Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Hello! It's been so long, but here I am. I have been intrigued by all the "grown-up coloring" going around. I thought maybe it would be fun to print some fall and thanksgiving themed pages to have around on Thanksgiving. It's supposed to be snowy and in the 20's here so we will need an alternative to the football and after dinner walk that we usually do. It turns out my kids really like these intricate coloring pages and a big cup of sharpened pencils. Here's a link to a few great fall coloring pages.

We spent a half hour coloring together yesterday. Even Thing Two, did a really careful job, and usually he just scribbles. I love spending time together like this. Whether you need a little quite time during a week off of school, or something for the whole fam-damly on Thanksgiving, a quick Pinterst search, a printer, and some colored pencils could bring you a lot of relaxed family time. Here's wishing you a peaceful day of giving thanks. We have so much to be thankful for.

"The greatest thing is to give thanks for everything. He who has learned this knows what it means to live. He has penetrated the whole mystery of life: giving thanks for everything."
                                                       --Albert Schweitzer

Ephesians 5:20
 Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything...

Happy Thanksgiving!
-- Haley

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Syrian Refugee Crisis

This weekend we went to the mountains for a little while. We spent an hour or two climbing up a trail and enjoying the view. At the end of the short hike my kids were thirsty, hot, hungry and dirty. We had plenty of water with us and snacks in the car and that night we tucked our boys safely into bed, after they bathed and put on fresh jammies. But after we got home I saw this post from Samaritan's Purse about all the refugees traveling to escape the violence that has over taken their cities (ISIS).
I thought, if my kiddos were tired, hot and dirty after just a couple hours of walking, what must these kids feel like? Many have been traveling for weeks, and most have lost everything in the journey. There's no clean jammies and warm bed waiting at the end of the day. In fact, they often don't even know what country they will be in at the end of the day.

World Vision has put together the map above that really helps us understand the enormity of this journey.  It shows how a family coming from Aleppo, Syria to the border of Serbia will have to travel over 1,400 miles (Check out their post about this: here.) Many of these miles are being trekked on foot. World Vision also has a great post about what is happening, who is affected and how World Vision is responding with aid. You can click here to read that and to help through World Vision.

"Nearly 12 million Syrians have been forced from their homes by the fighting — half are children."
                                                                                                                         -- World Vision

Samaritan's Purse has been posting updates from their workers on the ground in Greece, and other check points. They have been helping with medical care (with some of their staff doctors checking on refugees at certain check points), and distributing backpacks with much needed health and hygiene items as well as snacks and comfort items for kids. Their help is tangible. If you are watching news clips of thousands of people walking and walking; everything they own in a plastic grocery bag--and wondering what you can do, here is something you can do. Watch the video to get a sense of what's happening, what these families are going through, what they've lost and how desperately they need hope, and see how Samaritan's Purse is helping them. You can donate directly to Samaritan's Purse's European Refugee Relief by clicking here (and scrolling to the bottom).

 "We've not come here for enjoyment. All of us are hopeless people." 
We can't look away from what families just like ours are going through on the other side of the world.   I don't know what is going to happen to these families, but I know this:
They need help today.
They need hope to make it to tomorrow; to the next check point.
There are good organizations making a real impact in this ongoing crisis and we can partner with them.

I feel like there's so little I can do to help, but I think too often we claim our ability to only make a small impact as an excuse to do nothing. We can not do nothing.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
                                                                                                - Mother Teresa

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Book Review: Woodlawn

Football season is officially underway. With football on TV, fall in the air, and a movie based on the book on the horizon, now is the perfect time to read the inspiring true story of Woodlawn, by Todd Gerelds. 

Woodlawn is set in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1970's. Coach Tandy Gerelds is struggling to integrate a team of high school football players in an era and a community that wants anything but to work together. He tries everything to get his guys to break down barriers and truly be a team, but to no avail. Finally, a bootlegger-turned-preacher named Wales Goebel shows up and shows them that the way to be united is not to put on the same jersey, but the same heart. As the entire team experiences a change of heart and a new-found faith, they finally are able to work together and let every player shine, especially their African-American superstar: Tony Nathan. At a school where black and white students couldn't even walk the halls together (due to violence), this is an amazing feat. I love the story of this faith-born brotherhood, but I also love the personal stories of the men who brought it about: the coach, the team chaplin and a local evangelist. 

I am looking forward to seeing the movie, but I have a feeling it will not adequately explain the amazing back stories of Wales Goebel and Hank Erwin. These men had such interesting lives and give God all the credit for the difficulties they overcame. I'm sure they never thought they would be changing the course of a football team, but their authenticity affected those young football players deeply and allowed them to hear the message of Jesus Christ's love that they both experienced and shared with the team.    

Woodlawn the movie (with Sean Astin & Jon Voight) comes out October 15, 2015, but the book comes out this week! That give you a month to get the whole true story which, trust me, you have to hear! Order the book here, or check your local book store. 

** I received a free copy of Woodlawn from Howard Books for my honest review. All opinions are my own, of course  : ) **

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Homestead, Faux-mstead

Hi! With kiddos going back to school, it's starting to feel like fall. Like harvest time. I mentioned that we are reading Little House on the Prairie, and it's making me feel all homesteady. Of course it's all fun and games for us, because our survival isn't dependent on being able to preserve all the fall harvest. Still, we are trying to make sure nothing gets wasted. We  got a late spring freeze here that killed a lot of trees' blossoms, so I've noticed a lot of local apple trees around us didn't grow any apples. We were lucky and ours did! We got about 60 fireside apples from our little tree. Many of them have worms or bugs, so we are trying to use those up more quickly by making crockpot applesauce, and pies. Pie for breakfast!

I have never canned anything, but I keep thinking I'm going to. I'm getting closer. I have purchased canning jars and supplies, and we used one to make some fridge pickles this week. Baby steps. : ) We got to use our homegrown garlic, carrots, celery seed, coriander (cilantro seeds), and farmers market cucumbers. We used Ted Allen's recipe from the Food Network, and they tasted like pickles in just a few hours. The boys love them! We will definitely use this recipe again! Here's the link to the recipe

I hope you're week is going well! You are loved!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Garden: Midseason Success and Failure

How's your summer going? Ours has been so full of so many good things. I am so thankful for this season with our family. We've been having a lot of adventures together. But even when we are just at home we are staying busy. Our garden is one thing we all work on together. 

I am so thankful that we get to have a garden, and even more thankful that we don't rely on it alone to be able to eat. We are reading the Little House books right now and thinking about how families used  to have to grow enough to survive gives me a whole new respect for homesteading life back then. 

Every year we seem to have different challenges in the garden. This summer it's often felt like we are failing out there. Squash beetles have killed some of our squash, we have planted peppers three different times and they just keep dying. Twice I planted beets and something ate them the minute they come up. Half the green beans I planted didn't come up and none of the cucumbers. We started tomatoes earlier than ever and we've had fewer than ever ripen up. Nonetheless, the season's not over, and we are enjoying some success. Here's a few things that did work and are making us happy. 

The few beets that did come up have beautiful tops. I can't wait to sauté these up with some butter and snow peas. Our snow peas also did great this year and we picked several bowls full. 

Some friends of ours gave us this windmill. I love seeing it in the garden. It's perfect for our little city farm. We planted some spaghetti squash nearby and they have over taken the bottom of the windmill. There's five good-size spaghetti squash on this trellis.  The ones at the bottom are huge!

One of our planters was more weeds than veggies. A lot of things we planted just didn't come up there, so we pulled out the young onions (which are still a usable size), and tilled it up and started over a couple weeks ago. Everything else below we picked in the last couple of days. When I put it all together I realized, we aren't failing. Some things are working, and seeing this pile of stuff we grew makes me happy, and eating it together will make us healthy. What more could we ask for? It's enough. I'm still hoping for more tomatoes in the next couple months though ; )

I hope you are enjoying the fruits of your labor, whatever they may be, and finding that they are enough. Happy summer! We'll be taking advantage of the last couple weeks of summer fun before school schedule starts here. Oh how I love these long and full days.

You are loved!

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