The problems get bigger. Pretty soon there are disagreements, hurt feelings, and papers all over the place. The situation is not pretty. Nor is the predicted outcome. And it's taking a lot longer to work out than our plan originally indicated. We've got one big mess on our hands. Did I mention that perhaps we bypassed using our instruction manual? You know, God's Word. Didn't use it and perhaps also didn't take the time to seek His wisdom through our prayers.

You know, it's never too late to consult His instruction manual. Plus it's never too late to take the whole big mess before Him in prayer. And it's never too late to correct our selfish plan and work through His plan as we wisely learn the lessons He has for us.

"There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the LORD's counsel - that will stand." ~ Proverbs 19:21

A lesson in progress. For us all.

Here's to my husband getting his work garage back before spring and my son's car running properly in the end!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, January 20

trial escape plans?

"There are two ways of getting out of a trial. One is simply to try to get rid of the trial, and be thankful when it is over. The other is to recognize the trial as a challenge from God to claim a larger blessing than we have ever had, and to hail it with delight as an opportunity of obtaining a larger measure of divine grace. Thus even the adversary becomes an auxiliary, and the things that seem to be against us turn out to be for the furtherance of our way. Surely, this is to be more than conquerors through Him who loved us." ~A.B. Simpson

Have a challenge in your life right now that you'd like to see disappear? Perhaps the best way to deal with it is to walk directly through it....with the help of God.

"In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." ~ Romans 8:37

Be more than a conqueror....today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 19

this is more like it

Yup, I suppose you thought that quote from yesterday made me permanently speechless. NOPE! I'm back to talking this morning :-)

Our weather has finally changed to be more like the weather we are used to for the month of January. Cold. Frigid Cold. Still around twenty degrees below zero. Not expected to get above zero for a couple of days. This is more like it! So, I'm frozen. Too cold to type! LOL!

Actually, it does take longer to emerge out of the warm snuggly flannel sheets when the house is cool in the morning. When I finally did get up, grabbed a cup of coffee, and made my way over to my laptop to check email, I found an email from my daughter wondering if I was online to chat. BUT my IM server was not working. Would not accept my password. Was being totally belligerent. Remember the love/hate relationship I have with my computer? grrrrrrr! So I emailed her back that I couldn't chat. She immediately emailed me back that her brother was online downstairs, so I went to use his computer and account to chat. Did I mention that his computer is in the same room as the woodburner? Yup, we chatted for quite awhile online not only because the conversation was good but because I was warm! LOL!

So, does all this rambling have a purpose? Yup! Because it reminded me of my written words of the other day of which I am a slave to according to my quote of yesterday. About keeping a cozy fire burning in your heart for the Lord....and how that could possibly be interpreted as being lukewarm. And you know what the Lord says in His Word about being lukewarm? Uh huh, the lukewarm will be spit out! (read about the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-22) YIKES! That wasn't what I meant about keeping a cozy warm fire burning! No, as I was sitting close by the woodburner this morning chatting online with my daughter, I was quickly reminded of how HOT that fire was to keep our house cozy in the extreme cold. And THAT is how our hearts should be burning for the Lord. HOT enough to refine our character in a world that could be seen as extremely cold to God. HOT enough to keep us in an intimate relationship with our Lord. HOT enough that our light does shine wherever we go!

There....does that clarify things?

Enjoy January!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 18

our words

"Of your unspoken words, you are the master; of your spoken words, the servant; of your written words, the slave." ~ Quaker Proverb

:::::gulp:::::

I ran across this quote yesterday. It certainly puts a whole new slant on blogging, doesn't it?

:::::speechless:::::

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 17

keep it burning

"It is much easier to keep the fire burning than to rekindle it after it has gone out. Let us abide in Him. Let us not have to remove the cinders and ashes from our hearthstones every day and kindle a new flame; but let us keep it burning and never let it expire. Among the ancient Greeks the sacred fire was never allowed to go out; so, in a higher sense, let us keep the heavenly flame aglow upon the altar of the heart." ~ A.B. Simpson

This principle makes perfect sense to me. It has been an advantage to our household to have a college son home for awhile. Oh, not just because we like him, but because he's a night owl now. We can all go to bed and he's still up puttering around on stuff until the late - or should I say early? - hours. And each night before he goes to bed, he stokes up the fire in the woodburner. So when the rest of us who are early risers get up in the morning, there's an ample supply of burning coals to throw some more wood onto and the fire continues easily. It's a quick task. And the warmth in the house is kept at the cozy stage. But as soon as he goes back to college, we'll be back to working much harder to get the fire going in the morning. Removing the ashes and dead cinders. Finding some newspaper. Chopping some kindlng. Waiting by the woodburner until the fire is going well enough we can begin the rest of the tasks of the day. And it will take awhile for the house to get the chill out of it.

It is easy to parallel this to our spiritual lives. Have we developed habits in our life that keep the glow ever burning for our Lord? Or is it a hit or miss kind of thing which takes awhile each time to connect with him and take the chill out of our relationship? Which is easier? To have a time set aside to daily spend with the Lord in which we have our Bibles, devotionals, journals - whatever it may be - close by? Or to decide one morning to take some time to spend with Him and then wander around the house trying to locate your Bible, find a pencil that works, search through the bookshelf for a good devotional only to have now lost time and have the day interrupt your good intentions?

I say, go for the cozy ever burning fire in your heart!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 16

time to GO

The other day as I was going into the store I caught my reflection in the glass of the door and it caused me to pause for a moment. Take a second look. Think with new eyes. Make a decision. Step through the door.

Time for the coat to GO!

The coat I've been wearing for the past two winters was my mom's coat. When it was offered to me, I took it since my mom and I had been basically the same size. Perhaps it was the fur around the collar that made me enjoy it so much or perhaps it was just knowing in my heart that it had been my mom's that made it dear. But the other day I was struck with the reality that it was just too big anymore. And when I got home from the store that day that very fact was confirmed with the *large* on the tag.

Time for the coat to GO!

Over the past two years I have lost thirty pounds. What has been interesting is other people's observations. It wasn't until this past fall that suddenly people were commenting about how much weight I had lost. To me it wasn't profound because it has been a slow and steady process over that time period and I had gradually been getting used to the newer me. But something else changed this past fall. My wardrobe.

Time for the coat to GO!

Being either pregnant or breastfeeding for almost 25 years of my married life, my wardrobe consisted of a wide range of sizes to accommodate that season of life. Loose fitting. Elastic waists. Baggy. Or as my kids would tell you without a blink of their eye...frumpy! That wardrobe didn't change over the past two years while I was losing weight. So, this fall I began updating my wardrobe a bit with clothes that actually fit me.
Clothes that I enjoyed wearing. Clothes that were actually :::gulp::: in style. And what a difference it made!

Time for the coat to GO!

So, let me encourage others on this Living Well journey who are losing weight in the process to step down into clothes that fit your new size! It is an encouragement to actually SEE the change in yourself and will be positive incentive to keep on keeping on! Second hand stores can be a great source for updating your wardrobe as you work toward your goal.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" ~ II Corinthians 5:17

Anyone need a coat? :-)

To follow the journey of other Live Well participants, click HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 15

oh that molding and polishing

"Someday, God is going to reveal the fact to every Christian, that the very principles they now rebel against, have been the instruments which He used in perfecting their characters and molding them into perfection, polished stones for His great building yonder." ~ Cortland Myers

Now, isn't that something to ponder? Is there something that comes immediately to mind that the Lord keeps bringing before you that you are perhaps rebelling against? Trust me, He probably isn't going to leave you alone until you look it square in the eye.

As we've been in the new year, He's been doing a mighty fine job of that very thing in my own life. It seems it doesn't matter where I go, I hear His whisper. It may be in a conversation with a friend, a Scripture passage I'm studying, a devotional for the day, a book I glance through, He is there speaking about one particular area of my life. At first I shook it off as coincidence - you can chuckle at me - however, I'm beginning to feel a tad bit like Jonah as God is being a bit relentless in pursuing me. He has my attention now. I'm listening. I'm getting it as all the pieces are fitting together. BUT I don't really know HOW He wants me to do it. In other words, what does it look like in practical terms? So, now I've hit the *on my knees prayer* stage. The *show me, Lord* stage. The *okay, mold me, polish me, Lord* stage. And if I ever get it figured out, I'm sure you'll hear about it here.....

Until then, may your own heart be open to the Lord's molding and polishing!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 14

don't wake up the bear!

We picked up a fun reading book at the library that suits our family well since we live in an area where bears hibernate and all the other animals featured actually live around here. Plus the timing was right as the story takes place during the snowy cold winter. We included Fuzzababy as part of the reading audience as she is a polar bear and she gave the story two paws UP! Now you may want to preview the book for preschoolers as I suppose the growly bear could be frightening. Lovey has older brothers so she doesn't get frightened by loud rumbles...hee hee!

The book - Don't Wake up the Bear! by Marjorie Dennis Murray

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, January 13

a finder and a keeper

Remember that beautiful old roll-top desk I got back in November? Well, it was bad timing for it to arrive when it did because it just kept getting piled on top with one thing after another through the holidays. So, yesterday I was bound and determined to start getting it cleaned off and organized. Ohhhhh, I'm not done yet, however I ran across a treasure late last night! I found it and I get to keep it! It's a sweet note from my daughter-in-law :-) Oh, she knows me well....hee hee! She knew she could easily tuck away a note on my desk without really hiding it because my desk was such a mess and that eventually I'd find the note. But, I'm not certain she realized how much it would bless me :::::sniff sniff:::::

Ahhhhh, my future daughter-in-laws are going to have quite a role model someday in this young lady :-)

May God surprise you today with a marvelous unexpected blessing!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 12

shoes shoes everywhere

When I downloaded pictures earlier this week, I ran across this one which I had forgotten that I had taken. Just one of those random pictures taken at a random moment during the holidays. It shows what our entryway typically looks like. Well, no, not typically as the shoe czar does a mighty fine job of keeping them straightened out on a normal day, but she was obviously busy with other things on this morning. You've got winter boots, snowboard boots, work boots, winter shoes, athletic shoes, church shoes, little shoes, big shoes, and even a pair of flip flops. This morning when I went into the kitchen to get my coffee, I noticed three pairs of ice skates in the shoe mix as well as a fancy dress-up pair.

Hmmmm, I wonder what this says about our family?

May your feet be busy walking where the Lord wants them on this day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 11

trust to the max

"When you are in the middle of trials, everyone will have an opinion or a suggestion or a remedy -- and if they are from people you trust, you should consider them. But after all is said and done, there is only one thing that you can put all your trust in, and that is the character of God." ~ David Jeremiah

The older I get, the more trials I've been through, the harder the walk of faith, the more certainty I have of the above statement. God is the ONLY one you can wholeheartedly completely fully trust in ALL situations.

'Nuff said!

Have a great "thank goodness it's Friday" day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 10

the not bio picture

Upon being added to The Heart of the Matter writing team, one of the first pre-launch requirements was for each person to submit their bio and a picture. The bio part didn't take long to do, but it was hard to find time to get a picture taken since we were in the midst of the very busy holidays. Once the main holiday events were over, I talked to my girls one morning about taking a picture. I told them that I knew what I wanted to wear, the jewelry I'd put on, and where I'd have the picture taken. No problem, right? WRONG! The next thing I knew there were five - no, six with the grandangel - girls going through my closet, then my jewelry. My hair got trimmed and fluffed by my oldest daughter. The picture spots were chosen. And everything ended up being contrary to what I had initially planned!

Let's just say it was a challenge to do what should have been a two minute job. I was either talking or turning or constantly closing my eyes in anticipation of the flash as we tried shot after shot. The best shots came toward the end when I couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of trying to get just one.good.picture.

Although this picture would NOT work well for a bio headshot, it truly is my favorite picture of all that we took that day. It captures how I best enjoy living life amongst this family God gave me. With joy. With laughter. With a sense of humor. And during the most crazy frustrating disappointing maddening days that I've encountered, as I've stopped to assess the ridiculousness of those situations, it is those three ingredients which have pulled me through the moment - joy, laughter, a sense of humor.

You know, Proverbs 15 has three verses that talk about cheer:

*verse 13a - "A happy heart makes the face cheerful"

*verse 15b - "but the cheerful heart has a continual feast"

*verse 30 - "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones."

So, on the topic of good cheer, let me invite you to read my very first post at The Heart of the Matter which you can find right HERE I've already gotten a couple comments from family members - one doesn't like my bio picture at all because it doesn't look like me and another said that I'm really not that old as was emphasized in my article. Interesting, eh?

Have a cheerful laugh out loud kind of day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 9

in memory

A mother's love is something
that no one can explain,
It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away.
It is patient and forgiving
when others are forsaking,
And it never fails or falters
even though the heart is breaking.

It is far beyond defining,
it defies all explanation,
And it still remains a secret
like the mysteries of creation.

~Helen Steiner Rice

In memory of my mom who would have turned seventy years old today. Her unquestionable love and care for me throughout the years has been imprinted upon my heart and mind forever. Miss you, mom!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

back on track to living well


Tra la la! The holidays are over and I'm anxious to hear how everyone did on their Living Well journey during the past few weeks.

My biggest challenge has been NOT being able to exercise since mid-December due to the pinched nerve in my neck. I did walk one hour last week that was manageable and hope to at least be able to get into a walking routine in the days ahead as my neck and back are adjusted into a more favorable position. Ohhh, I so miss the basic stress relief that exercise provides! And I also miss the camaraderie and fellowship that is a regular part of my morning exercise time at Curves.

Actually, food-wise I did well during the holidays. For the most part I was able to stick to eating smaller portions of healthy foods and tried to stay away from those mindless eating situations which pop up so easily when all my family is home and life centers in the kitchen of our home. My downfall was my homemade fudge which is always worthwhile to sneak out of the container. I'd like to give up making it to take the temptation right out of my life, but a couple of my kids really enjoy eating it, too.

All in all, I only gained a pound or two throughout the holidays which is so so much better than other years. I thank God for giving me the strength I needed each time I called upon Him for help. And I'm counting on Him to continue revealing to me the wisdom I need to continue on this Living Well journey.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who give generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." ~ James 1:5

Be wise and live well!

Follow the journey of other Living Well participants here

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 8

and now premiering

Back in December I was contacted about becoming a contributing writer for a new online homeschooling magazine. After prayer and discussion with my family, I agreed to participate. In the weeks that followed and through many emails I've been blessed to begin to get acquainted with a new group of Christian homeschooling moms. As ideas flowed, areas of giftedness were evident in each woman and enthusiasm for the project grew as we covered it with prayer. And here we are already to the date of launch!

Announcing the premiere of The Heart of the Matter online homeschooling magazine. This Christian magazine will be published on a monthly basis with regular columns covering a variety of homeschool areas. Other columnists, such as myself, will be contributing posts on a daily basis. You'll find interviews, memes, giveaways, a message forum, and LOADS of great ideas! Truly, I believe you will be encouraged in your homeschooling journey by making this a regular stop in your daily online reading.

Enjoy!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, January 7

a cradle of love

Having given my granddaughter a bitty baby for her birthday, my goal was to track down a nice doll cradle for her Christmas gift. As I began the journey of looking for one, I was sorely disappointed. Not only were they pricey, but they were mighty frail looking. Having had girls - and even their brothers - climb into doll cradles through the years, I knew that what I was encountering for purchase wouldn't hold up. So, I contacted someone through my homeschool board whose husband had built a wonderful sturdy table for my littles to use hoping he also built such things as doll cribs. The reply was that perhaps he could, but it wouldn't be until February or so. Disappointment only lasted for a moment as another friend on the homeschooling board said that she had a doll cradle up in her attic that a carpenter friend had made for her girls many years ago which she would be willing to ship if I was interested (*correction - I found out today that she and her sisters had played with the doll cradle, then she passed it on to her own girls. Makes me even more sentimental knowing it's already been played with by two generations of girls!) Pictures followed and I confirmed that I wanted it, so off it went into the mail.

Let's just say it arrived and I loved it! My husband glued the rockers back onto this gently used doll cradle, I sanded and touched up any rough spots, and put a coat of poly on it. I then went to work on sewing the bedding. A mattress and pillow along with lavender flannel coverings were sewn. Then I went out into my very cold storage area to dig through boxes that held all my mom's sewing and crafting. A treasure was found as I pulled out two unfinished quilt blocks in purples which could easily be made into a quilt for dolls with some border fabric strips added. So that was the last cradle project which I was working on during the final moments before our second Christmas upon the older ones arrival.

Oh, I'm certain that at two years old my grandangel doesn't appreciate the significance of the project, but someday her mama can share that with her. Perhaps those two quilt blocks lovingly crafted by her great grandma can be sewn into a larger quilt when she is older and has outgrown dolls.

May all the dolls and stuffed animals who sleep in this precious doll cradle have sweet dreams!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, January 6

give it back

"Worship is giving God the best that He has given you. Be careful what you do with the best you have. Whenever you get a blessing from God, give it back to Him as a love gift. Take time to meditate before God and offer the blessing back to Him in a deliberate act of worship. If you hoard a thing for yourself, it will turn into spiritual dry rot, as the manna did when it was hoarded. God will never let you hold a spiritual thing for yourself, it has to be given back to Him that He may make it a blessing to others." ~ Oswald Chambers

No need to add any words to that!

Have a wonderful day of worship as you give back to your Heavenly Father!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, January 5

quietly growing

As I was about to begin my devotions this morning in my quiet corner, my husband came over with his cup of coffee and sat in the chair next to my desk. Life has been wonderfully crazy over the last few weeks, however, it has come with a price as the two of us have not been connecting in one-on-one conversation. We were overdue. Long overdue. And since we were the only ones up and had our coffee in hand, we gently closed the bedroom door and talked over some essential things for the next two hours or so. Easy topics and hard topics, but all on a heart to heart level. Discouraging in that there are definite things that need to change; refreshing in that I can see progress in my own life in areas.

Spiritual growth is a funny thing. You don't visibly see it happening, but it happens. And why shouldn't it? I mean, I've talked to God specifically about certain things and He has worked on my heart in those areas. I just didn't know He was doing it. The growth was quietly done throughout the year and in retrospect I can see it. And it is cool. And He isn't finished.....

May you, too, find moments of retrospect that are encouraging and rejoice in God's quiet work in your life! And pray that He'll help you with those areas that still need some quiet polishing....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, January 4

an old dog

It is hard to be the old dog sometimes and not be able to figure out the new tricks.

The computer world still remains largely elusive to me.

Although just updated, some technicalities were putting me to the point of, um, unhappiness. My internet browsers were busy crashing every time I'd go to my favorite blogs. My favorite bookmarks disappeared. My familiar fonts were gone. And after attempts to resolve these issues via being on the phone with my son, he suggested such a simple solution....to further update some software. Yes, very simple. Extremely simple if you know the main password to your computer. Um, well, it's one of those things I quite honestly never use since this is my computer and rarely used by others. Soooo, I tried every password I've ever used in my entire life and NONE of them worked. The strangeness to this situation is that I needed to put a password in after all the initial updating was done on New Year's Eve and one of my usual passwords did work. But, it would not work when I really needed it to work. I even checked my computer file and went through every note to see if I had missed a password somewhere. NOTHING. So, last evening another phone call resulted in more changes on my laptop and now I have a new password. The software update could be processed and took quite awhile, but it does seem that things are working much better now. And my son has assured me that my favorite booksmarks can be found and restored. And that he will put AOL/IM back on even though he thinks iChat rocks much better. And he'll find my favorite fonts to download back onto my computer. He is tremendously patient with me for which I am VERY thankful.

And so this old dog is purring a bit this morning :-)

May all YOUR computer problems be little ones!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, January 3

the cutting of the tree

Remember early in December when my daughter made her beautiful cookie Christmas tree? She had planned on sharing it with her family on New Year's Day as a treat. WELL, I was just at the kitchen sink getting water for a second pot of coffee when I noticed the beautiful creation still in the bay window above the sink. I called her over and we talked about how it had been forgotten, but perhaps we could have it as a treat after lunch even though some of the M & Ms were missing off the front. Sounds good, right? WELL, after pulling it out of the window we immediately noticed that the back half of the tree of the tree had been visibly sawed off! A kitchen thief has been quietly and mysteriously and methodically using a knife to have HIS own treat! Yes, we have no doubt as to who this thief is and it is fortunate he is currently spending a few days with his older brother in a faraway city as I do believe his life could be endangered for such a dastardly deed!

And here we were concerned about a few missing M & Ms! BOYS! ::::::::::sigh::::::::::

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a new fondue

A tradition that I grew up with was having a fondue meal on Christmas Eve. That tradition has been carried on with my own family not only on Christmas Eve, but also for New Year's Eve. We all look forward to it as it is a slow meal of leisurely eating as we chat around the table.

This year my oldest daughter brought home her brand new fondue pot and we thought that rather than initiating it with the tradtional oil fondue, it would be much more fun to try a chocolate fondue. After everyone was done eating supper and we did the meal clean-up, we began the process of cutting up fruit and melting chocolate for our fondue dessert. The kids wandered back to the table to check it out and it was quite quickly a hit. As you can see by the face of my littlest, the favorite thing for the kids to dip was not the fruit but the marshmallows my husband added to the mix. She ended up with chocolate not only on her face, but also all over her shirt and pants. Probably didn't help that she was sitting on the table while she was dipping!

See how easy it is to start new traditions!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

it is time

This morning I walked.

Simple sentence with big action.

I haven't been able to exercise since mid-December due to the gimpy back/shoulder thing I've been regularly seeing the chiro for a few times a week. Lack of exercise, stress of the holidays, too much food...can you say blech? It has turned me into a sluggard with no energy.

Last night before bed I determined that I'd get up and try walking at the high school in the morning since they are back in session today. And so I did. And so I feel better. Well, I feel better mentally anyway as I had time to ponder the last few weeks while I walked. My back/shoulder are aching a bit more even with minimal arm swinging. But that's okay because it is time to get back on track. After all, it is a new year with new horizons stretching out in front of me :-)

May you, too, be getting back on track after the holidays because it is time, you know!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, January 2

cease meddling

"Cease meddling with God's plans and will. You touch anything of His, and you mar the work. You may move the hands of a clock to suit you, but you do not change the time; so you may hurry the unfolding of God's will, but you harm and do not help the work. You can open a rosebud but you spoil the flower. Leave all to Him. Hands down. Thy will, not mine." ~ Stephen Merritt

Perhaps this is one of the hardest lessons to learn as a parent and I'm not certain that we ever really learn it. It is especially challenging as our children mature into young adults. Knowing when we should step in or when we should stay out. Hindsight now shows me when my interference has perhaps marred or slowed down God's work.

Wisdom. I need wisdom. Lots of it!

My new main devotional for the year is based on Proverbs. Just reading the first chapter of Proverbs verses one through seven lays the principles of wisdom and the necessity of wisdom. It reminded me of a little construction paper sign I had up in our schoolhouse in the early years: "Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom!" ~ Proverbs 4:7a

May this be a wisdom growing year ahead!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, January 1

computer fiddlin'

Sometime after the midnight hour while I was fast asleep, my oldest son was fiddlin' away on my laptop as he changed and updated different programming throughout the night. Later this morning he sat down with me and showed me some of the features, so I have a new learning curve to figure out again. Things look different and I've lost some favorite fonts....there will be some fine tuning in the days ahead. Bear with me as my blog looks different, too, at least to me, so I'll need to play with it a bit as soon as my house quiets down again and gets back into its normal routine.

Enjoy this first day of 2008!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

new year's days

The New Year's days are white with snow,
The winds are laughing as they blow.
Across the ponds and lakes we glide,
And o'er the drifting snow we ride,
And down the hills we gaily slide,
For it is winter weather.

Each rushing stream is warmly dress'd,
An icy coat upon its breast,
And on each branch of every tree,
Packed in as close as close can be,
The next year's leaflets we can see,
All nestled close together.

~ Celia Standish



Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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