Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Animal Cracker Illustrations

Tracy, from Unless The Lord, has a wonderful post about teachable moments, especially when it comes to illustrating God's truth regarding s*x.

We have always used "teachable moments" and gave information at the appropriate level. We have never joked about s*x or used coarse talk...we want them to know that God made man and woman for each other, and that He finds it good, within the context of marriage.

Tracy's post is a great illustration of a teachable moment with her oldest son, a package of animal crackers and the consequences of s*x outside marriage....

Advent Calendar

When I was a girl, my great-great aunt used to send us kids an advent calendar. We would eagerly await December 1st, so that we could start opening those little doors. Behind the doors would be scripture verses telling the Christmas story. It was a highlight of our Christmases.

When my teens were little, this kind of Advent Calendar could easily be found. We used to purchase one every year and our then little ones would have the Christmas story in scripture memorized by Christmas day.

When our little ones came along, we had a harder time finding the calendars I wanted. I didn't want there to be a picture of a star or SpongeBob or even Veggie Tales characters - I wanted there to be scripture verses. Some years I skipped the Advent Calendar altogether when I couldn't find them.

I look every year and this year I hit the jackpot! Berean Bookstore carries this sweet, old fashioned Advent Calendar! A bonus was that they were the least expensive ones they sell! I bought 3 this year. One for our nieces Sara Anne and Anna and one for our great nephew Elijah, and one for my children! I intend to save ours every year now just in case I can't find them next year. I may go out and get one for my new great nephew, who is still being knit together in his Momma's womb, sweet Alicia's little wee baby.

I want a legacy left for my children and the children of my nieces, nephews, and one day my own grand children. I want that legacy to be a Christ Centered Christmas, and life. I pray that each precious one comes to know the Saviour, Jesus. The true reason for the season!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Scenes From Our Day

We had a very laid back day yesterday - no rushing about, no stress. It was great!

Our dogs Samantha and Sadie, enjoyed themselves too.

Sarah likes to dress like a cowgirl, when the inspiration strikes! Her she doesn't have the hat on but she was in her "outfit."

I put the turkey in the night before all that was left to do was peel potatoes and apples.
Here are the girls working in the kitchen - where was I? Sitting on the couch in the living room!
Rachel peeled almost all the apples for our apple pie - it was yummy!
Kyle wanted to go outside with the others so he got his snowboots and his polar fleece on. Then he said "I need my sunglasses!" So he got those too. He is a character!

There was of course a lot of hugging going on yesterday!

And a big brother jungle gym!
With our week going differently than originally planned, things had to be reshuffled. So Tim cut our tree yesterday, instead of today, so I could get that decorated!

Here is the tree with the lights on and the ribbon.

I don't have a photo yet, of the tree finished. It is so beautiful! Kyle however says "it needs more Christmas!" He doesn't think there are enough decorations on it yet!

Today, Becky and I are decorating at the church, so it will be ready for the beginning of Advent. That will be fun, then a trip to Target to exchange a coat for Emily. Then I may just catch up with the rest of my family, who are using chain saws, a log splitter and a lot of muscle to get firewood for our friends, my parents, a lady in need who lives nearby, and us.

Good thing I don't need to worry about what to make for dinner!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Precious Time

Time has a way of getting away from you, doesn't it?

Our trip to the funeral of Tim's cousin was special. We felt your prayers for us Tuesday night while traveling, we hit quite the snow storm on the Turnpike through the mountains...God kept us safely in His hands.

We were so thankful to have gone. We realized that even though we talk of going to see them, it has been 8 years since we did! Eight years! Were did that time go? These people are dear to our hearts and precious - how could it be eight years? They have never met our Sarah or Kyle! We will be making intentional trips to spend time with them.

The joy was that it was as if we had never been away! They were so happy to see us. We did a lot of hugging and comforting and just sharing in their sorrow, yet peace that he no longer was suffering. (He had been dealing with bone cancer and having seizures, as well as some addictions) Aunt Mary Lou, was comforted that she no longer needed to worry about him, because as all mothers know, even when your child is 61 years old you will still be caring and concerned for them!

Tim said that the day was also a good reminder that this life is not the end, and we need to be mindful of those around us who do not have the hope of eternity with the Lord. We need to live intentionally with those God has placed in our lives, because we don't know the length of our days.

Thank you so much for your prayers.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Yesterday, while we were out, my husbands' sister called to tell us that one of their cousins had died. We have not seen his cousin for many years, though we live in the same state. We are about 4 hours away. This cousin is the son of Tim's Dad's youngest brother, and so we will be attending to represent our branch of the family. Tim's aunt and uncle are in their 80's now, and we have not seen them for a few years, so it will be good to go, give them a hug and share their loss.

We will be heading there this afternoon, for a morning funeral tomorrow. Emily is making the trip with us, but the others will be staying home with their grandparents. I should get home in time Wednesday evening to get my turkey in the oven.

This has made for an unexpected turn in the plans for the guys to work on firewood. (They are rescheduling for Friday.) It has made us mindful of the fact that we do not control our lives. God holds them, knows all our days, but we do not. It is so important to know that our salvation is sure.

Since I will not have a computer available to me on this quick trip, I wanted to leave you some of my Thanksgiving posts from last year.

The Mayflower and The Speedwell

The Journey

Now I leave you with this wonderful quote:

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men, but be careful that you do not take the day and leave out the gratitude."

E.P. Powell

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blog Award

Ronda at A Peachy Keen Life, has given me a sweet award and I thank her for it.

Here is what she said about the award:

"It's called the Marie Antoinette Award. This award is passed to those who are brave enough to share honestly about themselves and their lives, and be transparent in blog land.

Then she shared these kind words -

"Mrs. Rabe, is a gentle woman who lovingly shares many things about her family, church and her Lord. Going to her blog is always a sweet place to go and visit a while"

This was a blessing to me - when I started to blog it was to share my life in the hopes of being an encouragement to others. I was happy to know that is happening....all credit goes to the Lord! It is His work, in His way that has helped me to grow, to desire more of Him and to share that with my precious family and with you....Thank you Ronda, I am humbled to be in the company of the other women you chose.

My Husband Is On Vacation

this week and so we are taking a week off of school! We are all enjoying it already. The kids love having Dad around and I do too! He already took me out to breakfast!

I may not be posting quite so regularly this week but wanted you to know that I will still pop online and check out your blogs as I get the chance. I really want to enjoy time with my husband and kids this week. We don't have anything really big planned; a trip to view Christmas lights, splitting wood at a friends' house....

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, in case I don't get a chance to tell you later in the week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Tried, I REALLY Did!

I have been trying to hold off on posting about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. It has been so hard. Christmas is my favorite time of year.
Reading other peoples posts about preparing for Christmas has been torture, because it makes me want to post, so I am giving in. I am going to start posting about Christmas. After all, I have been working at home on Christmas for quite sometime now.

I wanted to show you several things I have been working on for gifts.

I have been working on knitting two shawls for a few months now. I am showing Lindsay's red one in progress, and not showing Emily's as the color of hers is showing up as purple on my camera and not the truly beautiful color it is!

Please ignore the blankets on the floor - the little girls slept on the floor in my room last night.

Next I am nearly finished with an apron for my mom. Yes, she knows about it, I started it just for a gift for her and put it away in a drawer and then forgot about it. So I told her I was finishing it for Christmas. She will get something else, also.

I have been working on fabric bags for the girls. I made this one last Saturday, thinking it would be for Emily, but it turned out smaller than I wanted so it will be going to a little sister instead.

Here is the inside - loving the contrast of fabrics.

Now that I have posted, the dam has been broken and there are many things I plan still on sharing, like my Advent Calendar, aprons for the little girls, decorating.....someone please stop me!

I Changed My Background Again

I just didn't think the Thanksgiving one was me. I am on the hunt for a Christmas one! I hope I find one this week as I like to transform my house right after Thanksgiving and I would like to change my blog home as well!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Softly, oh so quietly the snow came, in the night, to greet us this morning!

This is the same view as my flurries photo from the other evening!

There are many happy children in my home. We don't usually get snow before Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Butterfly Award

I am saying THANK YOU to both Miss Paula and Becky from Hospitality Lane, for this award! I love them both dearly!

I want to pass it along to blog friends "old" and new!

Lady Jane - this dear gal always inspires me and makes me laugh. She is one of my oldest blog friends!

Karen - is a new friend and I really like her! She shares her life and friendship and I have enjoyed getting to know her!

Brenda - Coffee, Tea, Books, and me is a blog that I have begun to read more regularly. It always is encouraging, fun and uplifting.

Stephanie- at Cottage Thoughts is Brenda's daughter. I have enjoyed reading her posts on hospitality. This blog is a recent find, and I try to read it several times a week.

Melissa - her Home and Heaven blog is a new one to me - I found it through "Eyes of Wonder" and "Little Jenny Wren." I appreciate her heart for her family and the simple things of life. We are both home educators as well.

Of course, I have many more I could give it to, but some have already been given it by others and I don't want to be repetitive! Just know that I gain something from all my blogging friends and I am so thankful for all of you!

Prayer Update

Not long after I posted last evening, Kyle woke up, ate some dinner and proceeded to be very active all the rest of the evening!

He even participated in our family Bible study. He likes to get his little new testament or his creation Bible.

He still has a bit of runny nose, but it is no big deal. There is no fever today and he woke up and hit the ground running!

Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prayer Request

Kyle is on his second cold in as many months, and this evening is running a low grade fever. Would you pray with me for a good night's rest and the end to his cold?

Thank you, friends.

So, I Looked Out My Window....

and this is what I saw!


The temperature hovered in the mid-30's today - cold for this time of year...but we do love to see the flurries!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This and That

I have been trying to get my photos downloaded. Sharing a computer with your family takes patience. Also I have been busy with stuff, and haven't spent any computer time. Well, I did sit down Saturday night to download the photos, and my computer informed me that one of the drives was nearly out of space so it needed to make room. There were lots of temporary files etc, to clean out - great! What a smart computer! EXCEPT I couldn't do anything else!

It really was ok - I needed to just go to bed.

I did alot of sewing on Saturday - I made a fabric bag for one of my little girls Christmas gifts. It turned out great! I also made peasant style tops for Lindsay and Emily using this pattern.

I basically use view A, but I don't put the elastic in the sleeves and for Emily's I used the longer length! Oh, and we also lower the elastic to the natural waistline instead of under the bustline.

Here are my girls in their new shirts.

Here are a few photos from the concert:

These girls are the 7-Ups ensemble. They were great and did an awesome version of "In Christ Alone." It brought cheers and tears to our eyes. Emily is in the front row 2nd from the left.

These are some of the squirrelly 4th-6th grade boys. They sang their hearts out! They made me cry too!

This is my sweet Rachel.

Now I must run. Have lovely day, we actually have some blue sky showing! It is chilly again though...just as fall should be. Medieval history is calling....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just Popping In To Say....

The Thanksgiving Concert was awesome!

The kids really sang their hearts out and God was glorified! The kids who played, including Emily, did great, too!

After all the struggles throughout the 9 weeks leading up to the concert, the kids just shined!

God always reaches down, takes our small efforts and makes it great!

I will post pictures tomorrow, hopefully!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Couple Of Busy Days

Our homeschool co-op meets today, and tomorrow we have a dress rehearsal and then our Thanksgiving concert in the evening.

This year I have asked someone else to organize the reception afterward. This will free me up to "hostess", as the leader of the co-op. I will help with set up and clean up, normally I am so busy refilling punch bowls etc, that I don't get to meet grandparents and talk with parents. I love doing the reception, and love serving the families, so I was really torn about doing this. However, I do feel like it is a good choice for this year at least.

I am mentioning all of this so that you will know why, if I am scarce around here for a few days. Also, I would love to ask you all to pray for me and for Becky. She is heading up the program, leading two choirs. Pray also that God will be glorified through this program. We have never done a Thanksgiving program before, usually just Christmas or Spring or a Fine Arts program, and we really want to bless all the families of our group and the many guests they bring. We usually have 300 + people come to our concerts!

I promise to take lots of photos...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Words From A Three Year Old....

The other night, Kyle was tucked into bed but was having a hard time settling in to sleep.

He kept calling for have to understand the way this little man tugs at all our heartstrings, he is the dearest boy.

Emily went in to quietly talk to him and he said "Emma, I talked to God." She replied, "You did? What did you say?" "I told Him I wanted someone to lay with me."

So, of course she did!

Whenever you talk to him about being kind or obeying, he will say "but I want to." I'm telling you, he has our hearts wrapped around his - tightly!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


One of the things I love about my girls is that they are creative. This creativity gets passed on down from the older ones to the younger ones. If there is knitting going on, the younger ones want to do it too. If there is sewing, or working with clay etc....the younger girls want to be involved.

Recently, to go along with Lindsay's interest in outdoor survival and outdoor living, she has been making things such as a teepee, a bed for the teepee, cloaks. She made some moccasins for Emily out of leather and denim. Yesterday, we stopped at Michaels, and a regular moccasin kit was purchased by Emily and then Lindsay sewed them up last night.

This lead to a flurry of activity. Lindsay made Sarah some denim moccasins...

And then this morning, made a pair for Rachel. They then took leather scraps and laces were made for Rachel's moccasins.

Lindsay also purchased terra cotta clay yesterday to make bowls for outdoor use. This clay allows you to air dry them, instead of baking.

I am always so happy when my girls are creating, using their talents to bless others....

Monday, November 10, 2008

We Have A Winner!

Thank you for joining in the fun of celebrating my 500th blog post! I really appreciated hearing what you have enjoyed about the blog. I have enjoyed blogging and love meeting new blog friends. Thanks to you new commenters!

My kids have been excited about this give away - they all joined in this morning to help me. Lindsay took pictures, Rachel read the names off the comments list, Sarah wanted to do everything, Emily supervised. Kyle got to pick the winner!

Here are some of the names of you ladies who commented! I had to write two on another page.

Here are the names folded up and in a bowl.

Here Kyle has grabbed a winner, who can it be?

It's Karen! Congratulations Karen!

And just in case you want to see the cute face of the boy who chose you, and his sidekick....

Karen, please email me with all necessary information to get the lovely teacup and tea and surprises to you!
Here is the tea tutorial for you, although it would be more fun to have tea together, in person!
Thanks again, ladies, and congratulations to Karen!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Amazing Grace

You will need to turn the music on my sidebar off in order to enjoy this!

Thanks be to God for His immeasurable gift!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Today is the birthday of my late grandpa, Alfred David Martin and Tim's late dad, Joseph Elmer Rabe. They were born one year apart and never knew each other, but I think that in some ways they were similar. They both lived through the depression, my grandpa's family was poor and some of the kids were in and out of the state orphanage during that time, as the family couldn't provide for them. Elmer's family were farmers in Western Pennsylvania, his dad was a difficult man. Grandpa Al and Elmer had been through difficulties in their lives. My grandpa served with Patton in the war and, whether because of the hardships of his childhood or issues from the war, he had a nervous breakdown when I was a kid and spent time in the VA hospital.

Elmer grew up to be a missionary and served 23 years in Senegal, West Africa. He and Tim's mom buried two of their six children there, Davy died at 6 months of complications from malaria. Joey died at age 10 - he was killed by a crocodile. Elmer and Jean continued to serve the African people that God had sent them to. Elmer, who was greatly overweight, was a well loved man there. He loved to bargain, which is a way of life in Senegal. He traveled in the country, handing out tracts and Bibles, but he also suffered from depression. When my husband was about 12 the family came home, and his dad went into the hospital to be treated for depression.

Both of these men loved their families the best they knew how. Both of them were saved by the grace of God. Today we know they are in heaven with the Lord, and I think they must know each other, hanging out with my Grandma who tells them both all about us all. Grandpa and Elmer both died before Tim and I met.

One day we will all meet again - without pain of depression or heartache. Just joy.

Happy Birthday Al and Elmer - we remember you and love you both.


Today is the older kids last day of work. I have to say that I am relieved! They worked a lot this season and it meant a lot of driving back and forth for me. I will miss the occasional one on one time with them, as I took them to work.
I am very happy to be getting back to a "normal" schedule however. I can't wait to wake up Monday morning and enjoy a cup of tea and know that I don't need to hustle everyone into the car! Instead, we can enjoy breakfast together, read, get some schoolwork done, work on projects....These are the days that I covet. I so enjoy the home educating process, the chance to know my kids, and to invest myself into them. It is a joyous blessing to me.
The photo above is of one of my Red Sunset Maples in the front yard, from October of last year. Today they are nearly bare and it is November 8. Autumn is ending and I am sad! It is my Season of the year. This past October was glorious here in Pennsylvania - I enjoyed every minute of it!
The only consolation is that Thanksgiving is only 3 weeks away and then my favorite HOLIDAY season begins! Christmas!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Feminine Friday

My darling surprised me with flowers yesterday. This was something that he used to do a lot and when our budget got tight, years ago, I suggested that he should stop bringing me flowers. What was I thinking?

Anyway, he brought home these lovely flowers. It was so sweet and they are delightful. It is interesting how that simple act spoke love and thoughtfulness to me. My girls always like it too, and Sarah was even asking me last night, if she could have one...

Thank you Tim for letting me know that you were thinking of me yesterday, and for the reminder of your love.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

500th Post Give Away!

Okay, even though I don't have everything together yet, I wanted to show you the main gifts in my 500th post give away!

This is a Royal Albert "Old Country Roses" variation tea cup. I collect these, I don't have this one, I WANT it! Can I put my name into the drawing?

This photo shows the teacup and saucer in their box and a box of PG Tips Tea. I will be sending you a box of my favorite tea, as well! I will also send you directions for making a perfect cup or pot of tea!
I have a few other little treats in mind as well, but for now, please leave me a comment about the favorite thing you have read or seen on my blog. I will put all your names into the drawing and have Kyle draw a name out on Monday!

I am looking forward to your comments! And to giving away some of my favorite things!


A great perk of my older kids working at this adventure farm (corn maze, giant slides, pumpkin slingers, animals, giant jumping pillows, etc) is that our whole family can get in for free.

The other day the farm was open for school groups only, but we got to go in and do some fun things for the little ones. It is probably the last trip for this year as the farm closes for the season, on Saturday. We also were there before the school groups arrived and the kids did everything they wanted to before the groups got there, so it was like having the place open just for us!

Emily was working the slide, so she helped Kyle with the slide.

Here Rachel has joined him and they are headed down!

Here they come!

Wouldn't you know that when I went to snap the last photo of their happy faces at the bottom, my batteries died! Ugh!
They did this slide about 3 times before heading over to the giant pillow, where Lindsay was working, to jump!
I am blessed that the older kids and the younger kids have such love and affection for one another. They all had such a fine time together!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Field Trip

One of the things I love about home educating my kids is that we get to go on field trips! We don't do them nearly enough, but when we go it is a fun and educational event and a nice break for us all.

Longwood Gardens has gorgeous indoor displays - the yellow in the background is a wall of yellow mums and there are hanging globes of mums as well.

On either side of the walk way are many different varieties of Chrysanthemums.

Do you like how the mums are hung on the columns inside the Conservatories?

I took a peek and this is how they do it! Very clever.

These hanging globes are simply amazing!

The kids had fun stamping their booklets for the different garden rooms inside the Conservatory. Here they are sitting with Grandma, showing her their books.

We enjoyed all the fall displays outside in the gardens as well.

We were hoping to see an awesome train display. The week I wanted to take them, it rained and was very windy for 3 days - so I painted my parents dining room. Unfortunately, that week ended the train display so we missed it! Boo hoo!

The glass pumpkins more than made up for it!

These are all blown glass and they have them lit in certain spots.

This is a giant cornucopia in the Music Room in the Conservatory. The pumpkins were displayed all around it.

Aren't these patterns amazing?

I love these....
The colors were just stunning....

Aren't they beautiful?
We were so thrilled to get to see them and to read about the process of how they made them. If you would like to see the folks who make these amazing works of art you can see it here.


  We are finally getting some blue skies with real clouds, and sunshine! I took sometime with Kyle and Kamryn's help to set up the deck ...