Friday, February 26, 2010

A Dream And A Prayer Come True!

I have always longingly dreamed of owning a piano...touching the pearly white keys with my finger tips, sitting poised ready to play and purposely pressing each key to hear its magnificent sound...

one day...

Yesterday my husband proposed a family outing in the afternoon, after school and naptimes.  The morning went very slowly!  All morning Amy peppered me with questions like: "Is it inside or outside?" "Is it educational?".  I was good and kept all information top secret!

After Dylan awoke from his naptime, we all got coats, shoes and hats on and piled into the car.  We stopped for petrol and sweets on the way. Yum!  Almost twenty minutes later we pulled up outside The Piano Gallery!

Amy nearly passed out cold from excitement!  We were welcomed by possibly the nicest, most friendly, down-to-earth lady, she invited us in to the showroom and graciously led us around the room showing us their piano collection and answering our many questions..."What happens if someone gets a few tractors lodged inside?"

We went to their upstairs showroom which laid out their pre-loved piano's, which is why I thought we had come.  We wandered around up there for fifteen minuted or so when my husband announced that we should go back downstairs and look again at the new pianos! At that point I started to get really excited!...

We came away with three choices in two colours: classic black and mahogany.  A much one-sided (they ganged up on me) family democratic vote ensued and I 'compromised'.

This morning when my Honey had come in from doing 'the rounds' on the farm he announced that we should 'talk piano'!  After a short discussion, he called the lady and placed our order, for our very own piano!

I also wish to let you in on a little secret here; that very morning the Lord set me about searching for something...and what did I find?  The almost exact finance for our piano!

We are expecting our much anticipated delivery at the end of next week...

...Did I mention I'm excited?

I Still Do!


To the man I was blessed to marry four years ago today...
I see a deeper understanding grow
As the days, months, years, come and go. 

I relied upon God's wisdom to marry you. 
It was through Him I'd learn to love, I knew. 
As I sit here in prayerful contemplation 
I realize how very thankful I am to the Lord 
That we took time to get to know . . . You and Me 
As the . . . One . . . God meant for us to be.

  I took that leap of faith, for believing 
Only the best would come from our union.
  Our marriage may have brought out the worst in us . . .
  We didn't stop there though, 
We fought the good fight as it states in 1 Timothy 6:11-12. 
Because of this, we brought out the best in each other too. 
I'm so thankful, Dear, I have you to love. 
Thankful I am to the Lord, you love me. 

  What is left to say? 
I thank the Lord. He sent you my way. 
I thank Him for this, 'our special day'. 
I thank Him for 'our marriage'. 
  I thank the Lord, for 'us' in every way. 
Happy Anniversary Sweetheart

- Ellen Marie Parker

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Snowdrops At Altamont Gardens

Today we had a beautiful trip to Altamont Gardens in County Carlow.  It was supposed to be a Home Educators gathering, but alas the rest cancelled late this morning.  We were up, dressed and picnic packed, so we decided to go ahead as planned. 

Beautiful Flowers at Altamont Gardens

Yellow Tipped Snowdrops

We took our new audio books with us in the car in preparation for the hour long drive, and it was rather enjoyable.  As it was a very cold, dreary day the mist over the mountains and hills was breathtaking!


 A Lovely Sundial

When we arrived there, another car pulled up beside us and a Mother with three children, stepped out.  The lady asked us if we were from H.E.N, we said we were and introduced ourselves.  We talked briefly and then proceeded to walk around the gardens. 

The First Tentative Steps of the Crocus'


More Lovely Green Ladies with White Bonnets!
We had checked the weather forecast before we left the house, so we knew that rain had been forecast for later that afternoon; we thought that we would be lucky!  It actually snowed...on the snowdrops!  It was bitterly cold also with a high wind chill.  But we determined to enjoy our visit to this beautiful place.

A Spectacular View of the Lake


An Interesting Shot of a Yew Tree

We took a little tricycle with a parents handle with us, that Dylan received for Christmas so he could ride it if he got tired, instead of labouring with the buggy.  He did really well and walked alot, although his dear face looked so very cold.  Thankfully we had planned ahead and all wore two pairs of socks, several layers, scarves, gloves...etc.

Braving the Cold Rain, Snow and the Low Branches!


A Rosy Bloom

We tried to take as good a photographs as we could, of the beautiful snowdrops and other foliage, so we can print them out for a school project, emailing them to the home edders who could not make it and of course to share with you all.

Another Delicate Variety of Snowdrops


Our Wrapped-Up Little Man

After we had walked for about an hour and a half and the light snow had begun to turn into rain, we decided to head back to the car.  I had packed a light, but tasty and nutritious picnic!  We had grilled sausage, celery and carrot sticks, salsa, wholewheat bread, orange segments, bananas, popcorn with agave syrup and water brought from home.  Dylan ate four big sausages, popcorn, bread, carrot sticks and a banana; he was stuffed full.

Heralding The Springtime!


A Magnificent Stone Bridge 

We cleared up, and made sure everyone went to the bathrooms before starting back!  I had remembered to bring Dylans 'dodie' (pacifier) and his blanket, so he could nap on the drive home; which he did.  I also fell asleep; Amy fell about laughing at me once we were home again because apparently I had fell asleep with my head tilted right back and my mouth wide open! Oh dear!  

Pinks, Reds and Greens


We Had a Wonderful Day!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Homemade Cloth Books

Here is an project that I have tried out since reading about a similar project in Hands-On Character Building. After reading this book some time ago we decided to give this project a try!  But I wondered how much it would cost me for the material to make several books?  I went to my local curtain maker and upholsterer, and explained that we were doing a homeschool project, what the process entailed and asked what fabric she would recommend and how much would the fabric cost?

Amazingly she said she thought curtain lining fabric would be the best fabric to use and said that it would be relatively inexpensive!  Great, she then said she may have some large scraps that we could have instead of having to purchase them!  I told the lady that I would visit again in a few days to allow them time to collect these scraps together a she had told me they were scattered everywhere!

When I went back a few days later the kind lady gave me a whole pile of unused fabric!  Not scraps but metres and metres of whole fabric!  I was so pleasantly surprised by her kindness, that I didn't really know what to say!  I thanked her profusely and left the shop with my arms full of fabric.

We started out by cutting some large squares of fabric out with pinking shears and using a sewing machine; did a zig-zag stitch all around the edges so it wouldn't fray too much.  Then I did a straight top stitch along the left hand side to 'bind' the book.  Though this did take me a while so if you are planning to do this project with little ones best to prepare the 'books' the night before so they can start right away!

Next we drew our pictures and text onto the fabric with good quality wax crayons.  Once this was complete I finished each page individually by placing a sheet of baking paper over the page and ironing over it with a very hot iron; this causes the wax to melt somewhat and adhere to the page (though please note this will NOT make it washable!)  I also learned to iron over each page indivually as other wise you will cause the wax on the page behind to stick to the underneath of the page you are ironing!

A great project for a rainy day!  Your children can draw whatever they like, you could even use them to teach ABC's and numbers to pre-schoolers.  Do remember to check out your local fabric stores to see whether you can obtain any freely for your families homeschool  supplies!


Have fun creating with your children!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Moody Family Series

The Moody Family Series

Almost a year ago, I ordered 'Summer with the Moodys' the first book of this series, for my then nine year old daughter.  Once it arrived, I briefly looked through its contents before presenting it to my lovely girl.  I was at first unsure how she would rate this book, as it was somewhat different to the reading materials she was accustomed to.
To my delight she was immediately enchanted by the kind and loving Moody family.  As soon as she neared the end of this book, I ordered the rest of the series up to book 4 (book 5 had not yet been published at that time).  The long awaited day came when the postman arrived with our parcel, Amy was delighted!  Beginning immediately, our little bookworm devoured each installment of the Moody Books.  She loved them all!

For me, I was excited to be able to provide fictional reading material that was wholesome, pure and morally sound.  My Husband and I both saw our daughter begin to display 'Moody' qualitites as a result of her reading.  Soon after she completed the fourth book, the talented Ms. Maxwell wrote and published her fifth installment 'Summer Days with the Moodys'.  We purchased this book without a second thought...and we were not disappointed!

A few months ago, our normal bedtime routine would consist of me reading aloud in our young sons room, after bathtime with everyone present to enjoy storytime.  Shortly after our daughter finished reading the last Moody book, she expressed an interest in having personal storytime with me in her own room before she went to sleep.  I had stopped reading to her when she was around 6-7, as I had decided that she was probably a bit 'too big' for storytime.  How sad that I cheated my daughter and myself out of this lovely bonding time, that she looked forward to.  

Since then Amy and I have started to have storytime together, most nights after Dylan has been tucked into bed.  Usually it is just the two of us, but sometimes Daddy comes in to enjoy the story too!  In the few months since we have been enjoying storytime together, Amy and I have read our way through almost all of the Moody series.  The characters and the events that happen around them open up some really great conversations between us both.  You can find the Moody series available here for families in the US and here for families within Europe ( I do not receive commission...I just love them!).

So dear Mothers go grab a blanket, a great story, gather your little AND big ones and enjoy each other!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Lewd Affair at Tesco - Update

This last hour the manager at my local Tesco store telephoned me to confirm that the store had been granted permission to move their offensive pornographic magazines.  However 'our' victory was short lived;  if they moved these magazines back to their original position they would be right next to the childrens comic books!  I wonder why this was not realised before the application was sent? and also why the persons involved did not apply to simply swap the offensive materials with the comic book?  Sometimes I wonder why the schools don't still teach logic and reason!

However Mr. Manager requested that next time I am at their store (which will be later on this afternoon) I am to request a meeting with him to discuss this matter personally and hopefully to come to an agreement that would be, in his own words: acceptable to me!

I will edit this article post script and inform of our meeting.  I ask that you pray for wisdom and discernment on behalf of the manager.

Post Script:  I met with the manager of my local Tesco store yesterday, and we discussed the problem at hand and also several solutions.  I explained that for me, the most ideal outcomes would be the following in order of preference: 

  • Removed from the shelves altogether.
  • Stocked behind the counter.
  • Encased with plastic jacket that cover the main picture.
  • A rearrangement of the magazine section.  
The manager politely explained that Tesco would be willing to have a total rearrangement of its magazines aisles; which suited my preferences.  We very shortly came to an agreement, where the pornographic magazines would be moved to.  They will now be placed in a place where children will not be able to see them from the main aisle, they will be along the top shelf to protect innocent eyes and a place where Mothers can choose to avoid!  The manager informed me that his superior will call me early next week to confirm these arrangements and that perhaps we will be able to make sure these changes happen NATIONWIDE! I am thrilled with this possibility, and look forward to speaking with this gentleman next week.  Tesco are at this stage doing their best to understand and remedy this situation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Homeschooling Family Residing In Ireland Needs Your Help!

Here in Ireland, home education is still a rather rare occurence; however we count ourselves very lucky to be able to home educate our children; according to our constitutional right...some are not so lucky.

Today I received an email from HEN (Home Education Network), an Irish national homeschooling network of parents and children.  There are approximately 139 families registered with HEN across the whole of the Republic of  Ireland. We are being contacted to enlist help for the Sontowski family who recently moved to Ireland from Germany, so they could home educate their eight year old son.  According to German law; no child may be home educated unless there is an exceptional circumstance. Even after they left their home country, this family are still being pursued by the German Authorities...this is their story.  (HEN members recieved open permission to share the Sontowski's story, with the hopes of finding someone to help this family)

The Sontowski's Story
copied directly from the recieved email
On Friday, February
5, Angela Sontowski and her son Tarek officially deregistered themselves at their
Einwohnermeldeamt  (local registration
office) in New Wulmstorf, so that they could move abroad, to France.

Two hours later, Frau
Richard from the Jugendamt (Department responsible for children) was at their
door, threatening the mother and forbidding her to leave Germany. Angela Sontowski was told that if she tried
to leave the country, she would lose custody of her son and a court order would
be issued to prevent them from leaving. According to Frau Richard, the registration office itself
had informed the Jugendamt of their deregistration. There is no known legal
basis for such an action.

At this point, the
Jugendamt already had no jurisdiction, according to German law, because they
can only act when a child's legal guardians are still registered and living in
the precinct that falls within the remit of that Jugendamt.

On Monday
February 8 2010,
Angela Sontowski's parents handed a letter, in which Ms. Sontowski expressed
clearly that any permission she had previously given for the exchange of
information was revoked, to all the relevant authorities. At this point, Angela
Sontowski and Tarek no longer resided there and Tarek was not registered at the

Every German person
has a right to move abroad, in order to live there and continue his or her education
there, for whatever reason.

After the Jugendamt
employees and a public health doctor read the letter, which stated clearly that
Angela Sontowski did not consent to any exchange of information, the doctor and
the social worker discussed the mattr in the next room!

After receiving their
version of the letter, the school forwarded it onto the Jugendamt

After reading the
letter, the Jugendamt took the letter from the school and passed it onto the District
Court in Tostedt!

The unauthorized
exchange of information occurred four times within a short period of time.
There was no subtle attempt to disguise this exchange. It took place openly in front of

The District Court in
Tostedt had already been informed, by word of mouth, on Friday February 5th by
the Jugendamt that a child had to be removed from a family that was making the illegal
declaration that they would be moving house at the weekend or on the Friday. Frau
Richard did not inform Judge Wegmann that the move had already occurred and
that the people in question were no longer officially resident there. Judge
Wegmann then gave the ruling, which was issued in writing on February 8
2010 and sent to the
address at which Angela Sontowski and her son had previously lived on February
10 2010. Because of
the official appearance of the letter, Angela Sontowski's husband (who is not
Tarek's biological father or legal guardian), curious to see what was in the
letter, opened it.

Judge Wegmann had
decided that the most benign measure possible, as a result of the accusations
made by the Jugendamt, was to prohibit the family from changing their place of

Let's not forget that
the move had already taken place and the mother and child had found a place to
stay in a neighbouring country and had moved their residence to this country.

According to the
Basic Law (constitution) of Germany, the judge also had no jurisdiction. Her
ruling had no legal effect, as Angela Sontowski and her son were no longer
under the remit of this court at the time that it was made.

The letter was actually
not even deliverable, as Ms Sontowski was no longer at this address.

A representative of
the president of the Regional Court in Stade commented, regarding the case, that
it was part of the independence of the judiciary, to decide whether a ruling
could be made about a family that had already moved away.

First we wondered if this meant that the
family was banned from leaving the country, as had often happened in the past,
but after further consideration, we made the following deduction: If the family
were barred from moving, does this also mean that they are not allowed to
return to Germany, as the prohibition had been announced after they had already

Four days after a
German family had left the country, an application for withdrawal of custody
was made to the court. Furthermore, the court hearing was set for February
23 2010, even though
the mother was given until February 24 2010 to respond to the first judgement, were it in
any way legally valid.

Three days after a
German family declared, in writing, that they were revoking permission for the
exchange of personal details, all sorts of personal information was exchanged
between the school, the Jugendamt, the court and the public health doctor.

Tarek is an 8-year
old boy with asthma. This diagnosis has been confirmed by doctors. He is very
prone to contracting illnesses and is thus often ill. He was attending school,
but was put back a year after he became ill. He then started attending another
school and became ill again very quickly. He was off school for long periods,
but he always had a sick note. In spite of this, his family received threats of
fines. The public health doctor was then sent out to the family. She did not
examine Tarek, but just looked briefly at him and came to the conclusion that
he had the appearance of being in full health. A move had been on the cards for
a while, but they had wanted to avoid this, so as not to tear the family apart.
Due to Tarek's health, they had now decided that it was imperative for them to
move somewhere else.

The school made no
attempts to provide individual tuition for Tarek, and the Jugendamt did not offer
them any alternatives either. The court did not follow up on its official duty
to investigate the matter, so as to first find out whether this application
might be as  result of unprofessional
actions and lies on the part of the Jugendamt.

The state
commissioner for data privacy has been informed and formal complaints about all
the civil servants involved are being submitted.

I am shocked and saddened that the German State has taken the primary right of ALL parents; to educate their own children!  Where will it stop?  When all our children have been removed from parental custody, so the state benefits from hoards of 'de-educated' children to fill the workplaces?

I googled German homeschooling families and found this article which shows that with a bit of help from our fellow home edcuators and the right legal advice, families such as the Sontowski's can break free of  governmental hold.  If anyone thinks they can help this family or put them in touch with the HSLDA, please contact

I will be praying for the Sontowski family; that they find the help they need and will be finally able to home educate their son without fear.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jack-Of-All-Trades...Thats Me.

My Brave Hubby Allowing Dylan to 'Cut' His Hair!

Saturday evening we all had a beautiful homemade dinner for Valentines.  I didn't do anything fancy, with hearts or suchlike.  Just a simple healthy dinner of freshly baked bread rolls, a fresh salad, carrot sticks, cured meat, cottage and brie cheeses, tomatoes, corn, organic smoked salmon (a gift from a friend), capers and a sweet red onion relish.  We lit the dinner candles and played some lovely 'Celtic Panpipes' music in the background (which we usually do anyway).  It was delicious, even if I do say so myself!  In the spirit of Valentines Day; I even had...dun-da-dah...a white wine spritzer!

I Don't Know Who Is Enjoying This More!

Whilst relaxing after dinner, my Beloved asked about a set of hair clippers he bought at Lidl's (similar to Aldi) a while back.  I took them out and as I handed them to him, said jokingly "Why do you want me to cut your hair?",  "Yeah, why not its getting a bit long"...

Ta-Da! The Finished Product!

...What fun we had!  I had a go, then my Hubby had a go on himself and then Dylan had a go too!  Amy was laughing like a hyena at us all!  I finished up his hair and tried to do as good a job as I could.  Hopefully I will get better at doing it and will pick up some tips along the way.  My brave man really likes it, which makes me happy to have done it for him!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Lewd Affair at Tesco

 Several weeks ago I penned this email:

To Whom It May Concern;

I am a frequent shopper at the above Tesco store and wish to highlight the following problem.  This particular Tesco store's, first section is the magazine and newspaper aisles, and you will know, the store has recently undergone renovations and since then the magazines have been moved around some and reorganised.  This is where I see a large problem.  The two banking machines are located at the 'beginning' of the store and the magazines that are directly opposite of these machines are pornographic magazines!  I stress this is a large problem, as parents often bring their children along with them to do the family shopping and need to stop at the banking machines firstly.  What do the children see?  Pornographic materials; and worse still these materials are at their eye level and are next to 'hobby' magazines also.  I was unfortunate enough to see a young man approximately two days ago, about 10-12 years of age standing reading a car racing magazine or suchlike whilst standing right beside these lewd materials!

I am shocked that it is deemed acceptable that children are exposed to materials such as these while their parents are at the banking machines.  These materials used to be on the other side of the display well away from innocent eyes and in a place where parents could avoid them if they saw fit.

I imagine any morally concious manager would be shamefaced if he thought his own children had been exposed to such lewd materials at young ages. 

I am aware that this matter could have arisen through lack of thought and was not intended to cause offence.  I am also aware that this matter could have arisen to boost sales by highlighting this 'reading' material. 

I would appreciate this matter being corrected as soon as possible and would be very appreciative if a person in authority could please contact me to inform, as to how this matter will be resolved.  I may be contacted via email, or home telehone ######.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this serious matter.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Since I sent this email to the Tesco customer services email department I have eagerly awaited a response, such as I politely requested. However none such response came!  Yesterday I shopped at the Tesco store, while I was alone I ambled past the magazine racks to check whether any amendments had been made...they had not.

This afternoon feeling rather vexed at the lack of response from Tesco Ireland, I called their customer service helpline; I spoke to a pleasant young lady who informed me that the email complaint department was severely backlogged, but assured me that she would contact the manager at my local Tesco store, who would be sure to telephone me back to discuss and hopefully resolve this matter.  I intend to edit this article post-script with the results of my telephone call from the manager of this store, if ever such call is made.  However you can be sure that I will not let this issue slide or go unresolved!

I have felt such a conviction from the Lord on this issue recently.  This was highlighted again this week after reading the post Childhood Innocence Underfire at Your Sacred Calling.  How can we instill qualities such as: modesty, purity and self-control in our children, when the adults around them are setting such a bad example and worse still corporations actively enticing our children and men.

Lord help us...

Post Script:  Later that very day the manager of that particular Tesco store called me at home;  he was very understanding of my concerns and able to see the serious issue to which I was referringHe informed me that product movement decisions were a matter for the head office and he assured me that he would put an application forward, to move the offensive materials to somewhere where they could not be viewed from the main aisle.  The store manager also added that he would add my concerns with the application.  He told me I could expect to hear from him by the end of the week; which at this stage is tomorrow...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Making The Angels Blush

Where are all the parents?  


I am aware that most of my visitors also visit Your Sacred Calling, but I am so shocked, saddened and heartbroken, that I just had to link to the very important issue that Mrs. McDonald posted today entitled Childhood Innocence Under Fire

Some may wonder why I chose such a beautiful picture today when addressing such a shocking, ugly culture that is fast becoming the norm for our little girls.  The reason is this;  I wanted to show you a painting that speaks volumes about being (and dressing) like a lady! 

We need to protect our girls, our young ladies, by teaching, training, and showing them, about what it means to be a lady.  Cheapening themselves, their characters and their bodies will cause them to lose their innocence.  Once it is lost it cannot be regained.  

The angels must be blushing and the Lord surely must be weeping...

...So dear mothers, go, gather your young maidens and hug them, love them, train them, nuture and PROTECT THEM! 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Our Simple Country Life

Amy and I created this slideshow yesterday.  We wanted it to show, how much our family loves caring for our animals, working the land and living rurally!  We also selected one of my favourite John Denver songs to accompany the slides. 

There a quite a few slides showing us planting our new trees, this large project is still not quite complete but my Beloved tells me we are about half-way!  We decided to clear some woodland (great firewood for the coming winter) and plant some new trees for future firewood.  We purchased quite alot of Ash, Beech, some Red Elder and a few Scots Pine.  My hard working hubby is outside planting even as we 'speak'. 

Planting trees is also a great 'hands-on' project for homeschool!  In our daily journal last week, there is one day that simply says Horticulture- Helping Daddy plant a woodland!  Amy was very tired at the end of that day; she cleared small branches and loaded up the truck to its capacity, with logs for the fire!  What an experience!  There are many trees surrounding our home that my Husband planted when he was a child, along with his ten other siblings; with their Father. 

We hope you enjoyed the show!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Swimming with Modesty


Our family loves to go swimming; we usually go once per week.  We attend a lovely leisure centre which is only a fifteen minute drive from our home.  The children love to swim and splash around; especially as they get a delicious Organic Hot Chocolate, as a treat once we get home!  My Beloved often comes with us if he is not working or busy on the farm, or else my Mother may come. 

Some of you may think that I am going to muse over the modesty of our apparel whilst swimming, given the title of this post...not quite.  I can certainly appreciate comments about the immodesty of a 'modern' swimsuit, and may choose to share about this on a different occasion; however the matter I wish to raise today is not upon that subject, but instead on the immodesty happening in changing rooms within my country! 

In England where I originate from, the changing areas for women, provided within swimming centres; are filled to the brim with changing cubicles.  They even provide large 'family' changing rooms where Mama can take a few children in with her to change into bathing suits...No such provisions here within Ireland!

Our leisure centre would be considered by some to be 'up-market' (we pay a yearly membership) and yet there are only two small changing rooms available.  As there is only two (usually occupied) cubicles, women have no choice but to change 'out in the open', which is not what our family wishes to do.  To avoid immodesty as much as possible, we arrive there with our bathing suits on underneath our clothes (this also saves time)  and quickly place our clothing in the lockers provided and dash to the pool.  However things aren't so simple when get dressed afterward!  We take our towels through with us to the pools edge so we can slip them off just before we swim, and put them back around us, as we exit.  Next we head for the problems there, and then its time to dress!  Uh-Oh!  How do we do that and maintain modesty and discretion?  First of all I dress our little boy so he is dry and warm (whilst Mama drips and shudders!) and then I dress myself underneath a strategically placed large beach towel!  Not easy at first!  We manage, but surely there must be an easier way?

My point though is this; even though we try, not make a big deal with our concern and effort to change discreetly, we are attracting attention to our family by doing so.  As most women who change in our leisure centre seem to be unfazed by public nudity and openly flaunt every part of their bodies whilst changing!  Some ladies today stopped their dressing (semi or fully unclothed) to observe us (covering ourselves whilst dressing) and looked quite puzzled as to why we were not standing naked and proud like the rest!  This is not the first time that has happened.

My daughter is old enough to simply turn her eyes away, but my heart tells me that, that is not enough.  How can I assure her that modesty is important when these ladies 'en masse' are showing her otherwise.  !

We know ultimately that if we wish to continue to go swimming, that we will just have to 'get on with it', and try our best to make sure that we are upholding our principles.  I would appreciate any advice or opinions on this topic, if you and your family have faced this issue before and also what steps or measures you put in place if any.

But it is enough to make this grown girl blush...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Our Bountiful Crop

To every thing there is a season, and a time for
every purpose under heaven

 - Ecclesiastes 3:1 
I have recently happened upon these photographs which show some of the beautiful crops we harvested last year!  So I thought I would share them with you all!  I can remember one day particularly, it was one of the last warm and sunny days we had; late in the harvesting season and such a wonderul time was had by all. My mother, Amy, Dylan and myself spent a few hours picking the last of our harvest.

A small sample of the 'Roma' tomatoes and plums we picked

Though harvesting with a two year old can be eventful; he ran away to hide with the chickens, got alot of nettle stings and spent more time plucking and eating raspberries, than helping to do anything else.  Although he did help carry my basket like a true gentleman!  The first photograph above shows a small amount of the plums we harvested as we couldn't get near the tree at all; it was swarming with wasps!  They burrow inside the fruit and if you don't watch out they get you as you try to pluck the fruit off.  My father resolved our little wasp problem by venturing out to pick the plums early in the morning before the sun was up fully.  The plums were my favourite fruit this year, as they were so sweet and juicy!

Our lovely sweet garden peas

That day we collected a large quantity of 'Gardeners Delight' and 'Roma' tomatoes, 'Conference' pears, marrows, peas, apples, and the last of the cucumbers and broccolli.  We split our harvest into two portions (one portion for my parents home and one portion for ourselves).  Only one unfortunate harvesting event occured and that was; my father had been advised that pears only ripen off the tree, so we were instructed to pick them before they started to be eaten by the wasps with the intention that we would ripen them at home.  We did our part, took them home and wrapped each pear individually in brown paper and placed them in a dark box.  However they turned from rock hard to wrinkled and inedible within a short amount of time, so we didn't get to eat most of them; although we had stewed and used up some in cooking and baking.  This year we'll know not to do that!  

We were blessed with a large crop of pears that year!

Our family count ourselves very blessed that we are able to raise our family in the countryside, surrounded by beautiful scenery, fresh air, food producing animals and nutritious crops!  God is good!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Arise Woman Of God


Rise up O woman of God
In what He has given you to do
The things God has laid on your heart
Rise up, go forth and do

Unlock what God has placed within
The potential you have inside
The world is waiting for your release
To expand your wings and fly

Arise in your God-given gifts
For this is your finest hour
Arise in the Lord's holy might
Ignited and empowered

For God is calling you to come forth
To impact this world for Him
Don't hold back or limit yourself
Let His power arise within

And take His message to the world
To those that have lost their way
For you can surely make a difference
If you'd hear His voice and obey

You shall be strengthened in the Lord
As you begin to arise
Conquering those doubts that pull you down
And believe who you are in Christ

For you shall surely be transformed
As, in you, God increases more
And becoming a woman of true excellence
Bringing honour to her Lord

M.S. Lowndes