Monday, October 31, 2011

Psalm 23

The best part of Libby hiding God's Word in her heart? I am learning, too! :D

Trick or Treat!

The Looters

The Loot

I don't remember so much chocolate when I went trick or treating. It's a good thing I can make up for it now. Ha ha! Seriously though, John owes me...I ended up carrying him the whole time. While I heard several complaints of being cold, that certainly didn't cross my lips. :)

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Big Shoes to Fill

I am glad the camera was close by for this fun picture. He seriously walked almost all the way across the house in my shoes. He, of course, kept tripping and falling, but he'd get back up and go again!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Oh. My. Goodness.

"Mom, come quick! I found a sundew in our backyard!" called Libby. I grabbed John and headed outside to see Libby's "sundew". I was fairly sure she didn't find one in our back yard because I don't think our backyard is the proper habitat for a sundew, but I wanted to support my daughter's enthusiasm by checking it out with her. Sure enough, Libby's stickly "sundew" was really a burr, which are suited perfectly for our backyard.

What is a sundew? A sundew is a carniverous plant that DOES have points on it, but the end of the points have dew (or as Libby likes to call it, goo) on them. It is a sweet smelling dew that attracts insects, but it is a super sticky dew that traps insects. Once an insect has landed on the sticky dew the plant tells it to produce extra dew that engulfs the insect as the plants tentacles wrap around it to digest it.

Why the excitement over a carniverous plant that most people have never heard of before? Well, Libby studied this along with three other carniverous plants (venus fly trap, bladderwort and pitcher plant) just last week. They sounded pretty cool, but for the information Libby gained...well, she thought a burr was a sundew. I showed her some pictures on the internet and life went on. Next science lesson!

Today, though, it all became real for her (ok, maybe I was just a tad bit more excited than her about this). We went BACK to the museum we went to yesterday (you can only buy a two-day pass...might as well get our money's worth). I knew we had missed a few exhibits, and I knew one was entitled "The Animals of Halloween". No big deal...until I saw inside one of the exhibit boxes about six each of sundews, pitcher plants and venus fly traps! So cool!

Now Libby knows exactly what a sundew looks like and how different they are from burrs. I love the timing on when she had the opportunity to see the plants! Seriously, I didn't know there were carniverous plants besides the venus fly trap until last week either. What was the likelihood of us having the chance to see them right now? God is so amazing...not only in the He designed this earth and its plants, but in His timing, as well!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


We went with some friends to the Mississippi River Museum today. The kids had an absolute blast and John learned some new words. He is just now hitting that period of language development where he is gaining all sorts of new words. I absolutely love this period and was happy to catch a bit on camera.

Pumpkin Time!

Grandma and Grandpa Tucker bought each of the kids a pumpkin while they were in town. We let the pumpkins sit for awhile so that they could maybe make it until Halloween night before they rotted. (I don't think the spider web is going to make it, but the others might.) Then, our friend, Megan, helped us carve them while she was here.

A bat for Libby.

Grace thought she needed a about taking FOREVER!!!

A cute little face for a cute little boy.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall-Time Sledding

Yes, the kids wanted to go sledding today. So, they did. These will be fun comparison pictures once winter gets here!

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What is wrong with these pictures?

No shoes...flip is almost November! We are loving this warm weather. Trying to soak it up some before it goes away.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finders, Keepers

A few weeks back Libby read a story called "Finders, Keepers" from her reader. (Side note: The Pathway Series of readers is absolutely amazing! If you want to train character qualities in to your children I highly recommend this starts with the First Steps Reader and climbs up from there.)

The story was about a boy who decided the rule was "finders, keepers" when he found the pen that dropped through a hole in his brothers pants. He thought he was something special until he bragged about it that night and his dad asked if he was so sure about the rule. He was confident that it was ok to play by that rule...then his dad pulled his (the confident boy) knife out that he had left on the front porch. The boy wanted it back, but his dad told him that it now belonged to him (the dad) and he was choosing to give it to the brother who had lost the pen.

Libby and I talked a little bit about how each of the boys felt at different points in the story and how the finders, keepers rule compared to the golden rule. It was a good discussion and then we moved on.

Now, mind you, I have always had a bad habit of forgetting to empty my pockets before doing the wash. I have been doing well for awhile, but what with all the company we had at the beginning of the month...I fell back into my old habit...TWICE! The second time it was Libby who found the money in the dryer as she was getting an outfit. She was quite proud of herself for the money she had gained and did quite a bit of bragging about it to me. I kept my mouth shut waiting for her to remember her story...she didn't.

Then, this morning (at least two weeks from the incident) she was excited that she had MORE than she originally thought from "the dryer money I found". I knew that she KNEW that she was wrong to keep the money because she was still not taking ownership of it. I also knew that it was time to gently nudge her in the right direction on how to handle the situation. I asked her if she remembered her "Finders, Keepers" story. Her face immediately fell. I asked how that story compared to our situation. She told me that the rule was wrong, but also defended herself by adding that she didn't know to whom the money belonged (ok, so she didn't use those exact words). I asked her if she had at least TRIED to find the owner, to which she admitted that she hadn't. We talked again about how the finders, keepers rule was wrong. She didn't even make a move toward her money bag so I got up and went to do some housework. I knew, now that I had pushed the envelope, that I had to think of a concrete discipline if she chose to keep the money, but didn't have to worry about that for too long. It was about half an hour later when she came into the laundry room (isn't that ironic?) and said, with a pout on her face, "It's hard to do the right thing," as she handed me the money.

I am so proud of her! She IS IS hard to do the right thing! But she chose to do the right thing anyway. What a lesson that can be to even me!

I am so happy to say that because of the way I handle the kids money some of that money REALLY was hers. So, I was able to commend her on doing the right thing. We talked a little more about the golden rule and how she would have felt if it was her money in the dryer and I had found it and kept it. Then, it was my honor to be able to tell her that PART of that money was hers and she could keep that money in her money bag.

I think that our next task is to set up three jars so she can learn to save and to tithe and then she can spend a little bit of that money as well.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Big Boy!

Well {sigh}, my baby boy is two! I can't believe that I don't have anymore babies running around the house. Okay, that is a bit of an exaggeration...John has been out of the "baby" stage for awhile now. Still!

I have to admit, I am enjoying the fact that I get to SLEEP at night. Anyway, this little boy is just a bundle of energy...plain and simple! He does things SO differently than his sisters ever did. Can I just insert right here that people that believe that boys and girls are "trained" to be that way because of cultural influences are absolute nut jobs? Please forgive me if you hold to this belief, but from experience, I have to disagree! Okay, off the soap box and on to an example. For the kids birthday, I always put streamers in their doorway and balloons to correlate with how old they are turning in the hall outside of their bedroom. The first thing John did was yank all of the streamers down. The girls were appalled! They have always tried to leave thiers up as long as possible. Too funny!

Even at his birthday party...he was ALL BOY!

He saw his cake (or, at least the tractor).

He tried to get to his cake.

He tried even harder to get to his cake.

Finally! Victory! I have my tractor! Candles? Fire? Who cares? There are WHEELS on here!!!

Happy Birthday, John!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Facing Your Giants

I was recently asked to speak at a ladies event for our church. We had a spa night and an exceptional turn out of about 65 (give or take a few) ladies. Can you say nervous? Anyway, here is the speech that God laid on my heart. It is a subject that affects all of us, so I thought I would share.

I wanted to share a little bit about myself. I grew up in a small town in Ohio. My parents, my grandparents, and my great grandparents all grew up in church and learned to love God. Therefore, I did, as well. At the age of five I gave my life to the Lord. That was only the beginning of my walk with Jesus, though. Around the age of 20 I began to struggle with thoughts of doubt. Did I really become a Christian way back then? Am I really going to heaven? While, we are on the subject, is being a Christian only about having a "get out of hell free" pass? As I wrestled with God I came to the conclusion, that, yes, I really did become a Christian way back when. And, no, being a Christian is not ONLY about having a "get out of hell free" pass. It is at this point that my relationship with God really began to develop. The journey hasn't always been easy but God has been faithful.

That is what I want to talk with you about tonight. God's faithfulness. I originally thought I would be speaking on spiritual beauty tips or something equally as relaxing. God had other plans though. As I asked for direction, He asked me why women would NEED a spa day. Some of you just want to escape reality for awhile. God then took me to Deuteronomy so that I could send you home with something useful.

Deuteronomy 7:9 says, "Know therefore that hte LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands."

What does this verse say? It says, "God is faithful". HE can be counted on. Why? How do we "know therefore" as the verse says? Well, let's go back a few verses and find out.

Deuteronomy 7:7 says, "The Lord did not set his affections on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples."

The same is true of us. He didn't set His affections on us because we were strong and have it all together. In fact, 2 Corinthians 12:9a says:

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.'"

God chooses the least of people. He chooses the people whose lives are falling apart. God is choosing you! Why would he choose you, you ask? Let's read Deuteronomy 7:8 to find out.

"But it was because the Lord LOVED you and kept his oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharoah Kind of Egypt." (emphasis added)

God didn't only reddem the Israelites from slavery. He redeemed YOU from slavery. Let's look at 1 Peter 1:18-19. It says:

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb withough blemish or defect."

Does your life feel empty? Are you tring to fill your life, yet you don't feel full? God died on a cross just so you could live life to the full. He shed his blood...for YOU! He has already chosen you, now you just need to choose Him! Why did He do that? Why did He die to redeem you from slavery? Let's check the first part of Deuteronomy 7:8 out again: because the Lord loved you!

So, what does all of this have to do with you? Would you like to know what the context of these verses are? Moses is getting the Israelites geared up to go out and take the land God promised them...through battle. God has a promised land for you, too, but you have to fight for it...or better yet, let God fight for it for you as you concentrate on "loving him and keeping his commands."

Forty years previous to this passage the Israelites chickened out. god told them the land was theirs, all they had to do was trust Him. The checked the land out and decided that it was very nice, BUT there were giants in the land and they just didn't trust God to take care of their giants. Therefore, they wandered in the desert for forty years. Now, God is giving the next generation a chance. Same promise, different people.

What giants are you facing right now? An unexpected pregnancy? Maybe the opposite, you'd give anything to be pregnant, but month after month...nothing. Financial issues? Sickness? How about cancer? That seems to affect everyone in some way anymore. Who knows...maybe right now your "giant" is simply three letters long: P-M-S!

When I first moved to Dubuque I had some giants in my life. My husband and I thought that God wanted us here, but the road wasn't easily paved. First of all, I wanted another baby, but I wasn't getting pregnant as easily as I had the first time. Add to that some familial problems. Then, our house in Indiana wasn't selling That was a major time of growth for me as I had to trust God's plan for my certainly wasn't my plan! Eventually I did get pregnant and our house did sell. Then, a friend put her house, in the same town where we struggled to sell our house, on the market. It sold the next day for their asking price. Selfishness welled up inside of me and I pounded out an email to my friend asking why God would let her house sell in a day when ours had sat on the market for a year? It was one of those emails that I should have never pushed the send button. I was very humbled when she wrote back and reminded me that we all have our share of problems. She had three miscarriages before she finally had a live birth. We both had different "giants" to face, but we both HAD "giants". EVERY ONE has either faced a "giant", is facing a "giant", or will face a "giant".

The question is - do you trust God? Do your trust Him to win the battle for you? Are you tring to fight your "giants" by yourself? Or, have you just plain given up? You are just wandering around in a desert of self-pity.

Dear, sweet friends! God never promised the battle would be easy. Never! You do have to suit up and get there! BUT...He NEVER meant for you to fight the battle alone. And, He CERTAINLY never meant for you to feel the need to run and hide! He wants so desperately to be there by your side. He wants to fight this battle with you, FOR you! All He wants in return is for you to "love Him and keep His commands" in the middle of this mad world.

He has already chosen you. Will you choose Him? Will you choose to take Him in to the battle with you by loving Him with all your soul, all your heart and all your mind? Becoming a Christian isn't about rules and regulations. It's about taking Christ's nail-scarred hands and journeying through life with Him, becoming more and more like Him. If you would like to begin that journey with Christ, please contact me. Because, you see, this is just one night...tomorrow it will be back to reality, but with Jesus, your reality can look different.

CrAzY kIdS!!!

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Farm Festival

Every year our neighbor hosts a farm festival. They have all sorts of stuff to do and it is VERY kid friendly. We always enjoy going over to see what all is going on.

This year, he had some "farm equipment" out for the little ones to play with. John LOVED it!

The train ride is ALWAYS a favorite!

This was John's first year to enjoy that aspect, so he went as many times as his sisters would take him.

As for the hay ride...who can resist that? Especially when grandpa is holding a yummy bag of caramel corn!

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All Boy!

When God decided to bless this momma with a boy...He made that little boy ALL boy!!! John is SO different than his sisters have EVER been. Sometimes I just wonder what in the world I am supposed to do with such a little rascal!

Here is a picture of BOTH grandmas trying to dress him. Yes, sometimes I only get to WISH I had a second person to help me dress the little squirt!

He was having a blast running around with the trash can on his head. He would run right into the wall and then laugh as hard as he could.

Birthday time! Open this baby up for me!

What boy doesn't like a dump truck?

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