Friday, July 31

saling away

The day is finally here! Our garage sale! In an hour or so, people will be arriving to shop through a week's worth of work. Ohhhhhh, there was so much more to go through to put in this sale...perhaps next year.

One of the offerings is for the golf enthusiast. Having five boys resulted in a collection of six golf bags and lots of irons and clubs from their own garage sale cruising. It was time to pick out a couple sets for them to play around with and try to sell the rest. Wish me success as I'm tired of these things taking up room in our garage!

Besides music and a candle burning, my girls are adding to the mood with their entrepreneurial spirit and are offering fresh chocolate chip cookies and glasses of lemonade for sale. Ohhhh, and we've added a bowl with chocolate kisses at the check-out, too, as a bonus to all shoppers :-)

Okay, a busy day ahead for me, so I'm off to get this sale going. Enjoy this summer day and whatever tasks are keeping you busy in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, July 30

summer thankfulness


It's been awhile since I've done a Thankful Thursday, yet how can I resist the topic question this week - What are you thankful for in the warm months of summer? Of course, I may take issue with the *warm* part of the question as summer warmth has been missing in our area. Actually, the temperatures have been pretty much perfect for those of us that don't like the hot and humid dog days of summer. It does seem strange though to be throwing on a jacket in the early summer mornings when I go to exercise or walk.

Summer thankfulness for me would include:

*Being surrounded by all the shades of green in the woods and the colors of flowers in the yard. God certainly used a wonderful palette of color in His creation!

*Eating the fresh fruits and vegetables available this time of year. I especially can't wait for my garden to be more productive in the coming days so veggies can be picked and go right into our mouths. God has given us wonderfully nourishing foods to fuel our bodies.

*Abundance of wildlife all around. While typing this list, I looked out the window by my desk and noticed a pair of fawns skipping along my garden fence. It's so fun to watch their playfulness....as long as they don't think they are going to EAT in my garden! We have lots of bunnies and chippies this year as well which are driving the dogs crazy. And what about all the spiders and other creepy crawly critters around in the summer. Although I don't understand all the purposes of what God created - like mosquitoes or fire ants - I know He said it was all good, so I guess that's good enough for me!

*Warm weather activities are wonderful after a long winter. Baseball, swimming, biking, hiking, tennis, and now soccer keep us more physically active. How thankful I am that we are a healthy family!

*The lack of our normal schedule during the summer months is pro
bably my favorite thing. The kids sleep in, the days float by, and I can spend my time doing odds and ends. This type of schedule though is only good for a season as we all start feeling the need to get back to regular life once August rolls around.....which means that next week I'll begin feeling the panic of summer quickly waning and all the necessities that must get completed before we start schooling again. But until then, I'll smile and thank God for the time of refreshment summer brings!

How about you? What brings summer thankfulness to your heart? If you want to participate with others on this Thankful Thursday, please stop over to see Lynn

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, July 29

it's little but big

As I head out the door for the day, here's a little quote for you to think about:

"It's incredible to realize that what we do each day has meaning in the big picture of God's plan." ~ Billy Hybels

Do you think about that very fact each morning when you get up?!

So, what are YOU doing on this day in your garden?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 28

now processing

"What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process--that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God." ~ Oswald Chambers

This was something good for me to ponder this morning. I do like goals. I do like to know the end. I do like tasks that I do to be successful.

But life tends to not be like that at times. Like now. It seems I keep getting pushed into thinking about the fall - heaven forbid - when I still want to linger in the summer.

*My husband and I need to decide *if* we'll do a Bible study group in our home this fall or not and *if* we do which study will we choose to use. We've been considering doing The Truth Project but it sounds like others from that study will also be doing it this fall.

*Our church's children's ministries are making some changes and as we go through a time of transition this fall, I'm trying to figure out what my role will be or whether I will have a role. How can my gifts and talents best be used to serve?

*With a senior in high school, it's time to look further down the road for him if we are considering future education.
Is he certain of his career choice? What are his options and how can they be financed?

*As we look ahead to the work expectations for the fall and my husband's business, we perhaps need to consider some other options in order to financially survive a winter which is typically his down time. As I ponder this I see that it could mean eliminating a ministry area for me due to travel expense.

So many things in process and I can see I've been wrestling with the process as it hasn't been an easy thing to think through. No clear answers.

Yet process is okay. It is a time when I can depend more fully on God rather than trying to figure it out all on my own. It is a time that I can seek Him through prayer and His Word for more clarity. It is a time of trusting Him without seeing the other shore. It is a time that He can be glorified.

Yes, all is right because He's in my now.

Whew!

I hope you're trusting Him in your now!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 27

sixteen years or less

Yesterday morning when I woke up my immediate thought was how little time I had left to live on this earth. I have no idea what I had been dreaming about or what prompted that thought, but as I waking up thinking about it I recalled that my mom passed away shortly after she turned 67 years old. *IF* I did the same, that would mean I have a little over sixteen years to go.

Now, if you're in your 30's, sixteen years may seem like a long time. But when you are over 50 and looking at the seventeen year old sitting on the couch next to you wondering when that child went from an extremely exhausting toddler to a young adult about to enter his senior year of high school, suddenly sixteen years is a flash of time.

Of course, no one knows the length of their days. And let's not even get into how many stories were told at Curves this morning about cars going the wrong direction on highways and the people that were killed by such mistakes as women reflected on a recent news story in order to recognize that today could be the day. Only God knows.

Thinking about it reminded me of this Bible verse:

"So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." ~ Psalm 90:12

And the timing of thinking about the shortness of life has helped me as I'm go through the house preparing for a garage sale.

In my younger mom days I bought books and kits about things I wanted to do. An example would be soapmaking. I have a beautiful book about this craft as well as some of the supplies not to mention the cost of taking a full day class. Do you know how many bars of soap I made? Um, ya, ZERO. Or what about that beautiful book about basket making and the couple of classes I took to learn this craft. Do you know how many baskets I have made? Um, ya, the one I made it class. I could continue to with many other examples - just look at my bookshelves :::sigh:::

Yes, I think there is a point in time when we are learning about who we are and what we enjoy and want to do, but there has to be a point where we've discovered that and can narrow things down. I probably passed that point of knowing years ago but was too busy raising a family to recognize it. So as I consider the things I am surrounded by and think more deeply about what I want to do over the next sixteen years or whatever the number of days may be that the Lord blesses me, I can more efficiently sort through my household recognizing the things that must go. SIMPLIFY is my battle cry!

Unfortunately, I don't think that the few days I have left to prepare for my garage sale will be enough to thoroughly empty out what needs to be emptied out. At least God has provided me with a vision of what needs to be done and how I need to be more single minded in purpose.

How thankful I am that what seemed to be a morbid waking up thought that turned into a vision for the future! You never know what God will use to get our attention!

Do think about your days ahead so that you may gain wisdom in the process!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Sunday, July 26

a colorful non-illusion

As I was walking to our backyard to watch the girls on the trampoline, I stopped in my tracks when I noticed something on the ground.

Trying hard not to panic on such a pleasant day in July, I went back into the house to get my camera and photograph something that is NOT an optical illusion.

Colored leaves.

In July.

On my grassy backyard.

I'm trying my best not to panic at the thought of an early fall because honestly, we're all still waiting for the real summer to arrive here.

Back to your regularly scheduled summer day.....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, July 25

sorting through treasures

Since I made the decision to have a garage sale next weekend, I've been working on cleaning through areas of the house looking for those things that could easily be parted with from our household. Some things are easy good-bye items, but others, well, I sputter back and forth with a decision.

So I thought maybe I needed to change my approach. Maybe I need to think about what I'd keep if we'd suddenly have to downsize our household for a move. Trust me, it's not easy when you've been living in the same house for thirty years which includes a gigantic collection of items for children. Like, how many pairs of ice skates do we really need? I keep hanging onto the little sizes because there will be grandchildren coming to ice skate someday. But is it necessary? Or is it possible to find a better way to store things like this that I want to keep. I dunno.

Then this morning I was reading in my devotional about the apostle Paul and how very light of items he lived with often traveling and staying with others. Feel free to read through the book of Philippians to understand more about his way of living. He was willing to give up everything in order that he might know God better and more intimately.

As A.W. Tozer put it in his writing...."Any external treasure that touches your heart is a curse."

Strong words, eh? Definitely strong words for a sentimental kind of person like myself to read!

Hopefully it will help me look with new eyes at things I'm going through as I decide what really is necessary for raising a family in my household and what really is clutter or earthly meaningless treasures. And in garage sale terms, what things am I clinging to that would actually lessen my burden if I gave them up?
New eyes are needed as I consider that absolutely none of this stuff will follow me into eternity. Hmmmm, lots of things to think about as I sort through treasures.

Ohhhh, may our eyes dim on earthly treasures so we can more fully focus on heavenly treasures!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, July 24

ticket winners!

Between having tons of pictures on my camera from our trip away and not being able to catch a ticket drawing girl home because of VBS and friend outings, I apologize for the delay in announcing winners of the upcoming Parenting and Home Education Conference and appreciate your patience. Here they are!

*teachinmom

*Lee Ann

*Tina

Please email me at tam.gardening@yahoo.com with YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS and I'll get the information in to register your free tickets!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

*****Edit - Donnetta had won a ticket, but contacted me to say you had already won one! Yay! So, the runner-up was teachinmom who now can claim a free ticket.

time to kick a ball

When we were gone last week, I missed the soccer coaches meeting. So this past week I connected with someone to pick up all my gear, roster info, first aid kit, and uniforms for the kids.


Yes, I've volunteered for the second time to coach a soccer team and I'm excited about it! This year our littlest is starting soccer and I elected to coach her team, so I'm dropping down a level to the U-8 age. I'm anticipating a little different kind of team as kids are still learning the game at this age and there will probably be more daisy picking out in the field.

My littlest has been watching her older siblings play the game and she's been anxious to play, too. She's going to be a fast little thing, so look out all you ball hogging boys!

Mixed in all the excitement though is that bittersweet longing in my heart of a littlest one who is growing up so quickly. Goodness, wasn't it just yesterday that she was sitting next to me in her little fold up Barbie chair watching soccer games with me as she ate her snacks while under a blanket that covered both of our laps?

Ahhh, so here's to volunteering for a season of soccer ahead! May the fall ahead be warmer than our summer and the rain showers avoid Saturday mornings for awhile!

And if you'd like to read my thoughts about volunteering, please stop over at Heart of the Matter to read my article about whether or not to raise YOUR hand when a volunteer opportunity comes up!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, July 23

a summer daybook

What fun to see an unexpected summer simple woman's daybook posting. I couldn't resist to participate as I've missed this weekly journal. Enjoy!


For today July 23rd



Outside my window.....
the skies are a beautiful blue and temps are in the 50's. It's been an unusually cool summer here, but actually perfect for some of us! We do need rain though and I sigh each time the dark clouds come and go without leaving us a drop.

I am thinking.....about the health care reform proposed and the phone calls I need to make today in response to it.

I am thankful for.....a healthy family who is enjoying summer activities.

From the learning rooms.....it's quite quiet. I've ordered the boys high school materials, but still need to go through what I have and what I need for the younger girls. Just typing this is a good reminder for me to DO IT NOW since the summer is slipping by quickly!

From the kitchen.....it's been light meals lately as our children haven't been around much this week with VBS and other activities. We're loving the fresh produce that is part of the season.

I am wearing.....a white t-shirt with flowers on it and my black exercise pants as I went walking for an hour early this morning.

I am creating.....two baby quilts which are in progress and which I hope to finish up the next couple of weeks. It's been so much fun doing them!

I am going.....to church to drop off and pick up kids at VBS, but that should be the extent of my leaving the house this week.

I am dabbling in my reading.....as I sort through books and determine if I can part with any of them.

I am hoping.....to continue to stay on task with my projects as I see August looming on my calendar.

I am hearing.....my littlest chattering away as she climbed into my bed to wake up and warm up.

Around the house.....I see a box here and there with *stuff* in them as I go through the house looking for garage sale items.

One of my favorite things.....is walking through my garden and checking up on how everything is growing.

A few plans for the rest of the week.....figuring out how and when to get one of our boys back home from a visit with his oldest sibling, finishing out VBS, working on my garage sale, and catching up on some paperwork.

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

When we were driving last week down in Georgia, I saw the prettiest flowers along the roadside. At first I thought they were a type of a lilac because they were such a pretty color of lavender, but then saw variations of pink and white, too. When we connected with family, I asked my Southern daughter-in-law what they were and she told me they were called crepe myrtle. After looking online I immediately noted they'd never grow up here and are more suited for zones 7 - 10 AND that they bloom about 120 days. Wow! You Southern gals are so fortunate to have these long lasting blooming bushes!

To read more summer daybook entries by others or to post your own, please visit Peggy at Simple Woman's Daybook.

Enjoy your summer day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, July 22

the best way to listen

When I read this quote last night, I thought it was perfect for a Wednesday and the type of volunteer work I do on this day. After thinking about it some more, it seemed to be a quote that would be beneficial to share with others, too!

"It is better to listen in order to understand than to listen in order to reply." ~ Author Unknown

How are you listening today?

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 21

His uncluttered vision

While experiencing my second flying experience, I was once again reminded of the magnitude of how BIG God is as He watches over our world. Looking down at the scenery and the little specks of developments were a reminder of all that is in His vision and care. Too much for me to even comprehend, especially because I was only getting a teeny tiny glimpse of an universe that stretches beyond my imagination and which was created by His Hand.

Hours after our first flight, I was intrigued by what my sweet granddaughter was doing while we were slowly walking along chatting. Off in her own little world, she was following a little tiny ant as he traveled hither and thither on the sidewalk. She had her eye on each one of his teeny tiny steps.

What a contrast when comparing the greatness of the universe to all the microscopic details within the universe! And God knows about all of it! Not a thing misses His eye! It's too much for our minds to grasp, isn't it?

And it all makes me smile when I consider where I'm sitting to write this post....at a desk that is piled high with clutter within a bedroom full of clutter. I'm beginning to lose track of all the little details within this area as things get shifted and moved and added.

Boy, it's a good thing *I* am not in charge of the universe as I can't even keep track within this little space of mine! LOL!

May your garden spaces be less cluttered than mine!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Monday, July 20

a solemn processing

As we sat in the grandstands with hundreds of other people at the beginning of the graduation ceremony, suddenly we noticed smoke start to billow up across the field. Loud shots filled the air causing this mother to let out a startled short scream - sorry, I tend to do that when things like that happen such as finding cats in my garden under the rhubarb and fortunately everyone was staring at the scene in front of them and didn't turn to stare at this poor mother - and soldiers came running onto the field in a V shape. We knew our son was part of the field demonstration, but he didn't really explain how it was going to happen other than we also knew he'd be the last guy on the far left.
After watching them cross the field, they all stopped in a line as the speaker talked about each piece of equipment that the infantrymen used.

Once done with the explanation, they did a quick set-up to complete the demonstration and left the field.

Then began the formality of the soldiers coming onto the field as well as the music, the creeds, the presentation of awards, the guest speaker, the troops passing in review.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, we were allowed ten minutes to greet our soldier. Our family had to walk to the far corner of the field where our son was taking off all his gear from the demonstration.

It was a brief hello and good-bye, but long enough for us to snap a few pictures.

He then left for processing into Airborne school as he was accepted into one of the few spots available and I was relieved to hear that he passed the PT test early this morning. There are many candidates in this school and cuts will be made for minor infractions. We are praying for God's favor over him as this is something our son is focused and excited to do as his next step.

My emotions seem to be catching up to me today as I process it all. There is a somber solemness as I come to terms with his choice and the choice of many other young men and women. Having always known there was sacrifice in military service, the reality of the depth of that sacrifice is suddenly much more real. The news of a captured American soldier in Afghanistan accentuates the cost.

The days ahead will involve a new learning curve for me as I try hard to understand all the military terminology, etc. The days ahead will also involve a deeper prayer walk through my garden now that I've been given a brief peek into military life.

May we all come before God with hearts of thankfulness and praise for the lavish freedoms we have in our country and not forget to pray daily for those in military service around the world who are willing to pay the price for that freedom.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, July 15

a parenting giveaway

As part of the writing team of Heart of the Matter Online, I'm delighted to be able to offer a giveaway of THREE TICKETS to the upcoming Parenting and Home Education Conference!

What could be more fun than attending an online conference from the comfort of your own home? And what could be more inspiring than listening to thoughts and ideas about teaching and training children from birth to teens using a godly perspective? Not only will you hear awesome speakers talking about a variety of parenting topics, but you will be able to ask questions, win prizes, download sessions, and connect in fellowship with other parents. Take a moment to read all about it at Heart of the Matter Conference

The dates for the conference are August 3 - 7 and as an attendee you will be provided with the software needed which is also Mac compatible.

Be encouraged! Spread the word! Leave a comment and I'll announce the three winners on Monday!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 14

time to go

It is time.

Back in March when there was snow on the ground, we kissed our son good-bye as he headed off to basic training in the Army. Seeing him in July at his graduation seemed like a LONG time away.

But here it is.

Back in March we tentatively hoped to pack up the van with kids and take a week long vacation as we traveled to watch him graduate. However, that length of time plus gas for the van plus two motel rooms a night plus feeding our crew ended up not equaling what our finances are at the moment. Not only would we have the expense, but my husband would miss a week's worth of time of not being able to take business calls and be working.

The option pursued was having my oldest son do the surfing to find a cheap flight for my husband and I which would greatly reduce the cost and time away. With a direct flight booked for tomorrow, the last couple days have been spent on organizing to go as well as making lists for those at home.

It is time.

Almost five hours tomorrow will be spent driving to the airport to catch a flight to the hot and humid South. Once there, we will connect with our oldest son and family as they are driving there to be present, too. To say that there is excitement with this trip would be an understatement. I cannot wait to hug that boy of mine!

Since blogger has not been doing well lately with any of my scheduled posts, I've decided to take a mini blogging break during this time. However, since all of my readers regularly bless me with their encouragement, before I leave tomorrow morning I will post a giveaway to bless someone back.

May there be exciting events for you to look forward to in your garden, too!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 13

a hot search

Google searches are always an interesting thing...especially when it comes to the words people use that land them on your blog.

I really did laugh out loud when I read a recent one for my site - hot.older.women

Perhaps you'd have to know me in person to know how funny those three words are when considering myself. It was amusing to find the few posts that brought up those words although the three words were not together and I think had to do with older children canning hot jars of something with canning being an art practiced for years by women or something like that. I'm guessing that certainly isn't what the person was searching for at all!

Interestingly, I'm beginning to think I could put myself in that category. It seems that I always feel cold and need to throw a sweatshirt or sweater on to warm up during the day EXCEPT for these recent short bursts of feeling hot. Mainly at night, but occasionally popping up very briefly during the day. Nothing too bad yet and I'm praying this isn't just a preview of what's coming in the days ahead, but will hopefully be the extent of my hot flashes.

And to think....my dear husband is sound asleep at night totally oblivious to the fact that he's sleeping next to a hot.older.woman

Yup, this will keep me giggling for awhile.....

Enjoy this summer day in your garden whether you're hot or cold!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, July 11

listless dreaming

My life seems to be one of lists.

Lists in notebooks. Lists on slips of paper on my desk. Lists written on my calendar. Lists on emails in my computer. Lists stuck on post-it notes. Lists in my dreams. Lists just about EVERYWHERE!

On one hand, all these lists make me feel organized which once upon a time I was as a mother. Really, I truly was organized and without a plethora of lists. I can see that trait in my older children who witnessed it and incorporated it into their own lives. My younger children, however, seem to be incorporating the list making habit.

And yes, it would be a good idea to consolidate all these lists EXCEPT I tend to jot things down wherever I am on whatever is available which only contributes to the problem. So maybe I'll write on a list to combine lists and we'll see how long it takes for me to find that list and to actually do it.

You know, I wouldn't even have this problem if it weren't for the short term memory issues I seem to be having with this season of life :::sigh::: Do you suppose it ever gets better and I can become listless again?

In the meantime, off to work on the list found on my calendar for today.....

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, July 10

rain singing

Noting before bed that the weather forecast had only a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms through the night and seeing nothing on the radar, I closed my eyes listening to the sound of wind that was continuing from the daytime hours.

Rain. An elusive weather detail this summer. Highly valued but never making its appearance despite all the forecasted possibilities. Longed for with every fluffy slightly darkened cloud that passes over our day.

Dry. The garden is dust in between rows as I've carefully only watered plants. The grass is losing its glorious soft green and is turning muted brittle yellow. The lake is developing more beach as the waterline is shrinking with the sunshine's evaporating power.

Waking suddenly in the middle of the night to a sound that was no longer the wind of bedtime, I opened my eyes to the flashing lightning. The thunder rumbled and the rain came pouring out of the skies. Quickly I rushed through the house to close up windows as the lightning provided enough brilliance to mark my pathways.

Rain. Magnificent rain!

Opening my eyes to a wet world this morning, once again I'm amazed at how a middle of the night rain shower can liven up each and every growing green plant in my yard and garden. My heart sings with joy as I see the earth refreshed!

"Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the King above all gods." ~ Psalm 95:1-3

Rain or shine may your heart be singing in the garden on this day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Thursday, July 9

a bite beyond nasty

It had been over two weeks and there hadn't been a peep from my son in basic training. Not even a phone call over the holiday weekend. Nothing. It was primarily unusual because he's been an avid letter writer during his time away with the daily run to the post office being the highlight for us.

I calmly listened to those wiser than me who assured me he was fine and kept praying for him as I went about life trusting that God was taking good care of him.

So when I heard his voice on the phone last evening, well, my heart took a leap of relief! He sounded good and our less than five minute phone call went by in a flash. We covered the important stuff like the unfortunate news about his dog, the payment of his vehicle insurance and license, and connecting next week at his graduation.

Then he shared he quick prayer request. On one of their expeditions he had been bitten by something. After three days, it definitely required medical attention and it's believed that he was bitten on his hand by a brown recluse spider. He's taking antibiotics and packing the wound with gauze :::thud::: Doesn't sound like those little spider bites we get here! YIKES!

Could you please lift up a quick prayer that the healing will go well and swiftly as he does not want it to interfere with his airborne training which begins immediately after his basic training graduation.

Thank you! It would bless me as much as him!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~




Wednesday, July 8

come as you are

"If we imagine we have to put on our Sunday moods before we come near to God, we will never come near Him. We must come as we are." ~ Oswald Chambers

Don't wait. Don't wait until everything is just right to come before God. Don't wait until you've figured out this or that to come before God. Don't wait until you've taken care of a sin issue to come before God. Don't wait until after your vacation to come before God. Don't wait until after you move to come to God. Don't wait until you have some quality time to come before God. Don't wait until this grumpy crabbiness passes. Don't wait.

Come now. Come just as you are. He already knows absolutely every single thing about you, will forgive you, still loves you. He's available right this minute even though you don't have your Sunday clothes on. He's seen bad attitudes before and yours won't keep Him away. Life will never be perfect nor will you. So just come. He's whispering your name.

Come.

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, July 7

a dusty renewal

My time working in the garden has felt like working in a dust bowl. Since rain seems to be a rare commodity this summer, I've been hand watering the vegetable plants instead of wasting water on the vast rows in between which means that the vast rows in between are like powdered dirt. Worthless. Dry. Dusty. Clinging to the warm sweat on summer bodies which require a dip in the lake or a quick shower. Water is the answer to renewing and refreshing the gardener and her helpers.

And sometimes life gets feeling like that, too, as the world can so easily pull us into its troubles. Economic times are drying up finances as bills become a clinging burden on these summer days. Hope begins evaporating and moods become parched. Worthless. Dry. Dusty.

"I am laid low in the dust; renew my life according to your word." ~ Psalm 119:25

God's Word is the answer to renewing and refreshing His people. No matter how low and worthless you may feel, open the Bible to the Psalms finding hope in a Heavenly Father who cares for you. He has not left you in the vast rows of dust, but showers your spirit with the living waters of His Word.

Be renewed right where you are in your garden!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Monday, July 6

the secret glimpse

Something that could be added to my list of "Hardest things for a mom of many whose children span over twenty-two years" would be that the younger ones don't know the older ones well and the older ones don't know the younger ones well. As their mom, I think they are ALL totally awesome kids and wish they all knew one another well.

So when my three youngest girls recently spent five days at my oldest daughter's home, my heart was probably blessed more than theirs knowing they had this special time of connecting with one another which makes me smile :-D

And I had one of those heart smiling moments yesterday while my college son was home for the weekend. I made a cake to celebrate his birthday at the beginning of the month and included his littlest sister since she was with her biggest sister during her birthday.

One cake for the two of them. A candle for each.

But when it came time to blow out the candles, everyone was telling her what to wish. Suddenly her older brother leaned over and started whispering in her ear. The look on her face was priceless and what a delight to capture it in a picture. They were both smiling when they blew out their candles and the secret wishes are safe between the two of them.

These are the moments I treasure in my heart!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Saturday, July 4

prayerfully celebrating


There is a solemnness today as I consider our country's celebration of the Fourth of July and the declaration of independence our country made so many years ago. Does it come from this past year's reading with my homeschoolers about the sacrifices made by patriots in our young country? Readings about the oppressiveness of a British King that prohibited basic rights? Heavy taxation? Thinking about the direction our country is currently taking? Wondering if the citizens of our country really understand the concept of independence as they take a pathway toward more dependence giving up freedoms that were hard won?

I think of some of the words written by John Adams to his wife Abigail after the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776:

"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfire and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil, and Blood, and Treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States."

Are you as struck by this last line as I am?

May we as Christians be as prayerful as we are celebratory on this day!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~

Friday, July 3

a bit of exclaiming

FINALLY! After several cloudy rainy gloomy cool days in a row which began last Saturday, the sun is shining this morning! The skies are a brilliant blue with nary a cloud to be seen! This pink peony has been wanting to fully open, but as I've been watching it over these past days it appears not to have the ooomph to do such a task. I think the warming sunshine is just what it has needed. And such perfect timing! My son and his girlfriend arrive this evening so my hope is to cut this perfect flower and put it in her room. The fragrance will hopefully cover the teen aged son scent that tends to be more prevalent, if you know what I mean....

Necessary errands to run mid-morning, but I can hardly wait to get out to my garden and get my hands dirty again! Really, my heart is just leaping with joy at the thought! Plus I have a flowerbed area that I never got started on before the nasty weather came, so I also look forward to working on that, too.

Such a perfect time to be out in God's creation and to have time to ponder all that He has been nudging me about all week.

May your garden day be just as beautiful!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


P.S. Sorry about all the exclamation points in this post, but honestly, it's been so dreary for so long that this weather truly does bring excitement! :-)

Thursday, July 2

living in the dot

At the beginning of the week I was having one of those sad missing a son kind of days. The various *hot spots* around the world seem to be getting hotter and although my son left here with goals he wanted to accomplish in the military, there's a sense I need to prepare my heart for the fact he could be shipped out after completing basic training and before moving on to the next step. And to be honest, that is a real hard thing for me to think about too much and when I do think about it too much my heart aches and the tears fall.

Enter a seventeen year old son during one of those thinking too much about it moments. After talking a bit, he grabbed a piece of paper and drew the following:

Since it didn't photograph well, let me explain it. In the upper left hand corner he wrote "life" and put a dot underneath it. Then he drew a continuous line back and forth to the bottom of the paper and labeled it "eternity". Next to the dot he wrote "seeing Chris" and next to the long lines he wrote "seeing Chris". And then he asked me when I would prefer seeing Chris....for the immensely fleeting time of now or the forever quantity time of eternity?

Yup, sometimes it takes a seventeen year old to take what I already know in my head to transfer that knowledge to my heart. I get it.

And it was confirmed yesterday morning as we did our devotional time at the pregnancy resource center. The reading was Psalm 103 - which is an awesome psalm and you should take a moment to read it! - and the verses worth noting for me were 15 and 16: "As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more."

A dot. That is how quickly our lives pass in the light of eternity.

My son is doing what he was called to and is willing to boldly take the risks knowing that his time here is a dot and he has eternity in his future.

As I was sitting there before meeting with my first appointment of the day, I considered that every week I had the opportunity to take a risk and boldly share God's love. The numbers of young women - often teens - coming in for pregnancy tests is increasing. Becoming more frequent is the story that they are actually wanting to get pregnant even though the relationship they are in is not stable. In fact, often when the young man finds out the young woman is pregnant, the relationship is swiftly ended. These young women are desperately trying to fill a big hole in their lives. A big hole that only God can fill. The brief contact I have with them may only be a dot within the dot, yet it could impact them for all those long lines of eternity.

Not only do I want to keep this mindset for my weekly shift at the pregnancy resource center, but how very important it is to keep this mindset wherever I am and with whoever God puts on my pathway at any time.

A dot. God's amazing love. It's simple!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


Wednesday, July 1

from zero to twenty

Yay! Today one of my sons leaves his teen years behind as he officially enters the era of his twenties.

He's the baby that was ten days overdue and I was willing to go another day over with this baby so I wouldn't miss helping my mom with her garage sale that day. But I woke up at 2 AM with what I thought was bad indigestion from a pizza supper and figured out it was perhaps something else when I had to crawl out of the bathroom and through the living room to call my husband. Yup, that pain didn't stop me from brushing my teeth before we left the house, but it was strong enough that I encouraged my husband that we needed to leave NOW and not wait for my father-in-law to arrive to keep watch over our sleeping children. And it was a good thing we did as my body was at "complete" when they did a quick exam as I entered the hospital, the ER doctor was rushed in, and my son was born.

Fifty minutes from start to finish.

Blink!

It is seems that time has passed that quickly from the moment they put that blonde haired baby boy in my arms until today's celebration of his 20th birthday.

Blink!

Happy birthday to my son who is known for his smile! :-D

Down to two teenagers in the house now, but a third is rushing toward joining them in a couple of months....

Blink!

Blessings,
Tammy ~@~


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