March 30, 2008

A New Hymn

A new hymn - To the tune of "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing"


Holy Spirit come and bind us, baptize us in your body
Though the Church has many members, we can live in unity
Make us people with one judgment, with one spirit, and one mind
Guard our souls from worldly wisdom, it is your way we would find

There’s no elder who serves as Moses, Jesus came to set us free
We are governed by the Spirit, walking in him we agree
There is one Lord, undivided, there is one truth, one way
We must learn to abide in him, so we are not led astray

Looking at the world around you, it may tempt you to despair
Satan seeks to find a foothold, Jesus’ body he will tear
Keep your eyes upon the scriptures, walk by faith, and not by sight
Do not fear, your strength will fail you, live in resurrections’ light

Fleshly men suppressing knowledge, build their strongholds all around
Marching faithful, sound a clear note, and their walls will tumble down
Waiting for the second coming we shall know as we are known
What was dim will come to light and we shall reap what we have sown

March 20, 2008


I just love spring. It's one of those seasons that I find myself looking forward to around the end of March since many times, the snow is still lingering, but we get good days here and there... My kids took full advantage of our "warm" day when it was 40degrees outside!

I hope we get to dye eggs for Easter this week, and make colorful jello. We will see how things go around the house. Last weekend, we took the kids to an Easter egg hunt at Bill's workplace, and they really enjoyed themselves. They are still asking me for candy that they gathered at the hunt.

So here's a picture of our little JW at four months old. Isn't he just a cutie? I can't get over that wonderful smile. He amazes me as he is aggressive to sit forward and see what's going on around the house.

A friend of mine told me about a farmer who sells fresh organic vegetables right to our neighborhood. Bill and I are very excited to be a part of their group. I'm starting to feel ancy to start my vegetable garden! At the YMCA this week, another friend suggested that I buy a cucumber plant that grows more like a bush to place in a pot in my backyard. I think I will try this since our soil isn't suitable for a garden. Boy, my mind is spinning with ideas for this summer...not to mention canning this fall! :)

I put this picture on here because, well, I just think this is very cute. Monkeys are funny to me. I laugh because Luke likes them too. Maybe because he likes to be funny.
Posted by Picasa

March 19, 2008

Types of Martial Arts Schools

What type of martial arts school are you looking for?
There are a number of different categories that a school may fall into.

Traditional Schools - Main emphasis is to preserve culture and heritage. These schools seek to embody the roots from which they came, and often have a very ethnic flair to them (Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Greek, etc). they tend to be very systematic in their approach to training, utilize curriculum, and tend to maintain a very conservative approach to change. Usually the curriculum is based on ancient strategies / needs with varying degrees of relevance for contemporary times.
Strength: Consistency
Weakness: Relevance

Family / Children's Schools - This type of school emphasizes character and values with the desire to develop discipline and confidence. A family school can use just about any "style" of martial arts to produce these results. The instructors are usually very positive and upbeat personalities.
Strength: Character & Teamwork
Weakness: Watered down to accommodate everyone

Competition Schools - This type of school is geared for competitive events. The main martial sports are Judo, Tae Kwon Do, MMA, Boxing, or Wrestling. These have potential for Olympics or professional competition, and they are usually very focused on preparing for that sport.
Strength: Tried and tested athletes
Weakness: Bound by rules of sport

Fitness Schools - These schools usually have a simple curriculum, and easy to learn movements. This allows them to focus on the exercise and fitness aspects of training. They usually offer a full body workout which includes flexibility, cardiovascular, and muscular development. Fast paced classes make for an intense calorie burning workout.
Strength: Health, Fitness, and Weight Loss
Weakness: Lack of depth for long term motivation

Self-Defense Schools - Committed to the essence of Martial Arts (learning to survive a physical encounter). Usually has a simple straightforward approach to contemporary self defense situations. They are less rigid and are always adapting and changing to meet the current needs. They usually address all aspects of combat while keeping it simple enough to learn quickly.
Strength: Practical Self-Defense
Weakness: I don't know, I'm biased :-)

Show/Performance Schools - These schools represent the theatrical style that is suited for demonstrations, movies, and performance competition. The utilize acrobatics, gymnastics, and stunt training to produce a form of martial arts that is exceptionally appealing to the senses. Similar to skateboarding and other X-Games they are always trying to develop the next "move" or "trick".
Strength: Excitement & Athleticism
Weakness: More "art" than "martial"

Every school must prioritize their goals, and each program needs to choose which categories it will focus on. Many schools combine a few categories in different ratios.

The mix I aim for in my school is 1/2 Fitness, 1/2 Self Defense

I like practicality, and I am not so much interested in tradition, or performance. I appreciate the character building aspects, but since my classes are mostly older adults, I look for people who already have some character. I used to be into competition, but as I get older I really don't care about it as much as I used to.


#1 Safety - People CAN'T train if they get hurt, and injury is counter productive.

#2 Enjoyment - People WON'T train if they are not enjoying the process.

#3 Fitness - Because more people in America die from being FAT than from assaults. As a culture there is a need for purposeful exercise that is enjoyable enough to stick with. Plus, fitness increases your ability to enjoy life and be productive.

#4 Self Defense - Because it is a skill set that is relevant for any age, and it addresses the nature of conflict, which like it or not is a very real part of life in this world. Plus, if you're going to study martial arts, it's nice to know that what your studying is effective in the real world.

A Quick note on Choosing a School

1) Find a school that aligns with your purposes and goals. Beware of people who "offer it all"

2) Don't worry about choosing a "style" because a kick is a kick and a punch is a punch. Rather, look for an instructor who you would enjoy training with.
A good teacher makes ALL the difference.

March 15, 2008

Homesteader Wanna Be's

Yup that right...Homesteaders in the Hood!

Some of my brothers and I just love to make stuff, and learn how to do stuff. It seems that the weekends have been filled with experiments and studies of all sorts. As much as I love the idea of homesteading, I would have no clue about what to do. There are so many skills that I have yet to learn, but I can't think of a better use of time then learning to do them all.

We have been having great family events, and the kids (mostly the older ones) just love to participate and learn.
Yesterday a bunch of us brothers got together and started learning to pan fry fish with a wide variety of herbs and spices. The goal was to achieve simplicity in preparation and excellence in flavor. It was a success, and even the pickiest eaters were chowing down. (Let's just say that Maggie is to fish what cookie monster is to cookies, plus it passed the Luke test)

Kurt taught us all how to bake bread from scratch and we produced a fine set of dense and hearty loaves which were absolutely full of flavor. Danny doesn't have anything that compares (That's Danny Wegman of the Wegmans supermarkets for you non-locals)
Gotta love that fresh out of the oven yeasty goodness. Next morning we had it with real butter and Rachel's delicious canned apple butter. That evening we finished it with an olive oil, rosemary, and garlic dip. Yum!

Since the weather is so unfriendly we have been focusing on indoor activities and skills.
Here are some current undertakings combined with a few future goals.
-I have slowly been re-arranging the basement to have a few sections dedicated to different activities. There is a brewing room, a growing room, a laundry area, a workshop area, and storage area.
-I am still learning guitar. (slow, but steady)
-Rachel is looking for a reasonably priced piano on craig's list for teaching the family. (If anyone sees something locally give me a shout)
-Rachel has made great progress in knitting! (I think she is so attractive when she's knitting :)
-We are contemplating an indoor hydroponic garden...that may be for next fall after we finish the outdoor season. But it doesn't hurt to start your homework early.
-The boys are learning some boxing.
-Rachel has been up on the reading and art/craft lessons with the kids.
-And lastly...lots of culinary endeavors. We have really begun to rethink how we eat and need to develop new cooking and food preparation skills.

So if any of those subjects interest you too lets talk and exchange ideas. If you have any interesting indoor skills, I would be happy to talk about swapping lessons!

With Love,

Your Hood Homesteadin' Homies

March 14, 2008

It's the weekend!!!

Today I am thinking of how nice it is that it's friday. Most weeks, I am not particularly looking forward to one day over another. Each day has it's own activity going on.
This week, I have experienced one thing after another, and have felt overwhelmed a few times. I've been thinking about how my children need my actual attention and need not be set to the side to just "do something." I just pray that the Lord will help me to become a faithful mother to stop rushing around and enjoy the children more often.
A friend of mine gave me a cute book of all kinds of crafts to do with little ones. I plan to be more deliberate in using the book to start to create structure for the children so that they will have a good learning environment that won't be a shock once we start formally homeschooling.
It's funny how the responsiblility of training and teaching the children many times gets set aside to do things that just don't matter in the grand scheme of things.
I hope to gain an understanding of how to take care of the essentials, enjoy those side hobbies, but most of all be faithful to Trust Jesus, and cherish these times with the children.

Uncle James

Well, as Bill mentioned, my brother came to visit us for a day. It was neat to see him get to know our family! We can't wait to have his family over sometime!
We showed him around a little, and had great fellowship. It made me remember many things in my childhood that are dear memories.
We laughed about a few childish things we used to do and remember.
I just love remembering what it was like being a child.
We had a wonderful family with many memories.
I'm also thankful that we talked about what the Lord
is doing in our lives. It's amazing to connect
so quickly about these things.
James, I'll miss you and can't wait to hang out again!
Posted by Picasa

March 13, 2008

Brother, Brother James

Rachel's brother James came to visit us for a day this week as he was in the area for work. This was the first time we really able to get to know one another(the 1st time we met was at his wedding, but he was a little busy that day).
We had some great conversation about the Lord and his Church, and it was truly exciting to find that we were of the same Spirit, and were being led by the Lord down a very similar path. By the end of our short time together I was confident that he is eager to know the Lord and the he desires to sacrifice whatever it takes to follow him.
It is hard to get to know people, let alone in just a few hours, but sometimes the Lord moves relationships along faster than usual. I have to confess that I am still struggling to not be presumptuous and make assumptions in conversations. I think this is the context for the struggles of a "younger" according to Timothy, and James' (the Book, not my brother-in-law)exhortation about listening.

2 Tim 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.
James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

No worries..God is at work addressing those things, and in spite of my limited ability to communicate God proved faithful to help us bear fruit in our conversation. I can't wait to get to know my brother, brother more. I also can't wait to have gray hair someday, and be past my youthful struggles!

So...Why Brother, Brother James?
Well, 'cause covenants are such great and wonderful things, never to be taken lightly or for granted. They change relationships. (friends, enemies, brothers, wives, children of God)
I entered into the covenant of marriage with Rachel, and she became my wife.
God's people entered into the new covenant with him, and they became his bride (the Church).
God's people entered into the new covenant together, and became Brothers & Sisters.

The covenant of marriage made a stranger into my brother-in-law, and the New Covenant makes my brother-in-law into a brother-in-Christ. I am thankful that the Lord has given me a brother, as a brother. Can't say I have too many of those!

And to answer Cain's question...YES I AM.

March 11, 2008

Who's your covering?

I was asked today what church I attended, and replied that we were just the simple church which currently met in each others homes, instead of institutionally organized assemblies. The response was a new one: Who is covering your church?

Interesting question, and it cuts to the heart of who is to lead and protect the Body of Christ, that is the Church. The simple and true answer is that Jesus himself is leading and covering our assemblies. He MUST because if he didn't we would all strive against one another, fight , disagree, fall apart, and go our separate ways. We are completely dependent on the work of the Holy Spirit to do what he has promised. Teach, rebuke, correct, instruct, and bring us all into agreement. One mind, one accord, and one Spirit must be the reality if we are to function together, and this is the exhortation of the Apostle Paul throughout his letters.

The beauty of this is that it is something that the world and the natural mind cannot understand. The natural way of thinking is to recognize the need for a government, and begin to build one like the rest of the world has. Set up an organization, choose leaders, set up rules for governing and processes for keeping the peace when people disagree. People can function together without agreement in Jesus because there are other leaders, traditions, organizations, and laws to agree about. When we disagree we can appeal to the doctrinal statement, the head leader (pastor, priest, minister...choose your mediator), or even a majority vote. If for some reason those tools fail, we can simply divide and build a distinct organizational government with a separate identity(denomination).

This isn't the first age where the people who were called by God's name set up their own governments and systems of religion. Remember the nation of Israel's desire to have a king just like every other nation, even though God desired to lead them Himself. God let them have what they wanted, but they had to eat all the bad fruit that resulted from their decision. Ultimately the nation was led astray and brought into captivity. Worse yet, the later generations had no remembrance of what true worship was. The system set up by the Pharisees, Scribes, and religious leaders of Jesus day weren't any more successful, and only served to set up strongholds against a knowledge of God.

I am thankful for the scriptures which allow us to repent and undo the works of the deceiver. It is frightful to realize that deception has always occurred on such a grand scale,and is certainly no better in these the last days.

There is one name under heaven by which we are called to unite under...JESUS, and no other.
The scriptures instruct us to be of one mind, one accord, and one Spirit. We either walk by faith and pursue true fellowship with all its inherent risks and rewards, or we become afraid and create systems just like those of the world.

The beautiful thing about a true and faithful assembly is that it REQUIRES God for us to survive. We must seek him continually just to continue functioning as a artificial substitutes. He says he is able to sustain us while we, as the body, believe him and act according to faith.

So back to the original question... I too feel the need for the security which comes from having a covering, a leader to guide us in the way we should go. Christ says that he covers his Church in the same way a husband covers his wife. I believe him, and want to be covered by him. Without having stepped out in faith I can testify that I would have missed the opportunity to plunge into the mystery that is Christ's Church.

Be covered by Christ or be covered by man? I Choose Christ!

March 10, 2008

About Time

OK, time to get blogging!
Rachel and I wanted to make this a family project, but I have yet to contribute.
Well, who's keeping score? (Rachel - 22, Bill - 0)

Life is busy enough just living it, let alone writing about it after the fact.

So why blog?

1) I love reading the blogs of my brothers, especially those who are far away. It is great to see and hear what has been going on in their lives, and it provokes me to write, pray, call, give, and participate in their lives as opportunity presents itself. I want to bless others as they have blessed me.

2) So people who are yet strangers can get a taste of who we are, what we do. This should be enough for most people to decide whether they want to get to know our family. You never know who you might stumble upon in the world wide web.

3) It is good to reflect on life as it is being lived. I hope that in recording thoughts and events it will cause me to realize how the Lord is working in our lives. I expect it to produce thanksgiving, repentance, new understanding, and lasting memories.

4) To develop new relationships, communicate with more people, and to bring the grace of God to those who are ready to receive it. I am hoping that we may find some people who are lost and have ears to hear, brothers who have been deceived and are eager to be corrected, and those who are wiser than myself with the ability to communicate the wisdom of God in ways that help me to see Jesus more clearly.

Well that is my intention, and my hope...Lets see how it plays out.

March 6, 2008

More Pictures

I guess I'm on a kick right now. I've been taking
quite a few pictures these last few days.
Hope you enjoy, I know I just love these smiles.




You say...Where's JW? He decided he was afraid
of the camera, so Yesturday's pictures will have to do for now. :)
Posted by Picasa

March 5, 2008

Sweet little Smiles

Today it is very cold and snowy outside.
This year, I find myself actually finding productive
things to do around that house to keep occupied.
Usually, this time of winter, I am day dreaming of the mild spring weather to come.
So, on that note, I made a case for my knitting and crochet supplies.
There were quite a few tutorials online to get ideas from.
I'm pretty happy with how it came out.

The kids seem more cooperative to take a few pictures today.
Here are a few that turned out really cute.
It feels like yesturday that David was our only little tiny baby. How the time flies!

Let's see here...JW is 3 months old,
Maggie is 22 months, Luke is nearing 4, and David just turned 5.

Posted by Picasa

Wool Diaper cover

Ok, I just had to mention this website called .
As you must know by now, that I just love using wool covers for the cloth diapers that I use on the kids...
This lady has the Cutest hand knit covers I have ever seen. Right now, I'm learning to knit. I hope that someday, I will be able to knit something like this. Aren't they cute?????
Posted by Picasa

Ten Things I would tell a New Mom...

  1. You will save an unbelievable amount of money if you buy your baby items off craigslist or at garage sales. (The big baby stores are overwhelming anyway...)
  2. Breastfeeding is possible for any woman. Give it a try, and stick to it for at least a few months. It takes a little while to get the hang of it, but it will be very worth it! Also, contact your local LeLeche League for support.
  3. Consider Cloth diapers. You will see that there are many options out there today, and it's easy! It also saves money and trips to the store. Not to mention saving more garbage bags of waste than you want to count.
  4. Making your own baby food is easy and fun! You will find that it's enjoyable to go to your local market and pick out fresh food to make up your own mixes with.
  5. Get out and meet other Mothers. It's not only encouraging, but good for you to spend time with other women who can relate.
  6. Eat healthy and exercise. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but your milk supply will be better equipped with vitamins and nutrients if you do. You will also lose those baby pounds faster.
  7. Keep it simple. The less you have to maintain at home, the more time you will have for your baby. Crockpot meals are great for getting through those fussy evenings with baby.
  8. Don't worry about spoiling your baby. You will have plenty of discipline to deal with later. Make a sling to wear your baby. You will bond so close and your baby will be comforted by your touch. Look up websites about babywearing for more information. In my opinion, they grow up too fast. Hold that baby and kiss em' as much as you want to.
  9. Teach your baby how to sign. If you want, make up your own simple signs. Believe me, when they hit that age that they aren't able to verbally communicate, but want to tell you something, you'll be glad you taught signing. Some say that babies who sign, speak with more vocabulary sooner.
  10. Last but not least, enjoy your little blessing. It just goes too fast. Kiss em', hug em, and tell them you love em'.

March 2, 2008

Arts and Crafts

I've recently started learning how to knit, so lately, in any spare time that I have, I've been practicing. I hope to become comfortable enough to make gifts for people at some point!

Today, I had to take Luke to the doctor, and he was absolutley terrified there. I think it's a phase. I promised him a special treat if he'd cooperate. We ended up getting a few crafty items to do a craft. Well, of course Luke lost interest, and David made this. I just love to watch them have so much interest in learning to do new things. David love to have what he calls "arts and crafts time." He cracks me up.
Posted by Picasa

Growing and Changing

I can't believe how fast they grow!

Our little JW just loves this beautiful blanket made by a family member. It's nice and long so I can actually still swadle him. He loves to be bundled up. He's already 3 months old!

Luke is growing leaps and bounds. His vocabulary is improving, and he is soooo very close to his big brother. I can't get over how much they laugh and goof around with each other. Luke sure does like to be funny.

This is what I call Maggie's Punky Brewster outfit. Don't you love the bright colors? She is definately quite the little girl. She has a thing for shoes...(sounds like me). When I pulled these snow boots out, she just had to wear them. I'm suprised she kept that pig tail in b/c she constantly wants to mess with it...I love this picture.

One of these days, I'll get a shot with all four kids in there. Baby was sleeping, so he missed this one.
Posted by Picasa