Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Letterboxing Season 2008 Begins

In September of last year, I was flipping thru a magazine and came across an ad for a SUV that mentioned Letterboxing and gave a web address. I had no idea what that was but was curious and so I looked it up. That was the beginning of what was to become a wonderful family hobby. We have had adventures like you can't imagine!! First of all, for those who have not heard about it, Letterboxing is best described as a "treasure hunt" type of activity. There are a few websites where Letterboxers (LB's) can post the clues and let others know that they have "planted" a box to be found. As the seeker you choose the boxes you wish to find, print the clues and set out on the path of adventure - it's great fun!! We have 59 boxes stamped in our "Logbook" and have had a fantastic time in the process of finding them. The planters create a hand carved stamps (which by the way can be incredibly intricate and beautiful artwork) and each seeker has a "trail name" and a signature stamp which they use to record their visit to the box. When the box is found it must be done discreetly so that passersby are not aware of it, lest any harm come to the box and it's contents. Once found and safely out of sight you stamp your logbook with the stamp located in the box and leave your stamp in the box's logbook to record your visit. When stamping is completed, the box is re-hidden as it was found and left for the next seeker.

Before I go any further, let me say that Letterboxing has not only been great family time and wonderful fitness (many boxes are hidden on beautiful hiking trails), but it has been an awesome addition to our homeschool curriculum. We have studied Lewis & Clark, walked the Natchez Trace, given Wonder Boy an incredible opportunity to learn about those who have served our country in war by visiting one the most amazing war memorials that I have ever seen off the beaten path in Birmingham, AL. We have visited 2 Civil War Battlegrounds, some of our areas most beautiful views and camping areas that we would not have known about had it not been for our Letterboxing adventures. It has given us a hands on classroom, to teach nature, science, chemistry, history, geography and life skills. Letterboxing has opened doors to things we may not have otherwise encountered and it has definitely led us to places which would be otherwise undiscovered in our day to day lives. God shows up on our adventures regularly and allows us to sow seeds into Wonder Boy's life in ways that would not be possible around the family meal table. We take regular field trips with our homeschool covering around AL & TN and always try to squeeze a Letterbox or two into these outings. We are going to Tullahoma, TN this week to visit the Hands On Science Museum and have located 3-4 boxes near by - guess what we will be doing when the field trip portion of our day is done??

These pictures were taken at the 270 foot long Clarkson Covered Bridge in Cullman, AL where a box was hidden. This bridge was constructed in 1904 and is 1 of 11 covered bridges still remaining in Alabama. This was out in the country and we would never have known about it had it not been for our Letterboxing adventures - one more item to add to that list ;-)

If I have intrigued you to find out more please visit or to get more information on getting started. Please let me know if you pursue anything - we would love to hear your stories!! Get out there and adventure and enjoy God's beautiful world ;-)

In His Grace,

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

White Board Wisdom

In Wonder Boy's room is a white board which I write on every night after he falls asleep - I don't remember now exactly how this grew into what it has, but I think it started when we were teaching him to read and write and we ended our evenings with a game of hangman on his white board right before lights out and prayers. Many of you may have heard some of the white board stories - they are really gathering a following of sorts it would seem. A friend from church came by our home for the first time the other day to pick up her daughter and said "so this is the famous white board" when getting the tour of Wonder Boy's room. In any case, this has really become a fantastic Mommy tool as well. I use the white board to reward and acknowledge good behavior and jobs well done, to leave gentle loving Mommy reminders in areas where we are praying for success, to count down to big events, to announce surprises, to help encourage A's on spelling tests, to allow God to speak thru scripture and of course to let Wonder Boy know how much he is loved.

SO....the other night I was doing laundry and folding socks and Wonder Boy was asking me one of the many million questions that he typically asks in a day when we got on the topic of prayer - I am a little fuzzy on the starting point of the conversation to be honest as it was probably only at this point that I fully tuned in. In any case I was explaining to him that you did not have to pray only for the "usual things in the usual ways" that you could pray in the shower, when you are washing dishes and I started giving him some examples of some of the not so usual times and places that I pray. I told him that I pray over food when I am preparing it especially if it is for someone in need or ill. I told him that I pray for people in the grocery store when they look tired and in need of a lift. I told him that I pray over laundry all the time, when I am hanging shirts on a hanger, I will pray that the wearer will be blessed with energy to do God's work each day, I told him that I pray over his socks, that God will bless his comings and goings and that he will walk with God throughout his life. Well this just tickled him that I would pray over his that night when it came time to do the white board here is what I did.

God gives each of us many opportunities each day in the midst of the ordinary and mundane to make a difference in the lives of those we love through prayer. I have found a calling with a white board and a package of dry erase markers - I invite you to look at what you do each day and be encouraged that God has a white board for you to use. Wonder Boy got up the next morning and came running downstairs giggling and gave me the biggest hug and said "Mommy I LOVE my board today".

It doesn't get much better than that !


Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Did I mention that I got a gain mill for Christmas ? I don't think I did - if you know me that may surprise you a little - it surprises me even a little still. I have always maintained a rule in romantic relationships that kitchen appliances would not and could not count as official gifts. Well this year I told The Principal that I wanted a grain mill....and I got one! I have wanted one for a number of years to work toward living a healthier lifestyle - so now I am off and running - and milling ;-) I have used it a few times in the past week and we have really enjoyed the fruits of my labors. Fresh milled flour really changes the taste of food and even better than that - it's so good for you!! So in line with the first of 3 things that I chose to learn more about in 2008 I am on my way to nuturing my family with healthy whole grain foods. My first endevor was last week when I made two loaves of whole wheat bread - they looked wonderful as you can see ........
I ran half a loaf across the street to my neighbor who thought I was nuts to be making a bread delivery in the rain - but I insisted she had to taste it warm from the oven. A few minutes later when my phone rang and the verdict was in between the sound of chewing and swallowing I knew I had a hit - and let me tell you how much it blessed me!!
Now, as for the connection of bread to all things good and Godly - I have also thought that when I get some free time (stand up comedy is one of my many side lines) that I would love to do an in depth study of bread in the bible.....for now let me share this

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

Proverbs 30:8

He is all we need each day - He is our daily bread!! There is a theme emerging for me this year already.....HE IS ENOUGH....HE IS ALL WE NEED IN ALL THINGS. Now obviously this is not a new concept to me, however, there is a difference in knowing something and knowing that you know something. God is whispering knowledge to me in new and wonderful ways and I pray that as the year unfolds there are things that I feel released to share with you as well dear reader. For now let me tell you that I serve an amazing God and if you do not know Him - I would be honored to introduce you. Mere words cannot begin to explain how transformed your life will be when He is holding you in His loving embrace!! I wonder do you know Him?

One final I was reading thru the recipe and trying to educate myself a little as to what I was about to get into with the task at hand, I came across an article that said a good way to know when your bread was kneaded adequately was to recite the Lord's Prayer twice, pressing and folding the dough on each word. Don't you just love to pray over the food you prepare for those you love? I pray over all kinds of things.....but more on that to come......

Trusting in Him,


Friday, January 4, 2008

ADHD & Psalm 139

As much as I dislike labels it simplifies things to say that Wonder Boy has ADHD. Now, having said that let me go on to say that although the letters "simplify" the explanation they certainly do not simplify living with ADHD. The past 3-4 years have been pretty challenging. We made the decision to become a one income family and homeschool primarily because of the challenges that Wonder Boy was having in school, but now, I believe that even if we felt he was able to handle a traditional school setting (which we do not) we would continue our homeschool journey! Wonder Boy's Pediatrician offered medication last year just before Christmas to help Wonder Boy succeed at school. We chose door number 2 - and just yesterday went to see the Pediatrician again a year later just to assess where we are and how we are doing. In the past year I have not discussed much with Wonder Boy about "ADHD" I feel like I do not want to offer him a ready excuse for poor behavior or lack of self control so until recently we had not spoke of it much in our home. Well, for some reason that I am not even now sure of, I feel that God has given me a release to use those letters in association with our situation - because you see - Wonder Boy does not have ADHD alone - it's a family thing. shorten the story a little - no meds were offered at this visit (my respect for the good Doctor has grown a measure) and he suggested a few different options, one of which was a counselor. Wonder Boy was with us of course and was privy to all the conversation that took place. This morning when Wonder Boy got up and came down to snuggle with me while I worked on my bible study I asked what he thought about the appointment yesterday - he only said that the Doctor did not ask him very many questions and he wanted to know what a counselor was.....our conversation meandered a little as it usually does and I turned to The Word to share with him what God says about his ADHD. I told him that there was not anything "wrong" with him, God made him the way he did for a reason and although we may not always understand why things happen the way that they do that we must Trust in God that He knows exactly what He is doing and that His ways are wonderful. I got my trusty NIV and read to him from Psalm 139 about how he is fearfully and wonderfully made, how God knit him together in my womb, I shared the picture that I always have of God's Mighty Hands knitting with the Yarn of Life and how God knew exactly what He wanted to create when He created Wonder Boy - he is just the way he is supposed to be!! It then hit me - we already had the Counselor we needed and could make an appointment with Him anytime !! Our insurance not BC/BS but the Blood of The Lamb would give us the access that we needed anytime of the day or night week days, weekends or holidays !! Can you even imagine how much of a burden that lifted from my Mommy shoulders ??!! I have made the mistake that so many of us frequently make (and this probably will not be the last time I make it) I was working to find all the answers on my own rather than turning it all over to our Father who created all that we are!! SO even though it is the 4th of January I am going to resolve to do something this year - turn to my Heavenly Father to help with the four letters that our family has been struggling with for several years now. He is my Wonderful Counselor, He will lead me where I need to go to help Wonder Boy live the life that he has been destined for since before he was created in the depths of the secret place. Why is it that what is so simple and so obvious is sometimes so impossible for us to see ? I know that God has a plan (Jer 29:11) for our family and for Wonder Boy in his adult life and I know that it is a great plan - so instead of worrying I will celebrate and enjoy the journey and the sights along the way.
Resting in His Goodness,

Thursday, January 3, 2008

To Do List 2008

Ok - most of us make some kind of New Years Resolution each year even if we don't actually give it that name. I for one did not make any "official resolutions", but there are a few things I would like to work on in 2008. I am flawed. I need work. The good news is that I am also a child of the Most High God and I stand on His Promises that all things are possible and that I am made new through Christ who strengthens me - let me just jump off to the side here for just a minute - does it get any better than that ???? Hello ? Why would anyone choose not to choose Christ ? Ok...all better now.... so we have established that I am not perfect - that there may be a few areas where I need a little TLC. In those areas that I am aware of (there are likely several which I am yet clueless of) is where my to do list is formed. One thing that I know that I know is that if I am in His Will and spending time in relationship with Him each day that all answers to my petitions and prayers are Yes and Amen. So my thinking here is that I must get that part of me in better order before I can effectively move on to other items on the list. I have a confession to make (my Catholic roots are showing) I did not read my bible and pray each and every day of 2007 !! pause....... a moment........... and wait for the lighting to strike - ok I'm good...let me finish that confession by referring back to the earlier statement - "I am flawed" . I do have a heart to please my Father and I do have a desire to relationship with Him - I just have not figured out yet the right combination of ingredients that give me the success I would like to see in those areas. It is hard sometimes when you are homeschooling a wonderful, special, energetic, charming, talkative, talkative - did I mention talkative handful like the Lord has blessed me with in my Boy Wonder. Then of course there is the desire to nurture The Principal, Wonder Boy, hearth, home and get in shape, do my nails once in a while, read a book, do a little scrapbooking, make time for friends - the list goes on and on - you get the picture. SO my big plan for 2008 is to get things worked on in the most vital area first - HIM. I came across a link about two weeks ago that was to an online Bible Study where the plan is to read through the bible chronologically this year - so I checked it out and made the decision to participate. Granted, it has only been 3 days but let me tell you the fire in my belly for the Word of God over the past 3 days has been
phenomenal !! The comments and community that already seem to be emerging are such a blessing and encouragement to dig deeper and learn ever more - so I wanted to share this "find" and invite you to take a look see.

It is my prayer that in 2008 a few items are scratched off of all of our To Do Lists !!

Stop being content with less than God's best!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcoming New Beginnings

It has been many years since I have welcomed the change of year as I have this year. Not because 2007 was horrible and I couldn't wait for it to be over, but because 2008 whispers of so much promise that the anticipation has had me ready to burst! The number 8 is the number of new beginnings and this is the year I feel like God's timing will deliver promises that I have stood on for many years. We brought the New Year in at home last night over a lovely, elegant, prime rib dinner and I want you to take a look at how beautiful it was.......

 unfortunately by the time it was cooked and the smell had us in a trance it was not a priority to get another picture. I did however get a shot of the beautiful punch bowl cake that we had with coffee and a few rounds of Whoonu ( a great family friendly game by Cranium) after our wonderful meal. This was so pretty we almost didn't want to eat it, but we got over that pretty quickly - it actually tasted better than it looks ;-)

So the food was fantastic, the candlelight and the beautiful table made the evening the feel so special, my favorite part of the night however was during dinner when we started something that I hope will become an annual New Year's Eve tradition. I read somewhere recently that a great way to instill a love of learning in your kids is to live it out in front of them so I asked my guys about a week ago to think of 3 things that they would like to learn more about in 2008 and be prepared to share them with each other on New Year's Eve. It was such an enjoyable time as we talked about the things that we thought the others might choose and then got to hear from each other and share our plans for what the year ahead would hold for us all. The outcome was as follows - The Principal wants to learn more about American History,Wilderness /Survivalist Camping and Adventure (I have to be honest - this one scares me just a little!!) and he desires to grow closer to our Heavenly Father as he learns to hear and recognize His voice and how He moves in his life in 2008. Wonder Boy at the ripe old age of 6 wants to learn more about "doing camping stuff by himself ", he wants to learn "handyman" things from The Principal and last but certainly not least says that he wants to "do research up on the true real story of Jesus' Crucifixion". I am forever learning and always adding to my list of things that I want to know more about so coming up with just 3 was a big challenge - my short list was learning more about nutrition - learning to include my new Christmas grain mill into our daily lives as well as replacing unhealthy habits with healthy life changing good ones for both me and my guys. My 2nd choice is to learn more about dreams - understanding how God speaks to us through our dreams as well as learning to interpret dreams. And last but certainly not least is to learn more about blogging !! I have desired to have a blog up and running for probably all of 2007 and beyond and so to actually have one up is a big deal for me - I hope I do not disappoint you Dear Readers in let the blogging begin!!

Happy New Year and God Bless !!

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