The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Scriptural case for spanking

As a Christian, I desire to live my life according to God’s Word, and I do believe that spanking is a Bible concept. Since God is our Creator, His way is best. However, He always allows us to choose whether we will accept and follow His way or whether we will go our own way. God is the One Who gave us free will, and I am certainly not going to take that away from you. I want it to be known from the outset that I am not trying to compel anyone to agree with me or do things my way.

The topic of spanking has been addressed in several blogs recently. I learned from Steve of Inside Fatherhood that spanking could land you in jail soon because a California (where else?) Assemblywoman is introducing legislation that would outlaw the spanking of children 3 and under. From the comments made, it would appear that no one, including those parents who do not believe in spanking their children, thinks that government has the right to legislate this. To me, it is just another attempt for the government to take control of our children away from us, and, as I commented there, God gave children to parents, not to the government. It takes parents to raise a child, not a village, and certainly not government. Note: Steve just added a post asking Is Spanking Acceptable? Visit to weigh in on this topic.

Rory’s HameLife post Spanking - Why Many Keep Seeking for a Better Way explores the idea that spanking interferes with the development of the child's conscience. The theory he presents says that a child who is feeling guilty may use his actions to beg to be spanked so that he can be relieved of his guilt. Rory pleads the case for not spanking but finding a better way for your child to deal with guilt.

I visited a couple of other blogs, but those were the two that I felt to be most compelling. Before I start my own post, I would like to lay down some ground rules for any discussion that may follow.

  • I do moderate comments left on my blog, and I reserve the right to delete any comment.
  • I don’t mind people offering dissenting opinions; however, I ask that you be courteous and respectful in presenting your opinions.
  • Courteous behavior applies to everyone, not just dissenters. There is no need to become rude and hateful simply because we don’t agree with someone or something. I want my blog to be a welcoming place, even if we don’t all agree.

We spank our children. I’ll get into the why in a little bit, but first let me show you how. We do not spank for every little infraction. (My Derbe has an excellent post about examining your child’s motives before punishing them. Children often make messes or act in a way that we would attribute to malice aforethought when they were only being curious or trying to help.) Spanking is not the only training tool in our parenting toolbox, and we do not believe it should necessarily be the first one to be utilized.

In our house, spanking is mainly used for 2 offenses: direct disobedience and deliberately hurting someone else. We will spank for other transgressions if the occasion warrants, but that is more the exception than the rule. We do not spank impulsively or in anger. I know spanking is often associated with a parent who has reached the point of having had enough and strikes in anger, but it need not and, indeed, should not be that way. When our children have transgressed in a manner that we have pre-determined will result in a spanking, we take the erring child into a room alone and proceed to examine with her why she is receiving a spanking. The (fictional) conversation might go something like this:

Me: “Pookie, what did Mommy tell you to do?”

Pookie: “You said to go to bed.”

Me: “What did you do?”

Pookie: “I not go.”

Me: “What happens when you don’t obey Mommy?”

Pookie: “I get spanking.”

Me: “That’s right. You do get a spanking.”

The spanking is then slowly and calmly administered whilst I reiterate the reason she is receiving a spanking.


Pookie, you need to tell me and God that you are sorry for not obeying Mommy.”

Pookie will comply, and then we will share a hug and kiss, followed by a reminder to obey Mommy next time. Fellowship is restored.

But why even go through the trauma? I certainly do not enjoy spanking my children, and there is no way they enjoy receiving a spanking. Like I said before, we spank because spanking is a Bible concept. Lest you think that I know not whereof I speak, let’s look at the Bible.

Proverbs 23:13-14 “[13] Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. [14] Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

Proverbs 13:24 “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

Proverbs 19:18 “Chasten thy son while there is yet hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”

(bold emphasis is mine)

Don’t shoot me; that’s what the Bible says, and I don’t see how it could be any clearer. There is a time for correction with words, and there is a time for correction with the rod. If I leave out either element, my discipline is unbalanced. As you see above, when I crucify my selfish desire for comfort and endure the inconvenience and personal pain of spanking my children, I am actively loving my children.

In addition to being Scripturally mandated, there is something about spanking that breaks a child’s self-will and softens his sin-hardened soul. Oft times today we hear that we should not break a child’s will. Baloney! A sinner who is willful will not heed God’s call to repentance. It is only those who are broken who are willing to submit to God and ask for salvation. I believe that is why Proverbs 23:14 says that beating your child with the rod will deliver his soul from Hell. I don’t want my children to go to Hell; I want them to be saved.

The theory that you should refrain from spanking your child so that he can learn how to cope with guilt may sound good, but it is not Biblical. Man is inherently sinful and rebellious and always seeks for a “better way” than what God has decreed. Instead of deciding not to spank your child, use that opportunity to explain that, while spanking does erase the debt he owes you, only Jesus’ blood shed on Calvary can pay the much greater sin debt he owes to God. Always look for ways to point your child to Christ, for only Christ can relieve us of the load of sin that we carry. Also point out that even though his debt to you is erased, actions still have consequences. Thus, though he has paid the penalty for hitting his sister, he has still hurt her and must offer a sincere apology.

There is more I would like to say, but I think this is quite long enough. In closing, even if you choose not to employ spanking when raising your child, I hope that you can now see that spanking is a Scriptural mandate.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Let sleeping babies lie

Since y'all seemed to enjoy the last photos, I thought I would share my very favorite baby picture of Baby Bear. She is only 3 days old here; I thought she looked so sweet and that the colors were just perfect so I snapped away. She looks different now, doesn't she?


Monday, January 29, 2007

You know you're on the computer too much when

... your 2 year old daughter marches up to you and says,

"Mommy! Turn it off! RIGHT. NOW!!!"


Mr. Incredible's claim to fame

Last weekend, my mother-in-law was going through boxes had not yet been unpacked since their move. She found some of my husband's memorabilia and called to ask him about it. One of the items was a newspaper clipping giving the honor roll list for that quarter or semester - I'm not sure which. My husband made the honor roll, and so did Julius Peppers (of Carolina Panthers fame). My husband was in 4th grade, and Peppers was in 1st. So Mr. Incredible went to school with someone who later became famous.

Blogger is having some major problems, and I can't add any photos - sorry! I hope they get it worked out soon!!!


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Captured moment

This was one time I actually got my camera and captured one of those moments I want to remember.

I just want to cover her with kisses because she looks so sweet!


Friday, January 26, 2007

Business necessities

I am a “momtrepreneur”: a mother who also happens to be an entrepreneur. I have taught piano for 13 years and have run “(my last name) Piano Studio” for almost a decade, dutifully filing my business taxes each year. My sole advertisement is word-of-mouth, and the Lord has always graciously provided me with the amount of students I can handle. One thing I do need to do, however, is to check into business card printing. I have never created a business card, and when people ask for one, I end up having to write my contact information on a piece of paper, all the while stumbling around trying to explain why I don’t have a card to give them. I am painfully aware that my lack of business cards has at times left a less-than-professional impression. What are items you view as indispensable for the professional operation of your business?


Prayers that are heard

As I mentioned earlier, both of Sunday's sermons were excellent and spoke to my heart. I've already posted about the repentance sermon. This time I would like to share with you what I gleaned from the evening sermon on prayer.

Do you ever feel like you pray but God doesn't hear you? That feeling could actually be fact. God does not hear every prayer. I bet that knocked some of you for a loop! Here is what the Bible says.

  • Psalm 66:18 "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:"
  • I Samuel 8:18 "And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall haven chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day."
  • Isaiah 1:15 "And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood."
  • Isaiah 59:1-2 "[1] Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; [2] But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."

Prayer that is heard comes from a heart clean from sin and is not dependent upon formulaic methods such as the use of memorized prayers or rosaries. However, there are key essentials to remember when praying.

  1. We must pray in Jesus’ name, for He is our entrance into heaven. Consider Hebrews 4:14-16 “[14] Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us therefore {because of what has been said before} come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
  2. We must pray according to His will. I John 5:14 says, “And this is the confidence we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:”
  3. We must pray with patience. Isaiah 30:18 “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.”
  4. We must pray with faith. Matthew 21:22 states, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”


But have you considered the following? If you, a Christian, have anything against anyone, no matter how justified, you must forgive them wholeheartedly before God will hear and answer your prayers.

Since this post is getting lengthy, I will finish this tomorrow. Lord willing.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

We're going on a date!

Oh, I am so excited! I have wanted to babble about this for a couple of days now, but life and other blogging responsibilities have not allowed me to do so until now.

Mr. Incredible grew up attending a church youth group that would take various trips (missions trips as well as just-plain-fun trips) each year. Two annual trips were the ski trip in February and the amusement park trip in the summer. After we got married, we pretty much continued the tradition. I learned how to ski, and we have had a blast every time we go - even including the trip when my oldest daughter was not quite 2 months old and my knee gave way while I was skiing and stretched the ligaments in my knee, making me unable to walk for a solid week. That was an adventure with a brand new baby, let me tell you! Getting back to the point here, we didn't get to go last year because we had just relocated and were struggling to make it financially because of having to make 2 house payments until our old house sold. I'm sure some of you know how that goes. So now it has been 2 years since we last skied. We promised each other that we would go this year, but once again, the finances are just not there. Bummer! BUT...

Remember I told you about the Celtic Woman show and that it is coming to Raleigh in March? Well, when we decided that we couldn't go skiing this year, Mr. Incredible said, "Go ahead and order tickets for Celtic Woman." I about flew through the roof! We've talked about going to plays and good concerts before, but now we are actually going to see the Celtic Woman: A New Journey show! We decided to get the best seats we could get in the medium price range. Since we were given an Olive Garden gift card for Christmas, we are going to use that to eat supper before the show and we are just going to enjoy actually getting to go on a date. What fun! It's still a couple of months away, but we'll be gearing up for the occasion by buying the Celtic Woman: A New Journey CD that will be released on Tuesday. With all this exposure to Irish culture, you shouldn't be surprised if I begin giving everyone Irish gifts. I like the Celtic cross and various other classic Irish items. But that's beside the point.

I'M GOING ON A DATE WITH MY HUSBAND! (in a sing-song voice)

clip art of couple about to kiss courtesy of
Celtic Woman: A New Journey - Live at Slane Castle
DVD cover photo courtesy of Barnes and


Electrolux or Kirby?

At our previous house, Kirby vacuum cleaner salesmen would come by wanting to demonstrate their vacuum at least twice a year if not more often. I did let them demonstrate the vacuum twice, and I LOVE it! The price is way out of our budget, however, so my friend Karen gave me some ideas for finding a more reasonably priced vacuum cleaner.

This past Saturday, a vacuum cleaner salesman knocked on our door for the first time in 13 months. This man, however, was promoting the Electrolux brand. I did let him demonstrate his machine, partially because I was curious how it would compare to the Kirby and partially so he could receive his 40 points. I'm nice that way. (laugh) I do not like the Electrolux as well as the Kirby. The feature that made me love the Kirby is that the suction hose that goes to the beater area doesn't just end as a hose like all other machines I have since inspected. (You should have seen me at Wal-Mart the other day; I was tipping up every single display vac, peering into its interior!) Instead, the Kirby is designed to so that the suction pipe splays out at the end to cover the entire width of the beater area. Let me tell you, this design creates some kind of suction! I saw it pick up and hold a cardboard box that was approximately 36x24x18 inches! I told the Electrolux guy that while I would like to purchase a good vacuum one day, that was not the day. He kindly left me not one but two business cards on his way out.

So I'm curious. Am I the only one who gets these salesmen or do they come to your house, too? If you do have salesmen coming by, what product are they hawking?


Repentance - part 2

All right, this is a day later than what I had intended. Forgive me? (grin)

If you are just getting here, you really need to read Part 1 first.

Repentance defined and illustrated

Having established the Scriptural foundation for the doctrine of repentance and what repentance is not, let's examine what repentance actually is. Here is a good Bible definition of repentance.
I Thessalonians 1:9 "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;"

From this Scripture, you can see that repentance is "a change of mind that results in a change of direction." (Pastor Bill Wingard) While you may never use the words repent or repentance, the action will be there if the conversion is real.

Take a look at the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. The previous verses deal with two other lost items: a lost sheep and a lost coin. In those instances, the owner searched for the lost items until they were found. The son chose to leave home, and no one went after him. Pastor Wingard pointed out that the father could have pursued his son and forced him to return home, but the result would have been a son who was even more rebellious and discontented than he had been before he left. Instead, the father allowed his son to exercise his free will. Finally, the son realized into what a ridiculous and terrible position he had put himself. He had fallen so low that he even thought about eating the slop for the pigs he was tending!

In that moment, he repented. He could have sent home to his father with a demand for more money. He could have gone home and demanded to be reinstated as a son with all the privilege that came with the title. Instead, his realization of the wrong he had committed toward his father and family caused him to view himself as he truly was. He realized that he was not worthy to be called a son and determined that upon his return he would ask only to be hired as a servant. THAT IS REPENTANCE! All his pride and self-reliance were gone. He realized the immense favor his father would be doing him to even hire him as a servant. The father in mercy restored the son to his birth right, but the son would not have thought him unjust had he done otherwise.

Do you understand how this relates to real life? Do you see how repentance is not only for the unsaved but is for the saved as well? How often do I come to God in "repentance" with the attitude, "Okay, I did wrong; now I'm saying I'm sorry so I can get back to my life." That is not repentance for true repentance changes the repentant. It is my sincere desire that I would be truly repentant when I ask God for forgiveness for a sin I have committed. I don't want to be the Christian who always remains a baby because she never experiences the change and growth that true repentance brings.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Carnival of Beauty is up

Head over to Lizzy's A Dusty Frame to read what everyone else learned from the story of Mary and Martha. Many facets are explored, and you just might learn something. (My post Choosing that which is needful is included in the carnival.)


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Opinions, please

If you've visited here a couple of times today, you probably have noticed the multiple color changes. I'm having a little trouble deciding what I really want. What do you think of the new scheme? Do you like it better than the old one? How about the background color, text color, and link color? Input would be greatly appreciated.


Choosing that which is needful

This week's Carnival of Beauty topic is The Beauty of Mary and Martha.

Oh, how I love this story! (Luke 10:38-42) And how I need to be reminded of the lesson found therein.

Too often I am Martha, worried and fretting over what needs to be done in my house, in my church, in all my responsibilities and activities. The worries and cares of life so easily consume me to the point where I feel like I can't take the time to "sit at Jesus' feet" and have my quiet time with Him. Yet that is what I need most. When I miss my time with God, petty annoyances turn into impassable mountains.

Martha became irate because she was doing all the preparation and serving while Mary was doing no work. She stormed in to where Jesus was teaching, interrupting the words of her Creator. She accused Him of encouraging Mary's "neglect" because He did not send Mary to help her. How often do I do the same, complaining about my difficult circumstances while completely ignoring the words God is trying to speak to my heart? My circumstances would not be so difficult if I simply stopped and took the time to listen to the Master.

In contrast to fretful, harried Martha, what a wonderful example Mary is! She did not allow seemingly imperative tasks to separate her from her Lord. Instead, she chose that which was needful. A quiet time with God is not a luxury to be set aside if I have a lot on my schedule for that day. Time alone with God is most necessary when it seems most impossible to find the time, for it is in that meeting time that I find strength to face the day ahead. Oftentimes, the Scripture I read in the morning is the very thing that I need to get me through the day. God in His providence knows what lies in my way and fills my cup with life-giving water before I ever realize my need.

Dear Lord, please forgive me for paying lip-service to You but actually placing everything else ahead of You. Thank You for the story of Mary and Martha and the lessons that have spoken to my heart. Please help me to choose "that which is needful" rather than trying to live life in my own strength. Thank You for Your love, mercy, and boundless compassion. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


Repentance - part 1

The sermons at my church on Sunday were both so good and so useful that I felt like I need to share them with you, but I'll write about them one at a time. (This post has gotten so long I'm dividing it, too.)

Sunday morning's sermon was about repentance. It is sad to think how far even "fundamentalists" have strayed from the "doctrines of Christ," and the downward decline only seems to be accelerating. There are fewer and fewer pastors and churches that believe and preach the whole Gospel of Christ. Various elements of the salvation message are being denied and/or ignored. No longer is it generally believed that Christ had to shed His blood to atone for our sins. Instead, many people are leaving out the references to the blood in the belief that the blood is not necessary for our salvation. Repentance is another element that is oft rejected. The prevailing philosophy seems to be, "God is love and loves everyone regardless. Just pray a prayer, and He'll accept you, and that's the end of it." This kind of teaching is sending people to hell because as Pastor Bill Wingard says, "A lack of the teaching of repentance leads to false professions of faith."

Is there a Scriptural basis for the doctrine of repentance? The answer is an absolute affirmative. Here are a few of the many Scriptures that expound the necessity of repentance.

  • Matthew 9:13 "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
  • II Corinthians 7:9-10 "[9] Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. [10] For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death."
  • II Timothy 2:25-26 "[25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
  • II Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
  • Luke 13:3;5 (both verses are exactly the same) "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
  • Hebrews 6:1 "Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"
When God says something once, it is established; when He says it twice, it is important. The theme of repentance is a recurring theme throughout the Bible; therefore, it is of utmost importance.

Not only is repentance often cast aside, but also there is much confusion about what true repentance actually is. First, let's list a few things that repentance is NOT.
  • Repentance is NOT conviction - Conviction is a step along the road to repentance, but you can be convicted without ever repenting.
  • Repentance is NOT being sorry - Often sorrow over sin is merely the sorrow of being caught rather than the sorrow of repentance. Sorrow CAN put you in the right attitude for repentance.
  • Repentance/salvation is NOT church membership - Church membership is merely joining a body of believers; it will not save you nor does it mean that you are repentant. A great many church members are lost and on their way to hell.

Coming tomorrow: repentance defined and illustrated


Monday, January 22, 2007

Our new Channel Master CM 3020 Deep Fringe Advantage TV Antenna (CM3020)

I love to read; my husband loves to watch movies. He also loves electronics and drools over the latest and greatest technology. This actually comes in handy sometimes.

We don't yet have an HDTV (that's coming soon) nor do we have cable or satellite, but we do receive the local digital channels. How is that possible? All you have to do is buy a digital receiver and digital-capable antenna. Our former pastor told us about it, and we have enjoyed watching the 5 different PBS channels and the multiple channels offered by most other local (free) stations. The digital signal also makes for a much clearer picture even on our non-digital TV. Wonderful!

Except ... my husband is also a NASCAR fan. NASCAR splits the season's broadcast between FOX and ABC; with our indoor antenna, we could not pick up the local FOX station, which was a very bad thing because they have NASCAR for the first half of the season. NASCAR's new season is less than 2 months away, and Mr. Incredible didn't want to miss a race. What to do? Of course he did the research necessary to come up with a solution: a large directional antenna. He wanted one that was capable of receiving HD signals. Our local Lowe's carries the Channel Master brand, and after looking at his options, he purchased the Channel Master CM 3020 Deep Fringe Advantage TV Antenna. As you can tell from the photo, the thing is a monster! When he put it together in our shed, it measured 12 feet from end to end and 6 feet wide at the widest point. Now just to install it.

He purchased 5 foot lengths of metal rod, wall mount brackets, and 50 feet of cable. I helped him put up the antenna with no particular problem. However, he decided to run the cable through the attic, into a closet, and through a wall to connect to the TV. Everything went okay until he had to pull the cable through the attic. Our attic is filled with A/C ducts and insulation; most of the insulation was blown in. He had no mask and very little room in which to work. By the time he pulled the cable from one side of the house to the other, he was in bad shape. I brought the ladder for him to get down, and as soon as he hit the floor, he pushed past me and hurried outside to puke. He had inhaled quite a bit of the insulation. After a shower and a break, he completed the installation. We now receive the FOX channel that precipitated this whole adventure. We also receive a couple more channels we had not previously been able to pick up. He's happy. (grinning)

photo of antenna courtesy of Solid Signal


Friday, January 19, 2007

Join the fun

When I visited BooMama yesterday, I found out about a few interesting things going on in "Bloggityville." (That's her word for it.) I'm going to share because I think you guys would be interested.

  • Due to the severe weather where she lives, Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer is having a hard time keeping her 4 house-bound boys occupied. She came up with a fun geography lesson but needs your help. The idea is for people to write a comment stating where they live. The boys will find that place on the map. I've already participated, and it's interesting to see where people have come from.
  • Jules of Everyday Mommy had the fabulous idea to hold the First Annual Hidden Treasure Blog Awards. Here are her rules:

The Rules

Step 1: The Treasure Hunt

Your mission is to scour the mommy blogosphere [she later stated that a nomination need not be a "mommy" blog; it just needs to fit one of the categories] for hidden treasure. Read through archives, visit new blogs and find that well-written gem. This can come from a favorite blog which you already read or a blog you've discovered during the treasure hunt. But, the idea is to find well-written posts which are off the beaten path.

The categories are: Children & Family, Faith, Marriage, Motherhood, Homemaking, Humor, Current Events and Life. No profanity, questionable or offensive material is permitted. Keep a list of the hidden treasures you find for submission in the next step.

Step 2: Nominations

Nominations will open on February 1, 2007. Everyone may nominate a single post in each category. The three posts with the most nominations will advance to voting. So, if you find a great post feel free to pass the word. Nominations will close on February 7, 2007.

Step 3: Voting

Voting will open on February 8, 2007. One vote per category. Voting will close on February 13, 2007. Winners will be announced on February 14, 2007 The nominated post with the most votes overall will be awarded Best In Show.

Update: Nominations will open on February 1, 2007. Nominations may be submitted by email to

Voting will open February 7, 2007. Details to be announced then.
  • 5 Minutes for Mom is hosting the Ultimate Blog Party to help "get your blog noticed." This party is open to everyone! It will be held March 2-9, and there are even prizes, but you need to follow the link ("Ultimate Blog Party") to their post to get the details now so that you will be able to do what you need to do to qualify as a "party guest". It sounds like it will be fun, and I have already gotten some new traffic just from the comment I left.
So that's what is going on. Perhaps we'll bump into each other at one of these places. :)


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Consider living near Raleigh, NC

Having been to Raleigh often, I have to say that I love it. There are so many things to see and do. I love to visit Burrage Music for their awe-inspiring selection of sheet music, and it's always fun to visit an IMAX show at Exploris Museum. The Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts brings excellent shows to town (such as the upcoming Celtic Woman show on March 30-31), and there are many interesting historical sites to visit, such as the North Carolina State Capitol in downtown Raleigh. The corporate sector is thriving and shows no signs of slowing down. Jobs are readily available. If you are considering making a move and like living in an area with diverse attractions and entertainment venues, I recommend you talk to a Raleigh real estate agent to explore housing options.


Kelli's response

The total raised for Kelli is now:

$8, 799.36!
I'm sure more will come, too. I am just thrilled at the way people have responded to this need; to those of you who generously responded to my plea (and I don't know who that is or isn't), thank you! This family's plight has touched my heart; I think it's because I realize that other than the grace of God there is no reason that could not be me and my family in need.

Having said that, Kelli has posted her response, and it's well worth reading.


A treat for you

It finally feels like winter here, and while I love hot chocolate any time of the year, I like it best when its steamy warmth provides a nice contrast to the chill outside. For Christmas this year, I gave our families a copy of my CD and a jar of homemade hot chocolate mix with the recipe. I mentioned to a dear friend that I was going to make the hot chocolate but needed a recipe and was going to search the Internet. She kindly gave me a copy of her delicious recipe, and I had found several online so I combined the recipes to create my own.

Heavenly Hot Chocolate Mix

10 2/3 c. powdered milk
6 oz. jar nonfat powdered dairy creamer
4 c. confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 c. cocoa powder (can use hot chocolate mix like NesQuik

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. (I recommend processing the powdered milk in a blender to break down the large particles into a fine powder.) Stir gently to mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This makes about 18 cups of mix.

  • Add 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • Use a flavored creamer such as Hazelnut or French Vanilla. (I used Hazelnut, and you really need to use two 8 oz. jars to get a good flavor.)
  • Add 1 tsp. cinnamon to the mix.
  • Add 1 pkg. of raspberry or cherry Kool-aid mix. Increase sugar by 1/2 cup.
To use mix, add 3 or 4 tablespoons of the mix per cup of water. I usually prefer using milk to make my hot chocolate, but this has creamer and powdered milk in the mix so I find that using water instead of milk gives you a stronger chocolate flavor. I did try it with milk, and it's very rich, mild, and smooth that way - just not as "chocolate-y."

photo of hot chocolate courtesy of


Another reason to have a spare bedroom

It makes a great sick room! Miss Muffet and I ended up sleeping in our guest room last night because she kept vomiting. I really don't know what was wrong with her; she was not vomiting stomach contents. It was more like huge gobs of thin, stretchy, clear mucous. I know - too much info! But does anyone have any idea what that could be about? I could look it up on the Internet, but I thought I'd check with my oh-so-learned friends first. (wink)


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Beauty of Bread edition of the Carnival of Beauty is up

So head over to Sarah's blog to take a look at all the recipes. Every single one sounds great.


Helping Kelli update

(Click on the link if you missed the post about why Kelli needs help.)

I checked BooMama's Kelli update page this morning, and the posted total (so far) is over $5,600! Praise the Lord! If you would still like to donate, visit BooMama's post and scroll to the bottom (before the comments) where you will see a button that says Make a Donation.


Thoughtful Tuesday (12)

Well, I'm off by one day, but considering how many posts I published yesterday, can you blame me? Today's quotes aren't inside my Bible, but they are encouraging and inspiring nonetheless.

"Housework done incorrectly still blesses the family."
"Progress, not perfection, in 2007"
-Marla Cilley AKA FLYlady


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A more sanitary way

I am not the pickiest person when it comes down to what I am willing to let pass as "clean," but I do freak a little bit over raw meat. I wash my hands constantly when I handle it, and I bleach my sink after even rinsing off knives or other prep utensils. Raw meat just creeps me out that way. So I was really interested when I saw Maricar's Keeping the Castle post about the Gusto Grip Clean Cut Cutting Board Set. Here is the quotation she posted.

With the Clean Cut system you get the sturdiness and beauty of a thick, oak cutting board, plus six removable, washable surfaces each designated to specific food bacterial groups–raw meat, seafood, poultry, cooked meats, vegetables and dairy. And unlike the color coded cutting mats you’ll find in stores, the Clean Cut mats are made of high density polypropylene for the ultimate in hygiene and knife-edge protection.
That sounds like a winner to me! I can rest easy knowing that my raw foods are not getting intermingled on my cutting board!

photo courtesy of Keeping the Castle


Helping Kelli

is one of my favorite blogs to visit, and she has shown that not only is she funny but is caring as well. She recently clued us readers in to a need.

A fellow blogger named Kelli who is married with 2 children is living with severe kidney failure and is on daily dialysis. (Click the link to read Kelli's post about her situation.) She has passed all the tests necessary to even be considered for being put on the transplant list. In order to be placed on the list, she will have to show evidence of her ability to pay whatever part of the bill her insurance won't cover, which could be as much as $100,000. In addition, she is going to have to start paying for COBRA coverage in about 2 weeks.

BooMama had the wonderful idea to designate today For Kelli. She has set up a PayPal account for donations to help Kelli financially and has put the donate button at the bottom of her Kelli update post. You can donate using your PayPal account, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card. The transaction is guaranteed secure, and the minimum donation is $1.50. That is not a lot of money. Would you consider giving at least the minimum? You never know when you could be the one needing a transplant and the financial help to get it. Oh, and if you do donate or write your own post about Kelli, BooMama is asking that you leave a comment at her update post (click link above) so that Kelli can see how many people care and are helping her.


Homemade bread

Sallie of A Gracious Home started the weekly Carnival of Beauty late in 2005, and she has chosen some great topics for 2007. This week's topic is The Beauty of Bread, and it is going to be a recipe carnival. Sarah of To Motherhood and Beyond is hosting and will have all the links for this week's carnival entries so be sure to stop by there sometime to get some new recipes.

Growing up, my mother almost always cooked from scratch. Instant potatoes were a treat for our family, if that tells you anything. While my mother is not the best cook in the world, there are some things she cooks that are absolutely fantastic. Her homemade pizza inspired my quest to make a great pizza. Maybe I remember through a rose-colored filter, but I can still smell and taste the wonder of her pizza. Now she says mine is better than hers. We almost never ate store-bought bread because Mom always took the time to make homemade bread, and she didn't have a bread maker, either. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING like hot-from-the-oven bread with buttered crust and butter on the bread! It's a wonder we weren't fat! I never did get her recipe for the bread, and I doubt I would make it by hand; I'm too lazy to go to that much trouble. But I do love my bread maker and have tried several different very good recipes. Here is one of my favorites that I found at

Basic White Bread
Nothing fancy, just a good basic white bread for the bread machine. Sometimes the simple things in life are the best!
Prep time: approx. 5 minutes.
Cook time: approx. 3 hours
Ready in: approx. 3 hours 5 minutes
Makes one 1.5 pound loaf (12 servings)

1 1/4 c warm water
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 c. bread flour
2 Tbsp. dry milk powder
1 (.25 oz.) package active dry yeast

Directions: Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select White Bread setting; press Start.


Commercializing the Christian element

I try to be thoughtful; I send cards for birthdays and give gifts for Christmas or special occasions such as weddings or significant anniversaries, and I do like to give Christian gifts; however, I hate to see Christianity packaged and commercialized into being the "popular" thing to do or be. How many people have "religious" charms on their cell phones or on the rear view mirror in their cars? Remember the WWJD fad? The phrase behind the marketing campaign was great and would be revolutionary if actually applied (read In His Steps by Charles M. Sheldon if you haven't already), but its popularity made it commonplace and meaningless. Our Christian walk should be more than the trinkets and charms we may display. Our true adornment should be the "meek and quiet" spirit that speaks of a Christ-filled life. Wearing a necklace or displaying a bumper sticker doesn't count for much in God's Book. How we live our lives is what will count for eternity.


Our temporary guest bedroom

I've told y'all before about our putting all the girls in one room. That has worked out really well. The girls sleep well and play well together, and we have been able to transform the baby's old bedroom into a guest bedroom - something we have never had before. Always before, any overnight visitors were so privileged as to sleep on our air mattress we use for camping or on one of our two couches. Now we can actually offer guests a real bed and privacy while they sleep. We even have an empty chest of drawers in there for guest use.

Unfortunately, we do know that we will only be able to have the guest bedroom for a couple of years at most. When we have another baby (which I am not quite ready for just yet), we'll have to turn it back into a nursery. Since we want 2 or 3 more kids, it might be possible to actually buy an Emily crib sometime instead of just drooling over it. Those cribs are neat! They start out as a crib but can be turned into a daybed or a full size bed as your child gets older. They are very attractive (to me anyway). But for now, I am enjoying the feeling of luxury that comes with having a bedroom just for guests.


A touch of class

One of my latest assignments was to link house marker to the website of I always follow the link myself before writing about an assignment, and I really liked this site and thought you might enjoy browsing there yourself. If you are like me, you like to get ideas for items you can add to your house to add a touch of class. has a large selection of products available including "select mailboxes, makeup mirrors, kitchen islands, custom door mats, and much more." Just click to follow the links. (You can even click on the photo if you like; I finally realized that photos can be used as links, too.)

photo courtesy of


Getting back on track

About a week ago I took a little break from blogging to "tame the beast." I cannot believe how much I have since decluttered from my house and how much I still have left to go through. How do we accumulate so much STUFF so quickly? Today's goal is to sort through the toy room. I already know that at least half of what is in there will be boxed up to rotate back in later. The girls have so many toys they can't possibly play with them all. Yes, I do donate and Freecycle, too, but some of the toys I do not want to part with just yet.

Now that I am close to completing the decluttering process, I am trying to get back into the routine I had been on. You can view a copy of my schedule if you are interested; it's a MS Works spreadsheet.

Due to changes in our lives, I am having to modify my old routine, and one of those modifications is the designation of Thursday as Desk Day for me to balance our bank accounts and pay bills. When Mr. Incredible started working at his current job last year, I ended up taking over our finances. I don't mind; I'm actually quite good at handling money, but I haven't done such a good job lately. When the house spiraled out of control so did my handling of the money. I never paid anything late, but I did cut closer to due dates than I like. Now I'm reorganizing everything finance related, making sure I have all my supplies (such as a stapler, staples, mailing envelopes and return address labels), and preparing to be oh-so-efficient. Since it is a new year, I am also setting up our new files and printing out 12 more budget work sheets (one per month).

What about you? How do you keep your life together? What helps you use your time most efficiently?


Monday, January 15, 2007

On the go

If you come by here regularly, you probably noticed that I haven't posted anything since Friday - gasp! Since I often post more than once a day, this is highly unusual. What's wrong? Nothing except that I've been on the go. Frankly, I could use one of those energy pills right about now. *grin*

I was gone all day Friday. The girls and I left our house at 10:30 a.m. I stopped by my brother's place and spent about 4 hours helping my sister-in-law by doing laundry and cleaning her daughter's room. The kids had so much fun playing together, and my brother/SIL had been given a tiny Jack Russell terrier the day before so the kids enjoyed playing with Rocco (or Paco as Pookie Bear called him). When we had to leave, my little niece got all teary-eyed and said, "I don't want them to leave." We promised that we would come back again some other time.

After leaving there, we stopped by Mr. Incredible's grandparents' place to get my mother's headboards from the pack house and to load up on vegetables and meat for our new freezer. (PaPa raises a small herd of cattle- maybe 10 at most- to butcher for meat for the family, and he and MaMa plant and tend a large vegetable garden every year. They will slaughter 1 or 2 cows each year, which provides meat for 5 families. PaPa pays for raising the cows, and the other 4 families pay for the butchering. At about $200 per cow, that is either $50 or $100 for all the meat we can use in a year. Most of the meat is made into hamburger, and the remaining beef is cut into various steaks. My mom made the comment that eating the hamburger from the farm is like eating ground steak. I hate when I have to buy store meat. The hamburger is so greasy, and one pound of the store meat cooks down to about half of what I'm used to having from a pound of farm hamburger. The vegetables are from the garden that PaPa plants and MaMa tends. It, too, provides the year's food the the families. Summer time means going to the farm to help pick and put up corn, butter beans, field peas, string beans, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and all the other vegetables they plant. It's definitely hard work, but I'm thankful for the end result.) We had just enough time to pop in and say hi to PaPa and MaMa and Robert's uncle and aunt who live right beside his grandparents.

We then took the headboards to my mother at work, went to Target looking for a Celtic Woman CD (if you haven't heard them, they are GOOD!), picked up my husband's comic books, stopped by my sister's house to drop off some dish towels for her, and headed home. We stopped at one more Target on the way home to look for the CD and FINALLY found it. We didn't stop after that and made it home about 8:15 p.m.

Saturday, Mr. Incredible's parents and grandparents came down. They helped Mr. Incredible rake leaves all day while I worked on changing out clothes in the girls' rooms.

Yesterday was church. I sang in the Sunday morning service and taught the 2-3 year old class on Sunday night. Afterward we went out to McDonald's with a family that we are getting to know. We have a lot in common, and it's nice to find some new friends. All of our kids have a lot of fun together.

That's what has kept me away from my beloved blog. I'm sure you're just thrilled to hear all the details - ha ha ha. How have you been doing lately?

top photo courtesy of
CD cover photo courtesy of Wikipedia


Friday, January 12, 2007

Frugal tips and tricks (7)

I thought this was too good to be true when I first read about it in one of FLYlady's e-mails, but I use this tip all the time, and it works great.

Forget about buying those expensive and harsh soap scum removers to clean your tub. There is a much easier and less toxic way to get rid of soap scum and have a sparkling clean tub.

The same thing that put the soap scum there will take it off: plain old soap! That's right; all you have to do to have a clean tub is take a couple of minutes at the end of your shower to wipe down the tub with your soap or shampoo. You can use a washcloth, bath pouf, or whatever you can keep handy for this chore. (I don't recommend using the washcloth or bath pouf that you just used to clean yourself. *grin*) You will be amazed how easily the soap scum comes off. If it is caked on because you haven't found a cleaner that really works or because you simply hate this chore, it may take more than one cleaning session to remove the buildup, but it will come off. The best part about this tip: if you do this on a fairly regular basis, your tub or shower will always be clean without your ever having to break your back scrubbing it.

photo courtesy of


Metabolism booster free trial

OK, guys, please bear with me here. This is not going to be a well-hidden assignment. It's late, I'm tired, but I have to get this done. My next post will be normal ol' me, I promise!

This assignment is also about a metabolism booster. I guess the industry is really competitive casuing different companies to pursue new avenues for advertising their LIFE-CHANGING AND REVOLUTIONARY PRODUCT! While supplies last, MetaboFire wants to give you enough pills for a 7-day trial of their free diet.

This product has the alarm bells ringing so loudly in my head they are virtually deafening me. What bothers me? I'm glad you asked.

  • "Maximum strength fat burner with ingredients so strong it's not sold in stores" Hmm, why do you suppose that is?
  • "Feel it working in seconds" It may work fast, but what side effects can that fast action create?
  • "Made with Synephrine: Fat burning effects similar to Ephedrine." My first reaction to the word Ephedrine is one of a vague recollection of having heard that it was dangerous. I could be wrong; as you can tell, I usually steer clear of these products. However, my feeling is that this is not a positive comparison even though the advertisement states that the effects are similar to those of Ephedrine.

And last but perhaps most importantly, here is a portion of the fine print posted on the website (enlarged for easier reading).

"These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Results Vary [sic]. Healthy and permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle changes (eating less food and/or doing more exercise). Continued use of the product is required. It is generally recommended that healthy weight loss results in only losing 1 to 2 pounds per week, as health and safety risks may occur with larger increments of loss." [All emphasis mine]

It's your body, and only you can choose what goes into it. Just, please, be careful.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

A review and comparison site for diet supplements

In my post about ways to achieve long-term weight loss, I wrote: "I am leery of supplements and diet pills. They mess with your body and often give quick results that simply don't last." While that statement remains true, another fact is also true: there are still people who use metabolism boosters and diet pills as their preferred methods for losing weight.

If you use or are considering using these methods, you might want to take a look at this diet comparison site that conducts diet supplements reviews and comparisons. I DO NOT KNOW how credible their review panel is, but here is what they say in their Mission Statement.

"The plethora of diets and diet products available to the public has reached a point of confusion. While most of these products are reputable, some have been found to be less than reputable.

The Diet Awareness Institute is committed to bringing researched resources to the public. Funded by grants and public contributions, the Diet Awareness Institute compares products from a wide array of companies and gives an analysis of each product with a common comparison rating so that individuals, medical & health professionals can make informed decisions.

The board members of the institute are made up of paid and gratis specialists. They come from a wide array of fields including, Health & Medicine, Publishing, and the Internet." - posted on the home page

If you choose to use pills to aid your weight loss, please do all you can to be informed of the pros and cons before you begin a regimen of supplements and other pills.


New review blog

This is a just a quick post to tell you about my sister's new venture. After hearing me rave about how much I enjoyed being paid to blog and working with payu2blog, Sho signed up with them as well. However, she did not want to post her assignments on her personal blog so she decided to start a blog where she will not only post assignments but will also share items she considers to be good. She just started the blog, which she titled Good Stuff, but has already posted her opinions of Cici's Pizza Atkins Bowl, her new digital Canon Powershot S3 IS, and the Aldi food store chain. I think her new blog can be a good resource for finding honest information about products. Take a look, and if you don't mind, please post a comment to encourage her in this new venture. Thanks so much!


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

SIDS - another possible cause (UPDATED with new link at 3:40 pm)

Just about everyone loves newborns; how can you help it? They are tiny and helpless and soft and so very sweet. What a tragedy when a tiny baby is taken by an unknown cause that is given the label "Sudden Infant Death Syndrome" (SIDS).

While no absolute cause for this phenomenon has yet been found, physicians currently recommend placing an infant on his "stomach to play and back to sleep" because of the belief that one possible cause of SIDS is that sleeping on the stomach can lead to the baby's face being pressed into the mattress, leaving the baby unable to breathe.

Despite this sage advice, I have never been able to coerce my babies into sleeping on their backs. All three of my girls have slept on their tummies since birth and are obviously alive and well; however, your baby's sleeping position is your choice. Like Frank, I don't follow a recommendation simply because an "expert" made it.

Nature Moms, a blog about living a more natural family life, recently published an article about organic crib mattresses which states that recent research has revealed a possible link between SIDS and the fire retardant chemicals coating crib mattresses and portable crib mattresses. It makes sense to me: the poor fragile baby lies there breathing in toxic chemicals over long periods of time, and his tiny body can't handle the chemical abuse. If even one child can be saved because the parents bought an organic mattress or replaced a regular mattress sooner than they would have otherwise, then we will have made a positive difference. Read the Nature Moms post for the full details about what you can do.

(UPDATED 1/10/2007 3:40 p.m.) Thank you to Gayle of Busy Mom Blog for stopping by and commenting. She is a licensed child care provider who was required to take a SIDS prevention course and has published a post with even more steps parents can take to prevent SIDS in their family. Her post too is an information-packed post that you should not miss.

photo courtesy of


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blogs of interest

I've been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now. I have recently found a few blogs and web sites that I am adding to my blogroll and/or feel are worth sharing with you.

MamaLaw...Making Sense of the Maze of Motherhood features the writings of three mothers who also happen to be lawyers: Justice Fergie, Justice Jones, and Justice Ny. (If those names seem familiar, it's because all three have commented on this blog at one time or another.) They write up their "Mama Laws" (currently at 8) and share their ideas and thoughts. Their recent post of the poem "Thank God for Dirty Dishes" reminded me to count my blessings disguised as irritations.

A Higher Calling: Striving to be a godly wife and mother in ungodly times is the blog of a conservative Christian stay-at-home mom. I am often encouraged by her posts. I found her latest post about The Quiverfull Movement to be informative.

A Virtuous Woman - A Proverbs 31 Ministry
is a web site rather than a blog, but I like the columns it features as well as the whole homemaker atmosphere of the site. Helpful to me was the short article containing Housekeeping Rules to Live By.

Last but certainly not least, while Spunky has ended her blogging career at Spunky Homeschool, her archives are well worth perusing. Spunky blogged not only about homeschooling but also about education issues and ideas in general. Her blog finished 2nd (only by a narrow margin did she not take top honors) in the Best Educational Blog category of the 2006 Weblog Awards - a major accomplishment. Her Christmas post The Nativity: ACLU style described a humorous tongue-in-cheek politically correct nativity erected by the Young Conservatives at the University of Texas.

I hope you take a look at these blogs. In my opinion, you are missing out if you do not.



my secret.

"Drumroll, please!"

(hushed anticipation reigns)

I have started a brand new blog, Little Fun; Little Learning. To quote, the focus is on "fun activities and educational ideas for 'the littles' (children ages 0-5)." My goal is to provide complete ideas as well as a lot of links to helpful sites. I have already put up several posts and have written down ideas for 20 more posts so I think I'm off to a good start. I plan to publish a minimum of 6 posts per week, though I will not necessarily post every day. I am hoping to have a lot of participation, and if you have any activities or ideas that have worked for your family that you would be willing to share, please let me know. You would get full credit, of course, and if you have already posted an idea on your blog, I can link to that post. I am excited about this new venture and can't wait to see where it will go. Please go visit and let me know what you think.

photo courtesy of


Thoughtful Tuesday (11)

Somehow I missed this completely last week. I really enjoy doing this weekly post, and it recently occurred to me that some of you might be interested in sharing your favorite quotations, thoughts, and inspirstions. Let me know in the comments section if you would be interested in my putting up Mr. Linky so you can participate.

Without further ado, here are today's thoughts.

"He who takes the time to sharpen his axe does not waste his time."
Pastor Bill Wingard

"It is not what I can do for God but what He can do through me."
Pastor Bill Wingard

[In reference to serving the Lord]
"God never created a 'possum that He did not make a persimmon tree for."
Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.


Potty trained?

Mr. Incredible and I were working outside in our barn (storage shed) on Saturday, and the girls were enjoying playing in the back yard. All of a sudden I heard Pookie Bear literally screaming, "Mommy! Mommy!" I thought something terrible had happened and rushed to aid her only to find her standing seemingly rooted to the ground with no apparent harm to her person. Puzzled, I asked what was wrong.

She replied, "I need a bass (bath) - I wet! It's so yucky!"

What in the world?! She had purposely wet herself, and she never even has accidents! I asked her why she did that.

Her reply? "I want to be like a puppy."

I hastily reiterated that she is a little girl not a puppy and that we do not wet outselves. I emphasized how yucky she felt, and she agreed that she should not ever do that again.


Monday, January 08, 2007

It's a secret!

(in a whisper)

"I'm working on something that I think a lot of you will like and find useful."

At least, I hope so! Lord willing, I plan to be able to reveal my secret in no more than two weeks. Of course, knowing me, it will probably be ready in two days. (grin) Anybody (who doesn't already know, Sho) care to guess what I am up to?

UPDATE: I'm such a geek! I have it ready now, but I won't reveal it until tomorrow afternoon so guess away.