Sunday, December 27, 2009

In sickness and in health...

Our new biennial family tradition: making each other sick. Thirteen family members who spent a few hours together at Grandma's house Christmas evening have gotten the stomach flu since Christmas. <> Gramma H. says eighteen family members got it this year!

Thankfully, it was a quick bug and only seven hours after getting ill the Sunday after Christmas, I was feeling better. I was the only one in our nuclear family that got it, thankfully. I've come to view it as a biennial* cleansing/detox. I even got a much needed break and got to stay in bed all afternoon.

See here for the head count of our last family epidemic in 2008! And to update that post, yes, my step-mother-in-law, Amy did catch it and it made for quite a memorable honeymoon.

Hope your family has a happy and healthy New Year!!!





*Thanks to Ben for clarifying that biennial is every two years and bi-annual is twice a year. I thought that bi-annual sounded fishy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Parson Brown

First thing this morning I started laundry and rolled Buckeyes (formerly known as peanut butter balls to my pre-Ohioan self). I was determined to get it right today. Yesterday, the snow was calling to us and we drowned it out with TV and Christmas music. I was overwhelmed at the thought of getting the kids snow ready. How could I take the time when the house was such a mess? I ended up being grumpy all day, frustrated with myself and the messy world around me. Mommy guilt haunted me.

As soon as the kids were fed and dressed today, we got started. It took an hour. First I needed long johns. I thought I'd get myself mostly ready, then work on the kids. With snow pants, Ben's flannel and my heavy coat on, I started in on Juju. Got her purple leggings on, pants back on, extra shirt, then the snow pants and matching pooh bear coat. Took Ben's suggestion and put big socks (mine) over her little snow booties (dug those out of the car where she had pulled them off last), since they weren't real snow boots. That should keep them on, I thought. I was starting to get hot. Buddy's turn. Socks, snow pants, coat, gloves, no....that doesn't work...coat off, gloves on, now the coat. Hat. By this time, Juju found she could stand or lie flat but nothing else. There was no sitting. I'd stand her up, she'd fall flat if she tried to move. She was a helpless puffalump on the floor with flailing arms and legs. Sometimes she'd find something to entertain herself on the floor, most times she just cried. It was funny in a pathetic sort of way. Pick up the Puffalump, dress the boy. I checked the clock. It had been a half hour.

Juju started pulling at her gloves, then Buddy. She was getting hot. He wanted the use of his hands. I started putting Vaseline on their cheeks and getting a little testy. I decided to pamper myself and put some Vaseline on my cheeks too. Magically, all my wrinkles went away. At least in my mind they did. We looked all over the house for the bag of buttons that came with the snow man kit. Juju had walked off with them this morning and we couldn't find them in our hot snow suits. "Found them, Mommy!" shouts Z from the kitchen after I'd looked in the closet twice. Hats on, again. Get the camera out of the car, open the garage door and after an hour of preparation we step out into the snowy wonderland as though we are astronauts walking out onto the moon for the first time.

It's not so bad out here, I thought. I'm not even cold. Probably all the layers. Juju had been fussing from being hot, but stopped at the new environment. We lug the snowman dressings to the perfect spot. I set Juju down, threw a snow ball at Z and started making a snowman. Juju still couldn't sit. Unhappy laying in the snow, she wanted held. Wiping noses and consoling her intermittently, I set to making the snow man. Z was happy sitting in the snow. More crying from the puffalump. I know, I'll get her a rocking chair from the front porch so she can sit more easily. No, she just wanted mommy. Her boot was hanging from her snow suit thanks to my now snow covered giant sock. The snow was perfect for rolling giant balls, so Z and I worked quickly. The neighbors watching thanks to the crying puffalump. OK, I can hold a baby while we decorate the snowman. Man, it's getting hot! Let's take a few pictures for posterity. Our snow man now decorated with our fancy snow man decoration kit only needed arms. "OK, Buddy, let's go up the hill and find some arms," I heard myself say. Carrying Juju, up the snowy hill we went. If I could have done it four more times I would have had my cardio in for the day. Once will have to do. All of our hats and gloves were off by this point from being so hot. Arms on, ok, let's go in! Both were happy to come inside. I check the clock. We were outside for a half hour.

In less than two minutes all the remaining layers were shed. The thermometer said 45 degrees. Might have helped to know that before we got dressed to go out. Only because all the books and movies say we should, we sat down for some hot cocoa then had lunch. We read four Dr. Suess books, jumped on the bed for a while thanks to the cocoa caffeine, had a quick puppet show with our puppet friend Louis, then it was Louis' nap time. We found Waldo and both kids fell asleep. I'm pretty sure mommy did too for a few minutes. Now it's time to dip some Buckeyes in chocolate before they wake up, right after I hang our snow clothes up to dry, so we can do it all again tonight when Daddy gets home.

Wishing you and your kin a wondrous Christmas week!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On remembering...

Above is an attempt to recreate the oil painting, Virgin and Child, by Janet Driver. I was unable to locate any on-line images of her beautiful work, so you'll have to settle for my rough interpretation of it. I added the verse from Psalms, but the picture came from a Christmas card we received last year from Ben's great aunt Phyllis. I saved it all year knowing it would become a banner someday.

Below is another picture to give you an idea of how big the banner is. It's 8'x11'. An equally big thank you again to Ben, Dad, Mom, Holly, Sarah and Grace for all your help!
As usual, we are struggling again with how to transcend the commercialization of Christmas and make it a holiday that is significant to our faith. For the past three years we started getting each other only one present to symbolize the one, most important gift from God. This year we've abstained until now, two weeks before the big day, to do any decorating at all, mainly because we were reevaluating all of our traditions or lack thereof. I still wanted to encourage the Christmas spirit in our home somehow. I'm so excited that today, I had an idea...and Ben liked it!

Last year we got yet another inspiring Christmas card, this one from our friend Joey Weaver. It had a picture of himself on it and of Mary and baby Jesus. It said something to the effect of, "I give this gift to you because He gave this gift to us". It was genius in it's simplicity and poignancy. That gave me an idea.
As we all set it up, I explained to Z that Jesus is our present from God and the reason we celebrate Christmas. Because of his gift to us, we give gifts to each other, which we put below the nativity. I reviewed with him, "OK, where's the present on top of the table?" He scanned the table and gave me an apologetic look as if, "Sorry mom, but I don't see it." I pointed to Jesus, and he shouted, "JESUS!!!" He found the presents under the table much more easily.

We asked family to only get us one present each, if anything at all, to ramp up the materialism warfare. We found a great deal of inspiration on this website: BuyNothingForChristmas.org It has a huge list of non-purchase gift items on it. FlyLady also has an excellent no clutter idea list for presents. We won't be doing cards this year, mainly out of frugality. Our apologies to those waiting feverishly for it! Feel free to cut us off your card list too, it'll save you a few pennies. However, if you decide to send us one anyways, we do appreciate it and are grateful for whatever inspiration that comes with it.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Smells like trouble

Last night I ran to the store while Ben stayed home and watched Curious George's Christmas special with the kids. When I came back I found them all in the bathroom with Z announcing that he's earned a present for pooping in the potty. Later that night Ben told me not to use that toilet because the toilet needs plunged now. First thing this morning Ben plunged the toilet and told me it was really stopped up and took a lot of plunging.

Ben's cell phone has been missing since last evening and we spent all morning looking for it. We were confused that it was going straight to voice mail when we'd call it when we knew it was fully charged. After checking the trash and the burnables, Ben had this sinking realization that it was possible that Juju had found his cell phone last night and put it in the toilet before Z went. We're going to give it a day to make sure before he buys a new cell phone, but we're pretty sure that people are calling our septic tank now. At least he can still check his messages. I took a video of Juju after lunch today so we could always remember how cute and happy she is after sending Daddy's cell phone into a smelly abyss.
video
These are her before nap giggles. What you can't tell from this video is that she smells like a hotdog. Maybe that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A moment to share

When I was little, I remember going to kindergarten for half days in Monterey, California and coming home and finding a fun lunch all laid out for me by my mom. One time my lunch was a purple theme. Everything, including my milk, was purple. She's just fun like that. Much more recently, she had this idea of filling Z's choo choo train with all the trimmings for sugar cookies. Z loved it...a little too much - we nearly ran out of certain candies before the cookies were all decorated. I'm sure he had sweet dreams of trains, cookies and candies that night.
"Guess who this is!" she said. I didn't get it at first, but I'm still laughing, mom!
My parents left on Monday, I talked with them today and they're home safely. We had such a nice visit. Ben and I got to take a couple of hikes while we had live-in sitters. The most recent was out to this awesome oak tree just a field and a forest away from our house.

Ornery
My Dad took this with my camera.

Here's another sneak peek at the banner I'm working on. I've had my parents, my husband, my cousin, Grace, and friends from the church all help me with this 8'x11' project. I'm so close to being finished I can almost taste it. I was excited to find this video of an abbreviated church service available on-line! You can hear our worship team and a special music song that Ben and I sang that Sunday they happened to video. {{Grandparents, it might take a bit of time to buffer, just let it sit for a while after you download it if it's choppy.}} Click here to hear the song we sang this past Sunday, only much less accompanied. We only had Ben's guitar and a drummer. Well, I need to get working on that banner!!!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Visual Update

I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness this week, I know, a week early, but I can't help it. My Dad arrived on Tuesday night. I hadn't seen him since May and my mom hadn't seen him for the month she's been here. So, we're all very happy to be together again. Yesterday we had a surprise visit from my aunt and cousin from New Jersey! They were passing through and stopped in for a bit, and had some tea. Such a lovely surprise! I wish I got their picture while they were here!
I'm also thankful for my homeschool kiddos I get to be with every Thursday. We attend a co-op of about 100 homeschoolers who congregate weekly to do gym, drama, science and other fun subjects that supplement their regular curriculum. When my college and careers class fell through this school year, I was recruited to coach gym class to seven 7th and 8th graders. I also sub for other gym classes off and on. I so enjoy these kids! Six of them are boys and boy oh boy are they active! They put up with my structure: warm-up, push-ups, sit-ups, running around the gym before our activity and we always pray at the end, but they won't touch hands -- ewww, gross!

We have done boxing, an obstacle course, and of course, tons of fun games, most of which they have taught me. Their favorite is Poison, which is a cross between tag and dodgeball. My favorite that they taught me is "Missionary Tag", which is like Red Rover only everybody runs from one wall to the other and the "missionary" in the middle tries to tag whomever he/she can as they run across. Anyone who gets tagged joins the "missionary" in trying to tag people. Too funny! Not sure the game is the best way to teach the kids how to be a missionary, but it's just a game. Here's a pic from yesterday of the kids playing Poison Ball, which is totally different from "Poison", it's just plain dodgeball, I'm pretty sure. I look forward to seeing these kids every week. And yes, I usually do all the exercises and play all the games with them. Why wouldn't I? Here's a pic of our lovely hair dresser whom we've had for ten years. She is so patient with our wiggly boy, of course the candy helps. Last week, she talked me into getting bangs for the first time since I was ten, I'll be sure to share a picture soon. I'm having fun with my new look and I'm thankful that my son looks respectable again.

Here's what's going on right now as I write this:

And here's a sneak peek of part of the banner I'm making for church.
I have a LONG way to go and will show you pictures once it's done.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where to put it

Yay! I'm excited to share that for the past two months we've been composting! We gave ourselves one month to get settled in our new home before starting this new endeavor. Turns out people with septic tanks can't have a garbage disposal in their sink. Turns out we were super duper spoiled. It's taken a bit of adjusting to not putting anything down the sink, but it feels good to know that we're making wonderful compost in the backyard with our rotting food. Ben thought of using our old doggie gates previously used to keep our hairless pooches safe in town. Now they run free and the varmints stay out of our growing pile of food.

It's lovely for everything to have it's place. Food in the compost, burnables in a box to burn, recycling in it's respective bin and just a wee bit of trash left over. It's organized and I love it! I have some friends at church who have been married for over twenty years and have never had trash pick-up (which we don't either now) and have never needed it! They bury some things (like chicken carcasses), put some in a ditch for local animals (other meats), compost, burn a lot, recycle most. I think that's amazing! We're not that good by any means.

Speaking of inspiring, a few days ago I read this post on moving from "disposable" to "reusable". My husband already poo-pooed the cloth toilet paper idea. He does like the idea of a bidet though. I think we're ready to try living without paper towels and napkins. Especially with my mom here for three more weeks and wanting to make cloth napkins with me!

On the topic of organization: When my sisters-in-law helped unpack our kitchen we aimed to create a smarter kitchen too. In my new kitchen there's a cupboard with all the mugs, the coffee, filters, hot chocolate, marshmallows, tea and sugar. There's also a cupboard for bread, peanut butter, honey and nutella. In another cupboard we put all the baking supplies which I had together at the last house as well and inspired the rest of the organization. I would love to hear YOUR innovative organization ideas! I could use some help figuring out where to put our DVDs and things we previously stored in built-in cabinetry and now have no where to put them!

Oooh, check out all new pictures in the slideshow!!! I had a ton of pics to sort through between all of my pics and my mom's. You can see what's been keeping us so busy around here. Hope you have a fabulous week!!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A horse, of course!

Good news! My friend gets to come home from the hospital today! She must be walking on her own, as that was the criteria to get to leave. Thank you for your on-going prayers for a speedy recovery and for her to maintain her determined and positive attitude. She's a trooper!


Last week we all got our voices back from being a little hoarse, and we filled our week with a different kind of horse! On Monday, our friends Laurie and Darrell had us over to visit with their horses. Z was happier to have Daddy on with him than being by himself.

Z brushing PeaBo

On Tuesday we went to SkyView Ranch in Millersburg with our play group and all the kids got to ride horses and take a haystack ride. That's our Z riding below. He went around twice by himself and didn't want to get off!

I believe it was on Thursday we took a lovely walk in our back yard and met some of the neighbor's horses. Ben started calling Z, "the horse-whisperer" as he has such a way with the horses.

Yesterday, Ben and I flew to Butler County, PA for the day. My mom suggested it and she watched the kids for us. It was a lot of fun to get out and do something out of the ordinary. It was a beautiful day for flying and seeing the last of the Fall colors. Before we got too far, Ben flew me over our new house. Our last home was in the middle of downtown and it was always hard to determine which street and which house it was from the air. I figured this one out all by myself! We're at the top of the horse-shoe soy bean field. You can even see the horse farm with the pond on the bottom left of the picture.
The farmer behind us just plowed the soybeans today which reminds me that it's time to record a new answering machine message. Yes, these things go together for me, you see. Just a bit of history, here's my old message from our last house (I never did add Juju):

We are the Wigtons, through and through
And though it's inconvenient to you,
We seem to be off gallivanting around,
that or we're laying little 'Z' down,

We've done told you who you've reached,
Now do your part just after the beep.


When we moved, I thought this was a fitting message:

This is the country! Where we live now!
We'd be out making hay, but we don't know how!
We're thrilled you called, in case you can't tell.
We'll ring you back or you can call our cell.

So, now I'm more schooled in the ways of country living and to say we'd be out making hay in the middle of winter is just plain silly. So, I really must come up with another message. Especially now that the soy beans in our back yard have dried and are finally being harvested. I really must think these things through next time and save myself some trouble. :-)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

We have a cool God

We talked to someone who visited our friend last night and said she's not quite steady on her feet (normal after brain surgery), but is determined to walk and soon. Also, she can carry on a conversation! Which means she can hear out of the other ear! Praise God! Thanks for your prayers!! I'm confident she'll make a speedy recovery!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Post-Op

OK, we got a call around 6 o'clock tonight from my friend's hubby informing us that she was out of surgery, was in recovery and had not woken up yet from sedation. They believe they removed all of the tumor, but she definitely lost hearing in one ear. They believe they reconnected the rest of the nerves well enough though. The tumor was sitting on her brain stem and they had to disconnect the brain stem from the brain to remove it. Please continue to pray that there are no other unexpected side effects from the surgery, that she keeps her hearing in the other ear and that she makes a full and quick recovery.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prayer Request

I truly believe there is no better use of a blog than to ask for prayer for needs or to share stories of answered prayer to bring glory to God. I know I don't do either often enough. I do not intend to spread gossip, I sincerely ask for prayer for my friend, who shall remain nameless.

She has surgery to remove a brain tumor on Friday morning at 6:30am EST. Please pray for the surgeon, for peace for her and her family, for the surgeon to get it all out and not harm her in any way. There is an 80% risk for hearing loss from this surgery, please pray there is zero hearing loss and a quick recovery. Thank you, friends.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Mostest

Grandmas are always special. One Great and they're cool. Two Greats? They're AWESOME! Happy Birthday to Z and Juni's Great Great Grandma!!! Ninety-seven and counting!

My grandpa just e-mailed my this picture from a blackberry?!? I'm impressed!

My great grandma is the most fun and awesome grandma in the world. She always makes us laugh, she's super positive and won't complain to you about aches and pains unless you beg her to. She never forgets amazing stories about our heritage, Swedish royalty with a fleet of ships and pipe smoking women. She likes to tell us how her mother was a "Crook" before she got married, that being her maiden name.

Always boat fulls of fun, I wish we could be together on this special day! When I asked my mom (who just arrived last night) if she had anything to say about her grandma, she said, "I know she loves me the mostest!" That's funny, she told me she loves me the mostest!! Happy Birthday, Grandma! We love you the mostest!!!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Perfect Day




We went on a walk today behind our house. The neighbor girl tells us it's ok to walk through the farmer's field. When I asked about woods, she said that's fine too, but beware of coyotes (pronounced "ky-oats"). She told me she always takes her 22 and shoots at something random before entering just to scare them off. She's 13 years old. We didn't see any wild life today, just breathtaking landscapes.

Juju took her first steps today. Ben came home early from work and she walked from me to him, food in hand. I knew she'd involve food in this momentous occasion somehow, I just thought she'd be walking toward the food.

A car hit an electric pole down the road today, brought all the neighbors out to watch and talk. Thankfully the driver was ok, but evidently we might lose our electricity for a spell while they repair the pole. I've never had an entirely electric house before, and a well to boot. So, our kind new neighbors prepared us. They said to go home and cook dinner quick before the power out, bathe the kids, keep the tub full of water so we could pour some of it down the toilet for flushing purposes later, and pour a jug full of drinking water. Oh, and go buy a generator! Just kidding, they actually were telling me how to cook on the flat surface of our fireplace and even how to grill a lasagna or casserole if needed! I love it!

It's 10:30pm and no power out yet, so I'd better publish this quick before it happens! Goodnite!




On the back of the barley package I saw this yummy looking recipe. When we had some rhubarb that needed used as it wasn't enough to freeze for a pie, I did a little research. After reading tons of rhubarb recipes, I came back to this barley pudding recipe and altered it to go with rhubarb. My recipe for Rhubarb Barley Meal (it's more like oatmeal than a pudding) is:
1 cup stewed rhubarb
2 cups cooked barley
1/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 t. powdered ginger
1/2 t. curry powder
2 eggs

I omitted the lemon juice and followed the recipe as above only with my ingredients. So far, I'm the only one in our family to even try the stuff, but I like it! I did make a boo boo though, and cooked two cups of barley, which makes much more than two cups of cooked barley. My new friend, Elizabeth, who visited from Utah this week was brave enough to try it and sweet enough to say she liked it!

I learned of Elizabeth on our friend's blog. Turns out she's an expert knitter. I just LOVE knitters! I have several friends who knit and I just think they're AMAZING!!! You know who you are! I can knit and purl...scarves and wash cloths! That's it! Beyond that I'm lost. Besides I'm super duper slow. All of my knitter friends/relatives are SO fast! Here's Elizabeth at work with four needles! This just boggles my mind! I didn't cut her head off on purpose, I was just mesmerized by the four needles!
Here's a cutie pie bunny she made and here's the link to the free pattern.
A darling toy elephant! Here's the link to the free pattern.

Here's the hat she made herself for this winter and
the scarf she made our friend Matt for Christmas last year! It was nice meeting you, Elizabeth! Thanks for visiting!





Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Last week we had the privilege of having special visitors from Tennessee, my grandparents! Above we're picking out the perfect pumpkin from our community garden that we're part of. Below Grandpa's at work making our bedroom door fit nicely, he's a retired cabinet maker (though he still works in the paint/hardware dept at WalMart). We're so thankful for his expertise! We had an antique wood plane in our living room as decoration, turns out it still works! How cool is that?
Enjoying the music room!
Ben's been building fires every night just to try out the two fireplaces in our new home
We plan to buy an insert for one of them so we can heat our whole house this winter.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthdays!

Yesterday she came into the world and stole our hearts...
....now she's a year old and we're still completely smitten.

Happy Birthday Juju! My Sweetheart is another year older too!
Happy Birthday Ben!


See the slideshow for pictures galore of our family filled fun weekend!










Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wish I wasn't busy on Saturday!

Check it out! Saturday is MUSEUM DAY! Print out your free admission card here. Click here to search for participating museums near you! Thanks again Celia for the tip!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Busy bee

What I'm busy with this week:
  • Preparing for our baby girl's first birthday party this weekend!
  • Finishing unpacking and finding a place for everything in a house with much less built in cabinetry than the last house. Does one buy a container to house C.D.s and DVDs that will some day be obsolete? I really don't know!
  • Thinking about my grandparents visit from TN next week! Yay!
  • Taking pictures of two houses and making their virtual tours
  • Doing bills and laundry and making meals - this was a given, but I want credit
  • Trying to maintain a resemblance of normalcy keeping up social activities for the kiddos including play group, soccer* and a play date - homeschool co-op starts next week!
  • Buying a rug to keep the food off our nice carpet under the kitchen table. Yes...carpet in the kitchen...perhaps there's lovely wood underneath, we'll hope, eh?
  • Oh, and don't forget changing diapers and taking wee Z to go pee in the loo. I'm learning not to fill his tank with juice right before a long car ride. "Got to go potty, Mommy!" Ack! I just passed an exit! "Hold on, Buddy! We'll stop as soon as we can! You can do it! Hold it!" He did. {{Long sigh, big smile}} Another rewarding moment in mommyhood.
*It's official, I'm a soccer mom!!! A soccer mom with a station wagon, mind you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Irresistible Revolution

The BOOK REVIEW you should read!

Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

I have truly struggled with how and when to share my thoughts about this book with my readers. There are parts of this book that would truly offend many of you. Also, there is a growing popularity of the author in many circles that borders on idolatry. So, I hesitate. I don't want to offend and I don't want to be yet another wannabe dread head that follows Shane Claiborne and becomes part of a trend. I can live with being offensive, but I hate trends.

That being said, I really really liked this book. Not since I read, C.S. Lewis', " The Great Divorce," have I been so affected by a book other than the Bible. This book, which my pastor recommended, coupled with the impact of our new church has made me challenge some of the most significant soap boxes I've stood on in my life.

So, what did I like about it? First I'll tell you what I didn't like. I didn't like that the author did a lot of name dropping throughout the book. It was slow at one point, but it picked up again at the end. Also, he was rather blunt at times and I was offended, at first.

Instead of summing up the book, here's just a couple ways the book impacted me, you'll have to read the book for the controversial points:

  • I'm reading the Bible with new eyes, asking with many others at our church in jest, "What if Jesus really did mean what He said?" For instance, "Feed the poor". I realized I don't actually know many poor people to feed. Thankfully, I'm starting to meet a few, but I have a long way to go! I've started giving my clothes and things away to actual people and not just sending it all to Salvation Army or Goodwill just to get my donation slip {YES, I endorsed this practice in my Money For Nothin' series a while back} . Here's what Shane Claiborne says about that:
I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, "When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me," or, "When I was naked, you donated clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me." Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: "you fed me...you visited me in prison...you welcomed me into your home...you clothed me."

...The church becomes a distribution center, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. Both go away satisfied (the rich feel good, the poor get clothed and fed), but no one leaves transformed. No radical new community is formed. And Jesus did not set up a program but modeled a way of living that incarnated the reign of God, a community in which people are reconciled and our debts are forgiven just as we forgive our debtors (all economic words). That reign did not spread through organizational establishments or structural systems. It spread like disease - through touch, through breath, through life. It spread through people infected by love.
  • Community. "Love your neighbor as yourself" has taken on a refreshingly new meaning where I don't translate "neighbor" as just everybody in the world, but rather my actual neighbors, that live next door to me. I'm trying to truly love them, then branch out from there. I've taken bread to all of my neighbors since our move, with a note that invites them to call us if they need anything. Better yet, I'm trying (and so is Ben) to make genuine relationships with them. Sadly, at our last house I can count on one hand the number of good conversations I had with my neighbors and we lived there for nine years!
The community concept is much much bigger than just what I mentioned, but I'm taking baby steps. I have many aspirations that I'll share with you as they unfold. For a much bigger picture of community and how we can live out His will on Earth as it is in Heaven, read this book for some inspiring stories and some gut wrenching convictions.

Finally, I want to end with one last quote (actually of a footnote) that I love to share with others:


The story of Minucius is a beautiful glimpse of irresistible revolution. As a lawyer who was persecuting Christians, Minucius understood the empire and the religious establishment well. But he soon caught the contagion of love. Here's what he had to say about Christians before his conversion in AD 200: "They despise temples as if they were tombs. They despise titles of honor and the purple robe of high government office though hardly able themselves to cover their nakedness...They love one another before being acquainted. They practice a cult of lust, calling one another brother and sister indiscriminately.

And here's what he said after his conversion: "Why do they have no altars, no temples, no images?...What temple shall I build him [God] when the whole world, the work of his hands, cannot contain him? Should we not rather make a sanctuary for him in our souls? The whole heaven and the whole earth and all things beyond the confines of the world are filled with God...I would almost say: we live with him. What a beautiful sight it is for God when a Christian mocks the clatter of the tools of death and the horror of the executioner; when he defends and upholds his liberty in the face of kings and princes, obeying God alone to whom he belongs. Among us, boys and frail women laugh to scorn torture and the gallows cross and all the other horrors of execution" (Eberhard Arnold, ed., The Early Christians: In Their Own Words [Farmington, PA: Plough, 1998]).



Wowee Zowee!

Ugh, I just noticed I hadn't listed the name of the first magazine in this,
it's fixed now, so you can read it!


MONEY FOR NOTHIN'

Hello! Had to pass on the savings my homeschooling guru, Celia, shared today on our homeschooling co-op discussion forum:

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Swiftly Speaking

naptime

secrets
See the slide show for all new pictures!


BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS*
We're enjoying our country living. I'm a little surprised at how noisy it is out here though! Between the crickets, the frogs, the cicadas (17 years my foot!), the cows and the birds, oh my the birds! It's pretty loud. A good loud though.

According to our neighbor, we have a swarm of swifts living in our chimney at night. It's a chimney we won't be using, but Ben says it's not good to have animals living in our house or our chimney, so he capped it. I usually only hear the birds while they're jumping from tree to tree around the neighborhood. There seems to be a thousand of them by day. Here's about a hundred of them swarming to their nest in our chimney and finding the motel closed. It was hard to get a good picture. All of the black blurs are birds!
* photo of swift courtesy of www.avianweb.com


We've been having lots of campfires in our back yard. We'll probably have one after Juju's first birthday party in a few weeks. I wonder if I can get the place looking good in time! One room is still filled with boxes. We'll see! Here the grass was wet so we used some of our many boxes to stay dry. Lawn chairs are not nearly as fun!