Thursday, 26 July 2012

The "Writing on the wall" now has pictures....

I am a happy woman.

After having our wall lettering up since March, I have finally added the photos to go with it.

I look at the wall now, and smile twice as much as I did before.  I now think of the St Johns with fond memories, AND I see my seven blessings looking down from there, too!!

Wanna see?

The thing is - it looks waaaay better than you can see here!  I just LOVE it!!!

Our story is one of love.

Of a marriage where two people love the Lord.

Of the blessing of children.

Of the incredible privilege of having them to raise for God's glory.

Of joy.

Of laughter.

Of struggles.

Of tears.

Of God's grace.

Of blessings innumerable.

The fact that we have the spacious house to PUT these things on the wall is a part of our story, because it is the house where we call "home".

 "O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. "
Psalm 34:8

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

"Stop and smell the roses"

One thing that I am absolutely loving in my garden, are the smells.

I have some amazing smelling plants, and to me, if it doesn't smell nice, it's not the prefect plant.

Roses that just look nice?  Not complete!  For me, they have to smell "like a rose" to be the real deal.  And, I have an absolutely GORGEOUS one at my front door.  Every time we walk in and out, the smell wafts through the door with us.  I can't help myself from stopping and taking in a deep intake of air, with my nose right inside the bloom, enjoying its amazing scent.  Some days I am in a rush as I go in and out the door, and I only catch a little of the lovely scent.  It's just a brief waft, but at least I get it.  Some days, I have no reason to go out the front door at all, and I don't get to enjoy the rose's beautiful scent.

My garden has also has jasmine and honeysuckle up the side of the house, and it's lovely to inhale the heady scent of those two flowers, as I take the rubbish to the bin, where the flowers are growing.  I have to make a special effort to get the smell from those flowers, as it's not a part of the garden that I am in much of the time.  Sometimes, a gentle breeze will blow, and I get to smell them where I am sitting in the garden.  

Lavender is another favourite.  In our old house we had swathes of it along the path that led to the front door.  As you brushed past, the smell would burst out, and linger on your clothes and in the air around the plants.  I have planted quite a few different varieties in the garden here.  Some more at the front door, which by the time next year comes will be giving the same effect as the ones at the old house.  I also have some in the back garden, which I enjoy as I sit outside.

One of my favourite finds has been my Vanilla Nemesia.  Any that know me well, will know that I ADORE vanilla.  I have scented candles aplenty, and I love adding it to baking.  Anything with vanilla is worth eating! So, when I found that there is a plant that has flowers that smell like vanilla, I HAD to get some.  Well, obviously I didn't HAVE to, but, you know how it is with gardening..... That is in a pretty little planter, right by my patio door.  It REALLY, REALLY smells like vanilla - it's amazing.  The flowers are incredibly pretty and delicate, too.

When I am going past, I sometimes cut some of these delightful flowers, and bring them into the kitchen.  Then, every time I come into the kitchen I get the same beautiful scent! The smell of honeysuckle and jasmine in the morning, is just lovely.

It reminds me of life.

"Stop, and smell the roses" is a phrase that reminds us that we need to take the time to stop and appreciate the everyday things of life.  The moments that can SO easily pass us by, if we don't stop and savour them.

Taking the time to play peek-a-boo with a baby who has just learnt to laugh.

Stopping to answer an inquisitive child's questions, when you were in the middle of doing something else.

Thanking your children for spontaneously helping to tidy when guests are due later.

Leaving the laundry for a few moments, to soothe a hurt child's woes.

Appreciating the funny little words and ways of a "saying new words every day" 2 year old.

Stopping in the middle of a busy morning, just to enjoy the sound of birdsong in the garden.

Making the time to stop for a cuddle - one of our family catchphrases is "there's always time for cuddles".

Spending some moments in spontaneous prayer, thanking the Lord for all the precious gifts that you have in your life.  Especially since we just don't know how long we have to enjoy these special things.

For me, taking photos of things is like cutting those flowers to enjoy them indoors.  You capture a memory, to enjoy it for longer than the few seconds that they initially lasted for.  

Sometimes we are having a day that is filled with "stinky" jobs - like me having to take the rubbish to the bin. But, God graciously gives us those moments to savour and enjoy, if we just stop to see them, in the midst of the bad times.

Stopping to "smell the roses"  throughout the day, is a way of "counting our blessings" in a tangible way.  Not just listing our blessings, but enjoying them as they happen.  With a heart full of gratitude for the abundance, and variety, that God provides us with EVERY SINGLE day.

Don't rush past the "roses" in your life.  Stop.  Drink in the "scent" and enjoy them as deeply as you can.  

More than all else - give thanks to the One who has given us "richly all things to enjoy".

Monday, 23 July 2012

Matriarchs on a Monday - Abigail


This is a character trait that is much spoken of in the scriptures - in fact, we have a whole book that is devoted to the teaching of how to attain it, in Proverbs.

Today's matriarch had it, in bucketloads.

She had the ability to carefully think through her circumstances and act in a sensible and measured way.

To take charge of her dominion, which was hers by God's appointment, and to prevent a rashly made decision from becoming a massacre.

Abigail was married to a man named Nabal.  He was FAR from being an upstanding pillar in his community.  He was no stalwart example of manners and grace.  Far from it.

"but the man was churlish and evil in his doings;"
I Samuel 25:3

He was a man who was not generous - was not trusting - was not gentle.  When David's servants came and explained that they had been kind to him and HIS servants, so could he please reciprocate this kindness, he was having NONE of it.  He sent them away empty handed.

David was NOT best pleased.  He got his men, had them armed, and went off in search of Nabal.

His heart was bent upon destruction, and we all know how well David could orchestrate a battle.

However, Abigail was the polar opposite of her husband.

"she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance:"
I Samuel 25:3

She was WISE.  She was intelligent.  She had a lot of sense.  She had her noggin screwed on!

So, the servants came to her to warn her that David was seeking to kill Nabal and his family.  She hurriedly got  together a MASSIVE amount of food and went out to meet David, BEFORE he got to them!

By doing so, she appeased the wrath of David, and he spared them.

Hang on, though.  Some would say that she was not being a submissive wife, by going against the wishes of her husband.  That, knowing Nabal didn't want to help David, she should also have refused to provide these refreshments.

However, there are two things that lead me to the conclusion that what she did was right, and good.

Firstly, the Bible tells us quite clearly that she was a WISE woman.  The Lord never gives us useless details - so, if He told us she was wise, then she WAS wise.

Secondly, the conclusion of the matter tells us what God thought of Nabal.

He died - Abigail was spared.

So, in what way was she wise, if she seemed to be going against her husband's wishes?

She was wise, because she was fulfilling the description in Proverbs 31 - she was "doing him good".  She knew that his life would be ended, for sure, if David had his way.  She cared for him - despite the fact that she acknowledged to David that his personality suited his name...

"for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:"
I Samuel 25:25

Nabal = stupid, wicked, foolish and vile

(quite WHO gives their beautiful, new-born child such a name, is ANYONE'S guess....)

She tried to protect the name of Nabal and the family.

And yet, when she wisely waited until he was sober the next day to tell him what she had done, the Lord still struck him, as dead.  He died 10 days later.  And, we are told it was the Lord smiting him.

What NABAL did was wrong, not Abigail.  Had it been her wrongdoing, she would have been struck dead, too.  Like Annanais and Sapphira.

So, what to  learn from Abigail?

Certainly, it's NOT a lesson on the freedom to subvert the authority of your husband, in a general sense. We have been given very clear New Testament teaching, that shows us that our husband is our head, and we are to be in submission to that.

However, are there ways we can protect our husband - that we can do him good?  That we can prevent danger or harm from coming to him, by our wise actions, or words?

Can you offer to drive, even though you'd rather not, because you know your husband is too tired?

Could you make healthy food choices on his behalf, by how your plan your meals, even though you know he doesn't eat well when he is NOT at home?

We can wisely try to influence and encourage our husband in good decisions and life-style choices.

We may, like Abigail, have husbands who are downright foolish.  Maybe we have to deal with other people who have suffered as a consequence of their actions and behaviour, a bit like Abigail and David.   If these people are believers, we may need to wisely advise them as to the best way to respond to some wrongdoing that has come about.  Abigail was able to convince a very angry David not to shed innocent blood.  She wisely directed his anger away by being kind, generous and gentle.

I know there are ladies out there with husbands that cause them despair, embarrassment and sadness.  Keep looking to the Lord for grace and wisdom, and trust Him  to deal with your husband in the way He knows best.  You must just carry on being wise, gentle and good in your life, despite the way that your husband behaves.

Even if your husband is not quite as bad as Nabal, pray for wisdom in all your dealings with your husband.  In all the areas of your wifely dominion, seek God's ways first - to please GOD above all else in your life.

There are many ways in a general sense in which it is important to be wise.  In our dealings with our children.  In the way in which we behave.  The words we use when speaking to others.  Do we think before we speak?  Do we think through the consequences of our actions, BEFORE we choose to act? Even as simply as the choices that we make on a day to day basis.

The question we need to ask, above all else, is this.  Are we honouring and obeying the Lord in our words and ways? Are we reading His word enough to KNOW the way He wants us to live?

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." 
Psalm 111:10  

If we obey God's commandments, we will be wise. Do we fear the Lord above all else, rather than what others think of the way we live?

How does scripture teach us to be wise, like Abigail?

"but with the lowly is wisdom." 
Proverbs 11:2

Abigail had the humility to come quickly to David and seek reconciliation.  She could have run away in embarrassment, but instead her wisdom sent her to David before he got to them.

We need to be wise enough to see situations in which we require humility - to be humble enough to see our weaknesses and faults, and seek to repair problems, rather than to make them worse.

"When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee,"
Proverbs 2:10

She went to David alone.  Going to Nabal first would not have solved any problems.  She had the wisdom to see that a speedy resolution was required, and she had the power and possessions to do so.  As a wife, she had authority and responsibility to give out the food that they had.  It was within her remit to access all those provisions, and give them to David.  In so doing, her life was preserved, along with many others in her household.

We need to be discreet in our doings.  We don't need to flaunt our good deeds.  We don't need to tell the whole world about our actions, and the activities that we do as a family.  We need to discreetly go about our business.

"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 
Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her."
Proverbs 4:7-8

I am SURE that Abigail never dreamed, in all her doings, that her husband would be smitten dead by God himself, and she would end up being the wife of King David!! Yet, this was her position that SHE was promoted to! She was honoured by being mentioned in God's Word as a wise woman, that we can even now learn from!

We should never do anything in life, simply for the sake of self promotion.  God is good, though - He promises many things as a result of our true obedience and honouring of Him.  He promises to honour those who honour Him.  If nothing else, we will lifted up and promoted spiritually speaking, and blessed in that way.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. 
For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased."
Proverbs 9:10-11

Abigail's life was spared because of her wise ways.  Her days were most certainly multiplied and her life increased!!

If we are wise in the way we live, it can be used by the Lord to multiply our days.  Healthy eating, caring for our body, and being wise in lifestyle choices can all help us to live a longer life, humanly speaking.

"She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 
but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." 
Proverbs 31:26&30

This is the ultimate accolade.  Abigail is praised for her wise dealing with David.  She spoke to him wisely, appeasing his wrath.  She was kind, and generous in the measure of her giving to David and his men.

Ultimately, we should want to receive the praise of God Himself, for the wisdom that we exhibit in our lives.  It says in verse 29 of Proverbs 31 that favour is deceitful and beauty is vain.  We shouldn't want to find favour in the eyes of those around us. We certainly don't want to only be known for being beautiful.  (*not that this is an issue for many of us...erm, me anyway!*)  We CAN be praised for living a God-fearing life.   If our family and friends see that we are wise in our ways, as a result of fearing God more than man, then that would be praise indeed.  

So, let's take a leaf out of Abigail's book, and learn to be wise.  It certainly is worth aiming for, when you consider the alternative - who would choose the rough road instead of God's favour?...

Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard. (rough)
Proverbs 13:15  

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Everyday Ruralty

  1. What's your favorite room in your home?
Well, at the moment I think it's the kitchen!  I am still loving my space, and how bright it is.  When we get the work done in our house, and the drier goes in the utility, I have plans to have a space to use my sewing machine at the bottom end of the kitchen, too!

I also love my lounge, but it still has work to be done.  I think I will love it more when those things are done.  I love my big patio doors, and when it's actually warm (what?...WARM?), we have it open and it's lovely!

2.  If you could go anywhere on a vacation, all expense paid, where would it be?

Now, my lovely friend Anne answered this before I did.  She wrote nearly exactly what I would have written!!!

I would start off in New England, taking my time to explore lovely little towns on the way down.  I would head to Virginia, where there is so much fascinating history to explore.  I would head across America - maybe road tripping it, maybe flying. Actually, I have so many lovely people I would love to meet out there, it would have to be driving, so I could dot around the place to see them all!!! I would head out to the North-western corner, to Oregon and Washington state.  More friends to see.  I would perhaps hop out to Hawaii and back, before then heading back across the continent on the Canada side of the border.  More stunning scenery.  Maybe including some train rides? 

I have no real hankering to go to Asia, although I have seen some stunning scenery in my time.  

I would maybe pop over to the continent to see Italy.

OOOH, I forgot something.  I would LOVE to go to Israel!!! I would love to walk where Jesus walked, and see some of the places i have only ever heard about.  So, knock Egypt, Greece and Rome into that trip, as they were all places mentioned in the Bible!!! THAT would be a pretty amazing trip!!

3.  Were you a girl scout or in any similar program?

nope. In a word! 

4.  What's your favorite frozen treat?

Hmmmmm.  Tricky.

I LOVE Mackies ice cream.  It's amazing.

I LOVE Magnum ice creams.

I LOVE sorbet, of any kind.  So refreshing.

I LOVE Crunchie Blasts.  They have popping candy in the chocolate coating!!!

5.  Are you NASCAR or the elderly lady with the pillbox hat when you drive?

Neither.  I am just an ordinary driver.   

Well, *I* think I am.  My husband seems to think differently.

I have enjoyed, the odd time, driving a car with "oomph" - but the only reason I like them is for their ability to get off the mark quickly, rather than driving fast.  So, at junctions, roundabouts etc. 

Does that make any sense?

Oh, and the children often beg me to do " a Granny driving" impression.  I pull the seat close to the steering wheel, hunch over it, drive REALLLLLY slowly, and keep checking my rear view mirror all the time.  The children find it hilarious!!!!

I only do it when we are on a quiet, back road. With no-one behind us!

It was nice chatting with you again, Patrice!!!  As always! 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

My little boy grows up....

It had to happen...eventually.

I had been putting it off.

First of all, I put it off until I had the new baby.

Simeon is now 11 weeks old....he's definitely here.

But, I still hadn't braved up to it.

Finally, Robert took the initiative, and just announced he was going to do it after dinner last night.



"Yes, I am cleaned up after dinner..."

"WHAT is this thing attached to a wire?"

"I do NOT like this thing that buzzes and is very near to my ears...."

"Actually, I have changed my mind....having all my family cheer and encourage is quite fun..."

"oooh, it actually feels quite nice...."

"Hi, daddy!"

"Just a little at the back left to do...."

"Oooh,  head feels a bit chilly - are you sure I look ok?"

"Of course I do....I am gorgeous, as ever!!!"


Elijah's curls are G.O.N.E.

I am a bit sad - he looks ever so grown up and ever so like Daniel!

But, such is life.  They DO grow up, and they can't be babies forever.

It's what I told Simeon whilst I cuddled him last night, after his big brother's hair cut.

But, he's still my baby for the moment....and has no hair that needs to be cut, so we are safe for a while!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Jonah days

I am a huuuuuuuuuuge fan of "Anne of Green Gables".  I have read every book in the series, more than once. (actually, there's a summer reading plan I could take up!)

One of her little catch-phrases that I love, is her reference to having a "Jonah day".   One of these days when things just do NOT go the way you planned.  When you begin the day in a bad frame, and it just keeps getting worse.

You know the kind of day I mean. Right?

Yesterday WAS one of those days.

I could try and makes excuses, like Jonah did, for why my day didn't go well. However, excuses would be all they were.  There is never a good excuse for the way I dealt with my day.

I think that it's good to be transparent.  If for no other reason than to let others know they are not alone in having melt-down moments.

So, here goes.

I didn't feel very well yesterday.  Kind of achy, flu-like, non-specific yucky-ness. My arms ached, my head ached, my neck ached.  I wasn't up long, before I decided that, like Simeon, I needed to go to sleep.  So he went to bed, and I went back to bed. When I got up I didn't feel much better and Simeon was kind of grumpy.  I did some basic Monday jobs (admin and laundry), and then started thinking about lunch.  However, on the way to starting this job, Robert called me on the phone and asked me to do some jobs for him.  I started, as he asked, and then started on the the French toast for lunch.  Now, this requires concentration, and watching a frying pan.  As I was just beginning my own, having already made the children's, Robert phoned again.  Rather than brushing him off, I gave him my undivided attention and left my lunch.  Without turning the heat down.  Off I toddled, trying to be a willing and uncomplaining help-meet, to do the job, whilst also holding a grumpy, crying Simeon.   Only to discover, after doing the job for Robert, that my French toast was burnt.  VERY burnt.  And, I strongly dislike burnt food.

Did I calmly tip it in the bin?  Try and rescue it?  Start again?


I did not.

*cringing whilst typing*....

I THREW it across the kitchen floor.



*blushes with shame*

You ladies would not, I am sure, EVER throw French toast across anywhere.  ESPECIALLY not in front of your gob-smacked children.

The shame of it.  To do something so atrociously infantile, and in front of my children, who I am supposed to be training up in good behaviour.  Which does not, I add, include throwing food across any place AT ALL.

I picked up the spare pieces of French toast that I had cooked, and which were not burnt, and marched off to eat them.  WHITE bread, no less - that I knew would give me gas later.

I felt so sorry for myself.  I blamed everyone but myself.  Telling my children that they should have smelled it sooner and told me.  (Children, no less, who were quite intently eating their own lunch - and rightly so)  Thinking that "if only I didn't have to drop everything for my husband".

The SHAME of these thoughts!!! I had NO-ONE to blame, but myself.  I am the one who is control of my thoughts and actions - not anyone else.

*I* didn't turn down the heat.  *I* didn't calmly deal with the situation.  *I* didn't use gentle words to speak to my poor, unsuspecting children.

It didn't take long for me to calm down and see the error of my ways.  To see that there is never a good excuse to go your own way, and react in a rebellious and childish way.

Oh, how sinful and foolish I had been.  Over a lunch.  LUNCH.

The moment we take our eyes off the Lord, and start to feel a sense of self pity, things are never going to go well.  Whether it's something as silly and insignificant as burnt bread, or something bigger that the Lord allows us to go through.  We need to keep our mind upon the Lord, and He will give us peace about the situation we are in.  We need to look to Him and find what we are to learn in the trial, and not react with anger and rebellion.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee"
Isaiah 26:3

My mind turned away from the Lord, and away from the right way to behave. It turned to my own self-pitying and selfish thoughts.  Hence, the disaster.

I REALLY wasn't a very joyful keeper at THAT moment.

I am so thankful, however, that God is gracious.  That I was able to turn my mind back to Him, and rescue my day.  To be able to repent of my awful behaviour and achieve something more worthwhile -  (cleaning out underneath one of the girl's small feat.....).

No, I didn't get everything done that I would have liked, but I took little "bite-sized" tasks, and got them done.  And, I gave the children cereal for tea.  Yup.  Cereal.  The breakfast type.  After all, French toast had included egg, cheese, milk, bread, and tomato ketchup on top.  Yup, that about covers all the main food groups at lunch time.....

And, you may have noticed, my matriarch didn't quite make it in this Monday.  But, she's almost ready to appear NEXT Monday!

Just like Jonah, I was able to turn things around by turning my heart back to the Lord, and seeking to obey and honour Him. Praise God for new starts.

And, like Anne says "tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet"!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Final winner!

Morning all!

So, we have one more winner to announce...

And, it is Caroline Love!

Along with everyone else, your prizes will be winging their way to you very soon!

Thanks so much for stopping by this way, and taking the time to read and join in.

Don't forget that you can buy these things yourself, as you are able.  They are all superb products and I recommend them all highly.

Don't forget to stop by the blog, as I continue to share what God is teaching me as a wife and mother. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Friday Give-away - The Busy Home-school Mom's Guide to Daylight

First off, we have the 2 winners for yesterday's CD download!!

We have Susanna and Dawn as the recipients!!!

Now, to our final give-away!

I had been so looking forward to giving one of these books away, but I was waiting for them to be shipped to me, from Germany.

Today, I have a copy of "The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight", by Heidi St John, to give away!!!

I had the immense pleasure of having Heidi come to stay in our home, this March.  It was such an encouragement to me, at a time where I really needed it most.  God is amazing like that - He knows, and meets, our needs, when we hardly even realize what they are!

Heidi St John wrote this, her second book, to help Mum's to "get it all done".  And, boy, do we have a lot to get done in a day, especially with the busyness of home-schooling thrown into the mix. Heidi, as a mother of 7 herself, writes from the wealth of experience she has gleaned over the years.  She writes with both wit and wisdom, and you will find yourself both laughing out loud, and being challenged at the same time.

The book tackles 8 aspects of our "daylight" hours, covering topics ranging from laundry to free-time, organisation to those times of discouragement.  The book is so incredibly practical, whilst at the same time it is needfully spiritual. Heidi has us looking to the crucial issue of our hearts, in order to get to the "nuts and bolts" of every day living.

Does your home-schooling life need a zap of energy and enthusiasm?  (come on, whose DOESN'T??)  Then, this book is for you!  It will help you to free yourself from unrealistic expectations, and get your eyes fixed back on exactly what your goal should be.  Help with organizing those daylight hours IS at hand!

SO, roll up for your chance to win copy of this fantastic book!

As all the other days, the ways to enter are as follows....

1) you can comment on the post - simple as that!
3) you can share about it on your blog, and COME BACK TO TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST, *FOR ANOTHER ENTRY*
4) you can also tweet about it, and COME BACK AND TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!, *FOR ANOTHER ENTRY*

AND, I am happy to ship anywhere, so don't be put off entering if you are from further afield! :-)

Also, I now have some more copies of this book to sell, here in the UK, as well as Heidi's other book "The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Romance", and her journal.  They are all priced at £8 each, and if you wish to purchase them, please get in touch with me at  If there is a lot of interest, you may need to just wait while I get more shipped in.  Please email if you would be interested.

So, let the commenting begin!!! Last day to try!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Thursday Give-away - Scripture Lullabies

First off, the 3 winners from yesterday's give-away are....



and, Jo!!!!

If you could contact me with your email address, I can get your prize to  you! :-)

Onto today's!

"This powerfully peaceful music is helping children sleep soundly, free from nightmares, while also providing some much needed peace for mom and dad. It’s the perfect baby gift but as you listen, you’ll understand why so many adults are buying their own copy or several to give as gifts to friends and family members."  

This lovely prize is donated by Scripture Lullabies!!  They are giving 2 people the chance to choose one of their lovely CD downloads!  They have 2 albums to choose from.

So, what are scripture lullabies?  They are absolutely GORGEOUS vocal and instrumental arrangements, based on scripture.  They were composed as lullabies for children - such a contrast to the worldly lullabies that are available.  Who wouldn't choose to have their children listen to scripture?!

However, they are simply beautiful and relaxing for ANYONE to listen to.

Can I also personally recommend them as being PERFECT listening during labour?!  I listened  to the albums during first stage, right up until I couldn't stand having the ear buds in any more! They helped me keep my focus on the Lord, and my mind off the process of labouring.

 I also love listening to it in  the house, when I just want something relaxing on.

One out of every 10 "Hidden In My Heart" CDs is donated to Pregnancy Resource centers around the country so by purchasing this CD, our customers are blessing more than just their own family

This is simply a lovely prize!!!

AND, as an added bonus, you can get 15% off their CD's, with THIS code!....SLPROMO12

So, get those comments going, and share it with your friends!!!

1) you can comment on the post - simple as that!
3) you can share about it on your blog, and COME BACK TO TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST, *FOR ANOTHER ENTRY*
4) you can also tweet about it, and COME BACK AND TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!, *FOR ANOTHER ENTRY*

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Wednesday Give-away - Story Builders

OK, like before, I shall begin with the winners from yesterday's give-away.

Drum roll, please.....

Chosen, once again, by

It's graciegirl!!!!  Happy Birthday! lol

And, Heidi!!!!

And, finally, last but not least...King's View Academy!!

If you could just e-mail me at, I can organise your prize!

Congratulations to you all!

So, onto today's give-away.

Today's is graciously donated by Kim Kautzer from Writeshop, and there are THREE up for grabs, once again!!!

Story Builders is a writing prompts kit, absolutely ideal for encouraging your child with creative writing.  In the kit, you have printable sets of cards to jump start your children's writing.

There are 4 categories of cards - character, character trait, setting and plot - all the basic elements of a story.     Using those elements, your child can pick out one of each and start getting creative!

As they say on their website...

"Does the hero save the day? Will the notorious bad guy learn a lesson? And what twists and turns appear in the character’s path? A hurricane? A bag of loot? A mysterious letter? With hundreds of possible story combinations, no two will be alike!"

They give a whole lot of different ways in which you can use the cards - and they are suitable from kindergarten to high school!  You can make it as simple or complicated as necessary, and there are some great tips for encouraging your child to write.

You can either print in black and white on coloured card, or they have a set with coloured print to print on white card.  The prompts are fun and interesting, and I am sure children of all ages would enjoy the variety and imagination it will spark.  There are 2 sets to choose from - World of People, or World of Animals.

If you are anything like me, I take all the help I can get when it comes to encouraging my children to write!  And, this is definitely a welcomed addition to anyone's home-schooling tools.  If you don't home-school, it may be perfect for home-work assignments, or just for some additional writing practice.

They also have a brilliant curriculum available, for writing.  I will be reviewing that later in the summer, with another, bigger give-way, from Write Shop, when the time comes!!! So, keep you eyes peeled!

So, let's get Wednesday started!

AGAIN, I will give you the ways to enter, which some of you were still not quite getting!!! You will get more entries if you do as it says!

1) you can comment on the post - simple as that!
3) you can share about it on your blog, and COME BACK TO TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST, *FOR ANOTHER ENTRY*

Let the commenting begin!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tuesday give-away - "31 Days to Clean"

First off - YESTERDAY'S WINNER....

It's KERRY THORPE!  Well done Kerry.  I will contact you, so you can have your prize!

Also, apologies that this is up later than I hoped. *blush*

So, onto today!

Have you ever struggled with not only cleaning your house, but having the motivation and spiritual focus to do it?

WHY whould our hosue be clean and tidy?

What motivation SHOULD we have for keeping up with it all?

Well, Sarah Mae's e-book would be great for you!

"31 days to clean", is summed up by its tagline.

Having a Martha house the Mary way

Martha was a server - she was keen to do all she could to serve the Lord, that day in Bethany.

Mary - she wanted to sit at the Lord's feet, and hear His voice as He taught her.


We can busy ourselves, serving in our home, whilst listening to the Lord's voice instructing us HOW we are to serve.  What a joy!

So, what is this e-book?  It is the WHY of cleaning, whilst DOING the cleaning.

As Sarah Mae says in her intro to the book...

"We’re on a journey, a 31 day faith-step journey towards ruling, subduing, and loving.
We are forgoing perfection; we are choosing life."

It's lovely to have someone TELL you what to do every day, whilst immersing yourself in the wisdom of God's Word.  Seeking the heart behind why we should want to have a home that is welcoming in every way.

Sarah Mae gives plenty of practical advice, with some GREAT ideas and tips.  Most of all, she turns our focus inwards, to our own heart, to consider the way in which our serving should be done in our home.  Because that IS what we are doing - serving others. 

If you look here you will see the daily outline of the book, which gives you an idea of what it will do.

Also, they have communities you can join to motivate you as you read through and put it all into action, as well as other helpful resources. 

So, we have THREE of these e-books up for grabs today!! THREE!!!

Same run-down as's how to enter, and it's running for ONE DAY ONLY!

1) you can comment on the post - simple as that!
2) you can share about it on FB, and COME BACK TO COMMENT IN THE POST TO SAY YOU HAVE DONE SO.
3) you can share about it on your blog, and COME BACK TO TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Matriarchs on Monday - Michal's epic fail

It's a sad truth, but a truth none-the-less.

Marriage generally starts with a lot of love.  Whether it's superficial, or deep - there's generally love there.

We are filled with the joys of that new union - of the joy of being together as husband and wife.  So much to learn - so much to do - so much pleasure. It's a joyful and wonderful time, with a closeness being gained day by day.

Many marriages then deepen and grow - day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year.  It's a blessing to get to know each other better.  For our love to grow and mature.

But, did you know - love isn't always like those early days.  We hit rough patches.  We don't always agree.  We have conflicts.  It happens, because we are all sinners who don't always behave in the God-given manner we ought to.

Having these moments is inevitable.

It certainly happened with Michal and David.  The love that we hear of in the beginning, sadly seems to vanish in the scripture we read now.

How do I know the love has vanished?  That Michal has slipped into an attitude that is bitter and unloving?  That she showed no respect to her husband?

"And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul's daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart." 
II Samuel 6:16

Oh, how sad!! She DESPISED him, when she saw him rejoicing that the Ark had returned.  She DESPISED to see him happy, and praising.  She chose not to rejoice with him, but to despise what he did.

If we cannot, as a couple, choose to be at one in our efforts, energies and activities, you are going to end up the same way as Michal.  With a twisted, bitterness of heart.  With the inability to respect your husband. With a lack of love and devotion.  

Not only did she think it in her heart - she went a step further and made sure that other people knew how she felt about her husband.

"Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said "How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself! "

II Samuel 6:20

David was on his way back to his home, to rejoice with his family and household - to rejoice at the goodness of God.  Michal leaves the house, to come out and MEET him where he is, and then lays into him about the foolish way she thought he had behaved.  Talking him down - and doing so in public.

Oh, how awful!  To start to belittle and scorn her husband is bad enough, but to do it outside of the home is a hundred times worse.  To show no respect or kindness, is to show no love at all. Her proud heart thought his behaviour to be foolish, but it was her own foolish heart that made itself known.

I read this all and cringe.  I know I have, in the past, spoken down to, or criticised and corrected my husband about things he has said.  I have let him down publicly, by not showing respect and holding my tongue.  Oh, how prideful our hearts can be, thinking we know best.  We need to learn to let our husbands have the position they have been given, by God, and respect the decisions they make - whether they are our choice or not!

How the chapter ends, strikes deep in my heart.

"Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death."
II Samuel 6:23

Our sinfulness does not go unnoticed, or without consequences.

As a result of her lack of submission and respect towards David, she is barren until she dies.  God withholds the blessing of children, as a direct result of her sin that day.

I am NOT saying that all those with no children are somehow being punished - but, there are times when God undoubtedly used this, in scripture, as a punishment. 

May the Lord give us the humility to put our own feelings to one side, and encourage and respect our husbands today.  To work at being the wife we should be, thinking less of ourselves and more of others. To not lose that love that we had at the beginning, but to keep the flame alight through devotion and dedication. 

Monday Give-away - Draw to Learn

I am simply thrilled to be offering this as the first give-away!

I have a child who does not love to write.  Drawing?  Now THAT'S a different story!  When asked to write something for school, I am asked "could I not DRAW it instead?"

So, when I was visiting my friend, Tami, and I saw this product in her house, I was completely and utterly excited!!  A Bible study programme that you get to DRAW your answers.

Ok, so there's a LITTLE writing, but it's mostly drawing!

I got the name of the curriculum, and looked it up.  Think, then, how pleased I was to find they did it as a DOWNLOADABLE product.

(If you don't home-school, you may wonder at my excitement.  Curriculum is often from America, which requires shipping.  Shipping is NOT cheap, especially for bulky products. Downloading is THE way to go!! Especially when you have several children who will use the product AND the product is multi-level!)

So, what is it?

Draw to learn is a Bible study programme, which encourages the child to think about what they have read and then draw it.  It's not simply a case of "read Psalm 1 and draw a picture of anything you like".  It's far more specific and directed than that.  It really has them carefully considering and studying the scripture portion.  They encourage many different drawing techniques as well, so developing Bible study and drawing techniques, too.

This is NOT just for home-school families. This would be a welcomed addition to the home of any Christian parent, who want to encourage their child to read the scriptures, think about what they are reading, AND draw pictures at the same time!

They include ideas of how to turn it all into more of a Unit Study - where you study lots of different subjects that are connected - such as science, writing, history and geography.

When you have the product, you can print off as often as you like, for use in your own family!

What's NOT to like?!

If you go to this page, you can then click on "view sample" and see some of the pages from the books. 

There are 5 titles available - Acts, Proverbs,  Psalms, Letters of Paul and Life of Jesus.

The winner will be able to choose which title they would like to download!

So, let's get the party started!  Who'd like to win "Draw to Learn"??

There are several ways to get an entry - PLEASE read these carefully, and remember to do exactly what it says in order to get them!

1) you can comment on the post - simple as that!
2) you can share about it on FB, and COME BACK TO COMMENT IN THE POST TO SAY YOU HAVE DONE SO.
3) you can share about it on your blog, and COME BACK TO TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OF THIS POST.

Let the commenting begin! You have until I get up tomorrow to comment, and then I will choose a winner using

Give Away Week!

Well, today is the day!! I am having a give-away every day this week, Monday through to Friday, with something new every day.

There are lots of different things up for grabs....

We have a give-away donated by Sarah Mae.  It's her e-book "31 days to clean - Having a Martha house the Mary way".  There will be 3 of these available to win.

Next up, there is a download of a CD from Scripture Lullabies. 2 winners will each get to choose which of the 2 available CD's they would like to download - your choice!


Then, we have a lovely download from Notgrass. This family provide home-schooling and family resources, and they will giving a digital copy of one their "Draw to Learn" books, to one winner.

For those of you wanting to encourage your children to write, Kim Kautzer, from Write Shop, is kindly donating a copy of the winner's choice of a download of one of her Story Builders writing prompt books.  Three of you will be able to win one of these!

And, finally, I am giving away one of Heidi St John's books "The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daylight"!!!!  I FINALLY have some here in the UK, with more coming soon for people to purchase. More about that the day I do that give-away!

There will be several ways to get an entry - PLEASE read these carefully, and remember to do exactly what it says in order to get them!

Firstly, you can comment on the post - simple as that!
Secondly, you can share about it on FB, and COME BACK TO COMMENT IN THE POST TO SAY SO.
Thirdly, you can share about it on your blog, and COME BACK TO TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OF THE POST.

You need to comment for EACH day's give-away  - commenting a previous day will not give you an entry for another day! lol

If you don't some back to comment, I can't tell whether you have you have shared in those ways - even if I spot it myself, I can't count it unless you comment on the blog post.

Each give-away will be open from the time I post it in the morning, until I close the comments when I get up the next day!

Each winner will be announced at the beginning of the next day.   I am out on Thursday, but will try and do it before going to the Sport's Day.  If I don't get the chance, that winner will be announced later on Thursday.

So, are you all ready for the give-aways??

Oh, and to make it more fun, you have to come and look each day, to see WHICH prize is being given away!

Let the fun begin!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Delightful growing

I used to say that I didn't enjoy gardening.

That was when I didn't have much of a garden to DO anything in! Our old house had an open-plan front and side garden, with no fencing to keep the children in.  I couldn't take them out to do much gardening there, in case they ran onto the road.  Plus, it was only really shrubs.  Not very interesting!

The back garden was a lawn, a path and one solitary (but very pretty in the spring) tree.

I tried my best - I always had a few hanging baskets in the summer...(summer?....I think I remember having them before, but seem to have forgotten what that is this year...sorry, I digress...)

I was forever taking snapshots of flowers when were visiting gardens on days out...dreaming of a day when I could have such delights in my own garden.

(alium, in the gardens of Wimpole Hall)

(Irises at Wimple Hall - GORG-EOUS!)

(camelia in Somerset, in the grounds of Dunster Castle)

But now?  NOW, I have a truly delightful garden.

It has lawn, patio, cute little borders, climbing plants and pretty walls of all brick types.

(Lovely climbing plants clamber along the fencing at one side of the house, and cover the area where our bins live.)

My boring looking border at the front has transformed into a delightful array of pretty flowering plants, of which new types seem to appear every day!  Poppies, irises and various other things that, as yet, I have NO idea what they are! Pretty - that's what they are!

I have now planted (sorry, my CHILDREN planted...aherm...) some gorgeous new plants in the back garden.  My journey to the bin and back now has me stopping to see how my flowers are doing! How much more substantial are they looking?  Any more flowers?  And, oh so sad today - some poor little stems broken in the wind! *sad face*

(lupins, lobelia and hydrangea)

I'm looking forward to adding more flowers and plants as the days go by.

But, all this delight in my garden got me thinking.  Thinking about what we should REALLY delight in.

Did you know that we are told 8 times, in the scriptures, that we should delight in God's Word?

Most of those occur in Psalm 119, unsurprisingly!

The first is in Psalm 1

"but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night"
Psalm 1:1

Then, the references in Psalm 119 point us to several great reminders of how we should live daily surrendered to God's word...and how it will enrich our lives.

"I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word." 
Psalm 119:16

Do we hide God's Word in our heart - do we delight in it enough to memorise it, and commit it to our memory...deep in our heart?

"Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors"
Psalm 119:24

Do we look to God's Word as our counsellor?  As the place we turn to for advise and wisdom, rather than friends or family.  Do we seek HIM first?  Do we delight in those wise words above all else?

"Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight." 
Psalm 119:35

When we are making decisions in life - seeking a path for our future - do we delight to search God's Word for His instruction in life, and the way we should walk, before making big decisions?  Rather than basing them on worldly wisdom?

"And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved." 
Psalm 119:47

Do we LOVE to follow God's commandments? Do we delight to follow His ways, rather than going our own selfish way?  Do we love following after Him, rather than longing after the world, and it's fancies?

"I delight in thy law"
Psalm 119:70

Do God's commandments bring us delight or despair?  Do we remember that Christ has died to fulfil the law, and that we are free from it's legalisms?  That we have the law to delight in, as a pointer to Christ, and not something to fear and keep as some sort of duty for salvation or betterment?

"Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight."
Psalm 119:77

Do we come to His tender, merciful words - day by day - moment by moment?  Bringing us life, and refreshment - in the barrenness off the empty world around us?  Renewing our inward man, and reviving our souls?

"I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight."
Psalm 119:174

Have we come to Him today, delighting in our salvation.  Seeking Him, and His word, when we face trials and difficulties.  Looking up, instead of around?


Reading the Word of God should not just be a routine.
Something that we do as a daily duty, or as a habit,  good as that habit may be.

We are to DELIGHT in the reading of it.  Delight in the knowledge that we are listening to His Words to our heart.  His wisdom and guidance.  His blessing and encouragement.  His rebuke and reproof.  His love and His mercy.  So much is contained in these words, and we should delight to soak them up - to absorb them into our heart and mind - to be satisfied by them. 

How easily our daily devotions can become a habit, in which we take no delight.  We take our eyes off the richness and beauty of what we are reading.  Words from God Himself, directed to US! What a privilege and joy that should be.  Not simply a daily duty!

Let each of our days be filled with delighting in God, above all else that we have been given richly to enjoy.