Psalm 68:6

“God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

Psalm 68:6

It’s Been Said….

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” CS Lewis

Jackson and the Kittens

He plays right into their tiny paws.

He sees them looking in the window and he goes to let them into the house. They know just how to play him, looking all fluffy and cute.

Ben’s Latest LEGO Creations

LEGO brick face

LEGO Brick Clock

ARC Planner

The start of every new year means a new planner or at least new planner inserts. I think it’s exciting. It’s a reminder of the fresh new year waiting for new adventures, new ideas, and possibilities you never imagined.

A couple of years back I purchased a nice planner from Samsonite. The rings didn’t stay tight so I’ll not be using it this year.

I’ve been looking for a nice planner for this new year. There are so many options available. It’s hard to make a decision so I’m just trying out a few things right now to see if I can find a good fit for our family.

My first purchase was an ARC binder from Staples. (I decided to share this since I know there are others trying to find a good system for their family.)

There are several sellers on Etsy that have custom designed planner pages intended to fit this binder.

I purchased the smallest size I could find with the thought that I would try it out as a basic notebook before I made the actual investment for a planner.

On first glance, it’s super cute. I added the place marker (the black band), and the name plate to the front. It does seem well made. I think it would last quite a while.

It has slots for business cards and an extra pocket for larger items. Again, these seem really well made.

The discs that bind this little notebook are well made. You can purchase larger discs if you wanted to expand your notebook.

I purchased one set of pocket pages and one set of dividers. These are made of a nice plastic and from previous experience, I think these will last the lifetime of this notebook.

My opposition to this book is the paper. It’s not held in place with a ring system like traditional binders. This paper is punched so that it sits into these discs.
The paper you buy for the planner is heavy so that it will hold it’s shape when being
snapped on and off the discs.

This was actually my hesitation about buying this particular system for my planner. I wasn’t sure the paper would hold up, (and it hasn’t). I’m used to also being able to buy a pack of 3 hole paper for my binder-size planner.

ARC does sell a paper punch for these books but it is quite expensive.

I’ve been using it for my grocery list and to keep church prayer lists. I like that when you take a piece of paper out, it doesn’t leave the trail of paper inside the binding like a notebook- and you can replace the page, if you like.

Because of the paper expense, the expense of the punch and the ease at which the little tabs become distorted and not stay in the book, it’s not a good choice for my planner BUT I do intend to keep my daily to-do’s and grocery list in this book.

A Day at the Park & Jon’s Broken Arm

At some point, you realize your plans are not *His* plans.

I don’t think we should fail to plan anything at all- just that when our plans change and everything seems to spin out of control, we need to remind ourselves that we’re never really in control anyway, right?

I’m thankful for the Lord’s leading and protection this week in our life.

We’ve had out-of-town guests this week (and they will be here next).

Paul has also been out of town.

The weather has been so beautiful, we decided to take a picnic to a local park.

I enjoyed watching the older children and our friends, playing ultimate Frisbee and laughing in the neighboring field.

Courtney, and I chased the littles around the slides and climbing walls.

They laughed as I would try to catch them and would run the other way.

Jon tried out the monkey bars and was so brave. When he couldn’t get across the first time, he tried and tried again.

Sometimes our attempts don’t end up quite where we hoped.

He fell.

When he hit the ground, I looked over at Courtney and told her I didn’t think that looked good. I remember the day Joshua fell so hard.

He was only five. He wore a cast for the next two months and that elbow still gives him trouble.

So Jon began to cry and came to lay his head over in my lap.

I knew when I saw it, it was broken.

We packed everyone back in the van. I dropped them at home and we headed for the hospital.

I really knew what they were going to say before we ever arrived.

He needed surgery to reset that bone. He had broken it in such a way, his elbow was like a hinge that has been bent out of place. He couldn’t move his arm *at all* by itself and each time he tried to bend it with his other arm, he was in excruciating pain.

calling his papa to tell him what happened

They started him on some pretty heavy pain medicine and he thanked me over and over for bringing him to the hospital.

He is just so brave. I kept looking at his little body wishing I could take all that from him- just like with Josh. Instead, I do know that God is building His testimony of faithfulness in Jon’s life. Each of these moments will make him stronger and more compassionate.
I know that- it was just hard to see him hurt.

I was *VERY* thankful for Courtney watching over things here and Matthew who stayed with me at the hospital. I had a million things rolling through my mind all at once. What to do with Owen who is still nursing? I had no clothes. We were filthy from being at the park all afternoon. What about our house guests? What about Paul? I knew he must be worried since he wasn’t there to see what was going on with our son.

The hospital was fantastic. They anticipated our needs. We were able to wash Jon’s clothing in a laundry facility on the floor and they provided the washing powder!

The emergency room supplied us with a bag of toiletries (it was so nice to just brush my hair and teeth!).

They even brought a breast pump to Jon’s room so I could pump while I was staying with him. (These situations are why I always keep at least one bottle and a canister of formula at home. You just never know. Courtney was sure glad to have them!)

I am learning more about myself- and there are the things I already knew.

It is lonely to sit in a waiting room. I sat through most all of my mom’s surgeries and various procedures by myself. It was hard to wonder what was happening. Chemo wasn’t so bad because I could go back and check on her, but those surgeries were horrible. I was grateful for Joshua being there when her chemo port was placed and I honestly don’t know what I would have done if my aunt and uncle hadn’t been there when I found out she had terminal cancer.

I miss my husband and will be thankful when and if, the Lord moves us to a new season. These trials are always much easier when he is here to weather them by my side.

Jacob visits after work
Settled in after having his arm braced
Another phone call to Papa
On his way to surgery
Recovering…my brave boy.
In the end, this where the Lord is writing His testimony in me, too. It’s not always easy and sometimes, it’s just plain hard, but the Lord is *always* faithful.

Hebrews 13:15-16, NIV

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Baby Gifts

We finished a couple of baby gifts last week.

Baby blankets and burpies are our “go to” gifts for new moms. We had already Zeke’s mommy her blanket and burpie set but wanted to add a personalized burpie for him.

The second set is for a new mommy-to-be. We attended her baby shower last Sunday.

She is a precious young woman. I can’t wait to meet her new blessing!

Meredith and 100 Easy Lessons

Meredith’s turn!

This is the same book we have used for all of our children. It’s a “rite of passage” in our home. (I wrote about it HERE.)

This week was Meredith’s turn to begin. She was all smiles!

20 Ways to Increase Our Income

As we’re working on plans for our new year, one of my goals is to work on our home finances.  These are some ideas I’m working for this new year:

20 Ways to Increase Our Income

1. Re-start couponing- set a weekly budget for sales
2. Can and store dried beans
3. Create our own skin care products
4. Plan at least two “stay-in” date nights with Paul each month this year
5. Use things we have to create little gifts for friends and neighbors this year
6. Use the clothesline to dry clothing
7. Make and sell a line of soap
8. Grow and sell herbs
9. Grow our own garden with enough to preserve for my family in the summer
10. Grow our salad greens on back porch
11. Make clothing for our littles from fabric we already own
12. Help Paul launch his Southtek business
13. Learn and help Paul with video transfer jobs
14. Run condensation water to garden to reduce watering costs
15. Purchase and care for hens to lay eggs
16. Make more of our Christmas gifts for family members this year
17. Begin Mommy-blogger programs to review books that will later be added to library
18. Begin secret shopper programs as a no-cost date night program
19. Sell some of my hair bows
20. Preserve extra food for our family each week from grocery shopping trips depending on what is in stock at ALDI’s and SAM’s
21. Continue to make stock from all bones
22. Create homemade easy mixes for our family
23. Begin habit of buying bulk items from Walmart.com

2 Corinthians 4:16

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Community Fellowship Reminder- February 10th

We would love to have you! Message me for details.

It’s Been Said….

“But you will imagine that it is best that He should at once enable you to see clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it. He never makes mistakes. But He often deals far differently with His disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of Him. What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But you may be sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for everything He does. You may not understand why He leads you now in this way and now in that, but you may, nay, you must believe that perfection is stamped on His every act.”
― Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, Stepping Heavenward