Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Really?! No guesses at all! Okay, well here's another picture of the same animal, but from a slightly different persepective. :)
Now let's see who gets it!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:11 PM
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Well, like most everybody around the blogdom I've been taking it easy on my blog. Colin's invoked a media fast this week, and I'm feeling detached. He's made one exception so that I can post on here. We've been busy hanging doors, eating pies, opening presents, visiting the zoo, playing with cousins, fighting pink-eye, etc... On the other hand we had a visit from a very strange creature. Here's a picture of it. Ten points to the person who guesses what it is:
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 1:48 PM
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Ecclesiastics4: 9 Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
This passage is one I had not come across for a long time but I heard it in two different places today. My prayer is that I can be a blessing to someone as a friend.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:28 PM
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Thanks to KimC for this tag. It's actually my first:) !
I love games, so I'll play along with this one... I like this ornament alot although I'll have no use for it anytime soon. You see, my husband and I haven't actually had a tree since we've been married. However, my favorite ornament(s) are the ones made by my late Grandpapa. He got a bunch of those eggs from the Leggs pantyhose and made twelve beautifully handpainted ornaments symbolizing each of the twelve days of Christmas. They were split up among the children after he passed away, but there are a few on my parents tree that we all take special notice of each year.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 6:46 PM
Friday, December 16, 2005
Yahoo! Just a couple of more hours until Colin's plane arrives, Lord willing. Colin says the pics on here have been great - just like he was here - isn't that dishonest, err, nice of him! It's been a really good week thanks to my mom, and my brother and his wife. They came around just in the knick of time to save me from the brink of loneliness! I am thankful to them and to God for them!
Anyways, see y'all later. We'll try not to hurt Colin when all five of us tackle him at the airport :)
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 12:20 PM
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 2:29 PM
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 12:49 PM
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:36 PM
I found this in the comment section at Amy's Humble Musings. It was written by anonymous which is a real shame because it is excellent. I couldn't resist sharing:
Sarah and others,
If you will permit the Dad of a few kids to interject here…
You have the most important job in the world. It is also one of the hardest.
When you signed up for duty, you committed yourself to a lifetime of service. Your performance in the vocation that God has given to you cannot possibly be evaluated in the midst of the day-to-day routine. It cannot be judged based on your response to any one particular situation or based on your execution of any particular day. It is hard to keep the focus on the long-term when the immediate is so tyrannical.
The enemy will do everything he can to keep you from seeing the ultimate goal of your vocation. If he can trip you up by discouraging you with your bad mood on a particular day or even reminding you of your sharp answer that you gave to one of the kids, he wins the battle.
And occasionally he does win a battle – but we will win the war, by the grace of God.
Keep your focus on what God has said about what it is you are doing. The best works that we do are most often done when we are unaware of them. Think of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount, “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
The good works that the Good King commends are those that are done faithfully, that are just a part of every-day life that most people, yourself included, never realized were good works at all.
As a mommy, you labor faithfully every day to serve the “least of these,” the covenant children that God has entrusted to your care. All of the feeding, clothing, drink making, spilled drink cleaning, diaper changing, room straightening, laundry folding, spilled drink cleaning again, all-night sick child comforting, mud-track mopping, book reading, diaper changing again, and bed making are all works that the Good King calls good because they are done to the “least of these”, our children.
Keep up the good fight and do not loose heart.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 11:44 AM
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 11:35 AM
Friday, December 09, 2005
On Monday, I blogged about how my precious two year old was keeping us busy. He is a truly amazing young man. So full of energy, so independent, so fun. I love him dearly, but I must say, he gave me a run for my money this week. Monday's already been said, we won't go there again - see I'm already blocking out the bad memories. Tuesday, we woke up to a freshly painted bathroom and a freshly painted son. Only problem was he'd used red nail polish. Another day I walked into the kitchen to find him guzzling syrup. Another day, he played trivial pursuit by himself by spreading ALL the cards around the playroom. Did I mention I love him dearly? Did I mention sometimes I have to say that to myself through gritted teeth?
But that wasn't the only excitement around here. So far I've had one chest xray, one purse robbery, and one gas leak in the house. I'm not gonna lie to you, there were a few crying babies around here, and one of them was of the thirty-something age. It's been a real struggle in faith to maintain composure and patience and perspective. I've failed that test often enough, but God promises that all things are for my good. And He never lies. I've seen that as I go through this trial, I have to cry out to God to give me grace, to give me strength, to give me ability, and to give me a heart that wants to obey. None of those things are innate in me, and the excitement around here has only been the wave-maker that surged my sin to the surface. It's taught me to cling to Christ, to pray when it's hard, and to thank Him for forgiving me and taking care of my children's hearts despite me.
Thank you Lord, for the lesson - I had so easily forgotten.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 1:05 PM
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Okay, now that I've blogged on the "why" we obey. Now it's time for the "what" we obey.
I believe that God's law as stated in the Old Testament is still our standard for today. This includes the civil law and the moral law but not the laws of cleanliness, sacrifices, and diet. The latter were abrogated by Christ's sacrifice. In Him we have been made clean for He was our ultimate sacrifice. The dietary laws were clearly stricken in the New Testament.
As we live under Christ's grace, we must ask ourselves how we are to practically govern our everyday lives and our society. We must chose a standard of morality from which we derive our civil laws today. Where will we get that standard? We could try and make it up on our own, but that will invetiably be a flawed standard. Also, everyone will have different opinions on what said standard should be, so it will be difficult to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Why not, logically, chose God's standard set up for us in His Holy word? It is the only one that will be truly without sin.
I understand that for some of the laws, people may think the penalties too harsh. But we should not forget Who was the author of these laws in the first place. Could enforcing these penalties be sinful if it was God who set up the penalties in the first place? I think not.
We should not forsake the law of God solely in order to guard against the sin of pride. We should not teach moral standards to people to guard them from thinking we are prideful, nor to abstain from pride ourselves. Would it be better for a woman to go to church showing her cleavage and causing dozens of men to lust in their hearts, rather than to admonish her to dress modestly?Would it be better for parents to send their kids to school were lies about God were taught, rather than to teach them to homeschool their children. Having moral standards is not a sin, nor should it be treated as such when people are getting those standards from God's perfect law.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:27 PM
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sorry there's not much to report today. For what I've been up to lately, see my reading list here.
Today started off not so grand. My two year gave us a rude awakening this morning by spilling a box of granola all over the living room and pooping his pants - all before 8 a.m.! I understand poopy diapers, but poopy big boy pants are completely awful! So, by noon he had spilled three full boxes of food, two cereal and one carton of raisins, all over three separate floors. He'd also pooped his pants three times and wet them two other times. Did I mention, potty training wasn't going so well? By lunch time I'd all but decided to quit, but Amy assures me that baby steps are what we need! I bet I'll buy that better after a good night's sleep! See! If only he wasn't so cute!
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that
Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in
weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Cor. 12:9-10
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:51 PM
Thursday, December 01, 2005
I'm sad to say that the church is getting away from the teaching of obedience. By calling it "legalism" pastors are preaching against God's law as a prescription for how to govern our lives. We are under grace it's true, but that does not take away from our Lord's teachings:
Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. Ex 12:24
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Ex. 19:5
The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. Deut 6:24
...be sure that you obey all the decrees and laws I am setting before you today. Deut. 11:32
Be care to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you. Josh 1:7
And there are dozens more at least.
And lest you say, that's just the old testament. Jesus says:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. Matt 28:19-20
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it. Luke 11:28
If you love me, you will obey what I command. Joh 14:15
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. John 14:21
It is clear to me that even though Christ paid for our sins, we are still required to obey the law. We do know that we are not ever going to be capable of keeping the law in its entirety while on this earth, but that does not mean that we should give up trying. As pastors today forego the Westminster Confessions teachings in the nineteenth chapter, they will say that the laws only purpose is as a mirror, and not as a moral standard to guide our lives, and not as a means to restrain the wickedness of all man. We are freed from the curse of the law, but not of the duty to God to obey.
People today, even Christians, treat God's law as a burden to obey, but have completely forgotten the blessings that come with obeying Him. Throughout His Word He teaches of the joy of the law, of the blessings that He pours out on those that obey Him. In the law we see the perfection of His character and also the perfection of what life could be. We don't just obey God because we are grateful that He saved us, all that's part of it, but we also obey because it is the best way, the perfect way, the only way that we should live.
VII. Neither are the forementioned uses of the law contrary to the grace of
the Gospel, but do sweetly comply with it; the Spirit of Christ subduing and
enabling the will of man to do that freely, and cheerfully, which the will of
God, revealed in the law, requires to be done.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:45 PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
One of the many surprises about motherhood came in a surprising form. The peanut. I hadn't given it much thought before I had kids, but shortly after Grace's first birthday, that changed drastically.
We were visiting my parents in Texas while Colin was away to Scotland. My dad was helping me during church on Sunday by standing in the back with Gracie who was 13 months old. She was tired and fussy from the traveling and the time difference so he gave her a peanut butter cookie to appease her. It didn't work and she just grew more agitated. So we quickly left after the service, went home, and I put her down for a nap. She kept crying for about twenty minutes, but I thought she just needed to let out some energy, so I left her. Finally, her grandma had all she could take of hearing this, so I went in to check on her. Thanks be to God for this. If I'd been home, I might have just left her for longer. I decided to change her diaper in the dark, thinking she might be uncomfortable although only slightly wet, but didn't want to wake her too much. When I took off her dirty diaper, I noticed hives all over her tummy, back, and private parts. Startled, I turned on the light, and it was then I noticed her nose, eyes, and even ears were swollen. I went immediately to my mother who is a nurse. She thought it might be an allergic reaction to the peanut butter cookie. We immediately rushed her to the ER and they quickly took her to a room to gave her shots of epinephrine, benadryl, and steroids.
As she dozed off from the medication and exhaustion, the doctor explained to me what had happened. This was what is known as an anaphylactic reaction to the peanuts. It causes her to swell with hives, drops the blood pressure, and can restrict breathing by swelling of the airway. He said that her reaction was a particularly bad one, especially since this was her first exposure, and the reactions will usually only get worse. I was given epinephrine shots to take with me where ever we go, and a little tool to stick down her throat to keep her airways open. I quickly realized this was not just a matter of an annoying allergic reaction resulting in itching and hives. This could easily cause her to die. Faced with the fragility of my precious daughter's life I quickly felt the weight from the responsibility that I was the one that had to protect her. As a small child, she didn't understand that she just couldn't pick something off the floor and eat it. She couldn't tell people not to give her anything that had peanuts in it. She couldn't meticulously scan the labels on her food to make sure there wasn't a trace of peanuts, or that it wasn't manufactured on equipment that processed peanuts. And faced with all this, I was afraid. The thought of losing my child in such a way, was more terrifying than the thought of losing my own life.
Now, children eating peanut butter sandwhiches couldn't play with Gracie because touching her could literally cause her death. She couldn't eat food from a bakery. If someone gave us food, I had to put them through an inquisition in order to make sure they didn't put anything questionable in the food, or make it on something which they had used to make a peanut food. Going to restaurants was an exercise in faith.
Moreover, we've learned that the problem is not limited just to what is eaten. She's had reactions when she sat on furniture where people had eaten peanuts the day before. One time, she accidentally sat in some peanut butter which caused her to scratch. When she then touched her face, she immediately began to swell and we had another trip to the ER. I know that even in this God is merciful. There are plenty of foods out there that don't contain peanuts and we live in such a time that food manufacturers are required to label any possible allergens in their products. As she's gotten older, it has become slightly easier because she can speak up and be on guard for herself. However, after reading this article, I realize that there really is no time when she will be at ease over this. And these types of stories only tempt me to live my life in fear. While I still pray everytime she eats something that God will keep her safe, I've also learned to rest in God's sovereignty and goodness. I realize that Gracie can be in a room full of peanuts and be safe if God wants that. She can also be in an entire house with only one teaspoon of peanut butter and have a reaction as we've seen. It is truly God that keeps her safe, and if it were to happen that her life should be taken, it would be God that does that as well. As her mother, I have realized the importance of protecting my child from danger. However I am a fallible being, and I can err. Thankfully, our Lord who is the Great Protector, never will. I find rest in God's love shown here:
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the
ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head
are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
God is the one who gave her this allergy. It has a purpose. I hope and pray it is only a tool for sanctification and that God will continue to protect her life from this threat. My peace lies in knowing that Gracie is more precious to God than she could ever be to this fallen mother. So, when we pray for her protection we do so knowing that not an atom in this universe is out of His control. Thank you, Lord, for your great love and your great power.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:52 PM
We've been busy here lately. Last week was not only Thanksgiving but also the time of a fight - us versus two stomach bugs. Yep, that's right, we were double teamed, and let me tell you it wasn't pretty. My oldest had projectile vomiting while sitting on the toilet, not to mention the fact that all the others kept me washing two to three sets of sheets every day. But despite the sucker punches by our opponents we ended up the victors and are no worse for the wear. I also painted our bedroom twice, no make that four times. We didn't like the first color we chose even after two coats, so I painted it again. I also painted the hallway and finished off the boys room. Pictures will come soon, Aunt Amanda. Then, we've also had a friend of Colin's here working all day on my computer so I haven't been able to blog. Oh, yeah, we also celebrated Colin's birthday yesterday. Grandma and Grandpapa babysat for us and we went out to see Walk the Line - a really sad story about a man who destroyed his family for the sake of worldly lusts. It was made up all pretty by Hollywood to look like a true love story between him and his second wife. I didn't buy it.
Amidst the fun and frivolity of the past couple of weeks, I had some particular encouragement as a mom. I've been taking the kids out a lot to the stores lately. I used to hate taking them by myself while we lived in California, but my strength has returned the last few months and I'm getting braver :) After many frustrating attempts at shopping, I tried to take the bull by the horns so to speak and invoke a guidance as to what was expected of them. I told them the most important thing while at the store was to glorify God. That means obeying mom, being nice to each other, and not whining for what wasn't theirs. It's really worked for them, and it's helped me to keep perspective as well.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 6:17 PM
Thursday, November 24, 2005
We will sit down at a heavily-laden table (to my wife, all honor) and we will solemnly maintain that the God of heaven gave all this to us, and He did so because He wanted to bless us. This is simply outrageous. What kind of hubris would claim that the triune God who spoke countless galaxies into existence paid any attention whatever to how our turkey and potatoes got to our house? But this is not self-promotion. We do not claim that God gave us these things to celebrate with because we are somehow up there on His level. We have learned through Jesus that our God is the God who stoops. He became a man (this next Lord's Day is the first Sunday of Advent) and He partook of meals, just like we do. He celebrated annual feasts, just like we do. In partaking as He did, He sanctified all things, including the blessing of sitting down with family (along with honorary family members for the day) and eating the fullness that God supplies.
Thanks to God for His indescribable gift. It is the gift of Christ, given for sinful men, that enables us to give thanks as we ought for all the other gifts He gives us, down to the smallest holiday tangerines. We have already gone through several boxes.
A small thank you to Doug Wilson for this quote, and a huge thank you to God who teaches us through humble men and reminds us why we are truly thankful.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:42 PM
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Here's a link to a great squib post by R.C. Sproul, Jr. In it he points out that we'r thankful for God's provisions so that wives don't have to work. I thank God for this too. I also thank Him this year and the past six years for a husband who knows that God's way is the best way, and that he has enough fear and love for that God that he'll obey Him.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 2:06 PM
It would really be too easy just to clean a house and cook for Thanksgiving without any other distractions wouldn't it?! A stomach bug is going around the little ones. That's alright though, because I have the cure. Twelve hours and a lot of momma loving. Noah cut his foot on some glass outside and although I think he'll heal just fine, you'd never know it from the blood curdling screams he was letting loose! Pumpkin bread will have to wait...And so will this blog.
In all things give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 11:11 AM
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
I thought this was really funny! And I'd like to give a shout out to all my friends at PETA - not! I'll be think of you Thursday while I chow down on my little friend here, and loving every minute of it!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 2:03 PM
I wrote a post today, but because I had started it and saved it a few days ago, it posted for that date. Now noone will even see it! If you want to, go to November 18,2005 and read.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 1:44 PM
Monday, November 21, 2005
I love aquariums! This one looks just amazing, and would be really educational, don't ya think?! Any reason to go on a vacation, will work for me :)
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 4:26 PM
Saturday, November 19, 2005
My husband took the kids to the zoo today so that I could get some painting done. I think they all had a great time, but I got so overwhelmed by paint fumes that I started literally gagging. And no, the answer to your next question, is I'm not pregnant. My sister and my mom both asked me that when I told them what happened. But the test I took today was negative. Hey, here's a pop quiz for ya- How do you know you're quiverfull? You buy pregnancy tests in bulk, and always carry one in your purse, just in case! Seriously, it's become a mini-ministry for the community. I've had three friends recently find out they were pregnant by one of tests that I just happened to have with me. :)
Anyway, I'll post pictures of the boys room as soon as it's finished. We're doing a firetruck/cars theme. We drive by a fire house on the way home and the boys scream EVERY TIME they see the truck, and they let me know if the door to the garage is closed so they can't see it. I think they'll like their room. :)
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:04 PM
Friday, November 18, 2005
Talking with my sister-in-law the other day, we began discussing some of the requirements that mothers will place on themselves in order to qualify to be "good mom." It's something that has been on my mind every now and again since I got married, but more frequently as of late. It seems that there are moms out there who, from the beginning, will say I want to do these things as a mom, then they go out and do them. For example, sewing, baking, setting the table for dinner everynight, cleaning their house on a schedule, making homemade cards with the kids for Dad's birthday, etc, etc. It's like they think, "Okay, these are the things a mom does." I for one, did not really know what a mom/homemaker was supposed to do. I often will read blogs of other moms and feel the frustration as they espouse their strongly held beliefs. I would really love to just video a mom that I admire going throughout her days. Then I could know what I shoud be doing.
But rather than look to another sinner for my answers of a perfect mom, maybe what I should be doing is take a tip from a popular Christian phrase, "What would Jesus do?" Or rather, what has Jesus done? Well, He's said to love others like I want to be loved, and to lay down my life for others. So what does that mean for me in regards to my family? Well it means putting my needs after theirs on a daily basis. Okay, now what does that look like practically? Well, it might mean getting up early to cook breakfast, when I'd rather sleep in. It might mean teaching my children how to clean and work and learn when they'd rather just watch tv all day.
But, getting these little things will only come if I get the big things right. To love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength is the big thing. The kicker is that without His grace I will never get that. It is a gift from Him to even allow me to try to love Him. So, if I seek Him, I thank Him for allowing me to do so. And I ask for the ability to try to do better, and to be pleasing in His sight. And when I fall, I thank Him for the sacrifice He gave for me so that I can rest despite my failings. And then, amazingly I recognize that while I am forgiven for these faults, they should bring about a righteous anger from a perfect God. But He as my Father, is patient, and kind, and consistent to discipline. He doesn't forsake me in my pit where I pitifully cling to a sin which leaves me cold, hungry, and despairing. He teaches me, He guides, me, and in the midst of it all, He gives me moments of joy and respite where He reminds me that not only does He tolerate me in patience, but He delights over me. Rejoices over me. Has compassion on me as a mother might for her own child. And there I find my answer.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:53 PM
Thursday, November 17, 2005
You might not know it by looking at my house right now, but I love an orderly home without a lot of clutter. However, achieving that isn't exactly my forte. My idea of house cleaning usually focuses around the once a week Saturday rush. The day to day keeping is where I lack the skill. As I try to figure this out, I've realized also that while I've wanted to teach my children our theology, that it starts here, where the rubber meets the road, or more accurately where the spaghetti hits the floor. One of my frustrations is the cleaning up after meals. I don't know how it happens, but inevitably half of the food on our children's plates ends up beneath their feet. I sweep and vaccuum sometimes three or four times a day. (Cry! Sob! Look generally pathetic and sad!)
Today, as a lesson in a biblical work ethic, I got my children to work on washing the floor, and let me tell you it looked great! I was thrilled at their hard work and they were just thrilled to get to squirt the wood cleaner bottle. I decided to reward their hard work with a special treat - blackberry jam bars!
We set to work, and if you think they were excited about that squirt bottle, you should have seen them with a pastry cutter. Well, we ate our lunch while the jam bars cooled and then set out to reap our reward of deliciousness. It was devoured, or so I thought. The kids cleared their plates from the table, then went out to play in the backyard, when I turn to look at the table, and lo and behold-- half of the jam bars under the table! When will I learn?
I realize though, that while I can and have gotten angry at such annoyances that there is a greater reason for my little crumb problem than meets the eye. As Carmon has already so eloquently said, only the God who loves me enough to send His own son to die for me knows what I need in order to be sanctified today. Maybe it was a lesson in looking to Him when I'm too focused on things of this world, or maybe it's too learn to be slow to anger with my children as He is slow to anger with me. Whatever the reason, the Lord who loves me enough to give me four "special treats" so far, is not letting me stay untaught and clueless in the keeping of my house or my soul. I'm learning to trust Him in these times of aggravation that He knows why my kids can't get all the food from their plates to their mouths. Believe it or not, even this is for my good. And for that I'm so thankful.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 4:15 PM
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 4:12 PM
Sometimes I wonder why I even bother having my own blog. I learn so much on other ladies' blogs, I'd usually rather just link to theirs while saying, "Ditto!" Time to learn from the wiser, if not necessarily the older :).
May you all know the heigth, depth, length, and breadth of God's love today.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:27 AM
Monday, November 14, 2005
The March of the Gunn Clan!
Part of the parading pipers and drummers. The wind, the music, the smell of haggis - ahh, memories!
Handomse Scottish men - notice the flag flying in the background.
Noah and his friend Daniel Johnston. Could there be any more jokes about poop?!
Kids doing an improptu dance around a cow pie. Who needs tv, eh?!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:04 PM
We had a very exciting weekend filled with lots of firsts. We drove down to Austin, and stayed with my sister Friday night. Colin and I got the chance to leave the kids with her and the cousins and go out on our own for a date. It was our first date alone in months. We went to downtown Austin to the infamous 6th street and saw a comedy show headlining our friend John Ramsey. He starred in his brother's film last year called, "Washington's Cross." It won the audience choice at Vision Forum's film festival. We'd never been to a comedy club before, and except for a few crude lines, the other comedians were pretty funny. John Ramsey on the other hand was fantastic! His jokes were clean, smart, and funny. He did several jokes on history and the bible that were so intelligent, I wished I had a rewind button just to catch the whole thing. He'd won the Funniest Person in Austin award this year, and it's obvious why. We hope he can go far with his routine.
The second new thing we did was to go to the Scottish Games Festival in Salado. It was really interesting and Colin got to talk to some Scottish folk, eat some haggis and scotch pies, drink some Irn Bru, and watch a pipes parade. It was really exciting. We met up with our friend Neil Johnston and his two children. Neil plays a mean bag pipe and wore his kilt in honor of the event too. His kids played great with ours. Gracie and Elissa(6) are best buddies, and Noah and Daniel(4) made a million jokes about the cow patties(the festivities were in the middle of a live field so to speak) and all other kinds of poop. We also ran into some people we knew through Vision Forum - the Fisher twins who made "The Art of Play", Josh Goforth and his brother Caleb, and Josh Wheeler. Anyway, a great time was to be had by all. We all came home exhausted. The kids were in bed by 6:30 that night, and Colin went to bed at 8! I was the strong one who stayed up until the wee hours of 10p.m. But we're all recovered and so grateful to our Lord for blessing us with these fun adventures and times of fellowship. Now on to the next one!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 11:38 AM
Friday, November 11, 2005
A lot of bloggers have been talking about grocery budgets for large families. As managers of our homes we are all striving to be better stewards of the provisions of God. Crystal has several links to others' websites. And KimC let us all know why the government thinks we should all stop at 1.3 children - they're too expensive to feed of course! Recently, a friend of mine and I were talking about saving money on groceries and I was shocked to learn that she feeds her family of five for 30-40 dollars a week! Thoroughly inspired, I decided to find ways to cut costs too. First I decided to potty train my two and a half year old( see yesterday's post), and then I decided to try out a new ministry I'd heard about. It's called Angel Food Ministries and it is basically like a co-op. You can buy a box of groceries for 25$ that will feed a family of four and is worth 60-80$ . They have a different menu each month and it is available at churches across the nation. I just dropped of our money last weekend and will pick up our box of food on the 19th. I'll keep you posted on whether or not this was a worthy endeavor.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 1:06 PM
Thursday, November 10, 2005
We've been busy potty training my two and a half year old this week. He is my extra-ordinarily strong willed one and the training hasn't been going well. I won't even go into how many bed linens I washed on Tuesday. Anyway, in order to spend money on things other than diapers this month, I decided not to give up this time. So, this morning I told darling son that if he went to the potty instead of tee-teeing in his pants, that he would get a special treat. Next thing you know, he's got his pants off and is going potty! Ten seconds later he's running back into the kitchen asking for, "Special Treat!" I comply and happily give him a big bite of chocolate cake. The good news is, he stayed dry all day long. Thebad news is, my three and five year old were trying all day long to tee-tee for cake!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:10 PM
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Carmon is organizing her blog roll. I'm organizing my clothes boxes. What's gotten into us?
Well, I know what's gotten into me at least - I'm going bonkers trying to find clothes for six people and about three seasons (Texas weather ya know!) in all these tupperware boxes. After almost a year of living out of storage, all of our clothes boxes are mixed up and messed up. I'm having to organize ALL of our clothes all over again! There's four boxes just for girls age 0-12 months! So I ask myself, what's the Christian's response to such a dillema? Be thankful for clothes to organize, recognizing my own weakness while praising God for His strength, and praying for patience and strength - I think. It's either that or scream, throw the clothes, and cry. While that sounds like a lot of fun, I know that this isn't what would please God most, and in the end I'd have to clean up the mess I'd make anyway. God promises that obeying Him is the only way to true peace and happiness, and even though this task ahead of me seems like a huge mountain to climb, I believe what He tells me is truth. And so I pick up my first outfit, and plod forth.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 5:15 PM
"Dad, you're the captain and we're your mateys!" by Gracie while playing pirate ship.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:42 AM
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Praise God that Prop. 2 passed in Texas. Since Colin can't vote, being an alien and all :) , I voted at our new state of the art polling center. The line was long, and the sentiment was, this was something very important everyone needed to make the extra effort for. I'm so thankful for this blessing of God and pray that Christians will continue to fight for a truly Christian nation in which our laws are based on God's morality and not our own.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:24 PM
Monday, November 07, 2005
Okay, Okay, so I need help! Anyone with suggestions on a new name for my blog would be much appreciated. I'm second guessing myself here, as usual.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:18 PM
Friday, November 04, 2005
Well, as you can see, I renamed the blog. The old one was, well, lame, and I wanted a name that is clearer to the purpose. I started this blog because I realized that after years of toddler babble, I was getting out of practice in the art of communication. It came to a head when I realized that the thoughts in my head during moments of quiet were nonsensical rhyming songs, such as,
"Gracie is so cute and sweet,
I love her from her head to feet."
Not that there isn't a place for nonsensical songs, but I recognized that I was having trouble forming complete thoughts let alone sentences. Hence, a blog came to be.
I'm not delusional about my blog, although I am aspirational. I know that it probably isn't of much use to anyone other than myself and maybe a relative or two who want to keep up on the goings-on of myself and my clan. I do hope it will be of use as a tool of spiritual and mental growth for myself, and then hopefully others will be able to learn from my trials and errors.
So, that's it in a nutshell. May I be logical, rhetorical, and grammatically correct. May you and I be inspired, convicted, and maybe amused - but not necessarily in that order.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:19 PM
Today I met for a play date with a couple of ladies from our church. We all homeschool, except one who just sent her oldest to a local classical christian school. So, they asked me whether or not I'd ever send my kids off to school. The answer is that it would be my absolute last resort. I taught middle school English at a private Christian school for two years before I got married. I saw some really great homeschooled children come into a very secular society of young kids. Most of these kids professed Christianity but were living very much like non-believers. They dressed like a Brittany Spears or Kevin Federline wannabe, and their influence over each other was to become more and more concerned with their appearances and the opposite sex rather than becoming more God focused.
As a teacher I also know that I was not as concerned with each child's academic progress as I should have been. This was due to the sheer volume of work that was laid upon me and the fact that I just could not keep up with the needs of fifty different people. I felt terrible for these parents who were paying so much money for top quality education for their children when I knew that the kids really needed more individual attention than I could possibly give them.
Now, there have been enough humbling moments as a parent that I have learned to never say never. I remember as a single person, wathcing other people's children and thinking, "If my child were whining like that, I would certainly spank them." Now, however, as much as I try to discipline in a biblical fashion, I've heard myself excusing behavior and saying things like, "Oh, he just really needs a nap," while inside dying of embarassment. So, I'm not foolish enough to think I know everything about everything, and there may be extenuating circumstances that I can't even imagine now where I would enroll my children in a school. However, I know what I've seen and experienced and I know what I want for my children. So, just like in other things, when things get hard I will try to look first for other solutions to obstacles rather than giving in to a compromise of my beliefs. I would rather pay a maid, than pay someone to teach my children for me. I would rather they graduate later, than have them graduate at a school. And contrary to what an old college roommate of mine suggested tonight, I will continue to homeschool even if I no longer "just love it, because that's all that matters."
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:21 PM
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Like the naturally competitive person I am, when picking out a new vacuum cleaner recently, I started shopping for the best. To me, that was the $600 Dyson. However, when mentioning this to my husband, he reminded me that I married a Scot (i.e. tightwad). Usually I am in agreement with him on such matters, having about 70% Scottish blood running through me. This time however, was different. I coveted this. So I went to ebay looking for a cheap one. And I found one for about 400 bucks. Again, the answer was "No chance." So, I looked for the next best thing online and that was the Hoover Windtunnel. I found one on ebay for $100 including shipping. Usually retails for around 300. So I ordered it, and not surprisingly, my husband was right. First of all, I had it in my hands less than two days after ordering. Second of all, it has survived what no other vaccuum I've had could - sucking up all the sand from refinished hardwoods and a two pound bag of sugar that my little Dash drug all over the house - yes, that was a wonderful surprise this Monday morning. AND it still has amazing suction! I vaccuum about three times a day usually, and the thing is still pulling up tiles in my kitchen. NO, I don't think it matters they are just the stick on type. Unbeleivable, I think! So, I'm glad to say there are real and tangible blessings for submitting to my husband - only one is a great deal on a great vaccuum.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 12:15 PM
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Here are some pictures from our trip to the film festival in San Antonio. I didn't get batteries for the camera until the last four hours of our trip - what can I say?! Here we are in front of the Alamo, outside in the gardens, with Carmon and her beautiful daughter, and at subway for lunch. I hate pics of myself, but I'm trying not to be too vain for the sake of curious readers :). cringe Here they are...
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:12 PM
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
My two sons LOVE Batman and Superman. They have never actually seen these characters in a movie or on tv, but they've heard plenty from their cousin Mikey (9 years old). And they've gotten enough hand-me-downs from said cousin to at least recognize the characters when shopping for say, new shoes :) .
However, when talking about real heroes that are super I quickly point them towards their Dad and other men of God who are living their lives in accordance with God's word. No, these men cannot leap tall buildings in a single bound, nor do they have x-ray vision, but they are daily sacrificing in a million small ways that, in my opinion, is far more brave than any superhero you can imagine. By daring to raise large families and trying to bring every point of their lives into step with what God would want rather than what the world would dictate, they daily help to rid the world of evil. When I describe a real man to my sons, to show them how they should live, you can bet the guy ain't wearing tights, and he doesn't hide his true identity. He is strong and he is brave(Deut. 31:6), and he is bold (Rom 1:16). But his powers do not come from another planet or a really cool utility belt but rather from the blood of Christ (1Pet 4:11). My prayer is that my sons will be more like this Man every day.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 11:22 AM
Monday, October 31, 2005
This happened just yesterday. Gretchen, my sister-in-law, teaches his oldest daughter in preschool. Please pray for his children and his widow. I just can't even imagine...
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 2:54 PM
Saturday, October 29, 2005
We had a fantastic time at the festival! Saw some good movies, met some great people, and felt really encouraged as a family and filmmaker. Taking the kids with us, I knew it was probably gonna be an, "I'll watch the kids, honey, and you can talk with your film making peers." kind of weekend. But, I really got blessed by meeting some great ladies. There was a sweet lady named Julie J(I'm not gonna even try to spell her last name because I will butcher it mercilessly) from San Antonio. She had seven kids and we met her in the car park on the way into the festival. She has seven kids and let me tell you, knows how to park a suburban in a TINY spot! Then there was Carmon, a truly sweet and fun spirit. Both of these ladies have enough kids to have their own baseball teams and were kind enough to encourage me on my way out of toddlerhood - must've not hid my fatigue as well as I thought :) . And I briefly met Mrs. Hayden of Caleb's mom fame. She said she wanted to read my blog - she might be the first! Then there was a brief visit with Jennie Chancey who got to see me lose a child among the crowd- not my proudest moment. And lastly was Noelle Goforth and her sons William and Myles, as well as Noelle's sister Aimee. William was born just a few days after my oldest son and is an amazing joyful young man with a king-sized handshake! I was honored to meet him and his brave Mama.
As far as details of the films at the festival, I think you'll need to read another's website - like I said, we brought all four kids with us! But, it was great to not stand out from the crowd for a change. In fact, I think we were one of the smaller families there. I was blessed, and I hope others were as well.
See ya again next year!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:13 PM
Thursday, October 27, 2005
We're leaving shortly for the film festival. Hope to see some of you all there!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:44 AM
Friday, October 21, 2005
I struggle with understanding God's word sometimes. It's not that I doubt its truthfulness, it's just that my small brain cannot wrap itself around the truths. For example:
14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me."
15 "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
I cannot imagine God engraving me on the palms of His holy hands. Yes, I find an incredible amount of joy in my own children, but as a sinner, I know I do not always love them as much as I should. Plus, I know what I'm like. I find myself annoying and difficult to live with at times, how could God not grow impatient?
I can see God's work in opening my eyes to this truth through my experiences as a mother. I know how my heart leaps with joy and excitement when they laugh and smile with me. I know how I thrill at all their cute expressions and words. I know how my heart broke when I had to rush a child to the emergency room, and even now how the memory of seeing them hurt will cause me to physically cringe. I love them so much, I would literally do anything for them. I would easily lay down my life. But, there's one thing I would never do- cause them to suffer for the sake of an enemy. And yet, this is what He did for me. How can someone love a stranger like that?
I keep trying to transpose my sin nature onto God's, but thankfully His nature is teflon. My feeble attempts to make Him something He's not will never prevail. One day, I will truly know how good, how perfect, how breathtaking His love for me is. For now, I can keep trying to remind myself of the words He gave that show me, and of the sacrifice He gave to punish His son for my sake. I will stand in admiration now, I will fall down prostrate in utter reverence and wondermemt when I am before Him forever. I can't wait to know.
New King James Version (NKJV)
16 In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:40 AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Here is an excellent recipe for peach cobbler that my sister gave me.
Fill an 8x8 in. pan with peach slices. Mix in:
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbs. flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Blend the following then pour over the peaches mixture:
Crumble 6 Tbs. butter together with 3/4 cup sugar. Then add and crumble:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
Bake at 375 degrees for 15 min. Then bake at 350 degrees for 45 min.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 2:40 PM
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
I think women in general are competitive. We wanna be prettier than that girl, or thinner than this one, or a better house keeper than all of them put together. It's part of that whole sin nature thing. We're busy watching out for number one and making sure that everyone thinks we're great, instead of seeing us as we really are - horrible, ugly, disgusting wretches.
This not only does a disservice to women individually but as a group as well. It makes the housewife who is struggling with cleaning the kitchen for the fourth time that day feel like she is the only one who wrestles with the issue. It makes the exhausted mom who fights to be kind and sweet when all she really wants to do is take a nap, feel like the laziest person in the world. What a lie! The truth is that yes, those moms are lazy and selfish, but hey, newsflash - so are we all! There is not one sin that a mom fights against, that is also not fought against by two million other moms.
Instead of putting make up over our sins and pretending like the bad complexion underneath doesn't exist, we should be much more like the scripture that says to boast in our weaknesses! No, that doesn't mean we should be glad we're lazy, mean, and self-centered. It does mean that we speak openly with others so that they can encourage and also be encouraged. After all, yes we struggle agaisnt sin, but the ultimate fight has been won already. We our perfect before God for eternity, even though the flaws show right now. Today I met with a friend and we at first hesitated to share our problems with each other, but once we did, we both realized that we were going through many of the same valleys, and we could inspire one another on to keep trying, and fighting the good fight.
So, today, I encourage all women out there to stop covering up and really begin to love your fellow sisters in Christ. You never know who you might be relieving of an undue burden of feeling alone in their struggles.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 12:19 PM
Monday, October 17, 2005
Here's the final after pic for my daughter's room. Although, looking at the picture I see some tweeks I wanna do. But it took me until Saturday to finally find the right pole for her curtains, so it only took a month to do! That's sarcasm in case you couldn't tell! A final thanks to Grandma for all her help in making the room beautiful.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:18 AM
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I took the Myers Briggs test thingy. I came out as an ISFJ. I think that's pretty accurate although I do toe the line with F and J. But don't be too quick to think you got me pegged. I'm full of surprises don't ya know!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:35 PM
Since I've been busy painting walls and have been slacking with my posts here, I am starting to feel like I'm now also talking to a wall. Maybe this will drum up some interest here.
1. I eat frozen chocolate chips every night after the kids go to bed.
2. I still have twenty pounds to lose after my last baby, and she's almost fourteen months old. i.e. I have no more excuses left. (Also, see random fact #1)
3. I am addicted to home and garden television, especially house flipping shows - all in the name of research, of course.
4. I very often start to lose words when I get tired, explaining why I don't post long drawn out posts and probably why no one is visiting my site anymore :(
5. I used to wear a size 6.5 shoe, but after having babies I'm now a size 7.5 - weird don't ya think?!
6. I used to have naturally very curly hair, but after having babies it's straight - I know!
7. I was set up with my husband by the reformed matchmaker, Steve Schlissel- very cool, and I'd recommend this method highly.
8. I am grossed out to the point of getting nauseous when I clean the toilets - didn't happen until my little boy potty trained. He still forgets to look where he's going.
9. I am a math geek. I love to do math problems for fun and will do algebraic equations in my head sometimes if I'm bored.
10. I am not creative at all and don't think outside the box very much. In fact I like the box - it's nice and cozy, so why would I want to leave it?
Anyway, hope that gives you a better picture of who the big blogger is. God bless!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:48 PM
Friday, October 14, 2005
So, now that the floor is done, we're painting some more. Yes, I know that's backwards, but it's all part of our master plan, don't ya know! Anyway, here are some painting tips that I've learned:
1. Freeze your brushes and rollers wrapped in plastic so that you don't have to clean them when you're having to stop painting mid job.
2. Pull your tape off when the paint is still wet so that it won't stick as easily.
3. Your best bet for a clean finish, is to tape well. Taking the time to do this properly will really make the painting step much easier and will give you a better overall finish.
That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure, with all the painting this house needs, there will be more later.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 3:24 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Here are some pics of my precious kiddos for no other reason than it's my blog and I can! And you can't stop me - hah! I also just happen to think I have the cutest four kids in the entire world. So here they are.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:28 PM
My parents were in Mexico this last week, and we were in their house due to the fact that our house was a dustbowl. Dear husband was refinishing the floors and he did a fantastic job! Here are some pics of before and after. Anyway, that's all for now, just wanted to let you know why I haven't been around and brag a little about my hard working hubby. Btw - the top is the after, and the bottom is the before. I don't know why they posted like that.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 4:42 PM
Friday, October 07, 2005
I took all the kids to the grocery store by myself today, and was quickly reminded why I usually prefer my husband to come along too. But since we were desperately out of milk, cereal, bread, and all other forms of food, we had to make the sacrifice. Not only, was it lunchtime - I know, I know but darling husband was in a demo and we needed the house quiet right then, not to mention there wasn't anything for lunch :) - but to top it off, it was sixty degrees outside and momma hadn't checked the weather that day. So I drag all my kids clad in sandal and shorts into the store, two of whom were literally crying because they were so cold. BTW, this is not one of those I went to the store and was told how sweet and well behaved my kids were kind of stories. My three year old continued crying the first ten minutes and holding my leg in such a way that my skirt was being raised up to an embarrassing level. I finally had to discipline him in the store rather than wait to get in the car, because it was really just too much and frankly I think those around me were glad to see him be spanked. Not one of my proudest moments - but then pride isn't something to strive for. My five year old actually whined for a balloon, something she isn't prone to do nowadays. My one year old did really well to her credit and God's mercy, and my two year old was pleasant as well. All in all, it was a good learning experience for the kids and me, and after their spankings they were very cheerful and compliant. I was glad I went with them all, and despite my humbling, felt like I learned alot about remaining calm during a few chaotic moments. I wouldn't have preferred this experience, but I know God used it for my sanctification anyway. So, thanks be to God!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:42 PM
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
My sister came in town today, and when Aunt Amanda comes to town, everything is a party! She has five kids, going on six, and my children just love to play with them all. They have a great time together, usually :), but they also play hard and don't nap. This makes for some very tired kiddos. As we left Grandma's house tonite to go home, two of my kids conked out in the first two minutes, the other two took turns wailing and weeping. I don't think they even knew why they felt so sad, and just leaving the cousins behind at Grandma's for the night wasn't sufficient for these the-world's-coming-to-an-end tears. When this happens, and reason flies out the window into the night air, I find that it's best not to give in to the desparation of the moment, but as the proverbs say, not answer a fool in his folly. I know that their cries are a result of their sinful natures just as much as they're from their exhausted bodies, but I also know that our Lord who is slow to anger and compassionate with me, sees these little ones with just as much love and patience. So, I try to see them through these last few moments before crashing in their beds, by soft tones in my voice and kind, understanding words. And I know that this is just a small and very flawed example of how my precious Father in heaven also handles my irrational cries - like during the arsenic hour every day, or all day long during pregnancy, or even in the throes of labor pains. He is THE Comforter! May He make me more like Him today.
So the LORD spoke kind and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. Zechariah 1:13
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:39 PM
Late last night about 3 a.m., I got up to feed a little one.
Let's just say, Mama-3, roaches - 0.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 7:10 PM
Monday, October 03, 2005
Of course God has a sense of humor! How do I know? He's given the world's biggest bug scardey-cat a house that went unoccuppied for months and now has an infestation of roaches that think they own the place. Everyday I have a run in with at least one and sometimes up to five of these pesky little creatures. In case you were not aware, the roaches in Texas are, like this blog, Texas Sized. Two inches on average, and if you think I'm kidding, just count how many cans of bug spray are lying around my abode. So, yesterday I find one in the kitchen which dear husband helped me to attack. We chased it across cabinets, behind the toaster, around the trash can, and at last it got smart and scurried under the refrigerator. Thinking it had been sprayed with enough poison to kill it in a minute or two, I relaxed a bit only to have the thing come sprinting out from underneath straight at me! Visions of roach caught in my long skirt danced through my head - I screamed. Then darling strong stud of mine stomped on it just in time to save this distressed damsel.
Well, that was enough excitement for me for one day, so off to bed I go. Well, lying in bed talking before turning the light off(see the small graces God gives) I notice another huge roach crawling on the curtain rod across the room (at least it wasn't on the one right above my bed!). Well, hubby runs for the bug spray, and just as he sprays it, the thing takes off in flight(yes, some of them fly!) across the room and straight into the closet two feet from my side of the bed - now how am I going to sleep? So we shut the closet door and spray enough Raid around the door to kill, well me and think we'll just have to hope it dies soon. Well, true to cockroach form it crawls out of the closet straight for my side of the bed - what have I done to them?! Again we just resign to hope it dies soon, but it quickly runs out from the other side of the bed, and once again clod-hopper stomps it dead(aren't husbands great!).
So, I've decided to thank God for the small graces He gives in dealing with these creatures, and hopefully find a way to laugh instead of cry. Oh yeah, and I think I'll invest in some Herman Munster shoes for my man.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 5:45 PM
Saturday, October 01, 2005
As I sit in here, avoiding eye contact with the boxes, my five year old comes in to announce that she has made a cool park out of the debris! Complete with a slide and all!
Numbers 11:17I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone.
Yes, God's word is true - children are a blessing!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 3:45 PM
I am not one of those people who look at a big house full of boxes, and ripped apart floors, and bare windows and says, Okay let's get started! I tend to feel much more disorganized and overwhelmed amidst utter chaos, rather than energized and efficient. So, as I sit in the middle of my war zone, I cry out to God, "Hear my cry, O Lord!" I know amidst other trials that are faced in life, this can seem rather petty, but for me it is a deep pit of despair. To God nothing is small, and He answers me, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you." And He shows me, "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day." Praise be to God, I believe He is good and kind despite my feelings of hopelessness at the moment.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 3:22 PM
Friday, September 23, 2005
Doug Phillips is showing the trailer to Monstrous Regiment of Women on his blog today. He also wrote a nice little review of Shaky Town.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 12:29 PM
Thursday, September 22, 2005
That's the punch line to one of my kids' favorite knock knock jokes. They're developing quite the repertoire of these lately.
Well, dear husband got back in town safely. We're so glad to have him back, but he, and consequently we, are busier than ever. On top of his regular work, he is trying to help with the kids so that I can finally get over this nursing infection, mow the lawn, unpack boxes, refinish floors, and now he is gearing up for the SAICFF coming up in a few weeks. He doesn't have an official entry this time but they are showing his trailer to his upcoming flick, "The Monstrous Regiment of Women." He's got a blog up for this new project and is letting me post on there as well. So, if you don't see me in this neck of the woods, wander on over to www.monstrousregiment.com
See you there!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 6:21 PM
Friday, September 16, 2005
As we moved into our new house, I excitedly prepared for my first major appliance purchase - a brand new washer and dryer! I researched all over the web, and the stores around town, as well as consumer reports. I found a top of the line Maytag set for a really good deal at Discount Vacuum and Appliance, plunked down my money, and voila! I had a fantastic laundry system that I was going to put to some serious use. Or so I thought. Three days ago I noticed that my clothes were sopping wet at the end of the cycle. So, thinking it was a minor issue with the installation, I called in the company that sold it to me. Come to find out it is the transmission that is out and will be at least a week to order the parts, etc. I am truly upset.
Just to give a bit of background to this, for the past three years we rented a duplex with a small stackable washer/dryer system in it. The system was at least twenty years old and was under a warranty through sears. This thing would break down every few months and I would have to call up Sears for an appointment which was usually two weeks away. After that appointment, the technician would have to special order parts because of the age of the machines, and deliver them to my house. When I got the parts I would have to call Sears and make another appointment which was again about two weeks away. Finally when number three was born and I was in the hospital, it broke again, and I was without a washer machine for two months. I got sick of this method of doing things and for the last year we lived there I would just hold the washer mahcine together, literally, while it washed a set of clothes. Keep in mind that it was so small it wouldn't wash more than two towels at a time, then would take over two and a half hours to dry it all.
Needless to say, I was so excited about my brand new washer machine.
So, as it breaks down these last few days, and I look to God for guidance in this, for I know that everything is for my good and for His glory, I realize I had misplaced my trust and foolishly squandered it on the things of this world. I should've relied upon my Lord for my hope for providing clean clothes for my family and not this new state of the art washer machine. I have put my trust in the chariots and the horses of technology and not in the all encompassing power and love of my God. Thank you Lord that you have guided me back and used this experience to remind me of Your goodness, sovereignty, and love for me.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 11:18 AM
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
My husband is in San Francisco this week for business. I just wanted to say, in my biggest pouty voice ever, I don't like it one little bit! I miss him terribly, and I get madder everyday that this dumb company took him away from his family for five days. What a bunch of meanies! Hopefully I'll get a lot done so that he'll be pleased with my progress on the house while he was away. Keeping busy also helps the time go by faster, btw. Tonight I went to the store and bought some of his favorite foods so he'll have a nice homecoming. Two more days and counting!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:43 PM
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:38 PM
Sunday, September 11, 2005
I love it when someone says exactly what I was trying to say. So, I'll just pretend I'm Nancy Wilson and wrote this wonderful article about motherhood, because it's what I would've said if I could, but didn't. Does that make sense? :)
Sorry, folks don't know how to do that pretty link where you just click on one word kind-of-thing.
Blessings to all the mothers and their constant soul feeding.- read the article, you'll know what that means.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 3:00 PM
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Well, true to my previous post, I have been spending a shameful amount of time in Home Depot and an obscene amount of money. Once we started moving our things into our house, we realized that it was horrendously dirty and began cleaning and ripping out old shag carpet. We originally thought the carpet was brown, apparently it was supposed to be peach. So, we've been redoing hard wood floors this past week, and didn't officially move in until yesterday.
Today I began cleaning out the master bath's shower. For a little bit of background, the couple that owned this house before had been old and deteriorating in health over the last few years. The wife passed a few years back, and the husband from Parkinsons in just the past few months. The shower stall I cleaned today, looked like it hadn't been cleaned since the wife had been in good health. I'm not faulting the sweet family that lived here, it is after all a consequence of growing old, and I know they did their best while they could. But, tonight I had to scrape soap scum off of fifty year old tile with a knife scraper and heavy duty lime-away cleaner. It was so very gross! Really! I was trying to think of this terrible task as an honor in that it was a way to serve my family in love. I started thinking about how so much of being a woman is really messy and gross. First off there's childbirth, which, while a glorious miracle, is also icky and embarassing - during the delivery of my second, I was being wheeled into the delivery room and managed to announce to a very crowded hallway that I was pooping on the table :). Then there's our wonderful monthly periods, which make you feel completely unglamorous and like you want to shower five times a day. Then there's the poopy diapers we deal with on an hourly basis, wiping up toilets from potty training toddlers, spit up from our beautiful newborns, snotty noses that I'm still wondering when they start taking care of for themselves, and the list goes on. But, while these tasks look degrading and disgusting on the outside, they are just a part of the fallen world God has placed us in, and called us to be servants for our families. God promises that the lowly will be lifted high, and so it is in these seeminly base duties. While we are knee deep in soap scum and boogers, God promises that we are truly esteemed. It is a wonderful honor and privilege to love others in these tasks and part of our purpose on earth is not to run around with maids and nannies, but to glorify God by cleaning up messes.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:02 PM
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
We closed on the house today! So exciting, our very first house! If you don't see me blogging much here, look for me in Home Depot.
I'll try and post pictures soon!
Soli Deo Gloria
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:26 PM
Monday, August 29, 2005
Tonight after dinner we sang Psalm 105 which you may recall sings of the wonders of God through the plagues and the freeing of the Israelites from slavery. I began to think about how wonderful it must have felt for those people who had prayed and prayed for deliverance from their slavery and were finally blessed with freedom. How thankful and joyful they probably were. I realized that these people were probably at times extremely frustrated at their condition - to say the least. They cried out to God for their freedom and they probably wondered what was God's purpose in keeping them in their bondage. What possible reason did God have for enslaving them to this Godless Pharoah who was often times cruel. We have the benefit and luxury of hindsight which the Israelites did not. We can now see the providence of God through their plight and the glory of the whole ordeal. It makes me realize how many times I wonder why God is doing something to or with me, and I'm encouraged to perserve in my faith because of what happened in Egypt so long ago. Maybe, just maybe, God would have me go through a trial for the encouragement of another of His children six thousand years from now. I can rest in the promise that everything is for my good, but surely, even if it is just for the benefit of a saint generations down the line who is sitting at her dinner table surrounded by children and not understanding at the moment the full benefit of her many "blessings" (who have just completely littered the floor with food for the third time in a day :) ) then surely it is a good thing, eh?
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 6:34 PM
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
This squirrel was running around outside on the patio when he suddenly just decided to take a break. (Big, heavy, jealous sigh). Well, I'm not that jealous. I get to sit on the couch between my two handsome boys who take turns giving me kisses on the cheek and laughing when I squeal with delight! For ten minutes at least! Okay, not jealous at all!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 4:51 PM
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
When I was single, I used to love getting off from work, and going to go exercise then eating dinner. That was my favorite time of day. Now that I have kids, the hours from about 4-7p.m. often feel like the valley of the shadow of death. I am shocked with the struggle of getting from naptime to dinner. The kids are whiney and difficult to say the least, I feel like I could fall face first into a blissful sleep, and the clock ticks away the minutes like it's in quicksand. Probably most surprising of all, is that I now learn, five years into this deal, that I am not alone!!! In fact, most moms will tell you that this is the hardest part of any day. All I can say to that is, shhheww! I thought I was a nutcase there for a while! Sometimes we women can do a real disservice to other women by pretending that we're not struggling. In order to save face, we inevitably can discourage other moms who are going through what we are, by making them think that "it is just them." While I think it is good, to keep trying when we struggle, being dishonest in that time can often do more harm than good. Well, I'll write more about that later. Dear hubby would like a help-meet now! God bless, all mommies in their darkest hour too!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:51 PM
Friday, August 19, 2005
I turned 31 years old today and to celebrate, my kids all drew me cards which were nothing short of fantastic! We also went out for pizza together and had a great time. We got a few stares as usual but also a nice comment about how adorable our kids are - very observant people! It was a nice day, although I must admit I did fight the urge when changing poopy diapers or cleaning up spilled cereal, to not feel put out simply because it was my birthday. I think it's that entitlement that so many women are taught to feel, that I'm trying to work out of me. Great day - blessings, celebration, and sanctification!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:32 PM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I think this says much of what I am going toward.
It's not so much the specific occupation of our time as it is the reason we are doing that. If we go to the grocery store by ourselves are we sinning? Yes if it is a means of escaping "those kids that are driving me nuts." Not necessarily if it is our goal to glorify God and love others as ourselves. Going to a bible study looks holy, but if we are doing that because we want to get away from putting the kids to bed another night or we think we've "earned" a night off, then our motives are impure and thus sinful.
I don't think that if we are truly trying to love God in everything that we do, we will even want to or feel the need to get away from our families as much. If we are truly loving the kids as God would have us then we would be consistent discipling and patient and kind all the time anyway, thus, the kids would be better behaved, thus we wouldn't feel like we are being suffocated all the time...
Now to attempt humility, I'll share the truth about myself - tonight my husband put the kids to bed while I sat on the couch watching HGTV and eating my birthday present - chocolate! (the other birthday present is my house so I couldn't eat that) ;) It had been a pretty tiring day with my five year old crying through her handwriting lesson today - she ain't the only one who needed a nap! So, I was really struggling with that "I deserve this break" attitude. Of course we don't deserve rewards or breaks from our work, it is a mercy of God that ironically we wouldn't necessarily need if we weren't sinful creatures to begin with. Now, my time would probably have been much better spent listening to a sermon, singing psalms, praying, reading my bible, etc. But there again, that's why I'm so thankful for what Christ has done for me. For when I am weak, You were strong.
I will never, ever get it right while here on this earth. I will always struggle with selfishness, laziness, gluttony, etc. But, Lord willing, I will keep trying, and since His mercies are renewed in the morning, I will go to bed now! God bless, all!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:08 PM
I tend to be a competitive person by nature and love a good argument until I start to lose. Well, wouldn't you know it but these blogs, have trapped me into some debates. Yes, that's it! It's the blog's fault! Here's the background on that:
So, after a conference with Steve and Teri Maxwell in Austin, I've been thinking alot about the use of my time in particular my free time. The Maxwell's maintain that if they can't do something as a family, they don't do it. Many times I've been anxious to go and do something by myself so that I can become refreshed. Well, things didn't go to plan in that I came back refreshed but too soon was ready for some more alone time - as in an hour later :).
Well, so this got me thinking what is actually for my good and for God's glory? I don't think "me time" is it. I'm not sure where my thoughts will meandor to on this subject, but just to let you know - they're in the works and you'll be hearing more from me on this topic soon. I pray that I will keep in mind the freedom of Christ and the love of God as I hopefully come to some conclusions on this. No laws unless God has said it is so, I promise! Don't want any grumblings about Pharisees and antinomians here ;)
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 4:31 PM
Sunday, August 14, 2005
He gives grace to the humble, but lowers the proud.
My five year old is great! Last night before bed, she surprised me by cleaning my room for me. I was so thrilled and even thought, "Hey, I must be doing pretty good with her. Like I am solely responsible for how wonderful she is - yeah,right! Well, then God reminds me that first of all she was probably just trying to get out of going to bed and gets away with it because of my wonderful disciplining skills, and secondly that my room was a wreck in the first place because of my wonderful house keeping skills. Then this morning, I'm touching up my husband's trousers with the iron and my kids gather around me in awe - "Mom! What's that?! What are you doing?!" Apparently this was something they'd never seen before - one more dose of humility for good measure. :)
Thank you, Lord, for your mercy and patience that You remind me ever so gently of my complete dependence on You, and not my own performance.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 10:24 AM
Saturday, August 13, 2005
I can't say I've always been the most disciplined reader. Many times I'd rather pick up some fluff novel than read Van Til. It wasn't always the case. Before I got married, I was right into the heavy stuff with Augustine, Bahnsen, and Edwards being my top picks, and maybe an occassional Sproul to lighten things up. Since then the last few years have been like the Parenting section at Barnes and Noble, or maybe Covenant Media Foundation instead :). Let's see there's been Babywise, and What to Expect..., several labor and birth books, Shepherding Your Childs Heart, To Train up a Child, Standing on the Promises, The Fruit of Her Hands, etc. etc. So, now as most of my books are still packed away in my Grandmother's garage, and being that our book budget is more homeschool focused at the moment, I find myself really reading some marshmallowy material. Right now it's Marriage to a Difficult Man - the story of Jonathon and Sarah Edwards, and a novel by Beverly Lewis(I'm almost too embarassed to admit that one), and Created to be His Helpmeet. That last one is about as deep as it's gonna get right now. However, the kids are growing older, more able to discuss things like theology - even though it usually is something like "God sees you hit your brother even if mommy doesn't" sort of thing. But I know the questions will be coming and I want to have an answer ready for them. Not to mention anyone else who I might pass in the streets. Now that I have the scheduling babies down, and I don't need a labor/delivery book yet, and my husband says I'm the perferct homemaker ;), I would like to begin relearning some of the defense of the faith. But that might just have to wait until I finish my Saxon 1's teacher manual and the Do It Yourself Fix it Book for our new home. I know that my focus on my children and my home is part of my calling, but that's only part of it. I will want them to be able to answer for their faith as well, and if I'm gonna be their teacher... well, better start hitting those books.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:27 PM
Friday, August 12, 2005
Well, the business of buying a house, come to find out, is very time consuming. So far, we've signed bunches of papers, and checks :), had the house inspected, the air conditioner consequently cleaned out, and are now on our way to getting it appraised, and finally closing on the 31st of this month. The inspection went remarkably well for a fifty year old house. Like I said the a/c needed a bit of tweaking, there are a couple of leaks under the house that need a quick fix, and the house needs to be grounded - insert a sad little joke about it not being a floating house, please. The inspector was very thorough and spent almost four hours poking, crawling, climbing, sweating, and of course inspecting. The good points are that it has an excellent foundation and has shown almost none of the effects of being fifty years old - yahoo!
So, as this was a good assessment of our house, I think the whole process of purchasing a home is a good assessment of myself. Being Mr. and Mrs. Steady - respects to Debi Pearl - my husband and I find it very labor intensive to actually make a decision on dinner let alone such a large purchase. I wonder if this is a wise use of our resources, are we jumping in too quickly, is it as good an investment as we think, etc., etc... It has been quite stressful for me, and to be honest, I've noticed some cracks in my foundation. My roof looks like it might let in some water if a heavy storm comes through. Maybe even some faulty wiring. Now this is about the time I start showing my true colors to God, and acting like the spoiled adopted brat I am. It amazes me, oftentimes, that He doesn't just strike me with a bolt of lightening and be done with me once and for all. I imagine Him flicking this little pest of his arm and me flying through the air, splatting against the wall! But then my image of God is usually so distorted from the truth. In actuality He has shown Himself to be most longsuffering, slow to anger, and abounding, I say again, ABOUNDING in grace. Just when I think I couldn't do anything to make Him hate me more, He shows me incredible love and mercy and treats me like His very own child, not an outsider. He even encourages and heartens me. I may not be very much better for this experience of buying a house, but as He said even this is for my good, and I see that my foundation has shifted back, a little closer to the right place. And that dear husband He gave me ended up being a handy level with which He straightened me out - who knew?!
As for our silly little house on Cedar Point Dr., it will eventually fall down, rot, and turn once again into rocks and dust. As for the mansion my Father is building for me, it will forever shine like gold. Praise be to God!
By the way, I promise not to use anymore bad house puns for a long while :)
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 8:27 PM
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Yep, you read right! We are in the process of buying our very first house, and I'm so excited!! The realtor called today to tell us the good news that our offer has gone through and now we've got to get an inspector and surveyor, and a home warranty, and home owner's insurance - or is that the same thing?, and about a billion other things that someone's gonna have to hold my hand through. Well, anyway, just wanted to share my excitement with you all before I start complaining about the stress of it - it's a 1950's fixer upper so I'm sure there will be much to complain about :)
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:58 PM
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Here is a picture of my wonderful family! This was taken around Easter time in front of my mom's house. This is also where we will go swimming just about everyday now. My kids are fast turning into full fledged fish! They had not been swimming before we moved back here this last year, and at first they were petrified and wouldn't let go of us for anything. We'd walk around the pool with kids hanging off of us like monkey's on a tree. Then, all of a sudden, something clicked and now they're pros! Gracie 5, will DIVE into the pool and especially loves to run from across the yard and take a flying leap over everyone's head to do a canonball - it is a riot! Then, Noah 3, Mr. Cautious himself, is jumping off the diving board right and left, and loves every second of it! Of course we're still working on Knox, 2. He's a character that, for some reason, would rather spend his time throwing the pool toys into the pool over and over again than swim. I think he's task oriented! And Jolly Molly is mastering the art of walking on the patio.
It's really wonderful to spend this time together as a family every evening, and I'm so thankful to God for my kids and husband. How much does our wonderful Lord delight in us that He gives us such blessings? Surely, He enjoys us much more than I could ever enjoy the acrobatics of these dear ones. Sometimes I try to grasp the love of God and I think, God loves me like I love my kids. But, no, that's not true, I love my kids only a little bit like God loves us. Thank you, beautiful, and precious Father, for a glimpse of your love!
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:35 PM
Monday, July 25, 2005
Before I had kids, I used to teach and babysit - a lot. And watching these children born of others, I had certain standards in mind that I knew I would uphold to. Now, after being a mom for five years, and pregnant almost three of those, I can honestly say I have not truly stuck to any of those standards. My kids watch way too many videos and cartoons(and no I didn't preview them all before plopping my kids in front of them), they whine, and yes I have yelled at them and spanked them more in anger than love. Yikes! I hate that I've done these things, and just because I've sucumbed, does not mean that I've changed my standards. It just means that I'm still sinful and still weak, although at least a little more sanctified than before I had the kids - I think. In my mind I envision me having structure and orderliness everyday. Meals served on time and with the table beautifully set. TV turned off or thrown away, and me on the floor reading to the smiling children. I think in my head, we're all running around the country side in curtains turned into dresses and singing - if I'm honest :). But then along comes a little thing like a fallen nature and perfectly manicured nails that tie little ones shoelaces, turn into jagged nails throwing a pair of velcro sandals at the kids while you try and get poop out of the carpet. But, I try not to get discouraged too much but press on towards the goal that is set before me. And I sing my psalms a lot more asking God to hear my cry and knowing that He does and knowing that He loves me like I really was that dream lady.
Posted by Duchess of Fife at 9:28 PM