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As thy Days...

So shall thy strength be. - Deut. 33:25

Updated: 2018-03-21T07:20:18.388-04:00


Positively Addicting


One of the perks of being an older mom is that I still have the opportunity to join in some pretty cool field trips. This week, for example, Ben and I joined with others from his homeschool cross country team for a day of downhill skiing at Paoli Peaks. Happily for me, I was also joined by a sweet youngSkiing through the woods is the best!friend who was able to come along. While waiting for our lift tickets, conversation amongst some of us adults turned to our own running habits. Running often seems perverse, and the common thread was that each of us usually started our runs thinking, "What am I doing? I think I'm going to die!" But we likewise agreed, that each day, no matter if the temps were in the single digit or the 80s, once we are back home, we are always so glad we stuck it out for the daily romp. There's nothing like a good run to work out stress or for a great time to think. And when the next day rolls around, we're eager to pull on those running shoes and head out once again. Weird, I'll grant you.Peter and I after finishing a 5K. (He won. I finished.)Maybe it's an addiction. I'm definitely addicted to getting outside for some movement every day, whether or not that's for a run, walk, or, as this past week, a nice spin around the fields on my cross country skis.Merriam Webster defines addiction as "the compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine or alcohol), characterized by tolerance and well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal." Generally addictions are to harmful substances, as those listed above, but that description isn't far off in regards to my relationship with running. Certainly when I'm not able to get outside for more than one day, I grow antsy and ready to do anything for a fresh-air cardio workout. Today, after a week of alternative exercise, I was able to hit the snowy roads, and it felt great!Now there's nothing wrong with working towards having a healthier body, of course. The Apostle Paul reminded Timothy that bodily exercise does profit (a little).But more important Paul said, was working on developing our spiritual muscles."For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come" I Tim. 4:8.While reading Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon, a few days ago I came upon something similar. Spurgeon, whom I love so much, was writing about prayer, and he said this: Prayer must not be our chance work, but our daily business, our habit and vocation. As artists give themselves to their models, and poets to their classical pursuits, so must we addict ourselves to prayer. We must be immersed in prayer as in our element, and so pray without ceasing. Lord, teach us so to pray that we may be more and more prevalent in supplication.Woah! I must be addicted to prayer!I'm pretty sure my exercise addition will continue, at least as long as my body holds out. But the addiction I most want to foster is that of daily coming into the presence of the living God, seeking His face, being conformed to His image, and asking for His daily mercies. May I be able to say as David did, "But I give myself to prayer (Psalm 109:4)."Now that's an addiction worth cultivating![...]

Faiths' Christmas Scrappy 9's



Four and a half. That's the number of quilts I finished for Christmas. (The half wasn't really a quilt, but a double-sided fleece blanket that I free motion quilted because I don't much care for the fringe-tied variety.) 

Both my college gals needed some color in their apartments, and what better way to add color and warmth than with a throw quilt?

Here Faith shows her scrappy nine quilt which she took along on our mini-ski trip. I used Amanda Jean (Crazy Mom Quilt's) instructions for her One-a-day 9-patch quilt along, and it was a lot of fun to watch this one develop on my design board. It's made almost entirely from scraps from various projects. Turns out I had lots of teals and pinks. As has become my practice, I backed it with fleece, which makes for the coziest throw quilts. I forgot to get pictures of the quilting before she took it back with her to Purdue, but I used a wavy free motion grid, with a line running across each square. This has become one of my go-to FMQ patterns of late as it is very simple, but adds a sweet texture.

Handmade Christmas: The Elves' Projects 2017


Christmas Day, 2017Christmas this year was a wonderfully happy, delightfully zany whirlwind! All nine of our children, their spouses, and our four grandgirls were able to be home for Christmas, and then after the big day, most of us picked up and drove to northern Michigan for a short ski trip. Such happy, happy times! Tim and I are so thankful for God's many kindnesses to our family throughout this year, and how sweet it was to end with this time of celebrating the first-coming of Christ together.One of the most eagerly awaited parts of our Christmas celebration is "The Draw." This is what we still call the exchange of gifts between our children, though in reality there is no longer anything random about the assignments. Originally "draw" gifts were entirely handmade, but in recent years there is more leeway. So, for example, some gifts this year were not handmade but were things for the recipient to use in making something themselves. It's so much fun to see the creativity and variety of gifts continue to expand as we gain new family members with fresh skills and those of our children grow as well.So what did they come up with this year?Kristen turned a skateboard into a very cool seat for her brother Paul! How perfect for a 17-year old young man!Paul shows Amanda how the music box worksPaul gutted a German Bible (he saved the innards to be rebound), and used the cover as a case for a programmable music box for his sister Amanda.Manda crafted hanging planters for Kristen to use to pot succulents from her wedding decor.Kristen's husband, Ben, came up with a super, novel idea: he wrote a sweet, book, Consider the Raven, for Andrew and Esther's new baby, due in April!Andrew, a long-time model railroad fan, put together a model-making kit which thrilled youngest brother Ben, our only other modeler.Ben went to work in the woodshop to create a gorgeous cutting board and hand-crafted knife for Peter to use in his apartment in Minneapolis.Faith has become very skilled at designing sophisticated snowflakes, so Kara requested a set of snowflakes to use as a garland. Here's just one:Nutcracker snowflake complete with ballerinas, nutcrackers, and more.Esther made these gorgeous earrings for Faith.Kara stitched a set of kitchen towels for Esther using her Instagram phrase, "What is Essie making?"Esther also found some green glassware for Esther to add to her collection. Baby Wegener also received a handmade gift of this sweet sweater knit by Aunt Kara!Collin created a set of walking sticks for the Van Waters to use as they traipse through Georgia with their pooches.Peter, with the idea of giving something to be used in making, gave brother-in-law Collin a beer brewing kit. (Sadly, I missed seeing this one opened, so no photo.)Jonathan, who like Peter lives in a small urban apartment, wasn't able to enter into the handmade draw. Instead, he found unique items for every one of his siblings (and parents) on a visit to India! Here are just a couple.This carved wooden elephant is carrying a baby elephant in utero, and made a perfect gift for sister-in-law, Esther, who is carrying her and Andrew's first baby.pregnant elephantPeter once had a thing for penguins, which Jonathan remembered, so he choose this beautiful set of nesting penguins for his brother.And for his youngest two brothers, Jon brought, in his carry-on-luggage no less, this:Yes - it is a drone!Great job, elves!Past elves' projects:20112012201320142015[...]

Advent Traditions


Traditions are funny things. Often we establish them without even thinking. We do something one year, and then again, and before we know it, it's an annual expectation. Sometimes we borrow a tradition from a friend. Other ideas we take from the internet. And of course many of our traditions we get from our families.This past Thanksgiving my two newly-married children encountered a tradition with their new families that surprised them. Both of them married southerners, and they found that instead of a breadcrumb based stuffing like they were used to, cooks down south serve cornbread dressing. It's made with crumbled cornbread, lots of broth, and eggs. Kristen put together her new family's recipe, and she used a dozen eggs for two pans of dressing. Yes, twelve. Neither of my offspring were impressed with this traditional dish beloved of their in-laws. I'm fairly certain that my new son- and daughter-in-law will feel a similar dismay when they sample my sausage stuffing at Christmas!Christmas is replete with traditions. We sing the same songs, bake the same cookies, attend the same special holiday events, and even watch the same movies -- year after year. Traditions, mindlessly repeated, can become the equivalent of "busywork" which any good teacher seeks to avoid, merely filling time with extraneous activity. But traditions, when built with care, can be helpful things, giving us a structure in which to stop and pause in our busy lives to consider the great works of our God.Gramps reads a traditional Thanksgiving storyNow nowhere in the Bible are we commanded to celebrate Christmas. Yet as we look at the Old Testament we see how God gave His people a number of annual holidays to teach them and cause them to recall what God had done for them. Take Passover, for example. This holiday, which so beautifully looks forward to Christ's work of redemption, was a yearly reminder of God's deliverance from slavery in the land of Egypt. Even today children play an important role as Jewish families sit down to a Passover Seder. The youngest child traditionally asks several questions beginning with, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" This is a reflection Exodus 13:14 which says: “And when in time to come your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' you shall say to him, 'By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of Israel.' ”The Advent season gives us a prime opportunity to remind both ourselves and our children and grandchildren exactly what it means that our Awesome God sent His Son to take on human flesh, humble himself by being born as a baby, and live among us! Psalm 145:4 says: "One generation shall commend Your works to another and shall declare Your mighty acts." Christmas traditions - carefully chosen -- can help us declare God's mighty acts and to help us all to stand in wonder at and worship Immanuel -- God with us!When it comes to specifics, this will look different for everyone depending on family makeup and stage of life. But it really doesn't matter if you are single, a couple with no children, a family with little ones, a family with teens, or an empty nester, because the truth is, all of us can be strengthened in our faith by taking time once a year to focus on the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus. Let me give you five areas which can be helpful as you consider your Christmas patterns.1. Advent Devotions!No tradition has been more important in the Wegener household! When I asked our children what was most important in helping keep the focus on Jesus during this time of year, my kids resoundingly answered, "Advent devotions!"Advent devotions might mean making a Jesse Tree and studying a different part of God's redemptive history each day. (My friend Michal has written an excellent devotional along this lines!) Or you could study the names of Jesus. Or you could make use of an Advent wreath with weekly readings that you supplement during the week. Options abound!The devotional we used for[...]

Soap Making


Chamomile castile soap bars curingBen weighs out lye on our ancient balanceI have a hard time explaining exactly why I find soap making so satisfying. While inquiring about some soap making tools at a craft store recently, the incredulous clerk couldn't help but ask, "Is it really worth making your own soap?"Well, I guess that depends.Does soap making save money? Decidedly no!But is it worth it?I have to say, Yes!Maybe it's the suppressed chemist in me, but there is something super fun about mixing various oils together, heating them to a designated temperature, and then adding a lye solution, watching the saponification reaction begin before your eyes.And when it's finally finished, weeks or even months later, the homemade bars have a lusciousness that store-bought soaps can't approach. It turns out that in commercial soap making, the glycerin that is naturally produced, gets removed to be used in cosmetics. But in a homemade bar, there's plenty of glycerin, and that makes the soap luxuriously moisturizing. For use in the dry winter time, nothing beats a bar of soap made with oils such as olive, coconut, and shea butter.Like making anything from scratch, when you make soap, you, the maker, are the one who controls what goes into it. This year we wanted to make some botanical soaps, so I steeped chamomile and calendula flowers in olive oil.Calendula (left) and chamomile (right) steeping in olive oilAn immersion blender makes the process so much faster!When the mixture thickens enough to "trace" it is ready to pour.We've been using a silicon bread pan as a mold. The wooden frame helps it keep its shape.Calendula petals on soap batter. It will cure for 24-48 hours in the mold, and then be turned out and cut into bars.If you are interested in trying your hand at soap making, you can find some good instructions online. You don't need any fancy equipment other than a couple of scientific thermometers. I used recipes from The Nerdy Farm Wife and Lovely Greens.[...]

Lost --- And Found!


It was the second time he'd lost his wallet in the past couple of months. It didn't have much in it but a bit of cash and his driver's license, but no problem -- most likely he'd left it at a friend's house. Except that it wasn't there. So that night during devotions we prayed he would find it. I have to admit, as I did, I wondered if it was wrong to pray about something so mundane. Does God really care about such simple things as us finding a lost wallet? But more than that, especially as I prayed aloud again the next morning at breakfast, I felt like I was stepping out on a limb. What if God choose not to answer our prayers? Would that somehow diminish my two teen sons' trust in God?Wallet made from a scrap of leather using this free patternThat's not what happened. Because as this son thought about his steps, he remembered somewhere else he could possibly have lost it. It was a public place – a high school gym. So Tim traveled to the school, climbed the bleachers, and there it was! We all rejoiced in God's kindness and thanked Him for this answer to prayer. It seems we've been looking for lost items a good bit around here. Not too long ago our oldest son and daughter-in-law came for the weekend. At church on Sunday morning someone asked her why she wasn't wearing her wedding and engagement rings. Now Esther's rings are not ordinary. No, hers were designed and hand-made by her groom, Andrew. So not only are they lovely, they are completely one-of-a-kind. The engagement ring rests snuggled between two thinner wedding bands, making a triad. She looked in shock at her bare fingers but figured she had simply taken them off at our house. Later, at home, we all looked, but no rings were found. That's alright, we all figured. Almost certainly Esther had left them at her home, probably taking them off not long before they made the trip to Indiana. That night we waited to hear the good news that the rings were found in Ohio. Instead, we learned that the rings were still nowhere to be found. So we redoubled our search efforts here, with the same empty results. Just as we were heading to bed, Andrew called with a new idea. Esther remembered she might have taken off her rings on the way to church as she was putting on makeup. If they had been on her lap, they could have fallen into the parking lot as she got out of the car. OK. So, grabbing some powerful flashlights, Tim, Paul, and I headed back to church. I don't know what they were thinking, but I felt it was a pretty futile exercise. Even if they were there, how would we find tiny rings in a large parking lot in the pitch dark?We did, however, have a pretty good idea where Andrew and Esther had parked. So as we pulled near the area, Tim shone our car headlights that direction. Immediately – SPARKLE! SPARKLE! SPARKLE! Could it really be that simple or was it just something else fooling us? Paul hopped out, walked over to the sparkling area, and picked up three rings. Perfectly intact. As I've been thinking about the lost (and found!) wallet and rings, I can't stop pondering how it is that God loves finding lost objects. One of my very favorite chapters of scripture is Luke 15 which tells the parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son. I really don't think God minds when we pray our simple, needy prayers asking for His helping in finding lost items. Far too many times have I seen Him answer just such prayers. Sometimes soon after praying, a new thought of somewhere to look pops into my mind. Other times, I just “happen” to look somewhere I might already have looked, but there it is. No, He's not some cosmic genie whom we can turn to for divination about missing items. And no, He doesn't always answer such pleas for help finding things with instant success. Nonetheless, I think the Lord Above must take some delight in helping His children find lost articles, as insignificant as these things are in the [...]



Ben (bottom row, middle) and some of his teammatesBen turned 14 this month. He's come a long way from the 3# preemie his older siblings thought looked like E.T. (He had no body fat to smooth his facial features, and he lacked eyebrows and eyelashes for a good while. I still thought he was adorable.)Amanda (6), Kara (17), Jon (10), Andrew (18), Peter (8), Paul (2), Faith (5), Ben (1 month), and Kristen (13)This year Ben, 8th grade, is running cross country with a homeschool team. What an excellent challenge this has been for Ben, causing him to work together with his teammates, stretching to places they didn't imagine they could go. Because the team is small, he competes both in the middle school meets and high school ones.For his birthday I made a quilt in his team colors of black, silver, red, and white. As I pieced it and then backed it with cozy fleece, I envisioned Ben using it to wrap up in after finishing a run in frigid weather. Haha! So far all the meets have been in summery temps. Maybe by the time the championship race rolls around in mid-October? Anyway, he's enjoying it indoors.We're so thankful that fourteen years ago God spared the life of this son. What a joy it is to watch him grow into a young man who fears the Lord!"Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."  - I Samuel 12:24[...]

Solar Eclipse of 2017 -- Monday, August 21


Sun's corona, which can be observed during an eclipsePsalm 19: 1-4The heavens declare the glory of God;And the firmament shows His handiwork.Day unto day utters speech,And night unto night reveals knowledge.There is no speech nor languageWhere their voice is not heard.Their line has gone out through all the earth,And their words to the end of the world.Saturday night three of my friends came out late in the evening so we could watch the Perseid meteor showers from the darkness of my country home.  I hadn't been too excited about going outside at the time I'd normally be curling up with a good book. But, oh, how glad I was that my friends took the initiative to come out! What a show! We saw some stupendous shooting stars -- and more than I have ever seen before. Sunday morning our sermon from Psalm 29 was a perfect exclamation point to our previous night's fireworks, as Pastor Tim reminded us that God has made His glory obvious in all of creation. The heavens indeed declare His glory from day to day!The Perseids are past their peak for this year, but we have an even more amazing astronomical event coming on Monday, August 21 - a total solar eclipse! From our home in Indiana, we're in the greater than 90% coverage zone. Our family, though, plans to head south to Kentucky, assuming the weather looks promising, in order to reach the area of totality. Whether or not you are in the zone of totality, you'll likely be able to see some pretty cool things on Monday. It's super easy to find resources on the web right now about how to view the eclipse, when and where to do so, and what to expect. Here are some I've been looking at:Apologia is offering an excellent free e-book called A Day with Two Dawns. (You'll have to sign up for their newsletter, though you can unsubscribe at any time.) This resource includes a model your children can make to help them understand how the moon blocks the sun's light during an eclipse.This video gives some great tips for safely viewing the eclipse, whether you are in the region of totality or not.Just how is it that the moon, which is 400 times smaller than the sun, is able to "eclipse" the sun perfectly? Read this short article from World magazine to see evidence of God's amazing, creative design work!Here's a neat and simple way to make a pinhole viewer. And this article explains some of the weird things you might see if you are in the path of totality."What is an Eclipse?" - from NASA , written for kids in grade 5-8. Here's hoping for clear skies on Monday!!![...]

Peter's Grad Quilt


Peter, as fifth of our nine children, claims the distinction of being the middle of the middle. From his earliest days this son has brought sunshine and smiles to our lives. As a baby, Peter didn't cry when he woke from a nap, but I'd hear him in his crib laughing to himself. Twenty-two years later he's still at it. He lived at home for a few months this spring, and how fun it was to hear laughing uproariously to himself in his room!Peter has passed on his love of running to his youngest brother, BenIt's a good thing Peter has such a sunny personality, too, because now he's living in the frigid north. In July Peter moved to Minneapolis, MN, where he is now working in Target's corporate headquarters as an accountant.Business School graduation ceremonyBefore he graduated in May, Peter asked if I would make him a quilt for his gift. Of course! And as an ardent Hoosier, he wanted it to reflect the cream and crimson colors of his alma mater. (I threw in the taupe just because, and it's my favorite part of this quilt. Deep cream, maybe?)The pattern is called "Debonaire" and it's available from The Fat Quarter Shop. The original size is for a lap quilt, so I scaled up the blocks from 12" to 16" and added an extra row. I kept the quilting super simple, just using straight diagonal lines to emphasize the movement that way.Hope it keeps him warm way up in the far north![...]

Unleashing my Inner Ms. Frizzle


Atomic symbol earrings on similar fabricThis school year, besides overseeing my two sons still at home, I'll be teaching science to a small class of 5th-6th graders at Cedars Christian School. I'm happy to report that we'll be exploring the two best sciences of all - chemistry and physics!OK, not everyone agrees with this last statement. In my family, we've had some debates about the matter. Some hold firmly to Ernest Rutherford's opinion that "all science is either physics or stamp collecting,"  while others take firm exception.Nonetheless, I'm super excited to be able to help these young ones see God's fingerprints in everything He created and set in place from atomic structure to Newton's laws of motion. Plus I want to introduce them to the joy of investigating physical phenomena. Oh, yes - I hope they come away with a bit more understanding of beginning chemistry and physics!So we'll be doing some fun things like making atomic t-shirts, painting periodic table pillowcases, and making periscopes, along with more ordinary experiments and readings. Hopefully I'll also figure out some fun edible experiments, because what school subject isn't improved upon by some gustatory projects?And then, there's Ms. Frizzle. It seems there's long been a bit of that mad science teacher lurking inside. In the past I've been known to sport DNA earrings and pi(e) day earrings. This summer, along with creating lesson plans, I've been working a bit more on the Friz part of things. I've found some adorable sets of geeky earrings such as the atomic symbol pair above and these Erlenmeyer flasks.I now also have this cute pair of serotonine molecules, and a couple of other sets are still on the way. (The pair I'm planning to wear at Christmas are truly worthy of The Friz!)Then there's the fabric. Cute, no?Water moleculesThese are all from a line called "Geekery," and I found them at a discount online store called Quilt Fabric Deals.I bought enough of the purple H2O to make a skirt, but I only have half-yard cuts of the rest. What will I make with those? A purse? Notebook covers? Who knows?! Guess I'll have to wait for inspiration to strike![...]

Family Stories


Who wants to read about someone else's ancestors? Probably not many of us. So my apologies to any of you who aren't my offspring!Dear sons and daughters,Last weekend I was able to drop in on part of the Mabel and Rutherford Laughlin reunion, and I learned so many stories that I wanted to share with you! In looking back into our family heritage I can see both some wonderful examples of godly forerunners and also some traits and sin-tendencies that we still fight against.Mabel and Rutherford were my great-grandparents, and I only have vague memories of them in their last years. Mabel was Grandmother Ellis's mother, and she is the one who pieced the two quilts that are in Amanda's room. But I'll tell you more about them later.When I was growing up, I didn't pay all that much attention to the various stories my mom told of her Greene County relatives. But as I've gotten older, these men and women from past generations have become more interesting to me. Hearing some of their stories this weekend helped bring them to life, and I wanted to share with you some of the things I learned.The man in the picture above was the Reverend James Ingles, and he was the family patriarch. He  is my great-great-great-grandfather. Even though he died a dozen years before Grandmother Ellis was born, he figured large in her life, and even in my mom's, and I heard bits and pieces about him as I grew up. Now that I've learned more about him, I'm understanding why.James Ingles was born in Beaver County in western Pennsylvania on Sept. 10, 1821. That was the year that James Monroe began his second term as president. (He was the fifth president of the U.S.) Soon after, the Ingles family moved about 100 miles west to Millersburg, OH. The Ingles' family originally hailed from Scotland (the original one), and they were good Presbyterians. So when it was time for James to go to college, he set off for Franklin College in New Athens, OH.Franklin College, New Athens, OHThis school had been started by an abolitionist Presbyterian minister in 1818 "to instill religious and abolitionist beliefs in the students." During most of its history, only a few dozen students attended at a time, but a bunch of future politicians ended up coming out of this place. James Ingles graduated in 1845, and then he headed to the theological seminary at Cannonsburg, PA to train for the pastorate. This reformed seminary had been started to prepare American pastors so Presbyterian churches would not have to be dependent on pastors trained in Scotland.After seminary James taught for four years at Antioch College, somewhere in North Carolina. (Names change over time, making tracking down old institutions difficult.) He was said to love study, as part of his obituary from 1902 records:His scholarship was broad and deep and was a source of great comfort to him. He was a master of the Greek, Latin and Hebrew languages, was recognized as authority on many subjects and so extensive was his general knowledge that he was known as the “walking encyclopedia.”Next James became pastor of the United Presbyterian Church in Freeport, Illinois where he served for four years.By this time James was 35 and still single! But he had previously fallen in love with the young Martha Black, who reportedly had been a student of his when she was 17. Her family was one of wealth, and maybe they didn't quite approve of the match, because the marriage didn't take place until Martha was 24 years old. Yes - this is a theme that seems to recur in every generation in my mother's family - parental disapproval of a marriage. Yet each time the star-crossed lovers eventually have their way, and end up marrying. (Sometimes they have to go to the extreme of running away with the groom's father - a preacher - in tow! But you already know that st[...]

Mr. and Mrs. VW!


In May we celebrated the marriage of our second daughter, Kristen, to Benjamin VW!(Having a Ben in our family already, we've had numerous debates as to what to call Kristen's husband. "V-Dubs" seems to have won out over other options.)What a lovely day it was, despite the rain showers that came and went!There's no question about it - it takes a lot more to pull of a daughter's wedding than a son's! But the one thing that kept recurring to me throughout the entire process was gratitu for the involvement of others in Kristen's and Ben's lives, not just at the wedding itself, but going back to the time of their long-distance romance and even before that.So our joy over Kristen and Ben's marriage was made so much the sweeter by sharing it with so many of these friends and extended family!Here are some glimpses of some of these special ones:Two of Kristen's nurse friends were just tireless.Emily and Kristen met on a trip to Thailand with our online school about ten years ago and have kept in contact via phone and periodic visits. They've shared their lives during high school years, nursing school in two far flung states, and now as newly married ladies. A few days before the wedding, Emily arrived from Mississippi, and she was amazing! Wedding decorations? No problem! Help needed with flower arrangements? Sure thing! Reception set-up? Covered! We all fell in love with Emily and were so thankful she could be here while her husband had to be away for flight school. Happily, these two lovely ladies now live only a few hours apart, far better than the New Mexico-Indiana difference of their teen years!Heidi and Kristen worked together for a couple of years at our local hospital before Kristen moved to Cincinnati. When we needed a florist at the last minute, Kristen remembered that Heidi ran a florist shop before becoming a nurse, and she was delighted to be asked to step in with the flowers! She and her daughter did an amazing job with the bouquets and cake flowers!And the cake!!! This lovely and delicious cake was made our friend Cindy.Two other very special and busy ladies, Jenna and Katie, made time to serve as Kristen's photographers.Siblings preparing the succulents for table decorationsOther friends helped us with decorating, keeping us on task (thank you, Kate!), and serving cake and ice cream at the reception.Here, then, are a few more pictures from the day.Ben gets readyA little rain didn't dampen these bridesmaids' spirits Siblings! (Faith, Amanda, Ben, Jonathan, Kristen, Andrew, Paul, Kara, Peter)FamilyMore Family!Mr. and Mrs. V.W.![...]

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime: A Quilt Finish


Stepping off the front porch to pick some fresh fruit for breakfast is one of my favorite simple summer pleasures. Raspberry and blueberry bushes line the front of our house, with more bushes in the backyard. The raspberries have been producing for several weeks, but the blueberries are just coming on. Nothing beats some just-picked berries in a bowl of oatmeal, a cup of yogurt, or hot muffins or scones.Our nectarine tree was looking really promising this year, but alas, all the fruit disappeared one night, almost certainly thanks to a 'coon. The same thing happened with our cherries, though we were able to collect a bowlful of the first to ripen before the varmint discovered them one night.Inspired by these and other lovely summer fruits, I made a wild and crazy summer quilt I've called "Fruit Salad."Fruit Salad quiltThe pattern is called Summer Slice, and it's available free from Cluck, Cluck, Sew. (Yes - this is the third pattern I've used from that site! I really like Allison Harris's simple, modern, and fun style!)Since there's such a riot of color, I kept the quilting simple with a basic all-over meander pattern. Once it was washed, it took on a lovely, crinkly texture. All the fabrics were left from other projects, especially my granddaughter's Christmas jackets (featured here and here), so the only thing I had to buy was the backing.  As I've been doing recently for throw quilts, I again used a non-pill fleece for the backing. This options is less expensive than batting and fabric, but yields a wonderfully cozy quilt, just right for snuggling under, say on a wet, cool summer evening.[...]

26 Years of Homeschooling: Then and Now


Our first schoolroom (Also the dining room)Wowza! Tim and I have now been homeschooling for more than a quarter of a century. Yes, that means we are getting old, but we still have a few more years to go. (Five to be exact. And yes, we are definitely counting!)Our family, homeschooling, and the world in general have undergone enormous changes in these 26 years. It's been kind of fun to reminisce about they way things were then and now. Here are some of the things I've been remembering.1990-1991  vs. 2016-2017 school years THEN - U.S.President George H. W. Bush was in the second year of his presidency. He had only recently succeeded Ronald Regan.NOW - U.S.Donald Trump rather unexpectedly defeated Hilary Clinton and is serving the first year of his presidency. What a crazy ride it has been already! Trying to steady the ship is Vice President, Mike Pence. THEN - WorldEast and West Germany reunited a few days after we started school in August.NOW - WorldLast summer Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. ISIS threatens security in the West. Syria continues to disintegrate. Venezuela is collapsing.Baby Kristen loved just hanging out near the school actionTHEN - Our familyWe had three children: 5, 4, baby, and we lived in a little house tucked into a small mountain cove in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina. Our kids liked to wander up the mountain and play in the little rill that ran down it. We met many snakes, but never any black bears, though some did roam the mountains.NOW - Our familyThis year we had only two children at home: 16 and 13. (Plus three in college and four adult children). We've made our home on a farm in southern Indiana for the past couple of decades. No bears around here, but plenty of turkey and deer. Some things don't change: Ben, our youngest, still spends plenty of time exploring the creek in our front yard.THEN - TechnologyTim had an IBM clone that ran DOS, and I didn't yet have a computer. We were a couple of years away from hooking into email and the internet via AOL. When I needed to make copies, I ran to Kinkos or the church office where Tim worked. Our kids loved to listen to music and stories on cassette tapes. That was the extent of our technology!Paul's life improved  immensely whenwe bought headphones long enoughto allow him to attend his algebra IIonline class and still reachthe fridgeNOW - TechnologyI think we have four computers running in the house now plus a couple of tablets. I don't know if we would have been able to homeschool through high school without all the resources made available by the internet these past years. Most importantly, we rely fairly heavily on The Potter's School for wonderful, live classes as our children hit junior and senior high, especially for English classes. Add to that Google research, online purchasing of books and supplies, and the ability to find help and inspiration from others in forums and social media, and the way we homeschool in 2017  looks so very different from 1990!THEN - Homeschool curriculaWhen we started homeschooling, I gathered catalogs from just about every homeschool supplier. This wasn't hard to do back then, as the number of people selling materials to homeschoolers was very, very limited. Finding material was sometimes difficult, but making curriculum decisions thus was pretty easy. You didn't have to decide if you preferred Charlotte Mason, Classical, eclectic, traditional, or unschooling. Most of those terms didn't really exist, or at least weren't known by most of us trying to teach our kids. Early homeschoolers generally fell into the "school at home" camp or the "anything but school at home." (I.e. unit studies, living books, etc.) For our first many ye[...]

Peruvian Village Quilt


I'm partial to house quilts, so when I saw the Suburbs pattern by Allison Harris from Cluck Cluck Sew, I fell for it immediately. But instead of an American suburb, I wondered if I could instead create a Peruvian-inspired village and make something for Ben and Kristen to use in their new home. (Their wedding is in one week!)Night in Ollantaytambo throw quiltKristen and I took a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Peru back in September before she and Ben were engaged. Even then, though, I knew our days for such a mother-daughter trip were limited, which made it extra special. (You can read about our travels here, here, here, here, here, and here.)Ollantaybambo is the Andean village that we made home for the bulk of our trip. We loved this ancient place which spills down a mountainside! Not all the houses in town were not quite as colorful as the ones in my quilt version, but some definitely leaned toward warm pastels. To guide my fabric selections for the quilt, I made an inspiration board with photos from our trip.Here's the view we had from outside the apartment we stayed in.Ollantaytambo Before we arrived in the Andes we had spent about 24 hours in Lima. Rather than take in typical tourist attractions in the capital city, we (mostly accidentally) lodged at a small Peruvian hotel off the beaten path in a commercial/residential area. From our hotel base, we took numerous walks in the surrounding neighborhoods filled with little parks, houses, and small shopping areas. It was lovely! Among other things, we were impressed with the beautiful, ornate garage doors on the houses. Clearly these doors were handcrafted, not picked up from the local Garages Doors Plus dealer!Typical Lima house with beautiful doorAs an homage to the Liman door artistry, I quilted a wide variety of designs on the village house doors.It's hard to see, but this door has a wood grain pattern.And because I hope Kristen and Ben will enjoy snuggling under this quilt, I backed it with cozy fleece. I quilted clouds in the sky area and a simple double loop pattern in the white space. Even in Atlanta, it will sometimes get cold enough to want something warm to wrap up with, right?[...]

Graduation/ Wedding/ Mother's Day Mashup


With a passel of kids, it seems that major life events often come right on top of one another. Take this weekend, for example.First, Peter graduated from IU's Kelley School of Business!How wonderful to see God's grace in Peter's life these past four years! Somehow Peter managed a triple major (accounting, business analytics, and technology management) while working every semester. Peter also ran cross country and track with the IU Run Club and was active in our church's college group, ClearNote Campus Fellowship (CNCF.)We are so thankful for God's faithfulness to Peter, helping this young man grow in godliness while gaining accounting skills and other business knowledge.Peter will be moving to Minneapolis in July to join Target's accounting department. (P.S. If you have any recommendations for a good church in Minneapolis, please drop me a note! Peter's doing research, but we'd love some personal input.)Events so often come in bunches! Sometimes it has been the strangeness of having joyful events as the same time as anxiety or even grief. Like when two of our kids graduated from college the same week a younger brother and their grandfather were hospitalized. Or the year when a family member took her life and a grandfather died in the busy days before a daughter's weddingBut this year, our other events of this mashup weekend were happy ones!On Saturday, while Tim was at Peter's actual graduation, I was hosting a bridal shower for Kristen. (Peter wasn't originally going to go through the mass ceremony, as the important part for him was a business school ceremony the night before. Several of us were able to be at that more personal event.)What joy to share this special time with ladies from our church who have known and loved Kristen through the years! Oldest sister, Kara, shared a wonderful devotional with biblical and practical advice about how to love your husband, forgive quickly, and serve as his helpmate.And finally, because eight of our kids were here this weekend, they planned an early Mother's Day surprise. After the big events on Saturday were finished, Tim told me we were going for a walk on a trail in a neighboring town. I was tired! Still, I took him up on it without suspicion. He'd been asked, you see, to get me out of the house for a while.And here's what I saw when we came home!Seven gorgeous hanging flower baskets now fill all the slots on my porch!I'm pretty sure our family isn't unique in having plenty of mashup times where so many different things take place at once, our heads are spinning. Most likely, you have those times as well. Though sometimes I'd like to slow the world down and take things one at a time, that's not what God has purposed for me. I'm so very thankful for His presence and grace for each day, no matter what that day brings.Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.  Psalm 55: 22 \[...]

Testing 1,2,3...


These are some of the rowdies who kept our schooldays lively.
Today these are my three college students.

Many states require homeschoolers to take standardized tests. Happily, Indiana is not one of those states. Nonetheless, for a variety of reasons, since our oldest was in first grade, every other spring we've chosen to have our 1st-8th grade children take some type of standardized test. We've used both the Stanford Achievement Test and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

I've always dreaded testing years. When we had many children at home it was a logistical nightmare. Would we combine with several other families? Send the kids to a Christian school for testing? Test only our own children at home? (We've done all of these.) Somewhere along the way I became an official test administrator of both the Stanford and the Iowa test. And of course the big question - how to keep the little ones quiet and out of the way while I was administering tests to older siblings? (Answer: Grandparents!)

This year we're down to only one student needing to be tested, but almost accidentally, I stumbled on a painless way of testing! (Painless for me, at least. I'm not sure Ben would completely agree.) Oh, how I wish this had been available back when I had a houseful of rambunctious little people.  

What's this new method? Online testing, of course.

Brewer Testing Services offers a variety of test which can be taken either on paper or online. I chose to have Ben take the Stanford Achievement Test in the online format. The tests ran for three hours on each of two days. We picked the consecutive days and start time, and Mrs. Brewer, who holds a master's degree in Education in Curriculum and Instruction, administered the tests remotely. The whole process was flawless, and we received Ben's complete results in less than half an hour after he finished the final test.

The online test cost $40, which is about what it would have cost for me to administer the Iowa Test and send it in for grading.

PROS: Super easy to set up! Speedy turn-around on test results. Quick communication from the Brewers concerning any questions. Inexpensive. No requirements or training for parent. More time efficient than paper testing. Stanford Online is available for grades 3-8.

CONS: Some research suggests that children perform better on paper tests than on computer tests.

Spring Sewing


Spring flowers table runnerIn May we'll be celebrating a wedding of a daughter (!) and the college graduation of a son! Much of my sewing time lately has gone to working on two surprises for those life-change events.But who wants to work on two projects when she can squeeze in a couple more?So, in between blocks for the two big projects, I've made a few spring-like little items to brighten our home.The flower table runner is made from a slight alteration to this table topper from Cluck Cluck Sew.But then, piecing those corners of the flowers left me with some extra half square triangles. Tiny half square triangles. So I decided to make a little fabric box. Those tend to come in handy for various things. It's the second time I've used this tutorial, and this time I made one change. In addition to using batting, I also adhered a thin layer of interfacing to both the outer basket and to the lining pieces. Voila! This little basket holds its shape so much better than the one I did before.And finally, here's a larger basket I made. I planned to use at the rehearsal dinner for wedding #1, only to decide it wouldn't fit the bill after all. Instead, it has found its purpose as my devotions basket. In it goes my index card box with my prayer cards, my file of memory verse cards, and a small Bible. Most days I spend my prayer time in a little-used bedroom (she's away at college) where I have this view of one of our crop fields. (It's still too early for our farmer to have planted anything yet.)This divided basket pattern is available from Noodlehead for $7. I've made a number of these for others, and I love this pattern! It works great to hold diapers and changing supplies, but it's versatile enough to work in many different situations. [...]

A Praying Mother


Several of my offspring, including my sweet new DIL,threw a surprise birthday picnic for me this weekend!Near the end of his life, the Old Testament prophet and judge Samuel spoke to his people. They had rebelliously asked God for a king, rejecting the Lord as their Ruler. Realizing some of the enormity of their sin, the people asked Samuel to pray for them. Here's how he responded:Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.” (I Sam 12: 23-25)I often remind myself of this passage which I think gives an example to fathers and mothers as well as other leaders. As a mother, two of my chief duties are to diligently instruct my sons and my daughters and to faithfully pray for them.But do you ever wonder kind of impact your prayers and teaching are having? Do you sometimes grow weary in the hard work of mothering, especially in the work of spiritually training and praying for your children?Tim Challies is currently writing a weekly series called "Christian Men and their Godly Mothers." He'll be posting a new article each Saturday. Start here with the introduction to the series.Then read about Elizabeth Newton, a frail mother who died before her son was seven, yet left him with a spiritual legacy that lasted his lifetime.Next you can read Amelia Taylor, mother of Hudson Taylor, who wrestled with God for the salvation of her wayward teenage son until God beautifully answered her prayers.Even though I was familiar with these famous men, and to some extent their mothers, these stories  encouraged me. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series![...]

A Good Thing! (Really, really good!)


A week ago we had the great joy of witnessing the marriage vows of our oldest son Andrew to his beloved bride, Esther. The wedding took place in east Texas, which is absolutely lovely at this time of the year! Arriving in Texas a few days before the wedding, we were able to take in a bit of Nacogdoches, including the beautiful arboretum and magnolia gardens at Esther's alma mater, Stephen F. Austin State University.Eliza, Jenny, Laurel, and Annie (granddaughters)Amanda, Ben, Faith, Peter, and PaulOur trip was a whirlwind, but one filled with continual reasons to overflow with gratitude to God for His many blessings. We were so thankful to be able to meet Esther's family and her church family, and to spend those days surrounded by all our children and granddaughters.Jonathan and Peter were two of Andrew's groomsmenBut the sweetest of all, of course, was the beautiful wedding. For his sermon text, Esther's pastor choose Proverbs 18:22 which says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." Tears began to flow because this is the verse I've been praying for years for Andrew. Andrew and Esther have waited many years for each other, and I can't begin to describe the joy it is to watch both of them delight in each other, thankful to the Lord for bringing them together. I don't think either one ever stopped smiling! Except when they were kissing...Oh no! Don't look!My very dear friends, Mary Lee, Rachel, and Beth braved the 14 hour drive to be at the wedding!As Andrew and Esther left the church, we formed a double line to toss colored confetti. My children took advantage of this to send them off in style. Amanda and Paul were ready!Andrew's groomsman and oldest friend, Nathan, made this priceless video of the send-off. He aptly calls it "Revenge of the Siblings." Kristen (in the blue dress at the end) will be getting married in two months, so we'll see if her exuberance in dousing the bridal couple was wise or not. ;) allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" width="560">[...]

More on Math Facts


I had to use a tutorial to figure out how to sew linings on threelittle flower girl dressesMaybe you'd like to paint your bathroom cabinets, sew a baby quilt, or learn how to make one of those snazzy Nutella spiral breads. Most likely your first step will be to search Pinterest for a tutorial. Not long ago I wrote an introductory post about learning math facts. As I mentioned, some kids master math facts almost effortlessly. But for others, more work is required - both from them, and from their parents and/or teachers.  What I've wanted to do for some time is write a tutorial for teaching these kids addition and multiplication facts. But writing any kind of tutorial is time-consuming. And with the first part of 2017 filled with wedding preparations for two of our kids, free time has been in short supply. Happily, I've found an excellent addition math facts tutorial written by Kate Snow, a homeschool mom who has a math ed background.   "Everything You Need to Know to Teach Your Child the Addition Facts" is the best explanation I've seen of an approach that introduces and teaches addition in a common-sense, logical manner.More than any other strategy, pay attention to step 1 - "Break it Up." Instead of expecting your child to learn all the math facts at once, teach +1 and practice those facts. Then teach +2. Then work on numbers that add up to 10. And so on.Here let me add a couple of tools that will augment this. Print out a blank addition table like this one. Fill out the chart - but color code the various sets of facts by writing the numbers with colored pencils or markers. For example, the +1 and +2 problems could be blue and the "adding to 10" facts could be red.Then, mark the facts that your child has mastered by shading those facts in. If he already knows +1 and +2, let him shade over all those boxes. Phew! Instantly the amount of facts she needs to learn looks less daunting! Each time he conquers a new set of facts, color in the boxes.Next, make a set of triangle flashcards - with a twist. The twist is that you will use the same color code for these facts as you used on the chart. As you use these cards to drill, they will remind your child of the strategy for solving. I used manilla file folders for a set of sturdy flashcards that stood up through many children. Here's one *tutorial* for making triangle flashcards for multiplication and division facts. (I prefer mine to have rounded edges instead of the sharp ones shown here.) Of course, addition/subtraction cards are made in the same way. Just remember to color code them.Mrs. Snow has numerous other helpful articles and resources. Check our "A Parent's Guide to the Most Useful Addition Strategies."   You might want to sign up for Kate's weekly newsletter, too. If you do, you'll get these three articles:Should I Change My Homeschool Math Curriculum?What to do When Your Homeschooler HATES MathHow to Teach Your Kids to Read Math (and Be More Independent, Too!) Hurray! Now I can continue working on getting my family ready for wedding #1 this weekend in Texas![...]

When Learning is Hard


On my design boardSuppose, for example, you have a high schooler who tells you that stoichiometry makes no sense and must be done by voodoo, but you, who happen to have a degree in chemistry, think stoichiometry makes complete sense, so you proceed to tell him how very simple it is, not to mention fun. It's like Sudoku! Or Kenken! you tell him exuberantly. Until you remember that for some strange reason he takes no pleasure in math puzzles either. And then you seem to recall, neither fairly or accurately, that none of his seven older siblings had difficulty with stoichiometry, so what's his problem, anyway?Yes - something along these lines was going on in my head last week as I worked with a bewildered son who did make some comparison between stoichiometry and voodoo. And I might have said something about how simple it really is.At that point it became clear I needed to step back and reevaluate. Was the problem a lack of effort on his part? Well, yes, to some extent. But not entirely. (And his father spent some time addressing this!) But as I reflected, I realized I had done a poor job teaching this and some other chemistry concepts, flying through material which seems so obvious to me. So instead of pressing on, we backtracked to the point at which my son had become confused and spent a couple of days working through foundational material.Phew. I think it's starting to come together now for him. Though yes, he still needs to apply himself thoroughly to conquer this subject for which he holds little love.Why am I telling this story?Because similar scenarios happen routinely in homeschools. Sometimes kids inhale knowledge and rapidly move on to the next level. Other times you watch a child go over the same material day after day, and you wonder if he will ever catch on. I had one child who learned to read before he was four and another who needed a year of intensive phonics at age eight to help him break the code.When a child struggles to learn, there can be all sorts of reasons, including these:- Maybe he just needs a bit more time or maturity- Maybe he's not working hard enough- Maybe he has some kind of processing difficulty- Maybe the teacher did an inadequate job teaching the material in the first place- Or maybe there is some combination of several of theseIf one of your children is struggling with math facts, chemistry, reading, spelling, or something else, pause and reevaluate. Do some analysis and try to discern what is going on. Sometimes you can put the difficult material on hold for a while. Often my beginning readers would hit a plateau and need to park at a certain place for a while. Rather than hurrying through their reading program, I'd just find reading material on that level for a while without trying to introduce anything new.Frequently, though, you'll need to try to figure out what is causing a roadblock. In the case of my son and chemistry, I had to find out the point at which he had gotten lost. After going back to that spot and making sure he understood some concepts from a previous chapter, he was ready to move forward. If you have a child struggling with math, often you can best help by finding a different way to present the material.I have some suggestions (and some helpful links) specifically about teaching math facts for a future post, but here's one final thought about learning difficulties.Struggle is a natural part of learning. Some kids struggle more than others, but all of them will butt their heads against some part of their [...]

Just the Facts, Ma'am!


Did you know there's a controversy about how children should learn basic math facts? Some say kids should learn addition and multiplication tables through repetitive drill. Others feel they will absorb this information by osmosis as they solve problems. And still others think the answer lies somewhere betwixt these two.Here's the part everyone agrees on: all kids need to (eventually) learn basic addition and multiplication facts.Here's what folks disagree about: WHEN and HOW and TO WHAT EXTENT this should happen.Math wars rage between progressives who favor "discovery learning" and  "arithmetical fundamentalists" (don't you love that!) who see a good bit of value in repetition and, yes, drill. Stanford math education professor Jo Boaler, author of a paper called "Fluency without Fear," argues for a deemphasis on memorization and drill:While research shows that knowledge of math facts is important, Boaler said the best way for students to know math facts is by using them regularly and developing understanding of numerical relations. Memorization, speed and test pressure can be damaging, she added. (Learn Math Without Fear)Others disagree with this idea.One critic of the [Canadian] government’s adoption of “discovery-based learning,” Ken Porteous, a retired engineering professor, put it bluntly: “There is nothing to discover. The tried and true methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division work just fine as they have for centuries. There is no benefit and in fact a huge downside to students being asked to discover other methods of performing these operations and picking the one which they like. This just leads to confusion which ultimately translates into frustration, a strong dislike for mathematics and a desire to drop out of any form of mathematics course at the earliest opportunity.”  (Math Wars)Which philosophy do I subscribe to? Both, actually. Of course I want my children to "develop understanding of numerical relations," and thus my young children spent a good bit of time in math play. Messing around with Cuisinaire rods, for example, helps develop a sense that 5+3=8 without hardly thinking about it. They just knew that a yellow rod and a light green one are the same length as a brown rod. And playing math games with preschoolers and primary aged children also goes a long way towards painless acquisition of math facts.BUT - drill with triangle flashcards, wrap-ups, and Calculadder sheets, and even computer games was also an essential part of each one of my children's early math education.Because no matter which approach you (or your child's school) takes, the reality is that by about fourth grade, children who don't have their facts mastered start falling behind. Counting on fingers may be just fine for first graders, but by the time kids are doing long-division, that won't cut it. And no, calculators aren't the answer. Kids need enough proficiency with arithmetic to determine if their calculators answers are even in the ballpark.  (And did you know that calculators are banned from certain sections of college admission tests and even from a number of college math courses including many calc classes?)Some kids absorb math facts very readily and need little drill. For others, learning the addition and multiplication tables is painful! I've had children who feel into both categories. Recently I've had questions from a couple of moms about what to do when a child struggles more than h[...]

Job's Tears - longest WIP ever


Long, long ago, back when I had only three children, I started a quilt called Job's Tears. It was a beautiful pattern, but for many reasons, I was unable to bring it to completion. (Like six more children! And all those curves made this pattern an overly ambitious design for this young quilter.) So the completed patches and the remaining fabric languished in a plastic container for a decade. And another. And half of another.

Fast forward to a new phase of life. While those nine children still give me plenty to do, time for sewing is happening once more. So this summer out from the box came this quilt which I wanted to finish for a Christmas gift.

The fabrics are unlike those being sold today. In general, I'm moving in a more modern direction, but I still like the vintage feel of these. It was hard to find border and binding fabrics that would look right, though! Even the colors being produced these days are different from those 25 years ago.

So I finished up the blocks, added some borders, worked and reworked those wedges for the corners, and then quilted it using my new Juki TL 2010-q. That new machine makes quilting large quilts so much easier! I even tried a feather border pattern in the outer white border.

About the time I was putting the finishing touches on this quilt, I happened to be reading through the book of Job. This has always been a difficult book of the Bible for me. As a younger woman I found it hard to get past the fact that all of Job's ten children were killed. All his CHILDREN! ALL his children! I'd think, even as I made my way through to the end. In more recent years I read with a growing frustration at the "advice" from Job's three older friends.

For some reason this time it was different. First, maybe because I happened to be reading a different translation than normal, or just because I'm older, I noticed and loved the poetry. But more than that, the theme of the book shouted: God is GOD! This message shows through Job himself, through the words of his young friend, Elihu, and then most especially through God's response to Job. Yes, indeed! God is God! (And I am not!) I may not always understand His ways, but I know He is sovereign and His ways are good and righteous!

Finally, tonight I found a song called "God is God" by Stephen Curtis Chapman which beautifully expresses this truth. HE is God! All praise be to Him!

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And more jackets!


Before Christmas I put up a few pictures of the first two quilted jackets I made for our oldest grandgirls. It was a rush to the finish, but I did complete the last two just in time to turn my sewing room back into a bedroom before the onslaught of children, grands, and dogs arrived.

Here's the one I made for Jenny, our little red-headed orange lover:

Toddler Eliza adores animals of all kinds. So this is what I designed for her:

Both front panels are big-stitch quilted, which goes oh so fast! Eliza's animals are paper pieced. Here's one up-close:

Phew! I think I'm done with quilted jackets for a while. Maybe until we have some more little people join the family?