Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Month in Review -- March

March has been a lovely month!  Up until the past couple of blustery days, the weather has been perfect.  It was so perfect, in fact, that we took a couple of weeks off school and played outside.  So, this school year is going to end in August, so what?  I don't mind doing school through the summer, but I'd much rather be ahead than behind. And we definitely aren't ahead!   

The desert bloomed this month, hooray!  Here are a few early morning pics of the blooming desert.  The landscape has blossomed nicely.  Lots of winter rain brings a thin blanket of green to the local mountains and provides us with blossoms in profusion.  Notice our flowers are mostly in "hot" colors. How fitting.  If you don't care for yellow or orange flowers, this is not the place for you.

We finished The Wheel on the School (Meinert DeJong), and it comes highly recommended by all the children, and by me, too.  Daddy and Emily are reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) together, and the rest of us are really enjoying the fourth book in the autobiographical Little Britches series by Ralph Moody, Mary Emma and Company.  It is such a heartwarming story!  The children are happy, hard workers and so resourceful, and, as I told you, Mrs. Moody is my character hero.  Any mom who can cheerfully battle a smoky, sooty furnace, freezing temperatures, and a "new" house that was left absolutely filthy by the previous occupants gets a big star in my book.  On my personal pile is a garage sale find, Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook.  A very good read.  I don't completely share his criteria for read-aloud selections, but he gives enlightening info on the benefits of reading to your kids, the serious detriments of the television, and a great list of recommendations.

Amy is still crafting away.  A very sweet blogging friend has hired to her to make several of those little dollies that I posted photos of in last month's Review.  We have begged and groveled for wool, acorn caps, and felt.  Below, Amy is washing mohair from PlainJane's goats.  And thanks to OldSchoolMarm, these dollies will be complete with their acorn cap hats.  Thank you, friends!

More crafting, miniature appliances by Amy:

Elisabeth has been busy with her Sculpey clay, making tiny culinary delights for her clay people.

roast beef mashed potatoes and corn spaghetti and meatballs, of course

ice cream sundae!

the eaters

Below, my handyman operates on the nasty swamp cooler guts.  It's quite ingenious, actually.  A small hose drips on thick pads surrounding this squirrel cage.  As the fan rotates air is pulled in through the wet pads and is cooled, then it is forced into ducts that come into the house through the ceiling.  The windows have to be open to prevent blowing up the house, so we get lots of fresh air.  I do like that aspect.  A swamp cooler costs pennies to run, but in our house it's only good to about 105°.  After that we seal up the place and run the AC.  I feel rather foolish about my earlier rant.  It only took about fifteen minutes to clean up the dust that blew in.  How silly of me. 

Alison is pretending to be Anne of Green Gables, balancing on the "ridge pole".  We need a little bit steeper pitch on the roof to be more authentic.

Four very tall people took an evening stroll:

Oh, and I can't forget to post photos from the manly men's mountain climbing expedition! (See previous post.) It's really difficult to get the right perspective in a photo. This was a very steep climb!  My husband is the kind of guy who climbs a mountain because it is there.  Is your husband like this? To be honest, I really don't understand this kind of thinking.  I enjoy looking at mountains, but I don't ever feel like I have to climb them.  Must be a guy thing.  Anyway, these guys all did some research before tackling Spirit Mountain, and everyone agreed the directions were very vague.  So they just drove out there and started up.  The supposedly six-hour, moderate climb up and back down the mountain took them over eight and a half grueling hours, and they never did get to the top.  My DH did a little more research when he got home, and he found that there is marked trail on the west side, which is a  nice level two hike.  Ah. They had scaled the level five south side of the mountain, blazing their own trail.  LOL!  So they are already making plans for the next climb, but it will be later in the year, AFTER snake season, you know.  Speaking of snakes, they didn't see any, but they did see this critter, a chuckwalla.  Chuckwallas get up to 18" long, almost as big as a gila monster. Scary.  That body of water in the lower right photo is Lake Mohave. In the lower left photo you can just barely see the Laughin casinos waaay off in the distance. 

Alison got her braces this week.  After much deliberation, she finally settled on metallic blue bands (not pictured yet).  Poor kid, her mouth is still sore, and she is on an unanticipated diet.  The orthodontist yanked out four teeth, leaving her nothing to chew with. Amy gets her brackets and appliances next month, and she has already made up her mind to get glow-in-the-dark pink.   It's a nice thing those band colors can be changed each visit, hee hee.  While Alison was being held captive in the chair, Amy spent a couple of hours asking questions and exploring the contents of the cabinets in our dentist's office. (No, Amy is not a toddler, lol.)  Three or four of the nurses and the dentist/ortho asked her if she wanted to be a dentist when she grows up, and Amy replied, "No.  I want to be a full-time mom."  Good. 

Tonight I opened the fridge to get a  hard boiled egg for our salad, and look what I found -- gospel eggs!  You can see which one I cracked before I decided to take a picture.  This verse, "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good," brought a smile to my face.  God certainly is good.  I thanked him for my daughter, who left these subtle reminders.

Three days left this month, but we have no plans other than church and a funeral. If anything exciting happens I'll be sure to let you know!

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?
or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children:
how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Luke 11:11-13

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Climbing Mountains, Personal and Otherwise

I said yesterday that I was not going to complain anymore about the heat.  Okay, I haven't.  But when we turned on the swamp coolers dirt bombs last night I lost my meek and quiet spirit.  I mean, it flew clear to Mississippi or somewhere that-away.  I don't know why we tried to catch the dust in wet towels.  Why bother?  What is the difference whether you have to clean up one ton of dirt or two?  Anyhow, that one thing just set me off, and I had to clamp my jaw shut to keep from hollering about all the things about the desert that I hated at that moment, that I didn't hate a minute before that.  Well, I ran to the bathroom and had a good cry, and today I am better.  If only I could be like Mrs. Moody of Mary Emma and Company.  I sure do like that lady. She's my character hero.  I think I am still waiting to get the "new creature".

It was a good morning.  The fact that I overcame my hate of the desert is a biggie.  I thought I had made much more progress than that.    Also went to WalMart and had money left over when I came home.  That is another biggie.  Hooray!

And, I did a couple loads of wash with my new home-made laundry soap. It's at least as good as the cheap stuff I got at Smart and Final, which I have NOT been impressed with. I was not able to find essential oils -- where do you find those things? -- so I did not add any fragrance to the soap, but the clothes smell good and clean.  I'll give a gallon of it to my elderly friend and see what she thinks.

My dear husband called a little bit ago from partway up Spirit Mountain, which is near the Nevada-Arizona border.  He organized a men's mountain climb with three other guys from church.  They were supposed to be doing this six-hour climb (both ways) and leaving one guy at the top to spend the night., then drive back to pick him up tomorrow morning.  Well, after climbing for two or three hours they had gone less than two miles, but some are complaining of noodley legs, and they lost one guy over the edge... he's okay, just beat up. That was the guy who was going to spend the night.  He is struggling under a big pack (which is the reason he went over the side -- the pack threw him off balance).  One of the men is young and part mountain goat.  That guy brought enough food and water with him for a three week survival trip.  Another guy brought only a 20 oz. water bottle and two Milky Way bars. ROFL!!  You have to know these guys -- this is so typical. Update: The real story is that that particular man had SIX water bottles, not one. That's better.  My mistake. And then there is my husband, who also packed plenty of food and water, but is leading the pack and has no idea how to get to the top of this thing.   So what we have here is a real motley crew.  It certainly will be a day to remember.  Maybe they'll get to the top next year... An old Indian legend around here says the mountain is sacred and if a man climbs to the top his feet will burn. That might be true if a man attempted this climb in July or August.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking:
and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.

Exodus 20:18

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Okay I'm Ready for Fall

Okay, it's 89°.  I am roasting.  How ever am I going to make it through this summer?  Looking ahead to this day, my sweet husband got the swamp cooler ready to go last week.  However, we never did turn it on and catch the dust that blows out of the vent the first time it's turned on each spring.  That is a tricky feat, with three of us each under a ceiling vent, trying to catch a heavy mist of fine desert dust with a wet towel.  I am sure we will get that accomplished just as soon as the man of the house gets home and sees how blazing hot it is in here.  I don't even have the oven turned on yet.  Whose dumb idea was it, anyway, to have pizza for supper tonight??

I'm praying for grace already (and a "cool" summer here), and I am NOT going to complain.  Anymore.  Ahem. 

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is;

To see thy power and thy glory,
so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life,
my lips shall praise thee.

Thus will I bless thee while I live:
I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Psalm 63:1-4

I'm drinking at the springs of living water.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Practicing What He Preaches

We have been in Proverbs on Thursday nights and have spent several weeks on the "strange woman".  The preacher (Monocogman) was talking about that woman in Proverbs chapter seven, the one who lures a lamebrain young man into lust and loss.  And he was talking about the man of the house, who was gone a long journey, and the fact that his wife, the strange woman, was lacking affection from her husband (not that that excuses her behavior, but it might help explain it.). Then he got on to preaching about men showing affection to their wives and daughters, because without that the ladies just might go looking for it elsewhere.  You know, as in, the husband ought to give his wife flowers once in a while (among other things).  He looked real sheepish as the words came out of his mouth, and I just had to laugh.   So tonight you know what he brought home.

What a guy.

Monocogman also brought donuts home for breakfast -- for the girls, he said.    Gotta keep all us girls close to home!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Love You!

I Love you Mom!!!!


* * * * * * *
Heh heh.  Don't I have a sweet kid?!?  Okay, now I have to change my password...   I love you, too, Amy!!  Thanks for the warm fuzzy!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

To the Praise of His Glory

Twenty-four years today, March 3, 1985, God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ, saved my husband from his sins.  A hell-bound college student he was, with a messed-up GPA, a messed-up morality, and a messed-up religion that offered him no absolute, eternal refuge from the sins that were hounding his conscience.  On that day Monocogman and his brother attended a church different from the one they grew up in, and for the first time in his life, my man heard and understood the gospel.  Jesus Christ had willingly suffered and died to pay for every single one of Monocogman's sins, was buried, and rose three days later in victory over sin, death, and the grave.  The preacher quoted a Bible verse that morning, which poured light into this young man's soul:

But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:

John 1:12

Monocogman could think of several right, good, religious things he had done. He had been baptized, he had been confirmed, and he had received communion.  Most of the time he was a pretty nice guy.  But, he had never simply received Jesus Christ, who had already done all when he said, "It is finished!"  At that realization my husband bowed his head, confessed to God that he was a lost sinner in need of a Saviour, and received Christ, Himself.  And from that moment, he was a new man.  Life has not been the same since.

Why am I giving you my husband's testimony?  Because my life is wrapped up in his.  My husband led me to saving faith in Jesus Christ.  I will be ever grateful for this day!

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

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