Wednesday, April 30

make it stick



Over the past couple of years I've been learning new things on my Living Well journey which have become good habits. One thing that was important for me to address was the whole mindless eating problem. Being home full time with a houseful of kids means there is a lot of food consuming going on through the day. Perhaps if there were only one or two children who only occasionally graze, I'd be fine. But there's a lot more of us who have been living here through the years and everyone is grazing at different times. And since I'm in the kitchen most of my day because we do a lot of schooling in that location, I was constantly around food while everybody grazed. Not a good thing.

They grazed, I grazed.

They grazed and stayed skinny, I grazed and grew rounded.

See the problem? Once I recognized that problem, I began addressing it. It didn't happen overnight, but it took time as I began eating only when I was actually hungry instead of eating just because three other people were munching through a bag of tortilla chips. AND if I did truly recognize hunger when they were doing their munching, I'd count out how many chips, etc. were a serving size and slowly eat them. Or I'd find a healthy alternative to eat. Checking hunger levels and serving sizes were good steps to take in order make permanent habits in my living well journey.

Do I always do it perfectly? Nope! The other night I came home from a church meeting and as I was processing the meeting while talking to my husband I was mindlessly eating the puppy chow on my counter. YIKES! As I was licking my fingers and getting ready for the next handful, I caught myself! Hungry?
Nope. Serving size? Nope. STOP! YES! Whew, not too much damage done.

Remember, Living Well doesn't just happen. It means establishing new habits one by one that you make "stick" in your life. And more importantly, it's committing the plan to God as you enlist His help.

"Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed." ~ Proverbs 16:3

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, April 29

frozen frogs

Homeschool question of the day....can frogs ribbit when it's 19 degrees outside - yes, I did say NINETEEN degrees AND the pond is frozen?! Because that is the weather at the moment here this morning.

The answer....I dunno! LOL! And I'm not going down to the pond to find out! LOL!

To read a bit about our frog catching adventures, head over to Heart of the Matter today and scroll down a bit to my article, "How many ways can you ribbit?"

I hope spring is coming someday, I hope spring is coming someday, I hope spring is coming someday..........

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, April 28

you are NOT inivited

Perhaps it is because we woke up to snow falling...again.

Perhaps it is from knowing it's Monday today.

Perhaps it is hormones.

BUT

I miss my oldest son and his wife and their two sweet littles.

I miss my oldest daughter and her husband and feeling her baby kick and roll around.

I miss my son who has been out and about traveling and visiting for over a week while he waits for the work season to kick off with my husband.

I miss my college aged son who had better be studying hard in these last weeks.

Yup, a weeping pity party is what I'm having this morning while I miss all my olders whom I haven't seen in person for quite awhile. And no, you may not come to this party as the invitation list is short....just me.

AND

I know I can't visit them now because we need new tires on the car before I can take any longer trips.

I know that we will ALL be getting together at the end of May.

I know that this is just a season in my life as a mother.

Just another lesson of practicing contentment in my life, eh? And I'll do that right after I wipe my tears and hug those who are here!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


*one* winner

You know, it was easy to watch the winner of my bloggy giveaway being drawn out of the pitcher because I did not know a large majority of people who entered so there was no personal preference on who the winner was when picked (although I hoped it was someone I knew, I also knew the reality of the chances of that happening).

But this drawing? I wanted EVERYONE to win since many of you are already dear to my heart! :-) Fortunately we did this drawing the scientific way so no one would squabble about the results....heehee! So I used my Lovey assistant to shuffle the names around and with the help of an older sister she reached into the basket which was placed high enough that she couldn't see or read any of the names which doesn't make any difference because she doesn't read yet anyway, but I wanted it to be fair and scientific, you know. So, the winner is...........



.........Kelli! She is a more recent internet friend who I've met through The Homeschool Lounge and who oversees - with a wonderful creative flair, I might add - the Letter Writing Friends group. Congratulations, Kelli! And thank you to all who participated in my celebration and who are such an encouragement here and behind the scenes! I'm very blessed!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, April 27

do something incalculable

"Worshiping together counters the contemporary fragmentation of families. Hectic American life leaves little time for significant togetherness. It is hard to overestimate the good influence of families doing valuable things together week in and week out, year in and year out.

Worship is the most valuable thing a human can do. The cumulative effect of 650 worship services spent with Mom and Dad between the ages of four and seventeen is incalculable." ~ Noel Piper

Do something today that has an incalculable effect on your family....worship God!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, April 26

and the winners are....

Woo hoo! Two of my daughters were on our church's AWANA Games T & T team this year. It was great fun to help the girls part of our team as a coach especially because *I* love the games :-) We were concerned because the Games got canceled a couple of weeks ago due to the weather and our club year was over at that point. Would they forget all that they were taught about lines and pins and passing batons? Nope. They did awesome and took first place! And one of my daughters was part of a three legged team that broke a speed record!

It's wonderful to close out the AWANA Club year on such a good and exciting note!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

and the winner is......

Once again the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival has been great fun! I've enjoyed making quick visits to those who have stopped by as well as entering many contests myself. So a big THANK YOU to all who have entered to win my beautiful sunflower pitcher :-)
My sweet assistant Lovey helped me pick the winner late this afternoon:



And the winner is........comment #113 - joanna! Woo hoo! I'll be emailing you for your mailing/shipping address so I can get this to you! :-)

Thanks everyone :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

take a second look

My devotional this morning was from Proverbs 9:13-18 about the foolish woman. Whew, good thing I'm not like her! YIKES!

As I began journaling, I got stuck on the very first verse of that portion of Scripture and ended up pulling out my comparative Bible reference to get a bit more description about the woman of folly.

Here are some of her characteristics as found in verse 13:

"...is clamorous...simple...knoweth nothing." ~ KJV

"...is noisy...is simple and open to all forms of evil...she [willfully and recklessly] knows nothing whatever [of eternal value]" ~ Amp

"...is boisterous...is naive and knows nothing." ~ NAS

"...is loud and brash...ignorant and doesn't even know it." ~ NLT

"...is loud...is undisciplined and without knowledge." ~ NIV

You know whenever God prompts you to learn more, it's for a reason. One of His reasons. And He's quick to search my heart and show me that reason. Swallow pride with a big :::gulp:::

Here's my perfect example of a foolish woman: A mother loudly telling her children to quit fighting and get to school while she sits on her computer mindlessly following bloggy giveaways which provide information that has no eternal value and which keeps her in a state of being undisciplined while housework piles around her.

:::another gulp:::

God's Word has once again proven itself to be sharper than a two edged sword and convicted me right where I'm at, you know, that place called sin.

Oh Lord, forgive me for falling so perfectly into a foolish woman! Protect me from that which would divert my attention from the tasks which you have before me which would be pleasing to you! Keep me focused on YOU!

And with that, I'm off to a busy morning before we need to leave for church for the AWANA Games. Yes, it is snowing at the moment. Hope to do my bloggy giveaway drawing when we get back home later.

May God's Word keep you off foolish paths in your garden today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, April 25

there's hope

Yes! Finally! Some buds on the lilac bush! There's hope that spring is actually coming!

Yes :::sigh::: the fuzzy white stuff way in the background is snow. Still melting. And I heard that there is snow in the forecast for tomorrow. SNOW!!! GRRRRRR!!! The kids wondered aloud if the AWANA Games would end up getting canceled again tomorrow because the weather forecast is so nasty :::sigh:::

Let me tell you, I'm clinging to those lilac buds!

And it took me right back to Wednesday morning and talking with women at Bible study who are going through such a dark difficult time. It essence life feels like it's been a long winter and spring will never come for them. Each day becomes more difficult as the snow keeps coming in their life. And yet there is the ever steady glimmer of hope that they have found in God.

"We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield." ~ Psalm 33:20

It is the Lord whom they are clinging to at this time!

Their spring will come. And just as I will be dancing in the green grass when my lilacs come into full bloom (really, I will be!) so, too, will these very women be rejoicing as the Lord brings spring into their life! I think we're all looking forward to that day with HOPE!

And while we wait in HOPE, may we also be found faithful in prayer for one another.

Enjoy the day in your garden and sniff a flower or two for me!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~



Thursday, April 24

mistaken identity

Yesterday I saw the car!

Okay, let me explain.

A friend recently shared with me that he had regularly seen a car that looked exactly like mine and thought it must be me. But it didn't make sense to him at the time of day that he was seeing it out and about or where it was out and about because he knew we were homeschoolers that stick close to home during the day. And, he was astounded at how fast *I* was always traveling :::chuckle::: However, a couple days before he shared this with me, he saw the car pulled over by a cop which he assumed was for speeding and thought to himself that *I* had gotten caught. Lo and behold when he drove by the stopped vehicles, he caught a good glimpse of who was driving and it was NOT me! Whew!

But later it did cause me to think more about how we see or hear things which we believe to be true, but actually aren't. And how often we share those things with others as truth, but they aren't truth. They are just observations that may or may not be factual.

So, he could have shared with others that he had often seen me driving rather fast which may or may not be true. OR perhaps he had been in my car and saw close-up that my speedometer said 55 MPH in a 30 MPH zone and then made the observation that "Tammy is a speedster and is headed for a ticket!" THAT would be an observation of fact.

The point is that we need to be careful in what we share with others about others. First hand observations tend to be more accurate, but even with that we may not be totally basing our opinion on fact. There may be other circumstances that surround a situation that we aren't even aware of when we form our opinion.

Am I guilty in this respect? Absolutely! Yikes!

"The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts." ~ Proverbs 18:8

Help me, Lord, to speak truth in love that I may be an encouragement to others!

And may there NOT be others in town who through observation of that *other car* think *I'm* a speedster!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, April 23

to encourage



This morning at women's Bible study we never actually got into our study. Although life does have struggles, two women in particular are going through some dark valleys right now. Although our study book wasn't used, God's Word was traveled through as as we were talking and flipping through our Bible pages for specific Scripture verses. I believe that those who were encouraging received as much encouragement as those who needed the encouragement in their lives at this moment. God's Word has a way of doing that!

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." ~ I Thessalonians 5:11

To be Living Well in every area of life requires the support and encouragement of others. God has placed women in our lives to do that very thing! Nowadays it takes the rare commodity of time and commitment, but what a gift you are giving another person when you come alongside them!

As I consider that, I'd like to invite all my Living Well friends who visit once a week to stop by my post from yesterday. You have been a source of encouragement to me over the span of several months and I welcome you to participate in my one year celebration of blogging.

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, April 22

another favorite sign

Spring is my absolute most favorite time of the year! It's hard for me to pick just one or two reasons why as I have so many reasons why :-)

I think that perhaps one of my favorite reasons is that spring abounds with new life! The trees budding and leafing out, perennials popping through the ground, birds nesting, baby bunnies hopping, mama deer with their fawns. And babies!

Really....when you consider all the miracles of this season of new life is there anything more wonderful than the birth of a baby?! Talk about miracles! God's creation shouts with the arrival of a new baby into the world!

And my heart is full of joy as I've just returned home from attending the birth of a friend. This is the third baby of hers which I have been honored to be part of encouraging to come into the world.

Smiles. It was a labor of love and smiles. I'm still smiling because I think of her smiling throughout her labor and as she held that sweet baby at the end. And my heart smiles because I can praise an awesome.incredible.amazing.faithful.prayer answering God!

God is good. All the time. Praise Him with me!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

*one* celebration!

Today marks the one year anniversary of ~@~GARDEN GLIMPSES~@~! YAY!

Rather than incorporating my celebration with the gigantic bloggy giveaway carnival, I thought it would be much more delightful to announce it as a separate post to my regular readers, to those homeschoolers who stop by from time to time to visit, and to my Living Well friends.

As my way of thanking you for being so faithful, my celebration includes the garden themed giveaway shown in the picture which includes:

*a basket
*a dark pink hand towel with a butterfly motif which reads "Live Love Laugh"
*a tea cup and saucer complete with three bags of vanilla chai tea
*an Old Yankee Home Sweet Home candle
*a bookmark that says "Cultivate Kindness"
*a wirebound daisy notebook
*one size fits all flowered gardening gloves
*nine Scripture seed packets covering the fruits of the Spirit

This celebration will be open from today's anniversary of April 22nd through Sunday, April 27th and is open to all my readers from the US and also extended to my Canadian readers. Please make sure your blog or email address is in the comments so I know how to contact you. On Sunday evening my little Lovey will draw a name out of a basket and I'll announce the winner on Monday, April 28th.

Let's celebrate!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, April 21

QUACK

As I came out the door this morning, I had to laugh out loud! There was some very loud QUACKING on our pond this morning. Actually, there's still ice on half of the pond, but it didn't stop some lonely duck was quacking up a storm as he swam around in circles. The ducks tend to be a bit skittish early in the spring, so I didn't even think about attempting a picture. But, it's definitely another sign of spring.

Ohhh, and we have discovered another sign of spring on the dogs. The deer and wood ticks are out in masses....grrrrrrrrr! At least my rejoicing in the sunshine and warm temperatures balance my disgust about those little blood sucking critters. They just took us by surprise as we still have lots of big snowbanks to melt as well as snow in the shaded woods. Who'd a thunk? :-p~

Have a delightful day in your garden today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

bloggy giveaway carnival!


THIS BLOGGY GIVEAWAY CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! THANK YOU TO ALL WHO ENTERED!

YAY! It's the Spring Bloggy Giveaway Carnival! What a fun way to welcome spring :-)

To keep with my gardening theme, I searched the house for a perfect giveaway and found it stuffed in a cabinet already too full of dishes. It's as pretty as a pitcher! Covered with a beautiful big sunflower in warm colors, you can use it for serving beverages or fill it with flowers as it stands about a foot high.

In order to win this wonderful pitcher, my two requests would be that you are a U.S. resident and that you would post a comment any time between Monday, April 21st through Friday, April 25th with information included so that I may contact you (blog or email address). My little assistant will pull a name out of the pitcher on Saturday, April 26th.

To enjoy more of the bloggy carnival giveaways, please go visit HERE

Thanks and have fun! :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, April 20

not only for sunday

"Worship isn't just what you do on Sunday or at a particular time during a church service. You worship God by the way you live your life, and that attracts others to God, too. When you reflect Christ in all aspects of your life, people who come in contact with you won't be able to deny that the message of the gospel is real and offers hope." ~ Twila Paris

Worship every day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, April 19

another sign of spring

Greetings from another sign of spring! Oh, you thought I meant these flowers? Nope, our church's district spring conference :-) This was the first one I've ever attended and I've come away challenged on many levels. Now to process it and be attentive to what God is teaching me!

One of the highlights of the conference was a women's tea during the business portion of the gathering. It was a delightful time to meet new faces who were primarily pastor's wives in a setting that was warm and inviting as we shared delicacies of an English tea. Now I know what clotted cream tastes like! YUM! At each place setting was a potted plant that we were encouraged to take home :-)

Time to catch up around home!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Friday, April 18

your investment

"The values that we instill in our children are the values by which they will raise their families. And so the life of our investment is not just one generation, it is generation after generation. The key issue is not only what our children are now, but what they will become after internalizing the values we have passed on to them. And the clearest evidence of what they have internalized is what they pass on to their own children. A parent's influence on his child will have a long-term, lasting impact. Just as a seed takes time to germinate in the ground and bring forth fruit, so our teaching and influence on our children takes time to bear fruit as well. But it will bear fruit, for better or for worse." ~ David Jeremiah

Makes sense, doesn't it? Years ago I could have read this and nodded in agreement because the principle made sense. Now I'm actually watching this begin to be lived out in my own family as they go off, get married, and have children. The principle now has evidence. Our parenting does have long term lasting effects as shown by the fruit.

And it's humbling.

Humbling because hindsight also reveals all my parenting blunders. All those things which I wish I had done differently or hadn't done at all or had been more consistent at doing. My sigh can be heard all the way to heaven!

And God hears my sigh. And His response is one of undeserved mercy and kindness as He extends grace into my life and the life of my children. Simply amazing grace!

He takes my blunders and makes beauty.

I see it when I'm with my son's family and we pray before a meal. The little hand of a blonde cherub with dimples in her cheeks is extended my way as their tradition is to hold hands around the table as they pray. "Grandma, hand?"

So be encouraged on this day in your garden knowing that parenting is full of imperfections but God is full of grace!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, April 17

too much outdoors

The little girl who began playing in the sandbox first thing this morning has kept busy playing outside most of the day. Her favorite activity outside has been to walk around with the umbrella she bought in the AWANA Club store :-) But the day continued to get darker and cloudier as the hours passed and soon she came in plopping herself on a chair in the kitchen. The next thing I knew she was sound asleep! That's quite a feat considering the kitchen is the noisiest room in our house. Poor sweet little Lovey of mine!

:::::yawn:::::

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

some changes

While waiting for certain kids to get done with certain tasks so that we could do specific school work, I decided to make a few changes on my blog.

**Comments will now come up in a pop-up window. I prefer that on other people's blogs and hadn't done it because my family didn't like it. They'll be happy to know I kept the family blog the same :-)

**Comments have been opened up to Registered Users instead of just google/blogger accounts. Still not ready to go to anonymous yet....sowwwwy!

**Comments will now need word verification. This is the step I'm probably most torn about because I always mess up when I have to do this on other blogs...hee hee...but I'm just getting too much spam right now that I have to come and delete off my comments. It's not so bad when I have lots of time to jump on and off here, but life always gets much busier in the summer and I don't spend as much time on my computer to monitor things.

So, any input? If there's anything I've changed which would cause my readers to never read again, I'd like to know!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


sandbox signs

















As I ran out to my husband's office to make some copies, I saw Lovey out in the sandbox playing. Quickly I grabbed my camera to snap a picture. See! The snow is melting! There is hope! Actually, the sandbox is located in an all day sunny spot so it is the first place to lose snow, especially since it doesn't get any extra snow piled on it like along our sidewalk or driveway or around the house where all the roof snow gets shoveled.

She's very happy to be puttering around in her sandbox again and has reminded me that we need to go to the dollar store to get some new sandbox playthings :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the birds

"Birds awaken a sleepy world with their songs of hope and joyous expectancy." ~ Author Unknown

As I opened the door early this morning to head out for my walk, I was greeted by a woods full of chirping singing birds. They all sounded so HAPPY! :-) It is one of my favorite sounds of spring and does give me hope that spring is coming. The snow is melting quickly - although no where near gone - and I can look out my window right now and see all the robins hopping around on the brown dead grass of the field. Grass which will hopefully be turning green in the days ahead. How I long for GREEN!

While I'm waiting for spring in joyous expectancy, I took some time and made out a list of things to get done. Time to kick some motivation into gear as there's much to get busy with in the days ahead. As long as the sun keeps shining I should do just fine :-)

What's your favorite sign of spring?

Have a good day in YOUR garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, April 16

going around a mountain



Yup, going around a mountain again. And not in the physical sense. In a spiritual sense. But even that is one of the steps of Living Well, although looking over the edge doesn't *feel well* at all right now!

It is one of our notorious sayings within the group of women I'm meeting with for Bible study on Wednesday mornings...."the Lord is just taking you around the mountain again"....which translated means: there are certain people and experiences and situations that God tends to allow us to repeat so we learn an important lesson for our spiritual growth.

And so here I go....around the mountain again.

What I don't understand is why? Really....I walked through some painful things the last time, processed them, forgave them, healed from them. And was having a nice walk forward until something happened in someone else's life which triggered some strong emotions in my own life ::::sigh::::

How thankful I am for the support, fellowship, and encouragement of other believers during a time like this! One friend in particular has the gift of exhorting me without me even realizing it and I am so blessed by her! As our group of women talked through it this morning, it was concluded that yes, I have been around this mountain before. And yes, I did walk through some painfully rocky paths the last time BUT perhaps I tackled some of the big things that trip around the mountain. This time I'm maybe dealing with the sharp small stones that I didn't notice the last time since my eyes were focused on the big things. OUCH! OUCH! OUCH!

Still painful, yet my prayer is that God would search my heart and reveal to me exactly what I need to learn so I may walk directly through it and come to a place of healing.

Bottom line....my heart's desire is to be Living Well in ALL areas of my life!

How about you? Has God revealed areas that are painful and need to be walked through whatever they may be? Please know that there are others who are willing to come alongside to encourage, support, and even exhort you as they lovingly pray for you!

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~



Tuesday, April 15

look alike bulbs

From my daily flip calendar:

"All bulbs look alike until they're given a chance to bloom." ~ Author Unknown

Last night at our AWANA Awards ceremony when it was my turn to present the awards to my group, I had all the Chums come up front. There were probably 14 - 15 girls that came regularly all year but a few of the once-in-awhiles showed up last night, too. It had been a real good group of girls to work with and many had been in my group last year so they knew what was expected on a weekly basis. For the most part the girls were well behaved, hard working, and known for putting a smile on my face.

As I was thinking about them last night as I was unwinding from a very full day and evening, the girls seemed to line up with the saying. In September when they all come into my room at church for the first night, the girls are all alike in a sense. And yet last night, the evidence of how they've bloomed was so evident to me. As each bulb - looking like the others - was planted in the
fall, a marvelous transformation took place as each one was tended with TLC for many weeks. And as spring (okay, it WILL be here one of these days!) arrives, those bulbs have blossomed into unique, colorful, and beautiful flowers in God's garden. God's Word and encouragement and love go a long way in growing little girls!

So may I encourage you on this day as you tend your garden that all those days, weeks, and months of daily living will provide results that you will be amazed with as long as you keep God's Word in the forefront of your life. It's a no fail policy!

Have a good day filled with bulbs that are now blossoming!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, April 14

already?

It seems hard to believe that we are to our final night of AWANA Club already! Our club year tends to end earlier than most clubs as much of our leadership gets very busy when spring comes as they are seasonally employed.

What's very unusual this year is that spring hasn't really sprung yet. Typically ALL the kids are wound up like springs filled with energy as soon as the weather turns warmer. This year as we end the kids are still in the winter calm. Nope, I'm not complaining in the least bit! LOL!

Anyway, busy day ahead for me. Baking for the refreshment time after our Awards ceremony, putting together special bags of goodies for my special group of Chums, writing notes of appreciation to my helpers, AND getting the AWANA Store stocked a bit. I'll be tired by the end of the day!

Any special plans for your Monday?

Have a good day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, April 13

simply worship

"When we go forth into the battle we have two strategies. We can go in our own weakness and face defeat, or we can go in the power of the Lord. How do we do the latter? We simply love, adore, worship, and praise His name. We know that God makes His home in our praises, and He will march with us even to the farthest corners of the earth and the end of the age. As we worship, our life strategies come together in ways we could never have formulated on our own. Then, as we face the challenges head-on, we keep right on praising, right on singing to the Lord, who is greater and stronger than any challenge that might stand in our path. The wonder of worship, guiding our everyday experiences, will totally change the way we see everything that confronts us."
~ David Jeremiah

Simply put.

Simply put your eyes on the Lord in any situation and worship Him.

Simply worship.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, April 12

forgetaboutit

Spring fever? What was I thinking about when I wrote that article that is up at Heart of the Matter today?

Actually, when I began the rough draft those pictures were accurate. It was a warm sunny weekend in the 50's. Snow was melting. Kids were wearing flip flops and shorts. (And yes, my older ones will call home and remind me that when they were little they couldn't even think about wearing shorts until the snow was completely gone and the temperature was over 70 degrees. And flip flops? Unheard of back then when the snow was around. Yes, I will be reminded that I have gotten amazingly lenient in my old age with their younger siblings!)

Then when I posted my draft into the folder at Heart of the Matter midweek, we had been living through three days of gray damp gloom. Rumors of a snow storm coming were abounding.

A few days later, which is today, we are at the end of a winter storm warning. Last night they said we had gotten at least seven inches of snow so far and it was snowing and blowing throughout the night. I have no idea how many more inches fell as we nestled under the covers. All I know is that everything is white white white outside my window.

Spring fever? NOPE! Winter blues? YUP!

Have a good day in your garden whether white or green!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a change of plans

Simply put....winter storm warning.

It's been hovering over us for the past couple of days and this blustery snowy weather has managed to cancel the AWANA Games at our church this afternoon.

I'm relieved to have an unexpected Saturday at home to get a few things caught up BUT I'll have to do those things without looking out the window for depression is certain to set in if I do! white white white :::sigh:::

Hope your day is greener than mine!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, April 11

a sad lullabye











Lullaby

What I wouldn't give
To have you in my arms again,
Breathe your scent
And snuggle close to you.

I want to watch you sleep,

See your chest rise and fall
In peaceful slumber.

Let me lay my hand
Over your heart,
So I can

Feel it beating

Beneath my touch.
I want to be
Lulled to sleep
By its rhythm.

~~ by Tara Simms

Yesterday our church was the gathering place to grieve and yet glorify God as we remembered the short life of a sweet baby. A birth of which I was honored to attend and then share a glimpse of God's fingerprints at the service.

Last fall the mom and I had initially connected when they first found out they were expecting as they were contemplating maybe doing something different this time around and wondered if I'd maybe be interested in coming to their birth. So we decided to get back in touch later in their pregnancy. When the mom called a few months later, she explained the journey they had suddenly been traveling with this pregnancy. God was perfectly weaving together a baby that was imperfect physically to survive life in our world. And yet God had a perfect plan for this baby and Psalm 139 was a reminder of that very thing.

Challenges were ever before this couple who love the Lord and a date for the induction was chosen so they would be assured of being in a particular hospital with the capabilities of caring for their baby and to assure that the people who they wanted at the birth would be there.

Ah, but God had a different plan as her labor began unexpectedly ten days before the induction date. Four weeks ago today I traveled to be with them and witnessed an amazingly peaceful and serene labor and delivery. It can only be a testimony of the prayers of God's people as He faithfully answered! Their desire was to hold their sweet baby alive and breathing - if only for a moment - and as we all held our breath after this precious baby floated into the world like a cloud from heaven - God answered! Not only did He answer, but he gave them countless treasured moments until returning this sweet baby to heaven just as quietly, peacefully, and gently a little over two weeks later.

A short life in our earthly estimation, but a life that has already powerfully touched lives with its testimony of God's fingerprints - and will continue to touch lives in the days ahead as this family will be strengthened to share all that God has taught them. A powerful testimony of God's grace, love, and mercy.

God's fingerprints which are all over our lives today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

photo credit - http://www.bigfoto.com/

Thursday, April 10

for perfect peace

My verse for the day ahead:

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee." ~ Isaiah 26:3

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, April 9

a silly walk



The last couple of weeks I've been watching the weather for an important reason - I was entered in a local 5K race that raised money for local organizations. Silly me. Why did I sign up again? It was still winter here!

Last year was the very first year of this event and it was also the first race I had ever entered as a walker. I knew there was no way I was in prize worthy form, but I enjoyed the challenge of getting in shape to walk it. Plus last year I had some goals to meet before my daughter's wedding in May.

This year the same people talked to me about doing it again. They didn't have to coax too much as I did enjoy it last year. So I signed up and watched winter NOT go away. Our snow wasn't gone so I had no opportunity to walk outside on our roads with the natural little hills.

The night came and the weather held steady with no precipitation (rain maybe mixed with snow was in the forecast), so actually the temperature was perfect. Oh, yes, did you catch the part about "night came"? Did I forget to mention that this race begins at 12 A.M.? Yup, just another challenge for an early bird mom! Plus there were over twice as many participants this year which made it more crowded. The course was just a little bit different and even included some very slippery snow on one part of the trail as we went through the woods. Not to worry as we had our flashlights to help us avoid the worst of the snow and all the puddles besides! Yup, you heard me right. We needed flashlights for almost the entire course :-)

Challenging? Yes! Fun? Definitely! Will I do it again? Most likely!

And the bonus? I cut my time by two minutes and thirty-three seconds from last year! Woo hoo!

Sometimes throwing something new into the mix of Living Well can be a boost to the morale. Especially at the end of a long winter. Rejoice, I say!

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, April 8

whose vantage point?

From my daily flip calendar for today:

"From the vantage point of a bird soaring high above the ground, any challenge can be overcome." ~ Author Unknown

HA!

Obviously this author has never lived through the never ending winter which includes yet ANOTHER gray day threatening rain or snow or a mix nor has the author had a home which needs major spring cleaning *if* spring ever came nor has the author ever had so many to-do things on their list in one moment in time nor has the author had fluctuating hormones which practically drive a woman over the edge nor has the author just plain been overwhelmed with everything. Obviously. Right?

Better take another look. A spiritual look from God's vantage point.

"For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to him." ~ II Chronicles 16:9a

Hmmm, time to rephrase that quote from above:

"From the vantage point of the LORD whose eyes search high earth above the earth, He will strengthen all those who love Him for the challenges they need to overcome." ~ me

Whenever life gets overwhelming, it helps to get rid of my vantage point, you know, the poor me scenario and place my eyes smack dab back on the Lord and look at things from His vantage point. I CAN do all things through Him who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13)

So, time to re-do my to-do list and claim His strength as I put my priorities back in order!

May His vantage point be your vantage point in your garden today!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, April 7

verbosity to the maximus

Just a little note of appreciation to all my quiet regular readers :-)

Thank you for reading during the recent Home Education Week. Ohhh, I do so enjoy having a topic to write about (how come my kids don't get so excited about it when they have to do it for school, huh?!) but I do recognize my tendency to write A LOT. A lot of words. Verbosity to the maximus (okay, I like to make up words like, um, maximus! hee hee).

As I am coming upon my one year anniversary of public blogging later this month, I have been trying to evaluate the whole blogging thing. Do I keep on keeping on? Or do I say that was fun and now it's time to do something else? Do I take a break? Or do I get on a regular schedule of topics? Do I ramble about life? Or do I stick with devotional type topics? Or do I just talk about gardening? You know, real in the dirt gardening? But that would mean only blogging about three to four months of the year in this neck of the woods! What about blogging only on certain days? Maybe like only Monday through Friday and taking weekends off? Do I promote my blog more or let my readership build on its own through word of mouth?

Questions. Questions. Questions.

Have any answers? If you do, I'd love to hear them! You don't have to comment here, but feel free to email me at: tam.gardening@yahoo.com

In the meantime I *think* I should be able to be shorter and more precise in the week ahead - no promises though! - as I have three writing assignments to work on as well as a full home schedule of activities in the days ahead.

Have a great day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Sunday, April 6

ever sing for joy

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you." ~ Psalm 5:11

May your day of worship be filled with singing and rejoicing!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, April 5

call us desperate


Are you tired yet of hearing me saying, "BOY, it's been a LONG winter!"?

We woke up to brilliant blue sunny skies and the kids could hardly wait to play outside. But with all the snow they are still quite limited as to what they can actually do. That didn't stop them from putting on flip flips and shorts to check out the sandbox and the sledding hill during this fifty degree weather.

SOON the snow will melt, right?

***Update*** At 2:15PM our first robin was spotted sitting on the only small patch of field that the snow had melted! YAY!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

and on we go

Welcome to the final day of Home Education Week! To follow others who are talking about the topic of the day, be sure to stop over at Dana's place at Principled Discovery and follow the links

Looking Forward Saturday, April 5
What are your goals for home education? What do you hope to instill in your children? Are you planning any changes to how you educate your children?

From the beginning our goal has been to provide our children with a solid education based on a Scriptural foundation. Our hope is that each one will grow to love and serve the Lord with their whole heart wherever He places them as they mature and leave our home. We recognize that truly that is the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and we just need to be obedient in our part of the process.

Changes? I don't foresee changing our core curriculum as it has worked well for years. As my children are growing up and slowly leaving home, I do hope to have more time to plan creative activities like we used to do. Especially with the girls on the end of our family line. So many of my favorite hobbies were developed in my life through the influences of my mom and grandma and I'd love to pass those gifts onto my girls :-)

And so ends Home Education Week! I do hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, April 4

in their words


Welcome to day six of Home Education Week! To follow others who are talking about the topic of the day, be sure to stop over at Dana's place at Principled Discovery and follow the links

In Their Own Words Friday, April 4
Share your children’s home education experience in their own words. What have they said about their education? What are their likes and dislikes? Share some stories, some quotes, or turn your blog over to your children for the day.

Earlier in the week I posed today's topic to my children - those still at home and those grown up and gone - to get their responses. It's been fascinating to get their opinions because they vary according to their age. The older ones definitely have a different perspective as the are looking through more mature eyes that have seen a bit of the world. The younger ones have a viewpoint more typical of their age as different things are more important at that stage. So I've made two lists from their responses of good things they like about homeschooling and the things they don't like about homeschooling.

So the good things:

**More well rounded and able to have conversations on a variety of topics with someone of any age range.
**Afternoon nap time (I reminded this child that napping wasn't a school activity, especially in high school!)
**Able to work independently at your own pace.
**Flexibility of our schedule was a big one for all the kids. Examples were: doing schooling early in the day so other activities could be done later; taking mini-breaks or vacations when we wanted; getting done with our school year early; staying up late or sleeping in if you needed to; doing subjects in whatever order you wanted; staying in your pajamas all day if you wanted; daily planning could easily yield to appointments, etc.
**Able to play outside more.
**Hanging out with mom and working in the kitchen.
**Playing with siblings.

And the things they didn't like as well:

**Missing out on competitive sports in high school.
**Math.
**Cleaning the house.
**Not getting together with friends as much as they would like.
**Not getting their own car in high school (yes, that was on the list and this child had to be reminded that they wouldn't have their own car no matter how they were educated!)
**Parents too strict at times.
**Having to do school when they didn't want to or didn't like it
**Not enough computer time.

It's good to talk about all the aspects of family life and see what things can be changed and what things obviously can't be changed. Overall, their opinion was that they thought homeschooling was the best choice for our family and for that I'm very thankful!

How about you? What do your kids think about homeschooling?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, April 3

thumbs up for reading


Welcome to day five of Home Education Week! To follow others who are talking about the topic of the day, be sure to stop over at Dana's place at Principled Discovery and follow the links

Show and Tell Thursday, April 3
Show off those talents. Share a story, a special moment, a piece of artwork. Any accomplishment, great or small, is fair game.

After thinking about this for awhile, I think that my greatest joy has been to watch the light bulb come on the moment reading clicked with each of my children (well, except the littlest who is still doing alphabet stuff, but I look forward to this one learning to read, too!). They've all hit the learning-to-read stage at a different age which has typically been around six years old, but I've had some a little younger and I've had one a few years later than that. But once it clicked....off they went! Truly, it's a matter of me giving them the tools and their little minds learning how to use them. How cool is that?

What greater gift can they attain than reading? The whole wide world is there for them to partake of as they can read about anything they want. Their learning suddenly becomes broadly expanded. And it's fascinating to see that each child has a different area of interest they enjoy reading about which gives us a wide variety of things to discuss.

Of course, all these readers in the household justify bookshelf after bookshelf of books, right? LOL!

What's your show and tell?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, April 2

counting a quarter

As of today a quarter of my daughters has reached a quarter of a century!

Wait a minute, that makes me sound old!

As of today, my oldest daughter has turned twenty-five years old!

Whoaaaa, that still makes me sound old!

Oh, dear. I think I am old. LOL!

But she's still young! Woo hoo! Happy birthday, sweet girl! :-)

Love from mom ~@~

P.S. Sorry about the old picture. I really need to download all those CDs that have pictures between that time period and when I started using my digital camera. But it is an appropriate picture as all four girls love music and singing and dancing :-)

the pounding of a head



There are many things I cherish during this season of life, but there is one particular thing I'm not liking one bit. A calendar has become meaningless during perimenopause due to unpredictability of the shifting hormones; a good strong headache is a much better measure of where my day is headed.

As I was doing some cleaning this weekend and sorting through a pile of magazines, I ran across the Curves magazine I received several months back. And look at this timely information (the red highlight is mine):

About 60% of women with migraine headaches have what are called "menstrual migraines" triggered by monthly fluctuations in estrogen. Most of these headaches go away after menopause, although the midlife transition can make them worse before they get better. There are a handful of new medications that may help, but if you are looking for a more natural approach, consider eating more magnesium-rich foods, like fish, nuts, spinach, and whole grains, to boost your intake to at least the 310 mg recommended daily for women. Research shows that women who don't get enough magnesium tend to be more prone to these headaches. ~The Curves Magazine, Fall 2007 issue


Headaches have rarely been a part of my entire life, so I confess to feeling like a real wimp when I get one of these monsters. A couple of friends had recommended a calcium magnesium supplement which I had been taking at night before bed, um, when I remembered :::sigh:::: Taking the supplements during these monster headaches has helped a bit. Then add this article with some good nutritional living well advice and I now have a practical way to feel better through eating well.

Are you dealing with headaches? Hopefully this advice will help you, too!

Pass the bowl of fresh spinach and I'll see you next week at Living Well Wednesday! To follow the journey of other Living Well participants, go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a recipe for success

Welcome to day four of Home Education Week! To follow others who are talking about the topic of the day, be sure to stop over at Dana's place at Principled Discovery and follow the links

Recipe for Success Wednesday, April 2

It is also National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! So share a recipe…figuratively, as in two parts love, one part creativity, or literally, as in a super quick, nutritious meal your kids scarf up. Think about what you do in the day, what helps keep it organized and you sane (or how you got past that need for organization and saneness!), and curriculum materials you find effective.

In a recent conversation around our kitchen table while eating, we got into a discussion about kids and families and results. We talked about families that are homeschooling and families that are public schooling. What was the conclusion of our table discussion regarding a recipe for success? Committed loving parents. Period. Homeschooling doesn't guarantee success without that ingredient. We have seen homeschooing families where the parents weren't really engaged with their kids and the results have been evident in a negative way. We have seen public school families where the parents are actively involved in the school, the education, the extra activities, and the results have been evident in a positive way.

Knowing that conclusion, I asked my kids if they wanted to go to public school now? Nope, because they would be lacking the Christian influence that is steady in their curriculum throughout the day.

So, from our vantage point a recipe for success would be:

*Two bushels (one from mom and one from dad) of commitment mixed with hands overflowing with love
*A gallon per subject of solid Christian curriculum
*Quarts of responsibility given throughout the day mixed with equal quarts of play
*Pints of extra activities such as music, sports, co-ops, field trips, etc.
*Cupfuls of a good nutritional diet and sleep depending on age and size

Mix together well and cover all with prayer!

What about your recipe for success?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, April 1

challenges of homeschooling


Welcome to day three of Home Education Week! To follow others who are talking about the topic of the day, be sure to stop over at Dana's place at Principled Discovery and follow the links

April Fool's! Tuesday, April 1
And we have likely all felt the fool in one way or another. Share your greatest challenge. Or one of those terrible, horrible no good, very bad days where the only thing there is to do seems to involve moving to Australia.

Our greatest challenges through the years have come in two forms: babies and caring for our parents as they aged.

The arrival of babies is something you can somewhat plan ahead for when homeschooling. The schedule and routine can be talked about ahead of time which will hopefully prepare the children for the needed flexibility when the time comes. That doesn't mean the challenges disappear, but hopefully it lessens the frustration. There were times when I had been up all night with a new baby and had to close my door in the morning and let Grandma run the household while I finally slept. Or maybe an older sibling had to correct a younger sibling's math lesson. Or we had to do a lot of reading on mom's bed. At least life could be kept at a manageable level - well, except the Good Housekeeping Clean House Award was taken away - and everyone was fed (thank you friends from church) and had clothes (fortunately the little ones had favorite outfits they liked to wear, um, a lot).

The departure of parents is something you cannot plan ahead for when homeschooling. As my in-laws and my mom all developed health concerns around the same time, our routine took unexpected twists and turns. Either my husband or myself were traveling to doctor's appointments, following up on tests, making hospital visits, or taking care of a host of other things that were new to us. Fortunately when we went through this season there were older children in the house who could babysit or work with the younger ones. Meals could be prepared, laundry could be done, and play was supervised. In less than two years these three special people in our lives passed away.

Looking back at the two biggest challenge areas in the life of our homeschooling family, there are several things that were evident. Children learn even when we aren't formally teaching them. Learning never stops. Learning doesn't always come in the form of books, but in the form of living life. My children learned responsibility as they took care of additional chores. They learned compassion whether it was walking with a colicky baby or helping feed a grandparent who could no longer hold a spoon. They learned about the life cycle as they held a new sibling for the very first time and kissed a grandparent good-bye for a final time. And if there were areas where they fell behind in their schooling, it was temporary as they caught up quickly as soon as life settled.

Everyone's challenges come in different forms. What's yours?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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