Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Friends

Yesterday, we were pleased to find out that our new friends, the Servens, whom I mentioned in a previous post (and Jim Bob mentioned, too), posted a very sweet blog about... well... us.

Their post is entitled, "New Friends" and it is all about our time with them when they were here for the conference a few weeks ago. What a sweet aroma to Christ and His bride the Servens are!

Here are a few pictures that we took that same day:

The Serven Clan visits the Treehouse

A Serven Adios™
Notice the hands waving below tinted push-out windows

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Dress

Have you ever had the joy of making a dress for your daughter? I have and here are the pictures of my sweet dd#1 in her dress. (I got this pattern from Sense and Sensibility Patterns some months ago and actually finished the dress about the middle of last month. It's a Regency Era gown.)

The proud owner of the dress with her proud Mommy!

I prayed for this child. I prayed hard. I wanted a daughter so badly. Don't get me wrong, I love my boys dearly and I am very grateful for them. It's just that a daughter fills a place in a woman's heart that is so empty until that first daughter arrives. My Lord found it pleasing to Him to grant me that special blessing of a daughter and now I have the joy of passing on my love, training in the womanly arts, and faith on to her.

But God didn't stop there. He was so gracious as to bless me with a second daughter last year. I am thrilled to see my little ladies loving each other and forging a friendship with one another that will last them both a lifetime. It is precious to see them loving on each other. They are so different, which tells me that they will really enjoy each other's company when they are older. Opposites do attract after all.

I never got a sister by the normal means. I was very sad about that when I was younger, but God, of course, has worked it all out to my good. He was just waiting to give me the special gift of my friend, Rachele, whom I consider the sister I always wanted. We are total opposites and we really enjoy each other's company. I am grateful that the Lord brought her into my life when He did. She is a special treasure to me.

Full-length view of Regency Gown back

Detail of back with Princess seams (and yes, I hand-sewed the buttonholes!).

I want to teach my daughters to love and respect one another, to hold each other up, to really be there for each other. I want them to lean on each other and encourage one another in godliness.

This is just another of the myriad reasons I have the pleasure of staying home with my children. I get the privilege and opportunity to train them in righteousness, to teach them to be a blessing and a joy to their father and their Father. I get the opportunity to train them to be angels of mercy to their brothers, and share gentleness and kindness to those weaker, smaller, and younger than themselves...and to do it as an offering to the Lord with joy.

I am blessed. I just had to share it. I am thankful to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for His marvelous ways, and His grace in giving me the fulfillment of my dreams to have a daughter...and not only that, but for giving me double my dream... my two sweet daughters. And now, I get to make special clothing for them and pass on the skills in sewing passed on to me by my mother. What a joy!

Mommy and Daughter doing our "Cheek Hug"

Sunday, May 28, 2006

What's Your Type? And My 1000th Visitor!

So, I DO have some new blogs coming this way soon. I'm just waiting to get some pics developed first before I post them. In the meantime, I took another quiz and thought it interesting that it came up with this result considering that we are headed in a more agrarian direction:

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?

Swiss Family Robinson

If you can grow it, pick it, preserve it, or butcher it, you own it. Otherwise, you do without. You'd prefer to live off-grid from the power company, since you're nearly self-sufficient already. You enjoy unit studies for the way they utilize all facets of life and truly incorporate life and education as a whole, not as separate entities.

Take this quiz!

Quiz by:

So, I'd be interested to hear what type of homeschoolers visit my blog...whether you take the quiz or not. And just in case you are wondering...we do own the book and the movie and my boys, especially, love them. And yes, the unit study thing has been tried before around here. It's good and, yes, the info sticks, but I end up exhausted and too grumpy to teach what I am REALLY supposed to be teaching...God's Word (Deut. 6:4-9). Once we got that part straight, I felt better, had less guilt, and started homeschooling in the right priority..."Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you..." It's amazing how things just began to fall into place after that! you think the good Book says the above for a reason? Just my two cents.

Also, thank you to someone in Nashville, Tennessee, who last week became my 1000th visitor! Thanks for breaking the four digit barrier for me! I don't have any prize to give you, but I will make an effort to keep on blogging about the good life as we have found it here in our tiny corner of God's world! Thanks everyone for all of your visits! I look forward to learning more about you as time goes on.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Who Are You?

I took this quiz and discovered who I am! I never thought it would be her! Who are you?

Which Jane Austen heroine are you?

You are Emma Woodhouse from Emma!

You are clever and quick: where you err once, you are right a hundred times! Aware of your situation in life, you are eager to help others who are less influential than you. Although with great charm and well-meant intentions, you tend to manipulate people. Possessing a social and energetic disposition, you enjoy hosting and attending evening parties and indulge in dancing.

Your view on love: ~The course of true love never did run smooth!~

Take this quiz!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Still Reeling From The Conference

We met and had the opportunity to spend time with so many wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord this weekend! Our time with them ended finally this afternoon after we had hosted our last guest from the conference.

To start, I would like to thank all of the sweet people who came up to me and told me how wonderful they felt the conference was for their family. Many people told me what a great job my Jim Bob did putting together the conference. I agree. It really was a time I know that our entire family will remember for years to come. We made some permanent changes in the way we do things as a result of the conference, and there are many other things that we are going to begin working on as a family due to what we learned from these men and from the families He put us in contact with this weekend. Praise God for His faithfulness never to leave us lying in the same state of sin, but He instead constantly challenges us and urges us onward, upward to be more like His Son!

I want to also thank Margaret Doskey, my "friendly internet stalker," for making a point to come up and introduce herself to me. What a doll you are, Margaret! I so enjoy reading your blog, and now I can actually say that I've not only met you in person, but that I have made a new friend! I was so touched just watching you and your daughter sitting together during the conference. I could see that the two of you have a special relationship by the interaction between you. What an encouragement! Jim Bob and I were blessed by your and Conrad's offer of hospitality! We really do plan to take you up on it sometime soon. What a joy to know that we have godly friends just on the other side of the state! You two were a highlight of our weekend! (How come we never did get a picture of us together? ;( )

We also were blessed with the opportunity to spend the Lord's Day afternoon with the Serven Clan who did a Psalm Sing before the conference began on Day Two. Thank you for blessing our home and lives with your gracious family spirit! Thank you also for keeping one eye closed to the state my home was in after the last week of getting all of the details together for the conference. You all blessed us in a very big way by singing the Genevan Song (from A Journey Home) with ds#1. I know that blessed his little socks off to get to sing tenor with you! I think we all have such fond memories of our time together. We will post the pictures as soon as we get them back.

To the Carpenters and your beautiful family: thank you for following up and asking us to meet up with you today. We enjoyed getting to know you better, sharing a meal, and hearing of your future projects at Franklin Springs Family Media. We spent some time this evening watching Ken's video documentary, The Peasall Sisters: Family Harmony. Now, if the Howards could just figure out how to carry a tune like that! We might not scare off everyone who hears us singing! We look forward to spending more time with you in the near future. I will post pictures soon of our time with your sweet family.

It is getting very late here and I think I better go to bed so that I can be of some assistance to my husband tomorrow in the post-mortem wake of the conference! What a joy to be in this place and to know that the Lord fore-ordained that we should meet all of these brothers and sisters. We have been graced by His presence this weekend and are so thankful for all He has done for us and for all of the answered prayer regarding the conference. He is so good to us. We praise Him for His faithulness!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Dinner After The Conference... An Historic Event

Last night, after the conference had ended, Jim Bob and I went to the Sprouls' home to have dinner with R.C. Sr., R.C. Jr., Howard Phillips, and his son, Doug Phillips. What a memorable evening! I think as long as I live I will remember dining with these wonderful examples of Christ's love within families.

So, there we were, sitting across the table from the Senior Mr. Phillips, with Doug and his lovely wife, Beall, sitting to my left, and the topic came up of the family table... you know, that thing that has become obsolete in our day. Well, I can tell you that it has not become obsolete in the Phillips' family... and it shows. Their children are content, peaceful, and joyful. More importantly, you can tell they truly enjoy being around their parents. In fact, when my oldest son asked one of them what his favorite thing to do is, this Phillips boy said that his favorite thing to do is be with his dad. Does that tell you how important honor and living out Christ's love is within this family?

The family table was also important in the Sproul home, where my husband's boss grew up. The family affection, tenderness, and camaraderie is evident in their family to any observer. There is a loving-kindness evident in their mutual respect for one another. R.C. Jr. and his wife, Denise, have children who also regularly exhibit the fruit of the Spirit toward eachother and toward those who visit their home...this I have witnessed first hand many times.

What I am getting at here is the lost art of a patriarch-led family-dining experience every evening in our homes. This is a tool that binds children to their fathers, and families together in mutual love, honor, and respect. Children are taught to listen when their father speaks, to revere his stories, opinions, and to accept his instruction in the most loving ways. I actually saw this lived out in front of my eyes last night at dinner. Doug Phillips still sits and listens to his father's stories with wide-eyed attention (as did we all!). The stories were wonderful, and we also listened with great roaring laughter as R.C. Sr. and Howard Phillips exchanged stories about their common love of baseball. I had the sense that I was sitting in the midst of a truly significant event... I'm sure now that I was.

This morning over breakfast, Jim Bob was sitting quietly looking out the window when I suddenly opened my mouth and said that I was still thinking about the family dinner table as we discussed it with Doug and Howard. Jim Bob confessed that he was thinking about the same thing. We agreed that we are going to change the way we do meals, especially dinner, at our home. Daddy will be in the lead during conversation. This will mean educating the children on a much deeper level than we have ever done before. It will also mean a turning of our hearts toward our children and our children turning their hearts toward us.

More on this in a later post... I'm tired from the conference right now and I want to make sure that I do justice to this incredible weekend!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Conference... Day Two

So, I went to the conference again this morning and was again humbled at how much work I have to do. Yes, I most definitely am a glutton for punishment! I didn't get to listen to the entire morning's sessions as I was needing to get up frequently to help one of my children (I have three that are 5 and under). But I will be listening to the recordings of the talks given at this conference again once they are ready because I know this is an area in which I need much growth.

The main thing I have taken away from this conference so far is that I must love and honor my children differently than I do. They deserve respect as co-heirs in Christ with me. I must also teach them the same thing towards us as their parents and toward each other as siblings. We have far to go in this area in the Howard Family, but it is very encouraging to know that there are so many others who are in the same boat. There are so many others that are striving for the same thing, that's why we have almost 700 people at the conference this year.

If you were not blessed with the ability to go, I would recommend buying the CD set once it's ready. It's going to be one of those sets I will listen to over and over again until the Word of God works its way into my heart and soul where it will not return void.

Yes, I have a lot of work to do in this area of honor, but, there is repentance, forgiveness, peace and hope to be had on the side of honor... live it, breathe it, walk it and you will be redeemed and blessed.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Conference... Day One

Well, it's been a lot of work, but as usual, the results were worth the effort. Tonight the children and I went to the Generations Conference put on by the Highlands Study Center, where my hubby works. The speakers this year are Howard Phillips, Doug Phillips, R.C. Sproul Sr., and R.C. Sproul Jr. Tonight, the speakers I (mostly) heard where Doug and R.C. Jr. Just one question remains after this evening: Could God have been more gracious to place us in this place? I don't think so. We are surrounded by those who truly live out their faith, but we also get to attend these conferences in which the most historic events happen!

Have you ever heard these fathers and sons speak of their love and mutual respect for one another? It will blow you away! I left there this evening with the feeling that godliness was all around me and just "oozing," as I told a friend, from these men! You cannot help but be affected by it and desire to walk a closer walk with our Lord and Savior. I left there this evening wanting to turn my heart ever closer to my children, and toward my own parents in HONOR.

Doug Phillips' talk this evening was quite convicting. When we disobey God by dishonoring those He has placed in our lives through slander, malice, gossip, or by simply not considering them in a place of honor, we are inviting God's judgment on our lives. Those He has placed in our lives deserve the utmost in honor that we can give... even when it's difficult. O.K., so I've got some work to do... don't we all?

I can't wait until tomorrow's talks... I think I'm just a glutton for punishment! ;)

P.S. Tomorrow morning, we get to do a Psalm Sing in four part harmony with the Servens of the Genevan Foundation! I got to meet Elizabeth Serven tonight. What a joy to finally meet her!

Time For The Conference... I May Not Be Around Much

Hello all! Well, most of you know who my sweet husband works for, and you probably also know that what has been dubbed "the most historic conference of the year" is happening this weekend. I may not be around much until after Sunday because Jim Bob is so busy with the conference that our children and I are busy also.

If you don't know about this conference, go to this website to find out more:

Highlands Study Center

See ya' after the weekend!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Best Friend

Dear Rachele,

Thank you for being my dearest friend, indeed, my "Bosom Friend"(I think Anne of Green Gables would be proud of us!). You showed up at the right time yesterday to give me the hug I really needed. You and your precious children moved to Virginia to be with us, and I am so glad! I praise God for you and all of the ways you draw me out and urge me heavenward. For what is a friend if they don't urge you on to be more like the One you are called to imitate?

I have seen you die to self regularly, even though all you may see are your faults and short comings. We all do have our many short comings and no true friend would leave us in the stench that is our own sin, but there are also times of encouraging eachother and giving eachother a hand in the walk with Christ. That is what you do for me regularly, and I am a better woman for it.

I love you, my sister,