Big Yellow Bus

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O Big Yellow Bus,

Will you stop by real soon?

I have missed you, my friend

And am turning into a loon

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You see, I dearly love my kids

But I also love routine

It makes me oh so productive

And also…not so mean

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It happens every year

‘Bout this time of the summer

We’re done with ALL The Fun

It’s really quite a bummer

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I’m sick of hearing “Mom!”

The house is just a mess

My diet is atrocious

The kids….well, too much Togetherness

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Fights are starting to break out

Here, there, and everywhere

The natives are getting restless

My cupboards are looking bare

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So Big Yellow Bus

Will you change up our days?

You always arrive on time

With your lights all ablaze

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I’m ready to greet you again

Each morning and each afternoon

This Mom is starting to miss you

Will you please stop by soon?

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The Path

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As some of you may know, our family enjoys hiking together. When we were on vacation less than two weeks ago, we took some hikes as a family, but one especially stands out to me. It was a trail within the State Park where we were staying, and since it wasn’t supposed to be especially long or challenging, we decided to stop and hike it together on our way back to the cabin from another stop. Plus it had the title of “Wetlands Trail,” so we thought at least it would be pretty.

Starting out on the Wetlands Trail was a breeze. The trail was wide, pretty flat, and overall just easy going. A little ways in, however, things changed. Suddenly we were on a skinny trail barely wide enough for one person, tall grasses and thorns were brushing against us on either side, and you really had to watch your step. Out of necessity we were walking one at a time, following the back of the person in front of us, and trying not to stumble, get scratched up, or lost. Since I was not exactly prepared for this hike, I had worn my usual summer footwear (flip flops) instead of good shoes. Also, I am terrified of snakes, so I found myself constantly looking down at where my feet were about to step, as this area suddenly seemed like optimal snake turf. After what seemed like way longer than the supposed 1.2 miles it was advertised as, the trail then went into the woods and up a steep section with all kinds of switchbacks. My little guys soon started protesting and asking for a break and a drink. As this was supposed to be a measly mile of easy hiking, we had not brought much water with us and were suddenly thirsty on top of everything else. My little boys’ cheeks were scratched and we were all panting for breath just a bit and slapping at insects biting us. The trail stretched on much further ahead, but I got us turned around after a short break and headed back for our vehicle. Doubling back we knew what we were in for, and I was glad to see our van waiting for us at the trail head.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Walking on that trail got me thinking about all the other paths and trails we have taken together, then how they relate to life in general and especially living life as a Christian in this world. This has been burning on my heart since I walked that trail.

Here are some things I’ve learned about hiking in the past few years and how I think it relates to walking life’s path as a follower of God:

*Be prepared. Usually if a hike is completely miserable, it has been because I have not prepared well in some way. Either I am not wearing the right shoes, did not hydrate well, or didn’t eat something nourishing before I went. Or perhaps we didn’t pack something that we really should have. Sometimes we felt that we were well prepared, but the trail ended up much different or harder than we expected. If you are walking life’s path as a Jesus follower, you need to be prepared for that exact type of trail. Life sure throws us some curveballs, and we need to be ready for them. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what to do to be prepared for what we encounter along our paths, but here’s a reminder: pray, read the Word, pray some more, fellowship with other Believers, worship Him always and often. We need to be ready for those things we expect AND all the things we don’t.

*Follow the trail and the blazes. One of the first things we taught our kids when hiking was to look for the blazes along the trail and to stay on the path. Usually each trail has a different color and the blazes are marked on the trees. Some of the actual trails have spots that aren’t clear cut and you have to check the blazes to see where they actually are headed. Or sometimes they intersect with another trail and you have to follow the one with your color of blazes (unless you want to hop on the other trail for some reason). I have a terrible sense of direction, so I know that I shouldn’t veer off the trail lest I lose my way. Life in this world can be confusing, and we have so many things we can try to pursue. There is loads of stuff that can distract us along our path and some of it doesn’t match up to the blazes we should follow. Are you wholeheartedly pursuing Truth and the path God has placed before you, or are you distracted and wandering along all the other trails and blazes that come across your path?

*Use the buddy system. We’ve also taught our little kids to not go on a trail by themselves. We shouldn’t either. I just mentioned my awful sense of direction. When we are hiking or just traveling anywhere I am thankful for my husband, who has a very keen sense of direction. When hiking life’s trails, please don’t go it alone. Get to know and fellowship with others that share the same beliefs you do. We can help keep each other on the right path and encourage one another along the way.

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*Look for the beauty around you. If you keep your eyes open along a trail, there is usually much beauty to see and experience. That trail that I mentioned at the beginning of this piece? Even though it had its challenges, I saw some extraordinary wildflowers that I didn’t see anywhere else in that entire park. I was glad that we went on it. Sometimes the toughest trails we’ve experienced have led to the most beautiful bits of scenery. They have been worth the hike. Some of the most awe inspiring moments of my life have been on the heels of or in the midst of my toughest moments. I have never felt closer to my God than when walking through the most challenging times.

*Watch out for snakes! I mentioned also in my opening bit that in that rough section of trail I was wary of snakes. A man we met earlier in the week had cautioned us that many copperheads had been seen in that area this summer. His warning kept sounding in my head as we walked through, especially as I had mere flip flops on my feet. My feet were completely unprotected!  Friends, I’m sure you know where I am headed with this. Satan is out there to take us down at any opportunity he can, and we need to be ready for him. He is a crafty serpent. You may be at a place on your trail that seems easier at the moment–in those times we sometimes need to be on our guard the most!

Proverbs 3:5-6. These are amazing.

Well, I really hope and pray that this resonates with you in some way. It really was impressed upon me to write this piece, if anything for me to take these things to heart. God bless you and keep you as you hike your own trail!

Little Cabin in the Woods

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Today I am sharing some pictures of our recent getaway in the far western woods of Pennsylvania.

For the third year in a row, we have rented a cabin at a Pennsylvania State Park, choosing a different park each summer. The cabins are all built pretty much alike and serve as a very simple and extremely economical vacation spot for families. I highly, highly recommend them!

This year’s destination was Raccoon Creek State Park, a beautiful location for a week away from the normal hustle and bustle of our everyday lives.

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There were many hiking trails were within this park, which we took advantage of. This is at an old mineral springs location.

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Andrew had bought a hammock with his own money before we left. We strung it in the woods behind our cabin and all had turns reading and resting in it. (Confession: One afternoon I took my phone and watched something on Netflix while I was tucked down there. Shhhh…don’t tell my kids!)

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Plenty of time for playing games–this was en evening where my gang played one of their favorites (and mine), Dutch Blitz!

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We discovered some coloring books that are geared for any age at an Ollie’s over the line in Ohio. (Actually, we took a little drive, hitting West Virginia, then Ohio in a short time from where we were.) Apparently “adult” coloring books are now a thing? Anyway, Heidi got herself a book of paisley designs and a pack of markers, so I got to spend some time coloring! I have to admit, it was pretty relaxing, and you know I love design and colors.

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At the same Ollie’s we also happened upon a cheap Bocce ball set. Our small group had introduced us to this fun game just this summer, so we couldn’t resist getting a set for our family as we had a perfect commons area in the middle of our cabin loop. Warning to all: These two pictured above are little and cute, but they are KILLER Bocce Ball players!! I’m not too shabby myself either;)

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Whittling lessons with Dad.

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Found this neat rock perch on one of our hikes.

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My five guys, taking a break along a trail.

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Lots of beauty to be spotted, but I am so thankful to capture this image especially. SO glad the bee was still for me for at least a second or two!

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Our only real outing was to a place nearby called Old Economy Village, a historically preserved old community from the 1800’s, located along the Ohio River in the town of Ambridge. This was an image from their wine cellar.

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The old shoe shop.

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Checking out the General Store. Our tour guide was an absolute gem and literally spent over 3 1/2 hours taking our family, plus one other older couple, around to each area. She had the kids do a number of activities along the way to get the whole experience. I think we could have adopted “Miss Cora” and taken her home with us!

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Our kids even got to experience school in an old classroom.

Overall, it was just a nice restful week with nowhere we had to be, no one else really around, and no to-do list for the day.

Perfect for the year we’ve had and a quiet respite before Jeff is released back to work and back-to-school time begins.

What I’m Into: July 2015

This summer has been a weird one, but here’s what our family has been into this past month or so:

*Granite Flats. We happened upon this on Netflix in late June and decided to watch the first episode one night as a family. My kids were immediately hooked! They have since worked their way through the first three seasons. It is about a group of kid detectives in the Cold War era. Granite Flats is a very clean show, which is definitely refreshing for this Mama. WAY too many things out there that are not fit for consumption!

*Reorganizing our house. We started with our kids’ rooms and are working our way through the rest of the place–our basement and garage definitely need it!! Some Ikea shelving, like these cubby systems pictured above, have worked wonders in the kid bedrooms and corral all their clothes, books, and other stuff. They eliminated the need for dressers, which I was more than happy to ditch. (Actually, they have been repurposed for storage in the basement.)

*The Redwall series of books by Brian Jacques. Though my older boys discovered this series a few years ago, my younger ones have started to enjoy them just this year, along with my daughter. I have read a few and like them as well. One nice thing about this series is that you don’t have to read them in order. Each one stands on its own and has its own set of characters.

*Veggies! Our garden has done well and we have eaten many a meal from it. Having so much fresh produce available is such a blessing.

*Camp, camp, and more camp. Everyone has now attended camp this summer and they all really love it. My oldest son has even worked at a nearby summer camp for the first time. He just turned 14, so this year it is a volunteer job, but next year he would be a paid employee. I can’t tell you how great of an experience it is been for this kid. (Plus he now has a very cool nickname given to him by co-workers. Bond, since he shares a name with the most recent James Bond actor. I think he is quite proud of it.)

For those of you who have reservations about sending kids to camp, I will tell you from our experience that it is SO worth it.

My daughter sitting in on a Bible lesson at her camp.

Well, that’s it for now. Hope your summer has been a refreshing one!

Rachel

It’s In the Bag

As promised at the end of my “9 out of 10” post, here’s the less serious version of what happened to my poor dear husband. Not that I’m making light of him losing a body part, because it’s really not funny, but sometimes you just have to laugh instead of cry!

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July 3rd was looking to be a busy but fun day. I had plans to hit a giant yard sale with some of my kids (2 were at camp that week) and my Mom, go out to lunch with them, then swim at my neighbor’s pool in the afternoon. Parts one and two of that plan went great. We got home after lunch and were surprised to see that my husband had gotten out of work early, partly because it was Friday and partly because it was the day before a holiday. I got the kids ready for the pool, said bye to my Mom, and headed towards my neighbor Erin’s house, which is two doors down from us. Jeff was going to mow the yard while we were there, which was quite fine by me. I remember that he even gave me a little whistle as I walked past and I smiled and waved goodbye.
Fast forward about 15 minutes max. Erin and I were chit chatting while the kids swam. I happened to glance over and see my husband and our dog walking across her yard with what appeared to be something in his arms. I was honestly confused. You may think I’m an idiot, but for a second or two I actually thought he may have had some kind of food wrapped up and was bringing it over. As he got closer, I could see dish towels from my kitchen wrapped around his one hand and forearm, using his other hand and arm to support it. Also, there was a troubled expression on his face that I picked up on. That got my attention for sure.
“Is everything okay?” I asked him as he got close to her deck. (Note–he was not a bit pale or sweaty looking or anything too alarming at this point.)
He shook his head and quietly said, “No, I’m not. You need to drive me to the emergency room.” This is the same man who didn’t even raise help years back when he was having a stinking stroke, so for him to say this meant something was serious! Erin told me to go and that she would watch the kids. I got myself out of there without even saying goodbye to my kids and ushered him towards our yard. As we got out of earshot, I asked if he had cut himself on the mower.
His answer was, “Yeah, I took a chunk of my finger off.”
Um, okay. “Do you mean like it’s a bad cut or like you cut the end of it off?”
“It’s off. I already put it in a bag with ice. Maybe they can reattach it.” Big gasp from me.
Okay, this is like seriously serious. Y’all, if you didn’t know this man was tough, get this—he gets his finger literally ripped off on a mower belt, then picks it up, takes it in the house, cleans himself up, and puts said digit in a ziploc bag with ice. Oh yeah, then calmly wraps everything up and walks over to the neighbor’s yard to get his oblivious wife. Holy Smokes. I think if the situation were reversed someone would have had to peel me off the grass.
So on we go, driving calmly (NOT!) to the ER, which on a good day may take 35-40 minutes or more. Okay, I was sorta calm, but only because he was calm. I did keep asking stuid questions like “Are you doing alright?” and “Are you in much pain?” pretty much off and on the entire trip. All this while simaltaneously gripping the steering wheel and trying not to flip out. Oh yes, and did I mention it was a Friday afternoon, the day before a holiday? So yeah, there was definitely extra traffic all over the place. Along with my dumb questions I kept apologizing 50 gazillion times for not getting there faster.
Bless his heart though. He kept saying “It’s not your fault Rachel. We’ll get there when we get there. Just keep driving.” All while looking eerily calm and clutching a wrapped mangled hand to his chest. And gripping a dishtowel-covered ziploc bag with a severed finger on ice. He assured me that there was not much pain yet.
We finally reached Lancaster City and I was anxious to just get to the hospital and get him looked at. Well, my plans were thwarted by a young Hispanic dude riding a horse down the middle of the street (you can’t even make something like this up!!), exactly in a section where it was impossible to pass. I’m not sure what the heck this person was doing, but he was enjoying himself, smiling and waving at everyone on the sidewalks. He even had a carload of friends behind with their fourways on and music bumping. Let’s just say I was not amused!!
Finally I was able to pass the “parade” and zip to the hospital. Thankfully we got close parking and the ER waiting room was not packed. We checked in and they got us to a triage room fairly quickly. In both cases they ask what the issue is. Both times my humble husband downplayed his injury, acting like it was merely a cut.
Friends, this was not the time to downplay an injury. I cut in and played Mrs. Patient Advocate. For the one lady who was asking him I had to quietly lean in and say, “What he means is the finger is not attached. It’s in a bag.” Oooohhh….that definitely got more of a response than a mere cut. It also got us in next instead of having to wait awhile. She peeked at the injury, then dialed someone up right away and we were ushered back almost immediately.
The next few hours were mostly waiting in a little exam room, first with various people assessing things and then pursuing whether or not to try to get someone to reattach it. Time was ticking quite slowly and we were trying to get used to the idea that he was going to be minus a finger for life. When first examined, they took x-rays of the stump and what was left, so during this time I had quickly hopped on Facebook via my phone app and threw out a prayer request. Friends, I can tell you that we really felt those prayers and had such calm and sense of peace about what happened and what was to come. We also had a few chuckles already and I even jokingly called him Stumpy once.
Dinnertime was then upon us and a very wonderful nurse who was taking care of him offered to get us something to eat. So we had a little box dinner brought for us and we had a bite together. We prayed and as we were eating, I got the giggles as I thought about our situation.
“What are you cracking up for?” he asked with a grin.
“Well babe, we’re having quite the hot date here, aren’t we? We’re in a little emergency room together, no kids, hunched over eating a boxed sandwich dinner, your hand wrapped in my bloody dish towels….all with your finger lurking in a bag not two feet away.” (Note: Said bag was also covered in one of my dish towels. They eventually ended up in the hospital waste as I was not about to bring them home and use them ever!! Also, for the curious, I did see everything, and praise God I did not get light headed and was fine.)
We both laughed together and our nurse walked in to us cracking up and kissing. She said that not everyone in that situation would be laughing right now and she was glad we could joke about it already. There were several laughs before this happened and many more since. So you don’t think me cold and unfeeling, I did have a sad little cry about it when I got home later that night. I had left him in the hospital overnight on IV’s and awaiting a surgery the next morning to in fact cut off more bone and stitch the skin up over everything. The reality set in more by that time I guess.

Though there have been many serious and not-so-fun moments since, but there has also been laughter and a sense of peace like I mentioned earlier. We are thankful that the mower belt didn’t take off more digits or his hand, and also that it happened on the non-dominant side. We acknowledge that it must have happened for a reason, even if we can’t see it yet. If anything, it has given us lots of time as a family and brought us closer as a couple. I think of this each night as I re-dress the stump.

To wrap up, I will share just a couple of funny things that have happened since the accident:

*Jeff got a random text from a former co-worker who he hadn’t seen in a long time, but apparently had heard about him through the grapevine. It read something like this–“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Your new Russian name is Cutachunkov.”  Yes, Cutachunkov. Read it out loud and you’ll get it.

*One of my 7 year old nieces made him a Get Well card. This is what it says: “Do not cut your finger again because if I see it I will faint.”

*Jeff ran into a teenaged son of a family we know a little, but hadn’t heard about the finger yet. This boy saw his hand wrapped up, but obviously didn’t look closely at it as you can tell that something is missing. This kid knows Jeff is a butcher, so he jokingly piped up, “What’d you do, cut a finger off?”

“Actually, yeah, I did,” was his response. Oh my, this poor kid felt horrible then and kept apologizing over and over to Jeff! My husband laughed and told him not to feel bad.

So you see, we’ve had our laughs, along with a wide range of other emotions. Also, many thanks to those who have been praying for him and for our family. It’s been a rough year, but God is good and I know He is with us in each step!

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments + A God Story

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My life has been a little topsy turvy lately, so I am way off in sharing what I call my “frugal accomplishments.”

It has been one heck of an expensive year for this family, all with unforeseen crazy things that have cropped up. Therefore, instead of despairing, I am trying to be thankful that we have been careful with finances and have some savings to cover unexpected expenses.

So, in keeping with my frugal mindset more than ever, here are the latest money saving things to happen here….

*Had several people bless & surprise us with meals right after Jeff’s accident. (If you are one of those people, thank you!!)

*I’ve been able to hang out laundry most days.

*I keep washing out ziploc bags, drying them, and reusing them, as long as they are in good shape. (Not any that contain meat products–I do throw those out right away.)

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*I found these cool vintage burlap feed sacks at a yard sale for pretty cheap. I would love to try using them in some projects and plan to start with re-covering a stool top with the design portion of one of them.

*Haven’t had to do any big grocery runs in a couple of weeks.

*We have picked beets, sweet corn, onions, cucumbers, squash, blueberries, and green beans out of our garden. I blanched and froze many, many bags of the beans this past weekend. I also froze some blueberries.

*My boys foraged around for some wineberries last week. We ate some and the rest I made into jelly. I had also made some black raspberry jelly a couple weeks back, plus some black raspberry/grape blend jelly. Yum.

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*Sold this rag rug that I had made on Ebay.

*Before his accident, my husband brought me a really nice Pampered Chef glass baking dish with a snap-on lid. It had been sitting around his work lunch area for awhile with no one to claim it, so it was free to a good home!

*Used zucchini from the garden to make Chocolate Zucchini bread. It was the bomb.

*This probably sounds awful, but since my oldest has been working and mostly living at a camp, I haven’t had to feed him much or do his laundry (they make him do his own wash there, so thank you camp people!) this summer. Seriously, with how much he eats, it’s like they’re paying me;)

*Speaking of my oldest son, he is headed to a camp in Virginia next week that is offering a “Mountain Man” outpost. He doesn’t need to pack that much, but needed a couple of specific items to wear. I scored two pairs of Carhartt beige work pants for an amazing $9.99 each off of a clearance rack. That’s like an absolute steal for Carhartt products (local people, FYI, it was at Good’s store). Then my husband took him to Outback Trading to find a certain style of hat for this Mountain man thing. I am proud to say that they found a really cool one that is perfect for only $8 (normally probably a $40-$50 hat!!) on a clearance rack.

And last but not least…..

*Not really a frugal accomplishment per se, but a testimony to how awesome God works–this is what happened just yesterday. We had had another bill roll in from the dentist for two root canals Jeff had to have like two weeks before his incident. (As if the poor guy has not been tortured enough lately, yowza!) Within a couple of days, we had 3 different reimbursement checks show up for things him or I had paid for at work or church lately. Y’all, this is SO cool–without thinking, I added up the amount from the reimbursement checks and it was literally the SAME amount as the bill from the dentist, plus 9 cents to spare. I could have cried. God is good. They were cashed and taken directly to the dentist.

Thanks for stopping in! Hope your summer is going well.

Rachel

9 Out Of 10

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I love my husband’s hands.

His hands have served so many in numerous ways over the years…

They gently held each of our 5 children as newborns, even before I did.

They worked hard on his family farm growing up, whether tending to animals, crops, or equipment.

They have tirelessly worked to provide for our family throughout our marriage.

They have held my own thousands of times, whether to give me a quick squeeze, to comfort me, or as we have prayed together.

They have cooked many Sunday breakfasts with our kids for years and know how to whip up some superb meals.

They have humbly served in ways that many don’t even know about or realize at our church.

His hands may not be what would be considered “beautiful” to some people, but they are beautiful to me.  They are calloused, thick, and scarred from various little injuries, especially from his work as a butcher. His right hand has a bump in it from a break that never healed properly years ago. He has a big scar on one thumb from slicing it really deep on a band saw when making a crib for our first born.

After an unfortunate mowing accident this past weekend, he now has only 9 fingers. After a surgery to remove more bone and pull a layer of skin around what is left, that hand is now swaddled in layers of dressing. We haven’t seen the “final product” post-surgery, but have been warned that it will be startling to see when the dressing and sutures are removed. I don’t care. It may be ugly, but his hands will still be beautiful to me.

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This picture was taken a few days before the accident. He took it upon himself to carve really awesome walking sticks for every kid at our upcoming VBS.

They are the hands of a godly man who has a servant’s heart more than anyone else I know. Someone who takes it seriously to be the “hands and feet of Jesus” on this earth as they show love to others in practical ways. The hands of the one who I know loves me like crazy.

Nope, no matter what happens, those hands will always be beautiful to me.

***Forgive me for waxing poetic about this. Our anniversary is next week, and with the loss of his finger, I just got to thinking about how much I appreciate the work of his hands. A serious post, but we had lots of humorous moments within the whole accident/severed finger  story. Maybe I’ll share them another time! ****

Marriage According to our Maker

Last weekend my husband and I attended the wedding of a beautiful young couple. Though we didn’t really know the bride well, we knew the groom and have watched him grow into a wonderful, godly young man over the years we have attended our church. It was a beautiful service. Not only did I admire the decorations and other little touches that an artsy person like me would take note of, but I was especially moved by the service and ceremony itself.  I found myself blinking back tears a few times, and I know I’m not the only one there who was. Though I am an emotional female, I can tell you that everyone in that room could feel the absolute rightness of this union, the devotion of these young people, and the sense that God’s presence and His very hand was on this couple as they vowed themselves to one another.  It was as it was absolutely meant to be, exactly how God ordained it from the beginning. It was like even the witnesses in the pews were all standing on holy ground there together, even if for a brief moment. I was tucked in next to my own groom of 16 years during the service, reflective of my own marriage and the sacred covenant that marriage is supposed to be.

When we unselfishly love and live for our husband we glorify Christ and teach the world the true role of the Christian wife.

Fast forward almost a week. I get the dramatic “landmark” news about the Supreme Court’s decision regarding same sex couples and marriage rights. I see pictures of people cheering and waving rainbow-striped and equal sign flags. I see quotes and tweets and posts about how wonderful this all is, even from our own president.

I, on the other hand, felt sickened and downright sad. I felt nauseous.

I am not cheering about this decision, I am grieved by it.

 And if my sinful old self is grieved by it, our Creator who is Holy must be grieved more than we can imagine. Especially since He specifically created a man, THEN a woman—on purpose!!

Lord God said It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. - Genesis 2:18

My knee-jerk reaction may be to go on a rant about all manner of sinfulness and how the world seems to be” going to hell in a handbasket,” as the old saying goes. It sure feels that way some days. I could really knock out quite a heated post detailing my views.  However, I’m sure you already know how I feel by what you’ve read so far. I’m sure you’ve also read many articles by others blasting everyone who believes differently than they do. I don’t think that I could change your mind, try as I might. Just like you’re not going to convince me that gay marriage and the whole homosexuality issue is okay. Or changing one’s gender is okay. (Had to throw that one in there!)

Only God himself can change a heart.

So why the heck am I writing this?

I am doing this to remind us all of what marriage is supposed to be…not according to a twisted cultural trend, or what some friends or family think, or what some judges in Washington vote on 5-4.

Today I am focusing on what our God, the one who created you and me and all of humanity, has intended for us.

Today, instead of dwelling on my churned up emotions about everything in the news, instead of feeling downright ill at the sight of our White House lit up in rainbow hues, I am reminding myself and all who read this what YOUR CREATOR intended this institution to be all about.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. Gen 2:24. <3

Check out Chalkboard Matthew 19:6 Printable- Instant Download on gingersnapinvites

My favorite bible verse: Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves "a cord of three strands is not easily broken" (this represents a husband & wife & God)

Easter Monday we go to picnic lunch by the Ocean to see the native chocplate lilies here on the Canadian Gulf Island B C. AMEN  ciao! newport beach: sunday verse

My signs, quotes and bible verses are carefully constructed, entirely hand-painted and hand-lettered (no vinyl), and stained in my own special

Great marriage quote from the bible

it's not for my comfort, but making me more and more like Christ.

It was God himself who united a man and a woman in marriage -Genesis 2.24

I know I will probably get some responses to this. Either you will love or hate what I just put out there. I make no apologies for what I believe and am tired of us “Conservative Christian” types getting OUR rights trampled all over. We will not be silent.

 However, I hope and pray you know that today YOU ARE LOVED. By me and by our Lord and Savior most of all. .

I will end with this quote I came across this morning and really struck home with me:

“We are far worse than we ever imagined and far more loved than we could ever dream.” (Tim Keller)

Last Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

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Hello!

If you are new here or unfamiliar with my “frugal accomplishment” posts, here’s a synopsis of what they are about.

Basically I go over what I have done in the past week (it’s ended up being about two weeks in actuality) to save our family some money. Some of the things may be repetitive, others may be brand new. We are a family of seven that has lived on one income for many years–and done so rather successfully, I might add. We don’t do credit, our vehicles have long been paid for, and we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on our mortgage. Though my husband is the breadwinner, I have been the one to manage our money over our 16 years of marriage. I’m not patting myself on the back or anything, but I think I do a fair job at it, and as our kids have grown I’ve gotten much better at being frugal. (Sorry to break it to you readers with small children, but they get more expensive as they get older!!) Therefore, I feel like I know a little bit about what I’m preaching on here, so I feel like I can share freely about what I do on a regular basis.

Anyway, with that bit of background, here’s what I’ve done these last two weeks:

*Harvested sugar snap peas, beets, scallions, greens, and hull peas out of the garden. I blanched and froze some bags of the regular peas to keep for winter.

*I just got a nice deal on apricots and am making Apricot Pineapple Jam with them.

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*Didn’t do any big grocery runs.

*Had a leftover smorgasbord for several different meals instead of cooking up something new.

*The kids and I went to the North Museum in Lancaster for free yesterday! I had a free voucher for a family that I had gotten the day they reopened after remodeling. We had tried to go that opening day, but due to plumbing issues, they had to close their doors and issued family vouchers to everyone who had tried to attend. I literally got handed one before even going in. SO…I paid nothing and we all got to see the newly remodeled museum AND planetarium show for free.

*Packed our lunch instead of eating out for several different outings.

*We’ve been to the library a couple of times since school let out. The library is our saving grace during the summer! Usually we stop to trade in books about once a week and then attend some of their free programs too. The kids signed up for the summer reading program, where they can earn free coupons and passes to local places.

*I helped serve a wedding rehearsal dinner at our church one evening. When the meal was done, I was given some of the leftovers to take home for my crew. They were yum!

*For the same wedding, I had Longwood Gardens tickets that we had gotten free with our family pass. I gave them as a gift to the bride and groom instead of buying something. (Hey, I know that sounds cheap of me, but I thought it was a cool gift! It’s a great date destination.)

*I bought some very cool retro soda advertisement glasses for super cheap at a yard sale. My kids are in love with them and I purged some of our little kid cups in the process.

*One of our AC units was making some crazy noises and I thought we would have to buy a new one. My handy man checked it out and was able to fix it on his own. Hooray for guys that can fix stuff!!!

That’s all I have for the moment. Hope you’re having a wonderful week.

–Rachel