Riverbend Ramblings

~Riverbend Ramblings~
The days are long, but the years are short.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Ode to My Ovens

Yesterday afternoon we kicked off our 3-night revival by hosting a preachers' fellowship meeting. I spent most of the day running back and forth to the kitchen in between school lessons and trips to town. I fixed some baked goods for the preachers' afternoon coffee break and several dishes for last night's covered dish supper. Praise the Lord for my double-ovens! They were working overtime! It was cool enough outside to be using the heat, but the ovens warmed up the house just fine. I didn't take any pictures while I was cooking because I was just too busy making all of this:

* sugar cookies
* brownies
* Ding-Dong cake
* sweet potato souffle
* cornbread casserole
* fruit salad
* green beans
* smokies w/barbecue sauce
* cheesy scalloped potatoes

After our supper at church we had our evening service. The preaching was fantastic, and many folks were at the altar praying during the invitation. The service seemed short to me, but that's the way it is when your heart is stirred by good preaching.

By the time we got home and the kids were all tucked in bed I was wiped out. I do not like to go to bed with a messy kitchen, but last night that's exactly what I did. This morning I woke up feeling refreshed and had a load of laundry finished and my kitchen put to rights within an hour. Everyone is enjoying Quiet Time before we get ready to head to church for tonight's service. Thankfully our supper is already taken care of; we came home last night with so many leftovers, and we've been blessed with enough fried chicken to feed us for a week!

I have lots of things to share, including a fun day trip our family took this past weekend. Hopefully life will slow down in a couple of days, and I'll be able to share then.

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Monday, October 29, 2007
Fall Ya'll! Giveaway~ A Good Read and Good Smellin' Stuff

Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer is hosting the Fall Ya'll! Bloggy Giveaway. There are so many wonderful things being offered all around Blogland!

I'm giving away three of my favorite things to one of you: a good book to read, something to make your house smell wonderful, and something to pamper yourself with.

#1 Sunrise by Karen Kingsbury

If you haven't read any of Karen's books, you need to! She is a fabulous Christian fiction writer. Sunrise is the first book in the Sunrise Series. You can read all about the book here.

#2 Yankee Candle votive~ Cinnamon Stick

The delicious scent of cinnamon will make your kitchen smell like you've been baking all day. Your house, and your nose, will be very happy. :)

#3 Bath & Body Works lotion~ Velvet Tuberose

I have fallen in love with this body lotion. It's just right- feminine, but not too flowery.

Here are the contest details:

**This contest is open to everyone, non-bloggers, too. I'll even ship internationally!

**Leave a comment on this post. If you don't have a blog, please leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win.

**The contest will end at 11:00 p.m. EST on November 4th. I'll announce the winner on Monday the 5th.

Now, head over to Shannon's and check out all of the other fantastic giveaways!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007
I'm Seeing Green

Earlier in the week I promised that I would post some fall foliage pictures. Well, as you can see the trees haven't cooperated as I had hoped, so I'll take you on a walk through our yard instead. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them. :)

In preparation for cold weather, Mr. C decided to perform major surgery on all of our plants, bushes, and small trees. He got wack-happy with the trimmer and shaved everything. Although the garden now looks quite bare, I can just imagine how lovely it will be in the springtime.

My hard-working hubby also drained the koi pond so that it can get a thorough cleaning. Getting all of the leaves out is a tedious job but very necessary if we want the pump and filter to work properly. The fish are taking a vacation over at our neighbor's pond.

The leaves on the swing are a sign of days to come. We're going to invest in a few more rakes so that all of the kids can have their own. They have such a good time raking the leaves. Of course, the fun part comes when they jump into the leaf piles and Mom spends the next few hours picking leaves out of Curly Girl's hair. Yep, it's loads of fun.

In the midst of all the mess we had a nice surprise pop up--literally! Sunflowers bloomed next to one of the birdfeeders. I tend to be a bit messy when I fill the feeders, but the Lord took those spilled seeds and turned them into something beautiful. Wouldn't it be nice if all of our blunders turned out so nicely?

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk around our yard. If the leaves decide to turn a lovely hue in the next few days, I'll be sure to let you know. :)


Friday, October 26, 2007
Friday's Favorites~ Show and Tell

When my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August, their church blessed them with the trip of a lifetime- an Alaskan cruise.

They picked up gifts along the way for the kids, and they brought this lovely necklace back for me.

I can't wait to wear it with a cozy sweater. With the cooler weather we've had the last few days, I'll get my chance soon. :)

For more Show and Tell, visit Kelli.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Mid-Week Calm
I know a lot of ladies who maintain that Sunday is the most chaotic day of the week for their family. I've been guilty of thinking that way, too. It's all a matter of perspective, though. When I plan ahead my Sundays go much smoother. Sometimes that same overwhelming feeling creeps in on Wednesday. We have our midweek church service on Wednesday night. I am the director of our Wednesday night children's program, so I have lessons and activities to prepare for each week just as I prepare for my Sunday school class. I also help my husband prepare our weekly prayer list and missionary update on Wednesday. Add to that a full day of homeschooling, and you'll see that I'm quite busy! I have learned that preparing for our Wednesday nights away from home is just as important as preparing for Sundays. Here are a few things we do at our house on Wednesdays to help the evening go more smoothly: Stick to our school schedule. Since I spend the most one-on-one lesson time covering math, I schedule math tests for Wednesday. This insures that we don't get behind and throw the afternoon off-kilter. I don't schedule any major science or art projects on Wednesday. Make sure we have Quiet Time. We all need a time of rest and relaxation in the afternoon, even if it's only an hour. I use this time to get myself all prettied up for church. I can relax while I'm getting ready since I know where all of the kids are and what they're doing. Keep the evening meal simple. For instance, tonight we're having spaghetti with a salad and garlic toast (yes, I'll be breathing garlic at church tonight). While I cleaned up the kitchen after lunch, I quickly cooked the meatballs and assembled my sauce in the slow cooker. The house smells so yummy right now! The salad is ready, and the table will be set by one of the children during Chore Time. All I need to do is boil the noodles and put the bread in the oven. We'll eat a bit earlier than usual so that we have time to clean up the kitchen before we leave for church. I do not like to come home to a messy kitchen! Have the kids help as much as possible. My three older children are responsible for taking their baths/showers and choosing an outfit to wear to church. I only have to bathe Lil' Nut and get her dressed. I set a timer which encourages them not to dawdle. If the timer goes off and they're not ready, they know they have a few minutes left before it's time to leave. I don't nag them. Nagging just adds stress. Have Bibles/notebooks/music, etc. packed and ready to go. I wish God would have given me eight arms like an octopus, but I only have two. I use a large tote bag to carry all of my "stuff". The kids are welcome to put their Bibles in the bag, but it's their responsibilty to remember them. We're trying to teach our children that the Word of God is their most precious possession and that they need to take good care of their Bibles. One of my darling children, who has a habit of laying things down and forgetting about them, has found it very helpful to use the tote bag. Have things laid out for bedtime. I have all of the children lay out their pajamas before we leave for church. When we get home, all they have to do is change their clothes, brush their teeth, and get ready for prayer time. If it takes the kids forever to get ready for bed, they are grouchy when they get up the next morning. I try to keep bedtime as calm as possible. These are all very basic ideas, but perhaps they will help you as you prepare for evening activities away from home. Satan would love to rob us of our meek and quiet spirit as we head out the door for church, but with prayer and preparation, we can keep it all together.
Let all things be done decently and in order. I Corinthians 14:40


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. Psalm 73:26

Isn't this verse just beautiful? If your heart is heavy today- if you've been disappointed or hurt by someone you love- just remember that the love of God is greater far than any earthly love. God's love is a secure love, and it will sustain you when you feel like the situation is hopeless or out of your control. I'm so glad He never changes and that I can rest in Him!

Image from AllPosters


Monday, October 22, 2007
A Rainy Monday

Since our Sundays are very busy, sometimes I use Monday as a day to take things a bit easier and catch my breath. We still keep to our regular school routine, but we may start an hour or two later than usual. Such was the case today. We didn't start our lessons until after 10:00, but by then I had done two loads of laundry and tidied up the house. I can concentrate on school much better if my kitchen is clean and my brain is uncluttered.

We experienced another rainy day today, but the weatherman says that cooler temperatures are on the way. I noticed that the leaves on our trees are starting to turn. Although the leaves won't be quite as colorful due the drought this year, I still get all excited when the pretty orange and red colors pop up suddenly. It's such a delightful change after growing up around citrus trees and pines.

I'm not sure how much blogging I'll be doing this week as we're making preparations at our church to host a preacher's fellowship and a revival meeting next week, but I'll do my best to get some foliage pictures posted in the next few days.

I hope you have a wonderful week!


Friday, October 19, 2007
Lil' Nut singin' in the rain

We haven't had any rain for several weeks, but this morning we awoke to a steady drizzle. The sky was gray, and it was the perfect weather to curl up with a nice cup of tea and a good book. However, the teacher in me wouldn't allow myself to play hookey. We went ahead with our lessons and actually completed them in record time.

I had planned on hosting a homeschool group play date at our church in the afternoon, but the rain was still falling at lunchtime. All of the kids would be disappointed if the play date was cancelled, so I came up with Plan B: play board games inside.

I telephoned our homeschool group coordinator, and she thought that it was a great idea. Bookworm whipped up a batch of brownies, and we loaded the car with snacks and a ton of board games and headed to the church building. By the time everyone else arrived, the rain had stopped. A little while later we noticed that the wind had practically dried the grass and playground equipment, so the children were able to play outside after all. The sun was just peeking out as we wrapped up our time of fellowship with the other families. It turned out to be a wonderful afternoon.

Saturday will be filled with Sunday preparations. I need to go to the grocery store, finish up some housekeeping tasks, and complete my Sunday school lesson. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, October 18, 2007
Thank you all for your sweet comments on my new header.

The picture was taken last year, but from the back the kids don't look much different now than they did then. :)

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The Rescue
Ever since we started studying insects this school year, the kids have all been actively searching for critters in our yard. Grashoppers, crickets, bees, mantids--you name it. If it crawls, creeps, or flys, they're interested. We have a lot of butterfly bushes, which of course attract...butterflies!
Today as we were enjoying our picnic lunch in the backyard, Curly Girl spotted a yellow butterfly caught in a spider web high above our heads. She tried to call it by a scientific name, although I have no idea what she said. It was pretty cute, though, and showed me that the younger girls do actually pick up on what I'm teaching the older kids through osmosis. :)

Anyway, everyone wanted to save the butterfly, so I found a long, thin stick with which to pull down the web. The butterfly came down quite easily, but then just lay on the grass. The kids wanted to touch it, but I told them to just let it rest for few minutes in case it was all worn out from fighting against the web. Mickey is fascinated right now with compound eyes, so I tried to get a close-up picture for him.

I would glance over at the poor little thing every few minutes, and I really thought it was dead. After about 20 minutes I finally walked over and gently scooped it up off of the ground. It immediately began to flutter its wings, and I think it surprised itself to discover it could still fly.

The kids all began to clap and cheer as the pretty butterfly flew away. Higher and higher it soared until it was lost among the tree branches. We used one of our field guides to identify it, and as close as we could tell it's a Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice).

If my kids were at a traditional school today, instead of homeschooling, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be a part of their discovery and see their faces light up with joy as they rescued the butteryfly. Backyard schooling is a blessing. :)

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This picture was taken exactly three years ago today. Where has the time gone?

Bookworm was 6, and Lil' Nut was 8 months old. We visited a fall festival that day, and I remember that Lil' Nut had so much fun crawling among the pumpkins. The thing that struck me as funny when I looked at this picture is that the girls were wearing long sleeves...in Florida...in October. That doesn't happen very often. :)


Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Trust Him

Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear:~ Isaiah 59:1

This verse seemed to jump off the page when I was reading my Bible this morning. The Lord knew exactly what I needed today!

As you go throughout your day, focus on God's greatness instead of your own weeknesses. Rely on Him to guide and direct you as you go about your activities. Take your problems and worries to Him. He has all the answers to your questions, and He will give you the wisdom you need.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.~ I Corinthians 2:25


Monday, October 15, 2007
Chase away the gloom
Do you ever have one of those days? Well, I've had several of those days lately. In an effort to ward off my own grouchiness after a long morning of school lessons, I thought that our family should take advantage of the beautiful fall weather and have an afternoon of fun. Mr. C took the afternoon off and was able to join us.

Unfortunately, we don't have much in the way of playgrounds in our rural area. After doing a bit of online research, we drove a little over an hour away to the most amazing park. In fact, it's the largest volunteer-built park in the state of Georgia.

As soon as we pulled in to the parking lot the kids started squealing. They were so excited! Lil' Nut immediately headed for the toddler play area. It wasn't too long before she was playing on the "big kid" equipment.

All of the girls spent most of their time on the swings.
I thought that Bookworm and Mickey would get sick from spinning on the tire swing, but they survived.

The majority of the play equipment was a huge castle-like maze. You couldn't ask for a more perfect place to play hide-and-seek with Daddy. While he and the kids were playing, I was content to sit on a nearby bench and peruse the pages of a new book. I eventually gave up trying to read because it was so much more fun to watch the kids and my husband chasing each other around.
As the afternoon slipped away and we loaded the kids up to head home, I realized how relaxed I felt. It was such a wonderful feeling after having several days of a less-than-meek-and-quiet spirit. Instead of allowing myself to get worked up over situations that I cannot control, I need to simply trust the Lord and allow His peace to fill me. I am so blessed to have healthy children who can run and play, and God has given me a wonderful, Godly husband who loves spending time with his family. What more could I possibly ask for?

I don't find my role as a wife and mother the least bit boring, but once in a while I do experience a bit of burnout. When I feel that frustration creeping in, I reflect on moments like the ones we shared today as a family.

The next time you feel like the walls are closing in on you, make some memories with those you love. I think you'll find that the gloom will quickly disappear.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

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Thursday, October 11, 2007
Blogger Friend School~ Assignment 6
Assignment 6~ Precious Past
This week's assignment is to share a piece of your past. Post a baby picture and share a special scripture that reminds you of your past.

This is a picture of me back in 1976. I'm sure that practically every bicentennial baby had their picture taken with an American flag. Thankfully I lost the double chin as I got older. :)

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

I did not grow up with an ideal family situation, but I did grow up with Christian parents and knew that I was loved and that God loved me even more than my parents did. As I grew older I could have made horrible decisions and blamed my actions on my circumstances. I could have become resentful and rebelled against the Lord. Instead, I trusted Him with my life. Many people blame their behavior and poor choices on things they experienced as children, but I believe that we can all be overcomers and live our lives in a way that brings honor and glory to God. I am so blessed!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Just in case you think my days are perfect, let me assure you they're not.

This afternoon I didn't get to sit outside and enjoy the lovely view. Instead, I viewed the artwork of my youngest child. It's currently on display in her bedroom...

on the walls...

(I think this first one is a big frowny face. Maybe my little artist was imagining the look that would soon be on Mommy's face.)

and on the furniture, too.

Praise the Lord, I have a whole box of M*jic Er*sers in the laundry room!

Someday I'm sure that I'll look at these pictures and laugh. Today, however, I feel like pulling my hair out.

ETA: We also discovered pink rubber stamped snowmen on the refrigerator and on walls throughout the house. Wonders never cease!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007
In the Stillness
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. ~ Isaiah 40:28

The cooler weather and occasional rainshowers have tricked the flowers in our yard into blooming once again. After such a hot, dry summer, it's been a blessing to be able to see the butterflies sipping nectar and fluttering among the blossoms. The leaves on the trees are just starting to get the slightest tinge of yellow to them. Hopefully they'll really start changing once the temperature drops a little more.

I've been spending an hour or two outside each afternoon enjoying the loveliness of God's creation. Sometimes I sit on the swing in the garden and read a book, but the last couple of days I've just been sitting and thinking. The stillness has a calming effect in the midst of my busy days. I've been counting the butterflies and thinking of the many ways God shows me His love each day. His understanding is beyond my comprehension.

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! ~ Psalm 8:9

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Monday, October 08, 2007
Columbus Day Activities

Just in case I'm not the only one who waited until the... (ahem)... last minute to prepare a Columbus Day lesson, this link has a ton of activities and information. Have a great day! :)


Saturday, October 06, 2007
Won't You Have Some? by Frederick Morgan
My life will touch a dozen lives Before this day is done; Leave countless marks for good or ill, Ere sets the evening sun; So this the wish I always wish, The prayer I ever pray; "Lord, may my life help other lives It touches by the way."


Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Show & Tell: Fall Decor
It's finally feeling like fall in our neck of the woods! Today for Show and Tell I thought I'd share some pictures of the fall decorations around our house. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Pumpkins seem to be my theme this year. On the mantle there is a fabric stuffed pumpkin, two acorn votives flanking a spray of leaves, and a cute little scarecrow gal. I found all of these items on sale at Cracker Barrel. The garland is made of cardstock with tissue paper leaves attached. I used brown yarn to attach the garland to the mantle. Stickers on the leaves spell out the word "HARVEST".

The baker's rack in the dining room holds a big basket, more pumpkins, a pumpkin-scented candle, and my favorite fall cookbook. The pumpkin centerpiece on the table is surrounded by a beaded garland.

This table in the entryway is one of my favorite pieces of furniture in our home. The only bad thing about this little display is that the leaves are blown onto the floor everytime someone opens the front door. :)

There are still more pumpkins on the armoire in the family room, along with a garland of leaves and a golden harvest candle.

Thank you for looking at some of my fall decorations. :)

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Jen commented about the number of blog contests I've won. I've actually won three contests since I started blogging, including my new favorite necklace.

Win #1

Win #2

I don't enter very many contests because, frankly, I just don't have time to hop all over blogland. I never count on winning, but it sure is fun when I do.

What goodies have come your way through blogging?

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