Thursday, December 29, 2005

Doggone Funny!

This is our dog Sam. He is a Great Pyrenees. He is also a Great Oaf! Sam has a problem with barking. He likes to bark at everything, but oxygen seems to be his favorite.

This past week Sam was supposed to go live with some people that lived on 5 acres, but that fell through. He was then supposed to go live with my uncle in Tennessee who lives on a couple of acres, but that fell through as well. So, Sam is stuck with us in Suburbia for the time being. Unfortunately, Sam's barking issue has to be corrected. How, you ask? Simple. A barking collar. My uncle, who felt bad for not being able to take Sam, gave us $50 towards a bark collar.

For those of you who've never perused the barking collar section of PetsMart, my advice would be --don't own a dog who barks too much. Bark collars are E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E! We spent $50 and got the cheapest one in the store. The good ones were between $119 and $175 dollars! Whoa.

Anyway, the way this particular collar works is that when the dog barks, the vibration from the vocal chords causes the collar to send a mild electric shock to the dog's neck. Neat-o, huh? The Mad Monk, who has not felt well for the last few days, is in charge of all electronics in our home. He messed with the collar for a little while yesterday and then decided to wait until he felt better to really finish the task. So, this morning he took on the dog collar.

The directions explain that upon putting the battery into the electronic box you can test it by running it across something rough. If it beeps while doing this, then it is ready to use. The original problem was that the beeping was not occurring. So, hubby fiddled with the battery some more today and finally got the silly thing to beep after running it across the carpet. I was very much relieved that we could now get this collar on our Great Barking Menace.

Interestingly enough, this was not a sufficient enough test for The Mad Monk. Being an intellectual man, he requires deep thought and adequate research in order to make logical conclusions. Apparently, upon being gifted with the lion's share of intelligence, he was not blessed with simple common sense. This is evidenced by the fact that no sooner did he discover that the device worked that he proceeded to put the collar up to his throat and bark!

ZAP!! Apparently the electric shock is activated by human vocal chords as well because The Mad Monk yelped in pain while grasping his neck! Being the concerned and supportive wife that I am I attempted to muffle my laughter. Unfortunately, my attempts failed and not only did I laugh, but I snorted as well! For fifteen minutes! I then proceeded to call any family member who would listen and retell the tale with enthusiasm!

Fear not, The Mad Monk is well and thriving. The only battle scars he carries are the ones affecting his pride. Actually, he has laughed heartily about the whole thing all day as well. He knew instantly that he was fair game for blog fodder and actually blogged about it himself before I could get to my computer.

Just one more reason to love my man! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

All over, but the cryin'!

So, we are two days into Christmas post-partum and I couldn't be a happier gal. I will begin pulling down the decorations and the tree later today to be packed away for yet one more year. Yeah! I have had some misgivings concerning the way we celebrate Christmas as evident by some of my previous posts, however, Amy really hits the nail on the head today.

Don't get me wrong, our family will still celebrate Christmas. However, it will be with a different attitude. An attitude of simplicity. I have made statements to our extended family that The Mad Monk and I will be handling things differently in the future. Some of them still don't get it and they never will, but that's okay too.

We really did have a nice Christmas. Calm? nope. Quiet? nope. Reflective? nope. Not that hubby and I didn't want it that just didn't happen....again. No big deal really. I mean I can't really expect my family to see things my way when they've done it their way forever. Did we enjoy each other? Absolutely. Did we have a good time? Absolutely. Was Christ glorified? not really. At least not by all.

Before anyone goes sucking all of the available oxygen out of the room hear me out. As I and The Mad Monk have discussed before, the world will be...well...worldly. That is the way my family celebrates Christmas. Honestly, I have one word for the way it looks when the gifts are opened; gluttonous. If the mini-Monks heard it once, they heard a hundred times, "what's Santa Claus going to bring you this year?" Am I offended. No. Will I throw a big hissy fit telling the whole family that I don't really do the whole Santa thing. No. I will, however, teach my children the Truth. I will teach them that God is to be glorified in all things. I will teach them to be gracious to their relatives who don't see things the way we do. I will teach them that even in the midst of very worldly ocassions that we, as His people, can still bring glory to Him. I will not be drawn into debating the right way or the wrong way to celebrate Christmas anymore. I have been a much more contented MommaMonk since I came to this conclusion.

During this season of gift-giving gluttony I did receive a few nice items myself. My sweet hubby bought me new knives. Sharp knives that nearly cut the tip of my finger off, but nice nonetheless. He also bought be The Waltons Season II. I'm a sucker for Grandpaw. My mother bought me a food processor. Woo-hoo! Pico de Gallo will be a whole lot easier to make now! My sister and my niece chipped in and bought me a Singer sewing machine! I'm so glad for new things to making my homemaking easier. Well okay, The Waltons technically have nothing to do with homemaking, but there is alot of homemaking in the show, right? Allright, I know, my reasoning is lame-o, but cut me a little slack here.

I will officially step down from my Christmas soapbox and again put it away for yet one more year. Whew! I am so thankful for that!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ow! Fill in the blanks...

I ha_e inju_ed my index phalan_e. I can ha_dly _ype on my key_oa_d. Can you _ollow my pos_ ? I sliced my phalan_e on a new kni_e I asked _he Mad Monk to _uy me _or Ch_is_mas.
Sha_p kni_es can _e pain_ul. I will pos_ mo_e in a day o_ so. Ow....

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What a guy!

I really do have a great husband. The Mad Monk is such a wonderful husband I've decided to blog soley about him today.

Top 10 reasons I love The Mad Monk:

10. He has an really neat blog name!

9. He has never treated me poorly.

8. He is most eloquent in his speech and literary abilities.

7. He's my best friend.

6. He has a great sense of humor (I'm sure he would want this to be number 1 !)

5. He sees the bright side of things.

4. We can lay in bed and laugh at stupid stuff for hours.

3. He is gentle.

2. He is a GREAT daddy!

1. He is a godly man, great provider and wonderful leader in our home.

Okay, the last one has two extra things, but they are all of #1 status importance.

Anyway, I just wanted everyone to know what a great guy I married. Go read his blog. He has some great stuff to say. I should know, I hear it all the time. :)

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's baaaaaack!

Virus #53,658 has struck once again. The miniestMonk of them all came down with it yesterday. She tried to warn us, but we didn't listen. We chalked it up to a little drama, which is not uncommon in CastleMonk, by the way.

Little Liv told us on the way to church she was going to throw-up. She's only two (three tomorrow...yeah!) so does she really know what that means? Apparently she does because she also warned her Sunday school teachers that she was going to throw-up. The Mad Monk and I decided to sing in the choir, leave her and our oldest dd in the back Fellowship Hall to color until we were finished, then we would go home. We never finished.

Nope. Just so happens that the Fellowship Hall is where the choir practices before going into the sanctuary. Wellllll....can you guess what happened while the choir was practicing? Yup. During Joy to the World every warning she had given came true. By the time someone had gotten my attention my oldest dd had ran Liv to the restroom (bless her heart). The Froot Loops had made another appearance and they weren't so fruity this time.

After cleaning up the mess, Family Monk went home. We now know to believe little Liv when she tells us she's going to throw-up. Apparently she needed us to learn the lesson the hard way.

By the way, she's much better today.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Panic Cleaning

My mother and uncle are coming to stay with us for Christmas. I'm excited at the prospect of seeing them again, especially my mom, since I haven't seen her since April. We have a tradition of baking and decorating TONS of cookies. I usually weigh a TON more by the end of the holidays as well. :)

However, today we have been attempting to do what my children affectionately call Panic Cleaning. This is where I procrastinate on some things around the house to the last minute ( I have valid excuses this time -- really I do) and then we go into all out Panic mode to get them done before company arrives. My company arrives tomorrow. Guess what we've been doing all day?

I wouldn't recommend it. It's not fun. I have to go now.


As Christmas Day approaches sometimes craziness can ensue. I, personally, am trying to make the holidays simple. I don't ever want my children to get caught up in the "fluff" that seems to accompany Christmas these days. However, for my relativley small "quiver", gift-wrapping can become almost ludicrous and I have a tendency to lose my simpleness in the midst of it.

**********WARNING: this little story may require a box of tissues.************************

As I was wrapping gifts this past Thursday evening I called my 5yo dd and almost 3yo dd into the room to help me wrap their gift to their older brother. Oh the squeals of delight that filled the room over the fact that they "knew" a gift and the fact that "they" were getting to do some gift wrapping! They were truly enjoying the giving part of the holiday and I felt relatively smug in my child rearing abilities. Hah!

Soon after, my 50yo dd comes into the room holding a paper plate. She tells me that this is for her older 12 yo sister. In my haste to finish my task I tell her in my I'm-not-really-listening-because-I'm-too-busy-with-something-else-to-look voice that it's really nice, but we had already picked out a gift for her older sister. She lets me know she was aware of that and went on her merry way.

Later that evening after everyone else is in bed, I go to our Christmas tree, under which I place a few more gifts. To my surprise I notice a small, red gift sack. I didn't use any gift sacks so I knew it wasn't mine. I pick it up to peek inside and what do I find? A precious paper plate. It had been hand decorated and bore the words, "I love you Maddie, love Grace". Apparently in my sweet little daughter's efforts to have a proper package, when she couldn't find any tissue(or get any help from Momma), she found an empty, white, plastic trash bag and used that as her tissue.

I cried. I cried good and hard. How simple was that? In my haste, my precious 5yo dd had just taught me my own lesson. I missed out on a blessing because I was caught up in the "fluff". The very thing I wanted them to avoid. I thanked God that very minute for her and what a blessing she was to me.

*********************end of story --tissues may be put away now*************************

Sometimes I tend to forget( not purposely, of course) that our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever (ICor 10:31). I hope I can keep that in mind always without having my 5yo teach it to me the hard way again.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Aroma of it all!

Today was bread making day. Not regular bread, but Sweet Breads. One of my very best friends ever came over to bake with me. Actually, she talked me into the whole idea of bread baking seeing that I was still being Scrooge and having the fa, la, la, la, blah attitude.

I am not a baker by nature. I am only a cooker by nature. Baking takes too much organization and I'm the kinda gal who likes a pinch of this or a pinch of that. I rarely ever follow a recipe and if I do I am just presumptuous enough to tweak it to my own liking. I'm a slowly learning to change my whole baking attitude for the sake of the mini-Monks. They love to help me and for some reason baking is what they like to do best. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor.

Back to the story.

Anyway, said friend comes over and we begin to bake. First, the Pumpkin Bread. I love Pumpkin Bread. Too me it just screams fall and the holidays. My friend talks of how she loves this for breakfast with a cup 'o' java. I agree. Who doesn't love a sweet bread for breakfast? Afterall, it is nothing more than glorified cake! Cake for breakfast is a good thing. This recipe was mine and came out of an old church cookbook.

Next came my friends recipe. Maple Bread. Sounds good, huh? Since I've never tasted Maple Bread I was thrilled at the prospect of having a new flavor of "cake" for breakfast. My friend doubled the recipe so we would have two loaves a piece. We baked these in a
Pampered Chef Mini-Loaf stone pan. This stone cooks 4 mini-loaves at one time. While these little breads were cooking we noticed how high their tops were rising. I was impressed and looking forward to a taste. When they came out of the oven they were a lovely color and looked simply divine. Since my friend was coming back tomorrow for some more mean fun, we decided I would wrap the breads after they cooled. We moved on to next bread.

Amish Friendship Bread is not for the faint of heart. I was given a starter about 10 days ago and I debated as to whether I had it in me to complete the process. This recipe is for tried and true bakers, not schmucks like me who whine about baking. This bread took commitment. You know --the stir once on days 1-5, add 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, blah, blah, blah. I decided it was time to buck up. Afterall, the Proverbs 31 lady would do it and do it cheerfully. So, today was the day I could actually add the rest of the ingredients and bake it. All I can say is: I came, I baked, I conquered. Yep, my bread turned out wonderful! Much to the delight of everyone in the family! Not to mention the baker!

After we finished all the baking my good friend departed for home. I couldn't stand the anticipation and I decided to bust out a loaf of Maple Bread. It looked beautiful and as I was cutting through it I noticed the heaviness of it. Heavy bread is always tasty bread. In great anticipation I took a bite....and spewed it from my mouth! The Mad Monk is sniggering heartily at this point. I decide it was possibly a bad spot in the bread and decide to subject myself to one more taste test. This time I managed to spew it into the trash can as opposed to the counter. It tasted nothing like maple, but rather of flour and lots of it. Something had definitely gone amuck with the Maple Bread. I had to call my friend.

As I tell my friend the story she just wants to die of embarassment. We then try to determine the cause of the untasty bread. We realize two problems: 1. In all probablility, some of the flour my friend used (from her container) was probably self-rising flour, thus the impressive height of thus said bread. 2. During all of our chit-chat she probably added an extra cup of flour (from the taste of it maybe 2 or 3).

So, tomorrow we attempt Maple Bread again. My friend is not looking forward to the unending vexation she will have to endure from The Mad Monk. Poor girl.

Things I learned while making Sweet Bread:

1. Amish Friendship Bread is worth the wait.

2. I'm not a schmuck, afterall.

3. Maple Bread should not taste like flour, but..uh..maple.

4. Try not to talk while measuring flour

5. Never, ever, ever ,ever mess up a recipe around The Mad Monk.

6. Friends who make one bake Sweet Bread even when one feels like being Scrooge are the bestest friends
of all!

Pro 17:17 A friend loveth at all times

Friday, December 09, 2005

Spare 'Oom

Chronicles of Narnia hit the theatres today and we were there to see it! Woo-Hoo!

I went at 11 am this morning and purchased our tickets just to make sure it wasn't sold out. The Mad Monk, oldest dd and I arrived about 35 minutes early with pre-purchased tickets in hand and....still had to wait in line to be seated. However, all was well and we ended up with very nice seats.

I must say we were not disappointed! The movie was very close to the book and it was such a breath of fresh air to see that. I was afraid that Hollywood would have diluted it down to nothing more than mythological fantasy, but that was not the case. I'm not really sure they would have produced such a great film had they realized the strong Christian themes within it. I'm not complainin' though!

One very disturbing part of the movie occurred when Maugrin and his pack are about to attack Beaver's house when....doink!...the movie stops and the lights come on. How anti-climactic is that?!!! But that's not all! Oh no, it gets much worse. The Mad Monk proceeds to yell out from his seat, "Don't worry folks, it's all a part of the movie!". I really wanted to sock him one at that point, but couldn't get enough leverage because 12yo dd and I were too busy trying to crawl under our seats! When the movie finally came back on it was pretty crummy for a few minutes and then straightened out. However, it was crummy enough to get us 3 more movie passes at the end of the movie!! Yeah! We can see it again!

An interesting thought occurred to me during the scene Aslan is being led to his death. I realized that 90-95% of the people in that theatre had no understanding of the symbolism there. How sad that it was nothing more than pure entertainment. They had no idea that Christ was that sacrificial Lamb. The scene itself was very emotional in and of itself, but knowing that it was a type of Christ really affected me.

I hope you all get a chance to see it. It's not very often that Hollywood puts out something worth watching. I give this one an A+!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

See, I told you

The Mad Monk has not failed me once again and did, in fact, post on the whole Target boycott thingy here. He is so well-spoken. I gotta love him!

Compost Schmompost

Composting is not an easy thing. Oh allright, I'm lying, it's easy as all get out. I have wanted a compost pile for a good long time, but never thought I could get one going. I've learned that if you have dirt and some veggie scraps you can compost.

I don't know why I managed to turn something so truly simple into rocket science, but I did. I still question as to whether I'm doing it right. It's ridiculous. I even asked a lady whose been composting for years if I'm doing it right and she said yes. She recommended a compost booster to help it move along a little faster for spring, but besides that she agreed I was accomplishing my task. I'm still scratching my head and asking myself if she really knew what she was talking about.

At any rate, the purpose behind the compost is that I want to plant a garden in the spring. I have this whole suppressed, agrarian alter ego inside of me and I need to let it out. The Mad Monk says I'm glutton for punishment, but he's along for the ride. He needs to be entertained on a regular basis and he's all up for watching me make a monkey of myself. Little does he know that he will be doing the giant's share of the grunt work. Ha! I told him to wait until my first tomatoes come in. But for now, this is what he has to look at:

complicated compost pile.

a bit sad, huh? Feel free to
mock me openly.

Fa, La, La, La, Blah...

...yep, you read it right. Blah. That's where my Christmas spirit is at the moment.

I have to ask myself if the commercialism has finally gotten to me. You know what I'm talking about. The overcrowded stores, the grouchy, rude people, the greedy retailers who can't even manage to keep Christ in Christmas. Sound familiar? I'm really not a negative person (okay...well maybe sometimes, but not usually over Christmas), however, it is taking a heap 'o' effort to get me in the spirit.

I really don't think it has anything to do with the commercialism or even the gluttonous retailers. As a matter of fact, the
Mad Monk pointed out something really interesting to me the other night. We ran into Target (you know, the store we're all supposed to be boycotting for not using the word Christmas) to grab a few things. It was one of those rare moments we were alone and I was muttering under my breath how I was supposed to be boycotting this store. He looked at me and said he was glad they had quit using the word Christmas and he had no problem shopping there. You can imagine the look of horror upon my face. What? Does this man believe the doctorines of Grace? Okay, not really...I'm exaggerating a little, but I was a little shocked. He explained to me that if I expected the world to keep Christ in anything that I was only fooling myself. It was just that....THE WORLD. He felt that the name of Christ had been blasphemed enough and was glad it had been removed.

I'm hoping he will blog on this himself because he explained it much more eloquently than I ever will. At any rate, after I chewed on it for awhile I have to say I agree. So, I ask myself if this is why I'm being blah. Afterall, all this boycott jive could cause one to be blah. But alas, no.

It, my friends, is a loss of innocence.

They (the world) have forgotten that a young, simple girl gave birth to the King of Kings in a lowly manger. Plain and simple. No glittering lights, no fanfare, no glaring cameras. Just a stall with some animals. The picture of innocence.

In a sense, perhaps I have forgotten too. It is easy to get caught up in keeping up. We don't have lavish Christmases, however, we do decorate for the season and buy our children and each other some gifts. But spending our time focusing on these things, temporal things at that, is enough to make anyone blah. I don't need a beautiful Christmas tree. I need to focus on Christ. I don't need to bake everyone I know a dozen cookies. I need to Glorify God. He is all I need...plain and simple.

Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Friday, December 02, 2005

All is Well...uh..for now

Well, the current version on stomach virus #53,657 has left Castle think. All is well at the moment and I intend on keeping it that way for as long as possible. Which basically means that I'm giving myself a very false sense of security as I know that as soon as things return to some state of normalcy then once again, disaster will strike. Amy speaks of this today on her blog as well and has probably communicated it much more effectively than I.

I would like to share an all natural cleaning tip that I have recently learned. All it requires is:

- 2 spray bottles
-white vinegar
-hydrogen peroxide (regular, over-the-counter stuff)

Pour the white vinegar in one bottle and the hydrogen peroxide in the other bottle. Spray each, one after
the other, on surface that needs cleaning or disinfecting then wipe down. Be careful of hydrogen peroxide
as it can "bleach" some clothing.

It is well documented that this is more effective than bleach water and store bought disinfecting agents. I have the website somewhere and will try to include the link another time. Also, it does not matter which solution you spray first. Kinda nifty, eh? See, my blog is not in vain afterall.

On the craft show side of things...well, uh...slow and steady is the pace you could say. I only have 6 basket liners completed at this moment. Needless to say, today will be a basket liner making, rice heating pad making and whatever else strikes my whimsy to make marathon. Wish me good mean good Providence! ;)

Next up: pictures of my compost pile! Mmmm...yummy.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Maybe a mini-break

Allright, chaos has broken out once again in Castle Monk. Dear hubby is pretty much throwing up toenails and not leaving the vicinity of the bathroom. Oh how I despise those pesky stomach viruses!

Did I mention the fact that I'm still trying to finish up painting the family room? Or that I'm in the middle of putting up the Christmas decorations? Or how about the fact that I signed up to do a craft fair on Saturday and have not sat down at the sewing machine ONCE! Not to mention the fact that since The Mad Monk is sick, I am in charge of finishing up getting the music ready for the Christmas program at our church, which no less has to be finished by tonite.

Oh, the organizational nightmare has begun!!! This is why I'm blogging instead of doing -- it's my way of being in denial. What a shameless wretch I am at times.

At any rate, depending on how the situation starts to unravel, it may be a day or two before I post again. Since I know for a fact that hundreds of you wait daily with baited breath for my next post (yeah...right) please feel free to go visit Kim C. She is very much hilarious and hasn't had a blog much longer than I, but does have quite a following already. She was already nominated for a Blog Award. I'm not bitter...really, I mean it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

This Journey

Because our journey to Reforming is relatively new (maybe 2 years) I spend alot of time separating the way I have believed for 30 or so odd years and the way I believe now. We all have our "sacred cows" and I'm no exception. It has been difficult and freeing all at the same time. Lately I've been pondering over the changes that has taken place in my life in the last few years and was amazed by what I found.

For the first time ever, I really think about the way I worship. During worship I am constantly chiding myself to stay focused and truly worship and glean from what I'm hearing. I want to hear the message. I want to apply it to my life. I want to sing not just the hymn, but relish in its text. I enjoy singing Psalms...who would have ever thought it?

For the first time ever, I actually have a hunger to know more. I'm hungering for God. Wow, it still seems so amazing to me. I want to search scripture more and I want to pray more (both of these areas still need more work). At times I get overwhelmed and start to think I'm a failure. Then my sweet hubby
reminds me that God's mercies are new every day (Lam.3:22-23). I cling to that scripture and realize that I'm nothing but filthy rags and only by God's grace can I claim those mercies.

For the first time ever I want to raise my children differently. This has been one of those harder moments. My older ones (12 & 14) have their "sacred cows" as well. Family worship was not a thrilling idea to them. The mini-Monks (2 &5) are growing up amidst all of this and embrace it as the norm.
I want my children to not just know and understand what they believe, but to live what they believe. I'm hoping that because of the changes my husband and I have made in our lives and what we believe that it will live out its legacy in our children for generations to come.
I will confess that I'm sometimes jealous of Reformed folk who've lived this way since before they were married. I think of how much better and easier it would have been to have raised my children like this from the beginning. Then I stop and ask myself if I'm questioning God's Providential hand in all of this. You see, The Mad Monk and I both came from broken homes. When we reflect back on our lives we see just how amazing God's Providence has been in our lives. The way in which I left Michigan to move here and how we actually met is a blog chapter in itself. But it dawned on me that our family's history of faith will start with us! How wonderful is that! A multi-generational legacy is not a bad trade for a sometimes difficult journey now.

I am blessed beyond measure. As I grow in grace and sactification I praise God that He has chosen me for this journey.

Joh 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Disappearance From Blogdom

Unfaithful blogging is not something I'm proud of. The Mad Monk even questioned me last evening about it. I hung my head in shame because I had recently chastised him over this same issue. As valid as my reason seemed, I knew I needed to right my wrong. So, here's my lame-o excuse.

The holidays are coming upon us and I, of course, decided to paint our family room and rearrange it for our guests we will be having over the oh okay, I did it for my own selfish reasons, but it was something that truly needed to be done. I haven't had time to hardly clean anything in my house much less blog. This is not good for an already organizationally challenged kinda gal. Actually, I am thankful that my kitchen table is clean, the majority of the dishes are clean and no one is searching for clean undies yet. With that said, here is what our family room looked like today at 2pm: Most of the painting is done in this picture with the exception of touching up some of the trim. My walls are "Dusty Timber" and the trim is in "Coconut Milk". The Mad Monk, in true guy fashion, calls it tan and cream. At any rate, I hope to post a "finished project" picture tomorrow. Blessing to you all! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

My wishes for a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Take time to be truly thankful for God's provision and the freedom we have to worship. Love God, love your families and take the time to tell them how thankful you are for them.

Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Now off to tend the sweet taters!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Mini-Monk Mayhem Part II...only worse!

In this season of giving thanks I am having to ask myself, "how does one give thanks for a stomach virus?". The two small Mini-Monks came home from church last evening quite ill. Actually, we had no idea of the proportions of thus said illness until the evening wore on.

Vomiting is not something on which one should dwell, I'm sure... but I just have to comment on it. If it weren't for the obvious pain the Mini'swere going through, the whole evening in retrospect, could have been almost comical.

Just as our 5yo dd gets settled in our family room the virus kicks into full force. The first episode takes place around 8:30pm all over the family room carpet. As I clean up my poor, sweet 5yo and get her settled with bucket in hand and cool washcloth, 2yo girl begins to complain that she has a tummyache. Mind you, this kind of banter is common, especially when attention is focused on someone other than her cute self. So I place 2yo on opposite sofa with sippy cup and blanket. In the meantime, 5yo begins to vomit again. I now switch opposing couches and begin comforting the 5yo. After the second time around, 5yo feels a little better so I go sit next to 2yo. 12yo daughter seems completely amused by the whole situation at this point. At this time, 2yo stands up (on the towel that covers up the now cleaned first vomit episode) to take a drink from her sippy cup and proceeds to vomit all over coffee table and the same spot in the floor where I have just cleaned up 5yo's mess. I begin hollering to the Mad Monk for back up. Between he and 12yo dd we now have a second pail, another washcloth and a second set of jammies. We have now had 3 vomit episodes and gone through two sets of jammies and it's only 9:00pm! This is where it gets good. Several minutes later 5yo begins to cry that her tummy hurts and she's going to throw-up. So I run to her on her couch and begin to comfort her while she is at this point having horrible dry heaves (which she continued to have all night- poor baby). At the same time 2yo dd is looking at 5yo with obvious remorse for her pain and begins lamenting into her own bucket that she is going to "puke" (her exact kidding). Once again, I think this is just her sympathy pain for her sister, when lo and behold, here it comes again with her! I now have two children vomiting into plastic buckets in sync on opposing couches. What is a momma to do? I yell for 12 yo dd to come comfort 5yo as I race to opposing couch to assist 2yo while hollering for back-up from the Mad Monk once again. 12yo is no longer amused by this situation now that she is a part of it. BTW, 14yo ds has long since retreated to his room with a can of Lysol spray in hand forbidding anyone and everyone from entering.

Long story short, it was a long night for the Monk's wife. She was up many a time with ill child and probably only got about 4 hours of broken sleep. Amazingly enough, a momma's body seems to put "self" on hold when it's babies need them. I truly thank God for creating us that way. Mini-Monk's are much better today and have had not one episode of tandem vomiting. For that I can find true thanks!

Psa 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Thanksgiving ponderings...

I love Thanksgiving. I love this whole season. I love the colors, the weather, the whole kit-n-kaboodle! What really irks me though is how it just seems as if it gets skipped over. I guess it's just not a notable --read: profitable -- enough holiday. An Old Fashioned Girl has some interesting ponderings in her comments on this as well.

I really think that as a nation we have lost our thankfulness for what we have now and how we arrived here. As a consumer driven society we simply do not have enough. So why be thankful, right? I am constantly reminding the mini-Monks of all the things for which we should be thankful. I remind them so much that sometimes I will get an occasional eye roll from the two older ones (which never happens without a mini-sermon from me concerning respect :) )

Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

I want Thanksgiving to be about more than just food and football. Oh, and let's not forget the Macy's Parade either! The Mad Monk and I want to have traditions that can be passed on for generations. We would like for Thanksgiving to be just that -- a time for thanks to God for all he has done. We both have family's, whom we love very much by the way, that really don't see things as we do. We would probably get eye rolls of monstrous proportions from some of them if we were to ask everyone to hold hands and tell why they are thankful.

So, the question remains: what are we to do? 1. Do we continue on in our traditionless manner and enjoy the holidays with our families while trying to incorporate thankfulness? 2. Or do we break away from family completely (for at least a portion of the day) and create a God-centered tradition that is all our own? I think you already know my answer yet the problem still remains as how to go about doing this without hurting feelings and offending.

Psa 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

Hmmm...maybe #1 will work, afterall.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mini-Monk Mayhem

Well, the inevitable has happened. The Mini-Monks are ill. Sniffing, coughing, sticky drainage oozing out of orifices. Okay, TMI I know. You get the picture. I went to the health food store last night and got some vitamin C and some Horehound Blend drops. Anyone out there ever use these drops? I'm just now getting into all natural remedies, so I'm not real sure of what I'm doing. Now don't get me wrong...I'm not experiementing on my children. I talked with the hippie-looking lady at the store and this is what she recommended.

Hey, I finally figured out a use for the plastic Bible from the Challies drawing! It would be perfect for the almost 3yo! The other night she accidentally ripped a page in my Bible my parents gave me many years ago. What a great idea, huh? Toddler proof Bibles --preferably without the cartoon pictures of Jesus.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

We Gather Together

As a family that is fairly new to our Reforming journey, we have recently begun singing hymns in our family worship. My hubby, TheMadMonk, has put me in charge of picking out appropriate hymns. I have this handy little book called Then Sings My Soul (there are books I & II) which lists hymns and the stories behind them. One of my favorite hymns happens to be We Gather Together. Now some of you"experienced" Reformed folk out there might already know the history of this great hymn, but I did not until last evening.

It seems as if this particular hymn was written by an unknown Dutchman in 1597. It was written after horrific atrocities were committed against the people of the Netherlands by the Duke of Alba (Fernando Alvarez de Toledo). The acts of barbarism included the massacre of entire cities, bodies of thousands being hung in the streets and literally on the doorposts of homes for all to see. Approximately 10,000 people were executed and another 40,000 exiled. The Duke's ruling council was the "Council of Troubles" or better known as the "Blood Council". Does anyone out there in blogdom know why this happened? It happened because the winds of Calvinistic Reformation had reached the Netherlands. You see, King Phillip II of Spain, who owned this country at the time, was an arch-Catholic and he didn't like the fact that the Reformation was taking over, so he sent his Duke friend in to clean up the countryside. In the end the Catholic southern regions of the Netherlands (modern Belgium) pledged their allegiance to Phillip. The story doesn't end there though. Three weeks after the southern regions waned, the northern region (modern Holland) refused to submit to the Catholic Spain and declared its independence. The struggle was long and the country was devestated by warfare, but in the end the nation would not be denied and Spain lost its hold on the Dutch Republic. All of this, for the name of Christ.

I don't think I could ever imagine coming home to find my dear hubby's body hanging from our doorpost. Or watching my children die because of what their parents believe. We sometimes look at hymns and just see words with a nice tune. This hymn was written to express thanksgiving to God for a people's freedom from Spain and the ability to worship freely. A worship that is often taken for granted. A terrible price was paid that we might be able to gather together and worship freely in the name of Christ. Two thousand years ago another terrible price was paid on a cross. A price that has afforded me a Grace which I do not deserve. I can only hope that I can look back on history with reverence and appreciation for all that was sacrificed that I may be here, this hour, expressing my love for Christ and the grace He bestowed for which I have done nothing to merit.

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Challies Drawing

Challies is giving away a plastic Bible. Really! Great for all you Survivor wanna-be's!

November Giveaway

Monday, November 14, 2005

Organization...and the lack thereof Part I

Organize: To put together into an orderly, functional, structured, whole. The American Heritage Dictionary

I see the definition, I understand the definition, I just can't seem to accomplish the definition. Being organizationally challenged is no cup of tea. I don't like the chaos surrounding it and I certainly don't like the looks of it. Now for those of you organized extraordinaires out there, please stop sucking all of the oxygen out of your homes in disgust. I didn't say we lived like swine. All I'm saying is that I'm challenged in this area.

My home stays picked up for the most part. Nothing is filthy or a health department violation. All I'm saying is I need some help in this area. There is alot of room for improvement. It's not so much that I have alot of stuff to get rid of, it's more of trying to get the things I do have organized.

Okay, I admit it...I have no routines. I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. It makes for a great time in a pinch and at a party (like I attend SOOO many parties), but can be rather troublesome for the day-to-day homemaking duties. I can hear all you O.O.F's (Overly Organized Females) out there asking yourselves, "if she recognizes the problem, why can't she fix it?". Easier said than done ladies. I've tried the programs (Flylady), I've bought the books...I just can't get it. Face it...I'm an organizational nincompoop!

Does this mean that I just give up and decide that this is how I am and forget it? Is this how God made me unique? How about, I'm just a "creative mind"? Uh...hello? NO! Our God is a God of order. Our first example was Creation. Creation was a deliberate, ordered act of God. I really can't put up an arguement after the first chapter of Genesis! I have no ground on which to stand! lol!

So, what's a Proverbs 31 wannabe to do? I'm really not sure at this point other that try again tomorrow. Thank goodness for God's mercies! be continued

Friday, November 11, 2005


Leftovers are commonplace around our home. Sometimes I purposely make something once only to serve it twice (this is actually an excellent concept and something I will share more about later). Sometimes our days get crazy and leftover roast happens to be the best option for that particular evening. Most of the time when this happens it is due to poor planning on my part which is part of my lack of organization. At any rate, it's not necessarily something we always want to do, but when it gets down to the wire and there's a hungry family to be fed...inevitably we must do it. It's not the best, but second best.

I feel as if this is the way I am with God sometimes. He gets the leftovers. My day starts off unprepared and throughout the day things will get hectic and before I know it, I'm crashing into bed exhausted. That's when I get still and realize that once again, I've neglected God. So now I'm laying there thinking of the quiet time I didn't do and the prayers that didn't happen, with the exception of meals and family worship and wondering once again how this happened. God is getting my leftovers. He is getting my attention after the day is spent. My energy is gone and I'm barely able to hold my eyes open and there I lay trying to spend time with God. God does not want our leftovers. He wants our best.
These scriptures came to mind as I was thinking on this particular post:

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Pro 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Pro 3:8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

How can I expect God to bless my day, my goings and my comings if I don't give Him the time He deserves. It says "in all thy ways acknowledge him". God also tells us in James 5 that the "fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".

I don't ever want God to be second best in my life. God has promised us so much in scripture that I sometimes wonder how I can manage to get through an entire day without prayer and reading my Bible. I really do admire those of you who manage to do this regularly. I don't want my time with God to be mechanical, something that must be done at such and such time every day (I'm not saying that this is wrong, I'm talking more about a frame of mind). I want my time with God to be meaningful. I don't want to do this because I HAVE to. I want to do this because I want to grow in God's unmerited grace and wonderful mercy.

Speaking of mercy...aren't you thankful His mercies are new every day? :)

Have a blessed Lord's Day!

Introductions are always good...

I am officially introducing my blog. It's not much, but it's mine. It allows me to get on my soap box whenever I feel compelled to speak out! It allows me to brag a little on my dear children and loving husband! It allows me to express what it feels like to be on this never ending journey of Reforming. It allows me to glorify God, which is what I seek to do daily.

So here I am. The Monk's Wife. My dear hubby is affectionately called The Mad Monk. Not as in angry mad...just sorta crazy mad. We have four dear children and letting God decide if we get more! I am not an organized person by nature and I don't pretend to be. My organization journey is alot like my Reforming journey...never ending. I love to cook, sew, do crafts, play sports and games, scrapbook and a plethora of other things I rarely have time for. This is due to my unorganization...uh...which might be another whole post in itself. Or maybe another 157 posts!

At any rate, I'm glad to be here in the blogosphere. I hope a few will choose to read and enjoy and if not....well, I'm glad to be here anyway!