Putting One Foot Before The Other

     It was so wonderful to be in church again yesterday.  I’ve not been since early January, as I’ve been home either with an injured back, a sick child, or ill myself.  It was great to be back, and all of us were there together.  Glorious!  My family is working in the kitchen this month, so we were back in service, too.  It’s a good place to be.  I loved having my boys anxious to help with different things and watching them hustle around.

     At one point during the service, the elder leading us in a song asked that only those 18 and under sing the next verse.  I sit beside my husband in church, and our three children are lined up on my other side.  However, when we stand to sing, William will quite often slide over and stand in front of either his dad or I.  He was standing in front of my husband as the children began singing the verse.  There are a LOT of children in our church, so the singing was pretty impressive.  However, I heard my two boys singing, and I let my ears focus on them.  Aaron to my left with his maturing, deep voice, and William to my right, with his still high, child’s voice, singing together in praise to our Lord.  It was a beautiful sound to this momma’s ears!  

     It’s good for me to reflect back on that today.  One of my boys is having a tough day.  That old sin nature thing.  We’re forging ahead, dealing with attitudes and sin as they occur.  I’m glad to have the reminder of my boys’ voices singing in church and the thought of them working hard to serve others still so fresh in my mind.  It’s encouraging and reinforces my resolve.  Raising these boys is a process.  They aren’t grown men yet.  Each and every day brings them closer, of course, which causes me to redouble my efforts.  The Lord knew that this was a day I would need that sweet, recent memory to replay in my mind.  Tender mercies. 

     We dropped Dani off at Lisa’s on our way home yesterday evening.  She’ll come home tonight and then she’ll head back down for Wednesday and Thursday.  I miss her when she’s gone, but I am so pleased with her willingness to serve and make herself available. 

     We moved, quite slowly, through our normal day.  It’s important, on days like this, to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and just move on to the next task as each is completed.  It would be very easy to just say, “forget it” and give up, but that would be self-defeating.  And, more than likely, sinful.  Don’t look for that easy way out.  Just keep plugging along, and doing the next thing, and forward progress will be made.  On somedays maybe not as much forward progression as others, but forward progression none-the-less.  I found it interesting that the chapter I read aloud during our morning together time today was about getting up and not giving in when we sin or fail in some other way.  Just get up!

     I am quite pleased to let you know that Xanga has shut down that troublesome blog I mentioned to you the other day.  I have no way of knowing how many people may have sent notices to Xanga regarding that site, but I am pleased that Xanga worked so quickly.  The site was shut down sometime during the day yesterday.

     Today, of course, was Monday.  My homemaking schedule, as most of you know, is set up so that I don’t schedule any weekly or other longer term cleaning tasks for Mondays.  Not only is it a good idea just because Monday tends to be a bit difficult motivation-wise for everyone, but it’s also my husband’s first day off at home (his first day off being Sunday).  I like to leave Mondays free so that if he wants me to head to town with him, or help with a project around the house, I’m available.  We do homeschool on Mondays, and I do, of course, tend to my daily homemaking tasks, but nothing else is generally planned for that day.  My husband, quite frequently, can get movie passes; and when he does, we go to the movies on Monday nights, just the two of us. 

     Kozimom asked me about planning for husbands’ days off in the comments the other day.  Her husband’s days off, as many men’s do, change.  I might suggest that you ask your husband what he’d like his days to look like when he’s home.  Those of us who homeschool our children know the importance of keeping them on a regular schedule, but our husbands understand the importance of this, too.  I would counsel you to be flexible to your husband’s ideas.  Perhaps he’d like just one day for family time.  Perhaps he’d just as soon that you and the children continue with your routine the same way you would if he were at work.  Just ask him, and then be willing to change your schedule a bit to meet his needs.

     My husband is off every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday and, technically, every other Wednesday.  However, he quite frequently works an overtime shift on his “off” Wednesdays.  Sunday is the Lord’s Day, and we homeschool Monday through Friday.  I’ve already shared with you how I plan Mondays.  However, when my boys were younger, we homeschooled Tuesday through Saturday and used Monday as our family’s Saturday.  Be creative!   

     I had a comment from a dear young woman I’ve known for years about meal planning.  sigh…….I can still remember the year at church family camp that she and Dani disappeared for hours.  Both moms, of course, thought the girls were at the other’s camp site.  As dinner time approached, we both went looking, but no girls!  We found them, cute as bugs, both wearing cotton dresses, in the middle of the river, stretched out on huge boulders, reading books!  Do you remember that, tea girl?  That is a fond memory for me, Sweetie, very fond.

     But menu planning, you asked about menu planning.  I can see that menu planning in your large, busy household would be a huge help, especially with three of you cooking.  (Tell your mom I said, “hi”).  This same basic idea can, however, apply to any size household.   I don’t use any sort of program to actually do the menu planning.  Rather, I just use a sheet of notebook paper for the rough draft and sit down and start writing things down.  I usually start by looking at what’s available in the freezer and pantry and go from there.  I might suggest that you gals keep a notebook just for menu planning.  You might have the dates for the next few weeks across the top of the pages, one week per page.  That way, if you think of something that you’d like to make, or run across a new recipe you’d like to try, you can get it written down on the menu plan for the upcoming week.  If a grocery shopping trip is planned, you can use that opportunity to add any needed items for a new recipe to the list, as the budget allows of course.

     It’s nice to plan breakfasts and lunches as well as dinners.  It helps to keep a better variety of things on the table for those meals, too.  It also will prevent having someone cook up the bacon for breakfast that was intended to be used in another day’s soup!  I also check my pantry and freezer when planning for breakfast and lunch.  For example, I just bought a flat of five dozen eggs, and now my chickens have started laying again!  My hens are suddenly producing enough eggs for our use, so I need to add some dishes to next week’s menu plan to help use up the excess.  We’ll have egg salad sandwiches, and German Pancake and I’m thinking one of Dani’s wonderful, homemade Angel Food cakes would be in order. 

march 3, 2008

     Once my menu plan is written up, though, I do like to do it all up nicely on a Print Shop calendar and post it on my fridge.  Here’s this week’s menu plan.  I have pencilled in a bunch of notes on there, so it’s not too pretty any more.  I think, in future weeks, I’ll add a little “notes” section under each day’s date so that I can pencil in little reminders to myself and keep my menu plan still looking nice. 

 

 

    

 

 

 

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     As we were driving to and from church yesterday, we marvelled at all of the almond trees in bloom.  They were spectacular.  Late this afternoon I started wondering what my almond tree looked like.  Guess what?  It was spectacular!  This little tree gave us a handful of almonds last year.  They were the first nuts the tree ever produced.  Now when I say it gave “us” a handful of almonds, you must understand that that “us” applies to any creature, including the winged ones, that might frequent our little homestead.  The birds ate them all!!  With this many blossoms, I’m hoping that we’ll have a nice crop and that there will be enough that the birds might share some with us.  To be fair, last year we did not go out and put up any bird scare tape, so we were, more or less, inviting the birds to feast on our trees. 

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     Our peach and plum trees are budded and beginning to flower, too.  These are the tips of a few of the branches on one of our peach trees. 

    

 

 

 

 

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      I wandered out front, and there are still two oranges and one grapefruit on the citrus trees.  They are just about ready to be picked, too!  All of Aaron and Copper’s hard work at covering those trees, night after frosty night, has really paid off this year.  A few of my citrus trees received a bit of frost damage, but nothing too severe, and the fruit survived.  What a blessing!

 

 

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     The boys had a full day of homeschooling, evidenced by the stacks of books to correct and books read to be checked off my list.  I was sitting on the couch in our schoolroom finishing up that little job when the elementary school bus dropped the kids off that live down the dirt road adjacent to our sheep pasture.  It was almost 4:00.  Those children looked so tired as they walked home, and all of them were toting big, heavy backpacks.  Those of you with children in schools away from home, give them an extra hug tonight and a smile as they work on all that homework.  Those of you who homeschool, thank the Lord for the privilege and blessing that is yours every day as you educate your children.

march 3, 2008 002

     You know, when I purchased that blue, cedar filled cushion, I thought I was buying a comfortable retreat for the dog’s use during the day.  Oh, silly me!  Of the bazillions of times you have seen this cushion here on my blog, how many times have you seen Dixie, the dog, on it?  And how many times have you seen one of my boys on it?  That’s what I thought.  So, forget about buying expensive, comfortable furnishings for your home.  Buy each of your kids a cedar filled dog bed and they’ll love you forever!

 

 

march 3, 2008 001

     Of my four children, two have been, more or less, natural spellers and two have struggled.  As I write out these lengthy spelling rules, I am reminded how hard spelling, and writing, are for some kids.  I am encouraged, though, because my two girls (one natural speller and one who struggles) are both wonderful writers now.  And they both know how to use their spell checker!  In the meantime, I’m learning to extend grace to the one still at home who struggles to spell and to write.  He’s an intelligent boy, this is just not his forte.  I’m praying now about some various ideas to boost not only his skill, but also his confidence in this area.  Do you have a child that struggles in a particular subject?  If you homeschool, or even if you don’t, I’d encourage you to prayerfully look for and consider ways that you can work through the difficulties with your child.  

     It’s always fun for me, when I host a little give away, to see who will win.  Time after time, I have seen the Lord’s hand in orchestrating who wins my little prizes.  I may think I’m using a random number generator, but I think the Lord moves to direct even small things like that!  Congratulations again, Joann!  My husband will drop your book at the post office when he heads to town tomorrow.  I mentioned that you could read this book on line, and some asked where.  So, here’s a place you can do just that if you like. 

     It’s been a busy day.  They all are.  We decided, as we were having a late lunch, to have dinner later this evening, too, so that Dani could join us.  We’ll have the boys do all of their after dinner chores (feeding critters, emptying waste baskets, putting away their laundry, etc.) before dinner tonight, so that they can still be in bed for their normal bed times.  I’m looking forward to our family dinner and then to having some time to visit with Dani this evening.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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13 comments to Putting One Foot Before The Other

  • I enjoyed your observation about the dog bed. Every time I’m in Sam’s Club with any of my boys, one of them begs for one! Oh, how I long to be in my own house, where they wouldn’t be looked upon as “clutter”! But I’m also glad to know that my boys are not completely strange.

    Dee

  • What a wonderful Monday Cheryl! You inspire me so much just posting about your ordinary day.

    Seth would love a cedar dog bed I’m sure!!!

    I loved the picture of your beautiful blooming fruit tree! I cannot imagine being able to go out and pick almonds or oranges out of my yard! We do have apples and pears though. Different climates, different fruit.

    Happy tax day Cheryl~I’ll be praying for you today during this “taxing” time!!!:giggle:

  • What a wonderful Monday Cheryl! You inspire me so much just posting about your ordinary day.

    Seth would love a cedar dog bed I’m sure!!!

    I loved the picture of your beautiful blooming fruit tree! I cannot imagine being able to go out and pick almonds or oranges out of my yard! We do have apples and pears though. Different climates, different fruit.

    Happy tax day Cheryl~I’ll be praying for you today during this “taxing” time!!!:giggle:

  • Dearest Cheryl,

    Thank you so much for the book link!  I look forward to reading the book you have recommended!  Also, thank you for being such a wonderful encourager and reminding us all about placing one foot in front of the other – keep going!  πŸ™‚  On some days that can be hard to do. 

    I love the pictures of your garden and seeing everything in bloom.  We have had some spring like weather but I just found out that we are to have some snow this week.  After finishing our school day yesterday, the children and I spent an hour picking up sticks and limbs that had fallen along with some weeding and pruning.  It felt so good to just enjoy the warmer weather.  I am ready to get started on the garden and plant veggies and flowers!!

    Have a wonderful day today! 

    Love and God’s Blessings,

    Cat

  • Dearest Cheryl,

    Thank you so much for the book link!  I look forward to reading the book you have recommended!  Also, thank you for being such a wonderful encourager and reminding us all about placing one foot in front of the other – keep going!  πŸ™‚  On some days that can be hard to do. 

    I love the pictures of your garden and seeing everything in bloom.  We have had some spring like weather but I just found out that we are to have some snow this week.  After finishing our school day yesterday, the children and I spent an hour picking up sticks and limbs that had fallen along with some weeding and pruning.  It felt so good to just enjoy the warmer weather.  I am ready to get started on the garden and plant veggies and flowers!!

    Have a wonderful day today! 

    Love and God’s Blessings,

    Cat

  • I haven’t been to read your blog for a little while!  My computer has been down, and I have been busy with life!  So a quick glance through your recent posts is all I have had time for this morning.  I see that you are planting!  I am so jealous!  I live in PA, and we had 60 degree weather yesterday.  Tomorrow, it is supposed to snow :rolleyes:.  I can’t wait to get out and do something!  We usually can’t really get started until May, but I do have a flat of pansy seeds started on my kitchen counter!  I hope they grow! 

    I am so curious about how you do homeschool with your boys.  How I would love to be a little fly on your shoulder for a day!  I would learn so much!

    Well, I am off to take care of my home and family!

    Blessings

    Monique

  • I haven’t been to read your blog for a little while!  My computer has been down, and I have been busy with life!  So a quick glance through your recent posts is all I have had time for this morning.  I see that you are planting!  I am so jealous!  I live in PA, and we had 60 degree weather yesterday.  Tomorrow, it is supposed to snow :rolleyes:.  I can’t wait to get out and do something!  We usually can’t really get started until May, but I do have a flat of pansy seeds started on my kitchen counter!  I hope they grow! 

    I am so curious about how you do homeschool with your boys.  How I would love to be a little fly on your shoulder for a day!  I would learn so much!

    Well, I am off to take care of my home and family!

    Blessings

    Monique

  • Hi Cheryl!

    I’m just catching up with you today and enjoyed reading the posts I missed! I loved seeing the pictures of your fruit trees – mine are starting to bud too.

    Manuela

    http://thefeatherednest.typepad.com/the_feathered_nest/

  • Hello!  Thanks for the suggestions!  πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for this post. I really needed that reminder today. Sometimes its frustrating when things don’t go according to plan, but I need to remember to press on and get even a little bit done.

    Praying for baby Grace.

  • Seen you on Sandys site and just wanted to come visit your site…you seem to be a Wonderful christain woman…what I need in my life right now and always…I was not raised up beleaving in the Lord and I was a teenage mom and I did not raise them up in the church as well…BIG Mistake…recently I have been saved and I am learning slowly. Your site looks so peaceful and you seem to be a Great mom. God bless.

  • Ahhhh, Cheryl. I too wish I could sit on your shoulder through a homeschool day. I home schooled Kyle, though homeschooling a special needs boy is very different. I taught him to read and do some 1st grade level math, but home schooling Charlotte and Zach is very different. I worry everyday, as I feel I am missing important things. My Charlotte is an excellent reader, but she struggles with spelling. I am a natural speller (most of the time) and have no clue to the rules you spoke of. I have a feeling Zach will struggle with spelling too. I have a book titled  Home Learning Year By Year by Rebecca Rupp, and I fear I have missed things that I should not have. Curriculum is scary for me…there are SO many to choose from and they are so costly you do not want to make a mistake. I am using PACE’s for Science and Social Studies, Saxon for math, and The McGuffey Reader for vocabulary and spelling. I KNOW I need more than that but I have no clue….Charlotte will be 5th grade and Zach 2nd next year. Maybe a post on Homeschool curriculum….I am not a skinny mini, so sitting on your shoulder would be very uncomfortable for both of us!!!!!

  • I am jealous, we still have so much snow and ice around. I am waiting for spring. I am not good at menu planning or housework, and am praying that I improve in that. Sometimes it is hard when you have four others in the house that will not cooperate, and you clear an area only to find it filled up again. Sigh. I have been improvoing though on making the most of leftover dinners, and trying to reinvent different ways of presenting that leftover food so that it seems a new meal. Praying all is well with you.

    Heather