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

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm Giving Away Two $60 Prizes at RS Designs

If you would like a free custom blog design, you'll be happy to learn that over at RS Designs, I am giving away two prizes ($60 RS Designs' credit) good toward any purchase of $60 or more. One prize will go to the commenter whose number is chosen by, and the other prize will go to a newsletter subscriber, who will also be chosen using

To be entered for both prizes, leave a comment at the giveaway post and then subscribe to our newsletter if you have not already done so. Newsletter subscribers not only receive blog updates by e-mail but also receive monthly subscriber-only discounts and incentives.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Congrats, Newlyweds!

It doesn't seem possible that my baby sister, who turned 20 at the end of June, is old enough to be married, but apparently she is. She and her boyfriend surprised us by getting married on July 14. He's a Marine and is headed out for his second Iraq tour - can't remember if he leaves this week or next. He'll be gone for a year, and they will have only had two weeks of marriage together. I think that's a bummer.

Welcome to the family, Joe. I hope you two have a long and happy life together.


Fruit Defines the Tree

illustration courtesy of

Ever since Pookie was born, I have prayed that while my children were young, they would understand and accept God's gift of salvation. Yet because of my own road to salvation, I was/am very afraid of pushing my children into making a false profession of faith. So I have continued to pray and have talked with the children as they have had questions or as a situation has led to an opening.

Over the past year or so, Pookie has asked more and more questions relating to life after death and salvation. I have tried to answer her questions as clearly as possible, yet I could tell by her responses and additional questions that she still didn't "get it." I refrained from asking her if she would like to get saved, merely telling her that anyone who does not ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins will go to hell when he dies. A couple of times she proudly told me that she had asked God to forgive her for her sins, but my questions to her revealed that she was still confused as to why she needed to do that and what happens when someone ask to be saved.

This year, our church had Vacation Bible School from July 7-11. All three girls went and had a fabulous time. On Thursday night, we were riding home when Pookie complained to me that she hadn't raised her hand to be saved. I told her that she could raise her hand the next night if she wanted. As it turns out, she did just that.

When I picked the girls up on Friday night, Pookie's teacher told me that she had gotten saved. I thought that was great but didn't get too excited because I figured she was probably still confused. I didn't say anything to her about it, but she brought it up on her own and told me that she had asked God to forgive her of her sins and to save her. I told her that I was happy, but I was determined to adopt a "wait and see" attitude.

On Wednesday, I talked to the helper who had led her to the Lord and asked what had happened. She said that Pookie had raised her hand, surprising the helper who thought that Pookie was already saved. The helper asked Pookie why she was raising her hand, and Pookie replied that she wanted to ask God to save her. The helper took Pookie through some Scriptures, and Pookie seemed to understand and know all about it. She did pray and asked God for salvation.

I noticed that after Pookie's profession of salvation, her evening prayers were drastically different. Instead of just thanking God for the day and for the fun she had playing with her sisters, she prayed for God to help her sisters and baby brother to ask Him to save them so our whole family could be in Heaven. The whole spirit of her prayers was different.

Yesterday, we were at a park. Pookie told me that she needed to tell our neighbors about God and how to be saved so that they could go to heaven. I told her that was a good idea. Then she told me that we needed to tell everyone at the park about God so they could be saved. Again, I told her that was a good idea. Then, she picked out a girl about her age, went up to her, and talked to her for several minutes about God. How convicting! Here I, her mother, was - too afraid of people's reactions to open my mouth, and she blithely skips up to another child and shares the Gospel to the best of her ability.

Tonight, her Junior Church teacher told me that her prayer request for last Sunday was to thank God that she had gotten saved and to pray that she would live for Him. This little tree is already bearing fruit. None of the things she has done or said have been at our urging but instead have come from a tender heart that loves God. Oh, that my heart would be tender as this little child's!

Please pray for Pookie that she would continue to grow in Christ, and pray for Mr. Incredible and me that we would be the examples that we need to be for her and that we would be able to give her the discipling that she needs.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bittersweet Changes Ahead

After nearly 3 years, it is odd in some ways to be starting over with a new baby - once again I am becoming intimately familiar with teeny, tiny clothes, interrupted sleep, constant feedings, infant supplies, and an overstuffed diaper bag. I look into my barn and see items reserved for days ahead: an Exersaucer, larger car seats, big kid toys, high chairs, and more.

I know that Buddy Bear is probably the next-to-last child I will have. I look forward to the changes that are sure to come in the days ahead, but I find myself wanting to hang onto these moments now. I look at him cuddled close to me as I nurse him and realize with a bittersweet pang that all too soon we will be separated during meals by high chairs and booster seats. Sooner or later, he won't want me to hold him close as often but will instead face the big world with his own brand of brave independence.

In other ways, I do look forward to the changes that lie ahead. I look forward to the time when he wears big boy underwear and doesn't have accidents. I look forward to the time when he can walk and run and play with his sisters. I look forward to the time when he is finished with the high chairs and booster seats and can feed himself while sitting in a regular chair at the table. I look forward to the time when he can speak clearly enough to tell me that he loves me.

While the changes that lie ahead are bittersweet for me, I would rather have the changes come than not, because that means that Buddy Bear is growing and developing as he should.

What has been the hardest change for you as your children have grown?


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go BIG Network

While starting RS Designs actually required very little capital (I already had the tools I needed to create designs and only had to purchase small image credit packages), starting a business usually requires a rather significant financial investment. If you are an entrepreneur, you know that business funding comes from your own pocket unless you can find a person or people (you could call these people Angel Investors) who are willing to invest in your idea.

On the flip side, what if you have money that you wish to invest in a small business? How do you find a small business that has a viable plan in place that promises a positive return on your investment?

That is where the Go Big Network comes in.

The Go BIG Network is an on-line marketplace that connects the startup and small business community. The company allows startup companies, investors, advisors, job seekers and service providers to post requests for help on-line and have those requests routed to other members of the Network who can help them.
I took a look at Go Big Network earlier this week and so much liked what I saw that I went ahead and set up my free account. Here is what I found:
  • If you need venture capital or have money you want to invest, you can advertise your need or become an Angel Investor in the Funding section.
  • If you need help with you business plan, advertise your need at the Business Plans section.
  • If you would like to work for a startup or need to fill an open position in your business, you want to visit the Job section.
  • Web Design projects may be advertised and found in the Website section.
  • The Blog section features helpful articles contributed by select bloggers.
I plan to check Go Big Network often for design jobs and for people needing advice that I have to give.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fun Cleaning Ideas for Kids

You all know that my girls can and have created some monster messes. Of course, when it is time to clean up those messes, more often than not, the girls are nowhere to be found. I want them to learn to take responsibility for cleaning up the messes they make.

I am encouraged by the fact that they do enjoy helping me clean and wash the laundry. I don't know if I told you before, but Pookie and Miss Muffet even loaded up the washer, added the detergent and additives, and turned it on all by themselves one day. What a surprise!

Because I do want my girls to know how to clean, I was excited to come across these fun tips from THE MAIDS® Home Services. I thought you might find them useful, too. (If you have any fun cleaning ideas of your own, please share them in the comments of this post.)

  • Don’t expect kids to use adult tools to clean, instead create supplies that are kid-friendly. Use an ice-cream pail for mopping chores or shorten an old mop handle or broom to make it kid-sized.
  • Fill a squirt gun from a solution of a gallon of water and a drop of dish soap. Let kids squirt windows and mirrors and wipe dry with paper towels. Leaves glass clean and streak free!
  • Cover kids’ hands and arms with dad’s old athletic socks then squirt the socks until lightly damp with a safe solution of vinegar and water. Send them off to dust around the house.
  • Got a pile of blocks or action figures strewn on the floor? Scoop up toys in a few swoops using a kid-sized leaf rake to form a pile for easy pick-up.
  • Make cleaning a game; give young kids grill tongs and challenge them to pick up toys and put them in a toy box or bin only using the utensils. Keep score and see who wins!
  • Don’t forget the fun music to help your kids get a groove on as they boogie around the house cleaning.
About THE MAIDS Home Services:
THE MAIDS Home Services, founded in 1979, is the most trusted name in home services due to their consistent quality service and premium products which meet or exceed customers’ expectations. THE MAIDS promises to deliver a cleaner, healthier, happier and more comfortable home…guaranteed because “Nobody Outcleans The Maids.” Rated as the fastest-growing residential cleaning franchise in Entrepreneur magazine for the past four years, THE MAIDS is one of the oldest and largest residential cleaning franchisers in the United States and Canada, serving over 40 states and four provinces in North America. For more information, visit THE MAIDS Home Services’ web site at or call 1-800-THE-MAIDS, “Nobody Outcleans The Maids.”


Friday, July 11, 2008

Comments Are Working Again

I apologize to those of you who have wished to comment the past couple of days and haven't been able to. I was trying out Blogger's new inline comment form feature (it's still in draft) but did not realize that a particular customization in my template meant that people could leave comments but those comments would not be able to be viewed. I only became aware of that fact after Dana asked me about it. Of course, I immediately reverted to the old comment form and forgot about the problem, thinking I had fixed it, until...

Good ol' Dana kindly let me know that now she couldn't leave any comment. Long story short - I had forgotten to change one particular setting. Wouldn't you know! I've fixed that setting, tested the comments, and now everything really does work. Thanks, Dana!

Feel free to leave comments about my brilliance ... *smile*


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pookie Bear and Buddy Bear

All of the girls love their new brother, but Buddy Bear is someone very special to Pookie Bear. Before I was even expecting him, she told her Sunday School teacher that she was going to have a new baby brother. Of course, when the teacher mentioned something to me about it, I was quite surprised and informed her that I didn't know anything about a new baby. *laugh*

When I found out that I was expecting a baby, Pookie was, naturally, convinced it was a boy. And she was right. When he was born, she shyly but happily informed us that she had prayed to God for him. And she had. In fact, last night, one of her VBS teachers told me that one night when she was in their FrontLine Club earlier this year, she prayed that God would help her baby brother to come out in 6 days. (At that point, I was maybe three months along.) Her teachers had the hardest time not laughing while she was praying, and I laughed when they told me about it, but the point is that Pookie has longed for and prayed for her brother for quite some time now.

Since he has been born, she has begged to be allowed to hold him just about every time I put him down. She carries him around (she's supposed to have adult supervision when she does that), tries to play with him, talks to him, and just loves him to pieces. She even changed his diaper all by herself yesterday.

She told me he needed a diaper change, and then a couple of minutes later hollered to tell me that she had changed it. I rushed into his room to find her struggling to fasten the new diaper securely. She proudly told me that she had remembered everything I always did: she had opened his diaper, placed a washcloth over him (I'm slightly paranoid about being sprayed), used wipes to clean the p**p off his bottom, removed the old diaper, applied A&D ointment, and put on the new diaper. I told her I was impressed.

You know what is slightly scary? Pookie is already setting aside things for the baby sister that she says is coming next. Wish me well! *laugh*


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Miss Muffet's Self-Portrait

I absolutely love this photo. Miss Muffet took it herself - placed the camera on the floor, lay down in front of it, and pressed the button. Although I sometimes get aggravated when the girls want to play with the camera or our other nice grown-up toys, I love seeing what happens because of their lack of inhibitions. (Remember Pookie's use of my image editing program?)


Monday, July 07, 2008

The Girls Adore Him

This photo was completely their idea, and poor Buddy Bear gets more "play time" with his sisters than he knows what to do with. I put him in his crib with his room's door shut this afternoon just so he could get some uninterrupted sleep. Now I know how my mother felt when my baby sister was born and we older children were 12, 10, 8, and 7. She said we never let my sister sleep. *laugh*


Funky Monkey Snacks

While I was in the hospital having Buddy Bear, a package of Funky Monkey Snacks was delivered to my home. What a nice surprise that was when I got home! Although these snacks have been around since 2002, I had not heard of them before, but I liked them very much. Unlike many fruit snacks, these snacks contain only freeze dried real fruit - no added sugar, artificial colors, flavor, or preservatives. These snacks are all natural and are totally gluten free, which means that they would be a great choice for people who have gluten sensitivities.

Funky Monkey Snacks come in 4 varieties:

  1. Bananamom (banana and cinnamon) - this one is my absolute favorite; the banana and cinnamon pair well together, creating a sweet taste with the perfect amount of spice to it.
  2. Purple Funk (banana and acai) - this one is pretty good, too, and the acai is supposed to be very good for you.
  3. Javalime (pineapple and lime juice) - this one is not bad, but I like sweet stuff more than tangy/sour snacks.
  4. Carnaval Mix (banana, pineapple, apple, papaya, and raisins) - I didn't care for this mix at all, but you might like it. *smile*
If you are interested in trying these snacks for yourself, they are available at some grocery stores, such as Whole Foods Market and Winn Dixie, or you can order them online at


Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

I thank God that I am a citizen of the United States of America. I thank God for the freedoms we still enjoy, even though those freedoms are being stripped from us at an ever increasing pace. I thank God for the patriots who had the courage and strength of conviction to proclaim their independence from England.

God bless America - happy 4th of July, everyone!


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Handmade Cards and Where I Blog

Dana (language advisory if you follow the link) has become a good blogging friend. She used to work as a graphic artist and was even commissioned to redesign the Pillsbury Dough Boy about 15 years ago. Nowadays, she creates beautiful handmade cards. She sent me two for Buddy Bear's birth - one baby card and one handmade Wisdom booklet which contains a parable about being prepared for life's storms. I love both that card and the booklet- thank you, Dana!

Awhile ago, Dana also tagged me to show where I blog. Here is my computer area in my piano room (so called because of the baby grand piano in the room and also because that is where I give piano lessons). The picture on the wall is actually a puzzle Mr. Incredible and I put together. I can't remember if it is 750 or 1,000 pieces.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Here are newborn photos of each of the our 4 children. Who do you think Buddy Bear favors?

Pookie at 2 days old

Miss Muffet at 2 days old

Baby Bear at 4 days old

Buddy Bear at two days old