Oct 12, 2016

Fishing Stories to Remember


When I was a girl and fell in love with fishing, I was taught by rules:
  Things must go a certain way, certain hours must be observed, silence is best...

 Then came my children. 

 Funny, as I am a mix of a free-spirited type and a girl who loves the order rules bring. I took them to our cabin in the woods for a week, near the end of summer, just a few weeks prior to now.
 I brought them to a store to get fishing supplies and gave them a general run down on the how-to, then I parked a chair on the quiet sandy shore and let them do as they felt best. (either great parenting or crazy, still not sure which).  

Their father was hundreds of miles away, as I lived out this week in the wilderness with 5 of my brood that wasn't committed to work related things.  We were in heaven and the fish played along.  At one point I did ask a man to help identify the fish they caught, now even forgetting what he said.  He encouraged them in their fish adventure and never once laughed at their "how-to."  He offered a few stringing pointers, bragged on their mad skills and went back to watching his 2 year old son who kept trying to run away.

My fourteen year old son, King Meemer, was the brains behind their fishing. 
 He thinks outside the box and soon had everybody fishing as he saw best.

Fishing 101- walk up to your armpits floating your tackle box, bait, and such on your boogie board. Convince your fifteen year old sister and your 13 year old brother that this is just a normal afternoon of fishing.  (Here again, I was told get your bum out of bed bright and early and/ or wait until dinner time to attempt fish catching.)

Laughing as they caught more fish than I ever did.
  AND they loved it.

Their youngest sister who is part fish herself,
 opted to swim and fish on more of a part-time commitment.  She is my social butterfly and always has an eye out for someone to make friends with.  Fish just don't make that great of a friend for her 8 year old self I guess.

Yes, they were fishing out of the swim area, at their mum's request.
they fished for HOURS!! One time their tackle floated away and another time I found it floating up to the beach.  Guess they had the tackle with a homing device back to the shore...
the 'come to Mama type' tackle.

Who knew!

Day after day they would spend the hours trying to capture all of the lake fishies.  I wish I got a picture of the crowd they began to draw. Men and women, young and old wanted in on their fishing adventure.  Quite honestly, I am quite surprised that after 8 days the newspaper reporter didn't show up to question what it was they were doing out to their eyeballs at Hall's Lake everyday.

Did I mention that their was little "quietness" to their fishing antics?  Perhaps the fish here were starving, or just mesmerized by such fishing tactics, that they happily took the bait.  (which was a whole bunch of stuff I never would have even considered as bait.  My rule book said catch night crawlers with a flashlight, avoid glass worms, and or use those ever available rubbery worm. If desperate try the spray that is supposed to lure the fish to the bait.)

The brains behind the fishing has a tender heart and really didn't want to eat any of their catch. He talked all of them into letting each fish to swim back to freedom.  Even though their mother told them she would teach them the 'how-to' of eating their catch. No takers.

Maybe next year they will change their mind, perhaps larger fish will look more like dinner to my ever surprising children.  Guess we will have to wait and see, as it is too cold now to venture up to your neck in the lake.

Kids they sure are a lot of fun!

Sep 30, 2016

The College Student

Hard to believe how fast time comes and goes.  Seriously I need to stop blinking and slow things down a bit.
Our sweet Ethiopian has begun her studies, dabbling in getting her feet wet in higher education.  This is her first experience outside of her home education, here in America.  She is eager and ready.

We are several weeks in now and up to our eyeballs in assignments, but she is enjoying this new step in finding out what and where God is taking her.

May 27, 2016

My First Carved Spoons

What does a girl do when she just can't sleep?

 She gets up  at 5 am 
(well actually 3, but my feet hit the floor at 5 am)  
and decides to do a photo shoot of her hand carved spoons.
Pardon any blur, but did I mention I only got 3 hours of sleep?!!
How does one go from mother of 8 to a spoon carvin' Mama?  

Well, I have loved old wooden spoons for awhile. I always look about to rescue another from the heap, but this came with a sudden interest in trees that lay by the side of the road and needed rescuing.  
(Do you see a theme in my life?  Haha)  

So girl tells her husband that she wants to carve spoons. 

 He cocks his head and says something like, "Really?" (in his head he was thinking, 'Don't we already own like 50?'  He has such a sense of humor, maybe I have 20). 

So said husband takes it upon himself to make a blank for the wife.  (Meaning he didn't want me to use the ax, as he likes my fingers as they are). Since this time I ventured to Brimfield Antique Show and bought myself I huge carving knife.  My homemade daughter says it is for gutting bears, the old man I bought it from was worried I had evil in my heart and made me promise I would hurt anyone with it.  To which I assured him I planned to only carve wood and never ever draw blood, not even my own if I could help it.

 I watched a few videos on YouTube.  Took the roughed out log which now if you squinted really hard could make out a spoon somewhere behind all that extra wood. And began to remove all the extra (mainly used a chisel, gouge and a homemade wooden mallet my Knight made me, from you guessed it, rescued wood).

Wallah...spoon #1 after 5 plus hours of chiseling and carving.  In the end I sanded her with 3 types of sandpaper in varying coarseness, then made a wood butter to slather on her,
 so she would be 'real purdy.'

I am in love with her.  She may not be perfect, but I took her out of a piece of wood that was chopped down by a tree service (now I never saw them, but I imagined they were sent in to trim up the trees for our safety).  I think she is a red oak.  On the list of woods NOT to begin with, but hey I am not a huge follower of rules. I like to make them as I go ;}

 She landed in our library parking lot during one of the last snowstorms and a tree service came and chopped her up and left her lying there all sad and lonely.  She was happy to see us coming!  My strong son  hoisted her into the tank of mine, that some refer to as a very large car, which is perfect for wood gathering. 

Spoon # two was trouble.  An experienced carver would have thrown her into the fire, but as you have guessed, I stuck it out, knots and all. (note to self, see knots and pick another piece of wood).  She is also some type of hardwood...oak?  I had a hard time reading her grains and kept hacking out pieces that were needed.  So she came out more like a spatula.  But though she is imperfect and perhaps ugly, I love her. 
(see her trying to hide behind my beloved #1?)

Look!  They make a heart when placed together...
okay I might be tired, but doesn't it look like a heart?
She really fits nicely into my hand and will make a nice mate to love #1.  Now I am working on spoon #3.  She should also go into the fire, as she has a worm hole and a knot too~ in her handle and bowl.  But I can't bear to quit on her, so I continue to work into hour 3 on her becoming a spoon. I mentioned her negatives to my Knight and he shrugged and said that it would give her character.

Spoon making isn't for the weak or timid.  You have to use knives, axes (yes I went and bought my own and then my man bought me a smaller one...haha), hook knives, chisels, wooden mallets...all sorts of beautiful woodworking tools. All new to me, but becoming a rather large collection.  

Ask me what I got for Mother's Day this year.  Tools!!  My son-in-love came in and was like, "Whoa, aren't you wanting jewelry or something more girly?' 

It also requires hours of time, and an eye to draw it out of hiding. A strong back is good too.  But I think this comes with the hours of time that goes into each new work of art. I have drawn blood, but nothing that needed more than a paper towel clean up.  I actually felt more like a woodworker after the blood incidents.

I feel like an artist as the spoons suddenly manifests from the log. They were hidden in there the whole time, but just needed a gentle coaxing to come out.

  I imagine it is like me as God continues to shape me into His image, never quitting and lovingly shaping, turning, a touch here, a bit more there and then carefully eyeing up rough spots that need to be honed to a smooth glass like finish.  A finish that reflects the Maker and in the case of my spoons, their maker.

They love each other ;-)

I am a spoon carver. 

 I can't wait to try new shapes, new woods, new tools, old tools and all the gadgets that my husband keeps picking up at the auction for me.  I think he loves that I am happy and that some of my pent up artist is coming out, even if it is 'spoons!' in his mind. Afterall, for years it was soap.

Did I mention that I am going to carve kuksa and bowls too someday?  But for now I will hone my spoon- making skills. And let me say, 4 children have had their hand at spoon carving now too.  Seems it may be contagious! I have so much to learn, looking at these pictures makes me think maybe I need to slather on a wee bit more spoon-butter onto my darlings.

I am a woodworker hear me roar!

May 24, 2016

Thankfulness to Chew On

Thanksgiving is an underrated spiritual discipline.  Being thankful stops you in your tracks and
forces you to rest in the midst of your "doings" to reflect on God's absolute goodness. It changes the atmosphere and invites the Holy Spirit into the moment. Thanksgiving gives eyes to see and a heart that is open to receive from Him. Thanksgiving is a practice we need to embrace.

 We need to be constantly aware of His workings, constantly casting up thanksgiving and praise to Him. We need to acknowledge His work, His goodness and our desperate need of Him.  A thankful heart is rooted in the reality of His goodness and presence. 

Thank you Lord for this day.  Thank you Father for giving me this day to submit my life into your hands.  Help me to walk in gratitude to You this day and let it open the door of my heart to Your presence.

Come Holy Spirit come!


Apr 28, 2016

Extension Homeschool class (high school)

My seventeen year old daughter decided to tag along with her eldest sister to a cake decorating class.  She has been practicing with frosting, fondant and gum paste in these two 4 week sessions. They found the classes at our local fabric craft center. I think this one was her first with just frosting, she has made several over these past few weeks. 
They both enjoyed trying new things in the decorating cakes world.  And it was super nice to have my married daughter make an effort to spend time with her younger sister.  Mentoring is huge, never mind friendship between sisters!

We are proud of her and happy to help her make way for another frosting design session.

Hard work, but somebody has to eat the cake.

Apr 2, 2016

The Winner of Happy Beach CD!

A rainy day here and plenty of volunteers to pick the winner of Perry Springman's cd, 

 With eyes closed and papers mixed about...
the winner is...

(without a doubt...
because 4 children felt the need to try their hand at picking the winner,
 post the winner already being picked...and each picked....)

Congratulations Pam. 

 I will send your information along to Perry so he can send you a copy of his cd. 
 Please feel free to post about it!  

And to those of you who didn't win...I still highly recommend this album, it is joy filled and well loved by all ages in our house!

Mar 20, 2016

Natural Hair and Adoption

We joke that she has enough hair for at least two people.  Her older Ethiopian sister has said she herself has enough for maybe three people.  It certainly is a mane of glory.  This mama has gotten good at natural hair care, though she grew up only knowing how to care for her own hair type which certainly was not African in any way shape or form. Braids yes, french braids sure, but cornrows or box braids, um no-sir-ree.

God is full of surprises.  He brings you places that you'd never imagine.  I never imagined I would be the mother of two Ethiopian daughters and that they would have enough hair to make tons and tons of box row braids when one sets about to.  I never realized my fingers would move so quickly at parting with a rat tail comb and finding just the right product to make their hair soft and protected.  Or that a hair style could take a couple of hours to complete, never mind undoing it several weeks later.

Rarely do I keep Princess Mercy's hair down (unbraided). I have learned that it quickly shrinks up and tangles and leads to tears and long careful sessions of trying to coax the hair out of knots and nests. A battleground that this mama knows to avoid.  But sometimes this little one just wants a day of freedom and wants to take the risk of a few hours without it being styled.  It always must go into a protective hairstyle by bedtime, which means twists or lose braids, followed by a silk cap to sleep in.

Curly, kinky, beautiful African hair. I smile because I trusted Him enough to say yes. Yes to two beautiful daughters who are so different from me.  He knows how to make it all happen.  My non-African friends ask me 'Who does their hair?'  I smile and I say 'Just me.'  They tip their head and ask me how I know how to do all these things,  that are foreign to so many light skinned mamas.  I grin and explain that what God calls you to, that He enables you to walk in it.  His call, His leading, His help and my following.  

Life is good. Isn't she cute?

And hey..put your name down for my giveaway!  
Time is running short and you'll be so blessed if you are the one who gets picked.  
I think this little one will love to write names down and put them into a basket and draw out the winner.  
We need more names...so please sign up. 
 I am sure you will enjoy it, or can find someone who would love it.

Mar 15, 2016

The Moose!

The Moose

One day I was driving along with my husband on a weekend getaway in New Hampshire, and low and behold there is a moose munching away in a field alongside the road. I was so excited I nearly jumped out of the car.  All weekend I had been asking where were all the animals, we had ventured off snowmobiling and hadn't seen nary a creature.  Just a minute before I had asked God, 'Why no animals?' and bam,
 'moose to order!'

 Now I know a few things about moose, one being to stay away from them. However, I needed to get a picture of her (him?) while the getting was good.  How often does one see a moose?  I needed proof and a little time to use my new camera on the capture of proof, that we had seen this grass munching, frozen faced moose.

Many cars passed us in our 15 minutes of trying to get close enough to said moose, without becoming an aggravation to it or accidentally freezing to death.  My brave husband got out of the car with me and we slowly crept down a ramp to a ledge that would get me close enough to pop off a few pictures.Yeah, that is love.  No one else seemed to care about us or this moose, they just flew by, as we nearly froze to death trying to get her to smile 
(I mean not kill us).

The moose immediately popped up from eating and gave me the eye.  She was a good 50 feet from us, but she was letting me know that she saw us and we better not try anything.   We definitely didn't try anything, but she wasn't convinced.  She couldn't take her eyes off of me, I felt loved.

We told her she was lovely and thanked her for the photo shoot before carefully climbing back up to the car.  My hands were frozen and I was sure that fur must be the way to go, as my new friend wasn't even shivering.  

She is pretty cute isn't she?

and speaking of cute and lovely...
If you have another second~ pop on over
 and sign up for my giveway!


Mar 6, 2016

Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!

Welcome to the Giveaway ...

Happy Beach by Perry Springman

I am so very happy to be able to share a review for a brand spanking new
 children's cd, 
 Happy Beach!

 Perry Springman, the cd artist, contacted me and asked if I would be willing to do a review for him.  He asked me simply to listen to his new children's album, Happy Beach, and give my honest opinion of it.  He is looking for a way to move among the homeschooling community and get the word out that his new cd is available.  Of course it is not just for homeschoolers...read on! And for the record, I feel blessed to be able to help Perry get this out to the world!

Honestly, Happy Beach is a great compilation of music.  It gets you moving, swaying, humming, laughing and I think to limit it to a certain audience (yes, it was aimed at a children's audience), is selling it short. Who doesn't need a dance party at fingertips reach?  After all, most would agree that I am well beyond childhood, but I found myself leaving the cd in the player when I was running errands without children (gasp, without children?  How can this be?  And gasp again, you were listening to a children's cd?)  Yes, truth is, it really brightened my heart.  I found myself laughing and smiling even though we had already listened to the cd through multiple times.

This would be great for children's ministries, a great birthday present or gift for children.  I could see it being incorporated into a Vacation Bible School for churches that don't want to buy a packaged product, but are creative enough to put together their own or want some background music, or perhaps even a children's exercise class that is looking for upbeat get-your-heart-pumping kind of music.  But I think if you are a child at heart that this is a fun way to brighten any day. 

 The songs are wholesome and have many helps for those who have opportunity to reach out and touch a child's heart.  If you read the words to these songs, you have a great jumping point to conversations;

  • Thankfulness,
  •  Friendship
  •  How come or why questions that children often ask,
  •  Neatness/tidiness, 
  • Behavior, 
  • Exercise,
  • Celebrating life and choosing joy,
  •  Loving others,
  •  Loving and respecting parents...
I guess I have made my point.

 This family cd could really be a helpful tool for:

 or grandparents
 in reaching children's hearts.

I was thinking this cd is not only wholesome and fun loving, but how creative and clever the lyrics are.  The song, The 3 Minute Clean-Up, made me think, 'Why didn't I think of this?'  The songs vary in tempo and style. I began to think, "Hey, I could clean the house to this.  Or, if I am needing to change the atmosphere of our home, this would be a great way to do it. And what a sweet lullaby."

I think Perry is super talented and that we will be hearing more from him in the future.  His vocals are creative and he shows multiple abilities with instruments (both guitar and ukulele). The team he has assembled really put out an awesome album. And Perry Springman's cd cover is adorable!

 And it's not just me who thinks so, all of my kids listened.  They all had their favorite songs on the cd.  My older ones loved Chimichanga, my youngest loved Why Does the World Have Slivers?, My Ukulele reminded all of us of music we had listened to with a folksy edge to it, anyone remember Raffi?

This is Perry's 11th recording, but his first children's CD.  The album was produced by 4-time Grammy winner Mark Heimermann.  (Michael W. Smith, dcTalk, The Newsboys...)  Immediately upon a few correspondences back and forth, I already loved Perry's heart.  

This album is FUN!  I don't just mean for children, I mean all of us thought it was fun.  I kept imagining myself throwing it on and making housecleaning a fun dance worthy event.  We giggled and laughed out loud throughout the 10 songs.  The music is catchy and you find yourself swaying back and forth as you listen to Happy Beach!

Now Perry said he'd be happy to give away a cd to one of you...so if you leave me contact information in this blog post...on Saturday, April 2nd I will announce the blessed winner. Please make sure I can contact you and that you are not set on 'no contact' in your profile setting.  Leave a comment on this post and if you need to leave an email address feel free to use my email link in the sidebar.

And for those of you who don't win, but want to purchase Happy Beach, go to www.perryspringman.com  or to Amazon or  to itunes

 And hey
 I bought 3 cd's to give to people I love:

 two for children I know
one for a man who is not only a child at heart, 
but works at my church leading Sunday School! 

 (and I can't take credit of thinking of Mr. Bob...
my kid's actually thought of it themselves,
 knowing he'd just LOVE IT!)

Thanks so much! 
And feel free to do your part to help Perry!
God loves it when we love each other.

Feb 22, 2016

Bits of Our Home and Life




Tobin James in a mood

Stringing popcorn for our tree

Christmas 2015: 'the tree that wouldn't die'

(we just took it down this past Saturday.  it was put up the day after Thanksgiving...it was still drinking water and not dropping needles)


tree type:  Concolor Fir 

Princess Mercy about to sing her solo


Prince Bonkie Singing worship


 A midwinter eve on our deck

In charge of  microphones


 The birthday girl

A visit in the barn from Nagybaba

a birthday girl

A youth leader inspiring others to dress-up for the occasion

hanging out at her sister's house

my son-in-love

my baby #1

Okay, this kind of catches us up into the New Year.  Now if only I can keep in the groove.  

Next post will be a cd giveaway...so if you have little people in your life, you might just want to keep checking in so you can be the lucky winner!

And p.s.- another courtship is well underway.  

We love you Adam!

A Day for Love

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