Sunday, December 31, 2006

Sanctification and A Forgiving Nature

A high water mark. Generally something indicating the worst a rainfall received for an area. Often considered a moment of disaster or tragedy. However, what if you could look at it as a high mark to reach for instead?

This was our pastor’s idea when he spoke on Phil 3.13-14 and Col 3.13 this morning.

First… “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing [I do,] forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Our pastor is calling us up higher, to a loftier standard, to be sanctified, to be placed apart. And, his first suggestion was to forget the past and move forward! 2006 is OVER! And, Christ frees us from ALL things that have held us back. Christ has forgiven ALL of our sins. We can now reach “forward to those things which are ahead." We are to live in Christ not live in the past!

Secondly…bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do.]

Our pastor’s second suggestion was to forgive! Work at it with everyone. And, that means every. one. No. Matter. What.

Then, he made us “practice” and model it by rising from our seats, leaving our rows, and seeking out anyone nearby and practicing it by saying “please forgive me for anything I might have done.” While we laughed, giggled, and hesitated as a congregation, there was an amazing moment of “lightness” in the room. Like the Holy Spirit approved! :)

So, for 2007, my first two “resolutions” are those: to forget the past and to forgive. My third? A chronological reading of the entire Bible from a guide I got here. I’ve also been using a site I stumbled onto (with the help of someone at Faithprints, I think) called “43 Things”. My personal link has been added to “These Vikings’ Links” . So, a list of things I’ll be working on this year:

Read one book a month
Get out of the "200 Club"
Clean the basement
Paint Viking #2's room
Learn to use a sewing machine
Want to try homeschooling Viking #1 in September
Take a cooking class
Lose all the X's on my clothing sizes
Cut our debt by half in 2007

Lord, help me to seek You out through the Word and prayer. Guide me to what you would have me do. Strengthen me in times of weakness. Protect me from distractions and temptations. Mold me into what You would have be! Amen.
Happy New Year to all!

pic credit:

Friday, December 29, 2006

Comment for Dollars! LOL

Rocks in My Dryer has linked up with "Pass The Torch" to gain comments to raise funds for St. Jude. A sponsor will give $1 for every comment up to 500 comments. Please go to Pass the Torch and comment today if you feel led.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

God's Inbox

Has anyone else saw this?

Now considering the source and the location in the magazine, I expected some liberal-leaning tendencies, political twists, and some humor. But, it provoke a lot of other thoughts and feelings in me as well.

Thoughts about our prayer lives and what they "appear" to be to the outside world...
Of the 24 "emails", less than five appear to be "legit" prayers...
That they have three emails entitled "Let the unbelievers perish" from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish authors...
An email from our president with regards to Iraq...
An email from a reknown atheist (huh?)...
An email from Buddha...
An email from Zeus...
An email from Mary with regards to a DNA test request from Joseph...

I don't know whether to be offended, exasperated, or to have a chuckle and toss the magazine away.

What do you all think?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So is it really a gene? LOL

OK, first of all, I LOVE my husband! I don't know what I'd do without him; I'd be lost. And I really do appreciate everything he does around the house. But, can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture!? LOL

I bought these paper towel last week - had a coupon since they were some newfangled style that looks good in the standing holders as oppose to the ones that go under your cabinets. Whatever. But, my my dear, sweet hubby (all on his own) went to replace the paper towels last night, he put them in upside-down! LOL

This led me to think about a conversation he and I had recently...normally, I'm the first one to argue against generalizations. "All guys do this" or "all girls do that" type of comments really grate on my nerves. But, particularly after the sociology class I just took, I realize how much of what we are is a matter of socialization.

While I also praise God for providing to each gender their own unique attributes, how is it that guys seem to know how to "innately" do thing like use tools, fix things, etc. while they can't manage to run a washing machine, use a dishwasher, or sweep? LOL And, how is it that I can learn to manage all thing household-y but still can't remember the correct names for the two types of screwdrivers! LOL

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Wire Cutters, Birthday Cake, and Puke Buckets

Just popping in amidst the chaos! LOL Three thoughts for you...

1. Da Hubby and I have officially become our parents (LOL)...sat up 'til 1am Christmas Eve getting boxes open, batteries inserted and cursing the toy manufacturers for using those infernal wire ties on everything! Grrr...armed with a pair of wire cutters and a Leatherman multi-tool, we "freed" all the toys before the sun came up! LOL

2. How sweet it was and how it made me get all teary to hear Viking #1 sing "Happy Birthday" to baby Jesus before demolishing her piece of birthday cake last night! :)

3. We woke up to a toddler bed and a toddler covered in last night's dinner. *sigh* So, we're cancelling our trip to nearby family for Viking #1's first time on ice skates and making plans for large loads of laundry and a trip to Walgreens for clear fluids.

We hope everyone had a blessed and restful Christmas! Will check in again soon!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

“Santa endures…(but) lessens meaning of Christmas”

(Let me preface this by a similar disclaimer as Lisa used a few weeks ago…I’m simply thinking honestly aloud, following my heart and my spirit with reference to this topic. I in no way mean to offend or condemn. We have felt convicted in this area but in no means are we judging those that have chosen to do otherwise…)

this article interesting, thought provoking, and worrisome all at the same time! LOL I know this issue has already made the rounds of the blogs I frequent (particularly Everyday Mommy’s To Santa or Not to Santa) but I have been the single voice (as far as I know) on the MSN message board I frequent daily who has chosen to not introduce Santa in our home. So, I have been muddling over this even more.

As I wrote at MSN the other day…”OK, I guess I'll be the dissenting opinion. We don't "do" Santa, nor Halloween, nor Easter Bunny, nor Tooth Fairy. Our faith is the reason. I understand history of St. Nicholas but our denomination doesn't emphasize traditional saints. I understand that many of our Christmas traditions are rooted in pagan beliefs but we're now trying to focus on the coming of Jesus not the coming of Santa. And, since we're not allowed to talk religion, I'll drop it there before someone complains. Respectfully, there's plenty of "magic" for kids to discover without manufacturing more and lying to them.”

The other MSN moms (a mix of the spectrum of liberal to conservative, Christian to atheist) felt that Santa did not necessarily equate with commercialism nor take away from any religious significance of the holiday. The poll in this article seems to argue otherwise. According to this source, 47% of the respondents felt that the Santa Claus tradition detracts from the religious significance of the holiday.

Also, I found it interesting that “Santa is important to 60 percent of Catholics, 51 percent of those without a religious affiliation and 47 percent of Protestants, when households both with and without children are surveyed.” Wait! Santa is more important to non-religiously-affiliated folks than to Protestants!? LOL For some reason, I find that funny!

But, what ultimately concerned me were sentiments like…

Reaching deep into memory, Margaret Klumpp, 88, of Windsor, N.Y., recalled hiding her Santa doubts from her parents... Now she sees Santa through the eyes of five great-grandchildren, the oldest 6, and considers him a complement to the Christian celebration…"When you are a little child you go to Santa and after that you move over to Jesus," she said. "I think it kind of goes together."

You go to Santa and move over to Jesus?? Ouch! If a child is capable of understanding and grasping the intangible concept behind Santa – a loving and unseen benefactor - would it not be better time spent laying the foundation for a belief in Jesus in an age-appropriate way?

And, not to sound harsh, I guess in my heart of hearts I don’t feel like the “Santa magic” of being little is worth the moment when my little Vikings look at me devastated, realizing that adults (including their parents, pastors, grandparents, etc.) have been lying to them for years. Isn’t there enough “magic” in the world through the miracles, wonders, and creation of God to sustain that childhood state of grace enough to fight off the invasion of the world’s values for just as long?

While the decision has been made in the household, I’m still searching for peace and strength about it as it has been repeatedly challenged these last few weeks…

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Meme

Since my first post today was so boring (LOL), I figured I drop this in here as well. Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer had this last...

1. What is guaranteed to make you smile over the holidays?
Viking #1 “helping” #2 open his first Christmas gifts! LOL

2. What makes you weepy during the holidays?
Singing “Silent Night” (all the verses!) LOL

3. How will you spend Christmas Eve and Day?
This year? Christmas Eve with the in-laws and Day home alone with the Vikings and Da Hubby!

4. What was your most memorable Christmas and why?
Unfortunately, the first one to come to mind- Christmas 1984. My grandpa passed away that day.

5. Christmas form letters from friends -- pro or con?
Big time pro! Love seeing pics of all my friends’ little kids I don’t get to see often! Lisa, Shelagh, Jill, Katina, Becca, my cousin Kathy, and my WebMD/MSN-PAIF friends.

6. In your home is Christmas more of a religious or secular observance?
The coming of Jesus over the coming of Santa! LOL

7. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
See above about the weepy part! LOL

8. What is your deepest prayer for the world this Christmas?
Romans 10.1

And, if you are feeling Christmas-y, consider yourself tagged...Merry Chrismas, y'all!

Family Advent Calendar Confession

Well, the last I checked in with you all in was December 11th. That leaves 10 days to be accounted for since! LOL Well....between finals and holiday preparations, I've let this year's project fall by the wayside a bit. Not that we've lost the holiday cheer but organization (once again) has become my enemy! LOL

We still got several of the things we scheduled done but just not one a day: our family party, watching Christmas movies in the van on the way home from SE Michigan, making Christmas cookies, and making hot chocolate mix.

Things we "skipped" but would still like to do: go see "The Nativity", a night drive to see Christmas lights, and taking cookies and hot chocolate mix to the neighbors.

Things learned: the local area concerts we thought we'd take the kids to this year were not free nor family-friendly...they were the dress-up, night-out, baby-sitter-needed, pay-for-tickets types of concerts. So, note to self for next year.

I think the remaining four days are pretty much taken care of:

Today: make another batch or two of cookies, and then make up the cookie trays and hot chocolate packets for the neighbors

Friday: a trip to our local Nature Center that has the area dressed up with lights for a walking tour;

Saturday: maybe that night drive with the kids or "The Nativity" with Da Hubby

Sunday: we have our copy of "Night Before Christmas"and new PJ's for everyone washed and ready to go!

We're getting excited here! Merry Christmas to all! And God's blessings on the remainder of your preparations and your resulting celebrations!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Twenty-four pictures later...

...and I don't know whether to admit defeat by these two little anarchists who think they run the house or just really begin to love the shots I caught since they catch the kids at their goofiest!

I tried to take some posed, JCPenney-wannabe Christmas shots for my yet-to-be-started Christmas cards and got these instead....

WFMW: Temporarily "Toddler Proof" Toilet Paper Rolls

There will be peace on earth (or at least in our home) until Viking #1 figures this out...which should be any day now (LOL)...but I thought it might help someone else. I don't remember who suggested this but it has so far saved us I'm sure hundreds of dollars in toilet paper.

I've found a baby's or toddler's natural "arm action" is to start high, bringing the arm down in a sweep, thus spinning the roll from the top down. Simply insert your roll with the edge coming off the back and every time the little curtain-climber goes to "spin" the roll, he or she will be actually rolling it up. No more pile of TP on the floor. It's worked here so far.

See Shannon's site for more Works For Me Wendesday ideas.

Thirty Years of Friendship

While I could spend hours, days, weeks describing all she means to me, my "bestest" friend of thirty years sent me this yesterday along with my Girl Scout cookie order and Christmas gifts for my kids. She said it made her think of me. Well, it 's my wish for her as well. Lisa, sweetie, I love ya! So lucky to have you!

The Sweetest of Nights and the Finest of Days
by Judith Viorst

I wish you, I wish you
I wish you these wishes:
Cool drinks in your glasses.
Warm food in your dishes.
People to nourish and cherish and love you.
A lamp in the window to light your way home in the haze.
I wish you the sweetest of nights
And the finest of days.

I wish you, I wish you
A talent for living.
Delight in the getting.
Delight in the giving.
A song in your soul, and someone to hear it.
The wisdom to find the right path when you're lost in a maze.
I wish you the sweetest of nights
And the finest of days.

A snug roof above you.
A strong self inside you
The courage to go where you know you must go,
And a good heart to guide you.
And good friends beside you.

I wish you, I wish you
A dream worth the doing.
And fortune's face smiling
On all you're pursuing.
And pleasures that far far
Outweigh your small sorrows.
Arms wide to embrace your tomorrows.
A long sunlit sail on the bluest and smoothest of bays.
I wish you the sweetest of nights
And the finest of days.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Wisdom of Trees?

Something I thought of as we drove over to the other side of the state this past weekend...

Did you ever notice that "regular" trees without their leaves look like they are worshipping, hands raised and reaching up for God and that Christmas trees seem to be pointing up to the One whom the season should be focused around?

Monday, December 18, 2006

I Survived Round One!

I’m still standing! LOL

Took my final at 5pm on Thursday (THANK YOU to my blue-eyed, "most-est handsomest", love-of-my-life for coming home early from work so I could do so!) And, thanks to the wonders of technology, my grades were waiting for me when I arrived home via snail mail AND online access! An "A" on the final resulting in an "A" for the semester! Yippee, me!

Unfortunately, we found out right before my test that the best man from our wedding and his wife had lost their infant daughter on December 9th shortly after birth. So, prior to leaving town, we made a point of getting to the visitation time to share our sorrow, hugs, and prayers with them. I cannot put into words everything that few minutes at the funeral home brought up and out in me. Suffice it to say this: there are few things more sad in life than a casket that size; there are few things that clear your vision and grab your focus more quickly about what is truly important about the holidays; and just hug your kids a little closer today.

So, we were on the road by 2:30pm. And, for the first time in our family history, our traveling across the state was uneventful. If you've ever attempted a trip longer than 30 minutes with one or more children under 3, you know EXACTLY what I mean. No diaper blow-outs, no temper tantrums, no "are we there yet?", no "I gotta pee...NOW!", no screaming-hungry-needs-to-nurse-NOW baby, no accidents, no traffic jams, and (praise Him for all things that are good) the DVD player played Christmas videos all the way there! LOL We checked into the hotel around 6pm and then spent the rest of the evening with my dad, step-mom, and two half-sisters.

Saturday morning, Da Hubby and Viking #1 were waiting at the pool's gate at 9am and enjoyed an hour of swimming before our day’s activities. I forgot my bathing suit so Viking #2 and I stayed in the room, cleaned up, got ready, and packed our bags for the day. We met up with my mom and step-dad at noon for lunch and then spent about 4 hours at their house wreaking havoc going through the apparently unending piles of gifts for their two only grandchildren. We then spent the evening with my extended family for our family's Christmas party. What a wonderful phenomena becoming an adult! LOL How weird to sit there and suddenly realize the irony that 30 years ago it was me and my cousins rampaging through the “play area” upstairs instead of all these adorable, amazing children who are now our offspring!

Sunday morning began with another swim, packing, and then an early lunch at Culver’s (Cracker Barrel’s line was too long! LOL) Then, with the van packed to the gills with presents, bags, suitcases, toys, and baby gear strapped to everything but the roof, we made our way uneventfully home. Following a 2 hour nap (during which even Mommy and Daddy snuggled and snoozed), we attended our church’s Christmas party last night!

Needless to say, everyone slept well last night! LOL And, now, Round Two begins for this week as we prepare for this coming weekend! Grocery shopping today. Christmas shopping for the kids tomorrow. And, hopefully, lots of just-sit-and-play-and-snuggle time with the kids that I was so coveting last week when I was studying and preparing us to travel. I’m tired of being tired and cranky and just want to spend the remainder of the week snuggling with Da Hubby and the Vikings.

Of course, there is that first birthday party for Viking #2 I need to arrange in two weeks…LOL

Thursday, December 14, 2006

100 Signatures in 17 days?

(With apologies to Bob the Builder...) "Can we (do) it? YES, WE CAN!" LOL

Jules at Everyday Mommy posted today that the Moms For Modesty petition has reached 900+ signatures! YEAH! But, she was hoping for 1,000 by the end of the year. If you feel lead or are willing to sign, please go here and do so!

Thanks...and now I'm off to wash dishes, do laundry, and pack for our weekend trip! And, oh yeah, btw the test went pretty well! ;)

Thoroughly Worn-Out Thursday

13 hours sleep in the last three days.
Uncooperative kids.
All six chapters read.
One of 3 essays written.
20 vocab definitions left to memorize.
Test in 3.5 hours.

Have to finish laundry, wrap 6 gifts, and pack the four of us so we can leave for my family's holiday celebrations in 24 hours. As Da Hubby and I said during that "mommy hazing" stage each time we brought a baby home: "Sleep is overrated!"

I probably will not post 'til Monday when we get home. Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WFMW: Baby Food Organzation

Well, this (again) isn't anything particularly complicated...just me dealing with one more Momma-thing to keep track of while dealing with a wicked case of off-meds ADD! LOL

I have had a devil of a time trying to keep track of baby food "stock" as well as what I had fed the kids. I needed to know how many of a particular fruit or veggie I had. I also wanted a way to make sure I was having them try and eat a variety of foods so I didn't just get stuck feeding the same thing day after day after day.

So I pulled up Word, made a list of our most favorite options, and organized them on the page in a somewhat circular fashion. Then by simply using a pen and a magnet, I can keep track of how many of each option I have and I know what I fed them and what is coming up next! See what I mean...

If can see it in the picture, the veggies are on top. I always gave them to Viking #2 for lunch. The red magnet is on "squash" so that means "peas" are next. And, so on...clockwise around the circle.

And, the handwritten numbers near each one is how many of each I have. So, for example, when I took this photo, I knew I had 2 green beans and five sweet potatoes servings left.

The fruit choices that I gave him at dinner are listed under his hand. But, it used in the same fashion.

Not anything particularly revolutionary but it saved me a lot of brain cells since I had one less thing I had to keep track of in my head! LOL And, it cost me NOTHING! :) So, the price was definitely right!

For more awesome ingenious ideas, see Shannon's site at Rocks In My Dryer. And, while you are there...consider clicking on her voting link to select her as the best parenting blog on the web!

Online Cookie Exchange

What an awesome idea! Anita suggested an online cookie recipe exchange. So, here is a list of goodies I have made so far or was hoping to bake this month:

Cherry Snowballs
Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
Rice Crispie Treats (green and red!)
Almond Stars
Oatmeal Scotchies
Peanutty Caramel Bars
Chevy Macaroons
No-Bake Cookies (my SIL's recipe)

And, here's the one Viking #1 and I will make today: Cherry Snowballs

1 C butter, softened
1/2 C confectioners' sugar
2 C all-purpose flour
1 jar (6 oz.) maraschino cherries, without stems, drained and halved
Additional confectioners' sugar

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar; gradually add flour. Shape a tablespoon of dough around each cherry, forming a ball. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 325 for 18-20 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Roll warm cookies in confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks.

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen

Please feel free to participate! Post your recipe at your blog and link back to Anita or to here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

For Your Consideration...

As far as I can tell from browsing the other 9 nominees' links, Shannon is the only Christian mommy nominated. So let's support our sister. Please go check out Rocks In My Dryer and consider clicking on her voting link.

Tuesday Morning Tired

Well, it IS Tuesday, right? Technically. Since it is 1am. *sigh*

The good news? I got three chapters read somehow yesterday plus we had time for a play group.

The bad news? I'm up at 1am with sick babies. Both Vikings have colds again. *sigh* So, Momma's doing the humidify-hydrate-humidify-hydrate, middle-of-the-night shuffle. How do you moms with more than 2 DO this? When they're all coughing, hacking, and crying for you at the same time??
The ironic twist? Da Hubby and I agreed that after the first of the year we'd start talking about whether or not to start working on #3! LOL Maybe God only meant for us to have two...but is that me or Him talking? ;)

Sweet dreams to all...zzzzzzz

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Morning Bleary Eyed

...with a LLOONNGG list of things to do!

I feel a bit of a disclaimer, warning, justification, explanation is in order for this week! Particularly since I awoke at 5:30am with Da Hubby to do some studying in peace before the Vikings get up.

I have a final on Friday which will require (since it is a "study at home at your own pace" classw here I have as of now done NONE of the work for this unit) reading 6 chapters, watching 6 30-minute videos, memorizing 20 vocab definitions and writing 3 "mini-essays" before Friday while balancing kids, family life, and Christmas preparations. Friday at noon is my final. After which, I will be traveling across the state to enjoy my family's Christmas celebrations for the weekend. Did I mention I haven't started Christmas shopping yet? LOL

And, would it now go without saying that I hope y'all aren't TOO disappointed if I'm not able to deposit quality, long-winded, lengthily-studied for entries this week? LOL And, while I'm anxious to see what the Lord has for me in that Scripture I posted last week, my hopefully fruitful, eventual "revelations" may be delayed in being published!

I will be around for quick study breaks and occasional commenting. Promise. And, I'm too "blog-addicted" to not browse through my links that see what you all are up to this week. But, I didn't want anyone to think I'd fallen of the planet temporarily! :)

The "curse" of ADD - procrastination and disorganization for large projects would be a BIG problem around the holidays! LOL Ya think!?

God's blessings on everyone's preparations!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm such an English geek! LOL

No one else I show this to "gets" it. I thought it was funny! LOL Maybe I'm the only one! :)

Weekend wrap-up

Well, we got a little off track this weekend but so it goes with small kids! LOL Both kids had sniffles and such during the week. My littlest was also battling laryngitis, a slight ear infection, and a budding tooth. Then, the low-grade fevers hit both of them late Friday! *sigh* So, our family advent calendar activities for the weekend got rearranged a bit. No trekking out Friday night to a local historical site all dressed up for the holidays.

Unfortunately, we had a Christmas get-together (our Saturday activity) scheduled for last night
with two other couples and their kids. But, once we notified them of our kids' snifflies, both moms said "yea, so?" and everyone came over anyway. We had a blast! Six adults and 5 kids under five! Yikes! LOL The girls (Viking #2 was the only boy) made individual pizzas then the grown-ups had soups, sandwiches, noodle and potato salads, and a TON of desserts graciously provided by our guests. Awesome fellowship! And, other than some teething crankiness from Viking #2, the girls got along great!

Today Da Hubby and I decided to keep the kids home and out of the toddlers' room at church so the Vikings and I are coloring Christmas printables for Da Grandma and Da Papa who will be here with Da Hubby for lunch when church is over around 12:30pm. Then, later today, we'll make green and red Rice Crispie treats for tonight's dessert

Friday, December 8, 2006

Can't get this out of my head...

This is currently "percolating" for a couple future entries. But, I can't get away from this...even thinking about it in those few seconds of wakefulness as I roll over in bed at night.

Luke 1.38, 46-55
Mary's response to the angel and the Magnificat/Mary's Song

38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word."
46 And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. 49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy [is] His name. 50 And His mercy [is] on those who fear Him From generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered [the] proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He has put down the mighty from [their] thrones, And exalted [the] lowly. 53 He has filled [the] hungry with good things, And [the] rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of [His] mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."

God, please work this through me, reveal the message for me so I will be able to express just what needs to be said at just the Right time, Your time!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Mercy Drop Honor

You will find listed in the right column something labeled "Honored and Humbled" which is exactly how I feel after being dubbed by Kari at Healed Waters with this acknowledgement. Her blog is one of those I use as my example of what I want my blog to be like. So, to be recognized by her is truly flattering.

It's her desire to recognize those blogs and their writers she feels "consistently reflect to me a manifestation of just such light, life, joy, peace, and power. Yet how often they go unrecognized because I haven’t time to comment or e-mail. And how often some of them go unrecognized because they write about the “hard” things. Because they don’t seek “readership.” They just write what the Lord has laid on their hearts. Day after day. Week after week.

"These ladies are as “Mercy Drops” to me in what can often be a dark and stormy world - and blogosphere. They are regular sources of refreshment and revival for me

All she asked for in return was to share this edification with another. So, as I look through my daily link-surfing of blogs, I found someone who has been consistently following her heart and God's direction about keeping the Good things first in her life and setting an example for the rest of us to follow. So this Momma Viking passes on the praise to Anita of "Ask a Lutheran". So, Anita, please copy the above button for your blog or I can email you the original artwork if need be. And, as Kari, all I ask is that you pass it on to someone who equally moves you, your heart, and your faith.

Family Advent Calendar: Day 7

I'm so enthusiastic about this idea that I guess I just want to show everyone how it has been a HUGE blessing for us for relatively little effort.

Monday: Viking #1 made little foam cross ornaments for the Christmas tree. Cost: $5 at our local five n' dime. If I had known all the pieces before I opened it, probably could have done it for less with leftover supplies I had on my craft shelf in the basement.

Tuesday: Our play group provider, Parents as Teachers, had their Christmas Open House. Since Viking #2 was fighting "walrus boogers," he stayed at Da Grandma's while Viking #1 and I spent two hours playing in paper "snow", playing with gingerbread-scented playdoh, throwing "snowballs" of rolled up socks, and making a snowman craft. Cost: free

Wednesday: The kids and I watched the old "Frosty the Snowman" cartoon from ABC Family's 25 Days of Christmas which I had recorded sometime earlier this week while I "showed" #1 how to make paper snow flakes. Cost: free

Total cost so far: $12

So far, Da Hubby hasn't been able to do much with us. He's back on 12-14 hour shifts. *sigh* Good for the bank account; bad for the kids and I. But, we'll be doing the weekend things together plus we're having two other couples over (we'll have 5 kids under 5! LOL) for dinner Saturday night. Homemade soups and breads, a meat tray, a veggie tray,and mini-do-it-yourself pizzas for the kids.

Busy, busy, busy...but loving it! It's the first time in a long time that I'm genuinely getting excited about the holiday! Don't know if it's the kids becoming aware of the holiday or the decisions we're making about how we're spending our time. Haven't thought about it too much yet! LOL

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

WFMW: Who's Da Boss?

With a 2 1/2 year old, you can imagine how often this topic comes up in our household. LOL Once in a great while, when asked "who's in charge?", Viking #1 will answer "Momma is". LOL Good girl! But, generally we hear "I'M in charge!" through toddler tears. Well, for my "Works For Me Wednesday" idea this week, I'm willing to admit that I often relinquish my authority to a simple kitchen appliance.

After becoming exhausted with trying to find an effective transitioning method between activities and to help simplify bedtime, I began using my kitchen timer! Now, I'M not the one saying the fun is over, it's the timer! LOL You may laugh but it's actually working! Bedtime has become nearly trouble-free as the timer is set for 10 minutes of reading and when it goes off, Viking #1 happily (well, most of the time) trots off to her room!

I've used the timer for transition from a beloved craft (usually Play-doh or using markers) to something less fun like eating or a bath. But, I've also used it at times to get her out of the bath! It has worked so well that I actually took the timer with me one day to our local Dairy Queen. It has an indoor play scape and (as you can imagine) it's often difficult to get either kid to leave without a struggle. But one "ding" and I can usually get the oldest on track for leaving with minimal effort. And, I've also used it for her time-outs.

I even used it when I started potty-training Viking #1. She was terrified at first of sitting on the pot. I was setting the timer for every 30 minutes initially and then told her she only had to sit on the pot for 2 minutes at first. So, "ding" - it's time to go sit on the pot. Then, "ding" - you can get up now. And, slowly increased the intervals to every 60 minutes for 5 minutes until she got the hang of it.

But, Da Hubby would probably suggest one word of caution...find a timer whose bell you can live with. He HATES ours because it sounds like the phone so many times he's jumping up to answer a non-ringing phone! LOL

It may not solve ALL our problems but it was DEFINITELY made life easier around here!

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A small fun thing...

I remember being told once "Don't ask what someone REALLY thinks of you unless you REALLY want to hear the answer." Well,I guess I'm doing that...sort of. LOL This is an interesting meme I picked up from Kari at Healed Waters and thought I'd give it a try.

It's called a Johari window which "was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up."

So, let the fun here and then click on the 5-6 words you think would best describe me.

Monday, December 4, 2006

It Must Have Been Good!

Was making breakfast for the Vikings and noticed...hey, wait a minute...where's the second cake I baked last night? appears that Da Hubby enjoyed his slice of the first one so much that he took the ENTIRE second cake to work with him this morning! LOL I guess THAT'S a compliment! LOL

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Family Advent Calendar: Day Three!

Thought I would share how our project is going so far.

Friday we were suppose to go to our nearest big city to watch them light up their "city tree" in their main park. But, it started at 5:30pm and Da Hubby didn't get home early enough. So, instead we went to our local Dairy Queen which has a kids' play area. After an hour of "peppermint/chocolate" Blizzards and rolling around playing with the kids, we all came home and crashed.

Yesterday, Da Hubby and Viking #1 went to our local library for a "Build a Peppermint Cottage" activity (see above) while #2 and I stayed home and decorated the tree (see below) including adding our Swedish flag garland to the tree. Oh, btw, if I haven't bragged on Da Hubby enough this weekend...he hand-built that fence "from scratch" in an afternoon in the garage to keep #1 and #2 out of the tree! I just LOVE that guy!

Finally, today, we were planning on making Christmas ornaments with Viking #1. But, after church, lunch, and a family communal nap (yippee!), Da Hubby was asking if we had any "sweets" around. So, he agreed to leftovers for dinner when in return I offered to bake a chocolate cake from scratch after scrounging up all the ingredients. (My supplies have been running low pending a re-stock for the holiday cookie baking rush! LOL)

So, with a little help from #1, we just had homemade, from scratch chocolate cake with Da Grandma's homemade "seven minute frosting" - the only frosting Da Hubby will eat! He thinks he died and went to Heaven! LOL So, that was our "family thing" today - we all hung out in the kitchen for an hour or so! I baked, Da Hubby and the Vikings licked the spoons and bowls, we ate dinner and then we all had a slice of cake. Not a bad weekend if I do say so myself! :)

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Weekend Tweaking of Template

Was incredibly busy today - was up part of the night with #2 and his running nose and cough, breakfast out with the family this morning, running errands, cleaning the house, putting up the Christmas tree, making lunch, doing some more "to-do's" while chasing kids, making dinner, more "to-do's" and more chasing, bedtimes, and then doodling on the PC.

From after dinner until the kids' bedtimes, Da Hubby was trying like crazy to make a beautiful, incredible picture he took (I'm just a little biased) at one of our favorite places in Northern Michigan my new banner. We found it to be a problem between Blogger and IE7, and he solved the problem with Firefox. Then, I just spent the last hour trying to "tweak" some colors. It's still a work in progress (if there are two colors I can't stand it's gray and beige! LOL) but I just wanted to say "Da Hubby ROCKS!" Thanks, babe! You da man! XOXO

Friday, December 1, 2006

Glitter Revelation

Feeling a little down today. Having a little “long-distance sight” problem. Having trouble believing that the mundane, small things I do every day with and around my children are really making a difference.

I chose to stay home, putting on hold (or, to be more honest, giving up) a career I worked hard to achieve after 12 years of “single-hood” and 5 years of infertility struggles. And, it’s not that I regret the decision. I fully believe in the “mission field” of my home as described by Everyday Mommy. But, it’s just that all my days just are starting to look so much alike. And, while the ADD part of me thrives under a schedule so that all gets done and nothing’s forgotten, the creative and fun part of me is often sighing and sinking deeper inside.

However, I just had one of those “ah-ha” moments while in the basement rotating laundry loads. Da Hubby and Viking #1 nightly trot off into the basement post-bath time as I nurse #2 to sleep. Daddy “putzes” around – snuggling his girl, watching TV with her, or cleaning up. A few nights ago, Da Hubby warned me that while downstairs, she had found some glitter in my ill-secured crafty supplies. Today, as I looked around the basement, it was everywhere. And, I mean everywhere. But, in that flash of revelation, it came to me.

There were more sparkles where she had spent the most time the last few nights. She had a couple centralized “piles” but from walking, playing, etc. they had been spread throughout the basement. It was easy to track where she had been. Some had clung to her even as she came upstairs. That’s similar to the things I do each day.

Each moment spent reading, playing, talking, preparing meals, even cleaning up is leaving my sparkles on these two little miracles. And, while I don’t know where all these sparkles will end up or even if they will make a difference, when they are grown they will (hopefully) glitter with the love of Da Hubby and I but more importantly with the love of Christ that we should exemplify. Our efforts, no matter how small or apparently trivial, will hopefully cling to them long after these times. And, maybe then I will be able to see how far my “reach” really is!