This morning at the gym, I parked my gravel-dusty 2000 Mercury Mystique in between a sparkly newer model BMW and a shiny new Lexus. I noticed, but that was the extent of it.

I am so thankful that the total cost of all of our vehicles, including the ’98 camper–which is pure luxury to us– is less than that Lexus. I am so thankful that we put our emphasis on what is in our hearts, not what is under our bums when we are driving down the road. I am so thankful that we focus on seeing each other, not through a pricey windshield. I am so thankful we concentrate on reusing, remaking, saving, making do, instead of making a car payment.
I am so thankful for this husband of mine who is completely beside me in these lifestyle choices, which can be counter cultural. I am so thankful for this family of mine God has allowed for me to teach our priorities to.
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More on Amish Values…

There is a lot about the Amish lifestyle that is appealing to me, chiefly among the reasons are the sense of community and self-sufficiency I feel like is inherent to their way of life. When I read the Amish diaries in Country magazine or a newspaper column in my old hometown weekly publication, I always feel a little wistful about how their lives are different from mine. I enjoyed the book Amish Values for Your Family. I received a book to review and one to give to a reader from the publishers, and am excited to send it your way. The book is divided into four sections. Each chapter starts with an Amish proverb which in and of themselves are worth noting and posting round your home. The chapter consists of a little short story of an Amish family, sometimes combined with information of the world we live in, statistics and such. The main anecdote is followed by “Road Map: Getting there from here”, which is made of tangible ideas you can apply right now to make your life look a little different, a little simpler, a little more Amish, if you will. The chapter ends with a a section called “In their own words…” which are amusing peeks into the Amish life.The four sections are:1. Children are Loved but not Adored 2. Great Expectations 3. Daily Bread

4. Letting Go
The section that probably meant the most to me was the first. I found several nuggets I could apply to my daily life, that I should apply to my life. These Amish women and men put me to shame in their application of God’s word to their lives. The chapter aptly named “The Mud Hole” was startling in the reaction of the mom when her covered-with-mud boys interrupted her baby’s nap (again).

One of my goals in life is to be able to react “wordlessly” when my day doesn’t go as planned because of the precious little blessings I ought to be putting first in my day. A quote from the “Road Map” is “it’s quite possible that you are trying too hard to accomplish one thing and altogether missing the more important thing. The good is often the enemy of the best.” The author suggests to dig for the humorous part of the situation.

In another chapter, she suggests having a “to-be” list instead of a to-do list. I plan to implement this as well. Write down the big overarching goals in your family. For example one of mine is “To live close to God, my family and the earth.” Keep this in mind as you approach the minutia that invariably comes up in your day.

There are so many tidbits one could apply to one’s life. I would recommend reading this book bit by bit and let the ideas swim around for a while. If you try to read it all at once, you could end up with an inferiority complex (ahem, like I did). I don’t purchase books very often, but I would buy this one.

If you’d like to see how to apply Amish values to your family, and own a copy of this book too, you can enter my giveaway by leaving a comment. Tell me what you want your family legacy to look like, what you see as truly important, your overarching goals in family raising.
Press release as follows:

Suzanne Woods Fisher is thrilled to announce the release of Amish Values for Your Family, her latest non-fiction release. “It offers loving ways to bring your fractured home back to life-Amish style. Read it and apply generously! It’s a beautiful book-funny, charming, soulful, and beautiful.” -Mary Ann Kirkby Read the reviews here. To celebrate the release of Amish Values for Your Family, Suzanne has teamed up her publisher Revell Books to giveaway a Kindle, and with Bill Coleman (the amazing photographer used on Suzanne’s book covers) to give away a signed Bill Coleman original.

One Grand Prize winner will receive an Amish Values Prize Package (valued at over $200) and includes: * A brand new KINDLE * A Signed Bill Coleman original * Amish Values for Your Family (for KINDLE)

Click on one of the icons to enter. Winner will be announced on 9/2 at Suzanne’s blog. Be sure to stop by the blogs on Suzanne’s blog tour – many have copies of Amish Values for Your Family to give away. But, wait there’s more! Suzanne is running a Bill Coleman caption contest during the month of August on her blog. Title one of Bill’s gorgeous photos for a chance to win a print from Bill’s Amish Photo site and/or a copy of Amish Values for Your Family.

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A Volcano Party

Me and my boy…

Everyone getting their hands wet in preparation to make…

clay volcanoes

Aviana and her bestie by the volcano target for a “throw the lava bomb” game…

volcano sand art

The classic baking soda vinegar experiment with a secret ingredient
(of a dab of dish soap with red food coloring)

Coke and Mentos geyers

and cake.

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Three down… one to go…

This little guy turned three.

He chose to go to the family “zoo-eem” (museum) for his family date, and have a green cake.

He got his wish.

The next day, this sweet girl turned seven. She wanted a bow and arrow and a fashion doll with a dozen outfits.

She wanted to go to an aquatic center for her family date, and a chocolate jelly roll cake with coffee ice cream. Her wish came true.

Three weeks later, this little darlin’ turned five.

She wanted to go to Incredible Pizza and have a cake like the one in Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank you Book.

We aim to please (even if the cake was a little melted)

When this sweet baby turns one next week, we think he will be happy if we sit on the floor all day and play with him and let him crawl all over us.

And we’re pretty sure he’ll be satisfied with breast milk for dessert.

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Currently Reading…

Why yes, I am an eclectic reader…

Cruel and Usual Punishment–written by a Muslim woman from Egypt, she tells the truth of what Islam is trying to accomplish through immigration and high birth rates. She tells the truth of what Islam really is–and it ISN’T a “religion of peace”. Islam is not only a religion — It is also a political and legal system. She tells the truth of how Muslim women are forced to live, what their law really allows to happen to them, how the law dehumanize women and girls, even baby girls, and what the Muslim agenda truly is. She tells this truth in spite of the fact that Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed.
I, for one, am grateful that she risks her life to publicly speak out, so we in the West can know the truth and act on it. You need to know too.
Amish Values for Your Family–I was sent a copy of this to review and one to give away–watch for the review and giveaway in a week! In the meantime, check out the author’s website for an even BIGGER giveaway, and an overview of the book.
From Dead to Worse–the eighth Sookie Stackhouse vampire novel–I would call these ‘beach reads’. Light, fluffy, adventure, romance, quippy, and of course, supernatural beings; what’s not to love? This series is definitely PG-13, but a lot of fun.
Bringing Up Girls–I thought I would give this Dr. Dobson book a go in spite of the underwhelming reviews on Amazon. So far, I agree with everything he has to say about how so many girls grow up not feeling lovely and how important dads are in their lives. So far, I agree with the problems girls are facing growing up in the 2010s one of which is how our culture over-sexualizes women, teens, and the newly invented “tween”. (I mean, have you seen the short shorts they are selling for 10 year olds!? Cover up your babies, ladies!) So far, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a lot of new information for me, but I think I’ll enjoy it.
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Square Foot Gardening (SFG)

The pumpkin on the left is taking over that whole side of the garden. The tomatoes are as tall as I am in some cases and have fruit. They just need to turn red.

Here you can see (from left to right) lots and lots of tomato plants, corn from when Brielle planted some corn seeds in a paper cup, a sunflower, potatoes and that pumpkin.

A purple pepper. It tasted great–not like a red pepper, nor like a green pepper. I guess you’ll have to pick a purple pepper for yourself.

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This little baby…

is closing in on one.

Aug 09 Denton

I love Denton as a baby. He’s soon to be a toddler. Soon to be running off in the other direction and cackling while doing so. Right now he’s a baby, and I love it. He’s no longer that tiny heavy yet light bundle that depends on me for everything, who nurses himself into oblivion and sleeps for an hour or so.
Now he nurses for a minute and then he’s off to the next thing. He crawls and climbs and scoots and holds on the couch or wall or semi-stationary sibling to aid his cruising.
He says “uh-ohhhh” and “mmmmama!” and “da!” and “vvvvvvvv” whilst crawling along pushing a car. He signs “eat” and waves bye-bye.
He loves his brother and sisters and the dogs and kitties. He loves to feed you and be right in the middle of everything. He loves to sleep in between Mama and Dada and often sideways. He loves to be toted around with nearly any willing party. He loves grown up buttons like the remote or the printer. He loves to splash in the bath.

He does NOT like to be picked up against his will, or being made to lie still for a diaper change. He is also not a fan of smushy baby food meat or being sat upon.
To make him laugh, put him on your head, belly on the top of your head. Or kiss him under his chin, in that fat little soft spot that barely qualifies as a neck. Or let him feed you. Giggles galore guaranteed.

Thank you God for this precious blessing. Our fourth farm fresh baby–our delight.

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We’re all still here…

This was after Aviana and Kevin’s baptisms at the beginning of July…

In between then and now we’ve had four birthdays, a trip to MO (the girls) and MN (Kevin, Denton and me), assorted visits to and from friends, much ado, some tears, many smiles, tons of giggles and nuzzles, a bit of tiredness, volunteer work, and not a lot of inclination to blog.
I’ll be back soon–I miss you too!
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