Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Misphah and Shen. He named it Ebenezar, saying , "Thus far the Lord has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12

Monday, January 31, 2011


My broccoli has survived the cold weather and frosts we've had.
My small bed is overflowing with green!
I love it!
Here's a close up of one of the little heads forming.
I also tackled this baby.

Now she's clean and ready for new soil and then....

I'm hoping to plant carrots, cucumbers (for pickling and eating), peas, celery and may be more??
I am also hoping to add to my sad little herb garden.
I've sketched it all out in my garden journal, now I just need to save a little more for the soil and yippee- yummy fresh veggies, if all goes well that is :)

Happy thoughts of Spring are dancing in my head.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Misc Scrapbook

Scrapbook time again!
So many times I think we lead a boring life. After moving here to our vacation spot we don't go very many places and we don't have all that much excitement; although as I type that I think about 2010 and nothing about that year says dull. Perspective and reality can be different can't they.

My brother-in-law celebrated his 30-something birthday recently and so a night out was in order. We went to the Garlic, a local restaurant owned by an ole Vermonter who has a restaurant of the same name in Woodstock, VT.
It was a long wait but worth it because we had a great atmosphere to visit in; fireplace, lights strung on trees, live music.
Steve and the birthday boy.
Me. Felt like taking a picture of myself while in the bathroom- vain? maybe but I thought I looked good.
January-February and March are what is called Bridal Christmas in the wedding industry, or at least at our store :)
It's pretty crazy.
Any Saturday or Sunday it can look like a flash crowd has taken over and dresses, smiles, tears and "excuse me's" are all over the place!
Here's a brief visual.
Illana had her first real deal Family Night at Chick-fil-A. We actually go for the last 30 minutes of Family Night but it happens to be the time her daddy is on break.
Here she is first walking in:

Ordering or better said getting oohed and awed over, not the greatest pic of Molly- sorry.
Hanging with her Uncle Justin.
Auntie Jojo was sticking her tongue out at baby girl and guess what- baby girl stuck her little tongue out as well. So cute!

Miss Illana Belle has started to smile. We just love it!
So stinkin' cute!
Friday night was a concert at church and all the boys were out of the house. Katie came over and what was suppose to be a chick flick night ended up being a reality tv night.
Toddlers & Tiaras, 18 Kids and Counting :)
And of course Auntie Katie couldn't get enough of the baby!! She is spoiled in case you were wondering.

So there it is my boring, not exciting life recently.
Peace out friends.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Mostly My Dad's About Work, Work, Work"

titled taken from an LA Symphony song called "The Pop's Song"- very good I suggest you check it out.

I'm gonna be honest with you on this one.
Sometimes I just want to check out of my life.
Mostly because I parent a strong-willed child and have a husband who works a lot.
I love both these people to death but sometimes I swear they will be the death of me.
Anyone with a strong-willed child knows that sticking to your guns is hard.
Homework- ugh, forget about it; but wait we can't forget about it we have to press on, remind him, encourage him, speak firmly to him, love him.
I've recently done an in-depth study on the book of 1 Thessalonians and the wonder of truth in that book is amazing! I actually still have some work to do on that study but as part of it I dug a little deeper into 2 themes in that book.

Funny huh?
Not really God is always relevent, why this surprises me I'll never know-- darn humans.
Anywhosal, love, no work.

What I learned about work.

First a background, and please this is my life, my path, my journey. Some of you have husband and lives with different work schedules and that's fine, your cross to bear is different than mine so bear with me on this one.

My husband works 6 days a week.
Always has.
My dad worked 6 days,
my grandfather worked 6 days
and most likely his father and so on and so on.
Call it self-employment or just the nature of the beast but my husband has always worked 6 days.
My husband has also just about always worked 10-12 hour days.
If there is daylight there is a job to be done.
He has pumped gasoline, delivered pizzas, stacked lumber, fixed aircraft, mentored students, taught ESOL, painted, roofed, built, delivered newspapers, worked retail... you get it, he has done lots of things.
Then at night after he has put effort into our children and myself he lays down and sleeps- soundly, deeply, sweetly.

Often I get frustrated because of this.

I often attend evening events by myself, I cook dinner not knowing when he'll walk in to eat and I spend a decent amount of time wondering if he's sleeping so sound because I'm boring; but my emotions are conflicted.
The sweat and hardship of his work shows in his cloths I wash, dirt, sawdust, grease, paint, sweat and as I do his laundry I am thankful for this man, this man who has been willing to work 6, 12 hour days so I could stay home with our children, so he can provide.

AsI looked at what God's Word says about work and the Believer I was and I am comforted.
Here is what I found:
Amount of work:
-6 days - Exodus 20:8-10
-we should work day and night if need be - 2 Thessalonians 3

How we should work (doesn't mean work will always be this way):
-quiet -
-by the sweat of our brow - Genesis 3:17-19
-with our hands -Acts 20:33-35; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thess 4:11-12
-minding our own business - 1 Thess. 4:11-12
-disciplined - 2 Thess. 3:7-15
-painful - Genesis 3:17-19

Why we should work:
-sleep good - Ecc. 5:12
-supply our needs and the needs of those with us - Acts 20:33-35
- to help others - Acts 20:33-35; Eph. 4:28
- not be need ourselves - 1 Thess. 4:11-12; 2 Thess 3:7-15
- to pay for our food - 2 Thess. 3:7-15

OK so for some of you that means nothing and you could care less, but for me it was conforting and encouraging.

Comforting to know that it's OK for my man to work 6 long days; believe it or not I have heard a little negativity about his work hours and that disturbed me. Which I guess was good cause it made this study time all the more sweet.

Encouraging to know that it's OK and for me to know this is an area my man has been obedient in. He has an amazing work ethic, and no I often wonder it but do not believe he is a work-a-holic, and he is an amazing giver. Some days I have to look at these passages to remind me it's OK that he sometimes gives away all our extra income to someone in need.

So I won't check out of my life. I will be reminded by God that I got a good man and through the love of God I will continue to encourage, speak kindly and love on him and my strong-willed teenager- he deserves another blog post all his own.

Have a happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

We Survived Planet Wisdom 2011!!

Each January we travel as a high school youth group, well part of us anyway, to a conference somewhere about 2 hours away. Last year our youth pastor and his staff hosted, for lack of a better term, their own for our group of 30 or so students. This year we attended Planet Wisdom!Most of us had attended Planet Wisdom before as middle schoolers so we left with excitement in hearing Mark Matlock speak, laughing at the Skit Guys and worshipping with Dutton.

To stay in typical Thus Far fashion I've highlighted the weekend in pictures!

Van ride!!! No words can describe a van ride with 13 students, it is an experience sacred enough for only those who dare.

Some of my favorite people are in this photo, with Alex on the far right being a girl I've known for years and just found out on this trip, that she is originally from New Hampshire!!!!

And here is a little argument going on regarding who is better the Celtics or the Magic.

Waiting outside the conference, this would be 2 of my small group girls and my Justin wearing a borrowed pink hat- love that boy!

Some atmospheres lend to certain behaviors and games. For instance on any road trip a game of Mafia seems to break out on the van ride and then late at night before bedtime; when we get into any conference center this game breaks out. Not sure what it's called but it involves two people standing face to face and doing their best to force the other person to take a step with only the use of their hands.

Scotty seems to win the most.

Inside the conference.

Lunch on Saturday can get crazy. Here is Vaughan and Scott climbing a tree; please know that we care deeply for our students and don't let any crazy behavior take place; these two boys, one being my own, are expert tree climbers.

After the conference we helped break down the stage. While the conference was great we really want our students to have a heart for serving, for helping. So with no benefits attached our group of 30 stayed to coil up cords, break down tables, clean all trash in the theatre, box up the stage lighting, roll up the back drops and wheel all equipment into their tracker trailer.

Although it looks as though they are waiting around this group was waiting for instructions on how to break down and box up that whole beam of lighting they are standing next to.
When all was said and done I realized that the couple in charge of the technical Planet Wisdom stuff are good friends with the family who I have been praying for, a family I know through the blogging world one they know in flesh and blood life. You can click on the "Praying for Joanne" button on the top left of my blog to read more about that.

We also were told that the breakdown crew times their breakdown after each conference and with the help of our group they did it in record time. Our kids are that good, just sayin'. Praise the Lord.

I believe it is because our students are use to serving, they are use to looking at a situation seeing what needs to be done and doing it, asking what they can do next, listening and then doing it! Now some students still need a little work in this area but they're getting it.

Here's a view of the theatre from the stage perspective.

And of course what would any Planet Wisdom trip be without some sort of vehicle issue.

So that's it.

Another Planet Wisdom has come and gone, another weekend where I pray that God touched students lives to live differently. To understand the attributes of God, that He is:
All Powerful,
All Knowing,
in Control of everything,
Present Everywhere.
That He is:
And why that matters.
Why does that matter and how does it effect how they live on Monday morning when they trickle back into their regular lives.

How does it effect me? us?

As a Christ follower do I fully get this? Food for thought.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Diaper Bag


One of the things I don't get to do as much as I'd like to do, is sew.
Sewing seems to one of those things that comes and goes in seasons for me; I do best when I can leave my machine and materials out and have the freedom to sit and sew as my day allows. Each time I have had the privilege of having a sewing space something happens and I am forced to forfeit that space.

The last time I had the opportunity to sew was the day before Illana was born.

I made her diaper bag!

Sarah picked out the material and so that Saturday morning I sat down to get the baby girl her diaper bag.

I used Simplicity Pattern 2924 and was so proud of myself for not only buying all the listed items but also following all the directions.
Like any good project a seam ripper was in order.

For some of you following all the directions may seem to be a no brainer but the way my brain works any project i do usually involves tweaking patterns to fit my own thought process or just making the pattern myself. On this project I figured direction following was in order. And I wonder why I don't sew clothes...

The outside has a back pocket and two side bottle holders, while the inside has 4 pockets and of course my vintagesheet label ;)

I enjoyed sewing the front ribbon on with a simple flat bow. Sarah chose nice blue and brown colors to last through other babies who might perhaps be boys?

If I happen to make another one of these I may consider shortening the strap, I've noticed Sarah has her strap tied in a knot to make it shorter.

So there it is my first crack at a diaper bag and my last sewing project over a month ago. I have a crazy idea to commit to sewing one project a month this year. Perhaps Shasta or Missy would host some sort of monthly sewing challenge that I could join- or maybe point me to one already out there in blog world. hint, hint

Currently I have my mother's sewing machine but she has asked for it back for a few weeks while my aunt visits.

The sewing machine issue has always been an issue. My machine's pedal is missing and has been for years, a friend gave me another machine that I have yet to figure out. The main issue is that my mom's Elna really rocks! It is the machine I learned to sew on and the machine I love the best; it's quality is above any other machine I've sewed with, whether that is a fact or just in my mind is not up for discussion; I simply prefer to sew with an my mom's Elna.

So my thought is that my mom will forget to pick up her machine and that I would decide on and complete a project sometime before January comes to an end.

Project suggestions now being taken...
Anyone else have a project they wanna share?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fresh Year

I love a fresh notebook.
Something about the smell, the crispness, the newness of it thrills me to the core.
I also like the idea of a fresh start. A new notebook first meant a fresh new school year was upon us, but it has also meant a new prayer journal was beginning or a new year. There have been seasons in my life that just simply deserved a fresh new notebook; to plan, to dream, to doodle, just to put thoughts to paper on.

So yesterday my Tuesday morning small group finished a 10-week study on the book of Esther, which means we will embark on a new adventure in God's Word.
I know some of you who read this are not Christ followers and you might even get sick of me talking all this God's Word stuff, but bear with me, you can at least acknowledge the literary genius in a book that has stood the test of time and a book that lays out the history of the Jewish people like no other history book.

Back to the new adventure, starting in 2-weeks we will begin to dig into the book of Ruth! Oh how excited I am, I have begun to read the story; some of it familiar to me, some of it not. Each time I read it aloud to myself I pick up on something new, something fresh. Go ahead and read the book for yourself, it'll only take 15 minutes or so, click here to read. And read it aloud, this was a book meant for outloud reading.

Speaking of fresh, next to a clean, new notebook I also love a clean fresh spiral index card book. Each year I purchase one with the hopes of filling it with memorized scripture, some years are better than others- but here is what stared me in the face this morning: my Bible, fav bookmark, thin tip pen (my new obsession), new index cards and prayer journal.

My index cards came with a fancy see through cover.

My first verse and this is the memory team I participate in.

My prayer journal.

Several years ago a friend of mine made this prayer journal for me. It is a smaller 3-ring binder with 7 sections, 8.5 x 11 paper is cut in half and 3-ring punched to fill each section. Each morning I can go through and write my praises, seek forgiveness, ask God, thank God and record scripture that is dear to my heart that day. On Wednesday nights I record prayer requests and praise reports from my girls and the best part is looking back over at answered prayer!
So a fresh year is on us and I am ready to go!! How about you? Any fresh starts this year?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Grandkids are Better

So you always hear having grandkids is better than having kids.
I've been thinking about why that is true. I like having kids, I liked having little kids; don't get me wrong late nights, little sleep, attitudes, hormones, all of those things tear a parents sanity to shreds but I like being a parent.
So why are grandkids better?
Here are some reasons I'm discovering:
I am not her primary caregiver,
I'm not up in the middle of the night,
I only change diapers when I want to
and I have the joy of holding and loving a baby but not the responsibility attached to it.
I'll keep you posted on the why of this, until then.... pictures!
That's the other grandparent responsibility- pictures!

With her Uncle Scott, not my brother but Vaughan's best friend since elementary school.
And with her Papou.
What an amazing man I married, I mean don't get me wrong he drives me nuts many days but I can not think of anyone else I'd rather do this thing called life with.
He is a wonderful, husband, father and now grandfather.
Love my Hottie.

So now that I'm back to blogging I am also back to catching up on everyone's blogs. Slowly working on getting all the links up and if you blog and I don't know it- please let me know, one of the best things about blogging is watching my friends, near and far, past and present, live their lives in this bloggity good world!
Love in the new year,


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