Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's Done, It's Done, It's Done!!!!

3 years.

Sweat. (Dudes, you know you're committed when you knit with bulky weight 100% wool in Summer)

Tears. (Really, don't try to learn steeking on a design with donated wool that costs a lot of money. It's dumb. But thank God, it worked.)

And a LOT of frogging. 

I present 31 original Lobug Designs patterns in one book:

Currently in e-book form. If you want a print copy, contact me and we'll talk. 

Just in time for Christmas! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Story

Last Christmas, my wonderful Polish sister-in-love gave me this great ebook. All these excellent DIY recipes for beauty from Mommypotamus.

I confess I was a little bit overwhelmed by it at first. I wasn't sure if or when I would use it. At the time, we  had just (2months before) started the GAPS diet, and I was crazy busy just dealing with food- I didn't have time to deal with other aspects of my life. But the ebook looked interesting, and I figured at some point I'd have time to look at it.

The time came. I thought I would try a couple things to see if I could eliminate some chemical use from my life. I think the first thing I tried was the toothpaste, and I was hooked. For the first time since my last pregnancy (3yrs before), I was able to brush my teeth without feeling like I needed to gag and throw-up 30 seconds into it. And my teeth felt cleaner than with the store-bought chemical gunk. I was hooked.

I tried some lotion and balm.  My daughter loved it. I thought it was okay, but wasn't totally sold on the lotions. The lip balm, however, was excellent. I quit using any other.

Then, I had some tallow that I had rendered myself to use for the GAPS diet, and found that it was part of the recipes for some of the lotions and balms in the ebook. (more on tallow and rendering it) I gave a jar to my sis-in-love, and she used it for a moisturizer.

She discovered though, that it was too hard to use by itself, so she added some oils. Then, she graciously shared some of the mix with me. She discovered that it was a fantastic facial cream and helped her skin immensely. I tried it, but preferred my plain coconut oil. It got me thinking, though. From the research I'd done working with the ebook from Mommypotamus, my history of study of essential oils and such in Massage School years ago, and the lotion my sis-in-love gave me, I started experimenting.

I played with the recipes from the book, did more research, added things to the lotion my sis-in-love made, and found some really great natural health and beauty aids. Partly because I have access to large amounts of tallow (way too much for  me to use just for cooking or for lotions for just my family), I decided to see if others would be interested...... I gave some lotions away, my Mom gave some away.... my Mom sold some for me.... I tried some new recipes.... and Natural Health and Beauty by LobugDesigns on Etsy happened.

Check it out. I'm still experimenting. Right now I've got an Eczema Balm being tested, and more ideas.  So check back occasionally. It's good stuff. I love it. I use it constantly, and so does my family. Natural is always better than Chemical....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

New Stuff!

Just real quick as I dash by on a busy Saturday-

Lobug Designs is now on!

Surprisingly, no, not with knits.

Natural Health and Beauty Products.

The list is small right now, but there will be more in the near future!

Check it out here!

I'll post the story of how this all happened when I have more time.... ;) Check back soon.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I was Wrong

I was hoping the summer would slow down after we moved in to our new place.

I was so wrong.

The blog silence has not been because I have nothing to write about. The blog silence happened because I have been so incredibly busy with so much that I have absolutely no time to write.

In the interest of that time- and space- I'm going to try to briefly summarize the last 2 months....

1) After we got back from our family vacation, I had to move everything (not an exaggeration. The only things I didn't move were the piano- too heavy- and the washer and dryer- in the laundry room on vinyl flooring) back out of the basement because I was apparently allergic to the basement. It took us 2 weeks to discover the issue was the glue used for the carpet pad 2 months before we moved in, and the essential oils that spilled on a basement shelf many months earlier.  But praise God, we were able to find the culprits and take care of it and move back in. We are now fully settled and absolutely LOVING our new place. I could go into all the awesomeness of it, but that would be it's own separate and very long post.

2) I cannot believe how much time Little League requires. My Buddy played baseball for the 1st time this year, and I am so glad he was the only one doing it. I could barely juggle his schedule- I can't imagine doing it for more than one kid- especially if they are on different teams!  Our Little League season was long- Buddy made All-Stars!  Which meant practice 5 days a week and then a week of games. It went well. But we were a bit relieved when it was done and we could be at home on occasional evenings.
     Then Fall Ball started.... And Buddy spread the love of baseball to his big sister, so Sweetheart is playing too... Fortunately on the same team- and Fall Ball is much more relaxed than regular season.

3) J went to Canada again with SkateChurch in August. It was another amazing trip. What a blessing to be a part of that ministry!  The kids and I couldn't go, but spent a day at Grandma's with the animal in between Taekwondo classes.

4) Taekwondo has been great. Sweetheart and I are doing it together and loving it! We have managed to pass our first 2 promotions, and are trying to save up for a tournament in October.  Sweetheart is an absolute natural. I'm just trying to keep up with her. :)

5) We started school early this year because, after I got all the materials, I discovered that this is a long year. I want a good summer break next year, so we jumped right in the 3rd week of August, and have been going hard. It's intense. I always forget just how much work it is.  For some reason I think I'll be able to get everything done as well as school. I'm remembering now.... School and cooking. That's it. Cleaning can wait till the weekend- and so can anything else. If not, it'll have to wait until summer.  Or at least Christmas break....

6) A new book with one of my designs came out!!! I wanted to blog about it before, but, well, sometimes we can't do what we want.
Anyway, Unique Feet is from The Unique Sheep and Cooperative Press, and it is getting good reviews. If you like to knit socks, this is a good resource to have! My design is called Diamond Moss Boot socks. It is simple and classy. Check it out on Ravelry for more info.

7) I'm knitting again! It took me about 3-4 months after finishing the last pattern for my big book (look for it early next year) to have any desire to touch knitting needles again.  The desire did return, though I was concerned for a while that it might not. ;) I am doing some knitting on commission and recently finished another pattern for The Unique Sheep. It will appear early next year also.  Now I just have to find some time to knit all the Christmas gifts on my list in between teaching and cooking. (haha)

8) On weekends, I'm trying to fit some sewing in too. Just basic stuff- mending, nightgowns, re-doing some shirts I like but want to like more- but it's nice because it's so quick and provides that feeling of accomplishment that I can't get with cooking or teaching. I get to see the results with sewing, and that result won't be eaten in 5 minutes, so the feeling remains a bit longer.

9) I've also gotten into making some natural beauty products. I can't use most commercial stuff- neither can my daughter- as my skin is too sensitive to chemicals and my lungs too sensitive to smells.  So I've started making some, and not just for my personal use.  Currently I'm selling them in Eastern Oregon, but I hope to get an Etsy shop at some point. These products are amazing. Why it's so amazing that natural things work better than the chemical stuff that is so readily available, I don't know, but there you are. They do. And they are healing.  The chocolate mint lip balm is my current favorite, but I think I'm going to make some vanilla orange next time.  I'll let you know when they are readily available, but don't look for it soon, as I'm a teacher right now. Hopefully before Christmas, because these are the best kinds of gifts to give to that favorite lady in your life.  You might want to use them too....

So, yeah, it's been busy. I don't see that changing as the kids get older.  Once I thought it would but now I know better. Relaxation is a thing of the past. I was wrong. Life won't slow down, but I'll enjoy it anyway.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Catching Up

I feel like things just might start slowing down a little now. I certainly hope so. I'd like a relatively peaceful summer, spring has been a bit on the crazy side....

Ian did so well in his very first year of playing Little League. Incredibly well for never having played any organized sport, seen or played a baseball game. His coaches call him a sponge, and I really think he is where baseball is concerned. I just wish I could get him to pay that much attention at home! (Don't all moms feel that way about their kids' interests? ;) )  He played Minors all season, and made the All-Star team. The tournament starts this coming weekend. We've been doing baseball every day since June 15th. Well, almost every day. We've had to miss a couple practices....

Daisy has been busy with Taekwondo, and earned her first promotion the beginning of June! She did so well.

I got to have a bit of fun with my sewing machine. I took a couple of T-shirts that were much too big and turned them into "dresses". Not that I'll ever wear them without shorts, but I sure prefer them as tank-tops! This was my favorite:

Possibly because it's the Skatechurch shirt with the picture of my husband on it. I wore my old one to rags, so am happy to have this one now.

We learned the end of May that we had to move. Circumstances necessitated that our friends return to Portland, so they needed their house back. We are so excited to have them coming back- and so incredibly thankful for God's faithful provision! Within a week of knowing we needed to move, the Lord provided a great house not far away from the previous one with an amazing backyard and more than enough room for our busy family. So here we are! We've "been" here a week today. Although 4 of those days were spent on vacation, so we've really only lived here 3 days so far.

Our very first family vacation!

We had the most wonderful time. We went to Florence, OR where my sister has an apartment. She was gone for awhile, so we took over. We camped in a 2 bedroom apartment and just relaxed and enjoyed each other's company over the weekend of July 4th. It was so good. The timing was perfect. We needed to be together with no distractions, no work, and remember what it is to be family. It's been so wild lately. It was an oasis in insanity, and could not have come at a better time.

While there, we spent 2 afternoons at the beach. We found this fabulous little beach by the South Jetty, and had it all to ourselves. It wasn't really "on" the ocean, but it was a little slice of ocean, and all we needed. It was so windy right on the ocean beach, and this one was just sheltered enough by the dunes and the rocks that it was perfectly comfortable. Beautiful sunny days with just enough wind to keep it from being too hot, a beach to ourselves, and a comfy place with a kitchen to go back to for food and sleep. The perfect vacation.
The kids loved every minute. Milo never stopped smiling until he learned we were going home. What an incredible blessing. :)
 On the way to Florence, we went the long way. We even stopped in Lincoln City so Joel could skate the big park there. Not that he got in much actual skating with the kids around, but it was a nice break from traveling.
 For dinner, we stopped in Newport at the Rogue Nation  Pub where the kids played while waiting for dinner and then left with Frisbees for the beach. So fun.
 The only work Joel did all weekend- digging in the sand to bury wind-chilled kids. The funnest part was breaking out, of course.
 Frisbee!! Perfect beach game. Good thing they float....
The second day, Milo got brave enough to dance in the waves on the beach. The first day, he refused to get wet. But he LOVED the sand!!

So here we are! All of us and our stuff is in a new house. Now we are in the organize, unpack, set up phase. Looking forward to the slowing down of baseball and busy-ness so we can settle in and get ready for a new school year. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up with the insanity this summer.....

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Most Common Miracle

Just because it's common doesn't make it any less of a miracle.

Have you ever been present at a birth- or given birth yourself? Then you probably know what I mean.

It happens every day, multiple times per day, but every single time it happens it is still a miracle. A beautiful incredible unbelievable miracle. The miracle of a new life coming into the world. This miracle takes a wife, a woman, and turns her into something more, a mother.

Motherhood is the direct result of a miracle. And motherhood itself is somewhat of a miracle.  It is constant change, constant learning, constant growing, constant forgiveness. Just as the new life that caused this thing called motherhood is constantly changing, learning, growing, and needing forgiveness.

Last week, I had the most amazing opportunity to witness the most common miracle. And I have to tell you, it did not seem the least bit common. It was just as beautiful, just as amazing, just as mind-blowing as the first time I witnessed it and as the first time I experienced it myself.

The result?
Definitely not common.  New, amazing, awe-inspiring, tiny beautiful little human.  Look at that perfectly formed face and try to tell me that is not a miracle. A unique and fascinating miracle.

I have to say, though, this miracle happens because of another miracle.

Have you ever thought of how babies happen? No, really. 2 cells. Tiny cells that are invisible without special tools.  Those 2 cells come together and make one cell, then they divide over and over again. And look at what you get from those 2 cells becoming one:

Miracles. Constantly changing miracles. And I argue that the miracle starts, not at the process of birth or even the completion of birth, but at the beginning; when 2 microscopic cells connect and become one cell that then becomes many many many cells.

I'm making such an issue of this because it's been on my mind so much lately. Hearing about the Gosnell trial and the numbers of aborted babies both in China and the U.S; then going in to witness such an awesome thing as the birth of a baby..... Oh, dear friends, what has happened to our world!? To us? That we can sit by and let other people be murdered? That we can allow the most amazing miracle to be destroyed? Just because the miracle has become so common to us we forget what is really happening?

Babies are being killed. They are! I know people who believe in "free choice" of the mother have so many reasons for it- and if that is you, please don't tune out just yet.  I've heard how horrible it would be for the mother to have a baby she can't take care of; or how can you expect a victim of rape to carry her baby to term and have to remember the horror she went through? And I know there are so many more "reasons", but let me ask you this:

Remember last Christmas season? Remember the horror of someone taking a gun and killing children at an elementary school? I do. I remember the outrage that poured out of the internet and the news at the thought that someone would kill children. I remember seeing comments like, "There should be a special place in Hell  for someone that would kill a child".

How is that any different that what is happening every day in hospitals and abortion clinics all over the world???? But there is no outrage. There is a continued outcry for "freedom of choice".

My heart is breaking even as I am rejoicing over the birth of my beautiful niece.
There are so many women without children, so many that would rejoice over the opportunity to love the children that are "unwanted" even those who have developmental issues likes Downs Syndrome, whose mothers would take the "freedom of choice".  If a mother doesn't want or feels that she can't care for her baby, so many more mothers are just waiting, praying, begging to do that for her! Adoption is a win/win alternative to abortion! And what about those that do make the choice to end their pregnancy by abortion? I have talked with some of them. They wish with all their hearts that they had not made that choice.  They know that a baby is a baby from the moment 2 cells become 1.  A woman that has felt a baby move within her knows deep in her heart that the fetus within her is a little baby, a living human. She may choose to ignore that truth, but that doesn't make it any less true.

I have 4 of the most amazing miracles. And I remember being pregnant with each one of them.  I remember feeling them move within me.  Each one did different things. Each child, from before birth expressed his/her personality.  My oldest would jump and kick- she still does. She loves Taekwondo; she asks over and over for things, just like when she was inside me and would kick the same place over and over again.  My 2nd child pushed on me, stretched out as much as possible, and played with my belly button constantly. He still pushes every limit, stretching it out as far as he can; and he still knows how to push my buttons.

I could go on and on about my kids. About how their personalities matched their movements before they were even born; about the incredible miracles they are. Have you ever watched a child grow? It is mind-boggling, even if you just break it down into scientific terms. Did you know an infant doesn't have a kneecap? Just a tiny piece of cartilage that grows and becomes a kneecap around the age of 2 or 3.  Why?? Well, think about how hard it is to crawl on your kneecaps. So amazing! Every detail falls into place at just the right time, and this
rapidly becomes this
or this
or those children that were killed in their school on December 14th, 2012.

I see no difference in the humanity of those elementary school children and the children that are killed daily while in the womb. Life is life. A child is a child, no matter how old. Conception is a miracle. Birth is a miracle. Just because it is "common" does not make it less of a miracle. We need to protect children, not destroy them.

Welcome to the world, Daria Agnieszka. I hope we can make it a safer place for others like you.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Post in Which I Unload My Mind About Books

I read a lot.
No, really, I'm serious. I read a lot.
I love it. I've been reading, well, ever since my parents taught me how by making me spell through the alphabet every time we got in the car. (I still have vivid memories of standing behind the driver's seat [this was before seatbelt laws] reciting, "At, A.T. Bat, B.A.T, Cat, C.A.T...." and so on)
I've always read as much as possible; genre didn't matter. I read classic fiction, historical fiction, mystery fiction, biographical fiction, romance fiction, comedic fiction, legends, mythology, fantasy fiction and science fiction.
I didn't really read very much Non-fiction, though. Oh, every now and then if I had to for a school assignment or something, but non-fiction was just so boring.

I don't remember when it started, but at some point after my first child was born, I started feeling guilty for how much I read. Guilty!? Why? Reading is so good, right? We are always trying to get kids to read; libraries, schools, everyone wants everyone to read, read, read! Why would I feel guilty for it? So I pretty much ignored the feelings, and convinced myself that it was alright, I was reading; reading is good.

But the feelings wouldn't go away for very long.
About a year or so ago, I couldn't get rid of the guilty feeling at all. I tried to convince myself it was ridiculous even as I went on another of my "binge" reading sprees (I get into an author or genre and go a bit crazy sometimes- a book or 2 per day for a month or so).
At around the same time, we were attending a new-to-us church and it was so great. I started feeling like I actually had a relationship with Jesus like I've never really experienced before. But I could not shake the guilt (In Christian-ese you'd call it conviction) about the reading.

And this is why:
Ephesians 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

Proverbs 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life. (what goes into my mind eventually gets into my heart) 

In addition to theses specific verses, as a Christian, my focus should be on Jesus Christ. When I am reading a fiction book, rarely is my mind on the Lord. There are some (I just finished one, actually, and it was fantastic), but the majority of fiction doesn't turn one's mind to Jesus. Especially fantasy fiction- which was my obsession for quite a while.

Another reason I was feeling convicted about reading so much- I was beginning to notice that when I read, my attention goes to the book and/or to myself and I begin to get short and snappy with my kids. Which is not okay. When they are just being kids and I am grumpy about it, something is wrong and it is time to start looking for the problem. (Hint: the issue is not with the kids)

All of these things hit me in the face in a very short amount of time. No longer did any amount of justifications or excuses change what I knew to be true. Reading is a problem for me. A part of my life I was not willing to surrender to the Lord. And that lack of surrender was holding me back from growth and blessing the Lord wanted to give me. I wanted to read what I wanted to read. To fill my mind with an alternate reality was enjoyable for me. I didn't want to let anyone dictate to me what I should and shouldn't read. 
I am a bit of a control freak. 

Okay, time to get to the point. 

Books are great. I love them. Stories are good. Jesus used stories to teach.  Not all fiction is bad. There is some very good fiction out there. But there is also some bad fiction. And it may not be bad in the way you expect. 

See, our minds are a battlefield. So often, we forget or just plain don't know this.  As Christians, we are in a WAR. A very real war. We just can't see it or touch it with our physical bodies. We are in a war for our hearts- and our minds. 
On one side is God- the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. On the other is Satan, the devils, the world, and our own sinful human nature. 

The war is already won, but the battles continue. And anytime we turn our minds off to what is true Reality and what really matters- a battle is lost.

Now I'm going to quote books besides the Bible to make my point.

I love this quote I just found- it says it so clearly and concisely:
I believe the greatest trick of the devil is not to get us into some sort of evil but rather have us wasting time. This is why the devil tries to hard to get Christians to be religious. If he can sink a man's mind into habit, he will prevent his heart from engaging God. 
From Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. And it doesn't apply just to religious habit but to books or TV or any other alternate reality we engage our minds in!

And isn't that what Christianity is about? A heart engaging relationship with our amazing Lord and Saviour?

I'm currently reading Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody.
She makes a point I love:
To paraphrase - If the President of the US invited you for breakfast, how would you start your day? Hitting the snooze button on the alarm multiple times? Calling and saying you're too tired to come? Probably not. So why do we treat the Creator of the Universe- our Lord and our Saviour that way!?

Diane Moody is talking specifically about prayer there, but I love it. It applies to so much more than prayer!

What am I spending my time on? I'm always so busy (I bet you can relate), but I have discovered with all my busy-ness, that I always have time for the things I love to do. I always have time to read. I always have time to knit- if I really want to. We make time for the things we love. So how we are spending our time shows what we love.

 I tend to love alternate realities that are found in books. But those alternate realities- and the time they take- take me away from the things that truly matter in Reality. So are they worth it? That's time spent in a way that keeps my heart from engaging God.

It all comes down to what I really believe is important in life. If I really believe Jesus is important in my life, I'm going to make Him a priority. So if what I am doing is not drawing me closer to it worth doing?

Probably not.

And that's just it.

Is it drawing me closer to Jesus- or drawing another person closer to Jesus?  Isn't that the purpose of my life?  So, shouldn't I be doing things that fulfill that?

This is the conclusion I've come to:
I have a desire to read; I love to learn. The thing is, what am I learning? Is it worth learning? I don't think my desire to read is wrong, I think that what I was choosing to read was not healthy. It was a victory for Satan because it was preventing me from engaging my heart with my God.
Now, I still read, but I actively seek books that will improve my relationship with my Lord. Books that will draw me closer to Him and keep me grounded in Reality- not books that will take me to Unreality.  Escape may be nice for a moment; but I have found that it damages relationships, rather than building them.

And there are a lot of books out there that are really worth reading!  I already have a list that will take me more than a year to get through. I'm finding that I am really enjoying the learning. I confess, I didn't expect to. My reading slowed down a great deal for awhile, but I'm finding books that I can really get lost in- and learn from at the same time.

Some of the books I've read recently that have really affected me:

Concerning Christian Liberty by Martin Luther (Soooooo good. Every Christian should read it.)
The Plug-in Drug by Marie Winn (I am so ready to throw out the TV forever!)
Lord Foulgrin's Letters by Randy Alcorn (highly recommend! Extremely thought-provoking!)
Pascal's Pensees by Blaise Pascal (Thoughts of an intelligent man on things that matter. Some great apologetics)

My current read: Confessions of a Prayer Slacker by Diane Moody. Only a quarter of the way into it, and loving it. It's hard to put down.

A (very small) portion of my to-read list:
Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
Lotus Buds by Amy Carmichael
Anything by G.K. Chesterton, John Piper, C.S. Lewis, and more.

Seriously, my to-read list is massive. When I was originally fighting letting go of my fiction, I believed the lie that to read what was truly good instead of just not "evil" would be boring and awful. That really is a lie. I am loving this. And I am apparently not the only one. Joel has made comments on how much more interesting our conversations are.  I'm not grumping at the kids half as much. I know, because they've noticed; and because their attitudes have changed too.  It's a win-win situation. Why did it take me so long to learn this!?
Surrendering everything to Jesus is always worth it.

Ephesians6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—

Your mind- my mind- is a battleground. Who will win the battle for your mind- and ultimately, your heart and soul? 

Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finished Projects

I am so excited.

I have finished a project that I have been working on for over 2 years. Well, ok, it's not really completely done, but the hardest parts are done.

I have knit and written 24 original patterns for a big pattern book.

But it's done. I do still have to do some pattern editing, and get everything sent to the publisher- but that's the easy part. It's almost done. All the photos are taken, just waiting for some to be edited. Then it's up to the publisher.

I know it's still quite a ways away from being in print, but my big part is pretty much done. And I 'm very pleased with the end results.

All 24 of them.

I hope you will be too.

"Knitting Your Family Together"
Look for it in 2014.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Family Fun on the River

Last Saturday, we got to go play in the sun on the Columbia with some dear friends of ours.

It was a very special memory building time. None of us had ever been on a sailboat before, and our friends took us out in theirs. We sailed (ok, motored- there was no wind) from (almost) the I-5 bridge to underneath the I-205 bridge and back. It was a perfect sunny, quiet day for it.

Also last week, I wrote the last pattern for my book! I still have to finish knitting a sleeve, do a couple seams, and sew in the zipper for a photo shoot, but the pattern is written! Almost done! A week to remember.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Saturday at Grandma's

Somehow, Ian managed to not get his picture taken. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that he was busy chasing the cat wherever I was not. And that to play with the cat, he needed to not be near Milo, who seemed to scare the cat- and I needed to be near Milo. So, sorry, none of Ian on this one. Next time, though.....

Field Trip to the Zoo

 "It's over there, Mama."

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Getting Crafty Again

Things are finally settling down with the new diet. I am not spending the entire day in the kitchen anymore, Praise God. It is much more "normal" now. A few hours here and there to make meals and prep for the next day. So much nicer. And the food is so yummy. That's one thing about the GAPS diet, the food is really good!  Although, even my nutritionist commented when I told her what I was doing: "That's a hard one to follow!"  Yes, it is, but we are doing it, and it is proving to be worth it.

Anyway, with the reduced time in the kitchen, I am finding time to do more fun things! Like sewing. And knitting. And playing Monopoly with my kids!  Daisy got a Monopoly game for her birthday a couple weeks ago (I now have an 11 year old!!! As well as a 9 year old, 7 year old, and 3 year old. Time flys....), and it is now set up on the card table in the Family Room and left there for when we have time 1 or 2 evenings per week to play together. It is so fun!

And as for knitting, well, I am frantically trying to finish my final book contract. I have one more pattern to knit, and 3 more to write up. (I've been slacking on the writing part- it takes time and privacy, both of which have been in short supply in recent months.)  I'm knitting the last sweater- and loving it.
While I am doing this in cotton/linen/bamboo blends, I think it would be more fun to knit in wool. Unfortunately, I have issues with animal fibers next to my skin, and since I would like to wear this sweater at some point, cotton/linen/bamboo it is. It just means I can't knit for long periods at a time, as my hands start to ache with the color work. When I get to the single color section, it will go faster, as it won't strain my hands so much. But this is where I am now. :)

And in the meantime, since I have to take breaks from the knitting, and I don't HAVE to be in the kitchen every minute- I have started doing something I haven't done in years!!
I actually started using my sewing machine to sew patterns.

Honestly, I don't think I've done this since I was 6.

I've done mending. A few years ago I free-handed a purse for myself- but I don't think I've sewn complete garments from a pattern since I was 6 years old.

And it turned out alright! I know I messed up in a few places, but no one can see it but me...
Certainly, the recipient was pleased with how her nightgown turned out:

And I am so happy to be able to be crafty again. :)

Another Letter from my Husband

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ
Phil 1:3-6
In my last letter to you I spelled out the troubles and needs my family was facing. I let you know that financially I couldn’t provide for the diet Laurel needed to be on to keep her from having allergic reactions and relying on epinephrine shots to survive. I let you know that our support had dwindled to low that I believed that if I didn’t hear from you that I would have to walk away from volunteering at Skatechurch in order to take on a second job.
            I am very happy to report that many of you stepped up to help us. Through your giving, the giving of our home church (Door of Hope), and our friends and family, Laurel has been able to go on a very healthy diet that has allowed her to heal and not rely on Epi-pens. This diet has also helped Daisy heal from some of her allergies; and Milo’s asthma to improve enough that we are no longer afraid the Dr. will put him on steroid inhalers as well.
            Because of this outpouring of support and the Lord’s provision in our lives, I am currently praying for more opportunity to volunteer at Skatechurch. Only God knows if this will work out for my family and my employer, as I would be asking for time off from work to be more involved at Skatechurch.  So, pray for me as I pray and seek wisdom as to the Lord’s leading in this area.
            In other news, we have seen a handful of kids in the last month profess faith in Jesus. We are so excited to see this continued fruit grow out of this ministry. Please pray for these young men that they would hold fast to Jesus and that they would get hooked up with a close mentoring relationship with one of the skate staff so that they might persevere in the faith.
            It is so exciting to see these young men profess faith and then grow in grace to minister to others and bring more people to Christ Jesus. This last summer, we were able to be a part of an amazing circle of growth in the Lord as we watched our daughter be baptized by our pastor, Tim Mackie, who came to know Jesus at Skatechurch when he was in Jr. High. What an amazing thing it is to be able to see God using Skatechurch to raise up men of God that bring others to Him.

All donations to Skatechurch are tax deductible. You can give by check or money order by mailing to:
            11954 NE Glisan St. PMB #516
            Portland, OR. 97220

Or by visiting the Skatechurch website at and donating with your debit or credit card using Paypal. 

Love in Christ,

Joel, Laurel, Daisy, Ian, Asher, & Milo.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Good Accidents

So yesterday, I had my first foray into solitary canning endeavors. And it was entirely by accident.

I was having the kids help me peel pears to dry them while trying to make dinner and snacks.  I didn't realize until I was slicing them and placing them just how many pears we had peeled....  The dehydrator was full, and I still had a huge bowl full of peeled pears. So I made pear sauce. On the fly, like I usually do my cooking. I had none of the things I needed to follow a recipe, so I made one up. Fortunately, it turned out super good. And fortunately, my mom had blessed me by leaving her canning pot here.

So I canned 3 quarts of pear sauce yesterday. Entirely by accident.  There are some accidents that are good....
Today, my dehydrator is working on Kiwi Fruit roll-ups, banana chips, and pineapple chips. Tonight, it will become a yogurt maker.

I was so excited about the success of the pear sauce, that I might put the canning pot to use again tomorrow... Maybe some apples this time?