An Apology and A Smidgen More Info.

Please note that because the most recent post here on Abundance House was a reposting from an earlier time, the years of marriage read 19 years the amount of time My Beloved and I had been married when the post was written. This is not how long we have been married at this time in 2014. My Beloved and I have now been married for 23, going on 24 years. Apologies for any confusion that this created.

Getting Organized

Another re-visit just in time to get our homes in order for fall.
Filing Cabinet

Maybe you have a perfectly organized home; one in which the saying "a place for everything and everything in its place" accurately describes your organization style. Most homes, however, probably have at least one "hot spot" where clutter reigns and organization is a secretly longed for desire. Where is your "hot spot"? If your house is in anyway similar to ours, it is "hot spots" in the plural form.

On the whole, we are quite organized, especially for a homeschooling family with six now seven children. Despite the fact that I've come a long, long ways towards total organization, there are still a number of areas left to be conquered. The unconquered areas aren't rooms in my home; they are areas left out of balance in other areas of my life, mostly my mind.

After 19 years of marriage, six seven children, numerous pets, and at least seven moves, I have come to a few conclusions about organization. Conclusion 1: Organization is more an act of the mind rather than a physical task. Conclusion 2: Organization that is success for my family may not work for anyone else. Conclusion 3: Without the proper tools, organization is practically impossible.

Organization is an act of the mind. What? That's right. It is common knowledge that every individual possesses a unique style of learning. Just as learning styles are individual, so are organization styles. For some, there is no greater organization tool than a stack of file folders and a filing cabinet. As long as they possess these tools, their lives are in blissful order. Others like myself are "out of sight, out of mind" organizers. If I place things in file folders, they are kept perfectly safe wherever I place them. Perfectly safe because once they are out of sight, I no longer remember they exist. For organizers like me, the cubbyhole system is ideal. I can't tell you how many years I spent attempting to organize my life into file folders and drawers only to fail---miserably.

Once I learned that there is more than one way to organize and that I simply wasn't wired to work well in the out of sight system, relief washed over me in waves. Now that I am free to organize the areas in my life in ways that work; much success has been achieved. Much organizational success has indeed been achieved in my home and life. Please note that it didn't take a lot to be considered success.

If you were to pattern your organizational strategy exactly after mine however, defeat might be the outcome. Why? Because you are a unique individual with your own distinct manner of successful order. What would be the most successful strategy? Study yourself; observe how you work. Use those findings to implement successful organization techniques into your life.

Organization doesn't always take money. Sometimes it just takes time... ...or help. I realize that the first thing the word "tools" brings to mind when discussing organization are the actual, physical supplies used. Those aren't the tools Conclusion 3 is referring to. The tools of organization need to be put to use before the supplies see action.

The best tools that we can obtain in our quest for organizational victory are collections. "Collections? Wait a minute, I want to organize what I already have, not add more stuff to the pile." Don't worry. These aren't collections of stuff. They are collections of new mindsets, strategies, methods, and products that work with our own personal organization styles.

After years experiencing failure, it may take a while before the truth that success is possible really sinks in. Magazines, internet sites, and books from the library often provide ideas to collect. An idea notebook to keep your idea collection in is not only inexpensive, but easy as well. Pictures from magazines can be inserted in page protectors or glued directly into the notebook. Ideas gleaned from books and the internet can be written in so that they aren't forgotten.

After your new collections have been gathered, the necessary supplies can be used. Just remember, the clutter and or chaos probably didn't appear overnight. Eliminating the distraction of it may not take place that quickly either. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, dear friend, one bite at a time. Pick the smallest area of disorganization to begin with. Look at that area with a new eye, one that sees that clutter put away in a successful way. Begin the process. Once that first area is completed, the taste of victory will be oh so sweet. It will also be quite contagious. Tackling the next area will become easier and easier.

Transfer Box


Country Happy

Hi! Wow! You just keep coming way out here in the country to sit at our bench with me, and I just keep being amazed at your commitment to our relationship! It's breezy and hot this afternoon/evening. If the wind dies down, maybe we can water down the area around the firepit and make some smores. Maybe. If not smores then maybe some homemade ice cream. Yes?

Of course, if we are out there making smores there will be ducks and maybe some chickens pecking around to see what we are doing. Did I tell you we have ducks and chickens now? Yes, yes we do. We have three ducks, eight plus 24 more on their way home right now chickens, six half grown cats, and one very old beloved dog who thinks he must herd them all. It's crazy loud happy around this place! Oh! There are also all of those cows out in the pastures too. The cows aren't in our yard though so don't get listed in the official count. Our own personal homeplace is becoming full of life, and I love it!

We get to wash the porch off more when our poultry friends visit the porch, but that's a small price to pay for the sweet homey-ness they have added. Never thought of myself as a duck girl, but these things have captured my affections. I like them. I really truly do. They are nice, and when they get to waddling around...oh my, it makes me smile from the inside out. Now if they were being sneaky and/or pinching my children, well, I wouldn't be smiling. BUT, they aren't being sneaky and mean. They are very well-behaved additions to our yard, even if they are a bit on the noisy side. It's a quiet noisy. Sort of. Anyway, they are serving a purpose. They are marvelous guard ducks, and that is a blessing as our dear sweet dog can't hear as well as he used to.

All of these new additions coming in August right when we are finishing up the summer and getting ready to slide into Fall. Pretty sure we will be so busy with our beautiful garden that we won't even realize Autumn has arrived until it's well under way. My Garden? Yes! The garden, the one that I said was the "last try" is growing and thriving! Don't you love that? There are blossoms, pea pods, tomatoes, beets, onions and carrots growing undergroundand along with delicious salad greens. It's not too big and not too small. It's just right. Thanks to Miss Mustard Seed there is a sweet little bench to sit on too. My Beloved, Colonel Redeemed and all of the other children added a rustic fench and a scarecrow named Lolli to keep the rabbits and other nibbling creatures out. After 9, maybe 10, years, a garden spot has been found! Joy Unspeakable!

Ya know? Thinking back to ten years ago when we were making plans to come live on the ranch full time I might have envisioned a few chickens and our dog but three more children? ducks? Six cats? Not even on the imagination radar, especially not the three children. But God knew. He knew. He knew how very much we needed these three children, how we needed their laughter, their humor, their sarcasm, their delightfulness, and yes, sometimes even their questions. He knew that these three children would delight and almost frighten us with the insight and amazing understanding they each possess. He knew that their ability to express themselves so clearly would be a vital necessity to us for we are all walking a busy bit of messiness out here. He also knew that the depth of their faith and spiritual knowledge would both thrill and humble me, their mama. God knew.

When God gave me the layout and design of the house He knew it would house babies as perfectly as it would feed a branding crew. Everything about us He knew. Not only did He know, He planted the ideas of the perfect plans for a home that would house a family of nine and feed many more each year inside of me. Nothing escaped His notice. Everything was included in His design for us. Everything. Spaces large enough to feed many or few, bedrooms with individual bathrooms for guests to stay in, a loft large enough for children to sleep in comfortably when guests are here, spaces for many people to spread out yet still be together, tiny spaces that function perfectly yet still look nice, a kitchen large enough for a family and their friends to cook together and not get claustrophobic, every little detail was planned by a loving Heavenly Father who also happens to be the Almighty God and King of all Kings. He even knew I would love the ducks! That's why He sent them even though I didn't think I would want them. Isn't God just wonderful? Is there any other like Him? No, none.

There were so many little things I planned with future grandchildren and visiting children in mind, yet God knew they would first be enjoyed by three more little children of our own. How shortsighted we were so innocently ignorant as we leaned on our own understanding and knowledge. Thank You, God for knowing. Thank You for leading me even though I often didn't have a clue. Thank You. Just that. Thank You. Thank You for children and ducks and chickens and rocks and trees and woodstoves and gardens. Yes, dear Lord, Thank You for gardens in the perfect spot, gardens with sweet fences and scarecrows. Thank You. Thank You for spaces to retreat and be renewed in the face of turbulent teenage storms and traumatic toddler tantrums. Even though it doesn't seem that great most days, thank You for fingerprints on windows, dirty floors, toys, and tiny shoes lying everywhere. Thank you for army men in houseplants, chicken feathers in my freezer, and toys in kitchen cabinets and drawers where their 17 months old owner left them in exchange for the kitchen item(s) he took out. Thank You for the loudness of children, the silliness of cats, and the spoiled love of an old black dog. Over all of these blessings Lord, thank You for My Beloved and the children You used our love to make, these I love - the ones who share all of this with. Most of all, Thank You for Jesus. Thank You God for You.

Overflowing with Thanksgiving,
Abundantly Blessed



More chats from the past:


"And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaaceful state] to which as [members of Christ's] one body you were also called [to live].  And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always]."  Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.  And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word of deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependance upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him."  Colossians 3:15-17

Decisions.  Those nasty things used to be such a trial to me.  I disliked them intensely.  I don't know why, but I did.  No matter how I worked to avoid them, they still showed their ugly face time and time again.  Then a wondrous thing happened.  I read Colossians 3:15 out of the Amplified Bible.   "Let the peace... from Christ... act as umpire... in your hearts... settling... all questions that arise in your minds,..."  When the realization that this scripture was actually teaching me how to make correct decisions sunk in, a major celebration took place for me.  

2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that every scripture is God breathed and profitable for instruction, and I know how true this is.  The Word of God has taught me everything I have ever needed to know.  Anytime that I have ever wondered what "the right" thing to do was, I have asked God in prayer.  Everytime I have inquired of Him, He has answered, usually through His Word.  The answers haven't always come immediately, but they have come nonetheless.  

The faithfulness of our Heavenly Father's care of His children is amazing.  I can't begin to tell you how many times God has taught me from His Word.  Lesson after lesson, truth upon truth, in hard times, sad times, boring times, mad times, I have been led and taught of Him and His ways.  The situation mattered not.  His Word covers it all. 

Do you have questions for the Lord?  Are there areas in your life that have you frustrated or confused?  Have you been wondering what to do about this situation or that circumstance?  James 1:15 instructs that if any of us are deficient in wisdom, we are to ask of the giving God who gives to everyone liberally and ungrudingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given us.  

Let me tell you, every day I am deficient in wisdom concerning something.  Every day I ask the giving God and rely on His faithfulness to help me out.  Every day He gives to me liberally.  Do you need wisdom for something?  Ask of the giving God and He will instruct you.  Allow the peace from Christ to act as umpire in your heart.  To quote a line from a famous advertisement, "Try it, you might like it."

In Christ's Love, 
Blessed Mama

Dilapidated farmhouse



A Storm at Sea
Doesn't that picture look like the news and world sound right now? Stormy. Reeling. Crashing Waves. Flashing lightning. Rolling ship. Everything all topsy turvy and upside down. Nothing seems to be the same anymore. Everything has changed. I have heard these thoughts expressed lately. The people who shared these opinions all seemed concerned, sad, pensive. I felt for them. Quietly, I prayed for them too. Not that long ago I would have felt obligated to share some religious word of some kind with them to help make them feel better, but now? Now I quietly prayed and listened for what God Holy Spirit would lead me to do/say. Why the difference? Well, believe it or not, I am learning.

I am learning that storms look differently for different people. Everyone I know is facing a storm, but not every person is facing the same storm. One person may be wracked in physical pain while another is paralyzed by emotional trauma. Maybe someone's children are asking questions and/or stating opinions that drive parents to their knees in prayer. Still another might be lost in the whirling twirl of keeping young children fed and clothed. Lost jobs, fading health, storm after storm hits only to be followed by another crashing storm then another and another. On and on the storms deal their forceful blows. No matter what the storm, I am learning that there is one constant, not everyone wants an answer or needs me to "make it all better". I don't have to "fix" anything for anyone.

There are a lot of songs and religious platitudes handed out when someone is going through a storm. In the past, I have handed out more than my fair share of them. My desire to help screamed loud and without stopping to listen to God Holy Spirit's still small voice, I rushed in with religious guns blazing. My intention was to blast that nasty storm to smithereens. I was going to make it go away and leave my loved one and/or friend alone. Reality is that few, if any, of those things make weathering the storm easier for a person. In fact, they often make it worse. Only God can keep someone in the storm. Only He can bring a person through, and only He can calm the raging storm within.

Nothing and noone can calm the storm, still it, or make it go away. Only God. Only He. Not me wanting to "make it all better". Not the latest song. Not the newest phrase. Only God. For He is a Father, Savior, and Comforter three in one, only He. How is my friend/loved one going to hear His still small voice above the roar of the storm if I'm in the way spouting off my "helpful, loving" words? Even words of scripture can be wrong if they are spoken at the wrong time. Not every word spoken has been wrong or in the way. God Holy Spirit has often provided what the Bible refers to as a word spoken in due season. It's all of those other times, the ones when the voice of my "Christian duty" hollered, and I got so busy listening to the voice of what I "ought" to do that I forgot to listen to the only One who knows perfectly. It was in those times that religion trumped relationship and everyone lost.

There are lots and lots of storms crashing and even more brewing. Many opportunities to speak a word in due season or rush in spouting off in haste are arising. Please dear Lord, may I continue to learn of You and Your way of doing and being right. May I listen to Your voice, the only voice who knows the beginning from the ending and everything in between. May I listen to You so that Your love will flow from me in a wave of healing, comforting, love. Thank You for teaching me. Thank You for providing me with wisdom. You truly are a generous provider. (James 1:5) Thank You for Your Spirit that comes in like a flood lifting up a standard against the enemy. (Isaiah 59:19)
You are the only anchor that holds. You are also the One who causes us to rise above the storm and soar with wings like eagles. ( Isaiah 40:31) You hide those who abide in You in Your secret place. (Psalm 91) You shelter us. (Joel 3:16) When we walk through the valley You are with us and comfort us. (Psalm 23:4) Thank You for being our truth, for never leaving us, for busying Yourself with our every step,(Psalm 37:23 Amplified) for being our shield.(Genesis 15:1, 2 Samuel 22:31) Thank You over and over and over again. We praise You for You are worthy of all praise. You are great. You are mighty. You are Holy. You are worthy. You are the Great I AM. You are. When nothing else was, You were. Should nothing else be, You will still be. You. Only You. Thank You, God. Thank You for You. With grateful hearts of praise we pray in Jesus' Holy, precious, lovely name, Amen.

God's Power Rather Than Man's Wisdom

Hi! Doesn't it feel like a storm is brewing the way it is so sticky and close out this morning? I've been reading out of 1 Corinthians 2, specifically verse 5. It speaks of how our faith is not to rest or rely on human wisdom but on the power of God. Pondering on this and praying that I live it out in the everyday. Oh, I almost forgot to get a hug before I go! There! Now we're ready for the day.

Prayers for living in the power of God rather than the wisdom of men.
Abundantly Blessed




Hey there. I didn't know if you would be here at the bench in the middle of the day, oops, it's closer to the end of the afternoon, or not. Well, whatever time of the day it is, I'm glad, glad, glad to see you. Yes, I would love a hug, thank you.

So, what's up your way? What's going on in your world? I would love to hear about it. You listen to me all of the time. Today I'm hungry to sit and hear you. I know what's going on with me. I want to hear about you.

The comment section is open and amothersrewards@gmail.com is available as well. Always know you are heard and loved by both God and I. I'll be sitting here praying and waiting to listen.

Because of and in Jesus,
Abundantly Blessed

Girl Looking Out Window


More of Those Before School Visits

Another re-visit to the past. Chances are that making your own convenience food from scratch wasn't one of the top items on your summer bucket list, but hey, it would be a quick & easy one to toss in here at the end. Quick, easy, fun, and money-saving. Sounds good to me:) Maybe the chosen item to make could be a favorite lunch item. Now we're not only saving money, saving time, and having fun, we're getting in some advanced school prep as well. Whoo Hoo! Let's make us some fun!

Today's Thrifty Tip finds us in the food arena once more. With the price of groceries rising higher and higher, who among us can't stand to save a little? While not everyone cooks strictly from scratch, even choosing to make once convenience food from scratch can rack in the savings. Not only are prepackaged mixes and foods more expensive, they often contain additives and preservatives that are far from healthy. Creating our own foods enables us to have complete control over the quality of ingredients with which we feed our families. At our house, we have found that stirring up our own mixes, seasonings, and beverage mixes is so much fun that we really don't care if it saves money or not. It's no longer thrift. It's fun!

To get started on this thrifty fun, assess the food products you use most often. Perhaps you use one particular seasoning more than any of the rest. Or maybe there is a quick bread mix that your pantry just can't be without. Whatever that "must have" item is, begin there. Once you have chosen the item to create, head to the search engine of choice and type in "recipe for __________. " It's that simple. All that is left is to choose which recipe you wish to try, obtain the ingredients, and stir it up.

Some seasonings, such as Italian Seasoning, have a multitude of differing recipes. Try a couple and see how closely they come to what you prefer. Then, tweak the ingredients and amounts to suit your preference. Beverage mixes are one of my personal favorites. However, there are literally thousands of recipes online for virtually everything. I mean everything, envelope glue anyone?

Speaking of envelope glue, making your own products from scratch need not be limited to the kitchen and pantry. Whether it's seasonings, beverage mixes, cake mixes, diapers, or feminine hygience products, there are recipes and/or patterns for just about any item a homemaker could want, some you may not want too:) Making only one item can save hundreds of dollars each year and possibly provide health benefits besides.

Homemade items also provide you with economical gifts that are easily personalized. Who doesn't feel completely pampered upon receiving a gift that was custom made just for them? Making your own products can be addictive so don't be surprised if you can't stop at just one.Blessed Mama


Miss Mustard Seed

It just printed out, Miss Mustard Seed's diploma. The third high school diploma to be printed out in this home, this family. Three children graduated, four to go. Oh my. Four. to. go. Only God knew those words would be my life's reality one day. When this education of children began so many years ago there were only three children. Then this third child was the baby. Then only lasted two and a half years before there was another baby, another last child. And now? Now there have been three more last children after the fourth child. Once upon a time I would have almost been done with this journey of home education. Once upon a time there would only have been one child left and her almost done with high school work herself. But now? Now we are starting all over, and it is good. But I'm not talking about the extra blessings of the extra three. Today my mind is all over the girl whose name is on this diploma on the printer, Miss Mustard Seed.

Each child chooses a verse to put on their diploma and announcement. This child, her verse says it all. It describes her from the inside out. It tells her tale, reveals her heart. "...Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?" Esther 4:14. This girl who has the heart of a miracle queen like Esther. The one who chose the name Hadassah, Esther's Hebrew name, to sit beside at a lady's banquet. This girl. She. She is the one. Miss Mustard Seed is the girl turning woman who sees big, longs big, wants to know everything and is willing to forsake all for a cause, her cause. Thankfully, her cause is to love the Lord her God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength.

When the diploma printed out I wanted to cry. There is always more mama than instructor in me, always. However, the tears were beat out by a smile, a knowing smile. It is a mama's knowing that makes me smile instead of be hurt by the so what sort of attitude that appeared to be thrown at the creation of her diploma. Why would Miss Mustard Seed get excited about a piece of paper? Why would this third child of mine go against who she has always been to get all happy and involved in something she views as pointless? Seriously? A piece of paper? Why fuss.

Miss Mustard Seed isn't the only one growing up and maturing, this mama is too. Instead of being hurt this mama smiled. I smiled because I know. I know that my girl didn't mean me any harm. She just doesn't understand a mama's heart ~ because she isn't one. Someday, someday this sweet woman child will know. She will understand. She will have her own memories of then and it will be in the middle of her own then that she will know. Because she will know, she will smile. And her smile? It will be just like my own now. It will be quiet, peaceful, and full of a mama's love. Until the time Miss Mustard Seed smiles her own knowing smile, this mama will keep on loving and thanking God for this girl woman, a gift from God. And I'll smile a mama's knowing smile. I can't help it really. I love my girl, and this love, it makes me smile.


A Lovely Summer Morning and Tea

Good Morning! How glad I am to find you at our bench! Look what was in my reader this morning, a post from Glorious Treats with a deliciously delightful looking recipe for lemon pound cake muffins! Here is the link so you can get the recipe for yourself: http://www.glorioustreats.com/2014/08/lemon-pound-cake-muffins.html.

Besides that wonderful recipe, which we are going to try as soon as we obtain all of the ingredients, an opportunity to enter a sweepstakes is included. Now, after entering numerous sweepstake drawings and not winning anything. ever., I had made the decision to NOT ever do that again. However, this recipe and the discussed topic of tea time made me think that maybe one more time...

We both know how much I like tea time and its treats. You can well imagine what happened when the blogger at Glorious Treats asked what our favorite tea and/or tea time treat was. Yes, the mind went a whirling. Scones with mock devonshire cream and lemon curd, brown sugar shortbread, black tea with brown sugar and cream, those were the few answers I limited myself too. Granted, the author only asked for one, but seriously, who can only have one favorite. Every day is a new tea time and each tea time has new favorites. Doesn't it? Anyway, with much effort, I limited myself to those few answers and left them in a comment. That one comment provided entries into the sweepstakes.

Now, I would have left the comment whether there was a sweepstakes to enter or not, just because tea time is such a fun topic of conversation. However, since my comment automatically entered me already, why not go ahead and write a blog post of my own to earn a few more entries? Who couldn't use a Wal-mart gift card for $100, right at the end of summer and beginning of school? That's why I am so thrilled to find you here at our bench! Now you can hear about it and enter too! If you go over to Glorious Treats you will find out about the new brand of fair trade sugar used in the recipe along with all of the details on the sweepstakes for the Wal-mart gift card. While you are there, you might as well join in the conversation about favorite tea and tea time treats. Ahhhh! tea, tea time treats, a new recipe, and a sweepstakes. Lovely fun!

Gotta run! This sunshiny summer morning is calling to me to get my least pleasant work done so that this afternoon can be spent on more pleasant tasks. That busy buzz of Autumn can be heard getting closer and closer. The more I get done before it fully winds up, the more I can remain focused and concentrate on enjoying the majestic grandeur of Autumn. Hugs! dear friend. Hoping to see you again soon! Praying for you still!

Abundantly Blessed @ Abundance House blog


Second Chances

Hi! Come on in! Please try and ignore the balloons scattered around. It was Mighty Man of God and Giggle's birthdays last week and well, balloons are the only surviving reminders.

Mighty Man of God is six years old and ready to learn to read this year. Can you believe he is that old yet? AND after last year's attempt at kindergarten he is finally ready to learn to read? God does work miracles for us mamas. He truly, truly does.

One of the greatest miracles God performs for us mamas is the gift of second chances. Let me tell you, this mama is grateful to God for those second chances, so very very grateful to Him. During a few "discussions" with older children the past week or so I have been made aware of some things, things that need changing in this house, things in them and me. Here's where second chances come into play.

One of the most startling revelations to me, as a mother, is that my children don't know my heart unless I show/tell it to them. They can't see the grief that surges through like a flood every time I snap when I ought to have caressed. The disappointment I feel when I mess up and treat their dreams carelessly? That too is invisible, unless I show it to them. My children only know as much of me as I reveal. If I don't tell and/or show them how much I love them, they won't know. If I treasure the joys they bring me deep inside where precious gifts are treasured without telling them how precious those daily gifts of them are to me, they won't have any idea whatsoever anything at all about them is considered precious and dear to me.

The only thing my children know about my feelings and thoughts towards them is what I tell/show them. If the only thing they ever hear come out of my mouth is correction, they will automatically assume I am never pleased with or blessed by them. Just because I know how near and dear they are doesn't mean they know. Somehow, I have to communicate this to them. They need to know. If they don't know, they will make assumptions and develop opinions by default. These assumptions and opinions will most likely not be entirely accurate; they could even be destructive.

In light of this, I need to get up off of our bench and go make sure everything is ready for supper. There is a family that needs to be told their mama loves them. Having supper ready is one way I can tell/show them. Making sure that there is a little something special tucked into our evening is another. Uhmmm, thanks for the hug! Have a great evening with Jesus! Hang in there mama and/or papa! Children and parents are all grateful for second chances!

Learning how to love more and real through Jesus!
Abundantly Blessed


Giggles and Uncharted Territory

What a day for a visit! Little Miss Giggles is 8 years old on this warm and windy August afternoon. This girl she does love her some attention, and her birthday is the perfect occasion to shower her with extra doses of special. I want to savour and treasure every moment she is still my little girl because every so often there are little bits of a bigger girl peeking out at me, and well, those little snippets make me want to run and hide. I'm not ready to let go of the little girl yet. I know what comes next, and that part can be scary, scary for both mama and daughter.

A person would think that a mama to three older daughters would have this whole mother of daughters thing down. WRONG! The longer I'm a mother the more I know how much I don't know, how much I desperately need the grace and wisdom of God to lead me in leading my daughters. We all need Him desperately, they and I. No matter how old Not of This World, Miss Mustard Seed, Horsegirl, and Giggles get, we will all always be in a stage of new. For no matter how old they are, I will never have been the mother of that specific girl/woman at that age and they will each never have been the whatever age they are daughter of a mama like me. We're all always treading down new uncharted territory in our mother daughter relationships.

The thing about uncharted territory is just that, it's uncharted, nothing is known ahead of time. Noone knows just exactly how changing hormones will affect another. An entire family can be rocked on its heels by the snarling snaps of a little woman in the making's hormone wracked emotions. They can also all be reduced to carefully tiptoeing eggshell walkers by a mama's hormonal surges, and if said mama is pregnant...you don't even want to know. (Mama is NOT pregnant though. Truly I'm not. I was just sharing how emotional surges affect others.) We all need God in this house, need Him desperately. For unlike us, He knows. The territory isn't uncharted for Him. He not only knows the Way, He is the Way, and He will lead us.

Today, on this birthday for my sweet giggling Giggles He is leading in a glorious celebration of life, God's life shining through Giggles! Happy Birthday my dear sweet Giggles girl! Mama loves you dear and deep. Don't ever quit singing, smiling, and loving Jesus true. He is the Way, our only Way.

Birthday love and prayers,
Abundantly Blessed

Some Quick Before School Visits

Hi! It's almost time for school to start ~ again. With the days of summer break drawing to a close here's a visit from our past we can talk about some more. 

School days are fast approaching. For many they have already begun. As a homeschooling mother, school preparation involves a myriad of details. When all the menus are planned, the lessons are readied, and schedules have been fine tuned, will the preparation really be complete? Will I have prepared my heart? Meals can be prepared and frozen. Folders can be labeled. Books can neatly line the shelves. However, if I have failed to prepare my heart, the most important work remains undone. In order to shepherd the hearts of my children as they learn, my heart must be free from the distractions of emotional clutter, scrubbed of the bondages of sin, and filled with the riches of God's Word.
Just as a homemaker spends time caring for the physical needs of her family, I must spend even more time preparing to meet their inner needs. It is only during intimate moments of worship this can be accomplished. Investing of my time in prayer for the school year ahead is also a necessity. How can the purpose of God for school be revealed if I haven't had any conversations with Him? Such preparation isn't only for the homeschooling mother. This is a need of us all no matter what our position in life. As the beginning of school goes on around us, and the memories of new shoes and bookbags fill our minds, let us also remember to prepare our hearts so that as Philippians 1:9-11 AMP says, "...that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment], so that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences], and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble]. May you abound in and be filled with the fruits of righteousness (of right standing with God and right doing) which come through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One), to the honor and praise of God [that His glory may be both manifested and recognized]."

Thank you for re-visiting one of our past conversations with me. Remembering is something I seem to do more of every fall. Sometimes I spend the entire month of August remembering some of our past chats together! Such sweet memories we have! Ummmm. There's your good-bye hug. Hope you have a great day in Jesus today. Love you! Abundantly Blessed