Living Loving Learning

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Got Milk?

In Gardening on Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 11:54 pm

 Gardening season is right around the corner, and I’m going to try to post gardening tips each Friday for a while.


This week I want to show you how I start a lot of my plants.  It’s an easy process and I’ve grown many nice plants from seed…even hostas!  At the price of plants from the nursery, this is a real money saver. 

Save your milk cartons.  Using a heavy-duty pair of scissors, make a cut about 4 inches from the bottom starting by the handle, and cutting horizontally around to the other side of the carton, leaving the handle as a “hinge”.  Next, make 6 or so drainage cuts in the bottom (be careful and don’t stab yourself!)  Label the bottom of your carton with a permanent marker naming the seed you plan to plant. blog-034blog-036



Fill the bottom of the carton with a good quality potting soil, almost to the top.  Now water it well, making sure all the soil is drenched. 

Take your seed and sprinkle or place over the top of the soil.  Press tiny seeds into the surface of the damp soil, and cover larger seeds with a light covering of the soil.

Push the top down, putting the top into the bottom of the carton in order to keep the “lid” shut.  Leave the cap off the carton. You’ve just made a mini-greenhouse.


Keep it outside in a sunny location, even in the extreme cold!  Check occasionally for watering, especially on warm winter days.  Keep soil moist. 

Depending on the weather conditions, you can expect to see green sprouts as soon as a week and as long as several weeks.  As soon as you see sprouts, make sure you keep your baby plants watered.  A good way is with a spray bottle.  Don’t allow your soil to dry out.  Keep the carton open to the sun during the day, closing it for night. 

As soon as you see the first or second set of true leaves, you can transplant your baby plants to their new location in your garden, or you can wait until they’re a little larger if the weather hasn’t warmed quite enough. 

Try growing tomatoes and peppers for vegetables, and try sweet William (dianthus), snapdragons, gaillardia or rudbeckia for flowers. 

 Have you ever started your own plants from seed?  Have any other questions? 





An Amazing Opportunity!

In Uncategorized on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I am just so blown away by this amazing opportunity that I had to share it! I was just invited to dance in a professional Christian dance company! We’ll get to do all kinds of dance/missions such as in Time’s Square, Israel, and many other places around the world. What a great chance to use my talent to reach the homeless, lost, orphaned, hungry, etc! I mean, this is such a God thing right? It’s only one day a week commitment for now, it’s my passion and what I have trained for most of my life.
Well, guess what? This amazing opportunity that God has led other people to do, isn’t a God thing for me right now, and I’m not going to do it, nor did I consider it very long. You see, God gave me a very clear calling, and no matter how great this opportunity seems, it doesn’t fit under the purpose of my life right now.
One day a thought hit me like a brick in the head. You know when you’re reading those verses like, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:19) Well my “nations” at this time in my life are right under my own roof! Now anytime I read about the lost and hear pastors preaching about going out to the world I first think what that means in my own household, and most of the time I feel God urging me to keep doing my mission work right at home.
I do care deeply and am able to do some things that still fall under my purpose as far as giving and serving in my community, and the day will come when I can do even more and include my little guys in the process. I’m really thankful for those individuals and families that have the calling to go into the world, because the homeless, orphaned, and hungry people really do need great Christian people serving them.
For now though, I’m fully devoted to just being a wife and mom, and all those so called “amazing opportunities” can just keep passing me by. I’ve got amazing opportunities happening each day as I serve my husband and train my kids!
What “amazing opportunities” have you passed up to fulfill a seemingly lesser calling?





Attitudes: Exit the Comfort Zone

In Uncategorized on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Last week, I asked a question about openness, which led to a second question:What are you going to do about being put here on this earth? If you agree with me about being open to learning righteousness then what will it take to accomplish what God wants of your life?  Openness is an attitude that we have to have every single day. I didn’t say that you can’t have your own opinions and beliefs but to think we have already learned everything leads us to an unhealthy comfort.

The next attitude we need to develop is removing ourselves from our comfort zone. “But it is so comfortable there”, you say to yourself, “why would I want to do that?” It’s the only way you will experience where you haven’t gone before, and it will lead to personal growth. You know I’m right. This is not the first time you’ve heard this. Why is this so hard? It’s because it is sooo uncomfortable!

Going against the natural state of things is hard. Just like learning to transform ourselves from the nature we are born with. For example, the thought of physical exercise is the biggest hurdle in accomplishing our goal of being fit. And once we actually begin, it feels good.  It takes us actually beginning to exercise to get us out of the comfort of sitting on the couch or lying in bed extra long in the morning.  But I say we have help. And that help comes from God and His Spirit. Believe me, you can’t do it on your own.

What does this have to do with fathering or heritage? I contend that to answer the question at the top of this post we must overcome the fear and laziness that keeps us from fulfilling what we want for ourselves, our kids and our kid’s families, and on and on. Fear keeps us from being open to new thoughts and taking risks-getting out of our comfort zone–one thing that just might help us put this puzzle of life together.

Do you see the value of getting out of your comfort zone? What are you doing to remove yourself from that zone? Share with us; what other attitudes can help us overcome the hard issues of life?




Happy Birthday Mom, Robin, Mimi!

In Family on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 12:11 am

Wish her a happy birthday today!

Robin Meadows is special to so many people in so many ways. She is a wonderful wife, mother, mimi, friend, couselor and a devoted child of God. She is kind hearted but tells it like it is, she is spunky, silly and fun to be around, and she knows way more about this blogging thing than me! Her example of a christian woman overflows out of her heart and on to every person she comes in contact with. If you have met her, you know when I say that you do not come away untouched or unimpressed. She not only birthed 7 children–naturally, but she is mother to countless others in some capacity. She is one of the biggest tools God has used to make me the person I am today and I know all of my siblings would say the same.

Happy birthday Mom, Robin, Mimi! We’re happy you were born 😉

How has Robin influenced your life?
Tell her happy birthday!

Happy Birthday!

In Family on Monday, February 9, 2009 at 12:00 am


Her birthday is today.  25 years ago today, Ali Elizabeth was born in Oklahoma City.  Erin was six, Andrew was 3.  Ali was our first home birth.  And the very next day was MY birthday….what a present!  Really!! 



Today, Ali is a wife to a lucky Brad Ruhman, a mom of two beautiful daughters, Lily and Sadie, a wonderful hairdresser (for real!), a fabulous cook!   She is a loving, loyal friend and daughter.  She has the cutest giggle you’ll ever hear, and still delights us just like she did that morning she was born, February 9, 1984. 


Happy Birthday, Ali…All us ManyMeadows’  love you!


Do you have birthdays close together in your family?  How about February birthdays?

The Code of Conduct

In Lifestyle on Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Have you ever held a door open for a stranger in a public place who has said, “Chivalry is not dead!”  Or have you ever read about the chivalrous knights of the Middle Ages?  Have you ever wondered what makes a knight chivalrous, or what exactly the word even means?


Chivalry is derived from the French word cheval.  In the Middle Ages, chivalry was “the code of conduct for the nobility and the knights.”  This code stresses the good qualities of a person:  strength, courage, loyalty, courtesy, spirited bold or a well-mannered person. 


Not long ago chivalry was a concept largely ignored.  Men thought that a quality like courtesy simply wasn’t “manly” enough.  Though, in the 21st century, some people have realized that the world needs a code of conduct.  And people are realizing that anyone-men and women, teachers and coaches, students and soldiers, doctors and athletes-any one of us can be a knight in shining armor.  And every one of us should be.


So in today’s world, you can see that chivalry is, in fact, not dead.  Some people are still courteous, spirited and bold.  Many people are still very well mannered.  So next time you’re in public, hold a door open for someone, use the words please and thank you.  And more than that, help bring chivalry back into our modern, everyday life. 


Do you think chivalry is dead?




Sow Your Oats

In Lifestyle, Recipes on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 11:02 pm



Do you eat breakfast?  Shame on you if you don’t!  Don’t get me started on the benefits of starting your day off right!  If there were a pill that was super cheap, fought cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and cholesterol you’d probably jump right on it right?  Well, you don’t have to take a pill, you just have to eat oatmeal – and you could do this everyday for months and not even have to eat the same flavor!


Dad and Mom Meadows eat oatmeal E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y!  I love to give them a hard time about it (especially because they only eat it two different ways) but I’ve seen the benefits in their health when they started this daily regime.  Plus, I can’t say anything because I eat oatmeal for breakfast at least half the time.  Oatmeal can be pretty bland though and I get really bored if I don’t mix up the flavors.  Well, over the years I have tried many different ways to make this yummy-health-in-a-bowl and I thought I would share some of the ideas.


For your base, mix:

 ½ cup dried old-fashioned oats (not instant – not as healthy!  And no packaged pre-mixed oatmeal!)

1-cup milk (variations: soy milk, chocolate soy milk, water + 1/3 c. dry milk)


Flavor Variations:


mix ½ cup fruit of choice (frozen or fresh chopped apples, peaches, pears, bananas, pineapple, mango, applesauce, berries, canned pumpkin, whatever sounds good!)



1 t. appropriate spice (cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, ginger, all spice, almond or vanilla extract)



1 teaspoon,  more or less of Splenda or favorite sweetener (sometimes the fruit is sweet enough!)


Other Variations:

Add 1 T. peanut butter, small handful of favorite nuts; use sugar-free maple syrup or sugar-free coffee syrup in place of both seasoning and sweetener (the variations here are countless!)  For super healthy additions add 1 T. ground flax seed (like Dad and Mom) or 2 T. wheat germ.


Microwave for 5 minutes on half power (stirring once or twice to keep from spilling over).


You can even make baked oatmeal

Try any type of fruit in place of the pineapple


And if you love those easy packets (that are filled with tons of chemicals) you can make your own here


So make sure and get you some power food and start your day off right!



Do you eat breakfast?   What do you have?







Attitudes: Openness

In Uncategorized on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Being a good father takes change like it does to become a Christ-follower. We are born without righteousness and without what it takes to become a model to others. But through Christ we can be redeemed and set on a course to be one of His workmen. If you look at yourself in a mirror and ask, “What in the world am I doing here,” what would you answer?


Surely you weren’t put here just to indulge in the world’s treasures. That’s what an animal does. We have another dimension that can’t be filled with “things.” It has to be filled with a connection of purpose. I say connection because we are void without that connection to God our maker.


Have you ever known someone who lost connection with his or her father, mother or sibling? The hurt and pain inside of them not having that exchange of love and understanding is excruciating. This is how it is if we don’t find or we reject that God is calling us. It’s a void that we try to fill with all sorts of things. If and when we do hear God calling us we have to be open and accepting.


Openness is an attitude that we have to have to follow God and His calling. As a father (or a mother) I think openness is one of the hardest attitudes to have and keep but it is essential to having a healthy Godly life. We, as fathers  are models to others and a representation of God to our earthly kids. Openness helps us adapt to all the training in righteousness we need in order to be able to answer that next question, “what am I going to do about being here?”


Are you an open person…come on be honest….truly open to learning from different places and sources?  Are you still learning?


More to come on attitudes. Think about, “what you’re going to do about being here.”




Feeling Like a Bad Mom

In Uncategorized on Monday, February 2, 2009 at 9:12 pm

You know those days when everything you’ve worked so hard to teach your children just seems to fall apart?  All the things you’ve preached and lived and breathed into them.  And now it suddenly seems like they never heard a word you said.  Their choices or responses aren’t matching up to the efforts you’ve poured into helping them understand.  The importance of things like responsibility, obedience, honor.


Well, it happened to me again recently.  And it didn’t make me feel so happy.  In fact, I felt like a really bad mom….once again.


So, this time I took a moment to reflect on how I was going to handle it. I had to consciously choose to:


  • Recognize that my children’s choices weren’t necessarily against me personally. 
  • Try not to transfer my negative feelings onto everything else bothering me in my life and blow it out of proportion.
  • Recognize the lies of the enemy desiring to bring discord and destruction into my heart and mind.
  • Recognize that this is a time when I start comparing myself to others
  • Take all thoughts captive to the Truth


Realizing the truth and not believing the lies didn’t change my heart immediately.  I still had feelings of being a failure.  But they were short-lived and I was able to quickly move on with my day, choosing instead to believe that progress can indeed come, even with my failings.


A different perspective gave birth to better thoughts, a better mind-set.


Do you struggle with thinking you’re a failure?  Do you have trouble separating the lies from the Truth?





Continuing Heritage

In Heritage on Sunday, February 1, 2009 at 9:22 pm

As the soon-to-be newest member of the Many Meadows, I’ve been blessed to witness not only how heritage has affected the family thus far, but also how they continue to build it every day.

I see it in the way Robin and Dirk never say hello or goodbye with out a word of encouragement and Christ-centered love. I see it in the way Andrew makes his relationship with God a priority, gently teaches me to let things go, and calmly but firmly disciplines his girls. I see it in the way Erin uses real-life situations as teaching moments for her boys. I see it in the way Ali spends quality time with her daughters. I see it in the way Katie follows her husband’s lead while still voicing her opinions. I see it in the way Anna breathes Christ-filled words of love and encouragement into all those she encounters. I see it in the way Kody and Jacob pursue their passions for music, all the while completing their daily schoolwork and helping Dirk with his business.

To me, heritage is a firm sense of “This is who we are and this is why.” But like many other wonderful things, heritage is not something you build once and then forget about. It’s a process, an ever-evolving state of being based on core values that never change.

The trick is that you have to be intentional about making sure your family’s heritage is always growing. Recently, Dirk read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, and humbly admitted he still has room to learn. (After all, life is school, right?!) Rather than gathering all this financial knowledge for himself, he wants to teach us and learn with us so we can all build a better, brighter future for ourselves as well as generations of Meadows to come. Last Thursday was our first get-together to discuss aspects of the book, and although Dirk facilitated the discussion, there was never a sense of “I know all the answers, so your opinion doesn’t matter.” And THAT is true leadership: humility, a willingness to listen to others, respecting various ideas and so on.

In getting to know this amazing family better and better, I’m realizing it’s never too late to start building a heritage. And if you have already started, it’s wise to keep building on it!

Upon which core values are you building your heritage? What are some areas in which you could intentionally improve your heritage?