Wednesday, July 31, 2013


As I’m sure you’ll notice, blogging hasn’t quite made it onto my priority list as of late. There are probably an awful lot of things I should have been posting over the past several months, but I have been remiss. For now, I am posting pictures of our garden per request.

I like gardens. They seem like such a miracle to me. I love the way that we can plant, water, tend, and pour as much energy as we like into a garden, but God is the one that causes the growth and makes everything beautiful.

We planted our garden back in May, and it’s the biggest one we’ve ever had. Friends asked to see pictures, thus this post.  I wasn't able to get blog-worthy pictures of everything. Not pictured, we have tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and squash growing.  We also were harvesting romaine lettuce and spinach for several weeks, but those plants have all pretty much gone to seed by now and are no longer producing.

Mom planted these forget-me-nots before we even knew what kind of flower they were.  They were beautiful, but unfortunately attracted flies.  We had planted them right outside the back door.  Needless to say, they are gone now.  We enjoyed them while they were there though!

Growing tomatillo.

My cousin Mariah and our gigantic sunflower!

Cucumber plants.  We've harvested a few of those.

Basil!  Hooray for pesto!

Swiss chard.  One of my Daddy's favorites for juicing.


We tried growing broccoli for the first time this year.  So far we've only gotten little tiny heads like the one below.

Green beans

Blooming zinnia...

... and bloomed!



Corn! Haven't harvested any that was ready yet.  Hopefully we can get them before the worms do.

Some of these photos are courtesy of Mariah Lee.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Holding the Future Hostage

For almost as long as I can remember, I have had a far-off dream of writing a book.  Unfortunately, dreams of this kind take commitment, dedication, and lots and lots of hard work.  I never truly put my effort into this particular dream of mine, and thus nothing ever came of it.  I have a friend, however, who had the same dream, gave it her all, and after three long years of work finally accomplished her goal--and published her very own book.  I am so very excited for Tialla in accomplishing such a great task, even before she finished high school.

I enjoyed Holding the Future Hostage immensely.  The story is about a teenage girl who holds the balance of the universe in her hands...literally.  It is a captivating read, and I found it very difficult to put down.  With adventure and suspense filling every one of its pages, there is not a dull moment in the novel.  I would highly recommend Tialla's book to any sci-fi adventure lover.

You can learn more about Holding the Future Hostage and my friend Tialla here, and you can buy the book here.


Friday, January 25, 2013

What we did during the holidays

How quickly time has flown by. First November, then December with all its delights and memorable moments, and finally the new year have all swiftly slipped away. It reminds me of James 4:14.  "What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes."  All the more reason to look carefully how we walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.

I hope that you all had a very lovely and special Christmas celebration this year! Our family certainly did. Christmas time is always my favorite time of the year, and this year was no exception. We did something this year we had never done before. Every night for the month of December (to be perfectly honest I should have to say most nights since I am sorry to admit that we did not always remember) we pulled out one of our hymnals and sang a Christmas hymn together.  We went through the songs in the order they were in the hymnal, and in this way we learned many new Christmas songs and enjoyed discussing more deeply the meanings of the lyrics to ones we have known all our lives. I gained a new appreciation for songs like It Came Upon A Midnight Clear after really pondering the meaning of the words instead of merely singing along.

My Daddy is very blessed to be able to (most years) take off the entire week between Christmas and the New Year from work. This year we had special plans for that week: demolition and remodeling. Before we even moved into this house, we had plans to do some remodeling. There was a huge built-in entertainment center in the living room that just had to come down sooner or later (we hoped sooner!). Mom termed it the "entertainment altar."

 The carpet in the living room was also pretty old and dirty and we bought some wood flooring to replace it even before we moved.  Oh, and the walls were in desperate need of a paint of coat. So, the day after Christmas we took down all the Christmas decorations and tackled our project.  We had no idea how big it would turn out to be. We didn't finish until New Year's Day.

The first thing we did was pull up the carpet. And the first thing we noticed upon doing so was a large area of mold against the wall that backs up to the laundry room.  Turns out we had a leak in the wall.  That set us back a bit, but we were very thankful because had we not taken the carpet out we might not have noticed for weeks! While Daddy was fixing that, Mom and Isaac and I enjoyed writing all over the entertainment altar with crayons. Why not?  We were tearing it out anyway! I had my fair share of disobedient and rebellious acts as a child, but writing on the walls was never one of them. This was my very first time and let me tell you, it was loads of fun. All in proper circumstances, of course.  :)

Daddy taking a lunch break before the demolition began

 Next step was the major demo portion of the project, tearing out the entertainment center.  Mom wanted to take a sledgehammer to it while yelling, "TAWANDAAAA!", but Dad wouldn't let her.  He and Isaac ended up tearing the thing out bit by bit, two-by-four by two-by-four.  It was a messy business. 

They got a little torn up themselves, as you can see.

Since I am neither very strong, nor extremely tough, I was set to work taking screws and nails out of the two-by-fours.  We filled an entire 2 quart half-n-half carton full of them.  We joked that the carton was appropriately labeled, since the contents were half screws and half nails.  :)

We spent most of our 6 days on redoing drywall and texture, and painting.  It was Daddy's first time doing texture, and he did a remarkably wonderful job!  Perhaps the worst part was that after the texture dried, Daddy had to sand it, and for the rest of the time we worked on the project everything in the house was covered in a thick layer of drywall dust.  I don't even want to know how much drywall we inhaled in those few days.  After all the painting was done and the walls were dry, Daddy and Isaac laid the wood flooring while we girls tried to cleanse the house of drywall powder.

Once that was finished, our project was completed!  And now we are certainly enjoying the fruit of our labors. 

There, that's better isn't it?  We sure think so!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Of Ducks, Lobbers, Frogs, and More

Well, it seems that I never can keep my word very well when it comes to blogging.  Oh well.  Sometimes life happens and preempts plans, ya know?

(FYI: I feel that I have a very many things to tell in this post, so forgive me if you find it a bit rambling.)

Did you know that moving is not just a one day or even one week process?  In my experience, it takes more like two months.  We are getting settled though.  And we are enjoying our new house so much.  It seems that every day we find new things to love about this house.  One day it's how beautiful the roses are, the next it's the maple tree in the backyard.  Other days we realize how much we like the layout of the kitchen or the awesome pantry or the massive closet and storage space.  Some days we delight in simpler things, like how good it is to feel warm carpet under our feet again, or how smaller bedrooms can actually feel more cozy, or how the sunlight coming in the windows makes the kitchen and living area feel so bright and cheery.  Can you tell how much we are enjoying this house?

Our animals are getting somewhat settled as well.  They are all in temporary pens for now, but building goat shelters and a chicken coop are high up on our priority list.  The chicken coop is especially high on our list, because we really are not getting many eggs from our chickens right now since their laying situation is very much less than ideal.  Oh well.  We're working on it.  :)  Our ducks, however, (who finally started laying eggs shortly before we moved!) have been very reliable in giving us two eggs a day--and so far, in the same exact spot!  Speaking of the ducks, I am loving them more and more every day.  Shortly after we moved, Mamma put their pond in the front yard, and now every morning they waddle up to the house for their early morning bath right outside the window.  They are so much fun to watch (and hear).

Isaac spent a very great part of our first week here mowing all our weeds.  Uncle Timmy was very kind to let us borrow his riding lawn mower.  The weeds were quite high, and we couldn't really tell what was out on the property.  After Isaac finished mowing, we were exceedingly surprised to find many water spigots and sprinklers all over our 2 1/2 acres, many of which the boys had to fix because of leaks and disrepair.  Despite all the work and trips to Home Depot to fix all the leaks, it was overall a very pleasant surprise for us, since we had previously believed there was only one water spigot on the whole property, besides the ones on the house.

Now, this little monster in the picture below is a lobber.  I introduce you to him because he is, perhaps, the worst thing about our new house. 

As you can see, he is a type of grasshopper, only he is much bigger and appears to wear some sort of heavy armor.  His worst characteristics are a tendency to jump towards you right when are walking past him, and the positive look of malice he directs your way whenever you happen to be in his proximity.  But worse than all of this, is the fact that he is not alone.  There are literally hundreds of thousands of these creepy guys everywhere on our property.  They're in the weeds, they're on the sidewalk, they're on the sides of the house and the screen doors, they're in the rosebushes, and in the gravel.  They are literally everywhere.  It sort of reminds me of a plague from Exodus.  Truly, I am not exaggerating here.  We had lobbers at our old house, but I think there are even more of them here if that can be possible.  The good news in all of this: our duckies LOVE the taste of lobbers! They certainly don't have any lack of them.

For perspective on the actual size of lobbers, I placed a nickel in the picture above.

We've had some peculiar adventures since we moved here, but there is one that was incident that was the most bizarre, and therefore warrants your attention.  The first time we used the oven here, my mom noticed a funny smell. She thought that it smelled like a dead animal, but I thought it was just her imagination.  There had been a dead cow practically in our backyard for two weeks right before we moved (it's a long story), so I though she was just paranoid because of that.  Well, it turned out I was wrong and she was right.  When we inspected the stove a couple of days later.  We found a nice little crispy treat waiting for us.

Yes people, that is a DEAD FROG in our stove!  (Sorry for the poor quality of the pictures, but I couldn't resist showing you anyway.)  I'm not going to attempt to deny that that freaked me out a little.  Okay, it freaked me out a lot.

By far, my most favorite thing about living here is being so close to my Uncle Timmy, Aunt Kris, and cousin Mariah.  Their house is just one mile down the road from us, and that is such a blessing.  I can't even tell you how much I am enjoying that.  Is there anything better than being able to drive over to your best friend's house in less than two minutes in your pj's and slippers for a movie and ice cream?  Hmmm... I don't think so.

Okay, I have just two more pieces of news to tell you-- and these are not really related to our new house at all.  Firstly, I finally got my driver license on Wednesday!  Secondly, it's actually really truly the season of fall now!  Yesterday was probably our first day of sweater and coat weather, and this morning it was 28 degrees outside.  I love the change of seasons, especially fall, but I have to say that I am not looking forward to months of doing chores in below freezing temperatures.  On the other hand, I'm quite excited to start wearing sweaters and scarves and long warm socks and boots again.  Every season comes with it's good and bad I guess.

Well, I guess that's all I have to tell at the moment.  Ta ta for now!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We've Moved!

The picture says it all, my friends!  We have officially moved, and we are so relieved and blessed and thankful and happy and exhausted and joyful and excited and amazed and ecstatic and... shall I go on?  Like all experiences that God gives us, this experience has been both a trial and a blessing.  In the end of it all, I firmly believe that God has used it to teach us and grow us and to give us so many blessings which we do not deserve in any way!

I want to tell you a little bit of the details because God is so amazing, but it's pretty complicated so I'll try to make a long story short.  One of the biggest trials in all of this took place in the last weeks before we moved when we found out that we were being rejected for the loan we were trying to get.  This was a pretty serious complication, since we only had one week of escrow left and we had to apply for a whole new loan and get closed within 7 business days.  Our escrow and loan people assured us that they would work very hard to close us on time, but as the week went on it became very apparent that there was a very good chance we would not close on time.  Not closing on time would have meant having to pay the seller per day for not keeping our close date, having to postpone our move date, and having to beg our landlord to let us stay an extra week.  Needless to say, we were all pretty on edge that week.  A huge source of encouragement to my Mamma during this time was that "WE'VE MOVED" sign in the picture above.  It was actually a flier sent out by a church in our area that moved locations.  Mamma set it out in a visible place and every time she looked at it, she would think, "We've already moved!  God's already moved us!"  It turned out that she was right.  On Thursday it looked like we were set to close on time (our set close date was the following day, Friday).  Mamma and I were literally jumping up and down and praising God.  We were that happy.  On Friday (this was before the deal had officially closed) we went over to the new house and cleaned and painted fenced and got everything ready to move in.  We found out later that while we were doing all of that, the deal almost fell through, but the real estate agents were able to get it worked out.  Even up until the last minute, the deal was not secure but God worked it out just the way he wanted!  We got a call from our agent on Friday at 4:19 p.m. that the deal had officially closed--with only 41 minutes to spare!  God's ways are higher than our ways, are they not?

This is a picture of Isaac on the morning of our move.  We had an assembly line going for making the breakfast burritos for the crew that came to help us move.  Isaac was our tortilla warmer.  :)

Moving day was such a blessing in and of itself!  There were around 7 families that came to help us move, many of them driving over an hour and a half.  Everyone worked so hard and so much got done that I am still amazed.

Daddy provided us with some music while we were making breakfast.  :)

Unfortunately, this is the extent of the pictures we got during the move.  What can I say?  We were focused on other things.  :)

So, we are officially moved! I could go on and on about our new house now, but I think I'll save that for another post.  For now, I'll just say that we are loving our house more and more every day, and we are overflowing with thankfulness at how good God has been to us!  You can expect to hear all about it in the next few days.


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Well, I'm sorry for the long absence.  To be honest, I haven't really had anything new or interesting to share.  I could have written about every new development in our house-hunting adventure, but that whole situation was so frustrating and ever-changing that I didn't want to overwhelm and bore you.  Now that the roller coaster has seemed to come to an end, however, I finally feel comfortable updating y'all on our status.

I am constantly amazed and awed at the way our Sovereign God works in our lives.  It's never quite the way we expect it, but it is always perfect and good, even when we can't see it at the time.  Trying to find a place to live this time around has really been a roller coaster ride.  It was frustrating and it was difficult, but when it came down to the end, God did it that way to test us, to make us trust him more, to make us wait on him.  And it was good.  That doesn't necessarily mean that it was fun all along the way.  It wasn't. But it was His plan, and even if I still couldn't see the ways in which he has used it for good, (and I do!) I could still know that it was perfect because He is perfect.

So what was His plan?  Well, it's not completely over yet, but it looks like this is the house he has given us.

We are currently in escrow, and things have gone pretty smoothly thus far.  We made it over the hump of the appraisal without any hangups, so it looks like we are on the home stretch! (You may remember that the appraisal was the thing that stopped the last house deal we tried to close.)

We are so excited and thankful to be getting this house.  It's really a nice place with four bedrooms and a garage on two and a half acres. But the best part of all is that it is just one mile away from where my aunt and uncle and cousin (who just happens to be my best friend!) live.  What a huge blessing that will be for our family!  I'm not going to even try to describe how much I look forward to that!

Our close date is on or before September 28th, so we have planned the big move for the 29th.  That gives us, let's see... only 23 days!  Hmmm.... that's not very much time, is it?  :)

I really can't wait.  No, I'm not really looking forward to packing, moving, unpacking, and organizing all of our earthly possessions.  I am, however, greatly looking forward to settling down in a new place and actually feeling like it's our home.  There are many advantages to renting, (one of them being the reminder that we're just borrowing everything that we have on this earth and that this is not our true home) but it will be so nice to not have to worry about scratching the wall because it doesn't belong to you again.

So, that's the update!  Again, sorry for delaying so long.  I'll try not to keep the blog so silent in the future.