Monday, March 31

a new website

A new website was launched today which provides many educational resource links for homeschooling moms. Be sure to check it out HERE

Tammy ~@~

what's "normal"?

Welcome to the second day of Home Education Week. To follow the posting of the day about what homeschooling looks like in families around the country (and around the world), go visit Dana at Principled Discovery for all the links

Profiling Home Educators Monday, March 31
Describe yourself, your family or one of your children. What is it like to be home educated in your family? What is “normal” for you?

As I was pondering this question, I was struck by how "normal" our normal feels to our family. Through the years home education has blended into our life so subtly that we no longer think of ourselves as doing anything special or different. Simply put, it's just life around here. Most of our children were born into a home education environment and were gently carried along with the rhythm and flow without a second thought.

They've learned that every morning we all gather around the kitchen table for morning devotions before our day "officially" begins. Unofficially there has already been much activity before that time. Some were up early doing some schooling so they could have more free time in the afternoon. Others launched into the kitchen to see what was cooking for breakfast. And possibly one or two preferred to sleep until the last possible moment knowing their alarm clock would be a large dog lapping their face when mom opened their bedroom door.

After the day has officially begun, the junior and senior highers go off to their rooms to work on the studies of the day. The middlers stay to work at the kitchen table and the littles get their crayons out to see what's in store for the new day. The mornings have always been the best and busiest school working time for our family perhaps because we've had so many years of a quieter afternoon household for the nappers.

Although there's always kitchen grazers mid-morning, the first real break comes over the noon hour when the books are put away and the kitchen comes alive with all the various hungry tastes. It's neat to see how many cooks there are now as they busy themselves with warming up leftovers or cooking a hot sandwich. Once lunch is over, the kids tend to head outdoors for some fresh air. The activity varies according to the season and they'll stay out there until mom calls. And if they are all content with what they are doing, mom will take a quick catnap (we are suppose to be honest, right? *wink*)

The afternoons mean continued formal schooling for the olders ones, maybe a bit for the middlers, the littles are in free play, and when there's babies, the treasured naptime. By mid-afternoon we are pretty much finished up for the day. Mom starts supper preparations and any formal education is finished.

And so goes Monday through Thursday.

Friday is our main corrections day and definitely the longest day. Mom irons while she gives spelling tests - yes, I love it! - and then one by one mom and student review the work of the week. Questions are answered, papers corrected, and charts crossed off.

And so ends another week! ::::yawn:::: Not too exciting, right?! Ah, but you have to read between the lines of "normal" and get a glimpse into the extras. The sing song chatter of the littles in their play kitchen. The excitement during the noon hour as a new "play" is being written and costumes are being figured out to go with the lines. The click clack of grandma's old typewriter as a mystery is developed. The whispering as a map is drawn for a treasure hunt in the woods. The challenge of olympic events out in the yard. Yes, the formal education requirements are in place to take care of "normal", but the extras are the imagination icing on the cake :-)

So is there a "normal" in your household or is it only a setting on your dryer? *wink*

Tammy ~@~

Sunday, March 30

home education week begins!

Today marks the beginning of a special week long homeschooling event that Dana over at Principled Discovery is hosting. Please stop over there to follow the participants for the topic of the day. And better yet, JOIN IN!

Looking Back Sunday, March 30
Share your personal history…before you were a home educator. What was life like? Think about things you miss and things you and your family have gained.

I really had to think about this one a bit since it was so so long ago. Our family was still quite young at the time as my oldest had just completed kindergarten in the public school when I first heard of homeschooling. It fit right in with my heart. I had grown up loving to play school with my dolls and then used that love to teach Sunday School and VBS through high school, so the natural next step was to go to college for elementary education. Alas, I didn't complete college because I needed to take time off to earn money for tuition and then never returned. That didn't stop my love for teaching children. And when my own children arrived it was a delight to be home with them. I was already informally teaching them as we spent our days together, so when the idea of homeschooling was mentioned, I immediately followed up on it.

After researching every homeschool resource I could find at the time, we made the decision at the end of the summer to begin the journey with our family. There were three children then....a first grader, a four year old, and a one year old. The necessary paperwork was filed with the state and through the advice of an experienced homeschooling mom a curriculum was chosen. And so we began.

The changes we went through were mostly schedule related as it suddenly felt like we had a huge responsibility on our shoulders. So a new routine was set into motion back twenty years ago and a much of it stands today. We had a vision to hold us steady through the good and bad times. And how delightful it was to re-learn with my children all the things I never paid attention to when I went to school!

Looking back, I can see more of a rigidity to our days. There was more of a drive to cover all the bases. And yet, I can see how I still had time to do many creative hands-on things with my children that I often don't take the time to do now. Of course, our family of three children had grown to our family of nine children through the years, so time did become a more precious commodity.

Looking at the present, I can see that there is more flexibility to our life. I've learned through the years that kids do naturally learn just because they are kids :-) They get excited about things and with a little guidance can learn about anything they want. In other words, a lot of learning takes place without me stuffing it into them. Oh, we still use a curriculum but are able to tweak it as needed. And there's always been time in our daily routine for puttering. There's still unfinished puttering projects on the workbench in the garage from boys who LOVED to take things apart and do their own building.

Perhaps the greatest blessing is the closeness of our family. The kids have a wonderful history together from the years of being homeschooled in this house through all the ups and downs. There is nothing sweeter than when the older ones travel home and we're all together - it's loud, it's full of laughter, and it makes my heart swell to mammoth proportions!

How about you? Are you a homeschooler who can look back and see the changes and growth from the beginning to now?

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 29

a pack of spuds

I know, I know....will the silliness ever end here? LOL! My oldest two children have always been competitive and this is no exception. After posting the picture of my daughter and son-in-law yesterday morning, of course, there was a picture in my email yesterday evening from my daughter-in-law of their family. Aren't they cute! Isn't the baby roly poly? :-) And now I must hold my breath to see if my college aged son sends me a picture. I dunno, do they even feed college kids real potatoes anymore? Isn't it something that comes out of a box? ::::shudder:::

In other family news....we are in another season of change. Do they ever stop, I wonder? One of our older sons who works with my husband and has lived back through the woods is in the process of moving to the other end of town. A friend of his has purchased a house and he, his brother, and my son are moving into it. A bachelor pad of sorts and a fix-up kind of place, too, so they'll be busy learning some new things about home remodeling in the days ahead. Not a big change, but we are used to having him around here A LOT plus it means that the dog who always went home with him to sleep will now be sleeping here....and let me assure you that it is not easy to get a German shepherd off your bed when he's used to sleeping by someone!

Full day ahead, so I'm off to get busy!

May the sun be shining in your corner of the world today :-)

Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 28

a pair of taters

Yes, yes, this is a picture of my daughter and son-in-law taken earlier this year before her tummy popped out. Of course, I sought their permission to put up the picture before I posted it here as that is the family rule for my public blogsite.

AND YES, our family does have some regular moments of complete silliness which is really what keeps us sane....or at least I think we are sane! LOL!

Yesterday when I posted the link to my Heart of the Matter article, it began much family discussion around here about who was what potato in the picture! There was even a bit of disagreement of who was who and it even came up in phone conversations. The next thing I knew there was this picture in my email box. Of course, that settled any dispute about which potato she was on that plate. Can't you see the resemblance?

And finally yes, a good sense of humor is just what is needed on a Friday morning when a full day of school corrections are ahead of me!

May you have a giggle or two in your garden today!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 27

a bushel of potatoes

Our family was recently blessed by a neighbor with two fifty pound bags of potatoes. The challenge then became....where do we put them? One bag went into our mudroom so we could easily access it from the kitchen for meals - mmmm, last night we used leftover Easter ham and lots of potatoes for our favorite scalloped potatoes and ham recipe. The other bag of potatoes required me to go downstairs to our food storage pantry and shift things around. Lo and behold! Look what I found! Somehow the last of my garden potatoes that were in a bushel basket got hidden beneath some bags of canning supplies that I use. The results were these scary looking potatoes! LOL! They look like alien potatoes, don't they? Since they originally came from seed potatoes, I think I should be able to cut them up and use them for planting this spring.

Since I've been pondering potatoes a lot recently between my two fifty pound bags, my wild sprouters, and cleaning out our toybox which has lots of accessories for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, I wrote about the variety of potatoes, I mean children, I'm homeschooling in my own household at Heart of the Matter today. Go, read, and browse around there a bit as there's plenty of other articles for you to enjoy, too :-)

Then when you're done, go and enjoy your potatoes children!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, March 26

a good work

Still studying in the first chapter of Philippians in our women's Bible study early this morning, we finished up chewing over verses three through eleven. The verse that caught my eye today was verse six: "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

A good work? What? Sometimes it doesn't feel like such a *good* work. Sometimes it feel like hard painful work as God works in our hearts. Sometimes it feels like frustrating work when old habits resurface. You know, like Easter candy. Most Easter candy doesn't interest me because I don't like chewy gooey stuff like jelly beans or peeps or gummy whatevers. Chocolate, well, I can even bypass that since I don't have to buy myself a bunny and I don't give the kids any other chocolate treats. Oh, except for those Cadbury cream eggs and I didn't even think twice when I popped the extra ones into MY mouth! Whoa! How did THAT happen?! I've been so conscious of what I'm eating and how I'm eating, but those Cadbury eggs didn't even cause me to skip a beat. Old habits and good work?

But it was a good work as it did cause me to STOP and THINK and REMEMBER that I'm a work in process. It's a continuing process. And it won't be completed until I meet Jesus Christ face to face. And that's okay. He's right there with me each step.

And as frustrated as I was with eating those extra Cadbury eggs AND with a scale that has leveled out for a few months now, there was encouragement on my path. For yesterday I needed to look something up in my journal from a year ago and saw that I was ten pounds heavier back then. Hey, I have made progress! A good work has been done and will continue to be done. I'm in a much healthier place this year than last year. It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?

May you, too, be able to look back and gain perspective as you see how the Lord has worked in your life over the past year. Truly, it is a good work!

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

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 25

singing in my sleep

"There is a new song in my mouth........."

When I woke up this morning it was to much music going through my mind. It has happened before from time to time and it's rather surreal. It's like I'm in church and can hear all the instruments playing and people singing and I
'm right there with them. My husband has never commented about me singing in my sleep, so it must all be going on within a dream. It is a cool random thing and typically the song will stick with me all day long. The song I woke up to is one we've been recently singing in worship and it comes from Psalm 40. It's entitled "When I Was Lost" by Kate Simmonds. And I'm humming it right now :-)

Don't you think Heaven will be like that someday? Singing uplifting praise songs continuously to our mighty awesome God? Sometimes I just can't get enough of worship....

".....hallelujah! Your love has lifted me"

May you have praises flowing from your heart in your garden today!

Tammy ~@~

An update of the coolest kind which can be verified through my children: This morning during our morning devotions before school, our Old Testament reading was Judges chapter five - The song of Deborah. Look at verse 12a: "Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song!" Isn't that enough to give you Godbumps! :-) Still singing here :-)

Monday, March 24

a memory maker

"Live each day as if it is a memory in the making." ~ Author Unknown

This was the saying on my calendar flip this morning for today's date. It actually made me laugh! As if? AS IF? IT IS!

"Each day IS a memory in the making." ~ me

Each morning when I wake up and commit my day to the Lord, I do it knowing that anything can happen within the span of the day ahead - especially with a houseful of children living here. There is something that will be said or done by someone in this household - or in the world around us - that will mark the day. A memory is made. Of that there is no question in my mind.

The bigger thing to ponder is....will I remember it? LOL! I've hit the age and season of life that my brain operates likes a sieve. Trust me, much of the information of the day passes through into the big black hole never to be seen again. Fortunately my family is forgiving for the most part and they recognize I don't forget on purpose. EVERYTHING needs to be written down to be remembered and thank goodness for my daily calendar and journal so that there is a recording of our days. Because each day IS a memory in the making.

Go and make some memories in your garden today!

Tammy ~@~

Sunday, March 23

He has risen

The angel said to the women, " Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you." ~ Matthew 28:5-7

He is not here for He has risen just as He said! Hallelujah!

Have a blessed Easter!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 22

give him hives

"Some have said that Satan has an allergic reaction whenever there is true worship. That's an interesting way of visualizing it; perhaps when we break out in praise, the devil breaks out in hives. I don't know whether he itches, sneezes, or coughs, but I do know he becomes very uncomfortable on those occasions when we take our eyes off ourselves and place them squarely and worshipfully on the Lord of grace. That's when God's mighty works finally come to pass." ~ David Jeremiah

Having come through a reflective week which was deepened by the Good Friday service last night at church, there is a heaviness of heart that comes from the realization of what Jesus Christ went through as He sacrificed for the sins of the world. As believers we cannot be flippant about the pain, suffering, and torture which was His to bear before even being nailed to the cross. The cost was high for the perfect Lamb of God. Is there any greater love?

And how often there is a tendency by believers to keep Him on the cross. Dead and then buried.

But wait a minute!

He's alive! REJOICE! We love and serve a living God!

And tomorrow all over the world believers will be singing and shouting His praises! Think about that quote above and the multitudes of people whose eyes are focused on the resurrected Lord as they praise Him! Can you imagine the intense case of hives the enemy gets on this yearly celebration? Hallelujah!

My prayer is that praising God isn't just a Sunday or Easter activity, but that our hearts would ever be focused on Him - daily - to keep the enemy in a state of uncomfortableness as we moment by moment praise our Lord and Savior!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 21

dead and buried

And so we took him down
(Or thought we did),
Wiped off the sweat and spittle
From his face,
Washed the dried blood,
Threw out the crown of thorns,
And wrapped him once again
In swaddling clothes.

A tomb can be a cramped,
Confining place,
Far smaller than a stable.
We laid him there
(Or thought we did).
We were not able
To comprehend
The infinite contained.
For us it was the end.
Only the harsh realities
Of death and stone
~Elizabeth Rooney

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 20

according to the calendar

I've been trying to ignore it, but according to the calendar it is officially the first day of spring :-p~ Don't get me wrong. Spring is my absolutely most favorite season, however....

To prove the reason for my slightly bah humbug spring attitude, over the noon hour I took a quick picture from our front deck of the girls out walking on our driveway. Now does this look like spring to you? Robins are not going to come where they've have to go a foot or so through the snow to find a worm. Tulips and daffodils? They are still sound asleep along the fence line dreaming of the beautiful warm morning when they will sprout through the ground in time for the hungry deer to munch them down!

But someday....SOMEDAY....I will be shouting "SPRING HAS SPRUNG!"

Until then I may just take a nap :::::yawn:::::

Tammy ~@~

a last meal

Lord Jesus Christ
You sat at supper
with your friends.
It was a simple meal
that final one
of lamb
unleavened bread
and wine.
You went out to die.
How many other meals you shared
beside the lake
fried fish and toasted bread
at Simon's banquet hall a feast
at Lazarus' home in Bethany
the meal that Martha cooked
on mountain slope
where you fed the hungry crowd
at close of tiring day.
Please sit with us tonight
at our small meal
of soup and rolls and tea.
Then go with us
to feast of bread and wine
that you provide
because afterward
you went out to die.
~Joseph Bayly


Wednesday, March 19

cheer up

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." ~ Mark Twain

This morning at the early morning women's Bible study I attend, we talked about how easy it is to get into a slump this time of the year. We live in an area that has a LONG winter season and even noting the official first day of spring on the calendar doesn't help since the weather is not yet springlike. As we talked it was easy to figure out that the slump - or funk - was caused from a combination of things: SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is more prevalent in cold winter climates, hormones at our age, and the current challenges of our season in life. Who wouldn't be depressed?!

But you know, as we all talked it through and vented a bit, it wasn't long before we were laughing. I mean, really laughing. Truly, we were all Laughing Out Loud! And we all left the Bible study feeling much more encouraged, supported, and loved. Seems appropriate since we are studying Philippians which is called the book of JOY!

So my Living Well reminder today is that it isn't just about food choices and exercise, but also about good emotional health. We all have something that makes us smile and laugh and sometimes we need to take a break from life to do just that - LAUGH! Laughter truly is the best medicine! Especially at the end of a LONG winter!

May there be giggles in your garden today :-)

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

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 18

just stay

"In fierce storms, " said an old seaman, "we must do one thing; there is only one way; we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there."

This Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way.

Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there.

You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may--winds, waves, cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers--no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God's faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus. ~ Richard Fuller

When I read this I immediately thought of situations in my life where this was the choice I had to make - to just stay upon the Lord. Really, there was no other choice I could make. I could not reason or figure out how to move through the situations nor did I have past experience to give me insight, and no matter how much I stormed the heavens with my prayers, God was quiet. The only option was to pray for His will and to stay upon Him.

My thoughts also went to many others who are in difficult situations right at this moment in time; a time when the storms do not let up, but continue to rage. A choice needs to be made in the course to follow.

What will it be?

At least now I do have some past experience with taking the only option and can say without a doubt that it is the best option. God has proven Himself completely faithful as I stayed upon Him. My emotions would keep me tossed here and there, but with God as my Anchor I could abide with my eyes on Him. And when the storms had passed and the clouds lifted, my confidence was strengthened by the Sonlight shining into my life.

May you, too, be able to hold your position in the Lord no matter what the weather is in your garden!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 17

a kind word

Our household has been busy and noisy (at the moment a little one is playing a harmonica - fortunately the howling dog is outside!) which makes it hard for me to concentrate right now. So much I could write as my mind is whirling, but so hard to focus to put it down into words. So, I leave you with my thought of the day......

It isn't enough to say in our hearts
That we like a man for his ways,
It isn't enough that we fill our minds
With paeans of silent praise;
Nor is it enough that we honor a man
As our confidence upward mounts,
It's going right up to the man himself,
And telling him so that counts!
If a man does a work you really admire,
Don't leave a kind word unsaid,
In fear that to do so might make him vain
And cause him to "lose his head."
But reach out your hand and tell him,
"Well done," and see how his gratitude swells;
It isn't the flowers we strew on the grave
It's the word to the living that tells.
~Author Unknown

So often we don't take a moment to thank those who encourage us in so many different ways and instead let those precious moments pass away. Take the time today to speak a word of appreciation and kindness to someone within your household, a dear friend, or perhaps someone faraway!

Tammy ~@~

Sunday, March 16

God's secret knitting

A portion from my favorite Psalm:

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." ~ Psalm 139:13-16

Birth continues to be an amazing process to me. God truly is The Creator, Prayer Answerer and our Strength through trials!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 15

our spring un-break

"Spring forward, fall back....and winter on a beach somewhere."
~ Author Unknown

Now this is my kind of quote! And this is my kind of winter! LOL!

We are entering the week of spring break for local scho
ols and many colleges. It always seems kind of funny to consider spring break because spring is not spring here. In fact, it still looks like a bunch of winter outside my window. And since our family took spring break time in November, this coming week means school as usual with the distraction of college students hanging out within our household.
Even with snow still everywhere, it hasn't stopped the discussion of planning a family spring break trip for NEXT year. Last year we took a family snow ski trip and it's been five years since we took a family beach trip. So there's whispers of a "vote" in the air to determine "where" so reservations can be made ahead of time and money can be saved for a year. And I'm regularly receiving emails of links to check out from someone biased toward the warm weather locations. Of course, we have to add into our future trip finances the cost of taking two vehicles on any family vacation because the days of all of us squeezing into the 15 passenger van are over as our extended family keeps growing.

Ahhhhh, yes! To dream! And to be thankful for the sun shining through my windows on this spring break non-vacation day!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 14

looking toward the feast

A busy full Friday in our home with much happening in the days ahead. And since I broke a blogging rule yesterday with such a long post, I will leave you with this short thought of the day:

"Remember this: God may not do what you want, but He will do what is right -- and best. Trust Him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast." ~ Max Lucado

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 13

you know, the golden rule

Teachable moments. They aren't just for kids, you know!

This week as I was working on the character trait of "fairness" with one of my daughters, we had an exercise to do which emphasized the Golden Rule found in Matthew - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." She went through a list of events of "when something like this happens"..... and then had to fill in the......"I would like to be treated like this".

Here's a sampling of some of the statements and her answers:

"*I* spill my drink in the lunchroom."....her response - I would not want to be teased.

"*I* stumble over my words when I pray out loud in class."....her response - I would want people to be kind about it.

"*I'm* gone for a week"....her response - I would want people to be happy to see me when I get back.

"*I* get a new hairstyle."....her response - I would want people to see how cool it is.

After we had talked about all her replies, we then applied the Golden Rule. She did great as we put a close friend's name in the *I* slot. It would be easy to treat her friend nicely. Then we substituted different kids names in the *I* slot - you know, some of those more difficult kids - and I was so surprised by her responses! I even had to address this child by her full name as I told her she needed to think about the nastiness of how she would treat someone who wasn't a close friend. The Golden Rule had definitely been broken! And I realized that I needed to be praying for my daughter's heart to be softened to align with God's loving heart.

As I was bemoaning this to my oldest daughter on the phone and told her that I missed the days of my olders giving all the right answers in their schooling - yes, my olders do benefit from my current state of memory! - she challenged ME!

"Mom, what if Mrs.*I Don't Have to Tell You Who on a Public Blog* got her hair colored, cut, and styled? What would YOUR response be?"

Let's just say she didn't use one of my favorite friends as an example, but rather a friend whose relationship has been challenging and could more accurately be described as down right difficult at times. Truly, there aren't many people at all in this world who rub me the wrong way, but.....

"Well, Mom?"

At least I knew that I wouldn't boldly be rude and could politely comment to this person, but.....

Ohhhhh, it was a big BUT. The reality is that although I knew I could be nice, my heart would not be in the right place. Not just with this one statement's response, but with several of them as I went through the list :::::gulp::::: Golden Rule broken by the mother of the broken Golden Rule girl.

Heart attitudes. I need to pray about my own heart being softened to align with God's loving heart.

Teachable moments even for a mother.

May your hearts be teachable, too, as those growing in your garden bring lessons of life to your path.

Tammy ~@~

P.S. The heart at the top of this post was given to me on Valentine's Day by my broken Golden Rules girl. Seemed kind of appropriate?

Wednesday, March 12

a grrr chuckle

Anyone notice the price of gas lately? My husband just got home after filling up his diesel work pick-up truck for $4.19 per gallon and he handed me this card. HA! The fuel companies must be feeling badly about their huge profits nowadays and are offering game cards to win a measly trip so their customers feel better about filling up their gas tanks. I know it's hard to read, but I got the "sorry, you're not a winner" message after scratching the card with my last penny. Probably would have fainted had I won...instead I nearly fainted after hearing the total amount he paid to fill his tank!

So much for getaways, eh? Guess I'll have to settle for a bubble bath! LOL!

Tammy ~@~

*bug* season

So often we think of the Living Well journey as being one primarily of weight loss. But that should not be the sole purpose. Rather, our vision should be a healthier all-around lifestyle covering our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. As we make healthier choices in all those areas our lives, I believe life will be more abundant in many ways.

But sometimes despite our best efforts and factors we cannot control, life takes a tumble. Sickness strikes! Extra care is necessary to restore our bodies back to health. And although so far we haven't had major sickness in our family this winter - I'm praying we won't! - we've had a bit of this and a bit of that, just enough to throw us off balance. You'll find a bit more about this today over at Heart of the Matter where I've written an article about our recent sickness. The middler who wasn't feeling good when I drafted the article is doing better although not 100% yet. And so far no one else seems to have caught her *bug*.

Having children not feeling well is just another reminder of how important it is that I'm taking good care of myself so that I can tend to their needs. And I encourage you to do the same!

Have a healthy day of Living Well, my garden friends!

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

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 11

real time

It's a strange phenomena, isn't it? You set clocks ahead an hour and for days afterwards someone says, "well, the REAL time is......" Real time?

But the I did that early this morning. I saw it was time to get up and going if I wanted to walk this morning and off I went. Only to get to the high school and see all the signs posted that the fieldhouse would be closed to the public in the mornings due to the high school girls soccer practices :::sigh::: So, as I walked back to my car I said to myself, "and to think that I got up at 4:30 AM REAL time to get here!" LOL!

Time. Real time.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day." ~ II Peter 3:8

No wonder we can't understand time!

"As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field." ~ Psalm 103:15

Remember the picture of the flowers in the snow I posted a while ago? Well, those flowers still look good in my kitchen windowsill. I hope I flourish like one of those!

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." ~ Psalm 90:12

The reality is that REAL time - whether springing ahead or falling back - is fleeting. We need to use our time wisely and in the process gain wisdom.

And so did I lose my time of exercise? Nope. I decided that since I was already up and dressed for exercise, I stopped by Curves on my way home. I rarely go there on Tuesdays or Thursdays, but am always blessed when I do as the tech on those mornings is a wonderful Christian lady.

Time to get on with my day as my new real time is almost 8 AM! Hopefully it won't be one of those days that feels like a thousand years for me or for you!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 10

finding contentment

The wrestling match is over.

This morning I had to make a decision. It required taking a hard but real look at my current priorities, responsibilities, and commitments. Versus what my heart wanted to do. Oh, did I mention that it was what my heart really really wanted to do? It would be so so easy to walk away from reality and allow my heart to smile from top to bottom.

But alas. I made the right and proper decision. And my husband reminded me that with that decision I needed to find a place of contentment. At the moment I think that will be harder than this decision making process. Finding contentment.

Perhaps it will come easier after a tear or two.

Tammy ~@~

Sunday, March 9

shut the door

Somehow this springing ahead business has thrown me off today! Here's my thought for the day:

"I knew Jesus, and He was very precious to my soul; but I found something in me that would not keep sweet and patient and kind. I did what I could to keep it down, but it was there. I besought Jesus to do something for me, and, when I gave Him my will, He came to my heart, and took out all that would not be sweet, all that would not be kind, all that would not be patient, and then HE shut the door." ~ George Fox

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 8

pleasant is as pleasant does

"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant." ~ Anne Bradstreet

You know, I REALLY needed to read that this morning after waking up to temperatures once again several degrees below zero ::::sigh:::::

It is March.

It is still winter.

Snow and cold temperatures are to be expected.

It would be so so easy to get caught in the winter weariness attitude on this day. But attitude is a choice. And I'm choosing to focus on the sunshine outside my window and the big long list in my hand. Keeping busy throughout the day with a cheery attitude will bring me one step closer to the so so pleasant spring!

May your garden day be pleasant, too!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, March 7

all ironed out

Oh me, oh my! What's a mother to do?!

For years every Friday morning has been dedicated to mom giving spelling tests to her children as she irons from laundry baskets which are stacked sky high.

But a rare occurrence has happened. So rare indeed that a photo demanded to be taken.


And all the laundry is even caught up! Are you shocked? LOL! Ohhh, experience has shown that this situation won't last for long. Nope, it will only last momentarily.

However, I'm lost this morning as I post this. Where or how will I give spelling tests today?

Ah, yes, on a rare day life is a silly adventure :-)

Enjoy Friday in your garden!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, March 6

a celebration

"If you have something to do, someone to love, and something to hope for, every day becomes a celebration." ~ Author unknown

Something to do. Check.

Someone to love. Check.

Something to hope for. Check.

Hey, it looks like we can have a day of celebration here! Don't tell my kids as they'll think they get a free hour of computer time since it's a holiday! LOL!

Wait a minute! I think I can check those things off daily.

"From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16

Yes indeed, each day is a day of celebration in our gardens! Enjoy your day!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, March 5

be a Daniel

This week my daughter's Bible lessons have been about Daniel. This morning we were talking about examples of his character trait of diligence and one of the areas of his life where it shows up strongly is found right in the first chapter of the book of Daniel. He was resolved to NOT eat the king's food or drink his wine. The official over him stated all his reasons why Daniel had no choice but to do as he was told. So patiently Daniel suggested a test of eating nothing but vegetables with only water to drink for ten days. The result of this test for Daniel and his companions was not only were they healthier and better nourished young men after the ten days, but the positive results allowed them to continue on this eating plan.

Diligence has rewards. Even in our eating habits.

Daniel didn't just randomly come up with this idea. He had a plan that had obviously been successful before his captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar. He stood firm and diligent in his commitment to not compromise in this area of his life despite heavy pressure to do so AND this diligence carried over into many areas of his life as you travel through the book of Daniel. Personally, I think Daniel was a very cool man of God :-)

Diligence has rewards. Even in our eating habits.

Many of us have researched healthy eating. Different weight loss theories and programs abound. I believe we all know quite a bit about what foods and beverages are healthy and which ones aren't. Really, do we have a valid excuse NOT to be diligent when following a healthy eating program?

And look at the rewards when we are diligent! We feel better, we look better, we live better! Woo hoo!

So take a look at what YOUR plan of action is for healthy eating and resolve to be diligent in following it despite any outside pressure. Think Daniel. And remember where Daniel got his strength....GOD! Tap into Him, too!

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

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, March 4

call me the snail

"By perseverance the snail reached the ark." ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Okay, it's below zero this morning so I can't go by the current weather to say spring is coming. However, each day the March calendar page is looking at me with its announcement of spring arriving on the 20th. And no, spring won't really be here then, but it will be coming in the weeks after that date.

The main thing is that the date is motivating.

Suddenly all the hibernating habits need to be thrown to the side. I have work to do!

"By perseverance the mother shall get her house cleaned." ~ me

There are lots of places in my house that need some deep cleaning before spring comes. They are VERY overdue. A couple areas have already been tackled this winter, but that is a drop in the ol' bucket. I mean, we've lived a lifetime in this house raising a houseful of children - many who still live here - and we have a lot of STUFF we've accumulated.

That fact was brought home to me again this past weekend when we were blessed to be able to watch two little ones for a couple who were able to have a special surprise weekend away. I think that just about everything that could be found to play with was brought out. And my battle cry was, "Pick up all of this before you start playing with something new!" BECAUSE there was so much STUFF with everything they played. Really, how many dress-up clothes do girls need? Okay, they could do a runway show for hours in our kitchen! How many matchbox cars do we really need to have? Okay, I do have a grandson now so I suppose I can't par that number down too much, but goodness, we have buckets full! How many books can we possibly enjoy reading in our lifetime? Books are everywhere all over the house. Honestly, I could hardly walk through the girls bedroom at times because they had so much STUFF all over the place....and there were kids happily plopped in the midst of it having a great time! See, I can't win, can I?

HA! But I'm gonna! Just watch me. I will persevere working on a room at a time. And I'm thinking *rummage sale in the spring* in the back of my mind. It makes it a little easier to sort through if there's a tad bit of profit in the process.

I need to keep the vision of a simpler, neater, cleaner home ever before me and snail away! After all, not only is God a God of order, but He created the character quality of perseverance which I'm determined to grow :-)

Here here to the coming of spring in all of our gardens!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, March 3

always on call

1:45 AM

I was suddenly woken up thinking I had heard the phone ring in the kitchen. The house was completely quiet. I figured that if I had heard the last ring whoever it was would call right back. Quiet. I knew I hadn't been dreaming. I had heard the phone ring.

Similar things have happened before in my life and being wide awake I knew what I had to do. PRAY. My mind went over my list of family, friends, faraway friends, and even someone unknown who may be calling out to God and need prayer support. My mind went next to my list of what to pray for which ranges from immediate protection in a dangerous situation to wisdom for a medical team in an emergency situation. And everything in between. And when my mind was back to a state of peace I closed my eyes and fell right back to sleep.

Intercessory prayer. Day or night. Be obedient when the Holy Spirit taps you on the shoulder about a specific person or perhaps a total unknown. You may never know who at that very moment is crying out to God for help and YOU are be calling upon to be a prayer warrior for them. And sometimes, yes rarely but sometimes, weeks later someone shares a story that will give you :::::Godbumps::::: when you realize that perhaps YOU were someone who was unknowingly praying for them at that very moment of trouble.

The power of prayer. Don't for a moment ever underestimate it! Just do it!

Tammy ~@~

Sunday, March 2

today's praise

"I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." ~ Psalm 9:1-2

May your day of worship be filled with praise!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, March 1

the first of march

It is the first mild day of March;
Each minute sweeter than before,
The redbreast sings from the tall larch
That stands beside our door.

There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare;
And grass in the green field.

~ William Wordsworth

Obviously Mr. Wordsworth didn't live here. The temperature is a single degree as I type this. Yes, it is one degree outside. Mr. and Mrs. Redbreast aren't even thinking of singing here yet, but are enjoying warmer weather somewhere else for several weeks. Actually, the groundhog should live here and come out in March so the prediction of six more weeks of winter is accurate.

BUT there is a blessing in the air with just the turn of the calendar page. March. There is now hope. Hope that spring will actually return. Yes, there will be those traditional snow dumping storms that will pass through, yet there will also be teasing days of highs in the 40's and sunshine. Kids will start kicking in with their schoolwork in anticipation of finishing early so they can spend more time outdoors once spring is actually here. And my "to do list" filled with projects will suddenly become more high priority and motivating because I won't want to stay indoors to do them once the weather changes.

March. Calmly in like a lamb here this morning. A very cold lamb :-)

May you enjoy your first day of March, too!

Tammy ~@~
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