Monday, March 21, 2011

And so it begins...

...the ever present school work hung on the fridge to show Daddy when he gets home from work.

Today we practiced drawing A's. Samuel just traced the ones I'd drawn on his page, but Kenneth tried a whole row all by himself. I thought he did a very good job! After that, we drew 1's. By then two little boys were getting wiggly, so we took a break to go clean up their bedroom before walking around the house finding things that started with an "Aaaa" sound. We found apples, and afghans, and an atlas, among other things. We also thought about farm related words. The boys very quickly came up with Agco, and AgCredit, and Axle.

Our Bible class for the day comprised of practicing our "A" verse. We are going to work our way through the ABC Memory Book. This is our second week on the "A" verse, and both boys recited it word perfect. We are also learning the hymn "Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us", to go along with the verse. They are doing well, and almost have the first verse memorized.

Our field trip today will include a trip to the library. The boys want to find books about sheep. And their latest fascination - submarines. I have another list of books I want to look for to fill reading time this week.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Recently I read a book called, One Thousand Gifts. Rarely do I read Christian "self help" kind of books. Most of them seem too "if you do this system, God will bless you" kind of books. I decided to give this one a try, given the fact that I just felt the need for a little boost in my spiritual life. This was written by a farmer's wife. How could it be not good, right?
Never have a read a book that has convicted me so much. I cried while reading this book more than I have ever cried with a book in hand. Even the most emotional novel hasn't evoke this need for a tissue box handy! God used this little 227 page book to convict my heart. And slowly my stubborn, unthankful self is beginning to grow again. I am choosing to look for grace in the little moments. The times when it isn't quite so apparent. This little portion of the book, on page 59, has been on my mind since reading it. I even highlighted it:
When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let the joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us? The clouds open when we mouth thanks....Something always comes to fill the empty places. And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me. This, this, makes me full, and I "magnify him with thanksgiving" (Ps. 69:30), and God enters the world. What will a life magnify? The world's stress cracks, the grubbiness of the day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God? Never is God's omnipotence and omniscience diminutive. God is not in need of magnifying by us so small, but the reverse. It's our lives that are little and we have falsely inflated self, and in thanks we decrease and the world returns right. I say thanks and I swell with Him, and I swell the world and He stirs me, joy all afoot.
 Last night I was reading Psalm 97. The last verse of the chapter says something about giving thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. The word "remembrance" means "a memorial". Our thanksgiving should be a memorial to our God.
I have known all this and been taught all this from the time I can remember. Lots of sermons on thanksgiving, "give thanks in all things", etc, etc. But somehow, God's using right now to let me really start understanding it.
It's made it possible for me to be quiet in the midst of little boys screaming at one another, finding the thing to be thankful for in that moment, and then address the boys with the right spirit. The times when I am tired and my nerves are unraveling, and supper is late, and Jonathan is grouchy, and the house is a mess - even in those moments, I can give thanks.
I still fail more often than not, but each time I open myself to grace, I am awed by the peace that comes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Little Moments...

...of my little people.

Heidi never cries. Well, practically never. When she actually does get upset, I can't help myself. I drop whatever I am doing to snuggle her, because she sounds so absolutely pathetic. Unless, of course, it's when she has to get out of the bathtub - then I usually laugh at her. She LOVES baths - and HATES to get out! Often she will get quite mad about the fact that I lifted her out of the water. This was one such occasion:
Of course, not long afterward, she was warm and dry, and looked like this:
A MUCH more normal mood for her! I'm grateful for my cheerful little gal!

Here is some cuteness named Samuel:
And finally, my Kenneth. My serious, focused little Kenneth. He wants to be a man so badly!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Happy Monday

4 years between face to face visits with a kindred spirit is far, far too long. The distance between our homes is much too great!! But I cherished every second of our visit with Jeremy and Rachel on Monday.
Sam's hands got cold - Jeremy's big gloves helped!
the boys watching Jeremy edit the wedding video
Rachel gets to love on her own baby in about 22 more weeks!
Jeremy practicing his Daddy skills...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The rains came down...

We have been a little busy here at the Baker house the last week and a half. After getting home late from visiting my family on Sunday, February 27th, I went downstairs about 11PM to toss a load of clothes in the washer. I thought I'd be smart and get a head start on Monday's housework. Turns out, we had a LOT of "housework" to do the following week. And it did NOT include a piece of laundry until Wednesday - when the washer and dryer were dried out.
The water had just begun to creep in when I went downstairs, so we were able to get everything up off the floor that could have been ruined by the water. We are still wondering why our house wasn't built with a sump pump...
Jonathan went downstairs a couple times during the night to check on things. I told him there was nothing that could be done, so why keep getting up. But that probably had something to do with the protector male instinct or something.
 By 6AM we had 6 inches of water through the whole basement. About 7AM he called a man from our church who lives a couple miles from us. He always seems to have just the right tool for getting out of a jam, and he kindly brought us a sump pump and hose long enough to put way out to the driveway.
By lunch time the water was gone. But the MUD remained. And so we began the work of using the pressure washer and squeegee throughout the entire basement. That is the blessing that came disguised as flood waters - we now have a VERY clean basement!

Knowing that it was supposed to rain just as hard the following weekend spurred us on to breaking up concrete and installing a sump pit. Jonathan did the concrete demolition. He is still sore. I helped dig the hole and carry buckets of mud and gravel up from the basement. Amazingly, I never did get sore. Jonathan did the installation of the pit liner, pump, and all the pipe to run the water out of the house. And then he did one more washing of the floor and wiped down the laundry tables, appliances, etc, to get it good and clean downstairs. He's awesome. We will watch the sump area for a couple weeks before we cement around it. Til then we'll just put a cover over the whole spot so I don't drop laundry down into it. Which I am sure would happen.