Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How to Parent a Fireball

What a day today!  Have I written yet about my fireball little boy?  I purposefully don't use the word strong-willed, and some of you may smile, but here's the reason why....  I believe we all have strong wills.  Some of just present them a little differently depending on who we're with and who we're in agreement with. 

Little green plants are very easy to train, they're young, soft and easy to bend.  As they mature they keep whatever shape they've been allowed to form.  But some plants are fiery hot pepper plants, and others are sweet juicy berries, and others very practical lettuces and so forth. 
Planting some grass clippings...

What a good boy I am!

I could get used to this sort of attention....

I'm thinking that God wouldn't dare place in any family two "fireballs."  Have you ever had an "Atomic Fireball" jaw breaker when you were young?  They started out sweet and with a nice cinnamon flavor and then they got so hot they made your eyes water and your mouth burn and sometimes you'd even have to remove them so you could catch your breath and drink a glass of water?  Then you popped it in your mouth and by the time you finished it off it would leave a sweet taste?  This is why I lovingly call my second son a "Fireball."  I always have a sweet feeling in my heart for him, but whew, it's those fiery moments that leave me panting and bewildered at times.

Well, today he was fired up again and this time I had an Inspector present, inspecting the work that "Interior Weatherization" of Alaska completed in our home.  He arrived at 12:30 and left about 3:00.  Well, he got a glimpse of everything, let me tell you..... I even had to announce, "I am now going to exercise my legal right to spank my child...."  I've never had to do this before, announce my right, that is, but in this day and age, you never know and I'm so glad that in Alaska our rights have not been taken away. 

He totally understood, was not offended and probably relieved that I loved my son enough to give him what he needed... correction.  I simply went and got the spank spoon, without being angry, just a bit uncomfortable at the witness and took my reluctant boy by the hand and gave him 3 swats.  That's all it took.  Yes, there were the signs of repentant tears and some howling, but it was all over in less than 10 minutes and our relationship was restored.  He apologized to me and we moved on with no more major problems for the day.  Notice I use the word.... major:)

I'm so thankful for the wisdom God has recorded for us in Scripture about how to raise children successfully.  I looked up the word successful and it means to finish something to completion.  Parenting is not finished for a long long time.  Sometimes we experience a fleeting moment of what we thought worked, and then realize later we were gravely mistaken.  Other times, we experience hurt and frustration but we keep going, trusting in God's truth and His grace and at the end of this we begin to see fruit.  It depends on what it is that we working on, but we have to trust Him at His word. 

We have teenagers in our home and I can truthfully say, I'm so blessed by them!  God's word does not fail.  His truth is real and it works.  Some people laugh and mock and make snide remarks that I am expecting our 7th child.  All I can say is what an honor and joy to raise another human being to love his neighbor as himself and love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul and mind.  Everyone will worship something or several things.  We human's have souls that were born to worship.... some themselves, their accomplishments, their ideas, hopes or dreams, and yet others will choose and obey God. 
Developing their tastes for all natural homemade ice cream...

Developing their tastes for teamwork and fresh air...

I'm contributing at an early age to my family and I'm happy with work.... usually.

Do you know you can raise a child and help to develop their taste for something?  What you've been raised with gives you a desire for those same things. 

What taste buds are you developing in your children?  What books and topics do you read and discuss and are important in your home?  Listen to conversations and you'll learn what is truly important to people.  Are you raising them to be peacemakers or war embracers?  Thankful for military and the freedoms they have fought for, or ungrateful for others sacrifices?  Opinionated or caring?  Inward focused or others focused?  A servant's heart or an overlord?  A follower or a leader?  Even in the little things like music, dress, hobbies, art, reading, problem solving, worship, singing, even how they will carry themselves and the manners and character traits that they will exhibit can be shaped by the people in their lives for good or bad. 

The power of a parent is underestimated in this world and has been substituted by many people for underpaid nursery and child care workers.  Perhaps it is because Mother's Day is around the corner that I'm thinking about these things. 

One of my favorite pictures of my Mom

My Mother gave us good tastes in the value and study of God's creation, nature hikes, and curious minds.  She taught us to be frugal.  She grew and canned most of her food.  She taught us to memorize and study Scripture and encouraged us to attend CYIA summer camp.  She wasn't out saving the world or gallivanting around the globe. She listened to the Christian broadcast on the radio while working in her kitchen.  She prayed a lot and wore her Bibles out by reading and underlining everything.  She didn't have a lot of time to study politics or the latest science discoveries, but she did have time to read to us pioneer adventures and other exciting stories almost every evening and cook us homemade healthy meals.  She was home and she was practical and cared for us the best way she knew how.  My Father completely supported her in her stay at home role. They're not perfect, neither am I nor anyone else, but we try and we don't give up learning to be better parents and worthy of the calling that we have received from God... born again believers, passing that on to our children.

Our work as Mothers often goes unnoticed my mankind and even held in contempt and not valued properly or understood.  BUT, it's OK, because God in heaven, misses nothing.  He saw my Mother hard at work each day and my challenges today.  He gives me victory over fear.  He gives me grace in each and every moment and trial I must undergo.  Believe me, there's a lot of mounting craziness sometimes around here amidst remodeling and baby coming, weeks of various sicknesses, and barely having time to get settled.

He is there through it all, giving me wisdom in the moment and understanding in the pondering and the reading of His word and prayer.  Every new experience brings with it a new level of knowledge that I hadn't gained before. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Saving Money by Being Home

I recently read an encouraging post at A Tray of Bliss written by a blogger from Australia.  It is entitled, "This weeks insourcing #9 my value in the home."  This woman, Mimi, has kept track of her doings and savings as the weeks go by.  As home managers and Mothers we are bringing wealth into our homes in ways we don’t realize!  Sometimes I feel like I don't have a lot to contribute to our families' income.  What a joy to discover I am actually saving money by staying home, not to mention preserving great family memories and togetherness.  So I decided to see what things I could tally up as savings for my week….

We transplanted seedlings into larger containers that we found in our green house.  Since we didn’t have to buy more pots, perhaps we saved $15.00. 

Some of our transplanted seedlings in the greenhouse.
We just purchased our home a few months ago and we are finding all sorts of useful treasures hidden about.  Now that the snow has melted, we’ve found heaps of rocks and buckets, wood planters and a concrete pond and water way!  We feel like we are in the secret garden.  We took lots of pictures this evening so that we can watch it bloom and progress with these crazy short Alaska growing seasons.

Our secret garden, pond, and waterway.

 So I’m not sure how to place an exact value on planting seeds and transplanting, but when we begin to harvest the cabbage, broccoli, peas, cucumbers, and squash this summer, it will take a huge bite out of our food bill.  Later we will purchase tomato plants and plant lettuce from seed.  Produce is more expensive up here.  If only I could learn to grow watermelon…. They are selling right now for $15.00 a piece.  Cabbage is $1.29 a pound and a wonderful tasty vegetable that grows well here.  We love it stir fried with carrots, onion, garlic, and fresh ginger which is $4.59/lb.  Does anyone know how to grow ginger indoors?  That would be another huge savings.  Oh, the kids found an apple seed that had already sprouted in a Gala apple over a week ago and poked it down into some soil and it sprouted.  We also learned from a friend in Oregon that you can re grow the little bit of celery leftover from the big bunch purchased from the store.

Our celery start is healthy and growing!

A two week old, maybe 3 week apple tree seedling... the faith of a child!
Learning and reading how to do things yourself from others is priceless…  This week I learned from Grace Garden and Homestead how to add extra lining and waterproof fabric to toddlers underwear to make your own pull-ups.  I have one child in pull-ups at night and one in pull-ups during the day and night.  Today we are sewing these homemade sturdy underwear.  That will be a savings of $25.00 or more a month.  I bought the fabric this week at ½ price with a coupon.  I saved $15.00.  I also realized that I can make nursing pads with an outer layer of that same waterproof lining.  They run $6 or $7 dollars a box and by making my own I could save close to $20 or so a month for when the new baby is born.

I also learned how to make my own lavender cleaner from Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth  I’m out of my chemical spray and will save at least $3.00 by making my own.  We plan to use their great recipes and free printable labels.  This is one of my favorite blogs, it is so inspiring, beautiful and practical all at the same time.

I went to the used clothing store and bought a pair of lined Carhartt overalls for my little boy for $10.00.  New, these are around $60.00.  They’ll last him forever and he won’t wear the knees out!  My oldest teenage daughter bought a pair of jeans for $8.50 that still had store tags on.  That’s a savings of at least $20.00.  Smart shopper, that’s my girl!  I also purchased a toddler bike for $12.00.  That’s probably another $20.00 savings.

We made handmade Thank-you cards and Birthday cards this week.  If we had to buy them, I’d have spent $15.00 or more.

I could count cleaning our own home, and washing and drying our heavy winter gear and storing it away for next season.  No dry cleaning bills here. 

My husband just reminded me that I save on gas by doubling up errands like shopping, orthodontist appointments, and prayer meetings, all while teaching my oldest son to drive.  That would be a savings of several hundred dollars, by not having him enrolled in Driver’s Ed, but training him while doing errands instead.
As I sat in the Orthodontist office waiting for my son, I picked up a copy of the latest April edition of Martha Stewart magazine and learned how to paint plastic urns and pots with a paint/glue mixture and then dip in sand.  What a great and inexpensive way to have some beautiful new planters around the house... all those free ones we keep finding strewn about will soon be sand coated.
My husband also reminded me of the child care fees we are not paying as well as the added expense of traveling and packing school lunches and buying new clothes and that whole arena.

I also saved myself a Dr.’s or chiropractic visit by studying my painful back/leg symptoms online and found it is due to hormones and loose ligaments and pregnancy.  I’ve been practicing a simple tightening exercise and rotating the pelvis forward to lock into place before I try to stand up or turn in bed or stand for a long time.  It works!  The pain has subsided greatly.  What a valuable tool the internet can be to help us solve problems and save money!  That would have been $80.00.

My middle daughter, 7 year old, often gets the least amount of attention so we did a special craft together and made such good memories.  We removed two small square mirrors off our wall.  Then we took our bouquet of roses leftover from a month ago, from our realtors, and clipped all the dried blooms off.  We found some scraps of lace, ribbons, buttons and the handy glue gun and had a grand time gluing away!  Cost: nothing.  Gained: priceless memories.

Re-decorating for free...
Well, I haven’t even bothered to tally grocery bills and cooking from scratch, but I know there’s oodles of money saved there.   We also try to bake bread on Monday's and Friday's.  That is 8 loaves a week at a savings of about $15.00.  Plus, we always have a couple to give away as gifts. 
Sometimes for fun, I have the kids add up the cost of our dinner in their head and we’ll figure out how much we’re saving by eating at home versus eating out or eating something pre-made.  Since there are 8 of us, it's always shocking how much we save by preparing our food at home.  Let's just say they learned multiplying by 8's rather quickly!  That could be a whole other post…..

So perhaps I have brought in $800 or so through savings including savvy grocery shopping and from scratch cooking?  We’ve also been purchasing extra groceries for our “make a lot of freezer meals” party in a few weeks.  A friend had one of these parties instead of the traditional baby shower.  It's a great way to save time and money... pulling out one of our own meals instead of a store bought one for when the new baby arrives.  I'll be sure to post how that all goes in a few weeks.

Next week I’ll have to take more careful notes.  This would be a fun way for my older kids to receive credit for consumer math courses for homeschooling… 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Sap is Running

Good down to the last drop!
The boys finally got a successful tap last Friday and Saturday, off several of our Birch trees.  Everyone was so excited!  It pretty much tastes like water with a hint of sweetness.  I've never had raw Maple tap so I don't really have anything to compare the flavor too.

Little Boy's drinking cup hung in hopeful anticipation...
It was refreshingly cold and a sign that we're one step closer to Spring!  We also saw our first Bumble bee today.  I hope he had plenty of Winter fat to fall back on... I'm afraid he'll be like the bird that Noah let loose from the ark and couldn't find anything to rest on.  There's not a flower in sight up here and won't be for a long time.

I sat on the greenhouse steps today and pondered the wonderfulness of hope... Spring will come, the snow is melting, grass is popping up, and we even saw a "Painted Lady" butterfly a few days ago!  These are all positive signs of the seasons changing. 

What other seasons of life do we find ourselves going through?  Let's spot the hopefulness of change and look forward to it with joyful expectation of the future.  We have a choice to linger on doubts, worry, or imaginations of impending doom, but we could also choose to set our hopes high... so high in fact that we are resting at the right hand of Jesus, rejoicing in His victory already won at the cross.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kids and Kitchen Prep and a Budding Student Driver

This swim mask makes cutting onions fun!
 We got this idea from my dearest Canadian friend... one day she sent us the funniest picture of herself with her swim goggles on, while dicing onions.  Hey, it really works and the kids love it.
I never knew picking salmon could be so much fun!
My eldest daughter, 14 1/2, and I are picking a couple fillets of wild Alaskan salmon.  It's such a tedious job really, but when done together while visiting away, it's enjoyable.  We had so much fun. 

All my children love to help in the kitchen as long as there are no other pressing needs going on.  Neither do I enlist their help when they are in the middle of an adventure, playing together nicely, enjoying one another.  Why break up something good and wholesome?  Siblings learning to relate without fighting, arguing, or bossing one another around is a very good thing.  I would see this over any amount of extra help in the kitchen!

 I always welcome them to try just about anything, except for cracking eggs under the age of 6.  I just can't take the mess and shells.  I have to draw the line somewhere.  Even my littlest one, at the tender age of 2 helps to knead any type of dough or stir anything that needs mixing, whether or not it really does.  She loves it and I let her. 

Yes, we have some rather large messes at times, but nothing that can't be cleaned up and usually laughed about.  Although, last week my Kitchen Aid Mix got turned on briefly with the beater up and full of cake batter.  I was not laughing then, but I am laughing now. 

I'm still finding dried cake batter a week later, but thankfully no one was hurt.  My 5 year old boy learned a healthy lesson about not "fiddling" with buttons. His mama learned a healthy lesson in the grace of God, yet again.  I was right there, close enough to watch over and protect, as my pinky finger was bruised on the spinning paddle.  I also got a chance to practice humility as I had to go back and tell my little boy I was sorry for being angry at him for making a mistake.

I know making mistakes are part of life, but some are just so much bigger than others or have far reaching effects.  It would be better for us parents to step back and allow some mistakes and practices in getting back up and trying again, then to never allow our children to learn things the hard way.  It seems unloving, but how else do they learn?

We're teaching our oldest to drive.  He's spent the Winter learning to drive in mostly dark or semi light conditions with snow and ice covered roads. Now that the weather has cleared and warmed up, driving is so much the easier for him.  There's no estimating how much time it will take to stop and start at each light and every intersection. 

What does take him a while is moving off the line.  He's so used to creeping, he still creeps cautiously.  I reminded him now of the danger of getting rear ended.  He gets it.  A few minutes later, he stated, "I feel like I'm driving a race car." 

We didn't blindly put him out there on the road with no training and education.  He's been taught to read, write, and think critically.  He studied the driver's manual and just about aced the test.  He asked questions months before he was ever behind the wheel.  He spent time observing, learning and soaking it all in.  Now he gets to practice.  What will make him a good driver?  A multitude of things, including the grace of God.  Some things can't be learned from a book.  As we practice driving, we become better at judging speed and distances.  We begin to understand, feel and sense much more than someone who is simply reading it all from a book. 

The analogy here is that reading the Bible and memorizing verses is wonderful and we should all be doing it.  BUT it doesn't take the place of experience.  Faith has to be lived and felt, and understood to be real.  It's not just head knowledge, it has to be put into practice.  What good would it be to have all that knowledge but no understanding... "always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."

I'm thoroughly enjoying experiencing parenting teenagers.  It's filled with laughter, hope, deep thought provoking discussions, and light hearted silliness.  AND so much less tears and drama then the younger ages.  They're developing their own opinions and learning how to respectfully relate to others and communicate their dreams and hopes and desires.  I am no longer the guide and helper that I used to be.  My role has shifted to being available rather than an avid watch keeper over their little souls.  When they come to me to ask a question, I find myself saying, "Have you prayed about it yet?  What do you think God would say about it? Or, let me share a story from my experience or remember so and so in the Bible...."  Sometimes I share my opinion and sometimes they will appreciate and try it, and sometimes they will have their own and it is equally good if not superior to my own and I am learning to appreciate that as well.

God is so good.  His ways are not our ways, nor are they the worlds ways of doing things.  It takes faith and trusting in Him to show us the way in this Century of Living.  We've got to get into the driver's seat and start practicing our faith for real.  It could be the ride of your life time, but you'll never know until you "get in."

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

First Mosquito of the Season

This hand is to tough to bite...
My husband captured this hearty mosquito yesterday in the palm of his hand.  Look at the size of this thing!  They are hatching out already and we've just had a couple inches of snow again a few days ago.... I have a feeling this will be a bad year for mosquitoes as last summer they had record rainfall in Fairbanks.  Most gardeners had trouble growing anything because it was so wet and muddy.  Usually Fairbanks is quite dry.

Does anyone out there have any all natural recipes that work for warding off mosquitoes?  I would love to try any and all of them.  Thanks!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Of Mold and Marriage

You'll never guess what we found in our bedroom wall and ceiling today...... black mold, wet sheetrock, water drenched plastic, nasty, nasty stuff.  We are rejoicing.  Why?  We're so glad we found this out now and not two months from now when the new baby arrives and Mom is recovering from abdominal surgery.  Our bedroom also doubles as the sewing room and office. 

So we spent hours this evening moving our bed out to the living room, and our kitchen table to the other end. Cramming our school books in a pine cupboard and finding new homes for our newly sprouted seeds was challenging.

Our clothes went into the children's closets and we left everything else in the nasty room.  When we peeled off the wood paneling, it really smelled bad.  The exposed sheet rock is completely ruined as you can see from the photos.  Tomorrow and over the weekend, the tear out begins. We're not sure how bad this will be, but it appears as though walls, maybe studs, and roof will have to be repaired.

The surprise is that we had no idea that the mold was so bad.  When we bought the house, we knew that room smelled musty but not to that extent.  Things had been paneled over, painted over, and a drop down ceiling put in.  But..... surprise, surprise, mold and water eventually leaks through.

So, do you want to know how good God is?  He's so good to have given us the skills, materials, and time to handle this.  Not only that, but in his foresight today, He really spoke to my heart about marriage.....

Before I knew this problem of mold existed, I was working on a huge pile of mending this afternoon.  Huge as in several dresses, skirts, and 6 pairs of pants.  (In between caring for our second little one for the week that came down with what we thought was the flu, but perhaps mold related now that I think about it.... anyways, between catching vomit and helping my little one sip basil tea, somehow all this mending was accomplished, another act of God.)

So, as I picked up the most damaged skirt of all, I began to think that perhaps it wasn't even repairable.  It had been stepped on while someone wore it traveling down the stairway.  It was torn in so many places:  zig zagged, ripped apart at the edges, strings and gaps hanging off, it was so bad.  Some of the seams had come apart and the actual fabric had just given way under the stress of the tear.

Then the thought occurred to me, that it could be fixed.  I just needed a little time, broken down into little sections.  Sure enough, I began to sew and slowly made my way over the damage.  I noticed something..... the actual fabric was damaged far worse then where the seams were.  You'd think seams would be weaker, but they weren't.  They tore fairly straight and were easy to put back.  Then I began to see the analogy in marriage...

We have a big blow-out or blow-up or something huge happens that feels disastrous and beyond repair.  Maybe we end up emotionally distant, or choose to separate or divorce because that seems to solve what the perceived problem is.  BUT, that's exactly what our enemy wants.  He's so deceptive. 

The seams in my skirt were strong.  The places where someone had purposefully sewn together and bonded the fabric were holding and if they had torn, I could fix them.  Guess what?  The covenant and act of marriage was enacted by God.  He originally put a male and female together and called it a marriage.  It's a strong bond, meant to hold up under difficulties.  He likewise has put my husband and I of almost 18 years together.  The marriage is not what is necessarily weak, it's the fabric. 

The fabric is my husband.  The fabric is me.  We are weak.  We are the ones with problems, issues and character flaws.  The institution of marriage is what is strong. 

I finished sewing realizing that God is good, my marriage is good because God calls it that.  If I find rips, tears, and holes, I need to patiently mend them, one little bit at a time.  It doesn't matter that my repairs are huge and yours are small or vice versa, we all will have them and cannot get away from that because we are human and we will be weak and will mess up.  Aren't you glad that God designed a system of forgiveness and restoration and reconciliation? 

So this post is getting long, but I learned all this today while mending away.  So, tonight, when my husband found the nasty mold, the analogy was the same.  We sat down with our older kids because they know the trials we've had as a couple over the last few years.  What a time of rejoicing to see how God uses our daily lives and work to teach us and give us hope.

So, if you find yourself in what may seem like unbearable circumstances, look up and allow God to teach you how to make repairs, one small step at a time.  It's you, in the very fabric of your being, that He created and cares about.  He knows how to fix anything.  Trust Him today!

Here's a P.S.  I found a helpful site on Mold
It has some helpful and informative videos as well as great posts. I e-mailed Andrea and she got right back to me and is a very concerned and kind individual.  Her family had to vacate their home in order to get the medical help they needed.  I learned a lot about mold from just clicking and reading or watching.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sewing a Modest Swimsuit

When I was young my favorite swim wear was my cut-off jeans and a T-shirt.  Perhaps it was because I mostly swam in the creek that ran along the edge of our property.  I remember loathing the whole beginning of summer and trying to find a decent swim suit that fit. 

My youngest brother jumped out of the back of the truck while we were in town one day and ripped his shorts on the way down.  That got him a decent pair of trunks real quick!  If only I could think up a strategy like this.  Of course, it was pure accident, but it did get him some nice swimwear.

Then there was that time that I hung out at my friends house down the road a few miles.... her Mother spent the afternoon making us Wrangler jean cut-off shorts to wear.  I remember how important I felt that she'd take the time to make us something that fit and with such style!  But, alas, when I arrived home, the new shorts were a little too short and deemed OK for swim wear only.  Guess what?  That friend I was visiting is now one of my sister-in-laws! 

So... I tried making a swimsuit once when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade... out of a red pin striped T-shirt material.  I'll never forget that ridiculous thing.  I wore it once in the "hot tub" my brothers and I dug out of the side of the hill and lined with a blue tarp.  After the water sat in the lined pit a few days, it was fairly warm.... and probably growing things. 

I always wanted something I could wear and not feel like I had to tug in various places just to stay comfortable, let alone modest.  You know, something to run and jump and play in the sand and play water polo in.  I've finally found it!  Last year, we went swimming with another family several times and they all had the coolest swim wear.  I asked them where they purchased it and she said they had them made.  Here's the website:Simply Modest Swimwear  You can order multi-size patterns, or they will make one for you.  If you've ever wished for a decent suit to wear, go visit their site.  I only wished I'd made these sooner.

I've had the fabric and patterns for a year now, and finally finished them today. 


We could hang out all day in these and still be comfortable!
It's not that they take that long.  They are so simple and easy to make.  The fabric was way easier to work with then say, a sheer curtain fabric, my worst enemy.  Swimsuit fabric is heavier and stays put.  All you need is a size 11 ballpoint sewing machine needle and 100 percent polyester thread, chlorine resistant elastic, swim wear fabric and some liner. 

In one afternoon the girls pinned and cut all their pattern pieces out.  In another afternoon and part of the evening, I sewed them together.  It is two pieces:  the lined top has an attached skirt and then it has a pair of legging like shorts that are sewn separate.  That's it!  My girls love them and are so happy they don't have to wear a skimpy and uncomfortable suit ever again.

Now, my third daughter who is seven, wants one too and I'm going to make one for myself after the baby is born this summer.  No more uncomfortable, immodest suits for me either! 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Spring Planting...Indoors

Putting in pea seeds as carefully as I can...
May I do more?

Family affair... this planting of seeds.
We finally got our seeds started!  We are a little late for cucumbers and tomatoes, I hear, but we started peas, beans, squash and cabbage.  I think we tried planting cucumbers anyway.   We have yet to pick up broccoli and crooked neck squash seed.

These photos were taken in our bathroom!  It's huge and the easiest place to clean up so it doubles as the first greenhouse. 

We had a dusting of snow a few days ago, and yesterday and today a few little pretty white snowflakes fell so Spring is still a ways off....

It gives us hope to plant seeds indoors.  We are hopeful of Spring even though we saw flakes fall outside the church windows as the Pastor spoke of new life in Jesus Christ.  He is risen, that is why we have hope. 

My second youngest daughter broke into tears today in the middle of church saying she didn't want to die.  After much nose blowing and talking about it later, she was simply struck by the reality of death and burial.  She was sure she didn't want to be under all that dirt, not able to get out. 

Having planted seeds Saturday under the dirt, knowing the process of burial, and then today hearing of Jesus death and resurrection, she connected the two very clearly.  I explained to her the peanut shell analogy and how our souls go to be with Jesus instantly and our bodies are just shells to be recycled into dirt.  We're not there!  Praise God, we are co-heirs with Christ, and will share in all His victories and triumphs of the cross..... even over death!  What good news this Easter, He is risen indeed.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

House Decompression

What is that?  Having the air sucked out of your home in order to determine where the air leaks are.  It's a whole lot more high tech than that, but that about sums it up.  It's a wonderful way to mathematically figure out how much fan ventilation one needs combined with any other outside vented appliances such as our wood stove and diesel Toyo Monitor heater.
What are you all doing in there?
Our dog was a little unsure if this was safe or not.  He is so protective and likes to be in the know.

Checking the numbers with some high tech readings...

I blogged awhile back about how God provides in so many different ways for all our needs and more...  this is just one more way.

We qualified for Interior Weatherization of Fairbanks, Alaska, program of making our home more energy efficient.  They came out today to do the actual labor.  They installed smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, a fire extinguisher, a better venting bathroom fan and dryer ventilation, blow in insulation in the attic, energy efficient light bulbs, and two air pressure tests that involved taking all the pressure out and finding out where the air leaks are.  They patched and sealed several places.

Then they walked around checking and caulking anything that had cold air coming in.  They spent a full 8 hour day of work here, for free.  There were four on the team, plus an electrician that was sub contracted.  Somehow, this program is funded at the state level with a little trickle from the federal government as well.  Tomorrow someone else will install another Toyo monitor diesel stove down in the basement and another day someone else is putting in a brand new Blaze king woodstove including the pipe and surround. 

We don't usually accept state funded help from programs, even if we do qualify because of the principle of the matter.  We like to know that we are working hard and receiving benefit from that work.  In saying this, my intention is not to look down on others for their personal choices, it's just that I see such value in trusting in God first above all else.  I enjoy learning and leaning onto Him for strength and support.  It deepens our relationship quickly and surely.

It gives us a sense of healthy pride and determination to be creative, careful, and good stewards of the resources we do have.  This program came so highly recommended and is such a savings for the home owner.  It would actually help to keep us off of having to use other programs because the money saved in energy costs is so great.  It almost feels like more of a reward for saving, earning, and buying a home so that our living expenses are indeed less. 

Because we have so many children they bumped us up to the front of the waiting list.  What a blessing.  They were all so kind and helpful.  What a fulfilling job, coming home at the end of the day knowing that you're helping someone save a lot of money to heat their home. 

My husband came home from work to observe and learn lots of great tips.  My oldest son was also fascinated with the work they do and the why's and how's of everything. 

I had a most enjoyable day just being Mom and homeschooling the kids and cooking and hosting.  It was very pleasant and the little ones had a great time too.  I never got a chance to share the gospel openly, but know that according to Scripture, the testimony of loving behavior between believers and family members will speak volumes. 

We'll never know what part of someone's salvation we will be called on to be a part of.  Some till soil, some plant seeds, and some are going to get to help with the harvest.  Isn't it wonderful that we all get to be part of God's team, and that He is patient and slow, not wanting anyone to perish in these last days?