Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer Vacation Staycation by A & Mommy

Well, since PJ, G, and L are off in the wild blue yonder, we decided to make a SUMMER VACATION GRAB BAG.  Every night we will draw a slip from the bag that tells an activity that we can do.  Today's activity was "Write a blog post on the blog," so here we are.  

When Mommy asked me what we should write about, I said, "Camp!"  I am going to camp this Sunday.  I am so excited, and it is SOOOO hard to be patient.  When we asked Daddy, he said, "We should write about which type of motorcycle is the best."  We just laughed.  Mom wanted to write about our county fair entries and how she has been spending hours online trying to find good curriculums for her third and fourth grade class this fall.  We decided to write about our summer staycation.  

Today, Mommy and I picked beans from the garden and talked about if Mom should use her hardly-grown beets or hardly-grown carrots for the county fair division, "Smallest Vegetable in Show."

 Mom's also going to enter some of her AMAZING strawberry-rhubarb jam and her sauerkraut (I personally think sauerkraut is gross).

I made a doll crazy quilt for the county fair.  Umm...I made a lot of other entries, BUT, I decided not to take a picture of them.

Mom and I made cinnamon-raisin-oatmeal bread today. It's STUPENDOUS!  In the first picture, I was saying through my teeth, "This bread is getting really hot on my hands!"  Then I started to cut with an electric knife that I personally think sounds like a chainsaw!

That's all for now! -the Youngest Child and her mom

Saturday, April 14, 2018

What Makes You Happy?

The bright sun rays broke in through the windows of the sunroom and onto our feet.  Several ladies sat in Mrs. Anderson's home sharing God's word and a lovely tea party together.  When asked the question: What gives you joy? several seasoned women answered, "children" or "babies."  These answers never left me as I pondered this time together in that sunroom years ago.  My children were still babes, all under ten years old.  Though they did truly fill me with joy, I couldn't recognize that at the time because my emotions centered more on exasperated, down, and can't-wait-till-they-grow-up-so-I-can-get-some-sleep feelings.  Women who have lived a long time see this joy more clearly.

The question on the YMCA whiteboard this week asked "What makes you the most happy? What makes you smile?"  Very quickly my thoughts focused on this simple answer:
My children.  They make me laugh, make me cry out to God for help, make me wonder how I will answer their profound thoughts, make me smile with pride, make me experience life at a greater level, make me truly enjoy pre-teens and teenagers, make me panic sometimes, make me cry, make me want to tear out my hair, make me dance, make me so thankful.  I love Gretchen, Peter John, Lizzy, and Amy.  My amazing children.

{Easter Sunday Best}

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lordthe fruit of the womb a reward. 
Psalm 127:3

photo courtesy of G

photo courtesy of PJ

G and Horton, photo courtesy of PJ

Easter Sunday 2018

photo courtesy of PJ

photo courtesy of PJ

photo courtesy of PJ

Gotta get the CRAZY one in!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Wait, Where in the World is Ethan?

On this cold November day, Ethan is comfortably situated in northeast Tanzania near Kenya. After four days of travel, I should hope so! Taking one day longer than planned, the team arrived safely, and are, Lord willing, setting out to do their jobs in this underserved area. They will be teaching in a college and hope to encourage the Church by training her leaders.

Meanwhile, my son is working on his driver's education class, parent-teacher conferences all went well, and I am recovering from laryngitis. We have begun winter here in central Minnesota, but the red oak leaves and green linden leaves are still clinging to the trees. 

My youngest two daughters play violin in an orchestra in Princeton, MN.  We are so blessed to have a wonderful string teacher who hails from Chicagoland and taught in Germany. My oldest daughter keeps laboring over her junior year classes, including two college-level classes.  Such a hard worker. 

I would like to say with Martin Luther: My conscience is captive to the Word of God.  The words of God are more precious than gold or silver, and sweeter than honey (from Psalm 119).  It really is the constant thing in my life, though I waiver emotionally and in my faith in Christ.  I know God will ever be faithful to His words and that He can be trusted. 
Happy Birthday to this big guy on Friday.

Lots of love, Elysia

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Borshch, Bambi's Mother, & Butterflies

Peter John Captured this Beautiful Swallowtail Butterfly on the Zinnias

Cabbage and Kale

Cucumber Plant

Sunflowers & Zinnias

Is this the doing of Bambi's Mother??

Larisa's Borshch Recipe in the Works

"Mom's Cooking, Yum!" exclaims Lizzy. "I love pink soup!" says Amy. The pink color comes from the beets cooked in, and sour cream added at the table.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Middle Love

Middle Love
{a poem by Elysia}

A cord stretches through the trees
Into the past places we walked
In the beginning the strands
Flipped and wrapped and we talked

Of dreams, desires, blessings, and faith
The thickest strand binding, making one
Pulling us tightly and compelling
Forward on the Way of the Blessed Son

Into the woods, colors, depth, mystery
Singing scarlet tanager and soaring hawk
Never broken our strands held firm
Though weakened strands, and imps did mock

Accusing, tempting, our fleshly strands
Loosened, frayed, resisted the other
Our rocky path, gravity pulled
Tumbling, grasping for wind and one another

Till we looked not at the fall but
Thick, faithful, forward strand loving
Valiantly defending, shielding the foe
We would quickly fray, our flesh shoving

Away the strands, till we drooped down
Dragging the path, our movement caught
In the sharpened limestone, cobwebs, dust
Oh Valiant One, we are Yours, bought

By the King whose blood covered all our sin
Loosened by design that we might cling, Oh save!
Lead us not into temptation
Oh deliver us from evil, Brave

Immediately the cord is taut
The purpose clear, no doubt, not one
Through our God we shall do valiantly
Forward on the Way of the Blessed Son

The blanket of shame removed, healed
Loose, frayed ends wrapped by one another
Cruel words and anger put away
Replaced by love, pulled by another

Set your minds on things above
Not on the sharpened limestone rocks
Forward onto the path of the Son
Be sanctified, bound together, One

A cord stretches through the trees
Where Christ is seated at the Right Hand
Into the appointed places we tread
Pulling us forward by His valiant strand.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

By Faith We Let Them Go

Friends and acquaintances have passed away this month, causing us to mourn and think about the brevity of life.  How we will miss them.  How they are rejoicing because they are with Jesus, their Savior.  These thoughts from writers of the past have brought comfort in these days of grief:

From Charles Spurgeon, March 22 devotional:


"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am."
John 17:24
O death! why dost thou touch the tree beneath whose spreading branches weariness hath rest? Why dost thou snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom is all our delight? If thou must use thine axe, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; thou mightest be thanked then. But why wilt thou fell the goodly cedars of Lebanon? O stay thine axe, and spare the righteous. But no, it must not be; death smites the goodliest of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus' prevailing prayer--"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." It is that which bears them on eagle's wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ's prayer. A good old divine remarks, "Many times Jesus and his people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say Father, I will that thy saints be with me where I am;' Christ says, Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.'" Thus the disciple is at cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice; if the King should step from his throne, and say, "Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another, which shall be answered?" Oh! I am sure, though it were agony, you would start from your feet, and say, "Jesus, not my will, but thine be done." You would give up your prayer for your loved one's life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction--"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am." Lord, thou shalt have them. By faith we let them go.

From John Donne's Meditation XVII "Devotions on Emergent Occasions:"
...And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness...

...No man is an island,  entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were;  any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

From John 11:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Friday, February 10, 2017

Hymn of the Week: The King of Love

Sometimes the only way to move my children from wakefulness to sleeping is singing hymns and Scripture songs.  I sang for about 30 minutes last night while folding laundry.  The girls stopped talking and arguing in bed while the older kids just did their thing.  It was peaceful and worshipful.  I thank God for the years I sang in the Concordia Choir, the years of worshipping in church, and the hundreds of songs, hymns, and spiritual songs that have been infused into my soul.  Here is one of them inspired by Psalm 23.

The King of Love My Shepherd Is
By: Henry W. Baker

The King of love my shepherd is,
Whose goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am his
And he is mine forever.

Where streams of living water flow,
My ransomed soul he leadeth
And, where the verdant pastures grow,
With food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
But yet in love he sought me
And on his shoulder gently laid
And home rejoicing brought me.

In death’s dark vale I fear no ill
With thee, dear Lord, beside me,
Thy rod and staff my comfort still,
Thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spredst a table in my sight;
Thine unction grace bestoweth;
And, oh, what transport of delight
From thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days
Thy goodness faileth never.
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
Within thy house forever.