Thursday, October 30, 2008

Good News in the News

Here is my idea of "spreading the wealth". Click on this article.

The point to remember is what government gives, it must first take away.
John S. Caldwell

Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have…The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.
Thomas Jefferson

A committee is a thing which takes a week to do what one good man can do in an hour.
Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jump Roping for Joy

Surprise BRAG!

My sister-in-law, Mary McBride, and MY NIECES are on TV! Mary and my nieces, Allie Emma and Kate are part of a cool Jump Rope Club at their school. The youngest, Kate, didn't make the demo team cut for this gig, but everything about Kate is noteworthy. Someday, I'll be bragging about her on my blog. You can see her standing next to Jillian in this photo op at Nelder Grove. But today, check out this link and see our extended family :

Allie is the taller blond one at the front in the very beginning.

Emma was the first one to do the double jump rope and at the end, they both responded first to the journalists’ questions.

Aren’t they wonderful?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What Sunflowers Do

"Keep your face to the sunshine
and you cannot see the shadow.
It's what sunflowers do."
- Helen Keller

Joshua 1:7
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Years ago, when Joe was teaching others how to ride a motorcycle he often would tell “wipe-out” stories. A primary flaw in a new rider is the tendency to not look where you are going. “Always, always, keep your eye on where you want to go,” he would tell them. Those who did found success.

Proverbs 4:25 and 27
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

I am horribly unathletic and where I would never in a million years be taking motorcycle riding lessons, I did eagerly agree to learn how to plummet down a slippery, snowy and icy hill. When I learned to ski, my teacher gave me similar instruction, “Keep your eyes focused on where you want to go.” So far in my skiing experience, I have kept my skis from swerving too far to the right or to the left and have kept my feet from wrapping around trees and tripping over rocks. There are always things I can not see, but those evil obstacles I can see, I have successfully avoided.

Isaiah 30:21
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Recently the kids and I got to visit a friend from church, Traci, who graciously shared her passion with us, horses. I am still kicking myself for not bringing my camera. If you want to catch a glimpse of Traci, you’ll have to find her on another day HERE at Denise’s blog, when she gave of her generous self to the Jones’ kids. Denise, did you get to ride?

I got a chance to ride Virginia (which cracks me up since that’s my mother-in-law) a chestnut thoroughbred who is as soft as silk and patient as a lamb putting up with an awkward Me upon her back. Traci’s admonishment, “Look where you want to go.....” Following the voice of instruction, I was (moderately) successful.

At church on a recent Sunday our worship pastor showed a video clip which included a time lapse scene of a sunflower field. The Sunflowers followed the sun as it arched across the daylight sky. Their faces always shine toward the light. Can you picture it?

Ruben, If you read my blog, can you forward me the link to that cool video?

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus .....

How I long to keep my focus where it ought to be, to be ever mindful of the direction I am headed in, to not swerve to the right or to the left but to walk in the way I ought to go. Don’t you?

Monday, October 20, 2008


“Does this look cool, Mom?”

I never thought I’d hear those words from my 13 year old. He’s going bike riding today with his Boy Scout troop and apparently, wanted to look “cool”. This came out of the mouth of the babe who once chastised me for spending too much time in the bathroom before church on a Sunday morning with, “Mom, you shouldn’t be so concerned about your outward appearance, because the LORD looks at the heart.”

Yes, he quotes scripture AT me. This wasn’t the first time either nor was it the last.

The 10 year old has taken great pains about matching clothing. He won’t wear something with jeans unless it is blue OR he has been assured AGAIN with “Yes, everything goes with jeans.” The 10 year old has definitive opinions about his hair. He wears hair gel. He even sent me hunting one time for colored hair gel because even at the delicate age of 8, he wanted gold shimmer in his hair. Just in case you have girls, trust me on this one, BOYS are also DIFFERENT. “Does this look cool, Mom?” is a question that was supposed to come from THIS child, not the older one.

When it was time to leave, the 13 year old hopped into the car in his affirmed “cool” attire and I casually asked him if he was wearing deoderant. No. “Did you brush your teeth?” No. Needless to say, I left the car running ....

How long does it take until he will care about hygiene, I wonder.

Will he ever ask, “Do I smell okay, Mom?” Will he ever question, “Do I have food stuck in my teeth, Mom?” Will he ever say, “Mom, I want to marry someone just like you because you are perfect.”

I can dream can’t I?

I now understand what my mother-in-law once said when she said she had been praying for me for years before she ever met me. How cool is that?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Lie of Control

Awhile back, I blogged about Lies. I know I believe a bunch.

My friend at Knittin' Peace is firstly, one of the few who put me on the straight, narrow and difficult path of homeschooling. Secondly, she is one of the truly honest people I know. I love her for that.

I don't usually comment on other people's blogs but this one HIT right between the eyes. Can you hear me screaming? OUCH!

Oh, the lies I want to believe! If you want some truth in a spoon, take a mouthful of this short article. If you want to see her knittin' go to her etsy site and consider buying something special from someone special.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Benefits of Peanut Butter (and I'm not talking protein!)

I wouldn't have believed it if it didn't really happen, but it did!

Let me take you back a few weeks and years and even decades.

Joe is not the car man. He's the roof man, the plumbing man, the tile man, the electrician man, the window and the door man, the painter man, the breakfast man, the put in an entire sprinkler system man, but let me repeat, Joe is NOT the car man. Only recently has he started changing our oil himself. Cars aren't his gift.

As it turns out, every nick and scratch on my car makes me crazy. Begrudgingly he washes my car, but in all honesty, I am the one who usually goes back through it with the Windex. When I discovered Turtle Wax and I came out of my shell a much happier woman. All I have to do is wait for him to wash the car and then go to work, then I can WAX the vehicle! whoo hoo! Shine! But then there are many days when the car maintenance is more than I can handle and I just stay inside my house... where it is clean.

Unfortunately, we are both guilty of not teaching the kids to really clean up after themselves in the car. Occasionally I'm irritable and command that someone do something in there. Occasionally he has a moment where he too, starts ordering us around about throwing away garbage. Fairly recently, we were both heart broken to find that our relatively new car, a burb with leather seats, had stains all over... from gum.... caked in.....and baked in. We had only ourselves to blame for letting our kids be kids and not doing better by them or our vehicle.

But today, I discovered a new use for peanut butter. Since chunky is Joe's favorite and not anyone else's, I grabbed the jar and a roll of Viva and went out to the car. What's the worst thing that can happen? The car gets worse? It might even smell. So what?

About 20 minutes later, with Skippy and elbow grease and a few sheets of paper towels, those black ugly marks are off my seats! In the process, I had to throw a few chunks of nuts out into my driveway for the squirrels to find, but the whole process was strangely easy. Joe won't even notice that some of his chunky is missing.

Have YOU ever thought of using peanut butter as a cleaning agent? Isn't that amazing?

What HAVE YOU used to clean up a mess that actually worked? Do you have any helpful hints to share that might stun and amaze? I found my idea off the internet. Where have some of your best ideas come from?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prayer of Autumn

Fall. Why do they call it that? I like the word, Autumn better. It has a more peaceful ring to it.

When Julie and I hiked Wawona Hotel to Wawona Point in Mariposa Grove, I was hoping to see some turning dogwoods. No such luck. They aren’t ready yet. By now, in Colorado, all the aspen have changed to golden and the crispy song they sing is now a faint memory as most of their leaves have fallen. The earth beneath laden with a blanket of yellow slowly changing to muddy brown. The trees are barren. They look dead. I remember how one could gaze out at the mountain landscape and see the huge groves of brown stick-like figures patching among the evergreen. Right now in Colorado the aspen’s life is over. The dogwood’s will come to an end soon.

Can you envision a leafless tree. It looks lifeless, doesn’t it?

When the branches of a tree are attacked by winter cold and wet, one wonders how it can survive. What makes it endure such hardship? Why doesn’t it give up?

I am no botanist, but I know that within the tree a miracle of life is taking place. Just as the light needs darkness to define it (from a philosopher’s point of view) resting periods are important in nature because they are times of refueling. Only when the cycle of life is allowed to take place, including the cold hard dead of winter, can the tree can fulfill its purposes. It may look dead on the outside but within the tree’s strength is growing, preparing it for a new season and new fruit.

I have never wanted to be an evergreen tree. I look forward to change. I always have. Stagnant isn’t my style. However, there have been enough cold hard dead of Winter seasons in my life that I have wondered if Spring would ever come. There are times in my humanness when I have yearned for the perpetual Spring and Summer, where the sun shines all day long and darkness is brighter even at night. Autumn always comes, however, and Winter follows it. I don’t get to choose when. I don’t even get to choose to give up.

As the tree holds on to Winter longing for the Spring, I hold on waiting in eager expectation for my season of renewal. I’ve done that many times. This year, however, I am waiting for the leaves of the brilliant dogwood to turn. This year, I look forward to Autumn’s fiery red leaves. This year, I am rejoicing in the season of life I am in. This year, I am in Spring.

What kind of tree are you? Deciduous or Evergreen? What is your favorite season to enjoy or to experience?

Monday, October 6, 2008


Birthdays are a beautiful thing. All ya’ll know how much I gabbed about my own, but a few more special ones are occurring even now. It seems that once my birthday hits, everything snowballs. From now through Spring, it’s shopping season for this 41’derful mommy and the economy will be mightily assisted by the Schneider Buying Spree.

More important than the presents themselves, however, is the presence of people.

On Julie’s birthday, the Jules Clan and the Denises got together. (Take a look at Denise's Celebrating Julie blog to see her tribute and a fun video.) At dinner we talked about, guess what? Birth stories. It was a conversation for baby showers but that night, it was dinner conversation. There is much to be celebrated in the birth of a child and we talked about the miraculous and painful. The main topic, Julie, however, was the special guest of the evening. It was obvious how thankful Denise and I were to Julie for having a birthday. A reason to celebrate! Thanks Julie - for being born!

A day before, we had our own quiet family celebration for Jillian, who turned 8 this year. Over the course of the week, presents had been arriving for Jilly in the mail. I had to apologize on her birthday because had not come through. All the presents I bought and had planned on her brothers buying from me were going to be overdue. My little girl, who ought to be rather gift focused at her age said, “It’s okay mommy. When presents are early and late it just means I get to celebrate even longer!” Even last night, at Julie’s house she said, “I just feel like I’ve had the best week ever!” Even for my 8 year old, it’s not about presents. It’s all about presence.

The presence of people. The presence of God. The presence of celebration. The presence of rejoicing. The presence of thankfulness. Birth. Days to celebrate and days to remember. Cake. Candles. Song. Celebration. Blessings.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Do you believe Jesus is closer to you when He is pruning you?

Doesn't feel like it sometimes.

Sometimes, it does feel like it. Those times are gifts.

Isaiah 28:28-29 says: Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever. Though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it, his horses do not grind it. All this also comes from the Lord Almighty...

Isaiah 42:1-4 reads: Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; ......A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

Have you ever pruned a plant and hoped and prayed you didn't kill it?

Sometimes my spiritual life feels like it's about to be snuffed out. Yet, the pruning, the breaking, the threshing and what often feels like bruising the Lord administers or allows has never yet broken me. No, he wants me useful. He wants me to bloom. Jesus is always closest to the vine when pruning it.

Does that make sense to you?