Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Classic & its Spin-off

I finished reading Kent's copy of Oswald Chambers's classic and best selling one year devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, today. These daily entries have challenged me to truly give my utmost to His highest. There's even a child-friendly version of the book, Jesus Wants All of Me, by Phil Smouse. Check them out!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Let's hit the road!

Our truck is tuned up, gased up and packed up for a roadtrip. Nebraska, here we come!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My All-Stars

We went to a picnic hosted by our town's little league organization today where the boys received their trophies for this season. My boys aren't old enough for All-Stars yet, but they're my all-stars! Great job, boys!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Kent highly valued the calling of fatherhood, one of God's highest responsibilities for man. When I think of him as a father, Ephesians 6:4 comes to my mind which tells fathers to bring their children up in the ways of the Lord. He believed the goal of a Christian father's life with his children should be to instruct and discipline them according to God's Word all the while striving to serve as an example of how to live a life that glorifies God. Kent did this very well.

While Father's Day and all the hype surrounding it is a painful reminder that Kent isn't here anymore, I'm thankful for the seven years he was a father to our sons and the legacy he has left behind. I'm also thankful for my dad, step-dad and father-in-law and their investment in my sons' lives. Most of all though, I'm thankful for our Heavenly Father and His faithfulness to His promise to uphold the fatherless and widows (Psalm 146:9).

The purple cone flowers (or echinacea) from the gardens around our house that Kent started in the summer of 2005 bloomed early this year, so, after church this morning, we went to the cemetery to put some in the vase at his grave. Later in the afternoon, we enjoyed steaks and homemade strawberry ice cream.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Pitcher

Today was J's last little league game of the season. He did a great job this year. He was quick on his feet at first base and shortstop, had a good eye for batting and delivered good pitches. He really likes to pitch, so he'll be working to improve his mechanics and velocity for next year.

Kent's .22 Rifle

J and his cousin had fun shooting Kent's .22 at our church's annual rifle shoot this morning. It's been eight months since J shot this gun, but he remembered how to load, aim and shoot it. Kent would be so proud of him!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pickin' Strawberries

The boys and their cousin had fun picking strawberries at Johnson's Strawberry Farm this morning. Even though it's their third and final week for U-Pick this season, we picked and filled four buckets full of red ripe ones. We're looking forward to making and eating homemade strawberry jam and/or jelly, pie and ice cream.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Substitute for Starbucks

If you're like me and crave an iced vanilla latte from Starbucks on a hot summer day but live several miles from the closest one, this recipe from a friend is a great alternative:

Creamy Iced Vanilla Latte
6 cups brewed coffee
1 cup milk
1 cup half & half
1/3 cup sugar (or more if needed)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix together in a pitcher, refrigerate all day or overnight and serve over ice.

So good!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Fun Fishin' Hole

This lil' fisherman caught this Bluegill with a grown-up rod and reel from my dad's pond today. The boys and my dad caught lots of Bass and even a Catfish, but N was the only one to catch a Bluegill . . . twice!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Let summer vacation begin!

The boys have spent a lot of their first week of summer vacation in this 12 x 36 Intex Easy Set Pool. I'm killing some grass in the back yard that Kent worked so hard on to look nice, but it's keeping us at home and cool. I can even get in it. Now, we just have to keep Belle out of it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Widow's Grief & Recommitment to Christ

This is today's entry in L.B. Cowman's timeless but out of print devotional Consolation:

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:18 KJV

There is something in bereavement which makes it mean a great deal in a woman's life. It is a sore disappointment. Dreams of love's happiness are shattered. The beauty which had only begun to be realized in her home, in her wedded joy, in the development of her plans and hopes is suddenly left to wither. Very great is the sorrow when one of two lovers is taken and the other left. Widowhood is very desolate and lonely.

Just how shall she meet her perplexities. She is a Christian. She is comforted in her grief by the truth of Divine love, that her sorrow was no accident, that her bereavement was not the plan of God to break up the goodness and beauty of her life, that nothing has really gone wrong in the plan of Christ for her. But the question presses itself upon her mind. I am sure it has done so a thousand times. How am I to go on in this broken life of mine? What am I to do in my shattering bereavement? Her life is not yet finished. She is only a girl in years. She may live, she probably will live, forty years or more. What does Christ want her to do with her broken life?

God's plan for her was not spoiled when her sorrow came interrupting everything leaving her in darkness. The sorrow was not a surprise to God, and His plan for her life runs on to the end of her years. What the remainder of the plan is she does not know for the present. She must not know. Her faith must not fail; she must not despair. She must go on in faith and confidence. Believe that all these broken things are in His hands. "Gather up the broken pieces that remain that nothing be lost," is what Christ is saying to her today. Let her gather up the broken pieces from this miracle of love and happiness. Let her keep all the fragments.

The next thing is for her to recommit her life, with its grief, its desolation, its broken things, all to Christ. She must not undertake to rebuild it. She must not make plans of her own for the years to come. She must let Christ lead her, let Him plan for her, mark out the way. He must build the life for her. He must have much of the love she has to give. Be brave dear soul! God's help is near! Dr. Miller

Oh, does this speak to my heart!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Plugged In Online

When I'm not sure if the boys should see a movie, I visit Focus on the Family's Plugged In Online for a review of it from a conservative Christian perspective. They also review TV shows, music videos and video games. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Return of Hummingbirds

We've always looked forward to the return of hummingbirds in the spring at our house. Since the hanging baskets of petunias on our front porch have attracted some, we decided to dig out our feeders too.

For nectar, Kent always preferred this well-known homemade recipe instead of the red ready-to-use mix available in stores:

Hummingbird Food
4 cups water
1 cup granulated cane sugar

Bring water to a boil; add sugar and stir until dissolved. Let mixture cool before pouring into feeder. Leftover mixture can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

I hadn't made this before today, but it was easy. Now, we just have to remember to clean and refill the feeders every two to five days. In the meantime though, hopefully we'll see some more of these small birds flit about our yard.