Friday, October 31

travels of the stretching kind

It's time to stretch the mother....again.

Hugs, kisses, and orders to "love that baby!" were given as I said good-bye this morning to an older son and younger daughter as they drove off to pay a visit to our oldest daughter and family. A perfect day weatherwise for their travels as well as good timing for departure and arrival.

All is well.

Except my rapidly beating heart at the moment.

My husband easily said "yes!" when my son asked to go on this trip. My lips only sputtered as I considered his total lack of city driving. Yet, I had to balance that with the type of driver he is...cautious, conservative, and responsible.

It's one of those letting go experiences as he becomes a young adult and stretches for his independence. Every single one of my kids eventually took a trip and each did just fine.

So I do know the routine having been through this four times already. Pace, pray, and wait for the phone call in four hours saying they arrived safe and sound.

All in the day of a mother of a growing stretching family.

Funny how God is growing stretching me at the same time! He's pretty clever, isn't He?! :-)

Have a great day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

*****Update: They arrived safe and sound, so now I can stop pacing and actually get something done, that is, until they head back this way! LOL!
*****Second Update: They are now back home safe and sound....whew! They had a wonderful time and were even able to connect with an older brother and his girlfriend during their visit as well as getting some clothes shopping done in the big city :-)


Thursday, October 30

a rainy season


It has been a week of raining. What? you say. What about that snow? Yes, we did get some snow early in the week. But it's not that kind of precipitation that I'm talking about this morning.

It's been raining tears from broken hearts.

Three friends have been in touch with me this week all who have been greatly hurt by the consequences of other people in their life. Each one needed someone trusted to talk to, but primarily they needed someone to pray for them, to cry with them, to tell them they were loved. Each dear to my heart in their own way, it was a task that I was available and honored to do.

And these three friends are the tip of the iceberg as I look further into my life and the others that I know who are also raining tears for difficulties in their lives often caused by others or by circumstances that are hard to understand.

You know, it's one thing to be crying over things that you've done personally and which have their natural consequences. Often our crying comes from hitting our heads into the wall for being so foolish. But it's a much deeper pain in our hearts when the tears flow from difficulties which we have no control over. People make decisions and we are affected by them.

That is when we need to take our eyes off the puddles of tears all around us and look upward to our Heavenly Father who does have control over all things. Nothing that has happened is a surprise to Him. He knows. He is there. He is faithful.

As much as I would like to spare those close to me from the hardships that break their hearts, I know that these very things will cause them to be strengthened as they put their roots down even deeper into God's love becoming even more established in their faith. It is a time in which I can use the prayer found in Ephesians 3:14-21 as Paul prayed for believers. It is a time which I can be thankful for a God who always hears, always answers, always loves.

Having spent a day with an attitude of prayer was even more meaningful at the end of the afternoon when I walked to my car with a cart full of groceries and realized that I locked my keys INSIDE my car. Instead of banging my head on my car over the consequences and crying, I calmly whispered another prayer of thanksgiving for being prompted to take my cell phone along - which I hardly ever use - when I left the house so I could call home. I was thankful to know that at that time of the day there was someone there who could rescue me with my extra set of key. And I was thankful to have those moments of waiting in the crisp autumn air to breath in the freshness of the air after the rain that had fallen throughout the day and thank God for being Who He is in my life.

To follow other thankful hearts on this day, please go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, October 29

leftover blech

Last week Joan left a comment here about leftovers that made sense. She said that she puts the leftovers away before she sits down to eat to keep from taking seconds. Now I'd probably have a hard time doing it that way as I have teenagers in my home that will refill their plates during the meal. However, if the kitchen worker of the night is slack in doing their duties after the meal - which is typically when my husband and I are still at the table chatting about a topic that isn't interesting enough to eavesdrop upon so they wander out of the kitchen - then I find myself eating a bit more so the kitchen worker doesn't put a few spoonfuls of leftovers into a bigger container than necessary.

So, this comes down to two things both of which come down to child training. One - make certain that the child who has the kitchen helper job for the night does it immediately following the meal so all leftovers are put away; and two - be more hands-on instructive showing them how to look further in the cabinet for leftover containers of the right size so I'm not driven crazy by those huge containers with only a little food in them hogging space in my refrigerator.

AND get back to being better disciplined myself by not eating the leftovers! Period! (I had been doing very well on this very thing for a long time and I'm unhappy with myself for slipping!)

Okay....all those things are well and good to ponder. But sometimes you need a real lesson about leftovers to learn even better and actually apply what you've learned.

Like yesterday.

There was a leftover container from one of my older sons who ate at a Chinese restaurant on Sunday. This kid is typically more picky about his foods, so it was no surprise that he had a good sized portion that he brought home. And it looked good....mmmmm.....rice with some kind of chicken in a reddish sauce with broccoli. So, I warmed it up for myself for lunch and quickly understood why he probably didn't like it much because it was rather spicy. After eating the portion I had, all that spicy wasn't sitting in my stomach very well. In fact, it made me feel kind of sick. Blech. And then I also remembered that this was the kid who has been dealing with a blowing your nose kind of cold the last bunch of days. Blech again. When I was sharing with him about eating his cold germ-filled spicy leftover, he told me that so and so had also shared some of his meal at the restaurant. Blech and ewwwww! Spicy-sick germs-other people's germs-mingled-in-leftovers. Now isn't that enough to make anyone's stomach turn?!

Please don't misunderstand me about leftovers. I do believe that many things actually taste better when they are going on their second or third eating. However, it's important to be wise. And not to let our eyes be wise for us because they'll eat just about anything and everything(!), but to apply wisdom to our ALL eating decisions whether it be a snack, a freshly cooked meal, or leftovers.

Trust me, I'll be on the leftover blech wagon for awhile now.....

To follow other Living Well women, please go and read HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, October 28

the unexpected

Since it was only at our theaters a few more days, my husband and I took the only opportunity we had to go and see the movie Fireproof tonight.

Having heard much from friends and read reviews about the movie, we've been looking forward to seeing it.

Little did I expect having a great big giant lump in my throat during one of the early scenes of the movie. And I know I won't be giving anything away about the movie by sharing it in case you haven't seen it yet. The wife of the main character goes to visit her parents and as she sits down by her mom who has had a stroke, she says something like, "I wish you could talk to me, mom."

Yup, one of the number one lessons in grieving...you can prepare for all the expected moments, but the unexpected ones will knock you off your feet.

My mom has been gone over three and a half years, but in an instant the memory is fresh. That was me saying that to my mom in her last year of life...."I wish you could talk to me, mom." And she'd smile at me. Always a smile.

And once again I miss our conversations....

:::sigh:::

BTW, it was a good movie, so do go and see it if you haven't yet!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

so quickly

They come and go so quickly
Spring and Fall...
as if they had not really
come at all.
Perhaps
we could not take
too much of beauty,
breath-catching glory,
ecstasy without relief;
and so
God made them
brief.
~Ruth Bell Graham



Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, October 27

the proof is in the.....

.....picture taken off my front porch as soon as it was light enough this morning. YES, it is snowing!

In fact, at the moment I'm typing this it's snowing quite heavily. I've kept four pots of flowers on my porch bench since the sweet things have stayed green and blooming even with the fall weather. But, alas, I'm afraid this snow will be the end of them! And as you can see in the far background, the trampoline hasn't been put away yet either :::sigh:::

Why does winter always come too soon?! I'd NEVER complain if spring came too soon! LOL!

Enjoy your day whatever the weather!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a girls giveaway!

Although I've decided to pass on this one, today begins a week of Bloggy Giveaways. It is a lot of fun and I've actually won some things which have blessed me. So if you have time, go check them out right here

Instead I thought I'd promote a different giveaway being offered this week through Internet Cafe Devotions, especially since I know many of my readers have young girls. Two autographed copies of "Girls of Grace, Faith vs. Fear" by author Leah Eads will be given away and all you have to do is leave a comment telling why your special girl would love this book.
To encourage you to enter, here's a brief review of the book:

"Author Leah Eads constructs a vivid look into the life of some amazing young ladies who are serving God. From Girl’s Club meetings to constructing a shelter in the woods; there is never a dull moment! Young readers will walk with them through struggle and fear, into freedom and trust in God." ~ Internet Cafe Devotions

Go check it out now right here!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, October 25

a season of falling leaves

As the fall of 1995 began with the changing of the colors of the leaves all around us, so was there another change occurring quietly behind the scenes of life. Little pieces had been mentioned throughout the summer, but a casual conversation in mid-September stands out in my mind as I drove my mom and my kids to our cabin. A warm autumn day which lent itself to content spirits as we traveled and my mom chatted about various symptoms that appeared to be menopausal from all she had read. Ah, yes, hormones which created chaos with how her mind worked and we giggled about some of those episodes as she easily shared within the warmth of our close adult friendship.

Over the next two weeks my mom’s symptoms clearly began worsening and there seemed to be certain things - such as unsteady balance while walking or being unable to add numbers - that were no longer consistent with menopausal symptoms. It was time to follow up with her doctor.

Having gone through surgery at the end of the previous year for lung cancer, CT scans were required for my mom as her symptoms were discussed. It was a relief to hear that her lungs were clear, however tests showed abnormalities within her brain. Her care was now transferred to a larger medical clinic two hours away where more detailed testing was followed by consultations with neurosurgeons and oncologists as a metastatic brain tumor had been confirmed. A date was set for the surgery which was less than a week away.

As we waited, it was hard not to think of a similar scenario. My only sibling, a younger sister, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly before her fifth birthday. Remembrances passed through my mind of the difficult years following my sister’s surgery while my mom cared for her up until my sister’s health required institutionalized care prior to her death at twelve years old. A real life scenario which no one wanted repeated.

Yet that scenario was viewed through my eyes as a child. This scenario was viewed through my eyes as an adult. An adult who had a faith and trust in Jesus Christ as well as the support and encouragement of a loving, caring, and praying church family.

As the leaves were falling on that early morning travel to the medical center, our hearts were at peace. Once checked in and settled, we were blessed to be visited by the hospital chaplain. This man of God had been our church’s former pastor whose teaching and preaching had blessed me during my years as a new believer. His prayer for us continued the calm that was already present in my heart. We said our good-byes, gave our hugs, and I reminded my closest friend how much I loved her.

Her scheduled 11 AM surgery actually began at 2 PM as other unexpected medical emergencies occurred requiring the use of the operating room. Three hours later we received word that the surgery had been successfully completed and three more hours passed before we were allowed to visit her. Our hearts were filled with praise when she looked up at us with a smile and could answer the questions posed to her.

Every time I look back at that long day, there is only one thing that stands out in my mind. Incredible amazing wonderful calming indescribable PEACE! Never did a worrying fearful negative thought ever pass my mind. It was a time when I felt totally and completely enveloped in God’s love, grace, and mercy. God revealed to me an aspect of His character that has carried me through difficult times in the following years. And with great confidence I can declare the following verses to be true:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:7(NIV)

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” ~ II Thessalonians 3:16(NIV)

Whether during a season of falling leaves or any other season of life, His peace is available for you!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the jewelry families

Okay, you can tell I'm having a lazy Saturday morning when I put up two posts in one morning! LOL!

Yes, I've been sitting at my desk putzing around on this gray rainy day while listening to my littlest one playing nearby. No, she didn't follow the kids rule of sleeping in late on a Saturday morning, but instead has been hanging out in my bedroom since early this morning as there is no one else around to hang out with anywhere in the house.

Several weeks ago we had re-arranged the girls bedroom to allow more privacy for the oldest sister in the room. When we did that, I plopped *stuff* that was piled on dressers, pushed under beds, crammed into drawers and put it into boxes which I took into my room. My task has been to sort through all the *stuff* and, um, dump it into the garbage organize it a bit for the girls.

So, this morning my littlest ran across the box where I was tossing all their jewelry as I sorting through their things. It really is a random collection of typical little girl jewelry and beads as well as the collection of grandma's jewelry which they can play with when in the mood.

It was really quite entertaining to listen to her as she sorted them into random families who took residence all over my bedroom. Some on a pillow, some on the floor, some on a blanket, some on a chair, some by my desk.


The jewelry families conversations were quite fascinating to listen to as she had them travel from home to home visiting one another. She never skipped a beat as I went to get another cup of thankful and her play continued until she heard an older sister get up. All the jewelry families were gathered up and put away into the box for another time.

You know, I just can't wait until this littlest one gets old enough to start doing some creative writing. Who knows? Someday you may be purchasing books written by my famous daughter author :-)

Enjoy your day with or without jewelry...hee hee!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


only rumors?

Yup, that four letter word has been tossed around quite a bit the last couple of days in conversations everywhere you go. My kids have learned not to use this word in the house around their mother.

SNOW!

It is almost November when we do tend to see a bit of the white stuff. Plus the guys love it for hunting season around Thanksgiving, so it isn't really a surprise this time of the year. BUT, am I ever ready for SNOW?

It's not that I don't enjoy the white stuff, truly I do....in December, January, February. Then we can get buried in the stuff as snow storm after snow storm comes through the area. I'm all about the "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" stuff then. But October? March, April, May? Naw, not for this mama!

The forecast for tomorrow is a rain/snow/windy kind of day gradually turning over to all snow which will carry into Monday's forecast as well. Perhaps the weather forecasters will be as inaccurate about this forecast as they were about rain forecasts they gave us all summer that never showed up.

A mother can hope.......

Have a great day in your garden whatever the weather!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, October 24

time to shine

From my gardening flip calendar:

"The days shorten, granting the stars more time to shine." ~ Author Unknown

Ohhh, the days are shortening, aren't they? I sense it in the morning, I sense it in the late afternoon. As a daylight sunshine lover, I frown. I feel my pace slow and a wandering seems to happen in the evenings as my body seems to be fighting this change and doesn't quite know what to do with this darkness. And it makes me want to go to bed. At 7:00 PM. Yup, do you see the problem?! LOL!

So when I read this saying, I stopped and pondered. There IS something absolutely spectacular about stars shining in the dark sky. My favorite place to view stars is up at our cabin where there are no lights to interfere with their shining. The sky is dazzling and twinkling all over the place and it puts your heart in complete awe.

Why not? Why not take these dark late afternoons and evenings and put some dazzle into them? I need to make a plan and have something to look forward to instead of dreading all those long hours. I have some sewing and quilting projects which I need to work on and whenever I'm doing either one of those, it's as good as the sun shining because it makes my heart smile with contentment.

And when I take this whole thing a step further, I have several friends going through dark times. Loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, loss of health, loss of relationship with older children. Loss. My heart could be at prayer all day long as I consider all the trials those I know and care about are going through right now. My prayer is that the Lord would shine through their dark time and dazzle them in specific ways with His love and care.

May these shortening days hold a touch of dazzle in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, October 23

a cup of thankful

Simply put....this morning I'm thankful for the scent of coffee. No, perhaps that isn't an accurate statement. More simply put....I'm thankful that my husband typically gets up before me and makes our pot of coffee and it's the first thing I smell in the morning as I'm waking up. And it smells wonderful! He has the gift of coffee making as it always tastes good. And his coffee making skills only got better when our son and daughter-in-law gave us a coffee bean grinder a few years (?) back. Freshly ground coffee....mmmmm!

Yes, I can make coffee, but typically it's weaker and not as flavorful.

Perhaps it's kind of like that mother thing where food always tastes better when someone else prepares it? I dunno....

All I do know is that having my first cup of coffee every morning when I sit down to do my devotions is something that makes me smile! And I'm still smiling as I finish that cup of coffee while I sit at my computer writing :-)

What are YOU thankful for today? Join others on this day of thankfulness by going right here

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, October 22

slow down

Here's an interesting news clip that came from Reuters today:

"People who eat quickly until full are three times more likely to be overweight, a problem exacerbated by the availability of fast food and the decline of orderly dining habits, Japanese researchers said on Wednesday."

It makes perfect sense to me. When we rush food into our systems, the warning light doesn't seem to come on until we've definitely overeaten. And then we feel lousy. However, if you are leisurely eating a relaxing meal with pleasant conversation, it's interesting to see that at the end of the meal you haven't eaten as much and definitely feel full.

No wonder Americans are overweight! We live a life of rush here rush there busy busy busy busy!

Time to slow the pace down and prepare nourishing meals. Once sitting down for the meal, place appropriate serving portion sizes on your plate. Then turn your focus on the fellowship found around your table. Relaxing conversation and a smile on your face will help your food to digest better as you eat slowly.

Try it! You may like it! And the results may be a healthier YOU!

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, October 21

the faith of a child

Ever since making Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior many years ago, my prayer has been that each one of my children would make that decision sometime in their life. It was nothing that was ever pushed or prodded or pressured on them. It was more like a whispered prayer that arrived in my heart the moment they entered this world. And with what always seemed like an out-of-the-blue kind of moment, their God questions would eventually come and be answered, their understanding and simple faith confirmed, and a prayer would be spoken.

And one by one it happened to the delight of my heart. Except for one. The last little unexpected blessing in our life.

Until last week. Without an inkling and while coloring some page in her phonics workbook, spiritual questions popped out of her mouth. My heart skipped a beat as I explained to this little one - who has been smothered with love and returns it just as generously - about a Heavenly Father who loves her even more than anyone in this world ever could. So much love that He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins which separate her from Him. After we talked some more, I told her to think about all we had shared and throughout the week little questions came forth.

And with a simple child's faith on Sunday night, she climbed up onto my lap and we prayed together.

My heart is humbled to know that one by one each one of my children's names has been written in the Lamb's Book of Life. There is an incredible sense of peace, joy, and contentment that comes with that knowledge.

And my faith has grown with that knowledge as I also know I can trust God wholeheartedly with the rest of my whispered prayer for their lives....that once they trust Him as their Lord and Savior, they will wholeheartedly love and serve Him all the days of their lives.

With that I can rest.

For a moment.

Life does have a way on moving on to dishes and laundry and meals, doesn't it?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, October 20

another reminder

Although I have a post on my heart this morning, my time is much too pressed and squeezed today to be able to write it out. And I'm still in awe of it all, so perhaps my emotions needs to settle for a day!

So, instead I'm putting up another reminder to get your nominations in this week for all your favorite homeschool blogs! There are 24 categories to choose from and many worthy blogs to nominate. The nomination process will run through this Friday, October 24th, and voting will begin November 10th.

So, take a moment to go and nominate your favorite homeschool blogs right HERE!

Back on track tomorrow....promise!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, October 18

the mother judge

"He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame." or "Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish."~ Proverbs 18:13

As I read this verse recently, I thought of one my least favorite roles as a mother....JUDGE. How often I am in a situation of having to listen to disputes and then make a decision of who is guilty and who is innocent. Since I know the *players* quite well in the game - who the tattlers are, who the provokers are, who the peace makers are - it's easy for me to draw a conclusion quickly.
But often there is a shout of displeasure of my supposedly unjust decision after the consequences have been given upon making those quick conclusions.

"The first to speak in court sounds right--until the cross examination begins." ~ Proverbs 18:17

So through the years
I have found that I really do need to take the time to hear the whole story. Each person needs to be able to tell their story from their viewpoint without interruption from other people who may be involved in the incident. Often I reach the same conclusion I would reach if I made a quick conclusion. But then there are times when other information comes out upon cross examination which does change my first conclusion. Periodically there is not just one person who is guilty, but through a chain reaction of reactions there may be two, three, or more guilty persons involved! You know, the old "just because she did something wrong doesn't mean you can do something wrong which doesn't mean your brother should interfere and do something wrong" kind of thing.

I wonder if God ever gets tired of my silent whispering to Him, "give me wisdom, give me wisdom, give me wisdom!" as I deal with conflicts with my children.

And yet, by following the implications of the first verse, we can be hopeful that with listening comes wisdom for the mother judge. Yes, wisdom for the imperfect mother as she deals with the imperfect children God has given her.

May I have the same characteristics as my Heavenly Father when taking on my least favorite role as judge. Fair, just, and loving.

Off to settle the latest dispute - Who DID eat the last of the favorite cereal and left the empty box in the pantry? LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, October 17

flowers of another kind

It was like stepping into another era as I got dressed this morning. The era of the early days of homeschooling which meant if you were a homeschool mom you needed to wear a denim jumper daily as a form of identification. Sometimes I cringe as I consider many of the homeschool stereotypes from that time period in the 80's.

Ahhh, you've come a long way, baby!

As evidenced by the numerous homeschooling moms blogging in today's world, we are a varied bunch with our own styles of homeschooling. There is no right way anymore. The right way is what works for your family as a multitude of resources are now available. And I think that's rather cool :-)

So now when I step into one of the rare denim jumpers that I've kept in my closet, it's most likely because it's something pretty to wear for the day. Like this one with the flowers. Or like another one with multi-colored embroidered flowers. All the rest of my plain denim jumpers have gone into the pile for the denim quilt I'm making for our cabin.

And while wearing my flowered jumper today, I'll be easily reminded that the Lord doesn't care about outward appearances. It's all about the heart.

May your heart be in the right place before the Lord today no matter what you are wearing!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, October 16

carrot-o-rama

Early this morning I made the decision. Now or Never. It's time to get the carrots out of the garden and be done with canning for the year!

Typically I'm out in the garden pulling carrots during an October snow storm, so it was a nice treat to be in the garden without the snow even though the temperature was in the 30's. Plus the sun was shining first thing in the morning which always makes everything well within my world.


The end result was a big box of carrots of the typical unusual variety. Short, long, thin, fat, double branched, and everything in-between. Oh, and numb fingers for the gloved carrot digger.

It was a long day of standing at the kitchen sink peeling carrots while listening to music. My faithful carrot cutters appeared off and on throughout the day to help. And finally, around bedtime, we were officially done with the carrots and necessary clean-up.

The end result was 24 beautiful jars of carrots, a large dish of cooked carrots for supper, and a handful of peeled carrot sticks for the kids to nibble on in the days ahead. Oh, and one tired mama with achin' legs!

It's just nice to check this job off my list. Now I can say, "Let it snow!" LOL!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a study of thanks

On this Thursday morning, I've been reflecting upon how thankful I am for the Bible study we've been hosting on Wednesday evenings for several reasons.

*Looking over the group of people attending, we have several couples attending who are newer to our church or who we really don't know well. It's been fun getting to know them and I'm thankful for the friendships that have been developing over the past several weeks.

*Every Wednesday we have no choice but to get the main part of our house cleaned. Woo hoo! I am so thankful to wake up on Thursday mornings to a house which is still looking orderly and clean. Of course, once everyone wakes up and the day gets going that orderly clean thing will fade in a hurry, but it's nice to soak it in early on Thursday mornings knowing that in a week it'll happen again!

*The Bible study we are doing right now is based upon The Peace Maker by Ken Sande. I'm thankful to be learning Biblical principles which help in a variety of conflict type situations. Each week there is something that *clicks* with a current situation that needs to be addressed and the principles *stick* so much better when applied in real life.

Our small group Bible study will come to an end in early November, but perhaps these reminders of thankfulness will be an encouragement to do another one!

What are you thankful for in your garden today? If you need some encouragment, go visit others who are expressing hearts of thankfulness on this day right HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, October 15

a refreshing calendar

Am I the only one who ever says, "When such and such (fill in the blank) finishes up or once this season (pick winter, spring, summer, or fall) is done, then I'll finally have time to take a breather!" And then when those things do reach completion, you find that life is just as busy as before. In fact, it is perhaps even busier because you *maybe* added more things onto the calendar thinking there would be more time to be able to do them. HA!

As I was thinking about my anticipated slowdown coming up, I took some time to seriously look at the calendar. HA! What was I thinking? Slowdown? Anyone notice that Thanksgiving is a little over a month away which means Christmas is right behind it. YIKES!

I need a break and I don't mean a relaxation break, but a refreshment break. I just love this quote:

"But while relaxation is one thing, refreshment is another. We need to drink frequently and at length from God's fresh springs, to spend time in the Scripture, time in fellowship with Him, time worshiping Him." ~ Ruth Bell Graham

Living Well means a lot of different things, but perhaps this is the most important. Times of refreshment with the Lord. It seems especially essential considering my upcoming calendar. There is no way I will do well in all my other aspects of Living Well without keeping my time with the Lord a priority. When that is a priority, it is easier to keep my calendar in proper perspective. Perhaps there are things that can be eliminated when I filter them through the light of God's Word as well as things that may be valuable to add to my days.

How about you? Are times of refreshment with the Lord finding a place on your calendar?

To read encouragement by others taking the Living Well path, please travel HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, October 14

sometimes....

Sometimes....you have to take advantage of one of the advantages of homeschooling. Flexibility of schedule. One of my favorite things in all the world! You know, like on one of those days in mid-October when you know there's a LONG COLD winter looming ahead on the calendar, yet you have a perfectly wonderfully possibly the last in a LONG time day outdoors just calling your name. The temperatures are in the upper 70's with a bit of a balmy breeze. Leaves are falling like rain. The cat is having a great time scampering around in the carpet of leaves. And after a couple of hours of schooling in the morning you shout, "ENOUGH!" and let everyone head outdoors to play :-)

A wise decision. Last night's rain brought with it much cooler temperatures. The high for today is hopefully going to get up around 60 degrees with it steadily dropping lower the rest of the week. The woods looks much barer and less brighter this morning. It will be a bit easier to concentrate on schooling today. That is, as long as we don't notice the cat still scampering around in the carpet of leaves......

Enjoy your fall day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, October 13

an apple for the teacher

It's that time of the year!

Today begins the nominating process for 24 categories of homeschool blogs that are read regularly by parents everywhere and worthy of being recognized. Nominations will run from now until October 24th with the voting process taking place from November 10 - 21.

Before I was blogging myself, I had run across the HSBA site. What a treat it was to go and surf the web as I visited all the homeschool blog sites that were on the nomination list that year. It was a wonderful encouragement as well as a treasure full of ideas for our own homeschooling adventure.

So, take a moment to go and nominate your favorite homeschool blogs right HERE!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, October 11

the sound of prayer

After a couple of early morning hunters within my household turned off all the lights and left, I heard the sound while lying in bed contemplating whether to get up or not.

A helicopter.

The only time we hear a helicopter is when it's arriving from a larger hospital center and landing at our small local hospital which is less than five minutes from our house. When we hear it we know that there is a medical emergency that our local hospital is incapable of handling and there are urgent care needs of a patient.

A helicopter means prayer. Prayer for the pilot, for the medical personnel here and there, for the patient, for the patient's family. For people whom I may never meet or know. People who need prayer from someone blessed to still be snuggled in a warm bed while contemplating an uncomplicated day ahead.

A small deed yet one filled with POWER! Heavenly power!

Have a good weekend and take a moment sometime to tap into heavenly power by praying for someone you may not know......

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, October 10

politics of the prayerful kind

In our morning devotions, our Old Testament reading is currently going through the book of Second Samuel which focuses on the reign of King David. Yesterday I was caught by a verse that repeated itself in short chapter eight - "The LORD gave David victory wherever he went." (in verse six and fourteen) - followed by verse fifteen - "David reigned over all Israel, doing what was just and right for all his people."

Interesting verses to consider during an election year of promises, eh? Wouldn't it be wonderful to elect someone who loved the Lord our God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength? Wouldn't it be nice to know that whoever was elected in whatever position of government that by loving God in that manner the overflow of their lives would be doing what was just and right for ALL the people? That their motives would never have to be questioned? That they had a heart that was following after God's Will in such a manner that the Lord blessed them with victory wherever they went?

Ah yes....definitely something to be praying for during the final weeks before an election as we shudder with each media sound bite that comes alive.

Off my little soapbox......

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, October 9

it's apple season!

On our first wedding anniversary, my parents gave us two apple trees. One tree didn't survive all the years, but we still have one tree that produces some apples each year.

Recently when I was cleaning out our garden, I took a minute to walk over and check out this year's crop. Of course, the apples on the lower branches are now gone as the deer will actually stand on two legs to nab them off the tree, but there are still apples on the upper branches waiting to be picked. And they are still waiting for the menfolk around here to get at that task.

We are blessed to have apple orchards within driving range. One of my older sons had picked up a bushel of apples when passing through the apple orchards north of us a couple weeks ago and then last weekend another son went with a family and he, too, brought home a bushel of apples from apple orchards south of us. Then yesterday at women's Bible study a friend had apples in her car and she shared a couple with me. It was a type of apple I've never tasted before, but it's apparently the new rave in yummy apples. Honeycrisp! YUM!

The kids are eating them daily - let's say we have a real, um, *regular* household right now - and I'd better hurry if I want to make some of those apples into applesauce, which really is a fall family favorite, before they are all gone. Fresh warm applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon! YUM!

Apples. Apples and children. My children are the apples of my eye! I'm writing about the topic over at Heart of the Matter Online today. Grab an apple and go and read!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, October 8

just another reason to live well

Turning a new age this past week has brought with it new health concerns. The leading cause of death for women is heart disease and women in their 50's are not immune. In fact, in an article I was recently reading about a study that Yale University had done, women under 55 years who were hospitalized for heart attacks often didn't suspect heart problems. As I researched a bit more, heart attacks in women aren't often recognizable because the symptoms are not typical of what we commonly think - severe gripping chest pain - but can range from shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, unexplained weakness, clammy skin, swelling of lower limbs, pain in the back, shoulder, or jaw. As women nearing menopause will tell you, there's a lot of odd and unusual things happening in your body that make no sense, but heart disease? No, we tend to blame everything on our hormones.

Risk factors for heart attacks are the what seems to be the risk factors for any health problem: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, diabetes, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise, and high stress levels.

The prevention is what we talk about at Living Well each and every week.

Living well.

Healthy eating habits. An exercise plan. Drinking plenty of water. Getting adequate rest/sleep. A balanced life with low stress levels.

And let's not forget the most important healthy heart aid....a relationship with Jesus Christ. For our spiritual heart plays an important role in our all around health and living well.

"A heart at peace gives life to the body...." ~ Proverbs 14:30a

Having a relationship with Jesus Christ includes having a peace and hope in your life that does transcend all human understanding and I have not found anything that this world offers that can compete for this ultimate stress reliever!

Live well! Live heart healthy! And follow the journeys of other women living well right HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, October 7

the seasonal clothing changeover task

Who says that boys and girls are the same?

I will take boys ANY DAY OF THE WEEK when it comes to sorting through clothes during the seasonal changeover.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr......

'Nuff said.....

I'm done working on this task for the day....perhaps we can work on it again tomorrow when, um, mom is calmer.

Thanks for listening. You may return to your regularly scheduled or nonscheduled reading.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

the lingering fall


The heart of Autumn
must have broken here,
And poured its treasure
out upon the leaves.
~Charlotte Fiske Bates

Even with the past few gray days, the colors of autumn have still been vibrant. It seems to be coming in stages this year. We've had colorful leaves early which have already fallen to the ground, we have leaves that are now peaking with their various colors, and then there's those stubborn leaves which have yet to turn into their handpainted designs. It has allowed the season to linger longer which you will not hear a complaint from my lips. Too soon the trees will all be bare and winter will be upon us. Yet my children are chomping at the bit wanting all the leaves DOWN and right NOW would be good as they are anxious to get at their raking and earning some Christmas spending money. Yes, too soon Christmas will be upon us. Perhaps my children are wiser than I, eh?!

Enjoy the beauty of the season!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, October 6

jubilee

Ha! I'm so silly thinking that if I avoid thinking about it, talking about it, not turning the calendar page, and running from it, there's not a chance of it happening. HA! Time does keep ticking regardless of all those things and birthdays do happen. Especially big number birthdays.

Fifty.

It's hard to ponder when your heart is left back at twenty-five. Wasn't that me just married and starting a family? Wait a minute, I still feel young at heart!

Half a century.

The hardest part is the sense that time IS flying by rapidly and each day is a step closer to eternity. Oh, I have no fear of the ending, in fact, I'm excited about eternity. However, there are still so many things I'd love to do before then....and well....it feels like there'll be no time to do them as life is so full now. Kind of makes me feel a tad bit depressed.

Jubilee.

Then someone mentioned Jubliee! This is a year of being jubilant and celebrating! Of course, I love the part of the Biblical definition of Jubilee which speaks of canceling all debts. Wouldn't THAT be wonderful?! It is a year of liberty, of freedom. A joyful turning point. And that gives me something to think about which helps me to look forward with joy.

Come back a year from now and I'll tell you all about what the Lord has done in my life that has brought me joy!

Until then, enjoy this day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, October 5

time keeps ticking


Face

to

face

with

five

oh


Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, October 4

the end of the season

There is still a smile left in my garden.

After I was done planting this spring, I tossed in some old cosmos flower seed in a spot that was still open. Unfortunately I forget to tell my children who were weeding a few weeks later until I saw one of them working on that area. Stop! Quickly I showed them the little flower plants. Only two plants survived.

And now they are blossoming! Profusely! But alas, their season will be short as our weather keeps changing.

Having a busy day yesterday lead me to finally getting into the garden around 9 PM with a son who carried a flashlight to give us additional lighting as the outdoor house lights didn't quite reach the garden well enough. We pulled the acorn, yellow, and zucchini squash as well as the leftover cucumbers. Dug out the onions and pulled all the green peppers. Grabbed a handful of tomatoes which didn't look affected from the frost the night before. Covered up the kohlrabi with a sheet and went in to bed.

This morning the earth is covered with another heavy frost. Today I hope to take down my cornstalks and do all the miscellaneous clean-up leaving only the carrots for pulling perhaps next week as well as the hardy kohlrabi. Oh, and there's still some lettuce in the garden which seems to be edible yet as it's a bit more protected where it is planted.

Yes, the end of my gardening season is here.

Yes, the end of my soccer season is here as well. Today is our last game as all the uniforms will get turned in after we are done. My game bag got cleaned out yesterday and is reorganized and ready to get turned in as well.

It's been a good season on both accounts and for this I am very thankful!

I hope there's something to smile about in your garden during this season :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, October 3

the white roof

Oh oh.....

It's never a good sign when my husband looks out the window in the morning and says the garage roof is completely white. Not to panic, it isn't snow yet! LOL! BUT it is definitely a sign that we've been hit hard with our first frost.

Oh oh.....

Although the weather has gotten more seasonable, I hadn't heard that we had a frost warning last night. Nothing in my garden or my flowerpots had been covered in anticipation of the arrival of frost. It's okay though. Just makes a bit more work for me later as I'll need to pull more things out of the garden today. And I'll have to schedule an upcoming day to can carrots to finalize the garden clean-up as they are always the last thing I do.

No oh oh.....

It's that time of the year where my responsibilities have shifted indoors as I need to be focusing on our schooling daily. So, I'm ready to close out another season of gardening which will keep my heart from wandering outside all the time. It'll be nice not to worry about weeding and watering and harvesting (although I will miss picking something fresh out of the garden for supper!) for awhile and concentrate on growing my kids with a bit of knowledge!

Enjoy your garden path today whether warm or cool!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, October 2

where's your light?

Finally a moment to share a lesson....

Friday night as I was ready to crawl into bed, I noticed that the boys had left the kitchen lights on. So I wandered out to the kitchen and after making sure the dogs were both in, I turned off the outside lights. Then I made my way over to the main kitchen and turned off the lights by the countertops. And there I stood in the pitch black darkness! I had forgotten to leave a light on in my bedroom to maneuver towards. But it wasn't a concern. After all, I've lived in this house almost thirty years and knew my way well. All I needed to do was angle myself to the hallway, take a couple of steps, turn, and I'd be a few short steps from my bedroom. Simple.

Ummm, apparently not simple enough no matter how long I've lived here.

:::::WHAM:::::

I just caught the corner of the hallway wall.....with my face! Immediately I saw LOTS of stars, felt immediate pain, and slowly sunk to the floor in tears. Once I determined I wasn't going to faint, I slowly made my way to the bedroom needing to sit down right away as nausea waved over me. My husband was woken up by it all and we got some ibuprofen for the inflammation and a big bag of ice to cover the side of my face as I crawled into bed.

The next day I woke up to a nice shiner on my eye as well as a bruised cheek and a black and blue chin all of which worsened over the next few days. This morning I see that it's all beginning to turn those magnificent shades of yellow. Yes, I'm quite a sight!

You know, life can be like that sometimes. You can be going along perfectly fine all on your own because you know the way to go. Life is simple and you handle the challenges in ways that have worked for you before until suddenly it happens.

:::::WHAM:::::

You realize perhaps it wasn't so simple and you had been traveling awhile on your own basically in the darkness without using any light for your path. And the consequences of doing it your own way are not only felt immediately, but can also have ugly effects that reach into your future.

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105

God's Word. Always readily available, but if your Bible is sitting on your desk never getting used it is useless. It sheds no light on your path. You have to pick it up, read it, think about it, pray about it, apply it to your life. Hey, you can even sing about it as the verse above has a tune that goes with it!

By shining the Word of God onto your path of life, you WILL see the way clearer and can walk on solid ground. And you'll get the added benefit of His peace while you walk.

Try it! You'll like it! Better than learning the hard way like I did!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, October 1

minus 300

From my gardening flip calendar today:

Think of your garden as an outdoor health club. Even light gardening burns almost 300 calories an hour.

As I read this statement, it made me sad. I'm coming to an end of this season's gardening. My garden is slowly but surely being cleaned up and at the first word of a *hard frost* the whole project will move much more quickly as the squash will need to be pulled, the onions dug up, and the tomatoes and green peppers covered. The kohlrabi typically will survive a frost and I actually think a frost sweetens the carrots perfectly before I pull them out of the ground to can.

But soon gardening will be one less regular activity for me. Raking will be added into our days right after the garden clean-up is completed, but that activity will be short lived as we do what we can before it gets too cold. And we'll be losing daylight hours at the same time as well as losing those regular 300 calories an hour of exercise! Oh dear, it's making me feel even sadder as those long winter months loom ahead.....

Fortunately with the fall months I do tend to fall back into my exercise routine of Curves three days a week as well as walking twice a week. I'm still falling into that routine as we get settled with our schooling, but each week it's getting a little better. And this routine will be a great benefit for the stress that does come from being indoors so much.

How about you? Does your exercise routine change with the seasons?

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

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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