What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Love, God

I was looking out the window when I realized I was being saluted.

Building himself an army

sledding off the roof is not the same thing as shoveling off a roof

Little Snitcher can reach things now.

maple glazed gingerbread scones are delicious

It was not entertaining when my washing machine broke down mid-cycle and I had to freeze dry clothes that were still heavy-laden with water. 

It WAS for the children though.

When I took out the Christmas tree, I asked Adele to bring the little coffee table back up from the Granary.

She did so in her stocking-feet. 

Disheveled cuddlebugs

Corynn painted this for me as a Christmas present

Nine hours without power... making soup by candlelight.  Thankfully, it came on shortly after this picture.  Before the truly dark dark settled in.

I ask you- could YOU break open eggs that stared back at you like that?

Corynn keeps things interesting around here.

Andrew decides to make homemade marshmallows. 
He discovers it takes some manly muscles to do it too.

 See that fancy shmancy couch and loveseat up there? Well, after perusing Craigslist off and on for months now (and even sporatically for over a year), and nearly losing hope that I would find anything at all-this lovely set popped on craigslist as I was writing the words to the last post.   They were $350.00 for the set which is less than HALF of ONE mediocre couch from a store.  Impeccable condition.  Just 20 minutes away from home.   A handful of other people had already called and were lining up transportation but we were able to get there first.

What I am saying is... God did this.  HE gave us these couches.

I have also been stalking Craiglist for a washing machine for weeks but to no avail.  A family of 8 can't wait perpetually with laundry piling up in mountains around us so I wound up getting one of the most inexpensive ones from Lowes.  Somewhere in transit, it got banged around making superficial dents on two sides of it.  The machine works great, is tucked in a corner where dents are unable to be noticed, and we got an extra $100.00 off.  

A woman from church knows a reliable and honest guy who won't rip me off when repairing my sewing machine and took it to him for me since she goes there from time to time and his shop is so far from our home.  This was a huge help to me!

And I got the most amazing encouraging note in the mail.

All in all, it has been a week in which I have felt very much cared for and thankful for the many ways our Father touches our lives and gives abundantly, even those things that we hold close to our hearts.  These are just a few of the present needs that have so amazingly been met but really, looking at all the pictures in this post, there is an abundance of gifts He gives each day.

Sunlight.  Snow.  Children smiles.  Marshmallows.  Motivation.  Creativity.  Food.  Sweets.  People to cuddle.  Electricity.  Blankets.  Safety.  Candles.  Gas stoves.  Humor.  Beauty.

How many times do these things go unnoticed?  

Why does it take a silly couch to feel His presence when He so fully and completely surrounds us, every moment, with His love?  

A constant prayer of mine is that I have EYES TO SEE the goodness around me.  I know it is there- but because it is SO rich and so constant and SO pervading, I look past it.  Goodness fades into the background.  

I thank God for the background and the foreground, the big and the little, the obvious and the overlooked things.  All of it, every last thing, points to Him.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021


The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.

Gilbert K. Chesterton


2020 threw some curveballs to us and unlike some, I don't think those curveballs are going to be slowing down with the purchase of a new calendar to hang on the wall.  

There were a good many wonderful things that were accomplished last year but I want to focus now on what changes this new year should bring.  

After this past year... everything around me (myself included) just seems tired.  Worn out.  Spent.
Our washing machine bit the dust right after Christmas.  Both of our couches have been broken for over a year.  The kitchen aid and blender have been on life-support for months.  Corynn's little car has some really weird stuff going wrong with it.  The walls of this house are looking like 10 year old walls would in a house with six children.  That is to say, tarnished and sad.  I have gained so much weight this past year that Ineke is like 95% sure I have a baby in my belly.  (I do not.)  My body is still screwed up.  The Bible reading challenge was so intensive that after the summer reading program was conquered (one of those wonderful accomplishments of last year!), I fizzled out in the fall.  Don't get me started on the economy and worry about food scarcity or price increases.  It is hard to anticipate what 2021 will bring when 2020 was so insane.  

On top of it all- we have a very formidable financial necessity that must be met (ain't no wishing here) by October.  

I am not sure how to accomplish all of my goals for this year (especially that last one!), particularly since our budget must be so strained this year, but I am not going to let that stop me from making them and working toward them.  It's just going to require creativity.  Right?!

With all the craziness of the world right now, my focus this year is going to be my HOME.  Making this place as much of a haven as possible.  A welcome spot.  A pleasant place to be.  A comfortable, restful place.   A joyful place.  A beautiful place.  A safe place. A place that provides and sustains. 

Some of this can be accomplished by checking it off with a pen.  

Most of this comes from BEING joyful, BEING pleasant, BEING in a state of rest and looking to the Lord to sustain and provide.  It doesn't cost a red cent.  It does require prayer.  Lots of it.  It does require wisdom and the seeking of it.   These are the very foundational things that can allow practical things to follow.  These are the things that we all ought to be focused on every minute of every day of every year.  Not easy to check off, needless to say. 

What follows are just the 'checking off with a pen' goals...(in no particular order)

~ Daily Bible Reading (I made a plan for myself for 1 chapter of Old and New testaments per day since the Bible Reading program is a bit too intensive and my failures to keep up too discouraging for me right now.  I'd rather set a smaller goal and meet it than a larger goal and fail.)

~ make one Christmas gift a month (lots more handmade this year because...money. ha!)

~ invite different families over once a month for a game night.

~ write one letter a month

~ replace broken couches with new (used) ones ASAP

~ buy washing machine (it's been almost a month now! AGGGHHHH!)

~ make covering for ragged top of toy box (probably crochet since my sewing machine is out of commission right now)

~ make coverings for stools in kitchen (ditto to above)

~ paint living room walls

~ figure out how to help my awful kitchen to be less awful. Even a plan would be nice... actually doing it may have to wait.

~ get sewing machine repaired

~ cover broken dining room wall (with what?)

~ Drink soda less than 10 times this year.  (This gives me a few opportunities to fix any migraines that happen without derailing my goal entirely.)

~ Devote a small portion of money each grocery trip to stocking up on storable food.

~ Lose 20 pounds (it should be 40)

~ work on strip quilt top for anniversary gift (if my sewing machine gets repaired quickly!)

~ save or print photos/posts from at least TWO years of the beginning of this blog

~ make at least ONE baby photo album this year

~ buy seeds in January

~ meet that financial obligation in October 

~ redo a current budget so I know where every single red hot cent goes.  

 "Little by little, one travels far." J.R.R.Tolkien

Also pondering these wise words:  

Does anyone else have any goals for this coming year?  I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 11, 2021


I wish I had the time, resources and creativity to make handmade things for everyone on my lists but I barely squeak by with just a few each year.

I do try and rotate around so that everyone gets handmade things every now and again from me... here are some of the things I made as gifts this year.

Of course, food always makes an appearance.  I made lots of mozzerella this year for friends and church people.  And flavored butters.  (We love our cow.)  Chex party mixes and chocolate popcorn and fudge (for neighbors and garbage/mail men.)  And many men in my life wind up with home canned goods- apple butter, blackberry jellies and this year, thanks to a bumper crop of H.O.T. peppers, most men got a jar of Hot jalapeno mustard.

But all of that is boring.  Let's get to the good stuff, shall we?

I have had this one sweater sitting in my mending basket FOR.E.V.E.R because I thought the red and white was so striking and SURELY I'd find a nice way to repurpose it.  (seeings how it stopped fitting a decade ago.)  

Actually, I had the leftover PARTS of a ripped up sweater.  (I must have made something with it long ago.)

This year I said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  I used it up and threw away any leftovers.

First- I made ourselves a 12 days of Christmas garland to be filled with little notes pertaining to the daily surprises of Christmas.

And then, a soft little baby doll for my one year old niece.  

(Don't ever take off the belt or it looks REALLY weird.)

And a nice little stocking cap for Mister Moses.

For my sister in law who happens to love watching The Great British Baking Show, I made a little British inspired basket including some towels with little catchphrases from the show.  Having never actually SEEN the show, I am taking Googles' word for it.

(I tried using printable iron-on fabric tranfers and failed majorly.  I wound up using fabric paint, hence the imperfect handwriting. I'm STILL mad about the waste of $7.00 for that printable transfer paper.)

A hat for my brother Cameron, modeled by Judah.

Why didn't I get Cameron to model it while visiting, you ask?   I have NO idea.  
I'm mad about that too.

A few star trivets... these were very last minute but very fun and easy to make.  And, I think, so so beautiful!  

This project will appear again next year I am sure- I have leftover wooden beads! wah ha ha

(The how-to is here)

For my sweet little Ineke and her ballerina dancing cousin, I made matching swan leotards.

(Well, the black leotards were on clearance at Walmart for $3.00... but I made them into SWAN leotards.)

I used tons of different little bits of lace, cloth, trims, tulle and fur to make all the different layers.

My lace remnant pile is dwindling!

A few years ago, a friend made me a beautiful table runner for me that I love so much.  I knew my Mom would love one too.  So I traced and copied it as best I could.   I used fabric and lace I had on hand. After a slight panic, having no flesh colored fabric, I found an autumnal owl print that had just the tiniest spots of plain tan every now and again.  Thankfully, the head and arms were pretty tiny too... so it worked.

In like fashion... Matt also copied a gift idea that HIS good friend made for us... a monogram stump formed with a chainsaw.  He made this for his Mom to put down at their new lake cottage.

What can I say?  We have very talented friends!

(And I have a very talented husband!)

This next gift is one I did not make for Christmas but for my nephews' birthday.  I never posted about it at the time but want to share it now because it was one of my favorite handmade's of the year- a little gnome post office where my children can give their cousin letters (gnome postage is cheaper these days...especially when he lives just a few hills over.)  

I hope to make one for OUR gnomes next.

I used a plain wooden birdhouse from the craft store, an aluminum disposable pan, sacrete and stones, and an old tile from the pile languishing by the milkhouse.  And then I had Adele' cut moss from tree stumps in the woods.

While I am at it... here's a hat that I knit for Matt for Christmas LAST year.

I never got a picture of him wearing it though and it certainly deserves a place for posterity...

... particularly because of those handsome eye wrinkles it so perfectly frames.