Living Loving Learning

Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

In with the New

In Uncategorized on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 8:43 am

As you have noticed, the ManyMeadows are taking a blogging break.


Come back next week, January 5, 2009 for more thoughts, ideas and encouragement.  You can expect some things on heritage, finances, Abbi and Andrew’s upcoming wedding, Alexander and Katie’s recent travels and schooling, Ali’s recipes, Erin’s educational  exploits and more Dear Robin and What Do You Think? 


In the meantime, check out:

a great fictional story packed with a great message

a new blogger

the encouragment to have a healthier 2009

a few pics of Switzerland,  Paris, Prague and Slovakia where Alexander and Katie are currently travelling

Thanks to all of you for stopping by and especially for leaving your encouraging comments.  Looking foward to another year of the blogging community!


Have any questions you’d like to ask any of us?  Ask away!

Home (?) for the Holidays

In Uncategorized on Monday, December 22, 2008 at 8:07 am
The feelings of unrest have already started.  There are thoughts of dread, a lack of peace and you’re already anticipating the worst.  Is there no other alternative? 

No.  It’s happening again this year. 

You are going home for the holidays.

Once again you’ll be around those who are supposed to be your support system, but instead they tear you down.  The air will be thick with years of no forgiveness.  Strikes of unkind words will be sent your way. The lies begin:  “I am unloved, my family doesn’t ‘get me’, why is this my family?”

And you’ve been on my heart this week.

How can it be different this year? 

Begin to


Don’t underestimate the power your prayers have for change…in you, in your family.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Matt. 7:8

Know that the power of the Holy Spirit will be with you

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Eph. 3:20-21

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. II Pet. 1:3


Wear love and forgiveness

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Col. 3:12-14

Know this.  Your circumstances may never change, but your heart can.

Go with a smile in your heart.  We’ll be praying for you.


Spiced Wine and Europe!

In Recipes on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 7:48 am

Hot Spiced Wine Recipe 3058071647_a428c400cf

Okay, so I don’t really have a “recipe” for this drink but here is what I am using

Apple cider
Red wine
Cinnamon sticks
Apples (granny smith)

I’ve looked up a few recipes to see what proportions to use but I don’t
like measuring things so by eye I will add half to two thirds cider and
half to one third red wine to a crockpot, I will probably heat about
two cups of the cider on the stove to dissolve the sugar in before
adding it to the mix, about 1 1/2 cups of sugar. One or two sliced apples in
the crockpot add a nice flavor and are tasty to chew on when it soaks up
all the juice! Cinnamon sticks and cloves to taste. I have seen some
recipes use brandy in it as well, so we will see what we have around
when I am making it.  🙂

Can’t wait!







Alexander and Katie’s Christmas Trip Itinerary:
December 25:  Fly out of Will Rogers Airport in OKC late afternoon.
December 26:  Arrive in Frankfurt, Germany in the evening.  Take the train from the Frankfurt Airport to Zurich. Meet up with a friend in Zurich.  My (Alexander) cousin and her family live in Winkel, which is a suburb of Zurich.  We will be taking advantage of their hospitality during our stay in Switzerland.
December 27 – January 3: Hang out with family and explore Switzerland.  Possibly catch a train to Paris for the New Year’s Eve/New Year’s celebration.
January 3:  Take the train or bus to Austria.
January 4:  Take in an early morning mass in the Hapsburg Palace with the Vienna Boys Choir and then meet up with more friends in the afternoon.
January 4-7:  Explore Austria.
January 7:  Leave for Bratislava, Slovakia.  Spend the day exploring Bratislava.
January 8:  Travel to Prague, in the Czech Republic.  
January 8-10: Explore Prague.
January 10-11:  Travel back to Frankfurt and fly home from the Frankfurt airport.
January 11: Arrive back in OKC late in the evening.
Some of this is tentative.  Most of our plans for time spent exploring is pretty open ended. 🙂

The Best Gift – Yourself

In Uncategorized on Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 12:04 am

I know, O LORD, that a man’s life is not his own;
       it is not for man to direct his steps.  Jer. 10:23 




I said: Let me walk in the field

God said: No, walk in the town,

I said: There are no flowers there

He said: No flowers, but a crown.


I said: But the sky is black,

There is nothing but noise and din.

But He wept as He sent me back,

“There is more,” He said, “there is sin.”


I said:  But the air is thick.

And fogs are veiling the sun.

He answered:  Yet souls are sick,

And souls in the dark undone.


I said:  I shall miss the light,

And friends will miss me, they say;

He answered me, “Choose tonight,

If I am to miss you or they.”


I pleaded for time to be given;

He said: Is it hard to decide?

It will not seem hard in Heaven

To have followed the steps of your Guide.


I cast one look at the fields,

Then set my face to the town;

He said: My child, do you yield?

Will you leave the flowers for the crown?


Then into His hand went mine,

And into my heart came He;

And I walk in a light Divine,

The path I had feared to see.

-George MacDonald

It’s a choice.





The Best Gift – Kindness

In Uncategorized on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm


There is a story of an old man who carried a small can of oil with him everywhere he went.  If he passed through a squeaky door, he would pour a little oil on the old hinge.  And if he found a gate hard to open, he’d oil the latch, making it easier for those who came after him.


Many people we encounter each day are like those latches and gates.   They may be cranky, and difficult to deal with, hardened from life’s circumstances.


They need the oil of mercy, kindness, gentleness and patience. 2401162307_ea7e1d63a4


While you stand in long lines and deal with tired cashiers, or maybe head home to spend the holidays with your unsaved family, what will be in your oil can?


Our lives may only touch others but once. Will you make their way easier?


During this hectic holiday season, may our countenance and our heart reflect the One who came to give us Life. 


Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Col. 3:12





The Best Gift – Your Time

In Uncategorized on Monday, December 15, 2008 at 9:26 pm

november-108A deeper appreciation of my time came during all my crafting for Christmas this month. I can’t say that I’m all that talented, but I really do enjoy planning and fashioning things for the people in my life. Tote bags are kind of my theme for the year and while I’ve had a great time of it after making my 17th tote bag in the last month or so, I am getting a bit weary! Sitting there monotonously sewing on those bags led me to reflecting on my true intentions for wanting to make the gifts that I give.


These days when time is money it is much more of a sacrifice to take that extra time to plan and create instead of just grabbing things off the shelf. As a young girl and then young wife I did handmade gifts more for financial reasons. Now when I could more afford to go buy people presents I found the desire to craft a gift went much deeper than just the money. This was a time to creatively labor with my own hands to produce something that is accomplished through personal frustration and triumph. Something that has the special touch of a person who knows that one that they are creating for. Whether it means as much to the person on my list or not, it has deep significance for me.


This also led me to think about the gift of my time all throughout the year. Sure I spend lots of time cleaning, cooking and toiling for my family, but true sacrificial time with those that mean the most to me – Do I offer this gift enough? Many of us well-intentioned parents can probably say that yes they do spend time with their kids, but is it doing what you want to do or busy in school-learning-type time, or is it actually letting lose and doing just what that person wants to do?

Thankfully I can say that through a journey God took me through in my life a year ago, I now have learned to drop things and watch that football game with my husband or play “policeman” with my kids. Is it hard sometimes? Definitely! But this is what will matter someday. Let this season be a time to truly reflect on the best gift you can give year round. YOU . . . In the most sacrificial way you can give yourself . . . Your time.






Note:  That is my Great-grandmother’s sewing machine.  I think she’d like it that I’m using it. 🙂

The Best Gift – Your Words

In Uncategorized on Sunday, December 14, 2008 at 9:10 pm

The Best Gift—Your Words


It has no monetary value, but it will cost you everything.  It may cause you rejection, feelings of discomfort, or even embarrassment.  In fact, it may be the most challenging gift you’ve ever given.  And you may wonder why it’s such an important gift.


But it is….and it’s something that you’ll never regret giving.




This year, tell your children that you love them and that you are proud of them.  And then keep telling them.


This is absolutely the best gift you can ever give your children!  And the older they are, and if you’ve never offered it, ….the more they need to hear it from your lips.


Have any of these excuses? :

“I said it all the time when they were young.”

“Well, they already know that!  After all, I show it to them every day by providing for them.”

“It’s too late now….too many years have passed to say it now.”

“They’re just words.”

“If I tell them I’m proud of them, they may quit being challenged to do better”.


Your children may know you love them and are proud of them, it’s never too late (until it is), and they may “just be words”.  But combined with your loving actions, these are the most powerful words you’ll ever say to your children. 


Take the challenge. Say the words. It will change your kids.  It will change YOU!


Is it easy or difficult for you to say those most important words? 


We’ll revisit this topic at a later date and talk about why these words are so important and the effects their presence or absence may have in our own lives and the lives of our children.





Check it Out!

In Uncategorized on Friday, December 12, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Head on over to my friend, Kim’s blog for a great give-away!  Leave her a comment for a chance to win a GREAT handmade apron.  Oh, and these aren’t just any old grannie apron.  No sir-ee!  These are aprons for hot moms! You gotta see them! If you’re a guy, win it for your hot wife!  Oh, and do it before Monday….that’s the drawing day.


Next week on ManyMeadows will be a series of blogs, “The Best Gift”.  Some good thoughts coming.  Hope to see you back here Monday!




Fun Cooking with Kids

In Moms, Recipes on Thursday, December 11, 2008 at 8:43 pm

One thing we like to include in our activity time is cooking.  My kitchen is a place I spend a lot of my time so I enjoy including my kids in the process.  It’s been real fun finding food things they can make that go along with what we are learning in their schooling.  We have some all time favorites that I wanted to share.

Who didn’t love “ants on a log” growing up (or was that just a homeschool thing)?  We like extra long “logs” with lots of “ants”.


Pretzels and mini marshmallows make great math manipulatives for counting, addition, subtraction, etc.  or for forming shapes and objects.  Cheerios, raisins, and M & M’s work good for some of this too.


Make-your-own pizzas provide lots of creating fun!  After decorating we top with cheese.  When it melts you can still see the cute faces underneath.










Cutting and piecing together corn tortillas and then baking them make a great addition to whatever unit studies you are doing.  They are a great healthy snack too!  Check out our bats we made when we were studying about bats right before Halloween.


Another favorite is shaping or cutting out sugar cookie shapes and decorating them with icing.  I make a batch of icing and put in separate little dishes and add food coloring to make different colors.  They use paint brushes to decorate.  We will be doing these for Christmas cookies next week.

What kind of things do you like to make with your kids in the kitchen?   



Thoughts on Mary

In Uncategorized on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 10:00 am

Originally written 12/18/07mary1 at

I’ve been thinking about Mary, mother of Jesus this week.

Can you imagine the thoughts and feelings she must have experienced finding out that she was going to carry the long awaited Messiah? I’m sure she experienced fear and uncertainty along with morning sickness and all the accompanying child-bearing issues.

But that’s not what I’ve been thinking most about. I’ve been thinking about why she was chosen, why she was found worthy.

You see, we know she was very young, so she had not yet been tested in long-term relationships, or maybe even much temptation. In her short life, she probably hadn’t been through enough to show how she would handle adversity. She didn’t excel at the levels we may consider a “mature”, godly person to have. We sure wouldn’t have chosen her.

But God did. And I think he chose her especially for one reason.

She was willing. Willing to follow the calling on her life. Willing to obey. Willing to do whatever her Father asked of her. She was a servant. She knew the voice of her Master.

Are we willing? Do we recognize His voice enough to be able to listen? And are we even listening?

Oh, may our hearts be willing and may our spiritual ears be open to the gentle voice of our Master! That’s really all he asks of us.