Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

This And That

We had a fun Sunday.  After church we drove about an hour to visit with our friends, whom we hadn't seen in months!  My friend and I meet for lunch, sometimes, and text but we hadn't seen each other as families in forever!  We had such a great time.  I love friendships where you just pick right back up with them!  We laughed, caught up on news, we girls went to a LuLaRoe popup party, ate food, just hung out.  I really needed that visit.

Oh, and bad blogger me.  I took no photos.

Yesterday, Kayleigh and the girls hung out here for the afternoon.  It was fun.  Kay is a very good crocheter, and brought a baby blanket she is working on in gray and pink.  It's really looking great.

Kamryn and Klaire had some fun with Snapchat.

Sisters!  So sweet!

I went to a meeting for our homeschool co-op last night.  We were planning classes for next year.  I can't believe I'll have two kids in the oldest group. We call them 7-Ups, because its grades 7-12th.  My baby will be in this group!  Crazy.  Kamryn comes with us too, and she'll be in first grade!

Next month I'll be hosting a Mom's gathering here at the cottage for tea and conversation.  I really have a heart for moms, and love to encourage them.

I have plenty of tea cups for them to choose from!

With all the crazy stuff going on in the world, I am choosing to walk in peace.  If you find your FB newsfeed to stressful and angry, you can choose to hide posts.  There is a little arrow in the top right corner of a post that you can click on and a drop down menu will appear.  It will give you the option to hide all posts from that person WITHOUT unfriended them.  I've done this with a few people.  It helps me.

Let's face it - we choose what we allow into our homes.  You wouldn't allow protesters into your home with their signs and slogans in person, so too, you can chose to not let them in through your social media.  I do read news online, but I limit how much.  I don't let it feed me 24/7.  I step away, listen to music, read, talk with my kids, cook food, pray.

Monday, January 30, 2017

This Is What's Missing

This is such a hard thing to do, but as I read this on Saturday morning I was reminded that we forgive, extend grace, etc, not because a person is worthy of it.  We do those things for God's sake - because He asks us to.  Ultimately it is for our good, as well.

He reveals Himself to us in each situation that comes our way - 

"I am your healer"

"I am your protector"

I am your comfort"

"I am your father"

"I am your friend"

What a precious gift of Himself He gives to us.  

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Decluttering Continues...

Today has been a bustling kind of day around the cottage.  I continue to declutter and move things out that we are no longer using or wearing.  Rachel decluttered her closet today, too.

Tim decluttered the horse stalls, with Kyle's help, and our neighbor is appreciative of the manure for his garden!  Now Tim is burning paper trash, and two Christmas trees (ours and my parents').  It's great to have some land to be able to do this and the zoning in our township to do it as well.

I've had my Pandora on today, not staying super long on any one station, and I listened to two podcasts by Sally Clarkson.  So good and encouraging.

I've been knitting again, I like having handwork to do when listening or watching a movie.  I got Rachel caught up on Victoria on PBS.  Are any of you watching it?  

Its dusk now and the sky is clear, its going to be cold tonight I suspect.  I have a stack of books next to my chair - my Bible, Different by Sally and Nathan Clarkson, The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson.

I need to get dinner progressing, so I need to get going.  I did want to say thank you for all your great comments this week.  I appreciated the tone of civility on a difficult subject.

Tomorrow, after church, we are going to spend the afternoon with dear friends who live about an hour away.  We've missed seeing them with the busyness of the holidays and sickness.

We are all excited!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Story Of A Highland Feud And Our Part In Bringing Peace To The Clans

If you know any Scottish history you know the story of the Massacre at Glencoe.  If you don't you can read about it here and here.  It was horrific and "under Scots law there was a special category of murder, known as "murder under trust", which was considered to be even more heinous than ordinary murder."

I've mentioned before that my heritage is Scottish, and that as McElraths we are part of the MacIlwraiths, who are a sept clan to the MacDonalds.  Our clan originated on the Isle of Skye and were clan bards to MacDonald of Sleat for many generations.

Tim has Scottish heritage as well, through his mother, who is a Campbell on her mother's side.

This makes for many interesting conversations with folks at Scottish festivals, and celtic stores.  A man working at the Scotland House store in Williamsburg, Virginia said "Your not married?  To each other!?"  

We like to say that we are bringing healing and peace to the clans.

Yesterday, when Rachel and I were out, I found this tea cup and bought it right away.

It's lovely.

Now I must find a MacDonald tea cup as well!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Continuing The Conversation

I decided to post Obscure's reply here as I want to 

The conversation started on this post here.

Obscure stated in reply to my response to their comment -

"I meant the government dictating what we are able to do with our bodies - everyone pays taxes, and follows traffic laws. I understand that you cannot hear the other side, but I don't believe that is Jesus' way - I pray that you can find peace in allowing God to judge instead of man."

First of all I knew that Obscure meant that the government should not dictate what women are able to do with their bodies.  In fact in most areas I would absolutely agree with this.  I believe that overall the government has become to instrusive into the lives of the people of this great nation. 

However, abortion is the taking of a human life.  That is why it absolutely should be illegal.  Murder is illegal in this nation, with the exception of abortion.

Obscure also makes the comment that "I understand you cannot hear the other side."  This also is untrue.  My parents housed a young women in the early 1970's who was an unwed mother.  As a family we were and are committed to life and to helping others who find themselves pregnant and in a difficult position because of it.  My husband and I have for many years given monthly support to a pregnancy service who help young women get care, housing, parenting classes, job skills, child care skills.  

I have a granddaughter who was born five years before her parents married.  I don't judge peoples circumstances, but I believe that I can speak the truth.  And the truth is that abortion kills human babies.

One day God will judge and have quite a bit to say about the choice our nation has made to offer our children on this alter.

As a reminder, if comments become uncivil or if trolls arrive I will delete this post.

Today, I'm Walking In Grace

After days of rain and wind, the sun is shining today!

Yesterday was my parents day to be here, and Kayleigh and the girls came over, too.  We had fun chatting and holding Klaire, and making her smile!  Kamryn and Kyle played and had a fun time, too!  (I took no pictures!)

Today, Sarah is away for the day, Kyle is going to work with Tim, and since its Rachel's day off, she and I are going to spend the day together.  Breakfast out, a few errands, and a movie (Hidden Figures) are in our plans.

Thankful for God's goodness to us.

I want to thank you all for your kind words on a difficult subject in the last post.  I'm praying for grace for us all, and that we would choose to walk in it.

I am choosing it, hope you will, too!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Thoughts On This Weekends' March In DC

There was a time when the false messages of this weekends' women's march would have frustrated me and angered me.  

While I think that they are confused at what real suffering and unfairness is, I also think that it is, for many, coming from a deep place of pain.

Our culture has taught us to strive for more and more and to throw off constraints in many areas, and that we as women need to be just like men.  It has lead us away from finding our peace and happiness with God, and to try to find it in our work, our beauty, our relationships, in anything other than our savior.

I must remember when speaking that I must be gracious
 and seasoned, so that I may perhaps draw others to him.

They only way I can do this, which is against my nature, is because

I didn't watch the march or the speakers - though I've seen snippets.
But what I've seen made me sad.

I also have seen friends FB pages with their agreements with this march, and I do know that many marched for many reasons.  But it is telling to me the teaching they've had that they can really think that Planned Parenthood is about women's health care, and that women don't have access to health care without it, or that women need to be empowered, because we don't have any power.

Really?  Everywhere I look there are women in all areas of American life.  Running businesses, holding political office, working in their homes, educating children.

There are real injustices in the world in the treatment of women.

I read this on my FB feed - 
To Women who march for Women, this says it ALL:
**"I am not a "disgrace to women" because I don't support the women's march. I do not feel I am a "second class citizen" because I am a woman. I do not feel my voice is "not heard" because I am a woman. I do not feel I am not provided opportunities in this life or in America because I am a woman. I do not feel that I "don't have control of my body or choices" because I am a woman. I do not feel like I am " not respected or undermined" because I am a woman. I am not a "victim" because you say I am.
I AM a woman.
I can make my own choices.
I can speak and be heard.
I can VOTE.
I can work if I want.
I can stay home if I want.
I control my body.
I can defend myself.
I can defend my family.
There is nothing stopping me to do anything in this world but MYSELF.
I do not blame my circumstances or problems on anything other than my own choices or even that sometimes in life, we don't always get what we want. I take responsibility for myself.
I am a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, a friend. I am not held back in life but only by the walls I choose to not go over which is a personal choice.
Quit blaming.
Take responsibility.
If you want to speak, do so. But do not expect for me, a woman, to take you seriously wearing a pink va-jay-jay hat on your head and screaming profanities and bashing men.
If you have beliefs, and speak to me in a kind matter, I will listen. But do not expect for me to change my beliefs to suit yours. Respect goes both ways.
If you want to impress me, especially in regards to women, then speak on the real injustices and tragedies that affect women in foreign countries that do not that the opportunity or means to have their voices heard.
Saudi Arabia, women can't drive, no rights and must always be covered.
China and India, infantcide of baby girls.
Afghanistan, unequal education rights.
Democratic Republic of Congo, where rapes are brutal and women are left to die, or HIV infected and left to care for children alone.
Mali, where women can not escape the torture of genital mutilation.
Pakistan, in tribal areas where women are gang raped to pay for men's crime.
Guatemala, the impoverished female underclass of Guatemala faces domestic violence, rape and the second-highest rate of HIV/AIDS after sub-Saharan Africa. An epidemic of gruesome unsolved murders has left hundreds of women dead, some of their bodies left with hate messages. Or the 7 year old girls being sold or married off to 60 year old men, Or the millions of women sold and bought into sex trafficking.
And that's just a few examples.
So when women get together in AMERICA and whine they don't have equal rights and march in their clean clothes, after eating a hearty breakfast, and it's like a vacation away that they have paid for to get there...
This WOMAN does not support it. " (Reposted from Brandi Goings Atkinson written by **Holly Weber Parker)
The celebrated icons you hold up like Madonna, etc. have used their bodies to sell their latest fashions, music, and projects. Ashley Judd complains that men in movies will make more millions than her millions, while single mothers in this country can barely feed their children. Most of these women leading you will leave the March in their private jets, feast with money you have spent on their products, songs and ideology. They have spent decades convincing young girls that you have to be skinny and sexy - they flaunt the very body parts they now scream should be protected. They look at the unborn as an inconvenience. Stop drinking the Kool-aid, girls. Find your leadership from women who hold onto the only Hope we have for a fallen world: the Almighty God.

This is what makes me so sad.  We've been taught, as a culture, to hold up these celebrities as people we wish we could be.  If you read anything about their personal lives, it is crushing heartache.  They may smile in public, but their hearts!  They are in such pain that the only thing that can come out of them is pain.
These people too, are pawns in the hands of people who have bigger agenda's - you can read about that here.

This is what I've seen happening - 

I want to remember to speak Truth in LOVE.  
Not my truth, which can be changed on a whim, but on Biblical Truth.  Not what tickles my ears and makes me feel good about myself.  

I don't claim to know it all or have all the answers.  But I know that One who does.

The memes in this post are from my Words Pinterest board.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Inauguration Day

As Americans, we celebrate the inauguration of a new president and vice president.  Just as we do every eight years, we look forward to what this president and his team will do to help Americans.

Our nation has many issues right now - crippling debt, lack of good paying jobs to name a few.

We need to pray for our country, pray for safety for all today.

May God Bless America.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Home Education: What Sarah Is Studying In The Ninth Grade

I've said this before, but for those who might be newer to my blog, I've been homeschooling my kids for 22 years!

I have four graduates and two still schooling and I help teach my granddaughter, too.

I really love teaching my kids, and while the days can be challenging at times, I love being a part of their learning.

As my kids get older, they do more independent work than when they are younger.  I thought that I would share what Sarah is doing now that she is in high school.

For math she is learning pre-algebra.  For a girl who does not like math, generally, she is okay with algebra.  Go figure.

For English she is actually doing many interesting things and will end up with 2 credits this year.  (English is more her thing than math!)  First she is reading a literature anthology on British Literature.  She is studying all the best writers and poets Britain has produced over the years.

She is also doing a free online course from Hillsdale College on C.S. Lewis.  She is enjoying this very much as she already was a fan of the Narnia books.  We signed her up for the course and then you download it to your computer.  There are 10 lectures (on video) and quizzes.  She loves this course.  She is also reading his space trilogy currently.

Being a J.R.R Tolkien fan, she is signed up for a book class at our co-op on The Hobbit.  This class starts tomorrow.  She has a study guide and assignments that require her to write and express herself which is right up her alley!

For science this year, she is studying Anatomy and Physiology with Kyle and me.  

For history we are study the Medieval period,  I mostly read and we discuss.  We are currently reading The Boy Knight by G.A. Henty.  It is about the crusades and is very interesting.  I love when I get to the end of a chapter and they want more!

From our reading today.

For Sarah's humanities studies, she is taking voice lessons, singing in an ensemble at our co-op (starts again tomorrow), and is taking a 10 week English Country Dancing class, again at co-op.  She also sings with our worship team at church, and has practices every week.

In the fall she had a crafts class and a cooking class, and an elections class at our co-op where they broke into parties and had a mock election.  

Sarah also daily reads her Bible and we often read together as a family.  

She loves the outdoors, and to play ultimate frisbee.

A big positive to us in regards to home education is that we can teach the subjects that the state requires but we have the freedom to gear them to her interests and gifts!

Have any questions?  Feel free to ask in the comments!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Little Re-Arrangement

If you follow me on FB or Instagram you saw a preview of my living room re-arrangement.

I pointed out that the silver trays would be coming down, and that I had moved a rug into this space after I posted the photo.

Here is how it is currently looking - 

Obviously, it was evening when I took these photos, but I am liking the coziness factor.  I've been excited to see that cozy is the 'in' thing (hygge - pronounced 'hooga').  It's always been my 'thing.'

The gold chair with the white coverlet had been in my room and we traded this chair out for another one that is a wood framed chair and we can easily bring it out if we need it.  Right now the living room can seat 7 people with ease.

Also obviously, I moved the freestanding gas fireplace from the living room to the master bedroom.  When we used it this year it made our living space way to hot!  In our room which is the coldest room in the house, it will not be uncomfortable.  If it is we will be passing it along to someone else!  Once I get that space in order, I'll show you.  The fireplace does make our room look grand!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Prayer Request Update

Tim's mom had a doctors' appointment yesterday. He said, "She's lived a good, long life." 

He doesn't think she has too much longer, mainly due to her swallowing issues. Now time wise that could be months yet provided she doesn't have more strokes, or she doesn't get aspiration pneumonia due to her swallowing difficulties.

Tim's sister Virginia will be headed back to Missouri tomorrow and that will be very hard for her to leave. Esther may be moving Mom to her house, so they don't have to continue to pay extra for her living expenses, as mom's money is tight. It will make her care easier too, to have her at Esther's home.

We are trusting God and His good plan for Mom.

This is Jean and her kids, Dan, Virginia, Esther, and Tim.  There are two boys - Joey, and David - waiting for her in Heaven.  I know she's looking forward to seeing them again.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Prayer Request

This weekend Tim's mom has had two strokes.

Her first one was Saturday morning and her second one was Sunday afternoon.  She is at home, our niece a trained nurses aid, was with her for the first one, and Tim's sister who is an RN was with her for the second one.

Jean (Tim's mom), is 95 years old and has short term memory loss dementia.  She has her will and her medical decisions all laid out and prepared.  Today, she will see her doctor.

Jean knows and loves Jesus, her Savior.  She has served him her whole adult life, doing mission work in West Africa for 23 years, serving stateside, doing prison ministry.  She has practiced hospitality over the years, including having long term guests in her home.

We all don't know what the Lord's plan is for her, but we are trusting that ALL His ways are good.  He has sustained her these many years, through the loss of two children in Africa, and the loss of two husbands.  He is sustaining her still.

When we had a chance to speak with her on Saturday, she could not speak but she could laugh!  And laugh she did.  

What an amazing woman.  

What a gift to us she is.

We are thankful for her.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Scenes From The Cottage

 So far our winter weather has been a bit odd.  We were mild at Christmas - it was nearly 60 degrees here Christmas day - and then we hit the deep freeze for a few weeks.  Last week when I was out on a job with Tim had had layers on including two coats, gloves and a hat.  Yesterday I was out with a light cardigan.  Today will be cooler, but still mild, then tomorrow we are expecting freezing temps and maybe ice.  If you look to the right above the hutch and to the right of the candle you can see that my front door is open.  In January.

I just started using Norwex products, and so far am happy with them.  I've been using natural products to clean our home for years, but the dust and getting my windows clean with out streaking have been issues.  So far I am pleased with the ease of these products.  Do any of you use Norwex?

I have a few faux fruits and this is why.  I like having this in the main bathroom, but the real fruit kept going bad in there with the humidity.  I'll keep this a few more weeks then we'll be on to something else.

 Most of Christmas is gone but a little sparkle is still up here and there.  We enjoy the lights during the winter, and I love this little tree that I won in a drawing several years ago from sweet Sherry.

I've been spending time sorting through stuff that has been stored in our basement for years, I've been sorting through the pantry, and sorting through my teas.  Its easy for everything to become a cluttered mess.  I quite like my jar of teas on the counter near the electric kettle....

and my birdie teapot!  This teapot holds about a quart of tea.  So cute and fun.

I've had a good week, visiting with a friend, sharing life with my family, going to dinner with my parents.  I also had an appointment with my eye surgeon and she wants to do a laser procedure in the office next week.  There is a bit of cloudiness due to scar tissue in my eye, and that is keeping my vision from being perfectly 20/20.  After that procedure I'll be able to get new glasses.  I can't wait!

Happy Weekend, friends!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Making A Life

Sharing a post from nearly four years ago -  I still believe these things.....

Making A Life

How many of us are blessed to live the life we want to live?

I know that I am.

Now I am not talking about having huge amounts of money, driving a certain kind of car, etc.  I am talking about the important things of life.  Faith, family, friends, simplicity, love, caring for others.

We've chosen to be focused on people over things and the results have been wonderful.  We have deep and meaningful relationships, which give us encouragement, and a sense of community.

By being deliberate we have a rich home life with lots of laughter, joy, and love.  We do have stresses and we do have struggles, but the joy of our home makes it a place we all love to be, in the place where we are loved and accepted. 

My husband is creative and skilled in his work and works hard both at his place of employment and here at our home.  Over the years he has built a horse barn and now a chicken coop.  He has built and designed trim work for our home, put wood floors in, repaired cars, keeps the laundry process going.  Mostly though he reads the Word daily and prays and reads it to us and prays for us.

We chose home education for our children and we've always been thankful.  It is exciting to me to learn with my children every year.  I love seeing them learn to read and watching them conquer challenges.  I love hearing them telling their Dad or others about something they learned.

I love moving from Mommy to Mom and friend with my kids.  I love watching my granddaughter smile, and I love that we are the ones providing her care everyday while Mommy and Daddy are at work.

I am looking forward to my parents adding on to our home so that they can be with us daily and yet in their own space as well.  I'm excited about the trip my daughter and I are taking with my Dad to Scotland.  We leave in 10 days!  It's going to be awesome!

You can make your life by being deliberate about your choices.  What are the things you value?  What things are most important to you?  You can start being intentional about them, and making them the focus and good portion of your life.

When you do, you will be blessed and delighted with your life.  And thankful.

I know I am.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Miss Klaire Pays A Visit

She's a peanut, but what a big personality!

She's a cutie and really strong. Tomorrow she is 3 months old.

Monday, January 9, 2017

This and That

We has snow Thursday night into early Friday morning, and then a bit on Saturday.

This is not unusual for Pennsylvania, so the 3 inches or so we had were enough to make it beautiful, and not too inconvenient.

 I was up and out of the house early Thursday and Friday morning to help Tim take his truck and trailer to an inspection.  He needed to bring water to this one, and also needed his van with his work tools.

It was cold but I was able to take these photos, so there's that.

Its been super cold for a few days, the kind of cold that feels like you're living in the frozen tundra!  But by the middle of the week we are going to be mild - in the 50's - and will have rain.

There is a beauty to winter, but when it's this cold the only thing to do, if you can, is to stay indoors.  I sorted through a bunch of storage stuff.  It hasn't been gone through for several years and its time to purge some more!  

I also made about 7 dozen cappuccino muffins.  Several are going to a work party we are going to for Chick-fil-A this afternoon, and some we are taking to Joseph's family's house tonight.  We are watching the new season of Sherlock together.  Fun times.

Information Friday

  We are having a very rainy spring. Today it is windy, as well. Thankful that the temperatures are mild! My Daffodils got hammered but the ...