Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review: Wait No More

Focus on the Family was giving away a limited number of these books and I was fortunate enough to receive one.  It is an incredible story of how God led Kelly & John Rosati to adopt 4 children out of foster care.

"As you follow Kelly and John on their amazing journey through the child welfare system, you'll be inspired by the story of how God brought their family together.  And you'll be challenged by the desperate needs of children still waiting for families."

This was an easy to read book that invited you into the hearts and minds of the Rosati family.  It's a story of inspiration and also a challenge to those who God has given a heart for adoption.  I appreciated their transparency in dealing with the challenges and frustrations they encountered.   And also their ability to look back and give God the credit for the journey their lives have taken.  My only disappointment was the lack of specific day to day ways God helped them through those tough times.

Overall a good, easy read that I recommend for everyone.  Even if God has not called you to adopt, this book will help you better understand how to support and encourage the adoptive families around you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family update: October

We're a third of the way through November and I'm putting up a post on October.  Better late then never.

So here are the Hodge Family October Highlights:  As remembered through photos.

I used my last can of chantrelles.  A bittersweet moment.  
Grass raised beef with a Chantrelle sauce.  Fresh from the garden green beans and new potatoes.

Time to go mushroom picking again.

 Danner picked out this pumpkin at the patch.  He insisted on getting one that "not too big!"  Mommy  and Daddy were grateful.  Any chance that will last?

Later on it was turned into a choo choo train.

I pulled this out of my garden.  You may think whatever you like.  Personally, I believe growing a three legged carrot should automatically get me a master gardener badge.

In other notes, Hudson does not like green beans.  Obviously.


My husband is awesome.  As always.
And to wrap up the month, here are the bacon and eggs.  Bacon had his first earache.  I took him out anyways.  The eggs just didn't look right alone.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Battle of the Wills

Ever find yourself angry, discontent and unsatisfied with life?

I do.  On a semi regular basis at that.  It's typically not the big stuff that wears me down.  No, it's the day in, day out mound of whining, interruptions, and always being needed, needed, needed that wears me down.  It's like a load on my back that keeps growing with every complaint and load of laundry.  Until one day I'm unloading the dishwasher and I start fighting the urge to cry, throw things, and tell God how unfair life is.  I mean, I had dreams at one time too.  Any they were a lot more glamorous then this!  I wanted to do big things for you God!  Live on the edge, travel great distances, save the lives of orphans.  Oh how I had plans.

And then God whispers in my ear, "I have you right where I need you, right now."


Long and fruitless argument ensues on my part.
Finally I am humbled enough to admit God's right and that really. is. a. good. thing.

Now, there's the question of how.  How do I live for God in the little ways?  How do I learn to be content?

And this is where I currently find myself.  And it's a good place because when I'm humble, and when I'm willing to learn and willing to seek (action, effort, and discipline required)  then God promises to teach.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all 
without finding fault, and it will be given to him."  
James 1:5

One of the things I've been reminded of over and over again lately is that I'm in the midst of THE war.  A full out battle between good and evil, truth and lie.  

God is good, he is truth.  And I already know that he wins.  And those who choose to be his soldiers, to kneel in submission to his leadership, they will be rewarded eternal life and riches beyond comprehension.

The devil is evil, he is a liar and a thief.  He is cunning and deceptive.  And I do believe his greatest ally is selfishness, the # 1 motivator of a person's choices and actions.

Hence I find myself, "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15b)  I want to be content, I want to be full of joy and peace, I want to live for God.  Yet I serve myself, I do what I feel, I follow what I want, I dream my own dreams and in doing so, I serve the devil.

WHY do I do this to myself!!!

Because it's easier.  I was born with a sinful nature.  It comes naturally to me.

"The acts of the sinful nature are obvious:  sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, 
selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like." 
(Galations 5:19-21a)

"What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?"  
(Romans 7:24)

What hope is there for me?  How do I change?  

The first thing I have to do, ironically, is admit defeat.  In my own power and in my own strength, there is no hope.  I was born this way and it is just the way I am.

But, "Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:25)  There is hope. 

"Who, being in very nature God, 
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, 
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself 
and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place 
and gave him the name that is above every name, 
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, 
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 
and every tongue confess that 
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
(Philippians 2: 6-11)

He did what we could not do.  He defeated the sinful nature.  And instead of rubbing it in our faces or mocking our weakness, he choose to show us the ultimate love.  He willingly became our sin offering, our sacrificial lamb.  He took our place.  All the wrath the God had for our sin, it was loaded on him!    The price for our sin has been paid.  The debt is gone.  All we have to do is admit our failure and humble except Christ as our replacement.  Bow to him and him alone.

I can't help but thing that if we truly understood what he did for us, even to the smallest degree, we would be on our knees thanking him every. single. day.  One day we will truly understand.  When we stand in the throne room of God and see him in all his glory.  Oh how I look forward to that day!

But what do I do now?  I don't fully understand it, or even have the mental capacity to fully understand.  Often times I don't even feel like serving him.

It's not about how you feel.  Feelings shift like the wind.  They are unreliable and often times they are a lie that Satan uses against us.  Do not trust them.  Trust truth.

Truth is found in the word of God, the Bible.  Read it, study it, learn it.  Seek wisdom from God, not wisdom from the world.  It's not easy, it's not our natural bend, but through the power of Jesus Christ "we are more then conquerors". (Romans 8:37) 

Put in the effort, put in the work.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  
Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness 
and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees."
Hebrews 12: 11-12

Don't be lazy.  
Start right now.  
Train long and hard.

It will be worth it.
   I promise you, and if that's not enough, God promises you.

"In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Antiqued Board.

I didn't take pictures of the process (sorry) but I'll give you the run down on how I made this.

1.  Find an ugly, cheap piece of wood art at the local thrift store.  (This was some sort of hang on the wall checker board.

2.  Paint it all black.

3.  Then paint a layer of blue everywhere but the frame.

4.  When that's dry, take a sanding block to it.  Be as rough or gentle as you like.  Keep sanding til it looks the way you want it.

5.  Make or buy a stencil.  Hold it down and use a small sponge roller to roll over the top in green paint.  The sponge roller works the best for me as far as coverage and minimal under-stencil-seepage.

6.  Once this dries, stencil on your black initial or monogram.

7.  When it's all really dry, get out your sanding block and go at it again.  And if you want, grab the pocket knife and carve some fun stuff onto the frame.

8.  Then get out a little black paint and a wet rag.  Smear some paint around the edges then wipe it with the wet cloth until you get the desired 'antiquing'.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Toddler Boxer Briefs How-To

I can be somewhat cheap thrifty.  Hence the start of the following tutorial:  Toddler Boxer Briefs.  This is for ~ 4T size although I'm sure you could easily adjust as necessary.

1 t-shirt your husband refuses to wear.  (free)
17" of 1" elastic.  ($1.39 for 2.5yds at walmart.)
My really cool pattern  (download at the bottom of the page)

Step 1:  Print pattern.  Tape together at dotted lines.

Step 2:  Iron t-shirt flat.  Pin large pattern piece to it and cut it out.  This should give you two large pieces.  And then cut out 1 cod piece.  (I used the sleeve)  By positioning the pattern right you can get 2-3 pairs of undies out of a L shirt.

Step 3:  Fold Side B up 1/2" and sew with a wide zig-zag.  This will be your leg openings.

Step 4:  Sew Side C together with 1/4" seams.  (wrong sides together) It should look like the photo to your right when done.

Step 5:  Sew the cod piece (*hehe, snicker, snicker.  I mean, really, who can say cod piece with out laughing...)  to the curved part of Side A.  Notice you do not sew the straight 1 1/2" that are by the legs.  Do this on both sides.  When you are finished you should have a tube of fabric.

Step 6:  Lay it down like the above right photo.  And sew the front and back u-shape together.  Clip the corners a little so it looks good when turned right side out. (It should look like a pair of undies by now)

 Step 7:  Now is where it gets a little tricky. Measure your elastic by stretching it around your little man's waist at a comfortable tightness.  Then sew it into a circle.  (It should be about 16-18")  Place it inside the undies and pin it on the back seam, halfway up the elastic.  Make a mark at the halfway point of the elastic and pin this to the front midline.  Then pin each side halfway in between that.

Step 8:  Sew in the elastic with a zig-zag stitch.  Use your right hand to stretch the fabric and elastic while using your left hand to hold it down and feed it through.  (Your left hand should be right in front of the sewing machine foot, but I needed it to take the picture so this is what ya get..)  Try to get the elastic evenly spread out between the 4 pinned quadrants.  And don't worry, this will be completely hidden.

It might be easier to use 30 pins but that takes too long for me and I always stab myself.

Step 9:  Almost done!!!!  Turn the undies inside out.  Fold down the elastic twice so it's completely hidden.  Use your right hand to stretch the fabric and elastic together and your left hand should be holding the leg part of the undies and pulling a little to the left to keep the fabric from getting bunched up.  (I promise, it's easier then it sounds.)  Then sew a straight stitch just a little left of the middle of your elastic.  Then do a second straight stitch about 1/8" from the bottom of the elastic.  This keeps it from rolling or bunching and it looks cool:)

Step 10:  Admire your work and then coerce your toddler into trying them on.

Your all done!!  This was my first how-to so please leave some feedback on how I can make my directions easier to understand:)  Or any advice on how to improve upon them.  Thanks!


(PS:  My husband would be soooooo impressed.  In order to attach those pattern pieces I had to design them on a computer program I've never used, then create a website in which to upload them so I could link them to this...Whewww.  That is super impressive if you know how computer illiterate I am!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

My everyday morning...

Ever wonder what it's like to be a stay at home mom (SAHM) of two little boys?  Wonder no more.  It's been a rather pleasant morning in our household so I thought I might share it with you.

5:18   Wake up to Hudson's hungry cry.  Feed Hudson.  Try unsuccessfully to get him back to sleep.
5:40   Put Hudson back in his crib and pray he doesn't wake Danner.
6:30   I kind of remember Danner crying and maybe cuddling with my husband and both of them getting         up at some point.  Then I laid in a comatose like state for another 1/2 hr thinking I really should get up and make my husband breakfast...
7:00  Danner had to eat the rest of his dinner from the night before so he was grumpy.  Hudson was awake again and quite happy.   My husband made his own breakfast and looked like two lively kiddos and a half-asleep wife was not his idea of an ideal morning.
8:00  Breakfast was finished, Hudson was fed again and went down for a morning snooze.  Kitchen was cleaned up.  Cloth diapers thrown in the washer. Then Danner and I built a pretty sweet train track in the living room.
9:00  I was informed that I was playing trains wrong by a very upset (almost) 3 yr old.  That concluded the game of trains.  We then ate 1/2 a cantaloupe and I vegged out on the internet for the next 1/2 hr while Danner entertained himself.
10:00  Ventured outside to water the flowers, weed the garden and flowerbeds, and rip out morning glory from my raspberry bushes/vines/stalks/whatever you call them.  The last activity involved a lot of silent cursing.  Danner helped me weed.  My sunflowers and spinach both suffered some irreparable damage.  As an excuse to get Danner away from the rest of my poor veggies I turned on the sprinkler and called it a day for gardening.
10:45  Danner did a few laps around the yard in his tractor.  I was the motor.
10:50  Danner informed me it was lunch time and he was hungry.  I informed him that lunch does not happen before 11.  After considerable negotiations we agreed blueberry yogurt was a acceptable snack.
11:00  Back to the train.  Hudson woke up and was fed/changed/dressed.  Diapers hung out to dry.
11:30   Lunchtime!    At which Danner looked at me and said, "mommy, do you need a cup of coffee?"  in which I responded "no." and He said, "mommy, it's no, thank you." 

So Ta-da.  There you have it.  A pretty normal morning in the Hodge household.  Minus about 2 more diaper changes and bouts of whining & crying.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Part 2

NEVER threaten, say or even think divorce.

Don't let it be an option.  It's as simple as that.

Because the truth is divorce is ugly.  It's painful and awful and will have lifelong consequences.  And no matter what anyone says, it is not better for the kids.  Don't believe me, then check out the statistics on these web sites:

Just to name a few, children from divorced homes (which happen to be 1/2 the kids in North America) are much more likely to get poor grades, have bad health & serious emotional problems, go to prison, commit suicide, have failed marriages, etc.  And amazingly enough, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems then children from homes in which one parent has died.

And that's just talking about the kids.  In one study on loneliness (defined as 'absence of satisfying social relationships') those who were married were by far the lowest % with 4.6.  Never married was next at over 14% and those who were divorced, widowed or separated were all over 20%.

So please, don't ever think of divorce as a quick fix or a way to start with a 'clean slate'.  It's not and will never be.

Instead, think of marriage as a gift.  An opportunity to learn and mature and grow up and stop being so darn selfish!  There, I said it.  That's the bottom line.  Sometimes you just need to give yourself a good kick in the bum and realize, it's not about me!  (gasp, NOOOOOO!)  And then have a good cry, eat a tub of chocolate ice cream with delicious caramel fudge swirls, and get over it.   (And, if you're a slow learner like me, this may need to be repeated every few years)

So there you go.  That's my take on marriage.
If yours is broken, start repairing it.
If it's okay, make it better.
If it's great, maintain the greatness.
If it's perfect, just wait til you get home from your honeymoon;)

Fight for your marriage.  Fight for the marriages of your friends.


*The above article is not meant to address marital situations involving abuse or danger.  If you are being threatened or abused by your spouse please seek immediate help from a profession.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Be Pro-Marriage! Part-1

As I'm sure you'll soon discover, I am a very passionate person.  At least, I'm a very passionate person when it comes to specific subjects.

One of those subjects is marriage.  There are few things that break my heart like the 'I'm committed 'til bored, things get hard, kids change things or fall out of love'  marriage that seems to plague our modern day society.  Our nations attitude towards marriage is down right scary!  It is so often portrayed as a lifelong prison sentence for men, an old-fashioned custom, or, most scary, a temporary commitment.  With that attitude, it's no wonder so many people give up on marriage.

I'll be the first to admit, marriage is not what I expected.  It's not always a lovey-dovey, hand held walks on a sunset beach, fireworks in my soul, stars in my eyes situation.  In fact, after 4 years of marriage it is rarely those things.  And thank goodness!  I'd hate to be perpetually stuck in that honeymoon state!   I mean, really, nothing would ever get done and no one could stand being around us.  (Apologizes to any newlyweds who may be offended.  I promise in a few years and a few kids you'll get over it.)

That kind of infatuation is just a starting place.  One that is fun to revisit, but oh so important to improve upon.  Because beyond that stage is an incredible opportunity to learn to really love someone.  And by love someone, I mean Corinthians 13 love someone.  In a patient, kind, non-envious, non-boastful, selfless, forgiving kind of way.  In the way that love is meant to be.

It's not easy.  Actually, some days, and even some years, it's down right hard and it involves a whole lot of work.  And there's absolutely no way to truly love your spouse unless you are willing to sacrifice your own wants, desires and even dreams for their good.  I'm not saying you have to give up on all those things or even throw them by the wayside.  I'm just saying that you have to be willing to if your spouse needs you to.  Because when you die to self and start living for others, wow, that's really living!

It's a process.  Marriage, loving, living, growing.  When two people get married they're like two different stones with a whole lot of rough edges.  Marriage is going to make those stones rub together a whole lot.  And the way you rub your spouse is going to determine whether it makes them even sharper and harder or softer and coordinating.

So just take one small step in the right direction.  And then another and another.  Even if you're the only one walking, keep taking those steps.  You'll be amazed at how far it takes you.

.....to be continued.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Introduction

This is me:

(Before children and an extra 20 lbs)

I am happily married to this man:
I mean, really, who wouldn't be happy being married to such a handsome, useful guy.
By the way, his name is Shelby.

And these are our two kids:
Danner would be the one 'hugging' his younger brother, Hudson.
He either loves him a lot or is trying to squeeze the life out of him.
Definitely debatable.

   I've been meaning to start a blog for a long time.  Mainly because I love to write, to encourage and to make people laugh.  I've technically had this blog for about 6 months.  At least, that's when I created it.  But then I couldn't find the perfect layout or background picture which was so frustrating I had to ignore it for a long time.  I still don't have the perfect design, but the 'itch' to write has been bugging me so much that I finally conceded to let it be.

   In the near future you can expect a variety of posts full of DIY projects (which will take you less then a 1/2 hr since that's my attention span for such projects); gardening tips (primarily on what not to do); entertaining, yet not too embarrassing, stories of my children; thoughts on parenting, marriage and probably 10 million other things.

   So bookmark this page, check on it now and again, and hopefully you can come away from it feeling encouraged and blessed.  Or, at the least, thanking God you're not as crazy, impatient and scatterbrained as that Blossom blogger.