Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Parent's Study

At my church, we have just begun a new Bible study for parents, based on the Bible and also using the book Leaving a Godly Legacy by Charles Stanley.

It is not at all too late to join in!! Plenty of room for more parents to come! At the first study, we had three couples, and went over the introduction and first chapter of the book. It talked about the goals of the book, we discussed personal parenting goals and hopes for the study, and it outlined some of the guidelines for keeping it a Godly study (confidentiality, stay focused on Bible, etc.). Chapter 2 is going to begin digging into the Bible and seeing how we can use what God is teaching us to teach our children.

The next study is going to be on Thursday, January 8th, 2009 at 6:30pm. If you know me and are interested in this study, email me, we can get it worked out!

(**I must confess that part of the joy of blogging comes in sharing photos!! Can't help it!**)

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Christmas List

Every year I am asked for a Christmas list - you know, a list of things for my loved ones to choose from to buy gifts for me. That's what Christmas is all about, right? Ha. I've been struggling with Christmas this year, for the first time.

It started with an invitation to take our daughter to a "Santa Party." She is one. Santa is NOT REAL. Already we are being pressured into teaching our daughter about good ole' santa who delivers presents to all the good little girls and boys in one night in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Cashiers at stores ask her (she's one!!) if Santa is going to come at christmas. Well, we are going to the santa party, but folks, we are going to tell her that santa is made-up.

If we teach her the line about this fat guy in a red suit that can fit through chimneys, how in the world should we expect her to REALLY believe us about Jesus, who was born to a virgin (ha!) did a bunch of miracles, never did anything wrong (ha!), was killed, and rose from the dead (ha!) to save believers' souls. I mean, really - without the Holy Spirit who can convict us that God created the universe and can do anything, this whole Christianity thing is almost as unbelievable as Santa Claus. So we fill our children's heads with stories about Santa, and the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, and the real Christmas Story. If the first three turn out to be false, why would they believe the last????

Especially when we're running around, baking food, putting up decorations, lights, trees, writing christmas cards, buying more, more, more for people who don't really need it. We know the truth about real christmas. We know it's about the special gift of our newborn king and savior, but we sure don't act like it. We're ignoring the real reason for the season and we don't care. We like getting presents!!

I hope next year when I am asked for my "christmas list" I will ask for my family members to use their money to give to those much less fortunate than I. Then Christmas will begin to get back some of it's real meaning. If Jesus as the newborn saviour of the whole world allowed himself to be born in a barn and worshiped by shepherds, can't I give up my list of "wants" when there are so many truly IN NEED of the basics - food, water, clothing, shelter?? We are called to be like Jesus, who came to serve, lets start honoring Him on His birthday, rather than honoring ourselves in indulgence, when so many don't even have a meal a day.

Check out this video - it's awesome.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

untimely death........

.........was the title in the subject line in a forwarded email sent to me from Jacke at http://endurancegranny.blogspot.com/ Pretty interesting facts, so I wanted to share it here! Can anyone really say that God doesn't have a sense of humor, or that He doesn't care about us, or listen to what we say? You bet He does!


Death is certain but the Bible speaks about untimely death!

Make a personal reflection about this......

Very interesting, read until the end.....
It is written in the Bible (Galatians 6:7):

'Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man sow,

Here are some men and women
who mocked God:

John Lennon(Singer):

Some years before, during his interview with an American Magazine, he said:

'Christianity will end, it will disappear.
I do not have to argue about
that. I am certain.
Jesus was ok,
but his subjects were too simple,
today we are more famous than Him' (1966).

Lennon, after saying that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, was shot six times.

Tancredo Neves(President of Brazil ):
During the Presidential campaign, he said if he got 500,000 votes from his party, not even God would remove him from Presidency.

Sure he got the votes, but he got sick a day before being made President, then he died.

Cazuza(Brazilian composer, singer and poet):
During A show in Canecio ( Rio de Janeiro ),

while smoking his cigarette, he puffed out some smoke into the air and said:'God, that's for you.'

He died at the age of 32 of LUNG CANCER in a horrible manner.

The man who built the Titanic:

After the construction of Titanic, a reporter asked him how safe the Titanic would be.

With an ironic tone he said:
'Not even God can sink it'

The result:I think you all know what happened to the Titanic

Marilyn Monroe(Actress)
She was visited by Billy Graham during a presentation of a show.
He said the Spirit of God had sent him to preach to her.
After hearing what the Preacher had to say, she said:
I don't need your Jesus'.

A week later, she was found dead in her apartment

Bon Scott(Singer)
The ex-vocalist of the AC/DC. On one of his 1979 songs he sang:
'Don't stop me; I'm going down all the way, down the highway to hell'.

On the 19th of February 1980, Bon Scott was found dead, he had been choked by his own vomit.

Campinas(IN 2005)
In Campinas , Brazil a group of friends, drunk, went to pick up a friend.....

The mother accompanied her to the car and was so worried about the drunkenness of her friends and she said to the daughter holding her hand, who was already seated in the car:

'My Daughter, Go With God And May He Protect You.'
She responded: 'Only If He (God) Travels In The Trunk, Cause Inside Here.....It's Already Full '

Hours later, news came by that they had been involved in a fatal accident, everyone had died,
the car could not be recognized what type of car it had been, but surprisingly, the trunk was intact.

The police said there was no way the trunk could have remained intact. To their surprise, inside the trunk was a crate of eggs, none was broken

Christine Hewitt(Jamaican Journalist and entertainer)said the Bible (Word of God) was the worst book ever written.

In June 2006 she was found burnt beyond recognition in her motor vehicle.

Many more important people have forgotten that there is no other name that was given so much authority as the name of Jesus.

Many have died, but only Jesus died and rose again, and he is still alive.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Yesterday was a warm day for December, in the 40's, and my husband surprised me by asking if I wanted to ride when he got home, that he would watch Cora so I could do that! How sweet of him! So, I made sure to take advantage of that opportunity.

This is a photo from early October. Yesterday was the 17th ride I had on Arabee since I started riding again back in September....before that it had been at least 2 years since I'd ridden. It feels so great to be riding again! I know the equitation isn't great, but at least I'm up there!

We're riding in a Dr. Cook's bitless bridle, which she goes great in. She's barefoot - I've started trimming her hooves myself. Since the photo was taken we've added a beta breastcollar from http://www.runningbear.com/ and I made a set of rhythm beads for her to wear. We also have a crupper to help keep the saddle from slipping but I'm having problems with the T, so it doesn't stay on well, but Arabee has adjusted to wearing it just wonderfully. I'm riding in my mom's dressage saddle, but I added some shenandoah trail stirrups (from ebay) for comfort.

I still need to work out my winter riding wardrobe (to keep warm and dry), but I'm hoping for a pattern to make some riding tights from warm material for Christmas, as well as a set of stirrup cages for safety.

Beyond the fact that I get a great deal of fun out of riding, I'm still trying to really look deep and decide whether this is a God-thing or a Nicole-thing. The idea of endurance (I have a goal of completing two 25 mile LD rides this summer) is so exciting, but the amount of time it will take to do right is tough to reason around. Both my husband and my daughter need my time, it can't be spent two places at once! I guess we'll see what happens - I'll keep riding as often as opportunities like this come up, I'll try to give Matt the same kinds of opportunities for time to himself.

I believe that if you put God first, and His will, that he will make time appear for the other things, if He chooses. So, I will make serving my family the priority, and if the opportunity arises for me to enjoy the horses he's put in my life, I'll be back in the saddle again!
**for a more horse-specific blog, check out this one: http://adventuresonarabee.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 8, 2008

One Year

One year ago, on December 8, 2007, at 5:04pm, our daughter was born. It is so incredibly difficult to believe that it’s already been a year, but it has. Cora’s first year has been an amazing year for her family and we’ve learned so much!

I’m writing this hoping for an articulate way to describe how becoming a mother has changed me, or rather, how God blessing me with a child has transformed my life, but I’m quite sure whatever I write today will fall drastically short of that. Words cannot describe how much we have been blessed and stretched and grown because of Cora’s arrival.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good Reading

In preparation for a parent's bible study I'm getting ready to facilitate at church, I ordered the books, and on a whim added to the "cart" one for myself. I received it two days ago, and finished up this morning, Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God: Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker, by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald.

I highly recommend this book - for everyone to read, not just "housewives" but also working women, single women, married men, men interested in finding a wife someday, and all church workers, anyone wondering what in the world is wrong with the church (and the world) today. It may have a cheesy title and cover photo, but interesting points are brought out that have real validity to not only the woman who is a keeper at home, but to anyone who is living in the world today. If you know me, ask, and I will be happy to lend you my copy!

Also good reads in a related topic found online are:

This is a short story entitled: "When Queens Ride By." Long for a short story, but well worth the time spent!

Not a short story, but reading through this REALLY makes you think about the things that we've taken for granted as "right". Good for both men and women to read.

We sadly have "conformed ourselves to the pattern of this world" so that even coming from Christian homes we no longer are familiar with God's plan for our family lives - His good and perfect will!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Pictured are, from right to left: my daughter, her aunt/my sister, and me.

No special reason to post - other than to show off a good photo from last week's family gatherings!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Idols - or - What's Really Important

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent and praiseworthy – think about such things.

This is a verse that sounds easy enough to follow, right?


I mean, take a look at the list again:



Unless you are a die-hard fan of professional sports, and can’t sit still if your favorite team is playing: need to know the score, who’s ahead, the highlights, and who won.

Or do you like to watch prime time television – do you have a list of must-see tv, and if you can’t be there, you’re going to TiVo it? Come on, I know some of you are fans of shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” and “Gray’s Anatomy.” What about “The Office,” “American Idol,” “Two and a Half Men,” or “Real World?” Any other favorites?

Do you enjoy listening to the radio? Is it the local rock stations, or hip hop/r&b/popular stations, or even country music? Even when there is no music playing, what tunes do you find yourself humming? What are the lyrics?

What hobbies do you have? Do you enjoy dancing, card playing, video games?


Hmmm…..Maybe this verse isn’t so easy after all. What are we spending our time and money on? Take a long hard look at what the big ones are in your life. What do you spend the most money on? What activities do you spend the most time doing? What IS it that you think about while you’re doing these things? Is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, AND praiseworthy?

Most of the things of this world that we spend our time and money on cannot and never will fit all of those qualities described. As Christians who have an Almighty saviour who died for us, and rose again so we can LIVE, what are we really thinking about? What are we doing?

How many times were the people of the old testament led away by idols? Time and time again! God had such mercy on them, he sent prophets to warn them, leaders to try to turn their hearts back to the God who loved them and created them, yet they didn’t. God sent punishment to them in order to remind them to keep their hearts and minds on their heavenly Father. Will we wait for that heavenly discipline to turn our hearts and minds back to him? Will we allow our neighbors who have not yet seen or heard the Good News to continue being lost as we focus on our favorite sports, shows, music, and hobbies? I pray that we do not. When will we see that what we think about, talk about, see, and do the most is what we worship, and often we are turning our faces towards the idols our culture is placing before us rather than our God who is the only one who deserves our praise and attention.

As Christians, we are called to be like Jesus, to be his hands and feet in the world. Would we do the things we do if Jesus were in our presence? I pray for myself and everyone who reads this that we may continue to remove the worldly things that are in our lives and put in place of them the things that we have been called to do, the work of bringing souls to Christ!

One day at a time, we can continue to grow as Christians. We may never be perfect, but we are sinners saved by grace – it’s time for us to start acting that way.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Last night for dinner we tried a new recipe: Buttery Pasta and Shrimp. It was fabulous! I got it out of a cookbook put out by a local church, and edited it quite a bit. I like to look at recipes more as "guidelines," at least in cooking. (When baking, you pretty well need to stick to the rules.) I will post below what ingredients we used, for your enjoyment! It was yummy, especially with Garlic Salt and Parmesan Cheese on top.

Buttery Pasta and Shrimp
1 Package Angel Hair Pasta
3/4 cup Butter
3 cloves minced fresh garlic (you can easily use more, if you like garlic)
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tablespoon diced red pepper
1 tablespoon diced green pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 - 8oz. Packages Frozen Cooked Salad Shrimp
2 cups Tomatoes, cut into wedges

Melt butter, start boiling water for Pasta. Saute veggies and salt and pepper for 6-10 minutes. Prepare Pasta, set aside. Add thawed and rinsed shrimp to butter and veggies, Saute for 3-4 more minutes. Stir in pasta, heat 2-3 more minutes until everything is hot. Stir in sliced tomatoes, remove from heat and cover for 1-2 minutes, or until tomatoes are hot. Enjoy!

Now, since you can't just buy 1 tablespoon of red or green peppers, we went ahead and chopped enough garlic, onion, and peppers for 3 other makings of this recipe. I divided the rest up into equal portions into freezer ziplock bags, labeled and dated, and they are now happily in my freezer for the next time we want to eat Buttery Pasta and Shrimp. I have never tried this before, but I am pretty sure that all we'll have to do is thaw those veggies, and we're ready to go, sans chopping!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So, if you are a person who is thinking about getting married, is married, or even if you just know of someone who is married, then you really ought to consider watching the movie Fireproof. It is well worth the $8.00 at the theater, or just wait and rent it. Up to you. Either way, make sure that you go see it!!!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What is True Feminine Beauty?

Have you seen a Victoria’s Secret catalog lately? Those women are beautiful, and undoubtedly, they have a lot of sex – those women are so physically perfect they could probably get any man they wanted in bed. Buy the matching bra and panty, and you can be that sexy too! Victoria’s Secret (VS) products celebrate a woman’s sensuality and physical beauty.

What they don’t teach you in health class, or even admit at the doctor’s office, is that if you’re having sex, you might as well expect to get pregnant. Sure the Pill is supposedly 99.9% effective, if you always remember to take all the pills, at about the same time each day. Even so, that’s a bit shy of 100%. I worked in an office with 7 other women, of those, 6 of them had children or were planning maternity leave. Three of those six women said that their babies had been conceived while they were using birth control! That’s only 50% effective, folks. So, no matter what type of relationship you are in, a lot of times “sex = babies.” That mindset might make a person think twice!

We live in a world where sex is glamorous and where individuals believe they can control whether they bear children or not, with the use of contraceptives or “choice”. Turn on the TV; everybody’s doing it, talking about doing it, wanting to do it, making fun of those who aren’t doing it, using it to sell other products – the list goes on. Even one of the longest running, best loved “family” shows, Everybody Loves Raymond; it was well known that Ray and Deborah had premarital relations, even to be so specific as to say it was on his mother’s plastic-covered sofa! I am not sure whether the media is depicting what it sees from the culture at large, or whether the culture is copying what it sees in the media. Either way, people today are having a lot of sex outside of the marriage bed, and they certainly don’t expect pregnancy to follow.

What I’m getting at is that while women may be beautiful and sexual creatures, what companies such as VS and media deny or forget to mention is that sex often produces babies. Suddenly the slim waistline is filled with the fullness of a child forming inside, those curvy hips become a generous space for birthing a baby, those beautiful breasts are capable of lactation, and the message is that those functions of a woman’s body make her no longer desirable. The world says hurry up and lose that baby weight, wean that child, lose those stretch marks, hide that cesarean scar. In doing so, it turns motherhood into something to be avoided, rather than celebrated. It turns the bodily changes that happen on the journey of motherhood from joy and wonder into things to be lamented. The world does not value her intelligently designed life-giving features, if they are to be used in that capacity.

Victoria’s Secret produces some of the most innovative, high-tech, supportive, well-designed bras and other lingerie and sleepwear for a woman that is available on the market today. I must admit that some of my favorite and most comfortable bras came from VS. They have perfected their product in fit, fabric, and quality. They offer a variety of colors, styles, shapes, support levels in their lingerie. They even offer some styles for plus-size women, so they can celebrate their sexuality as well. Even the loungewear fits great and the fabrics used are so soft and comfy! The company excels at producing well-fitting garments in attractive styles and colors using comfortable, cutting edge materials.

However, VS refuses to allow women who are mothers to believe their bodies have value beyond appearance. They do not offer maternity sizes at all. It is tough for an expecting mother to find comfortable clothing, her body changes so quickly and dramatically! VS would be able to design sleepwear and loungewear for expecting mothers to look and feel great in, but do they? No! On top of that, try to find a single nursing bra in the VS catalog, or even at their online store. No such thing. Countless different bra options to accentuate their breasts’ sensual beauty, but nothing that could provide optimal fit and function when it comes to another equally, or dare I say MORE important function the breast has, that of nourishing an infant.

A woman’s body is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. I do not wish to brush off the issue that unmarried sex is not a godly thing to do. However, sex within marriage is a gift from God that should be celebrated by husband and wife, and if God blesses the marriage with children, so much the better. It would just be nice if the worldly view wasn’t to make wives and mothers feel less beautiful as they prepare to bear and nourish their children. With the negative thoughts towards motherhood by society as a whole, is it any wonder than an unwed woman who finds she’s unexpectedly expecting chooses to have an abortion? We need to carefully examine how our world defines beauty as it says so much about our value system. A woman’s body is beautiful, not in spite of the purposes it can accomplish by the grace of God but because of them.

As a new mother myself, I am reminded of how difficult it was to find clothing, undergarments, and sleepwear that actually fit my changing maternal body. Most of the time I spent hours searching the web to find things to fit, and even then the fit was generally poor. Walk into the nearest department store, and maternity wear and nursing bras in general are not easy to find. Having to search that much to find garments to fit and for such a basic function as pregnancy and nursing wear makes a person feel a bit like a deviant, when in fact you see mothers everywhere you go! Why does our culture make it so difficult for a woman to use her body the way it was designed to be used?!

If companies such as Victoria’s Secret are going to make it their mission to make products that accentuate the beauty of a woman’s body, all I ask is that they provide products for every stage in a woman’s life, and for many that involves motherhood. The body changes of pregnancy and breastfeeding should be celebrated, not hidden away as something to be ashamed of. Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I chose to no longer make purchases from VS, at least not until the company acknowledges that motherhood is beautiful too by making maternity and nursing styles available for purchase at their stores. I pray for the day that motherhood and true family values become mainstream to the point that it is easy to shop for the needs of a growing family.

I happened upon this wonderful online store yesterday www.mom4life.com which has a wonderful selection of products, many of which our family uses on a daily basis. Mom4Life is basically a one stop shop for a mother, I wish I had found their site sooner. Check it out today! It is a great answer to the difficulties in finding quality products for mothering children, however I feel that there should not be a need to have “specialty” stores for these products. Motherhood is as mainstream as children themselves, it is time our culture accepted that and embraced the maternal body of a woman.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New Truck

So, on Labor Day weekend, 2008, my family loaded up and headed for Shakamak Park in Indiana. Shakamak is coincidentally quite nearby Redbird, which is an OHV (off-highway vehicle) Recreational Area.

My husband is into horsepower. It used to be 4-wheelers, now that he is married, has a family, has settled down into off-roading with Jeeps. Reality is that Jeeping is much safer than 4-wheeling, but it is TERRIFYING to me, and while I gave it a fair try, I will never be inside of that Jeep again on a trail. Ever. (picture is of the Labor Day Redbird weekend. We had 3 Jeeps and 2 Suzukis in our group. Matt's Jeep is the black Cherokee at right.)

Well, Shakamak is about 2 1/2 hours away from our home, and we loaded up the Chevy truck with our tent and camping gear, hitched up his cousin's trailer, loaded the Jeep onto it, and away we went. The bench seat was so cozy, my husband at the wheel, sleeping baby in the rear-facing car seat in the middle, me in the passenger seat. Lovely weather, windows down the whole way.

This is a nice arrangement....if our family was never to grow, if we never wanted to go around the farm with anyone else, etc., etc. What we decided was that while the Chevy worked, it wasn't going to work forever. What we needed was a 4 door heavy-duty pickup truck. Of course, other factors went in to deciding we needed a new truck. The Chevy just couldn't handle the full load of 6 fat cattle on the stock trailer. Around the farm with a baby there's just not enough room for the driver, the car seat, plus 2 or 3 tractor, combine, and grain truck drivers to get back and forth from the field. So we began the search for a heavier truck, with four doors, plenty of room for easy access for multiple riders, plus all of my husband's specific requirements (weight, transmission, engine...etc).

Matt was the one who did 99.9% of the searching. He made calls, he checked the web, we drove through dealer lots. We actually ended up buying the first truck we test drove, but not until a month or so after we drove it, and they lowered the asking price significantly. It's got a ton of miles, it's been used, but the price was right and it should work great for us. Plus it fits in the garage! It's a dark green Ford F-250 4x4 crew cab with a diesel engine, and a short bed. Tan leather interior. Very roomy!

**Here's a photo of the truck, as promised. Look closely at the bed - it doubles nicely as a play yard! (under close supervision, of course!)**

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Cloth Diapers 101

Using Cloth Diapers

Why use cloth?
*It costs about $3000 to diaper a baby in disposable diapers from birth to age 3 years. Cloth diapers cost only $500-$1000, including laundering costs! What a savings!
*Cloth diapers are healthier for your baby because there are so many different chemicals in disposable diapers. Plus, it is easier to tell when baby is wet, so he/she gets changed more often, which means less diaper rash!
*Disposable diapers make up a huge chunk of what is in the landfills. 18 BILLION Diapers are bought, used, and thrown away in the US alone each year. Cloth can really help reduce our environmental impact.
*Makes toilet training easier when the time comes because baby can feel when they are wet.
*Cloth diapers can be just as easy to put on the baby as disposable, plus they seem to hold leaks in better than the disposables.

For a little baby that doesn’t roll over or squirm around very much yet, I recommend prefolds and diaper covers. You’ll want about 6 prefolds per cover, and to wash every 3 days you’ll probably need about 36 prefolds, and 6 covers. I recommend Thirsties or Bummi’s brand diaper covers (those are the only brands we have tried, but work well). Diaper Service Quality unbleached prefolds are the best, usually about $2 per diaper. When our baby was ready for the next size, we used 12 prefolds, 2 covers, and 26 AIO’s, which gets us by with only having to wash about every 3 or 4 days. If you’re going to wash more often, each baby probably doesn’t need that many. The prefolds and covers will be the cheapest way to go, and are the best at keeping the mess inside the diaper, but you just can’t beat the AIO as far as convenience when baby is wiggly!

This is how I use our cloth diapers:
1 - Put on the baby. There are many ways to fold diapers, check out the www. I don’t have to use pins, since the covers I use hold the diaper in place. It’s a lot easier with the AIO’s (all in ones) like the Kushies, especially when the baby is squirmy, or has just learned to turn over! But they are more expensive, too. *The most important thing is to make sure all absorbent parts of the diaper are inside the cover!! If not you will get leaks!*

2 - When it’s changing time, wet diapers go in a 5 gallon bucket. This bucket is dry. Some people put baking soda in it, you can try that if you want, they say that keeps odors down, but I don’t notice the odors anyway, so I don’t use it.

Dirty, poopy diapers get most of the chunky poop wiped off w/ Toilet Paper into the toilet first, and then they go into another bucket, with a tight fitting lid, that is half-filled with water and a tiny bit of OxyClean (about a teaspoon). Don’t let the dirty diapers soak for more than 2 or 3 days, or it gets pretty nasty pretty quickly, but the soaking with OxyClean does help get them get cleaner. If you’re using prefolds and diaper covers, soak only the prefold, the cover needs rinsed off in plain water in the sink (or just put it straight into the other bucket used for wet diapers), they don’t usually stain very badly!

If you are exclusively breastfeeding your little one, you don’t have to do anything special with poopy diapers since breastfed baby poop is so liquid, just wash them all together. I suggest throwing all diapers in the wash, running a rinse cycle, and then doing your regular wash cycle.

If you’re using the prefolds and covers, keep using the same diaper cover until it gets poop on it.

When the 5 gallon bucket gets FULL, it’s usually time for a wash.

3 - When it’s time to wash diapers, I will take the Dirty diaper bucket and pour the diapers and the soaking water into the washer, and just use the machine to spin out the dirty water. When that is done, Add a tiny bit of laundry detergent, usually ¼ of what you would use for a regular load of laundry, and add the rest of the diapers, and wash the diapers on hot water with a cold water rinse. When the wash is done, open the washer and smell a few of the diapers, if they are fresh (usually they are) just put them in the dryer or on the clothesline. If they don’t smell fresh, just run a cold wash cycle with about ½ cup of vinegar, and they will be fine after that. Do NOT use fabric softeners on the diapers, it will make the pee just run off the diaper and prevent it from being absorbed!! Since diapers are so absorbent, it takes a long time for the diapers to dry, and it helps to run an extra spin cycle on the washer, which will take more of the water out.


Going Out and About w/ Cloth isn’t as bad as you would think. I have a couple of wet bags that I keep in the diaper bag to keep the wet or dirty diapers in, mine are about 12x12, or a little bigger. So, if you have a wet bag, (or just use a ziplock bag) you can cloth diaper away from home just as easily. On wash day, just turn the wet bag inside out and throw diaper, bag, and all into the washer. Most of the online cloth diaper stores also carry wet bags in various sizes.

I am very glad we’re using cloth. It is easier to tell when our baby is wet, I am saving a ton of money, and I hear that it will make it easier to toilet train when the time comes, since the baby can feel when they are wet, too. The biggest drawback I have found with using cloth diapers is that they are bulky, which usually means that baby has to wear bigger sized clothing just to fit around her diapers.

If you do a search on the internet, you can find so many resources about washing, using, and even SEWING your own cloth diapers. Some people make their own cloth wipes too, from flannel scraps and old washcloths, and claim they make it easier to wipe off sticky poop than purchased wipes. I haven’t tried that yet, but maybe when our stash of wipes runs out, that will be the next thing!

I hope it helps to hear what we are doing and how we handle washing and wearing of our diapers. If you have any questions that I can answer, just let me know, though I’m really not an expert, but I guess almost a year of experience is a good teacher!

Friday, October 24, 2008

2008 Election

Hello, I received this forward of a letter from Dr. James Dobson, from Focus on the Family in regards to the upcoming election. I certainly do not pretend that we all hold the same political views, but I did find this letter very interesting. While the issues he addressed do not represent the limit of those important to this election, I do feel that some valid points are raised. I hope you can take the time to read this letter, and please forward to those whom you think may benefit from seeing his viewpoint. As follows:

Dear Friends,
Can you feel the tension in the air? The nation--and indeed, the world--is holding its collective breath as the final days of the presidential campaign wind down and the candidates engage in one last round of electioneering and debating. By this time next month, we'll know whether Senator John McCain or Senator Barack Obama will be inaugurated in January as the 44th President of the United States.

Considering the stark differences between the two presidential candidates and the critical issues that are hanging in the balance, it's not difficult to understand why Campaign 2008 has been such a spirited affair. I'd like to take a few moments to consider what is at stake in this year's election, particularly for those of us who embrace a biblical worldview. Please understand that I will share these thoughts under the umbrella of Focus on the Family Action™, which has supported the preparation and distribution of this newsletter. Focus Action is, in turn, supported by contributions from those who do not receive tax deductible receipts for them. Thanks so much to you who made it possible.

Let's start with the need to elect a pro-family, pro-life President. The importance of this objective cannot be overstated. Between 2009 and 2012, there will likely be two or more opportunities for the President to nominate new justices to the Supreme Court. Some court watchers say there could be as many as four resignations. That alone should give us serious pause as we consider for whom to cast our votes. In the months ahead, the Supreme Court will likely hand down rulings that will impact America for generations to come. We need a President who will nominate conservative, strict-constructionist judges to the Court. If that doesn't happen, the highest court in the land could become stacked--even more than it already is--with justices who will endeavor to legislate from the bench and impose a liberal agenda on the nation. It will likely affect the definition of marriage, religious freedom, and the protection (or lack thereof) of life in the womb.

It's probably obvious which of the two major party candidates' views are most palatable to those of us who embrace a pro-life, pro-family worldview. While I will not endorse either candidate this year, I can say that I am now supportive of Senator John McCain and his bid for the presidency. This is not because I am beholden to the Senator from Arizona or to the Republican Party. Anyone who has even a passing familiarity with my views knows that I have agonized at times during this election process, and have been strongly critical of Senator McCain and the Republican Party on numerous occasions. My concern is for the biblical and moral values that I and millions of Americans hold dear. I will gladly support politicians of any stripe who are willing to defend the sanctity of human life, support the institution of traditional marriage, protect the country from terrorism and advance the cause of religious liberty. While certainly not perfect, the 2008 Republican platform comes closest to embracing those ideals by a wide margin.

In recent weeks, I have received some measure of criticism from those who feel that my "change of heart" toward John McCain is unwarranted. I understand those views and concede that the Senator continues to embrace positions that concern me. I don't apologize, however, for reevaluating our options in this election year. John Maynard Keynes, whose views I have disagreed with strongly, said this about reversing course: "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"1 In this instance, Keynes' perspective is correct. Every thinking person will eventually have reason to change his or her mind as circumstances evolve, as they have done during this long political ordeal.

There are four primary--and I believe compelling--reasons why I now view the McCain presidential candidacy favorably:

During the "Saddleback Forum" on Aug. 16, Sens. Obama and McCain fielded questions from the Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren. Senator McCain gave very solid and encouraging answers to questions about the sanctity of life and the institution of marriage, whereas Senator Obama came down at the other end of the argument.

You will recall the following interchange during the forum: Pastor Rick Warren: "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?" Senator Obama: "... Answering that question with specificity, you know, is, uh, is, above my pay grade."2

With all due respect, Senator, if this question is above your pay grade, then so is the job attached to it.

The Republican Party's 2008 national platform is a remarkably conservative document.3 Indeed, it is the strongest pro-life platform in the history of the party, surpassing even the pro-life advances of the Reagan years. It was approved and sanctioned by the McCain campaign.

Senator McCain selected an astonishingly strong pro-life, pro-family running mate in Governor Sarah Palin. Although he could have embraced a liberal Vice Presidential nominee, such as Senator Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge, he made the bold decision to join forces with a VP pick whose views reflect those of the party's conservative base. I'll discuss Governor Palin's candidacy in greater detail in a moment.

The longer the campaign continues, the more concerned I have become with Barack Obama's liberal views. Certainly, he is an attractive and very charismatic candidate who has embarked on a campaign of historical proportions. However, the majority of his policies represent the antithesis of principles I hold dear. Senator Obama's record is more liberal than that of any other Democrat in the Senate4--and that's saying something! For example, when he was a state senator in Illinois, he voted four times in three years against legislation that would have saved the lives of babies that managed to survive the abortion process.5 The U.S. Senate subsequently passed similar legislation called The Born Alive Infant Protection Act by unanimous consent.6 (Obama was not a U.S. Senator at the time.) State Senator Obama was chairman of the committee that opposed this protection of babies, and in 2001 and 2002 was the only legislator who rose to argue against the Illinois Born Alive Act.7 That is an undeniable fact!

My good friend, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum published a scathing analysis of Senator Obama's pro-abortion record earlier this year. Here is an excerpt of what he wrote:

In March 2001, [Senator] Obama was the sole speaker in opposition to the bill on the floor of the Illinois Senate. He said: "We're saying they are persons entitled to the kinds of protections provided to a child, a 9-month child delivered to term. I mean, it would essentially bar abortions, because the equal protection clause does not allow somebody to kill a child."8 So according to [Senator] Obama, "they", (babies who survive abortions or any other preterm newborns,) should be permitted to be killed because giving legal protection to preterm newborns would have the effect of banning all abortions.9

To further underscore Senator Obama's radical devotion to abortion rights, he has promised that "the first thing I'd do as president" would be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.10 The FOCA is a devastating piece of legislation that would overturn nearly every local, state, and federal anti-abortion law passed in the last 40 years.11 In fact, it's so broadly written that legal analysts suggest the bill may prevent institutions and physicians from refusing to provide abortion services by invoking the conscience clause.

Earlier this year, while talking about sex education and abortion, the Senator said the following: "I've got two daughters, 9 years old and 6 years old. I am going to teach them first of all about values and morals. But if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."12 In other words, a pre-born baby is viewed as a form of punishment, and can therefore be murdered in the name of convenience.

It is a matter of historic significance that Barack Obama has become the first African-American to capture the nomination of a major political party for the office of President of the United States. I applaud that remarkable accomplishment. Nevertheless, I cannot support his candidacy because the positions he holds on moral, social and family issues place him at the extreme left of the political spectrum. What the Senator believes and the policies he would seek to implement are on a collision course with the biblical principles and beliefs I have fought to defend for more than 35 years.

Turning the corner, the significance of Governor Palin to the 2008 presidential race is also worthy of further consideration. Here is a woman who is a deeply committed Christian, and who is pro-life not only with regard to her policies, but in her personal life. She and her husband welcomed their latest child, Trig, into the world even though he was diagnosed with Down syndrome while still in the womb. Approximately 90 percent of babies with Down syndrome are aborted,13 but Governor Palin carried her precious child to term and now loves and cares for him despite the challenges associated with a special needs child. Similarly, her teenage daughter, Bristol, who became pregnant out of wedlock, could have bowed to cultural pressure to seek an abortion. Instead, she and the father plan to get married and raise their child together. Governor Palin has been married for 20 years, and by all accounts, she is a portrait of Christian motherhood and womanhood.

As for Governor Palin's qualifications to be Vice President of the United States and to assume the mantle of President, should that ever become necessary, she is much better suited for the job than the talking heads on the liberal Left would have you believe. She came out of nowhere to win the Alaskan gubernatorial race against a powerful incumbent. While in office, she bravely fought widespread corruption--including that within her own party--in the face of great opposition. Govenor Palin's critics suggest that her experience as mayor of a "small town" is somehow a liability, but it is an asset. In fact, her time as Mayor of Wasilla and then as Governor of Alaska gives her a greater degree of executive experience than Senator Barack Obama can claim. Her qualifications to be Vice President, I would submit, exceed those of Senator Barack Obama, who spent only 143 working days in the U.S. Senate prior to announcing his run for President.14 He authored no significant legislation during that time.

I'm sure you have heard the shrill voices from the political Left decrying Mrs. Palin for any and every reason under the sun. They gloat over the pregnancy of her daughter Bristol and claim it as "evidence" that abstinence education, which Sarah Palin strongly supports, is somehow a sham. They criticize Governor Palin for daring to hold political office and run for Vice President while having a baby at home, even though the Left has for decades supported a woman's right to do just that. The attacks on Governor Palin and her family in recent weeks have been astonishingly unfair and mean-spirited. If she were a liberal Democrat, she would be praised and lauded for making the same decisions for which she is now being criticized. The double standard is obvious.

Governor Palin's decision to run for Vice President while raising a baby with special needs has given pause to some conservative voices as well. Some have even questioned my enthusiasm over Governor Palin's candidacy in light of these circumstances. It's important to note that although I have often said stay-at-home moms are vitally important to raising the next generation, I have never suggested that it is wrong for mothers to work outside the home. Indeed, Focus on the Family® has hired thousands of mothers over the years. I have said, however, that if a mother is going to enter the workplace, she and her husband must first find a way to meet the needs of their children. Sarah Palin appears to have done that. Todd, her husband, is actively involved in the raising of their children, and it seems obvious that Sarah will continue to be a positive force in her children's lives even as she carries out her duties in the political arena. Regardless of your political views, may I suggest that the Palins need our prayers, not our disdain, at this critical moment in our nation's history.

Senator Obama's selection of fellow liberal Democrat Joseph Biden (Del.) is also extremely revealing. While the National Journal ranked Obama the most liberal Senator last year, Senator Biden was ranked 3rd on their list--just ahead of Vermont's Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed socialist.15 While the Senator of 36 years from Delaware stands in blatant opposition to the pro-family movement, many of you will remember him from his vociferous opposition to several of our finer Supreme Court justices, namely, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Alito and Thomas.

Returning to our theme, America's future seems to hang in the balance at this time. Our next President will have a dramatic impact on countless legislative issues. Since being relegated to minority status in 2006, House Republicans have skillfully used the rules of parliamentary procedure to frustrate many of the Democrats' attempts to pass bad legislation. To this point, that effort has almost always been backed by a President who is willing to use the veto pen when necessary. The threat of President Bush's veto on hate crimes legislation and issues regarding the sanctity of life have kept a Democrat-controlled Congress from implementing its liberal agenda. Will our next President stand up to Congress in the same manner, or will he side with them, thereby giving the Democrats free reign to impose their liberal values on America?

It is likely, say the pundits, that both the House and the Senate in the 111th Congress will still be controlled by Democrats. If that party also takes the White House, a wave of anti-family, pro-homosexual legislation is almost guaranteed to pass in 2009. The bills put forward and advanced this year by Democrats reveal where they want to take the country. For example, they inserted hate crimes language into the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill, but were forced to remove it in conference, again under the threat of veto.16 While in the Illinois Senate, Senator Obama voted for a bill authorizing "comprehensive" sex education beginning in kindergarten. Defenders have attempted to downplay its significance, citing the fact that it called for the content to be "age appropriate" and "medically accurate"--dubious and subjective qualifiers given the sensitive nature of the topic and innocence of the audience!17 (When criticized for supporting this legislation, the Senator was dismissive and said proudly, I quote, "It's the right thing to do."18)

Large portions of the agenda promoted by homosexual activists will also be enacted. The implications for a federal hate crimes law are clear. People speaking against homosexuality have already been prosecuted under hate crimes laws both in the United States and abroad. If a federal hate crimes law passes, there will be little to prevent the government from endeavoring to control and curtail religious speech, especially from the pulpit. It is entirely possible that a pastor could be charged with inducing a federal hate crime simply by preaching from one of the many biblical passages that address homosexuality.

Congressional Democrats will also seek to pass the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, meaning businesses will be forced to accept and condone homosexuality--and possibly transgenderism--in making employment decisions. Further, business owners, including religious businesses, will not be able to make hiring and firing decisions based on their religious convictions. Earlier this year, Senator Barack Obama said, "I will place the weight of my administration behind the enactment of the Matthew Shepherd Act to outlaw hate crimes and a fully inclusive Employment Nondiscrimination Act."19

Finally, I am deeply concerned about the tax and spend policies Senator Obama will impose on the American people if he is elected, especially in light of the current financial crisis. This is not the time to be taking money out of the economy, yet, he has proposed enormous new federal programs and entitlements that will cost multiple billions of dollars. These initiatives cannot be effected without huge increases in taxation on businesses, which will be passed on to the public and to individual families. This will almost certainly require a return of the odious marriage penalty tax that plagued families for 34 years!

The races for the White House and the Congress are hardly the only matters worthy of concern in this election cycle. At the state and local levels, numerous policies and pieces of legislation are being put to a vote, and many of them are directly related to family and moral issues. For example, the definition of marriage is on the ballot in Arizona (Proposition 102), California (Proposition 8) and Florida (Amendment 2). Voters in Colorado will be given the opportunity to expand the definition of "personhood" to include all human beings from the moment of fertilization (Amendment 48). In South Dakota, voters will be asked to ban all abortions except those involving cases of rape and incest, or when the pregnancy seriously jeopardizes the life or physical health of the mother (Measure 11). Michigan is considering whether to legalize embryonic stem cell research, which would result in the killing of tiny human beings. In California, voters will also get the chance to decide whether minor girls should be required to give 48 hours' notice to a parent or adult relative before having an abortion (Proposition 4). Arkansas voters will decide whether to prevent couples living together out of wedlock--heterosexual or homosexual--from adopting children or serving as foster parents.

These are just a few of the important issues that, depending on which state you live in, will be on the ballot next month. I implore you to spend the few days remaining before the election researching the various amendments, ballot measures, and local and national candidates. Then, exercise your responsibility before God to vote on or before November 4th. Please, let your voices be heard. For more information, visit Focus on the Family Action's Web site.

Regardless of your political views, I want to urge Christians everywhere to be in prayer about this election. There are many scriptural references wherein King David "inquired of God" when he was faced by troubling circumstances (1 Samuel 23:2,4; 30:8; 2 Samuel 2:1; 5:19,23). It is time for Christians everywhere to turn to Him for guidance and wisdom. Find some time to be still and listen to what He wants to tell you. The National Day of Prayer Task Force, led by my wonderful wife, Shirley, has embarked on a national campaign entitled "Pray for Election Day." All around the country, individuals and groups are being encouraged to gather every Thursday leading up to November 4th between 12-noon and 12:30 p.m. Spend time with the Lord, asking Him to guide and direct those privileged to cast a ballot. If you are able, I would also encourage you to fast and pray immediately before the election. After all, it was the Reverend Billy Graham who once said that "To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees."20 Amen, Dr. Graham.

This election is about the future of the nation, but it will also go a long way toward determining the culture your children and grandchildren will come to know. I know you will vote with your children and your children's children in mind. That certainly puts the election in a different light, doesn't it?

You know my heart on these issues, and I hope you understand that I am less concerned with politicians and political parties than I am with the timeless biblical principles that those parties have the power to either strengthen or damage. No candidate is perfect, whether in this election or any other. Please don't make your decisions lightly. There is simply too much at stake. May God grant each of us wisdom as November 4th approaches.


James C. Dobson, Ph.D.

Founder and Chairman

P.S. Since I began researching and writing this letter, the economic meltdown on Wall Street and congressional reaction to it has occurred. These are, indeed, difficult times for American families and businesses. Thank you for continuing to support this ministry, even though in many cases it has required sacrificial giving. You are helping to keep us afloat during this financial crisis, and we appreciate your contribution and prayers more than I can tell you.

Endnotes1 Louis Uchitelle, "2 Mavericks in Economics Awarded Nobel Prize," The New York Times, Oct. 12, 2004, (Sept. 29, 2008). Also: Alfred L. Malabre, Lost Prophets: An Insider's History of the Modern Economists (1994), p. 220. (Responding to criticism when changing monetary policy in the midst of the Great Depression.)2 Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum, CNN Transcript, Aug. 16, 2008. (Sept. 29, 2008). 3 Republican National Committee, 2008 Republican Platform, (Sept. 28, 2008). 4 "National Journal's 2007 Vote Ratings," National Journal Group Inc., 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008).5 bornalivetruth.org/obamarecord.aspx (September 2008).6 frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2002_record&page=S7084&position=all (Sept. 29, 2008).7 bornalivetruth.org/obamarecord.aspx (Sept. 30, 2008).8 "Obama Blocked Born Alive Infant Protection Act," Illinois Federation For Right to Life Daily News online, April 3, 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008).9 Rick Santorum, "The Elephant in the Room: Why conservatives should support McCain," The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 21, 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008).10 youtube.com/watch?v=uUl99id2SvM (Sept. 29, 2008).11 aul.org/FOCA (Sept. 29, 2008).12 "Ballot Bowl 2008: More Campaign Happenings," CNN Transcripts, March 29, 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008).13 Patricia E. Bauer, "What's Lost in Prenatal Testing: Why Encourage Testing for Down Syndrome," Jan. 14, 2007, Washington Post. 14 "Days in Session Calendars," Thomas, The Library of Congress, (Sept. 29, 2008).15 National Journal online, 2008, Ibid.16 Paul Kane, "Hill Negotiators Drop Hate-Crime Provision," Washington Post, Dec. 7, 2007, (Sept. 29, 2008). 17 Byron York, "On Sex-Ed Ad, McCain Is Right," National Review Online, Sept. 16, 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008). 18 "Obama on Sex Ed in Kindergarten: 'It's the Right Thing to Do,'" Free Republic online, Sept. 10, 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008).19 Michael Foust, "Obama: If elected I will use the bully pulpit for gay causes," Baptist Press, Feb. 28, 2008, (Sept. 29, 2008).20 Chuck Spinner, A Book of Prayers: To the Heavens from the Stars, (AuthorHouse: 2008), p. 225 (Sept. 29, 2008).
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first ever blog post

So I have set up a blog.

The purpose of this blog is to share my ideas about the things that I do, because I think that what I do collectively is unique from what others are doing.

I don't know how many people out there is a wife, mother, farmer, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, home-canner, horse owner, goat owner, livestock guardian dog owner, seamstress, gardener, Christian, cloth diaperer, breastfeeding supporter, meat eater, coupon clipper, cook, baker, and so on....ALL at the same time. I think many many people do several of the above, but there don't seem to be too many people I know of that are doing EVERYTHING on that list.

Of course, there is no reason for everyone to do everything, but I do like to think that I know a little bit about a lot of things that could help others. And why else are we put on this earth, if not to help others in this life and direct them to Jesus for the next?

You can expect to see some interesting posts from me forthwith, perhaps a few tutorials, that hopefully you will find useful for you in your life.

It's a big part of mine!