Wednesday, December 31

'tis the end

This morning I finished up my devotional for the year which covered the book of Proverbs. There's always so much wisdom for life found in this book of the Bible. Perhaps it would be good to read a chapter a day during our morning school devotional time to start the new year. My kids are all at the age of needing to APPLY more wisdom in their lives.

Of course, the final days of the devotional were reading about that dreaded perfect proverbs woman. But you know what? She looked different to me this time around. A couple of things have shifted in my perspective through the years.

I realize that NO person is perfect which means that has to apply to the proverbs woman, also. Yes, the chapter highlights all her wonderful traits, but perhaps she had bad handwriting or didn't regularly scrub her kitchen sink or had dust bunnies under the beds? Not that I'm nitpicking. I just believe that each person has a story which we often never know or see. *Stuff* which comes from their particular life story - whether positive or negative - and which doesn't surface, but is a part of who they are as they go through their days.

I also believe that the proverbs woman is older. All the wonderful traits that are spoken of took many years to develop. I remember reading through this chapter back in my 20's with small children and thinking that I fell far short from being a proverbs woman. Far short. In fact, I'd probably NEVER come close to that perfect woman. Ohhh, I'm not there yet, but God has definitely developed some character into my life over the last thirty years through the experiences He has provided.

Instead of looking at the proverbs woman as someone who is too perfect, I now look at her as someone who I'd like to sit and chat with as she "makes coverings for her bed." Yes, we could quilt together! She's a gardener like me as she plants her vineyard and could give me tips for dealing with chipmunks in my garden. She's an early riser, too, and laughs at the days to come. She has the kind of wisdom which I'd enjoy talking to her about as she obviously must be around peri-menopausal age...hee hee..

But the thing that she has that seems to have taken me so long to learn is not to live by the world's expectations. It really is not about beauty or popularity. It's all about God.
Finding peace through a relationship with God. And then living in a manner that will please Him and bring glory to His name. Because really, at the end of your life, that is the ONLY thing that is going to matter.

My hope is that this end of the year thought is not too disjointed. I began typing in a quiet kitchen and suddenly people were up and talking and cooking and my thoughts suddenly wandered and got lost! YIKES!

Enjoy your last day of the year!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 30

lingering

"It's good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas." ~ Charles Dickens

Although we had our family Christmas present opening on the morning of the 25th, our main family present opening will actually happen tomorrow when everyone will be together.

Last night my son and his family arrived and were welcomed home. As he brought in luggage and all their *stuff*, he also brought in a basket full of presents. He was absolutely giddy about wanting to open presents last night, especially when he saw that HE had the biggest present under our Christmas tree and it is a big present. No, we didn't give in, but just watching his excitement made me smile. Children just don't grow up when it comes to Christmas, do they? :-)

And right now it's lightly snowing....perfect weather for a lingering Christmas as we relax and play :-)

Enjoy your lingering days of this year!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 29

simple woman's daybook for December 29

Although Peggy is taking the week off from hosting The Simple Woman's Daybook, I'm kind of stuck in the habit - LOL! - so I'll be posting this journal just like I do every Monday :-) Enjoy!

For today, December 29

Outside my window.....it is a heavy gray day with a snowflake or two in the air.

I am thinking.....about a conversation my husband and I had a moment ago about winter employment.

I am thankful.....that the cat graciously only licked a corner of the lemon bars in the pan that I had taken out of the oven before bed and had set on the counter to cool.

From the learning rooms.....it's still pretty quiet as we are on vacation for another week. The kids are all doing other things they enjoy :-)

From the kitchen.....
I'm still doing some Christmas baking. I know, I know....Christmas is over, but we haven't had our family get-together yet so I allowed myself to dilly dally on getting all our favorites baked. I'm also thinking a lot about SOUPS! :-)

I am wearing.....my robin's egg blue exercise pants and a long sleeved white shirt. If I'm ever not wearing exercise clothes on a Monday morning, be sure to hold me accountable and ask if I've been to Curves yet!

I am still creating.....knitted Barbie afghans. I've started one, but pulled it all since it was turning out way too big for Barbie's couch after having knitted several rows. So, I'll adjust my pattern with fewer stitches and if that doesn't work, Barbie will get a throw quilt for her couch.

I am going.....
to the library, the bank, and the post office today.

I am reading.....
nothing as I finished the book I was reading a couple of days ago. I'm considering re-reading it instead of starting something new.

I am hoping.....
and praying that we don't all get this *bug* because I'd be very sad if we had to cancel our family get together here over the long New Years weekend.

I am hearing.....my girls chit chat about this and that as they sit in the kitchen close by me.

Around the house.....everything has been generally picked up from our Christmas holiday, but the house needs a good cleaning.

One of my favorite things.....
is listening to my littlest when she is playing by herself.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....will depend upon the health of our family. Our older ones and families had planned on traveling here this week for a long weekend new years celebration and present opening. My plan was to clean the house and get bedrooms ready today and tomorrow as well as make out the menu plan. And then once they were here, the schedule was to relax and enjoy our time together. I guess I can still clean whether they come or not, eh?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....


This ceiling tile in the living room was popped out for whatever reason (our computer is below there so perhaps the boys were running wires somewhere or something) and Scooter our cat must have crawled up into there to wander around last night. All of a sudden someone noticed him sticking his head out! It was so funny to watch him and when I took the picture it looks like he's actually waving his paw "hi!" to me. Silly silly Scootie! Oh, and how wonderful that I could do a Mac promotion with this picture! hee hee!

Enjoy your day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 27

the confusion of days

Goodness, but I'm amazed at how holidays throw off our days of the week! Especially midweek holidays! Christmas Eve Day felt like a Saturday and Christmas Day kind of felt like a Sunday, but not really. I have no idea what day yesterday felt like? I could have picked any day of the week for yesterday. And today I'm trying very hard to wrap my mind around the fact that it is Saturday because it doesn't feel like a Saturday.

Then we can repeat this whole thing next week with the New Year's holiday! LOL!

Call me confused....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 26

treasured photos

At our Thanksgiving Day celebration, my sister-in-law was taking LOTS of pictures. She told me she had a new camera and wanted to get some practice using it. So we really didn't pay attention to all the picture taking she was doing throughout the time they were here that day.

Yesterday she handed me her gift to our family and told me that although she wasn't a "crafty" kind of person, she hoped we enjoyed the gift she made for us.

The gift is a beautiful album of candid pictures of our family she had taken on Thanksgiving. In the front of the album she wrote about family memories and how they are such a keepsake. Realizing that we have a son leaving in the new year and how difficult it tends to be to get our entire family together, she wanted to preserve the memory of this special day. Her last sentence was....

"A picture is worth so many, many words--yet, even these photos don't come close to describing the love in this family."

Isn't that the sweetest thing?

How can you put a price on such a gift? You can't, can you?

Priceless :-)

Hope you received some treasured gifts on Christmas, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 25

a thankful baby day

Thankful Thursday has a theme question this week:

What or who had the most impact on you in 2008? I would love to read your thoughts on 2008 and what it has brought/meant to you….

After reading this last night, I immediately knew the answer! There is no doubt that attending a fundraising banquet dinner as a guest last spring for a pregnancy center was a life altering moment. God's fingerprints were all over that evening as well as through the application process and the initial classroom training this past year as I'm learning how to minister to women in unexpected and challenging possible pregnancies and using my faith in the process. (And last night I wrote my response to this question with soooo many words that you'd be scrolling for a day - at least! - so you can be thankful that I became compassionate and decided to condense that whole thing into two sentences!)

I do have to confess though that having recently attended a birth my thoughts are back to, "Are you sure, God?" My heartbeat is for laboring birthing women, so I once again question if the prenatal counseling area is where He wants me? Or perhaps I need to learn that part so that I could minister better to a women in a crisis situation as she goes through labor and birth? I truly don't know.

But I do know He'll lead me and guide me on this adventure in the year ahead!

And isn't it cool that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on this day that my thoughts are on birthing babies! :-)

Is there something that has greatly impacted you over this past year? Feel free to answer it here in the comments or answer the question on your own blog as you participate in Thankful Thursday right HERE

Have a blessed Christmas Day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 24

it's the eve

Here's a sampling of a few hours of work last night as I frosted and my children HEAVILY decorated our sugar cutter cookies.
Apparently I was too tired to notice that the red hot candy limit was exceeded on several cookies! Yikes! Why is it that the boys LOVE to make red hots eyes for angels and snowmen? It makes them look like aliens. Ohhhhh, I get it now....LOL!

It is nice to have that task behind me. I haven't done all my traditional baking yet, but feel like I still have plenty of time as our whole family won't be together until next week for our end of the year celebration.

My shopping is completed and I have present wrapping to finish up this afternoon.

Some of my Christmas cards have been sent and the rest will be worked on this morning to get mailed out before the post office closes early today.

There's still sewing projects to do, however those can wait until after Christmas as well.

Plus the house is screamin' for a good cleanin'!

Our family will be door greeters at church tonight for the early service which does put us on a time table of sorts. All activities will have to be wrapped up by 4 PM to begin getting ready to head to church.

When we get home from church, it'll be a relaxing fondue meal with some toasting of glasses filled with sparkling grape juice.......ahhhhhhhh!

So what's your eve day looking like?

Enjoy your activities whatever they may be!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Tuesday, December 23

stay away from snowbanks!

This week when I read in the news about the anticipated build-up of an additional 30,000 American troops in Afghanistan next year, my stomach took an unfamiliar kind of tumble. It's not that I haven't read that type of news before and stopped for a moment. It's that reading that news now with a son entering the army in the new year puts a different slant on how my heart responds. He could be one of those additional troops......

Then I'm brought back to reality.

Later last evening, my son stopped home to pick up his dog and head to his place. I never heard him, by the way, however my husband heard the door opening, the dog greeting, and the door shutting. About twenty minutes later though I was woken up when someone called from our bedroom door....."Dad?" A brief story was shared about traveling on the back roads, reaching back to pet his pooch who was snooting him, and then sliding into the snowbank. Sliding so well into the snowbank that he was stuck beyond his capabilities of getting out. He had walked home to get his rust bucket pick-up truck which has a continuous right blinker issue as well as a clutch wanting to die and would be back first thing in the morning to get his dad's front end loader to pull his vehicle out of the snowbank.

I fell back to sleep with a smile on my face knowing that his love for fishtailing on the snowy back roads probably factored into the dog petting which led to the sliding into the snowbank.

Gosh, I love that kid!

And I'm trusting God to wake me up during the night when my son needs my prayers in the future. It'll be me whispering in my bedroom, "God?"

Stay safe on the roads during your holiday travels!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Monday, December 22

simple woman's daybook for December 22

For today December 22

Outside my window.....
the skies are blue and it's below zero! Brrrrrr!

I am thinking.....about all I have to do the next couple of days and putting my tasks into a priority list this morning.

I am thankful for.....a cozy fire to sit by while I do my devotions in the morning.

From the learning rooms.....it will be relatively quiet as we are officially off school this week. One high schooler has some catch-up work to do in chemistry and geometry this week while his brother has some English work to complete today. The girls are in play mode :-)

From the kitchen.....there's oven French toast baking now, Christmas cookies later, and a pot of chili for supper.

I am wearing....my black exercise pants and a long sleeved white shirt as I haven't had a chance to jump in the shower yet and am still dressed from being at Curves early this morning.

I am creating.....knitted Barbie afghans :-)

I am going.....hopefully no where today! I've enlisted my husband for today's errands.

I am reading.....the book I had started last week called Crazy Love - Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan. I'm about halfway through it and all I can say is WOW!

I am hoping.....to be wrapped up with Christmas stuff by tomorrow night so I can tend to my poor neglected house cleaning during Christmas Eve day.

I am hearing.....my girls downstairs playing some Wii tennis as their college brother brought his Wii home for the holidays. My littlest has sore arms from all the Wii sporting activities they've been doing!

Around the house.....there are sounds of favorite Christmas music, my Christmas card menagerie spread over the kitchen peninsula, laundry needing attention, wrapping paper scraps on the floor, and kids occupying themselves with other activities.

One of my favorite things.....
are the rare quiet moments I capture during this busy season.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....present wrapping, baking, and printing out our Christmas letter today; finishing my shopping, more present wrapping, and Christmas card sending tomorrow; house cleaning and worship service on Wednesday; Christmas present opening and dinner on Thursday; and hopefully VEGGING on the weekend!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

Although this isn't the best quality picture - I should have downloaded my pictures before sending this off in the mail! - this is a picture from the back of the Christmas stocking I made for my granddaughter. Since the fabric design had a many little hearts on it, I quilted a big heart on the back and little hearts on the front. The two stockings I made took a good quantity of time, but I sure enjoyed doing them more than any of my other Christmas tasks. Perhaps that is because they are the kind of gift made with love and hopefully cherished through the years by those babies who will grow up with a piece of grandma love :-)

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 20

22 words

Blog surfing while waiting on my Saturday night bath/shower girls, I was reading through Just Janet's blog and found a 22 word challenge contest over at Abraham Piper's blog. I'm entering this contest at the very last possible moment and am thinking quickly on my feet. Here is my entry:

It's interesting how kids take the Christmas story in stride as a normal God thing while adults' mouths drop in utter amazement.

Do take a moment to browse through his 22 word posts. Abraham says a lot in a few words :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


a snowy parade

Having heard mid-week about our local community holding their first annual Christmas parade, our church quickly put together a float idea. My husband volunteered his truck, a trailer, and bales of hay for the singers to sit on for the short parade route. A few women made several phone calls to cover the planned theme and it all came together late this afternoon when we all gathered outside in weather with temperatures in the teens. It started snowing like crazy shortly before the parade started....perfect for a Christmas parade! The kids enjoyed snuggling together as they sang songs that they had learned for the week before for the church Christmas program.

My little angel almost panicked when she heard she had to put her angel costume on for the parade thinking it would mean taking her snowsuit and snow gear off to do so. Brrrrr!
She was delighted to be an angel with plenty of bulky warmth underneath as she held her candlestick light :-)

It was a fun event and we'll see if it was deemed successful enough by the chamber of commerce to have the second annual Christmas parade next year!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

a full moment

How about this verse for your day:

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth." ~ Proverbs 27:1

And then these words: "We live our lives as if we have all the time in the world. That is so foolish. The only thing we are sure of is that we have today, this minute. It is the wise man or woman who learns to live each day to the fullest." ~ Daily Wisdom from the Bible

Practically speaking, I'm typing this while getting dressed and brushing my teeth so I can run to Wal-Mart for my last minute shopping and get it wrapped as soon as I get home! Whew! I will be using that last minute to the fullest in this holiday season because I don't have all the time in the world.

All kidding aside....

Spiritually speaking, it does make me stop and consider how I use my time. Do I put it in the perspective of eternity? Do I truly live it to the fullest realizing that I only have this very moment and no guarantees of the next moment? If I REALLY keep that
perspective, how would it change how I live?

Here's something even more interesting. As I was thinking about what I was going to write and was re-reading my quote, I noticed a typing error (which I did correct above):

"It is the wise man or woman who learns to leave each day to the fullest."

At the end of the day when you are closing your eyes for sleep, can you say you're leaving your day having lived it to the fullest? Has the day you've lived reflected the love of Jesus in all you've said and done? Have you impacted eternity by your life?

Oh, I know none of us will do it perfectly, in fact, we'll often fall far short.

It's more a matter of where our heart is and desiring to please God by living fully for Him. Each day. Each moment.

Don't waste another second....GO! :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 19

wanted....good fruit!

It's no secret that I'm not a winter person and little things keep reminding me of that fact. Like fruits and vegetables. Produce this time of the year lacks the flavor and freshness of summer. No doubt the delivery process from afar to our northern region plays a part in the product we purchase. It's a sad thing to cut into a melon only to have to say "blech!" because it lacks the flavor and the perfect texture to melt in your mouth. Or lettuce that is wilted or rusty. Limp broccoli. Rotten apples. Sour grapes. The list goes on.....

I was reminded of fruit in our morning devotions from Luke chapter 6: "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." (verses 43-45)

Oh oh.

:::gulp:::

Just as the fruits and vegetables in my grocery store produce aisle lack the taste and flavor putting them into the "good" category during this winter season, I'm finding that my own words would be found currently lacking the joy and kindness to be put into the "good fruit" category during this holiday season. Wilted, rusty, sour, rotten, and tasteless come to mind as my family protests with a "Blech, Mom!" You'd think I'd learn as every year this seems to happen in that final week stretch before Christmas. Way too many extra things to do for a mom already juggling a lot of normal things in her routine.

But there are no excuses. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Bottom line.......what's in my heart?

Obviously just like the fruits and vegetables traveling from afar, something got lost in the delivery process from my heart to my mouth.

Once again I'm thankful for God's Word that speaks loudly into my life and makes me stop and examine and get back on the right path. A path that captures the joy found in the reason for the season!

So how's your "good fruit" doing this holiday season? May it be a sweet nourishing blessing to everyone around you!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, December 18

treatfully thankful

This morning as I look along the kitchen countertop, I see an empty container. While I was gone on Tuesday afternoon, our neighbors walked over with some Christmas goodies. This has been an annual tradition for them and a blessing for us! A large container of a variety of baked goods which contains the best peanut brittle ever, a container of homemade candy, a container of dried fruit.

And yes, in a little over a day the large container is E.M.P.T.Y! My kids devoured everything in it! They are definitely feeling deprived as I have done very little holiday baking yet this season. It will no doubt be a baking marathon for a day or two early next week and they will all be grinning from ear to ear :-)

Remember that on Tuesday morning I had written about doing simple acts of love to bless someone else.....
then Tuesday afternoon this gift arrived hand delivered. We were definitely blessed! I love these life examples that confirm things that God is prompting me to live out and which my children witness and will hopefully develop into their own lives.

So my heart is thankful for the blessing of a neighbor's gift which arrived in perfect timing! How about you? What's your heart thankful for this day?

To follow the journey of other offers of thankfulness, please go HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 17

how many "takes" does it take?

Raise your hand if you've had to take a family Christmas pictures this year.... Yup, just as I thought! Quite a few of you have gone through the many "takes" to get a picture that is just right.

Our own entire family did a rush photo session before church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I am very fortunate that out of four pictures - which is all I could get people to hold still for in the rush - we did get one that turned out reasonably well. Getting 16 people to all look at the camera at once is quite a challenge when you have babies included.

My daughter has been trying to get a family picture taken and after several "takes" with the three of them, she gave up on that attempt. Today she sent me four pictures of just the baby and wanted me to pick the best one. I couldn't decide between two of them and had to call the kids to the computer to pick one. It was a pretty even vote. HA! So we weren't much help for her. Guess we'll find out on Christmas which one she picked as the best take.

Of course, the picture that gave me the biggest chuckle and wasn't in the running for Christmas picture of the year is the one I've posted here. My sweet grandangel baby slid down out of her seat and was enjoying looking under the tree while grabbing at ornaments. What a girl! LOL!

So how many "takes" does it take you to get a good "take"? :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

too amazing

"There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden." ~ Proverbs 30:18-19

As I read these verses this morning, I could easily add one more thing to the list that is too amazing and that can be difficult to understand....the intricate dance of labor and its bringing forth the birth of a baby.

Just as unique as each child that God creates, so is the labor that brings them into the world. The mysteries of the dance are simply too amazing - and often difficult to understand - as each woman goes through the travail which they have no choice but to walk straight through from beginning to end. How many women - myself included - have said that they can do it no longer? That they will never make it? That they want to stop? Only to know deep within their hearts that they must muster every bit of strength they can from the Lord who so abundantly provides to go through those final steps. For those very steps within their bodies are the ones needed to move and turn that miracle of life as the baby is positioned to enter the world. Could the actual birth be anything less than amazing when considering the magnificence of our Creator? He who created the stars in the heavens, the oceans crashing upon shores, the mountains of splendor....it is He who knew this baby before the mother takes her first gaze!

Too amazing? Definitely! Praiseworthy? Absolutely!

And having received the blessing of attending a birth yesterday, my heart is even more in awe during this Christmas season. Through the travails of the intricate dance of labor, Mary brought forth a baby. A baby who received her first savoring gaze. A baby who is MY Savior!

Too amazing? Definitely! Praiseworthy? Absolutely!

May your day be no less than too amazing as you consider the Savior's birth!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 16

giving beyond daily bread

This morning I took a few pictures of my little project which I'm working on and enjoying so much, but after looking at the pictures I made the decision NOT to post them. Yes, there's family members who read here and I'm afraid the pictures would give away TMI no matter how I cropped here and there. So, back to keeping surprises :-)

Instead, I guess I'll write about a recent devotional. It was based on Proverbs 30:8b - ".....give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread."

Here's a portion of the devotional that went with it:

"Often we feel that if we can't give a lot we might as well not give anything. That's sad, because it is the little things that often mean the most. We have within our power the ability to give a blessing to someone this very day. We need to look for ways to show our love to everyone around us." ~ From Daily Wisdom from the Bible

When economic times are tough, people often feel that if they can't give a lot or even at least what they gave before, they withhold giving anything at all. They cling to their daily bread. And yet giving isn't all about money, is it? Giving is often more about giving from yourself. From your heart.

It could be helping an elderly person carry their groceries. It could be a quick phone call to check on a sick family. It could be a note to a friend going through relationship issues. It could be a smile at a weary check-out clerk as she hands you your receipt. It could be washing a child's favorite shirt even if you have lots of other laundry to do. It could be sharing a piece of chocolate with a friend. It could be making your husband's favorite meal. Simple things. Little things. Things which may not cost a cent, only a moment of your time. Guaranteed big returns on blessings to them and to you!

Ask God to open your eyes to little ways you can bless those around you by showing them a simple act of love! You'll be glad you did!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 15

simple woman's daybook for December 15


For today December 15

Outside my window......
there is fresh snow in the bitterly cold temperatures which aren't expected to rise above zero today as the wind is blowin' strongly in gusts right now!

I am thinking.....about the calendar (is it really the 15th already?!) and my Christmas priorities.

I am thankful for......for a warm home this morning as the woodburner was kept going throughout the night.

From the learning rooms.....it will be a quieter week as the girls are almost finished up before our Christmas holiday and the boys will be busy working on school in their rooms.

From the kitchen.....we will be finding time to bake some of our favorite cookie recipes. The meal plan is simple and easy for the week ahead, or in other words, I'm hoping my husband will cook a bit this week! *wink*

I am wearing.....my jammies and flannel bathroom at the moment.

I am creating.....the same thing I was working on last week - my new grandbabies Christmas stockings! Hopefully the stockings will be in the mail in a day or two so they'll have them before Christmas :-)

I am going.....ideally nowhere! But I will have to go out this afternoon if AWANA doesn't cancel for tonight as I'm in charge of setting up the AWANA store which is scheduled to be open tonight. If the local schools cancel tonight's activities due to wind chill factors, then we'll cancel. A day of waiting....

I am reading.....Crazy Love - Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan.

I am hoping.....to get some sewing done this week, too!

I am hearing.....the wind gusts blowing the chimes on the front deck. They only chime when it's REALLY windy!

Around the house.....
our Christmas tree got set up and is all lighted and decorated now. ALL the Lego containers are out in the living room as the Lego train and town are being built right now which is one of our pre-Christmas traditions for the kids. Also typical are the comments the boys are making that no horses are allowed in the town and the girls saying there will no military equipment fighting in the town.

One of my favorite things.....is watching the cat under the Christmas tree as he naps or rolls over to bat at the soft ornaments above his head. At least he's a little older this year and not trying to climb the tree!

A few plans for the rest of the week.....
shopping, gift wrapping, card writing, sewing, baking, plus all the usual activities of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and schooling. And still waiting on a sweet baby to arrive! :-)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....



It's a picture of my littlest sweet angel right after the children's Christmas program at church yesterday. It's hard to see, but she does have a silver halo glimmering above her smiling face. Ahhhh, my little ones grow up much too quickly!

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go HERE

Enjoy your day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, December 13

a surprise gift

Earlier this week at the training meeting I attended, our group had the task of taking a spiritual gifts survey. Sooooo many statements on a list as you tried not to overanalyze each one as you read through them. Some statements were quick and easy; other statements made you stop and think....is this me? or not?

The email arrived with the listing of each person in our group and their top three spiritual gifts. It was so cool to see the variety within our group and I immediately thought about the verse which talks about how the body is made up of many parts. How difficult it would be if we all had only one main spiritual gift, yet h
ow well ministry can run when we are all operating together using such a wide range of talents! And even from the short time our group has been together in the training, many of their spiritual gifts were already noticeable and it didn't come as a surprise to see them in their top three.

Having taken a different spiritual gifts survey not too long ago, my new list was almost identical to my old list. Almost. The third item on my list came as quite a surprise.

Poverty.

Did your eyebrows raise?

After my surprise, came a quick sense of panic! The big OH OH! The Lord is going to make sure I use THIS gift! YIKES!

Then I calmed down as I tried to remember the type of statements that may have led to the determining of this particular spiritual gift. I believe the statements were about desiring a simple life, trusting that God will meet all my needs, giving to others (in a variety of ways) when a need is presented, finding ways to give to others in a manner that will not draw attention to one's self, etc.

Whew! Those types of statements do fit me, although I still find the name of the gift intriguing. I need to think of the positives of such a gift and not immediately dwell on the negatives that come with the word. Poverty. And as long as my spiritual life is not one of poverty, but one of savoring and sharing God's riches, I think I'll be just fine!

How about you? Have you taken a spiritual gifts survey lately? You may be surprised!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

P.S. I can say with all certainty that this particular gift has never been applied to telemarketers or email spammers....so do not call or write! :-p~



Friday, December 12

effective elusiveness

:::::yawn:::::

Ahhh, that elusive thing called sleep.

Seems the odds are working against me right now in actually capturing that elusive thing.

Ohhh, I can fall asleep in the blink of an eye. It's the rest of the night that is a problem right now.

The biggest factors right now are lots of white snow on the ground and a big full moon. The curtains in our home are limited so the house is *bright* - at least to me! - with the moon reflecting off the snow and in through the windows. Last night I was woken up by the dog prancing and dancing to go outside. I went to let her out thinking it must be close to morning due to the brightness and found out it was 2 AM when I crawled back into bed! Moments later a very loud purring cat who must have thought it was morning, too, jumped up on our bed wanting to go outside. NO WAY!

Wish I could say the dog letting out was the first time I opened my eyes after going to bed, but it was the THIRD time.

It seems I tend to sleep light when I'm on call for a birth. I don't let myself stay up too late at night just in case I do get a night call, but find that I don't sleep well anyway due to the anticipation. It's not a nervous anxious kind of thing, but more the real possibility of a night time call. Often babies decide to begin the labor process at night when a mom's body is relaxed and sleepy. As a birth doula I need to be alert and active when the call comes. And for me, each anticipated birth has that Christmas Eve excitement as I can't wait to see the gift at the end of the labor!

Then factor in that it is Christmas season and I have lots of things on my TO DO list. It's not that I'm anxious about them, but I'm always planning how and when I'll do whatever. So, when I do wake up at night I'm telling myself that I need to get back to sleep because I have such and such and such to do in the morning. Probably not a good thing to be thinking about such and such and such.

Oh, and then there's that wacky hormone factor in this season of life that seems to be affecting my sleep as well.

And the final factor of sleep elusiveness for last night was having a cup of coffee right BEFORE supper. What was I thinking?!?!?! I usually stop drinking coffee by early afternoon so it won't affect my sleep patterns.

Ahh, but perhaps the remedy is the best part of the problem for I find the most effective way to fall back to sleep is to pray. Those wonderful popcorn prayers of whoever the Lord may bring to my mind and often I believe that perhaps those are people who may be awake, too, due to various circumstances in their lives. Maybe they are in need of prayer right at that moment, so the Lord wakes me up knowing I'll pray for them.

So perhaps it's not all about how elusive sleep is right now, but instead how great the need is for prayer warriors during this season. You can count on me, Lord!

::::yawn::::

Have a great alert Friday in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, December 11

thankfully hearing

Don't you love it when God's word confirms something He's working in your life? It is that very thing that I am thankful for this day!

My devotional book verse yesterday morning was from Proverbs 29:20 - "Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

And here was part of the commentary on that verse: "There is much to be said for the person who learns to listen instead of talk. When we listen, we learn. When we talk, we block learning. A fool loves to hear the sound of his own voice, but the wise person rejoices in what can be heard. We need to learn to listen so that we can honestly help the people who come to us for our aid. If we talk, we will close people out and they will never come back. We deal foolishly, and we present an example that we cannot be proud of. God wants us to deal with people in love, and most people need to feel that they are being heard." ~ From Daily Wisdom from the Bible

My yesterday afternoon was spent in further training at the pregnancy resource center. We received a tour of the facility, went through the paperwork involved, and again covered materials and the various scenarios of women who will walk through the door facing a difficult crisis situation and the need for a pregnancy test. They have come there in a time of great need and with a desire to be anonymous. They need someone to listen and love them right where they are at in their life. Listen. That was the learning key. Don't think ahead. Don't plan out what you may say. Listen. Even through the moments of silence. Listen. Then talk. And often the fewer words the better because they aren't hearing well at that moment.

And that lesson can be applied in all of life!

Trust me, this is has been a life long lesson for me, Miss Impulsive Speaker who often stuck her foot in her mouth and held the trophy often for Miss Foolishness. God has been polishing polishing polishing me on this characteristic and yesterday He reinforced all those lessons for which I am very thankful. Hopefully I'm a good student, eh?

What are you thankful for on this wintery December day? Feel free to share on your blog or go read right HERE what others are thanking God for on this day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 10

the missing merry

It can be easy to get caught up in the merry part of the season. The traditions. The baking. The secret present making. The sights and smells and sounds.

Then suddenly you realize how quickly life can change and the merry gets lost.

My husband came home from work yesterday with some sad news. He had stopped at a business on the way into town only to be greeted unexpectedly with a closed sign. One of the former owners came out to him and shared that an employee - the one my husband usually worked with - had passed away at work. We don't know the details nor do we need them. We do know that that his family and friends need our prayers!

There is never an easy time of the year to lose a loved one. But it does seem that December is more difficult because it holds so many traditions and memories which involve people we care about and love. Personally I have experienced the loss of a sister, a grandmother, and my mother-in-law during this month through the years.

So do take a moment to offer a kind word or a hug to someone you may know who is going through a grieving season. Do extend a kind word to someone who you may not know when they seem rather grumbly in the check-out line for their merry may be missing due to circumstances in their life. And even better, whisper a prayer for them to find God's peace in the midst of this season......

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 9

maintain at all costs

"There is only one relationship that matters, and that is your personal relationship to a personal Redeemer and Lord. Let everything else go, but maintain that at all costs, and God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God's purposes, and yours may be that life." ~ Oswald Chambers

If that statement doesn't make you stop in your tracks, I don't know what will!

Perhaps it mainly caught my eye because that seems to be a theme within the Christian community right now....develop relationships. It's all about relationships. Take time for relationships. Reach out to others and cultivate relationships. Ministry is relationships. Yes, I will nod my head to each one of those. Relationships are important whether amongst believers to encourage one another or whether amongst unbelievers to share the love and hope found in Jesus.

Yet.

There seems to be less conversation about THE main relationship. Making your relationship with God the highest priority. Saying "no" to other activities which may interfere with that primary relationship. Not allowing time with God to be squished out of your schedule because your schedule is too full with too many other things. Giving up all that stuff that has no eternal purpose and saying "yes" to God first.

Because.

When you've maintained your key relationship with God, your life will naturally overflow into your other relationships. You have taken the time to be abundantly filled with your main relationship with God to be able to give to others. You will become less drained by others because you will not be operating in your own strength, but you will be operating in His strength from that time spent with Him. God's purposes can then be fulfilled through your life.

So, in the midst of this Christmas season....how are you doing with that? Have you been stopped in your tracks as I have been this morning....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~





Monday, December 8

simple woman's daybook for december 8th

For today, December 8th

Outside my window.....
it is overcast with a chance of snow later. At least it has warmed up a bit as the temperature at the moment is TEN degrees.

I am thinking.....about all my projects for Christmas!

I am thankful for.....another few jobs for my husband before the weather gets too severe for the season AND for the fact that he doesn't mind going to work in the cold.

From the learning rooms.....we are sounding out letters, reading about the French and Indian War, learning how to figure out interest rates and payments, writing expository essays, and finishing up The Scarlett Letter.

From the kitchen.....
I'll need to bake cookies for my AWANA Chums tonight, but will pick a Christmas cookie so I can save some for my Christmas stash.

I am wearing.....a long sleeved white top and black exercise pants with a white and dark pink stripe down the leg as I just got back from Curves.

I am creating.....Christmas stockings for my two new grandbabies this year :-)

I am going.....
no where all day until AWANA tonight. We have a busy week ahead, so I'm thankful to have a day to stay at home.

I am reading.....
nothing in particular at the moment. On Saturday I finally finished the book I've been reading over the past few weeks and haven't decided if I should start another book before Christmas.

I am hoping.....
that my list will help keep me focused on my priorities in the days ahead.

I am hearing.....my husband's dump truck warming up by the big work garage.

Around the house....
are remnants of a lazy Sunday. In other words, clutter! I'll need to pick up a bit after I get done typing this as we work better with the house in a bit of order.

One of my favorite things....
is the air of mystery around the house this time of the year. Kids planning and buying gifts for one another. They are into the *giving* part of Christmas and I tend to be privy to many of the whisperings. It is one of the perks of being a mom :-)

A few plans for the rest of the week.....include AWANA tonight, dentist appointments tomorrow as well as a meeting in the evening, more training on Wednesday, a Christmas gathering at the end of the week, and possibly the blessing of attending a birth if baby decides it's time!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

Since I didn't want to use a flash, I waited to take this picture until dusk was coming. The Christmas tree has a tea light inside and there are star cut-outs where the light shines through making a cozy glow by the deer. This sits in my kitchen window and I love to see it glow in the evenings when I come into the kitchen. The tree was a gift to me given my daughter-in-law which makes it very special.

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go HERE

Enjoy this December day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Saturday, December 6

sew what?

What's the saying? Always a day late and a dollar short? That would describe me at this moment. I've had some quirky ideas about things I could sew as Christmas gifts this year - yes, it is not September anymore, but three weeks before Christmas! - and so I went on the search for the patterns I knew I had somewhere. Honestly, I have drawers of patterns. Plus I've inherited the ones my mom had in her collection. Here's a sampling:

Yes, I finally found one of the patterns I had been seeking in my mom's collection of patterns. The pattern pieces were all enclosed, but alas, NO SEWING DIRECTIONS! I am going to pull the pieces out today and see if I can figure out how to sew it together on my own. And if not, I'll maybe have to seek out purchasing a pattern although the last time I did that I about fainted at the price! Yikes!

The unexpected thing that happened while on my pattern search was feeling my heart beat again. Years ago I did a lot of sewing. Sewed shorts for my boys, dresses for my girl, clothes for myself. As I went through all the patterns I felt like a person who had just crossed the desert and was dying of thirst....the patterns were my water! Yes, I am dramatic at times, aren't I? hee hee! But it will be a challenge to keep focused on Christmas and not on a sewing project...well, except for those Christmas sewing gifts I hope to do!

Are there activities in your garden that keep your heart beating?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, December 5

a familiar theme

Yesterday I stopped by Heart of the Matter to check out their Friday meme subject and immediately knew I was out.

Are you decorated already? What’s your ‘theme’ this year?

:::::THUD:::::

Once I picked myself back up off the floor, I less gently reminded my boys to go and get all the Christmas boxes out of the corner of the attic since they were initially given the task on Monday and hadn't followed through on it. My goodness, if there's memes out about Christmas decorations already, we had better get hopping!

Of course, even *if* my decorations were all up already I'd still be sadly lacking. Theme? Do homes have different themes every year for Christmas? We seem to have the same old same old every year. The decorations that get spread throughout our home have been around for years. So my theme would probably be called, "Familiar Christmas".

Perhaps this is a downfall of having a large family. No time for this mom to plan a new Christmas theme each year. Someday my children will discover that other families do have a new Christmas theme each year and they will lament their misfortune. When they come home sobbing I'll hand them a box of kleenex as well as one of their favorite familiar Christmas decorations to start their own Christmas theme. And pretty soon all my Christmas decorations will be given away - probably with a fight or two over the favorite items - to all my children and I can finally start planning a Christmas with a theme! Woo hoo! Wait a minute...I'll be around 70 years old then. Do you suppose themed Christmases will still be *in* twenty years from now?

For those who love to do themed Christmases and are looking for new ideas for this year, go and visit Angie. She attended a wonderfully decorated Christmas extravaganza back in November and used her amazing gift of photography to present each table's different theme. The pictures will make you "ohhhhh!" and "ahhhhh!" as well as spark creativity into your Christmas planning life! Check out Part I, Part II, and Part III of her collection.

Do go and check out the meme at Heart of the Matter for more ideas! And I do confess, that when I went to get the link there just now, the meme has changed a bit. Too late for me, so I guess you get to hear about Christmas themes as my before school computer time is up!

And know that in all my teasing about Christmas themes, a "Familiar Christmas" truly is my favorite theme in all its simplicity and tradition. Guess I'm old fashioned, eh? :-)

Enjoy your day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Thursday, December 4

finding the rhythm

It is quite a well known fact that I have this thing about NOT turning the calendar page. Perhaps I don't like admitting to myself that time is passing as quickly as it is and by NOT turning the page it is my way of slowing down time. HA! Doesn't work, does it?

It is especially difficult to turn the calendar page to December. YIKES! I even had to write that on my "to do" list for December 1st to force myself to do it. All those Christmas activities added to a schedule that is already too full. YIKES again!

And yet, life does begin its own holiday rhythm as the days of December begin flowing. As we ponder what the season is really about - JESUS! - the days begin imparting peace instead of panic.

Today I've written a bit about that over at Heart of the Matter. Take a moment to read about the peaceful rhythm that comes with traditions. And be sure to share some of your own!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

lingering over thanksgiving

Since my heart is still lingering over our Thanksgiving weekend - perhaps it's because of those four amber goblets I need to find a home for since I couldn't fit them back into the box and now they sit on my countertop staring at me until I do find them a home! - I thought I'd follow the example Iris set and give thanks for our Thanksgiving.

**I'm thankful that with all the traveling everyone did before, after, and during our actual Thanksgiving Day that everyone was safe on the roads with no mishaps at all. Our weather is winterlike by this point, so traveling can often get hazardous in a hurry and it certainly wanted to at various points!

**I'm thankful that ALL my family made it here for Thanksgiving. With a son going into the army in March, my heart really wanted all my kids together and God worked out all the details for that to happen. It's hard to explain the joy that comes from having them all together around the house as they chitter chatter - and the boys wrestle! - and enjoy one another's company.

**I'm thankful that everyone was healthy throughout the long weekend. We've had to cancel Thanksgivings in the past due to illness. I specifically remember the year of chickenpox which prevented some family coming.

**I'm thankful that we all pestered my step-dad enough that we got him to come to Thanksgiving Dinner. The last time my parents and my in-laws were here was for Thanksgiving in 2002. After that their health issues began and over the next few years three passed away. My step-dad has always been grandpa to my kids and we were all missing him a great deal as he became an invisible presence in our life. I cannot tell you what a joy it was to have him here and he's since called four times with each call emphasizing his thankfulness for all of us and our pestering ways.

**I'm thankful that the boys went back hunting for a couple of days after Thanksgiving so I could spend quality time with my big girls and little girls, too. My goodness, it was fun! I am SO blessed! It was also a delight to get to know my older son's girlfriend of a year and to learn how to best encourage her in the days ahead. We enjoyed our special meals, knitting, and sniffling together as we watched Anne of Green Gables.

**I'm thankful for the bounty of food on our table. We are definitely feeling the effects of our country's economics, yet God's provision is always timely. I'm challenged to find new ways to cook which will need to be money savers yet tasty.

**I'm thankful that all three of my grandbabies were together so I could finally get a picture with the three of them to set in my kitchen. It is neat to watch them develop into their little personalities and see that they are all growing too quickly for this grandmama!

**I'm thankful for the extra God time I had during that time. From the previous Friday until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was blessed to have some quality early morning time with the Lord. My menfolk were away hunting and my girls easily stayed up too late each night which meant they slept in the next morning. Those factors allowed me a nice chunk of time each morning to spend in my devotions as I sat by the warm woodburner. Quality and quantity time with the Lord :-) What a treasure!

**I'm thankful for a faithful God who loves me not just on Thanksgiving, but every moment of every day!

What are you thankful for on this day?

If you'd like to participate in Thankful Thursday or just be encouraged by others, stop by HERE

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, December 3

a blogging meme

Every once in a while it's fun to do one of the memes that is floating around. Here's a blogging meme which anyone can do!

1. Can you remember without looking what your first post was about?

It was probably an introduction kind of post telling why I'm blogging or talking about my family? Let's see how accurate I was....

Here it is: my first post

2. Where did you write it?

On my Mac laptop on my little desk in my bedroom.

3. Which was the first blog you read?

As I've been thinking about it, there are two that come to mind. One was Enjoy the Journey by Lindsey and she is no longer blogging. The other one I continue to visit daily is Donna's Quiet Life

4. Who did/do you tell about your blog, if anyone?

First I told my kids that I was going to do a public blog - I had already been doing a private family blog for a little bit - then I mentioned it on a homeschooling mom's board that I had been a part of for a long time. Eventually I mentioned it to a couple local friends. And slowly my readers have grown.

5. Has your blog ever caused a scandal?

Not that I'm aware of ever hearing about, although my blog is typically boring and non-controversial :::yawn:::

6. Tell us something random which happened as a result of blogging?

I've been blessed by some wonderful online friendships and also got picked to be part of a homeschool writing team a year ago.

7. Snog, Marry or Avoid - pick another blogger for each.

There's absolutely not a single blogger I'd want to snog or marry. One thing I learned early when I first started reading blogs was to AVOID hitting the "next blog" button on the blogger header. There's some mighty ugly yucky stuff out there......blech!

8. What’s your most amusing blog memory?

It must be too late at night to be thinking because I'm drawing a blank. The only thing that comes to mind are the interesting comments that people post when you're holding a bloggy giveaway :-)

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, December 2

a sunday peek

As I was looking through our family pictures AGAIN trying to pick out the second best one since the best one appears to be a little blurred when printed, I found a few random pictures that my oldest had taken as he was testing the light in the kitchen before our family pictures.

As a mom, I have to say that this picture makes me smile :-) It was taken Sunday morning and is a peek into the bathroom where my four daughters and my granddaughter were all getting pretty in front of the mirror as they got ready for our pictures and then church. Don't you love the two Barbie cars parked outside the door? Ahhhh, girls.......

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

treasures of gold

It is always a cool thing when God's Word brings forth lessons for our day. And yesterday's devotional time was no exception.

Our Old Testament reading was from First Kings chapter ten as we read of King Solomon's great wealth and splendor. If the depth of his riches seem enormous in today's world, imagine what it was like back then! :::thud::: He yearly received 25 TONS of gold which didn't include all the revenues from merchants and traders and kings and governors of the land. Yup, 25 TONS of gold. And that is just the tip of the iceberg when you factor in all the other things he was generously given such as silver, ivory, precious stones, fine woods, spices, and the list goes on and on. His wisdom was well known and he was revered far and wide. In that day, his riches and prosperity were recognized as being a tangible evidence of God's blessing upon his life.

From there we jumped to our New Testament reading which was in the book of Mark chapter ten and guess who we read about? The rich young man. He had obediently kept all the laws and commandments since being a boy, yet his desire was to know what to do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus lovingly told him what was needed. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."(Mark 10:21) Jesus knew this young man's heart and watched him walk away when his love for money and accomplishments was something he was not willing to give up.

Two different men. Two different heart attitudes.

God's Word is clear that we can't serve both God and money. And during these times of economic hardships, our heart attitudes come through quite clearly. Suddenly we do find where our focus ultimately lies. Do we avidly seek possessions and living in a manner above our means? Or do we avidly seek God and have a heart full of gratitude in all the things that He blesses us with which may have no monetary value? There are no price tags that can be placed on relationships with others. Are you wealthy in the treasures of friendship? Of family?

And the very coolest thing is considering the gift of greatest value EVER....the gift of salvation that Jesus offers to all the world comes with no price tag and is good for eternity. Yup, FREE!

Take some time to consider your treasures of gold. May they be the priceless ones found in God!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, December 1

the simple woman's daybook for December 1


For today, December 1

Outside my window.....it is a blustery day as it is snowing and blowing and a tad bit chilly.

I am thinking.....about getting back on track with our routine today as we've had over a week "off".

I am thankful for.....all my family traveling safely back to their homes yesterday after a long weekend here for Thanksgiving.

From the learning rooms.....we'll be adjusting to doing our schooling once again.

From the kitchen.....
I'll need to finish putting away all the canned and dry food that came back from our cabin at the end of hunting season.

I am wearing.....my black exercise pants and a long sleeved white top as I got back from Curves a little while ago.

I am creating.....a master list of gift ideas from all the little lists given to me this weekend. Once done, I had hand them out to all the family.

I am going.....to the library later as all our books and movies are due today.

I am reading.....The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield which I started two weeks ago. I waver between whether I want to continue it or not, but haven't really had time to read enough to make up my mind.

I am hoping.....to make out a list of all I need to get done in the next three weeks and prioritize it.

I am hearing.....one of the DVD school courses from a son's bedroom.

Around the house.....
the children are still sleepy after too many late nights. There's still things to put away from the weekend as well as a mountain of laundry to do!

One of my favorite things.....
is getting several family pictures taken yesterday and hoping that there'll be one that turns out the best for our Christmas cards. I love family pictures and looking at the noticeable differences from the year before picture.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....
include AWANA, a chiropractor appointment, a dentist trip for two of the girls, and Christmas program practice at church at the end of the week.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

LinkMr. Nobody paid a visit to our household after Thanksgiving and managed to mark up my tablecloth with green crayon. Today I'll attempt the iron and waxed paper trick on it and then work on the other food stains before throwing it into the wash.

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go HERE

Enjoy this first of December day in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~
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