Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hope Chest Traditions

A little over a month ago, I began doing some freelance work for an online studio. For my first assignment, I accidentally did the wrong title. Ha! (I realized it was the wrong title before I turned it in, don't worry.) It was good practice, and it was about something in which I'm interested, so I don't consider it a waste of time. But I thought I'd go ahead and post it here, so it doesn't just sit in my file. Hope you enjoy it!

Hope Chest Traditions

Spanning centuries and continents, the hope chest has traditionally been a place to store the treasures of young women awaiting marriage. Popularity has waxed and waned, but an online search will quickly reveal that hope chests are still desired and used today.

Hope chests were used to collect and preserve a woman's trousseau as far back as the late medieval times. In some cultures, hope chests contained the only possessions a woman actually owned.

Traditionally given to young women by their parents, hope chests were filled with the goods needed to set up a household, often items handcrafted by the young ladies themselves as they matured.

In different countries around the world, hope chests have had various names and forms; the Italian cassoni, the Dutch kast, the German schrank, and the English glory box are examples.

Cedar is commonly used for creating hope chests, due to its resistance to bacteria, fungi, and decay, as well as its insect repellant properties.

Fun Fact
Sulfur inlay is a decorative technique, used the late 18th and early 19th centuries by Pennsylvanian chest crafters, that involves filling carved channels in the wood with molten sulfur.

photo by RichinMN, CC BY-NDW 2.0

Cedarwood Furniture - Cedar Facts

Wright Kids Stuff

Cedarwood Furniture

Friday, August 28, 2009

A New Addition

We've been considering the possibility of getting a dog for the last several weeks, after losing 5 chickens in about a week's time. On Tuesday, thanks to some amazingly generous friends, we brought home a new addition to our family.

Juilin is a full-bred Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). He's almost five months old, and has a very sweet disposition. Most of us have totally fallen for him, and Jonathan thinks he's pretty okay for a dog. His name is pronounced jew-linn; he's named after a "thief-catcher" in a series of books J and I enjoy. We're hoping he stops our chicken thief, though we doubt he'll "catch" him!

I was planning to tell you more about Juilin, but right now I think I need to go out and let him run around some. More later!

God, the Cosmic Janitor - from Molly

from Molly at Adventures in Mercy, a passionate and well-written post reminding us that
There is no such thing as a Cosmic Janitor. There is such thing as a God who sits down for supper with a harlot and has put His gentle hands on scabby-skinned homeless rejects.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Maker of the Universe

I have so much to post! But I must go fix supper. So I'll tell you about our new puppy, etc, later. But I had to take the time to post this wonderful video. I hadn't heard this song until today, and it just... wow.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Full Day, Full Heart...

Mom Smith, Davey, Barak, and I were at Child Evangelism Fellowship International Headquarters in Warrenton, MO today for a day long workshop in preparation for this year's Good News Clubs. Dad and Mom Smith have been doing clubs for the last three years, and I'm prayerfully planning to join the team this year. We'll see what the Lord works out about a work vehicle for Jonathan so I can take the van/kids to Club with me. :-) Anyway, it was a day full of learning, and very profitable.

As is usually the case, spending all day thinking on the gospel message gave me such a thankful heart. That the Creator of the universe would love me so much that He sent His only Son to take my place, to pay the price for my sin, is overwhelming. That He not only died, but rose again triumphant and is seated at the right hand of the Father - wow! What a joy to know that the price for my redemption from the sin that separated me from God and doomed me to an eternity without Him, has been paid for, and that because of His precious blood, I have eternal life!!

I have several friends, from two families, who are facing the possibility/likelihood of loosing their earthly fathers in the near future. With them on my heart, and my heart so full of thankfulness for my Saviour, these two precious hymns came to mind tonight...

O That Will Be Glory For Me
by Charles H. Gabriel

When all my labors and trials are o'er,
And I am safe on that beautiful shore,
Just to be near the Lord I adore,
Will thro' the ages be glory for me.

O that will be glory for me,
Glory for me, glory for me;
When by His grace I shall look on His face,
That will be glory, be glory for me.

When, by the gift of His infinite grace,
I am accorded in heaven a place,
Just to be there and to look on His face,
Will thro' the ages be glory for me.


Friends will be there I have loved long ago;
Joy like a river around me will flow;
Yet, just a smile from my Saviour, I know,
Will thro' the ages be glory for me.

and another favorite...

Nothing But the Blood
by Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

and finally, a wonderful song shared on FB that was a blessing. I'd never heard it before...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Making Powdered Laundry Soap

I made laundry soap this morning and decided I'd try taking pictures of my work, both for the sake of having pictures for a tutorial and for the sake of trying to hone my meager photography skills. I've posted more of the pictures here and would love any input on the photography aspect of my project in the comments.

And now, on to the laundry soap!

I realize some of you already make your own laundry soap, but I thought a tutorial would be fun and hopefully helpful.

1 bar Fels Naptha (I have friends who use whatever soap is on sale, but my results increase exponentially with Fels Naptha, so anymore, I don't do subsitutes)
1 cup washing soda
1 cup Borax

Grate the Fels Naptha. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it. I use the fine grater on my Cuisinart.

I then pour the grated Fels into a bowl (isn't it gorgeous?!),

put the chopping blade in the processor and replace the Fels.

Pulsing with the chopping blade for a bit takes it from this:

to this:

which I think has to be faster to dissolve.

Add the borax and washing soda and mix:

Then transfer to jar, or whatever works for you. I personally love the look of my laundry soap, so I like to keep it in a glass jar.

I made a double batch, which fits easily in a half gallon jar. It's actually a little over 5 and half cups of soap. I use about 4t per load, so I get 65+ loads out of it. I need to use less now than I did before Jonathan installed the water softener, so if you have hard water, your loads/batch may vary.

Another Rendition

... of the Hallelujah Chorus. Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009


I realized this morning that I have only imagined posting about the guineas that we've had since the beginning of July. This just goes to show that not all the blog posts that start in my head end up online.

I posted a picture of the guineas over the weekend on my photo blog and my mom commented, "When did you get these??" My first thought was, "Mama! I thought you read my blog..." Then I went back through both the photo and regular blogs and couldn't find anything about guineas. Ha!

Here's the tale of the guineas... Linda (our fabulous neighbor) got a batch of guineas in late June and we bought some from her. I think we brought our six down to the house on July 1st or 2nd. We lost one when we moved them outside to what used to be the ducks' pen, because we didn't get the ducks' water tub out at first. Sad. But the other five are doing great. We now let them run around in the fenced garden all day, eating bugs. Come evening, they fly out of the garden and run around the yard until we herd them into their pen. Hopefully soon they'll fly out of the garden and into their pen in the evening on their own.

And here they are, in case you missed them on Yesterday:

Friday, August 14, 2009


Stephen has had a tiny dimple near his left eye for quite a while. It's cute, but doesn't show up that often.

Here's Stephen on July 5:

Very cute. But no dimple.

Then on July 9, he got in a fight with a cabinet... and lost.
See the deep bruise showing up on his cheek?

And here he is on July 29, with his new dimple in full bloom:

Fascinating, eh?
I don't know how long this dimple will last, but I think it is adorable!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Memory Dishes

Laurie commented recently about how dishes hold food memories, and asked if any dishes in my life hold memories of certain foods. I've been pondering this, and want to pass on the question, as well as answer it for myself.

Mama had/has (Mama? do you still have it?) a lovely flowered china tureen that is always associated in my memory with spaghetti. I'm sure she used it for other things, but spaghetti sauce is what I picture in it. I also hear our friend Brian moaning, "Oh, E, my belly!" because he'd eaten too much of Mama's wonderful spaghetti.

A pan might not be the kind of dish Laurie was thinking of, but I have LOTS of memories of Mama's "chicken fryer." Beef A'La Mom, tuna and rice, the aforementioned spaghetti sauce... I could go on and on.

Then there are camp pans, which conjure up memories of baked chicken, wheat rolls, zucchini cake... and scrubbing!

What about you? Do any dishes in your life hold memories of certain foods?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


whatever the lessons
whatever the tools
whatever the time-frame

to love You more
to know You more
to become more like You

driven to my knees
in the light of
Your sacrifice
Your majesty
Your love

take me and make me

no matter the cost
no matter the pain
no matter how long the road

to lay hold of that
for which also You
laid hold of me

surrendering. again, and yet as never before. on the hill beside our pond yesterday, knees and face to the ground

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Giveaway!

Giveaway at Apron Girls sponsored by great cookware and beautiful desks!

I love these baking dishes, and to stack the deck in my favor (since I've never ever won a blog giveaway), I'm passing it along to you. How's that for irony... I selfishly want the dishes, so I'm letting you know about the giveaway... ha!

Good luck!

Great ideas for teaching little ones to sew

From Sew, Mama, Sew!

A Fowl Update

Let's cover the bad first, so we can end on a good note, shall we?

We lost 5 chickens, including four laying hens, in one week to an unknown predator. Two of the losses happened while we were gone at camp. The other three took place all in one day last week. Sick. Disgusting. Frustrating. Infuriating. Expensive.

We have four laying hens left, along with a young hen, a young rooster, and our Big Rooster. So we're down from 5-8 eggs each day to 2-4 eggs each day. Hopefully the young hen will start laying soon.

For now, we are keeping the chickens (along with their buddies, the ducks) in their coop/pen unless we have someone outside to watch them. Fowlherd is the newest title around our place.

The ducks are doing well. We definitely have a mallard drake, and it is fascinating to watch him develop his colors. In a couple of recent pictures of the ducks, you can see that how much he changed in just one week.

Since we lost the third duck up at the pond, they won't go up there, and they have become yard ducks. But they love playing in this tub of water. This shot was taken on August 2nd.

And here's the drake a couple of days ago on August 9th. Jonathan got a great shot that captures the color change in progress on his head. Looks a little rough right now, but he will be gorgeous soon, I think. His tail feathers are also starting to curl up, another drake trait.

The guineas are doing well. We let them out of their pen as often as we can, and they love walking (and occasionally flying) around the yard looking for goodies. Our garden is fenced, and I'm thinking about letting them run around in there, since that's the biggest reason we got them. We're just a bit uncertain of getting them out and in, so we'll see. They have much more of a herd mentality than the chickens; they are rarely farther apart than in this picture:

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Stepping Heavenward...

... is a book that has been recommended to me more times than I can count. Well, after doing some clean up and helping with the most critical portions of today's school, my tummy (which is still not quite happy after dealing with a stomach bug earlier this week) is saying, "Sit a spell!"

So, I'm finally going to dive into Stepping Heavenward, thanks to Google books, which has a public domain copy of Stepping Heavenward in a free .pdf download. I love my laser printer, which lets me print in booklet form, so it's the size of a real book!

Off to read a bit...

Please pray for Noah

I mention Noah Estes from time to time, asking for prayer. If you're not familiar yet with Noah and his family, he is darling little (almost) 3 year old who is very ill. I have been reading his family's blog for over two years now, and though I've never met them, they have become a blessing to me as they share God's work in their lives.

Right now, Noah and his family really need your prayers. You can read more about what is currently happening on their blog, as well as learning some background on their family by clicking the "New to Our Blog?" button on the right of their page.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ozark Family Camp

We had a fun time at Ozark Family Camp last week, and I have lots of pictures to show you! I decided to do the Picasa album link this time, so here's the slideshow. You can click on it to go see larger versions of the pictures. If there's any you'd like a full size copy of, just let me know.

It was so fun to see folks whom I hadn't seen in years, many of whom Jonathan and the Blessings hadn't met (if you go to the album, there will be captions). We were blessed by the terrific speakers - John Heller was the main speaker, teaching about the Holy Spirit, and J and I attended Steve Price's sessions on the Believer Priest. The children all enjoyed their classes as well. Davey was in the teens class... that felt strange!

A few of the highlights -

Monday afternoon we went on the trail rides. Eight years was the minimum, so I took Ellie and Kate on the first ride. Jonathan, the boys, and Grace met us at the Hitching Post and J and the three older boys went on the second ride. Later that afternoon, Grace and Stephen got to ride around the playground as well. No pictures of the big boys and Jonathan on their ride!

Tuesday, we had a picnic lunch down by the camp lake with the group of families to which we'd been assigned. After lunch, our family all went out on the lake in paddle boats, with varying degrees of enjoyment.

Wednesday night was actually our last night at camp, as we needed to come back and get a few work jobs done. It was also banquet night, which made a nice opportunity to roam the dining room getting pictures of friends. I missed plenty, but here are some of the shots I did get:

We were late registering for camp and the waiting list was not moving, so we were planning to tent camp. But several days before departure, Aunt Karen (who is my aunt by love, not by blood) emailed and invited us to use their downstairs bedrooms. We were thrilled to accept! Next year, I think we'll mail our registration right away, because it would have been lovely to be in the thick of things instead of a short drive away. I'm also praying that we get to stay the whole week next time!

Our time at Ozark was delightful. There was lots of personal learning that I haven't even touched on here. Perhaps later this week...

Saturday, August 01, 2009


This is a phenomenal performance by Phil Keaggy of Salvation Army Band. Rick, from Cumberland Books/Dry Creek Chronicles, posted it out of his current fascination with "looping," a technique that allows a solo artist to "turn his solo guitar into a guitar army." I sat here with my mouth open through much of it - great stuff!