Friday, January 23, 2015

CELEBRATING ART {with eric carle}

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I think it's also a really good teacher. 

To study Eric Carle's contributions to art, I had the girls copy the method he uses to illustrate the popular children's books we love.

First Mr. Carle creates unique art pages using multiple colors and movement.



Then, when the art pieces are dry, he cuts the designs from those art pieces and glues them onto a new piece of paper. 

The fact that he uses irregular shapes and imperfect lines made this a fun project for kids.  The pieces don't need to be perfect to create an uplifting piece of art. 


And it wasn't messy at all-  ha!

Blessings friends.


When I am feeling less ambitious, we also enjoy studying art by purchasing black line drawings, then seeking to match the artists colors as closely as we can to the original paintings.  I love this type of exercise because it helps us to experience the paintings and the color choices made by artists I love. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Winter "camp in" date:  S'mores Ingredients, Movie, Homemade Cookies for Pa, Air Mattress, sleeping bags and PJ's.

You've heard me talk about our camp ins for years, right? 

Camp ins are like a camp out, but without the outside (a personal plus in my book!). 

We love having them anytime, but we started to especially enjoy them while prepping for Christmas.  Unfortunately, with all the sickness, we missed doing it at Christmas this year, so we rescheduled for this weekend. 

The kids were so excited.  It means all sleeping together in one room Little House on the Prairie style, watching movies and eating s'mores.  Easy peasy on the parents and super fun for the kids.


Indoor s'mores cooker-- from the thrift store for under $5.



Everyone had so much fun, we decided to camp in two nights in a row!





Avoiding dirt since 2008-- Our first camp in.  :)


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

CHRISTMAS {not according to plan}


I'll be honest, things did not go according to plan this Christmas. 

Well, maybe I should rephrase that.  Things did not go according to my plan this Christmas.  

I had so many lovely pinned and planned Christmas ideas that simply remained undone as I was unproductive and in bed sick with a terrible cold.

Even as I started to get better, my energy was sapped and my brain was foggy.

Like I said-- not my plan at all.  But God.  How good to know that He is in control over all things and working all things together for our good.


One of the few crafts attempted just a night or two before Christmas.  Seasonal "Chalk boards" made from 69 cent black poster boards and a chalk pen.  Now hang in my laundry room.

As I listened in on big girls working with little girls on Christmas projects without me, I was thankful that they had the opportunities to manage things that needed doing.

And as I recovered slowly, I found that I spent more time in the Word as I had little gumption to move.  Maybe there was a blessing even in that simple fact? 


Covering a paint plate in Saran Wrap is always step 1 around here.  Makes for quick and easy clean up when the troops are done. 
James says to "count it all joy" when we fall into various trials.  Whatever those trials are.  And David puts skin on the reason why in Psalm 27. 

Little girls kept busy post Thanksgiving making homemade wrapping paper from Dollar Store rolls of brown mailing paper and cut sponges.
Because when all is stripped away that would otherwise preoccupy us in happy distraction, trials make us single minded for God.
After David unfolded his trials (evil men advancing against him and foes attacking), his focus had become this:
"One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek Him in His temple."
~ Psalm 27:4
One thing.  Single minded.  Fixed upon knowing the LORD now and in this life.
What is it to dwell in His house all the days of our life?  It is having that intimate knowing that only comes when we are living that closely with someone else.
Maybe our trials are not due to physical enemies-- usually our battles are not against flesh and blood.  Maybe our battle is spiritual, or with the flesh.
We all have them.    
But as much as I long to be single minded, I know that I also desire to avoid trial. 
"My heart says of You, 'Seek His face!'
Your face, LORD, I will seek"
~Psalm 27:8

My little napkin folder extraordinaire!
Our hearts tell us to seek His face, but trials seem to change our priorities.  "A little later" and "tomorrow" are not good enough when trials hit us.
Count it all joy.
Girls making food.  It all barely happened!

You have to love how David ends his Psalm.  Even in the throws of trouble, he knows he will see the goodness of the LORD, because he knows that he can trust God.

And he ends with an encouragement to us!

"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD."
~Psalm 27:14  
Our ten minute photo session.  Photo snapped, cards ordered and some of them even sent out- all at the very last minute. 
Twice in verse 14 David, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says, "wait" and it sounds to me like he is saying-- you have troubles?  Just you wait and see what God is about to do! 
Things are not going according to plan?
Your prospects seem bleak?
You are being attacked on every side?
Be strong and take heart!  Just you wait.  You are about to see what God will do on your behalf.


Life's not perfect.  And even our "perfect plans" are not perfect.  But GOD. 

I know He is working all things together for our good. 

Just you wait and see!



Thursday, December 4, 2014


There seem to be so many things to be thankful for this year. 

Health and family togetherness are certainly very high on the list this year.  These are things we can just not take for granted. 
We are especially thankful for friends and family who have come through potential harm, protected by God's kind mercy this year. 
And we are thankful for those dear ones (you included!) who have become even dearer with each new year spent together.

We had to give a fun "hat tip" to my mom's cute expression of happiness through my entire childhood. 
Mom, a figure skater for many years at the same rink as the famous Dorothy Hamill, would always strike one of these adorable poses (above) on the kitchen linoleum floor whenever there was good news to be declared. 
We knew it well and it has become the symbol of all things wonderful.  We are thankful and so... here is our pose to prove it!  

Lydia, Little Red, will turn 10 this month and she is a Jones through and through.   It seems just a few days ago she was my favorite Christmas gift, arriving just slightly early, on December 20.  She was a sweet Christmas baby, who has always been a sweet little girl. 
So many of you have prayed for her over the years.  To you, I say, "thank you."  My mother's heart is beyond blessed by so many who have been there with us.  I am happy to report that she is presently in very good health.  We praise God for that!   
Her excited hope this month?  In addition to Christmas, for all Jones girls, turning 10 means getting their ears pierced.  It's a pretty big deal and she can not wait!

And this one.  Tom says that when he looks at her he sees me.  The same coloring.  The same hair (at that age).  The same passion for what is good and right in the world.  The girl he met so many years ago. 
The other day she asked my husband if he would want to adopt a child who was smart mouthed, rebellious, unkind and unruly.  He said, no.  He would not really want to.
She said that she agreed.  Neither would she, and that is why she marvels at God's grace toward us.  Because we are exactly that rebellious child before a holy God. 
Amen and amen, Michaela.  You remind us of truth every day.  We are so thankful for you.

Would you believe that it was only one day after Thanksgiving when we realized we had even more to be thankful for?
It was then that we heard the horrific news that my dear dad, Ray, was being taken by ambulance to the hospital after being attacked by two pit bulls.
It was while he and my mom were on their regular walk with their little terrier pup that either one or both pit pulls in a local yard punched through their fence and were trying to attack them. 
The dogs literally pressed an entire fence board out from it's nails and were viciously lunging at them.
My dad held up the fence board they had dislodged back into its place as a shield while the attacking dogs bit into his hands and left blood dripping at the fence line.  
At his command, my mom ran to get the owners of the dogs to call them off as he held them from escaping and attacking them. 
He was a true hero and without his bravery, I do not even want to think what would have happened to my dear mom alone with those pit pulls. 
God was so very merciful again to our family.  We honor my dad, Ray, as a true hero and God as the sovereign giver of grace and mercy. 
We are so thankful for their safety.

And when we think of safety and kindness, it is God's Word that also comes to mind.   
Hebrews 4:12 declares that: 
"...the word of God is alive and active.

As I read Psalm 19 this week, I was reminded of so many ways that God's Word is alive and active.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord pure,
enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean;
enduring forever. 

And by His Word,
"Your servant is warned
And in keeping them there is great reward." 

May His Word be alive and active in our hearts.
Happy Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


I know this speaks very poorly of my dusting skills, but this little "I love Mama and Pa" note in the dust blessed my heart this week. 
It's the little things...



Tuesday, October 28, 2014




Recently I was sent a copy of a post by a professing Christian mom who was encouraging parents to teach their children what she called "salty" language. 

As I continued to read, I quickly realized that by "salty" language this author meant that we should teach our children to swear (use curse words) in order to better express their feelings to a listening world.  That if a topic is serious, then it requires serious words-- including the cuss words most Christians generally view as off limits.

Is this modern call to create a cussing Christian really "salty" language or would it be better characterized as "salt that has lost it's flavor" language?


Some might argue that it is meaningless to worry about words.  I mean, why are some words "bad" and others "good."  Isn't it all just cultural anyway? 

We see movies and TV shows that model cursing as a "norm" and call the language "adult" rather than defiled.  And maybe in that is the heart of the problem.  If our minds are not continually renewed by the Word of God, it can be easy to be swept away by the world's way of thinking and talking. 

If we consider the swear words in our culture, it is easy to see that many of the words either coarsely describe areas of the body meant to be covered; the elimination of waste or sexuality.  Even if we don't take God's name in vain, do we gain the impression from Scripture that Believers should really be coarsely talking about such things?

"What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them,
but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them...
Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes
into the stomach and then out of the body? 
But the things that come out of a person’s mouth
come from the heart, and these defile them." 
~Matthew 15:11, 17-18

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice,
blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the
old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man,
which is renewed in knowledge after the image
of him that created him.
~Colossians 3:8-10


1.  Take your lead from the Word.  Either because of poor example, or the desire to prove that we are cool with Jesus but not legalistic, more and more professing Christians seem to be confused about this issue.  Maybe it would help us to remember that Moses was not commanded to curse in order for Pharaoh to hear the seriousness of God's demands, nor did Christ curse in order to prove the seriousness of His message.  If God's ambassadors, in more trying times than ours, have not taken up coarse talk in order to make themselves heard, I feel confident it is not necessary in our time. 

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,
who put darkness for light and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" 
~Isaiah 5:20

"Set an example for the believers in speech,
in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
~1 Timothy 4:12


2.  Sound teaching will always produce godliness in our lives.  While some modern teachers have embraced cussing let godliness, rather than edginess, be the test of sound teaching.  If a teaching does not produce godliness, but instead derails us into vain speculations and time consuming distraction, it is probably not sound.  Love is the goal of sound teaching, not powerful words.
"Command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer...
Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing
God’s work—which is by faith.  The goal of this command is love,
which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."
~1 Timothy 1:3-4 

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always
be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect."
~1 Peter 3:15

3.  Our speech reflects what is in the heart and is for the purpose of building up the church. 

"A good man brings good things out of the good
stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil
things out of the evil stored up in him."
~Matthew 12:25
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up
according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."
~Ephesians 4:29

Yes, we should teach our children salty language, but salty according to Scripture.  And we should stand against those who would sneak in and seek to change the definitions of scriptural words and imagery to paint a picture that is not true to the context of the whole of Scripture. 

We have been bought with a price.  May we teach our little ones to honor Christ with their bodies in every way.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least
commandments, and shall teach men so,
he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:
but whosoever shall do and teach them,
the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
~Matthew 5:19

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness,
how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything,
except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."
~Matthew 5:13

Blessings friends,