Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Family Life/Family Culture

 A post over at Down To Earth made me think about the way we live our lives here at Creekside Cottage.  Our lives can be busy in the day to day living, but over all we live a simple life.

 From the time our children are young the learn to work along side my husband and I in whatever we are working at.  Dishes? Yes, the help and eventually get to where if necessary they could do it all themselves.  Laundry?  Yep, they learn this too.  They start by helping to fold, and eventually they learn to run the washer and how much detergent to use, and since we make our own laundry detergent, they even learn to do that.  In fact, Rachel who is 11, just made a huge batch of laundry detergent this morning.  She is capable of doing it just as well as I can.

 The kids also learn to work hard doing outside work.  They are their Dad's right hands when he is chopping trees down, or pulling nails from old pallets.  Even Kyle (age 5) helps in what he is able to do, which is actually a lot.  Our kids thrive when they are given real work to do and they know that they contribute to the family's well being and way of life.  Besides the memories it makes!  They all have fun stories of things that happened when they were working with Dad. 

 I am always surprised when people tell me that they don't think it is fair for kids to have to do these kinds of things.  They want to make childhood some kind of 'golden time' in their lives where they don't have to do anything.  I don't find that this is helpful to children except to make them selfish and self centered.

 Our kids have learned all kinds of skills.  They know how to cook, bake, do laundry, care for animals, do dishes, start seeds, garden, make jam, can produce, knit, sew, ride a horse, do puppy care, collect eggs, chop down a tree, and cut it up for firewood, they know wild plants that are edible, and which ones aren't.  They have learned all of this by working alongside Tim and I.  What we didn't know, we learned and passed it along to them. What they have developed interests in they have taught to us! We know that they will pass it along to their children as well.

 I think that our children will have a harder time making ends meet in the future.  I am sure you have all seen the rising costs of food.  The dollar is on the verge of being devalued, and fuel costs are rising.  I want my kids to have life skills that will allow them to feed their families and to preserve the foods they grow.  I want them to have the confidence that comes from having experience doing these things.

 Simple living has become a way of life for us.  It has allowed us to have me be at home all the years of our marriage.  It has allowed us the freedom to home educate our children, so that our days naturally flow from math, history, and science to collecting eggs, picking flowers and vegetables, to making bread, having people over.  It is rare now that we don't have someone here for a meal during the week.  Uncle Denny comes on Mondays and Thursdays, my parents on Tuesdays, a lot of church friends on Sundays.

 We believe we are helping our children and now our young adults, to be hospitable and to live a simple life with their own families one day.  The purpose of making these choices in our lives is to be the primary influencers of our children, to be the ones to disciple them and to show them how to reach out to others through their family life. 

Last night, we had a friend of Nate and Kay's here for dinner.  She spent the evening here too.  While my parents, Tim and I picked up Lindsay from work and went to get dessert out, the rest of the family were here and played games all evening.  I think our guest had a really good time.  I am finding that for many of these young people who the Lord brings into our lives, our family life is not the norm - they don't do these kinds of things with their families.  No family dinner, games in the evenings, families that do things together.

 We are thankful for the life God has given us.  We are privileged to share our lives with those the Lord brings our way.

 We love to do things together as a family and with our friends.  This doesn't mean we do everything together, all the time.  Our kids do things with friends and with their grandparents without Tim and I.
The oldest girls work part time jobs at a local Christian theater.  They help moms with lots of little ones, give riding lessons.

 Soon it will be time to get our seedlings into the ground, to plant more seeds and watch them grow into food.  It will be a busy time here at our little cottage.

But it will be a time of fruitfulness, a time of growth and a time of harvest, not only of fruits and vegetables, but in our lives as well.

I am thankful for the life we live.  We think it is a great life, and we love to share it with others.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tea - Yorkshire Gold

 I've been enjoying one of my favorite teas lately.  Yorkshire Gold.  

Here is a blurb from the English Tea Store

Yorkshire Gold Tea is a blend of some of the world’s finest teas from countries such as India, Sri Lanka and Africa, and has a rich, refreshing taste. It makes a rich brown liquid with a malty taste. This is a very popular English Breakfast type tea, and makes a stronger tea best enjoyed with milk and sugar to taste.

I like this tea iced as well.  Unsweetened.

It helps to have a piece of homemade cake to eat with it.

What is your favorite tea?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Graduation Banquet

 The banquet was a fun and beautiful event last night.  It was held in a beautiful hotel.  We dressed up and looked pretty spiffy, though I don't know what was happening with my bangs...sometimes my hair has a mind of its own. Sorry...I digress.  Back to the banquet.

Emily and her dear friend Chelsea.  Aren't they lovely girls?  Their dresses were so cute, Emily's had big red roses around the bottom.
Grandma and Grandpa had to get a photo with their girls.  All my girls' friends call them Grandma and Grandpa. My Dad is very proud of that suit too.  He has owned it for over twenty years and it still fits.
The grad colors are turquoise (teal), silver and white.  It was very pretty with teal balloons, and silver and white and teal decorations on the tables.
Perfect accessories for the table - little packages of kisses tied up with teal ribbon.  I still have 4 out of 5 kisses in my purse.  I was thinking of sharing them with my kids, but I may just have to eat them while I am out grocery shopping today.  Fortification, you know.

The food was fabulous. I had the Chicken Florentine - which is in the photo above, and Tim had the Beef ( I don't recall what it was 'called'). 
The service was great, too.
This is not a very clear photo but it is of the amazing chocolate cake we had for dessert.  I feel sorry for those who don't like chocolate....
See what I have to live with?  Don't you feel sorry for me? Crazy folk, them Rabe's. Since I am only one by marriage I feel free to excuse myself from any responsibility for the craziness.  Tim would, of course, disagree!
Here now, that's better!  She is her Daddy's little package, all grown up into quite the lovely young woman.  He's just a tad proud of her.  Me?  Well, she is a bit of a mini me, so I am forced to say she is pretty wonderful.  Humility, it's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

So Much On My Mind

 I am greatly saddened this morning after hearing that Marcia's nephew was severely injured in Afghanistan. Marcia and I grew up in the same hometown in Southern California, and though we did not know each other then, she has become a friend now.  I am praying for him and their family.  You can click on her name above and read her post about it. 


I also have been doing a lot of online reading.  These are interesting times.  With the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, along with the nuclear reactor problems, the unrest in the Middle East.  I am thankful that I know and belong to the ONE who holds everything in His hands.

We have a fun and exciting evening ahead.  We will be attending a banquet celebrating the graduation of 90 home educating students!  The graduation itself is in May but tonight, we feast!  I hope to post photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Exciting Times

Emily got her cap and gown last night at the monthly graduation meeting, and she also picked up her announcements.  We are now two months until graduation.  She is graduating a year early - having worked hard to earn the required credits.

This week is the graduation banquet for the graduates and their parents and other family members.  We are taking my parents as well. We are sitting at a table for 10 and the other five at our table are the folk from Hospitality Lane.  They are bringing the grandma's in their family.  We are looking forward to a fun night together.

Today we will likely be shopping for a new dress.  I believe that I will take her to lunch as well.  I love having this time with her.

She is a joy to us, a gift from the Lord.  I am humbled and thankful. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rainy Day

We had a beautiful weekend here.  The weather was perfect for Spring.  Friday it was even almost hot!

Tim and the kids spent Saturday cleaning up the yard, freeing it from winter debris such as branches, twigs, looks great and in a few weeks it will be time to mow again.

Yesterday, my Dad took the girls to look at a pony at a local horse rescue.  They liked him, but are going to look at him a few more times.  So we will see.

It is raining today.  I need to take Kayleigh to work.  My throat is sore and thick and my sinuses hurt.  I think overall we will have a quiet school day, doing what is necessary, but keeping it low key.  Lots of tea, lots of rest.  Sounds like the perfect remedy to whatever is trying to ail me!

Sarah, Rachel and I started watching "Pride and Prejudice" last night - the Colin Firth version.  I think we may finish that today as there will be very little outdoor activity today.

I have spent some time this last week reading online about some issues of belief and doctrine, one involving a home school Bible curriculum writer.  You can read more about that here. We must ask the Lord for Wisdom (James 1:5-8), and not depend on our own wisdom.  I have some very deep concerns over many of these issues.  I am praying that God will make clear His truth.

I am so thankful that I belong to Him.  He is good.  Praying for the current events in World History as well.  Japan's earthquake and tsunami, which affected the U.S. and other countries on the Pacific Rim - the Middle East, especially Libya.  So much to pray for, gratefully we can take it all to the Lord.  He holds it all in His hands.

Well, that is a lot of pondering on this rainy day.  Time to get myself moving. Have a great day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

An Evening Of Tears and Thankfulness

 Our home school co-op concert was last night.  It was wonderful.  Becky from Hospitality Lane is in charge of our concerts.  She had a Welcome to the Family theme last night, and the kids sang their hearts out!  You can read her post about it here.

 I always cry at these things, not great sobbing tears, but a bit of tears as the kids sing praises to the Lord and my heart is touched.
Last night, while the 3 oldest choirs were singing the last song, "My Savior, My God" I started to sob.  I hid it the best I could, then when they finished, I moved over to sit by Becky, and said "I forgot my tissue" as I grabbed a few.  I glanced at her and saw she was crying too.  I handed her a tissue.  Just then one of the dads who had done a bit of speaking last night, started to talk about us and we realized that they had planned a bit of a sweet farewell for us.  

 Beautiful bouquets of flowers and fun gift cards! Lots of tears.  Precious thank you's. These families are so special to me.

 When I got home, I wanted to put my flowers in water right away.  As I undid the bouquet, I realized there were so many beautiful flowers, I could make two arrangements.   So I did just the roses, and then one with the country style flowers.

They are perfect and as I enjoy them this week, I will be remembering their thoughtfulness and love.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And Yea, All Their Descendants...

Our niece Crystal and her husband, Andrew, had a baby girl, two days ago. Her sister Melissa and her husband, Geoff, have two young boys, and my nephew Ryan and his wife, Alicia, have and two year old son and a baby on the way.  My own granddaughter is 9 months old.

It is a beautiful thing to see another generation be born and come into the world.

 Tim's great grandfather had many children and everyday he would pray for them by name, and pray for their children, and for their grandchildren and "yea, all their descendants."  His prayer was that they would serve the Lord and honor Him with their lives.

This prayer has been answered in many ways through the generations.  Almost all the family are believers and walking with the Lord.  There have been many even who have given their lives to Christian service as missionaries and pastors.  There has been little divorce.

 This new generation being born is being raised in the same way, for the most part.  Their parents are wanting to raise them in an intentional way - to raise them to know and love the Lord. 

It is a blessing to see these families grow.  These little ones we held as newborns or played with as young children, are now raising their own little ones.  We are now grandparents, and our parents are great-grandparents.  The time goes by so fast. 

Only One Life

Two little lines I heard one day,Traveling along life's busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last. 

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in 'that day' my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God's holy will to cleave;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e'er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, "twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,"Thy will be done";
And when at last I'll hear the call, I know I'll say "twas worth it all";
Only one life,'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.
Author Unknown 

I believe that our children and grandchildren are going to go through much harder times than we have gone through. I am praying for the generations in our family and the ones to come.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This and That

Here is my beautiful little grand girlie!  She is 9 months old today and crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything! 
Lindsay and I spent sometime yesterday planting seeds and looking at the garden, plotting out where to put new beds, etc.

We are trying some new (two us) varieties of lettuce and we are trying onions this year.
I got these plant markers in the dollar section at Target.  They came with five markers and a fake sharpie to write on them.
In the garden we have some cilantro coming up!  We love it!  It smells and tastes so good!
The pile on the left is a compost pile that we started last year.   It has a fresh heap of wood ash on it, from the stove.  We need to turn it all over.  The pile in the middle is mulch and the third pile is compost as well, I think.  Perhaps mulch.  
I am thankful to be able to grow food, and work in the garden.  I am thankful to be able to work side by side with my children to learn new things.  

I saw footage on the news this morning of empty shelves in Japan, because folks are worried that if the crisis gets worse there that supplies will run out, so they bought them now.  Also one of the anchors has a friend who works and lives there with his family, which includes 2 small children.  He spent hours trying to find water and then only found 2 gallons. It made me think about how people here in Pennsylvania, stock up on toilet paper, milk and bread whenever they know it is going to snow.  They don't want to be caught without those essential items, if they get snowed in for a day or so.  Imagine what it would be like if there was a bigger crisis than snow. 

I think it is wise to have as deep a pantry as you can afford.  Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me has some great posts and resources listed on her sidebar about food storage and deepening the pantry.

A paraphrase of Psalm 112:7-8 has captured my attention and where I want to stand with the Lord. 
" She will have no fear of bad news; her heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Her heart is secure, she will have no fear; in the end she will look in triumph on her foes." Psalm 112: 7-8 
 If we know the Lord then we really can live with no fear of the future.  Proverbs 31 speaks to the "virtuous wife" as the NKJV says.  This woman was a woman who had her household prepared and functioning.  She didn't fear the future, she was ready.  One of the ways she did this was by not being idle.  That is a convicting thing to me!  I am often idle, spending too much time checking blogs...I am working to only spend set times on the computer so that I too, may run my household in an orderly way and to be prepared - whether it is for unexpected guests or a crisis.
Well, this post has turned longer than I expected it too.  
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Home Keeping

We've been doing a bit of this...I made a skirt for me, a pair of pillowcases, worked on Lindsay's dress, and we started the vest last evening!
I always do this!  I am almost done with my first Miss Read book.  I also am reading one of Laura Childs Tea Shop Mysteries.  It is a library book and right now I can't find it!  Oh, help me!  I must find this book, I want to finish it!

We are always cooking.  Always.  This week though we must finish up some left overs!

Tomorrow is Laundry Day!  We do a bit of laundry every day but having a "laundry day" helps us to keep on top of it!

I continue in my decluttering.  I am having a great success with this and am very happy!  Why do we need so much stuff?

We have water running in our creek again!  We are so happy. It just isn't Creekside Cottage without the creek!

I am looking for different curtains for my living room for spring and summer.  I have lovely red velvet curtains in there and have for several years.  But I want to lighten up for the summer.  With our yellow walls and white trim it is lovely and I want something fresh.  Any ideas?

I just love home keeping.  What is your favorite thing about caring for your home?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

There Are No Words...


The earthquake and tsunami have lead to more disasters.  Now one of the nuclear power plants has had an explosion and is leaking radiation.

Many, many aftershocks continue, some are the size of a decent earthquake.

I'm praying, thankful that the One who holds it all in His hands, is in control.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Two More Weeks

and co-op will be over for this year.  It also means an end of my time with the co-op.  

The co-op started in the Fall of 1998 and we were one of the first families who participated.  The next year I was asked to serve on committee, and have done so since then.  I have been leading the group since 2006.  

I have loved it, for the most part.  I love encouraging Moms in this great task.  So many have little to no encouragement from anyone in their personal lives, they just know that God has lead them to this.  There have been many difficult things over the years as well.  This has required wisdom, prayer, and much time.

The Lord showed me this year that I was working hard with the co-op and that I needed to give more attention to my own children here at home.  He showed me that it was time to pass the leadership onto someone else.  Thankfully we work together as a leadership team, and the Vice President will be able to step right up!  She will do well. She has a great team behind her!

I hope that I will still be able to encourage and fellowship with these Moms.  Maybe they will let me come to Mom's Meetings.  Maybe they will ask me to speak on occasion!  Maybe they will still let me put on the Annual Tea in October!

Emily will graduate this year, and then I will have only 3 more students here at home.  I am looking forward to lots of fun studies here, field trips, reading, nature study, music, art, history....

Pray for me though, as I have been with the group for 13 years.  I will miss them, but just like when a pastor retires, if he stays in the congregation, it is difficult for the new pastor to lead.  So, we go.  My younger kids are worried that they won't see their friends ever again.  There will be many adjustments to be made.  Tears will flow...they are right now as I write this.  Knowing that this is God's plan and timing makes it easier, as He always has our best in mind.

Two more weeks...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Cottage Garden

Little green things are popping up!  Bulb plants that have been quietly waiting all winter!  These I believe are small tulips.  
Hyacinths.  I just love being in the garden and seeing all the life that is there.  Soon it will be time for weeding and mulch.

When we build the addition - my parents in law quarters - my cottage garden will be relocated.  A porch is going where this garden is now located.  I don't know whether to move it to the front of the porch or maybe make an enclosed garden with a gate!  Oooh, I love that idea!  Now where to put it?  Wouldn't that be thrilling to go in through a garden gate and have a place to sit and read and dream?!
Of course, this birdhouse will be in the cottage garden.  I love it!

My cottage garden has, peonies, daisies, purple cone flowers, black eyed susans, roses, salvia, hydrangea, spirea, fever few, a hibiscus, and some daisy like mums that bloom in late summer into the fall.  I plan to keep them all and possibly add some others.

What are your favorite cottage flowers?  What should I add?

Information Friday, On Saturday

  Well, I was all set to do a post yesterday, but I had trouble uploading my photos. I really thought I'd get it done in the evening, bu...