Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Aid Update

It's hard for me to even comprehend that many of you are able to blog about normal life. It's hard to conceive that everyone in America is not affected by Hurricane Katrina. This disaster feels so large to us, that we assume everyone is talking about it, blogging about it, thinking about it. I think we kind of hope someone would notice.

Do you all know that the mayor of New Orleans now thinks that there may be thousands dead? This is our tsunami, America!

It is amazing how little aid there is here, two days after Katrina left. In Mobile, hundreds of cars lined up for miles, clogging up the roads, to wait for water and ice. Hundreds of them were turned away when the supply quickly ran out.

The local police are working 12 hour shifts on and off. Nobody gets to take a day off. They are trying to maintain order when the traffic lights are not working, the few gas stations have miles of customers waiting in the roads, and tempers are flaring in the heat.

There is not yet any food being distrubuted here. It's "on the way," something we've heard for two days now.

The national news is not covering our tragedy 24/7, like they do other disasters. I wonder how many bodies will have to be recovered before they do?

On the positive side, you can count on the electric companies to pull together. Electricity is being restored. I just called our neighbor, on the Florida-Alabama border, and the power has just been turned back on at our home. We left home to come to Pensacola, Florida yesterday after feeling sick from the heat, with no power at home. Down here, we have a "heat wave" every day in August, so air conditioning is pretty important. Especially for babies. We weren't able to save all of our freezer food, though. That' s a lot of money lost. Almost every home here has that story.

President Bush is going to address the nation at 4pm CST today. Thank God for that! We want someone to finally notice us at the national level.

We hear that the federal aid is going to start.

The Navy is sending ships of supplies into our ports from Virginia. That kind of news brings tears to my patriotic eyes. We will love to see those ships come into our broken ports.

The president is going to release the Nation's gas reserves for us. We are so happy to hear that, because even when power is restored, we feared that we still would not have gas. Our oil comes from Mississippi and Louisiana, both of which can no longer supply us.

The Pentagon is sending 10,000 troops.

It's easy to get judgmental about why people didn't evacuate, but I can understand why. Many of the people don't have transportation, many of them are sick or elderly or weak, many of them do not have the money to pay for the gas to drive an entire state away because the hotels are filled. Many cannot afford a hotel. There are not enough shelters open in a storm. And there is not door-to-door free transportation to take one to a shelter.

I have many stories of broken families, and will keep you updated. One of the most heartbreaking was a man in Gulfport, Mississippi who was walking amongst the rubble. Our local news reporter found him.

He said, "I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go. I can't find my wife."

The news reporter asked, "You've lost your wife? Did she get separated from you?"

He said, "My house split in two. I was holding my wife's hand. She said, 'You can't keep holding me up. Take care of the kids. I love you.' Then her hand slipped from mine, and now I can't find her body."

"What are you going to do now?"

"I don't know what to do. I'm just....I'm lost, I guess."

A couple of you sent in some money due to my post on how to donate gas and food money to refugees. Thank you for that. On our way back home tomorrow, we will see many refugees on Interstate 10 and will get your money to them so they can buy enough gas to drive to relatives in other states, or so that they can get a meal from a restaurant.

You may also send non-perishables and children's clothing, and I will distribute them.

Mobile, Alabama is the biggest city on I-10 East of New Orleans, so thousands of refugees are here, in our streets, in our parking lots, and in our churches and shelters that are opening up for them. In Pensacola, Florida, (our home is between these two cities), hundreds of refugees have come. Our church, We will be hosts to the Hurricane Katrina victims from Louisian and Mississippi for many weeks to come.

-Lori Seaborg

Can You Trust Me? Help Hurricane Katrina Refugees

Can you trust me?

I have been trying to think of how to help the hurricane victims.

People are flowing into our area, and apparently our counties and cities never considered this. For a reason I cannot understand, the Mobile Civic Center, home to many evacuees, closed its doors at 10am this morning and told the evacuees that they had to leave. There are excuses, such as that the parked cars around the Civic Center cause logistical problems for bringing food and ice to that area. That is just an excuse. It could be so easily solved. A woman who was told to leave the Civic Center said, "Where will I go? I have nowhere to go." She sobbed into the camera, pleading for information about her 8-year-old son who was left in New Orleans with his father. She kept saying, "I don't have anywhere to go, but I don't care. Just bring me my baby. I want my baby." Even the male news reporter had to choke up at that one. A man who had to leave the Mobile Civic Center, said, "We haven't had a meal in 2 days. We are out of gas money. How are we supposed to pay for gas? Where do we go, without a home?"

The Pensacola Civic Center is housing many evacuees, but they say that they will close their doors by this weekend. Events have been scheduled, and the Civic Center wants the evacuees out, so they can prepare.

We have evacuees lining our roads and waiting under our overpasses. They are in our store parking lots, waiting. And waiting. They will wait for a long time to come. it is unbearably hot here, 95 degrees with high humidity today. There is a shortage of free food, water, and ice.

FEMA only brought 2 trucks of water and ice to Daphne, Alabama today ("home" to many evacuees, on I-10, across Mobile Bay). By 9:40am, all of the ice and water was gone. Food will finally come today to hard-hit Mobile County, two days after the storm, but it is limited, and will come only to specific locations. When the aid comes, the lines to receive aid are literally miles and miles long. How are the refugees supposed to wait hours in their car, using up precious gas, for food and water? How are the refugees supposed to even find the aid in an unfamiliar town?

Keep in mind that many of the refugees are America's poorest. They somehow managed to find a car to get this far, but with gas prices so high, they can no longer pay for gas to go on down the road. They have no money for fast food, even when our restaurants are open. They only have the clothes that they brought with themselves, in the rush to leave their homes (we did not have more than two days warning with this storm). Many of these people, our poor, do not have credit cards to max out. They not only have no jobs now, but they were living paycheck-to-paycheck, so they have no money in the near future.

Tim and I have had many financial blows in our 13 years together. We have weathered many storms, had our electricity go out many times, lost possessions over and over. We know what it's like to be poor.

Do you know what it's like to be poor?

I am in a unique position to help, and I can do so, if you can trust me. We do not have electricity or phone at our house, we have four little ones, and Tim lost his job due to the hurricane (he worked in Gulf Shores, Alabama, which is still under floods), so the only way that we can help is with your assistance. But it may be a blessing to not be tied down to a job. We can, with your partnership, drive around and help these refugees in our area.

If you want to help, I'm setting up a PayPal donate account (click on the "Donate" button, above). I promise you that you can trust me. I will get your money into the very hands of the victims. I will ask the evacuees where they are from, and I will make sure they need help. And I will put your money in their hands and tell them it is from you. I'll blog their stories back to you. I will keep track, and return any money that is not used for the victims. I will stop accepting money as soon as there are no more victims to help. I will email you, if you'd like, to let you know what I did with your specific money.

If your children want to give, I will hand their money to my 10-year-old and 8-year-old to hand out to victims. We can email your children and let them know where the money went.

I will help the people who have evacuated to Pensacola, Florida right now. As soon as I can return home (we do not yet have electricity or phone at home), I will help the evacuees in Baldwin County, Alabama, and in Mobile County, Alabama, along Interstate 10, where thousands have come. I will go to the gas stations, where the refugees are trying to buy gas. Many of them are sleeping at the gas stations. I will go to the Red Cross shelters and find out who may need financial help to travel.

Your money will not buy these people lodging. There is no lodging available. But your money will buy them food. Our stores are opening, more each day. Your money will buy gas for them so they can return home, or so that they can continue to move down the road. Some of the evacuees want to go to see family far away, in Michigan or Indiana, or North Carolina. Your money will get them into the arms of loved ones.

Please don't feel obligated. But if you want to help, click on the donation button above. It will go to Treasures Planted, which is my old PayPal account I used to use when I had a business website. I will give you an accounting of your money, but please be patient. We will be traveling throughout the area and may not be able to email you quickly.

Please email me at, if you have any questions, or post a comment here for a quicker response.

by Lori Seaborg

Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

I love a good storm, but this one.... no, none of us liked this one...

Hurricane Katrina

We are broken, wishing that what we are seeing is unreal. Wishing that they weren't telling us that they keep finding bodies, wishing that houses were still standing, and roads were already fixed. We are wishing the water would recede. We wish that the curfews would lift and that stores would open. We wish we could get gas. We wish that the businesses we enjoyed and places that we loved have not been taken from us.

At home, we feel that we weathered the storm pretty well. We lost some branches, the river flooded (Backwards! A very strange site, to see the river flow upstream, because of the storm surge, which is very much like a tsunami-type flood), and we did have hurricane-force winds. Tim can't go to work since he works on the beach, which is now covered in sand and floods. But we fared worse with a job loss last August (our sole income), with Hurricane Ivan last September, with the record flood in April, with Tropical Storms Arlene and Cindy in June, and with Hurricane Dennis last month. With all of that experience behind us, we feel that we did fine with Hurricane Katrina. Or maybe we're just numb.

Even in our town, others were not so blessed. Homes just five miles away are still completely covered in water. A church lost its roof. The farmer a quarter mile away lost huge portions of his barn. The main employer in town, The Grande Hotel of Pointe Clear, has had such major damage from flooding, that its 1,000 employees will be jobless, which impacts the community financially in days to come.

In our county, businesses are slowly opening. Today, as power slowly turned on, there were a few gas stations open. The homes are starting to get power turned on. Our house does not yet have power, so this afternoon, we fled 50 miles and used up precious gas to get to my parents' home in Florida. At home, we were losing all of our freezer and fridge food (something we can't afford) without electricity, and it was 94 degrees (all humid!) today - a hot day to not have air conditioning. I don't mind homesteading it a bit, but not in such heat with four little ones.

We cannot believe that only seven days ago, Katrina was just another unnamed tidal wave in the Atlantic. We can't believe that the water rose high enough to cause record flooding in nearby Mobile, Alabama, one of America's oldest cities. In Bayou La Batre, Alabama, the place where Forrest Gump finally got his shrimp boat, survivors are searching through the debris. Toady, a shrimper was helping another man search through the rubble. He was missing his brother. Dauphin Island, Alabama had miles of beach wiped off the map. A woman found out that the home that has been in her family for 47 years is gone now. Vanished. Others will find the same. Only 1 in 10 homes is still standing on that island. On the Mississippi coast, they are finding homes that look like matchsticks, and bodies in the debris. A five-year-old boy was standing in the debris, lost. Someone tried to help him, but the boy didn't know his parents name or his address. He did know his new teacher's name. Somehow, through that connection, they figured out where the little boy lived. When they reached the rubble of his home, they found his parents were dead. In New Orleans, the water keeps flowing. The city that we all love, the most unique city in all of America, with a deep history and a beautiful culture, is drowning. Under Interstate overpasses, hundreds of people are sleeping tonight. Like you'd see a homeless person do. Which is what they are now. They could not evacuate, many of them. They didn't have the money, or the transportation, or the strength. Now they are under an overpass, getting bitten by mosquitoes and trying to bear with the heat and the humidity. And the fear.

Evacuees from Mississippi and Louisiana are here, thousands of them, in South Alabama and North Florida. Our counties are trying to figure out what to do with them. There is not electricity in our areas, and there are not many volunteers since much of our area evacuated, too. But the evacuees can't get enough gas to go on down the road. Some of them stop at the one open gas station, and say, "We just can't put the children through this any more. Please find us somewhere to stay." The news reporters are being offered a handful of hundred dollar bills for a tank of gas. The hotels are filled to capacity for those who can afford to pay. Our civic centers are opening tonight for weary travelers. The Red Cross is opening shelters. On one radio station this morning, caller after caller offered their home, their living room, an extra bedroom, and even a corner of a FEMA trailer, to the evacuees.

We all went through Hurricane Ivan last September. We know how the refugees feel, so our desire to be generous is great. But, then again, maybe we don't know how they feel . We were able to get back to our hometown within 4 days of the storm. We only lost a couple dozen people in the storm. These refugees don't know when they will be able to return. Their devastation is worse than ours. Their body count is highter. The refugees are weary. They are worried about their homes. They are worried about their families and their neighbors, who stayed in the danger zones. We have to help them. And we will.

by Lori Seaborg

Mobile, Alabama:
Our local news runs 24/7, trying to keep us updated on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. You can watch live streaming video online.

New Orleans, Louisiana:
For more information on New Orleans and photos, visit this site.

Mississippi Gulf Coast:
You won't believe these pictures. This is where the eye of Hurricane Katrina hit, after it tapped the tip of Louisiana. I can't believe this happened in our country, much less in an area I know very well. This area of Mississippi was just beautiful, with historical plantation homes lined along the waterfront, live oaks in the front yards. It was a military area, home of the Hurricane Hunters (see my last post). It was also the home of Methuselah, the oldest live oak in America, believed to have been 2000 years old, and a survivor of Hurricane Camille in 1969. I don't know if the oak still stands.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Landfall

Hurricane Katrina is our unwelcome guest this morning. I can hear her fury against our windows and brick walls. We feel safe, in our brick home in a valley. The winds are mostly in the tall trees above us.

Our power is flickering, so I better keep this short so that you'll get it.

Thought I'd send you a photo. You'll see my chickens in the photo. They were on our front porch, but when the wind became too strong for them there, they went to lower ground and are staying near the azalea bushes.

The river is in the photo, too. It's a tidal river, so the storm surge has already raised it a bit and will do more today. We expect it to flood quite a bit, which is why the chickens are loose.

I'm a weary soul this morning, so forgive me for not being more upbeat.

Lori Seaborg

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina is stalking us. If she affects our area (around Monday?), it will be three major hurricanes (Ivan, Dennis, Katrina) and two tropical storms (Arlene, Cindy) to hit us in just one year.

If you are keeping up with the news, and want to know just how much Hurricane Katrina may affect us, we are located on the Florida/Alabama border, just 10 miles or so north of Gulf Shores, Alabama and 4 miles from the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay (The Weather Channel is in town today!). Go to the National Hurricane Center website, if you want to turn this into a homeschool lesson!

You never know about hurricanes, whether they'll come or not; and if they do come, you don't know whether they'll affect you greatly or not. Still, you must get prepared.

On the positive side, there's something nice about all this preparation: the yard debris gets picked up and put away; the chickens get to roam freely, which they love (we live on a river and have to assume it will flood); the laundry gets done in case the power will go out; the pantry gets stocked in case we are stuck at home for quite a while. I posted once on preparing for a hurricane, so today I will look at that list and work on it.

Before I begin preparing for Hurricane Katrina, I wanted to let you know that I've posted a few more sites that have great forms for your Household Notebook. Go to the post on Creating a Household Notebook to see the list.

I'd like to work on these notebooks with you today, it looks like Katrina has changed my plans.

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, August 26, 2005

Creating a Homeschool Notebook

In my last article, I wrote about creating a Household Notebook. In my research on that one, I stumbled upon several great sites for free printables for a Homeschooling Notebook:

The Homeschooling Planner from
scroll down the page for some printables for your school schedule, unit study schedule, and even unschoolers' records

Homeschool Planner from Donna Young
Wow! I just discovered this site and I am so excited to have found it! Forms galore!

Homeschool Teacher Forms from Heritage Highland Forms
includes attendance record, report card, lending record, yearly goals, and more

Homeschool Forms Galore! from Heritage Highland Forms
I am so excited to have found this site today, while researching for this blog. This site has over 800 forms for art, Bible, music, nature journaling, and even forms on specific unit studies. This site would also be very useful to those who do notebooking or lapbooking. Definitely work a look!

A Homeschool Notebook is my next project! Anything to help me keep on track, is a good thing!

by Lori Seaborg

Creating a Household Notebook

To help you get organized, or to help with your sanity, you may like to create a Household Notebook. A Household Notebook is a place for you to keep menus, recipes that you often need, emergency phone numbers, party plans, schedules, etc. You can call it a "Control Journal," like FlyLady does; a "Household Notebook" like I do; or "My Big Book," like my sister-in-law does.

I keep my Household Notebook in one of those white 3-ring binders with see-though covers. I like my Household Notebook large. You may want something smaller. Don't be picky about this detail; just grab an empty notebook from your kids' stash, and do it!

Creating the Household Notebook: Where Do I Begin?

Here are instructions from FlyLady on creating a "Control Journal":
FlyLady's Control Journal instructions

Here are instructions from
The Household Notebook

Here are instructions for creating planners for homeschoolers:
Homeschooling Planners

Creating the Household Notebook: Pretty Pages to Add to It

I like my Household Notebook to be pretty. I won't use it if it's too ugly to look at!

Below are some great templates for creating a Household Notebook. Just print them out, 3-hole punch them, and put them in your regular-sized 3-ring binder. These pages make creating your notebook - or adding to it - very easy.

Click on the headings below for the printables (the ones with .pdf will open as a printable file):

Basic Planner Pages from
includes menu pages; empty pages; emergency numbers; pantry; freezer; party planning; the front cover of your notebook, and more I use these pages often.

Christmas Countdown Holiday Planner from
a great six-week planner to print out to help you plan for the holidays. I think you could adapt this to any large get-together or other holiday

Financial Control Journal from (.pdf)
includes advice and articles on managing your finances

Holiday Control Journal from (.pdf)
includes articles

Office Control Journal from (.pdf)
a good one for a work-at-home mom, but I think you could use some of its ideas for your schoolroom

Traveling Control Journal from (pdf)
a journal for vacations and traveling

The Homeschooling Planner from
scroll down the page for some printables for your school schedule, unit study schedule, and even unschoolers' records

Weekly Planner and Menu Planner from The (.pdf) Click here for the FlyLady version.
I love this one!

You can find even more printables on the Internet.

Just don't get so overwhelmed with creating your notebook, that you don't get it done!

by Lori Seaborg

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Setting Down the Bread of Idleness to Set Priorities

I have been eating the bread of idleness lately.

Proverbs 31:27 says, "She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness." (KJV). You'd think that idleness would be impossible with four children and all the duties that are on my plate. It's not that I'm idly doing nothing, it is that I am busily doing nothing. I have been keeping up with the minimum, but the minimum only. There has been no excellence in what I do.

It is so easy to be busy, busy, and busy and yet have nothing to show for your efforts. I am the Queen of Useless Time. I can sit and daydream out a window like nobody's business. I can wander the house, looking busy while I wander, but not really accomplishing much. I find it difficult to focus on a task because, as the mother of a million kids (4, really), I am usually side-tracked in the middle of a job.

I have great desires from life: to be used mightily by God, to teach the children profoundly in homeschool, to be an excellent homekeeper, to be healthy and look good for my husband, to write wise words that help others. Yes, I am a good dreamer and schemer. But I lack the self-discipline needed to accomplish these goals, even though they are God-given desires. THAT is a fault!

Maybe there is a more appropriate – yet more painful - word than "fault"....I read today that "knowing what God wants you to do, yet not doingit, is sin." (from Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull) I wrote "Ouch! Ouch!" in November 2004 next to those words in the book. Ten months later, I still say, "Ouch! Ouch!"

To keep from eating the bread of idleness, I need to set some priorities. Here, in the order of priorities (God - Husband - Children - Home - Self - Others) is what I think God wants me to do at this stage in my life. (I got this priority order from Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow, a book I recommend above all others for those who want to learn how to prioritize) :

1. God: Spend time daily with Him at an appointed time (schedule it like an appointment, as if Jesus is sitting in my rocker, waiting for me to join Him!). Pray. Read Scripture. Write down what I learn.

2. Husband: Be kind to him. Smile at him. Be a loving and helpful wife to the person God asked me to take care of for Him. Only I have been assigned this task. What a privilege to be the one assigned to this man! (And thank God he's handsome!).

3. Children: Spend individual time with the kids. Love them unconditionally. Teach them of God. Memorize Scripture with them.Teach them how to be good workers. Make them laugh. Allow them to play. Teach them how to take care of themselves and others.

4. Home: Manage the home efficiently so that it serves us rather than we serve it. Organize it, clean it, and schedule it. Make use of the home's servants which God has provided for me. Our servants are the washer, dryer, oven, crockpot, and dishwasher, among others. Use the home for hospitality as if Jesus just walked in, dusty, hungry and tired.

5. Myself: Love myself enough to say boldly, once a week or as needed, "I need time alone." Do frivolous things for myself that make me happy: buy a new book, buy nail polish, play with my hair, take a long bath by candlelight, buy a new pen or journal, create a beaded bookmark or learn to knit. Walk daily. Garden because I love it, even if it looks funky to others that I mix lettuce with flowers.

6. Others: My outside-the-home mission is to write to others of daily life and daily lessons. Be vulnerable in my writing (as I am here when I tell you I lack self-discipline! Don't tell anyone). Write as if God is sitting here, waiting to read my words. God has clearly asked me to do this for others.

What has He asked YOU to do? Teach Sunday school, lead a children'choir, stock the food pantry, be on the women's committee, help out in PTA, be the soccer coach? Whatever it is, keep focus on that task. Say "no" to anything else. Remind yourself to ask God before agreeing to add another task in this area of serving others. He may want you to focus on just one outside-the-home thing, so you can serve your family better.

Remember, God and family and home and yourself are to be placed before this last priority of others. That sounds backward, doesn't it? But, you can be best used by God when you have first given Him quality time, when your marriage is stable, when your children know they are loved, when your home is managed, and when you have taken care of yourself.

Today, think about each of these priorities in your life: God, Husband, Children, Home, Yourself and Others. Ask God what He wants you to focus on in each of these priorities.

Please don't eat the bread of idleness. I don't recommend it at all.

by Lori Seaborg

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Online Handmade Paper Arts and Bookmaking Class

Anne-Marie Hawthorne, of the Handmade Paper Arts blog, is going to offer FREE online classes on paper arts and bookmaking for the family to do together. The classes begin September 1st, so sign up now!

Recently, I have been introduced to bookmaking. I love the idea of not only journaling my thoughts for future generations, but creating the book to hold those thoughts. I've been bit hard by the bookmaking bug, so I want to learn more. And I want my children to learn, too.

In Anne's class, you and your family will learn techniques such as marbling, stamping, collage, engraving, etc. and you will learn bookmaking techniques, such as:

Accordian Books
Star Ornament Books
Piano Hinge, and much more!

You will get the instructions from Anne on the 1st and 15th of each month, then hold the class whenever it is convenient for you. You are given two weeks to complete each assignment.

Click here to learn more about the Handmade Paper Arts classes.

by Lori Seaborg

Monday, August 22, 2005

Our Schoolday Schedule Part II

The other day, I posted half of our school day schedule in detail. Click here to view that post, then come back to read this last bit. I stopped the first one just before noon. So, at noon....

At 12pm-ish: Lunch

Always something quick and easy, like PBJs or Quesadillas or last night's meat (beef/chicken) put in a taco shell with cheese and lettuce.

After lunch:

The kids clear and wipe the table then they pick up anything off their assigned floors.

I clean up, flip laundry loads, and put away school stuff.

Quiet Time: my favorite time of day!

We've had Quiet Time since our first child was a baby, 10 years ago. It is the key to my sanity as a mother of four. The 2yo naps, the 5yo naps if he seems to need it, or he can read or play quietly (with Legos; Lincoln Logs, etc.) in his room alone. I usually write to you during Quiet Time or I might work on a craft project (bookmaking these days) or read a book. If dh is home, he is more than happy to nap with the baby. The rules: 1. Everyone must be quiet; 2. No chores allowed (that rule was made for me); 3. No electronics allowed.

Our 10yo and 8yo, since they are already trained to be quiet during this time (or else mama will make them take a nap!), are allowed to be in their own room or in the schoolroom, doing one of these choices:

  • write (a letter, copywork, etc.)
  • nap
  • read (sometimes they must read, from an assigned reader)
  • draw or color
  • work on their notebook topics (currently: 3-D Drawing and Dolphins)
  • finish their homework (any unfinished papers from the morning)

After Quiet Time (about an hour):

The children are free to play now, but must be quiet until the baby wakes up. They are usually so absorbed with their Quiet Time activities that they continue them.

I write for another hour, or until soon after the baby wakes up. If you are a mom with a business, Quiet Time will give you two hours to yourself. It will take a bit of training for you to get the kids to respect Quiet Time, but your persistence will pay off.

Around 3pm:

I still don't want the electronics turned on yet, so I have this time set aside for fun "school," such as:

  • science experiments
  • nature walks
  • art
  • family business (currently: selling eggs to the grandparents!)
  • tea time
  • crafting skills (soldering, beadwork, knitting, woodworking, etc.)
  • landscaping and gardening

Around 4:30pm:
I focus on making dinner while the kids clean up from the above projects. They also check that their floors are picked up.

5 - 5:30pm:


After Dinner:

Evening chores: The kids clear and wipe the table and sweep. I clean the kitchen and get the little ones ready for bed, even though they won't go to bed for a while. This is bath time also. Then the kids are free, and can finally play their Xbox, computer games, and Nintendo.

7pm-8pm: Family Time:
The family gets together to:

  • read from a read-aloud (currently: Little House in the Big Woods)
  • snack
  • play board or card games
  • watch a movie (usually just Friday night)

Then, it's bed time or quiet play until bed time.

Soon, I will post a shortened version of our schedule for you. I've gone into detail so that you'll have all the information you could possibly want!

The moral of the story is: Create a schedule that will suit you.

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, August 19, 2005

Schooldays at Seasons Academy

I've tried to-the-minute schedules, to-the-hour schedules, Now-we-shall-do-Arithmetic schedules, and unschedules (as in, no schedule at all and the children roam freely). Our new schedule is working like a dream so far, because it is so tailor made.

I think the key to schedule-making is to create one that suits your personal fancy and to let go of how you think it "should" be. My fancy is to be flexible to a fault. But I recognize that I need structure to my days because I don't think the X-Box makes a very good teacher, and I don't like the kids wearing their p.j.s at noon and eating Froot Loops for dinner just because I didn't plan the evening meal.

I looove reading other's schedules. So here is my newest schedule, which is serving to keep us focused without stifling our freedom:

Schooldays at Seasons Academy (Seaborg & Sons...get it?...& daughters, too)

Starting by 7am:

Up and walking with Toby, the dog, up the hill to see the farmer's cows and the sunrise (oops, it already came up!). And to pray while walking. Back at the ranch (that would be the house), visit my birds to tell Princess, the rooster, to crow and the hens to lay lots of eggs today. Go back inside to do a little Bible reading and journaling in my Scriptural Journal with a bit of breakfast. Let the kids wake up slowly and watch t.v. or play on the computer until 8 (we have no "early birds" in this family, so waking up slowly helps). Write out 3 chores for the older kids to do.

At 8am:

Lay out a simple breakfast for the kids (remind self that schooldays are not the days for three-course breakfasts, even if in the mood for it). Go through the house in a circle, starting with the Master Bedroom, picking up laundry, making beds, and straightening. Start a load of laundry. End in the kitchen to clean up after breakfast.

Meanwhile, the t.v. is off at 8am, and the three older children (10, 8, 5) pick up assigned floors (2 each), empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, and do 3 extra chores each (not the 5yo).

Make sure the kids are dressed with teeth brushed. Change and dress the baby (2).

At 9am:

10yo and 8yo start school by doing papers that I placed in a folder on their desks the night before (copywork, Math papers, Language -- all A Beka, we live in the same area as Pensacola Christian College after all, except the copywork which is usually Scripture or American phrases, like the Pledge).

I continue doing chores (more laundry, extra cleaning, baking, dinner prep) within earshot of their schoolwork.

I teach the 5yo a little K5 stuff, or let him watch educational t.v. with his 2yo sister.

At 10am:

Bible class with Mama. We all pull out our Spiritual Journals, which is a cheap composition book in which we created a "Table of Contents" on the first few pages. Each day we (10, 8, and me) write the Scripture verse of the day (today: "Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." - Colossians 3:20). We briefly discuss the verse, then the children are to write what they think about the verse, or draw a picture illustrating something about the verse. Our 5yo and 2yo draw on a blank sheet of paper.

After this, in the Table of Contents, we write the date, Scripture reference, and page number of our notes.

I read a section from Hero Tales while the kids draw or color a Biblical-themed picture (Today we read about Martin Luther. I love this book, by the way! Highly recommended for elementary-aged kids. Our favorite lesson so far was Dr. Livingstone, who was so brave against the lions and witnessed to many in Africa).

We again say the Scripture verse of the day, since it will need to be memorized and said to Daddy (for the 5yo, I shorten it to "Children obey your parents").

At 10:30am-12:00pm:

Mondays: Practical Skills (sewing, whittling, soap-making, self-sustainment, animal care, homesteading, candlemaking, etc.) This is my favorite class to teach. Sometimes Daddy gets the boys while I get the girls. I think it is essential to teach our children how to take care of their families independent of the grocery stores. You never know if a time will come when they will need to know this stuff. If they are missionaries in a primitive place, they will certainly need to know it!

Tuesdays: Art and Music (as in, play fine art music such as Beethoven while doing art) Art is currently drawing 3-D objects by shading.

Wednesdays: Practical Skills

Thursdays: Library Day to Research for our Notebook topic (learned from Cindy Rushton). The children choose a notebook subject to study for the week (10yo: 3-D Drawing; 8yo: Dolphins; 5yo was ill today). We go to the local library, where they ask the librarian to help them locate books. They do independent research and independent check-out of the books. Our library has games, headsets, and computers for the children to use once they are done with their research.

Meanwhile, I further my learning by also researching (today: bookbinding, beading, and 20-minute gardening).

This day and time is also open for Field Trips.

Fridays: Work on Notebook topic by drawing pictures of the topic, writing about it, copywork on it, etc. We then place the research in page protectors in a "notebook" (3-ring binder). Lapbooks could also be made on the topic. This work is done independently of me, except with occasional help.

Meanwhile, I work on my own notebook (currently: making recipe mixes) or my own research from the library.

Saturdays: We don't do the rest of schoolwork, above, on Saturdays, but we do spend a bit of time in focus on Nature Study (as in, getting outside and getting dirty -- or, drawing a bug or drawing a leaf through the window because it's 93 degrees with 90% humidity). The kids have to fill their time with something, even on Saturdays, so it may as well be with learning! (Even if they are loving it and not realizing they are learning).

**** It is 12 noon on this schedule, but in reality as I write, it is 5:30pm. My family will turn into Grouchy Bears if I don't feed them soon, so I'll finish this post tonight or tomorrow. I'm being more detailed than I first planned, but I hope that will help give you ideas of how you can create your schedule to suit your personality.*****

by Lori Seaborg

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Letting Go of Stuff Part II

Yesterday, I posted on Letting Go of Stuff. I have received many wise words in the comments section of my blog, and want to make sure that you've had a chance to read and be encouraged by these ladies:

"A good spiritual application for this is how many things we have going on that crowd out what God wants to do in us. Keeping busy for the sake of keeping busy or just hanging on to old habits can really junk up our lives." ~ Glory

"I have been doing very well in recent years - at getting rid of things. I started when God told me to cull my books the first time, and the second culling was much easier. A lot of curriculum went in both of those cullings, and the liberty I felt at getting rid of things I really didn't need led me to get rid of more, even a piece of antique furniture I'd been hanging onto for way too long. Still, though, just the other day, when I was pulling a few, last bits and pieces to bless a homeschool mom with, I caught myself hanging onto a particular video curriculum. This I'd gotten for myself, rather than the boys, and I thought that just maybe I'd want to pull it out and watch it again. It was a week later before I admitted I was still showing too many signs of the hoarder and pulled it out to pass along to her as well. " ~ Tammy

"I tell myself if I am serious about giving my children real learning experiences then I don't need these particular books and workbooks for that "one day" that I am sure will never come. By the way, that "one day" hasn't come to our family in 7 years! " ~ Belinda

"I kept all of my first dd's clothes in the event I had a second dd which I did four years later. When I went to retrieve two large containers of them I discovered they had mildewed. What a stench! Trust me, mildew is a smell that doesn't wash out no matter how many times you try. I love your perspective: hoarding might be depriving someone else of a blessing."
~ DreweLlyn

"Give and it will come back to you, pressed down, shaken together and running over! I have learned this principle over and over and over. With nine children, so close together, I do typically hang on to clothes from season to season because they are just moving right into the next size. However, each year, I purge and try to keep only enough clothes that will fit into one cardboard file box. Each year, we have TONS of clothes given to us. God is so gracious!" ~ Cynthia

"Every August our church sponsors a huge "shopping spree" for the seminary we are closely associated with. They take donations from our church members and then set it all up in our gym and let the seminary students and their families come in and "shop" with special money we give them. They pick out whatever they want or need. I have struggled with releasing some of my stuff, but I realized these students come here without a lot of things, and of course they can't afford to buy all they need. I've heard their testimonies of how God supplied just what they needed through these yearly shopping sprees. They look forward to it, and I have begun to look for things that I no longer use or need to bring them a blessing." ~ Robyx5

I hope you are further encouraged to let go of a few extra things lying around the house! I know I am motivated by the words of these ladies!

Maybe I don't need 12 Phillips screwdrivers after all...

by Lori Seaborg

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Letting Go of Stuff

I’ve been going through our school supplies. We have a tiny wicker bookshelf that has to hold the entire year’s school books. It is a hard thing to know what books have to go.

…Especially when the book that should be cut from the bookshelf has a tag on it that says $8.97…

…And it’s brand spanking new…

…And it says “grade 4” on the cover, and we have three children who will eventually be that age…

But there is just no way we are ever going to use it. I mean, there is always the chance that “maybe we’ll need it someday,” but I’ve learned that “someday” doesn’t often happen when I’m wondering if I should keep or let go of things (…Except tools. It’s not that we need 12 manual Phillips screwdrivers, it’s just that we seem to need them scattered across the house, so that they are always handy - and always lost. I’m a work in progress, so for now let me keep my tools!)

So, except for tools, I’ve learned that I may as well let something go rather than hang onto it with the off-chance that I might use it one day.

A friend of mine once kept two garbage bags of boy’s clothes in case she would one day have a baby boy. Over 9 years, God gave her four little girls. When she was finally blessed with a boy, she went to the attic and dug out the 2 bags of baby boy clothes. A rat had been living in them at some point over the years. The rat was now gone, but its nest – and the horrible smell – remained. All of the clothes had to be tossed out.

We were discussing how we’d learned to bless others with our stuff. My friend said, “Nobody was able to use those clothes since I held onto them. I wish I had given them away.” She had learned a lesson that I have also had to learn the hard way.

How many times have you kept something, but later it shattered because it was crowded among the chaos in the garage, or broke when the kids decided to use it for their mock fights? Have you ever kept your children’s clothes until they were musty? Or books until they were so old that nobody wanted them? We once kept a huge carpet remnant until it became moldy and musty. We kept it because “maybe we’ll get a stain or a rip and need it one day.” Not a chance! When our carpet became stained and ripped, we bought new carpet.

I used to hang onto everything until our 1200 square foot house with no attic, no basement, no shed, and no garage became filled to overflowing. I was about to go crazy in that house with five of us (at the time) and all the stuff we had accumulated in a decade of marriage. At the peak of my frustration, I asked God for some help, and He provided it through the writings and words of several authors and speakers. One of the things I learned was to bless others with my stuff.

God will bless you back when you give.

A couple of years after I had given away all of my maternity clothes and baby girl clothes, I became pregnant with our fourth child, a girl. It is easy for me to doubt. I have to admit that I panicked just a bit. I reminded God that He promises to take care of us. He asks us to bless the poor. He says to take care of the needy. He says He will clothe us. Reminding God makes me feel better, so off I went to choir practice.

“Could you use some maternity clothes?” the girl next to me asked while we were singing that evening. She was the epitome of the Hip Mom, with her leopard-print tops and velvet sweaters. I was floored at God’s provision. He not only provided, but He provided with brand new clothes that were way cooler than me!

Over and over I have experienced God’s provision after I let go of something. It is as if I am making room for His blessing when I make room in my clutter.

I have 2 theories:

1. If you are wondering whether or not you should buy something, don’t buy it.

2. If you are wondering whether or not you should keep something, don’t keep it

If you’re just beginning, my theories will be too scary for you. I understand; I still struggle with this (remember, I can’t let go of tools!). Try this: box up some extra items from around the house. Label the box “To Give” and set it aside for a week. If you haven’t needed or missed the items, take the box (without opening it!) to someone who might be able to use it.

Bless others, and God will surely bless you back. I’ve seen it happen in my life so many times that I’m telling you it is absolutely true.

Lori Seaborg

Sunday, August 14, 2005

3 Things I Learned from FlyLady

Three things I learned from Flylady when I joined her list several years ago (back when she had only a few hundred subscribers; now there are thousands):

1.) Swipe your bathroom every day and you'll never have to clean the bathroom again. (I use Clorox wipes - just one per day, swiping the sink first, counters, then the commode, from cleanest area to dirtiest). Your toilet will always be ready for company drop-ins! This simple thing has been so freeing to me. I used to think that I had to make a fuss over the bathroom, as in "now I shall gather various cleaning chemicals and then I shall scrub the bathroom for an hour."

2.) Don't put it down, put it away.
Flylady says something like, "never touch something twice if you can touch it once". I catch myself all the time starting to set something down "to get to it or put it away later." Then I remember that I don't want to touch it twice, so I'll just put it where it goes.

3.) If overwhelmed, set your timer for 15 minutes and tell yourself to just work for that long. I do this when cleaning out closets, or when I am looking at a dirty kitchen but think I'm too tired to clean it. Also, when my house is way too messy, I set the timer for 15 minutes and ask the family to work with me for only that long. We get SO much done in that little bit of time. The family seems more willing to help me when they know that there is a time limit set, and mama won't say, "Oh, and do this...and this...and...that, too."

by Lori Seaborg

Friday, August 12, 2005

Shopping at Home...From Your Own Stuff!

The SchoolRoom

Earlier this year, Tim (dh) and I made a schoolroom/library/craft room out of what we already owned. This room is everyones' favorite room in the house. It is always occupied by some learning or creative soul.

We moved into this house a year and a half ago. One of the rooms was listed by the realtor as a dining room, but we are far too relaxed to need a formal dining area. For a few months after we bought the house, we used the room as a second living room, but it wasn't being used all that often (our children are young, so they are still at the stuck-like-Velcro-to-mama-and-daddy stage).

One day, I was day-dreaming about having a schoolroom once again, when I stopped myself. Do you ever get tired of dreaming about something over and over? I do! At some point, I say to myself, "Well stop wishing for it and do something about it!" So, the dining-room-that-was-an-unneeded-second-living-room, suddenly became the new schoolroom. Knowing our budget could not pay for a fully equipped, brand new schoolroom, we went shopping in our house...

First, we painted the room with navy blue paint and white trim with paint we had bought several months ago. We put up a chalkboard given to us. Our used furniture (a couch, love seat, and rocking chair from our old house) was put in the room. We placed a dry-erase board, child's easle, and bulletin board in the room. And we painted a wooden table that we found in the garage, under a pile of tools. Tim made benches for the table out of scrap wood that he had, and painted them with paint we had leftover from old projects. He also made a bench out of a broken bookcase and some scrap wood. I use this bench to hold the CD player and the abacus. Finally, we put a couple of posters up on the wall that we had collected over the years.

The Writer's Nook

More recently, I was trying to figure out where to write, and almost went out to buy a new desk when I remembered the schoolroom success, and decided to "shop" in our garage.

I was able to make a cozy writing space by clearing an old desk, placing it in a corner of our master bedroom, and placing an old bookcase nearby. I decorated the desk with useful baskets and pottery to hold papers and pencils. Tim attached a wire basket to the wall above my desk for picture frames and plants. I moved a rocking chair from the living room, where it wasn't used, to the corner of my new "office." For inspiration, I threw Grandma's 65-year-old handstitched quilt over the rocking chair. In a second corner, near the window, I put a comfortable-yet-kind-of-ugly recliner. With a pile of books stacked on the bookshelves, plenty of paper, pens, (all of which I also found while "shopping" in my home), and my laptop, I am now a happy writer in my little "writer's nook." But I am most happy that the bank account did not notice our home improvements (Tim is also happy about that!).

Why keep wishing for a bigger house, or a schoolroom, or a space of your own? Tell yourself to stop wishing and make it happen! Shop in your home from your own stuff. You'll be surprised at what you can find, or make, with a little ingenuity.

Let us know in the comments if you have any new ideas about this topic of shopping at home.

by Lori Seaborg

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

1. Dough Scraper (Pastry Scraper; All-Purpose Scraper)
This gadget is sometimes made of a piece of wood with a metal "blade" on it, or it may be made out of plastic, as mine is. I suggest you get the plastic one, as it is very durable yet can be placed in the dishwasher to clean and sanitize it. I use the scraper to scrape bread dough off my kitchen counters, to scrape a non-stick pan clean (mine is plastic, remember), to scrape dough or other gunk off my wooden spoons, to lift cut veggies or garlic from the counter, and to cut dough. It is also great for cleaning the gunk that gets stuck next in the crack between the counter and the kitchen sink. It is my #1 favorite kitchen gadget. See one on Amazon.

2. Smooth Edge Can Opener
I love this can opener, because it not only doesn't leave a can-edge that can cut you, but it also leaves you with a lid that is useable. If we don't use our can of peaches in one sitting, for example, I can just replace the can lid until the next time. The only disadvantage that I've found is that the can lid doesn't sink into the tuna can for easier tuna-draining. Click here to see one.

3. Measuring Scoops
I found measuring scoops made out of metal at my local Kitchen store
outlet. They look kind of like garden spades. I use them for flour, for grains (rice, beans, wheat, grits), and for sugar.

4. Bread Machine (:::shh!:::)
I can't believe I am admitting to using a breadmachine, and I can't believe that I finally bought one. I've always been a bit of a purist about bread-making. There is something beautiful about kneading bread on a wooden board. While kneading, I usually close my eyes as I rock back and forth, and I think of all the women who are likely kneading at that very moment: Americans, Canadians, Arabs, Israelis, Mexicans, Russians, Swedes, Africans. Those women are kneading yeast breads like mine, unleavened breads like tortillas, and things I can't even pronounce. Then I think of all the women who used to knead but have since passed on, which leads me to think of Mary and Martha, Eunice, Naomi, Ruth, and other Biblical women.

I won't give up kneading, and will still make bread by hand occasionally. But I realized that because of the time involvement, I just wasn't able to keep up with making all of my family's bread by hand. So I bought a Zojirushi bread machine with the money Tim gave me for being our family accountant at tax time.

I've been using the bread machine for dough, mostly. I can schedule this machine to have dough done by a certain time. For example, this afternoon, I put in the ingredients and timed the machine to be done by 6pm. At 6pm, I was ready to finish the dough into Cinnamon Swirl Bread.
Click to see my Zojirushi bread machine, which I bought because of the horizontal loaf, good product reviews, because my product-picky brother has one and loves it, and because of the timer.

Keep kneading by hand once in a while, but in the meantime, enjoy
adding another servant to your home in the form of a bread machine.

5. Grain Mill
I have just begun grinding wheat into flour for maximum nutrition. I waited years to finally buy a grain mill. They are pretty expensive! Finally, I was able to buy one, and I just love this mill, the NutriMill. It creates a flour as fine as that in the grocery store. Click here to see the NutriMill.

Another fine mill is the WhisperMill, but when I tried to order it a couple of months ago, the manufacturer had run out of mills. If you order it, ask first if it is available. I tried to order the Whisper Mill before I got the NutriMill, because it is rated equal to the NutriMill but is $50 cheaper, but could not find anyone who had it in stock. Click here to see the Whisper Mill.

6. Kitchen Aide
My parents buy each new bride to the family a Kitchen Aide. I have this white classic version, which has served me well for over a decade. My parents have always had a Kitchen Aide. They have used it to grind wheat, make sausage, shred cheese, and of course use it to make meringues or cookies (some of those activities require extra attachments). They even took one to Papua New Guinea, where my dad would turn on the generator so mom could mix bread or cookies in her Kitchen Aide. If you love to bake, this mixer would be such a blessing to you. The classic version is made of the same sturdy stock as the fancy ones, so buy that if you can't afford the more expensive ones.

For $100 more, the Artisan version has very cool colors, a pouring shield ($17 value), a slightly bigger bowl, and 100 more watts of power. When I buy a new Kitchen Aide, I will upgrade to the Artisan one, but it's going to take a looooong time for mine to break. My parents' mixer lasted over 20 years, and may be still running. They gave it to other missionaries when they left Papua New Guinea to work in the U. S.

The professional version is about $200 more than the classic version. It has more power, and is prettier, but unless you are doing really big batches of dough, I don't think you need to spend the money on this one. Buy the Classic or the Artisan.

(p.s. As I was researching for this article, I noticed that is offering a great deal right now. You get $25 off a $125 purchase AND free shipping AND no sales taxes (at least in most states). I bought my bread machine, above, on one of these sales and it saved me a ton of money over buying it at a store.)

by Lori Seaborg

Christian Carnival

For some great blogs that were posted this week, go to the Christian Carnival at:

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lori's TidBits

Useful and Useless Bits of Information

1. Quiet Time is the key to my sanity as a mother of four little ones. Each day, right after lunch clean-up, the children lay down for Quiet Time which lasts at least an hour. The 2yo naps, the 5yo naps or reads quietly, the 8yo finishes schoolwork or reads in her room, and the 10yo finishes schoolwork or reads in his room. If Daddy is home, he gladly naps, too. I spend my quiet time reading or writing. I have a rule that I cannot do chores during quiet time.

Quiet Time is not only good for me, but also for the children. They are more rested for the long day and less irritable and tired (they are the most healthy kids I know, and I think this lack of exhaustion is part of the reason. The other reason is the sheer number of germs we probably innoculate ourselves with daily, but that's a confession I didn't plan to make in this blog). Our 10yo looks forward to Quiet Time so he can have a break from his 5yo brother bothering him!

2. When your Child is fake-crying, and you know it is not a serious cry,calmly say, "Go to your room, close the door, and cry. When you're done, you can come out again." Our 5-year-old, angel though he is, pulls fake cries on us often. When I say, "Go to your room to cry," he often stops in mid-cry, wipes his eyes, and continues playing. See? He didn't need to be crying after all. Even our 2-year-old is being sent to her room to cry. She comes out within seconds, happy once again.

3. Moving a nest of eggs that a hen is setting on: You may not need to know this, but I have needed to know it twice. If you need to move a nest of eggs that a hen is setting on, she will follow those eggs to the new location, and she will not reject them.

4. If you need to catch a hen, it's easiest to do it when she goes to bed just before sunset. She'll perch in a tree or up on her perch, and it is easy to catch her then. But if she perches too high for you to reach, don't try to catch her with a broomstick or she's likely to fly out of the tree and not come near you again for 2 days (I know this to be true).

3. Running your sprinklers for 1 hour equals about 1" of rain. Your garden needs 1" of rain per week to thrive (in the hot summer, in very hot areas like the Deep South and SouthWest, it may need 1" every three days).

If you have not had enough rain in a week, water your garden or lawn for one hour. If you have had some rain, water your garden for less.

To check your rainfall amount for the week, use an empty tuna can for a rain gauge. Sink the tuna can into the dirt. If the can is full, you've had 1" of rain.

4. How to water your garden: Your garden will do best if it has the 1" of rainfall all at once rather than slowly. If you sprinkle your lawn daily for only 5 minutes each time, you are encouraging short roots that want to stay at the water level. Short roots = weak plants. By sprinkling the lawn or garden for one hour at once, you encourage the roots to stay at a deeper level.

by Lori Seaborg

Monday, August 08, 2005

Today, August 8, 2005 eyes all day, just because I read a blog on "How to Become an Early Riser," so I set my alarm for 6am. I need to now read a blog on "How to Not Be a Night Owl the Night Before Becoming an Early Riser."

Napping...this afternoon with the baby. I wonder if that is cheating?

Missing...four chicken teenagers who have decided that they love freedom more than free food. They are scratching in the woods and won't join the others in the coop.

Wishing...that you wouldn't wonder if I tried to catch those four chicken teenagers. Yes, of course I did, but I didn't want to admit it since I was a sandy, muddy, sweaty mess when I tried, and failed, at catching them. And now you know.

Catching....chickens has to be one of the most horrible things to attempt on a 90 degree, high humidity day.

Letting... you know that Hillary, the annoying hen named after Mrs. Clinton, and the one many of you have written me about, is safely in the coop. We'd be just fine without her, she is like her namesake after all, but she never seems to go away ... just like her namesake.

Singing...Happy Birthday to our Britty, who turned 8 on Sunday, August 7th.

Thanking...God for sparing my life 8 years ago, when I had complications after bringing Brittany into the world. Honestly, the whole birthday party thing should have been for me! But I don't play with Polly Pockets and fake makeup, so I guess she can keep the gifts.

Sneaking...out the door with my friend Leisl who goaded me into canoeing with her - without telling our husband and kids who didn't notice us leave the house - after dark Saturday night.

Laughing...until I nearly cried when Leisl and I got only five feet away from shore and got too scared to go canoeing after all. get out of the canoe with tipping over.

by Lori Seaborg

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Below is one of my favorite Bible passages. It is one that I turn to quite often, for I find it quite easy to worry. My worry is about finances. We have never starved or been without clothing, and yet I can worry the night away if I don't catch myself.

If it is at 3am, and something wakes me up, the devil often whispers worries in my ear. If I listen to him, I stay up all night, tossing and turning on my bed, worrying about taxes, bills, insurance, health, groceries, etc.

But if I pick up my Bible and read Luke 12:22-31, Jesus speaks to me. "Do not worry," He says. It is then that I remember that I am loved by a caring God.

This is God's promise for us:

"And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing

Say that last line out loud. You know it's true!

"Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!"

Watch the birds that come to your yard. They do not store up their food. They have to find it daily. God provides even for them.

"And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span?"

I hear Jesus' sense of humor in that line.

"If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? "

To God, adding an extra hour to your life is as easy as adding a spoonful of sugar to your morning coffee. If you can't do that very simple thing, why worry about anything?

"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!"

I grow daylilies. Each daylily opens for only one day and then closes that bud forever. Whenever my daylilies open, I say aloud, "Even King Solomon in all his finest was never dressed as one of these." Inside the lilies are beautiful details. If God dresses these flowers, which are only open for one day, in such loveliness, then how much more will He take care of you?

"And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying."

Of course, you need to shop for groceries and plan your meals, but Jesus is saying that you do not need to worry and obsess over these needs. Focus on God, focus on God's work, and He will provide your basic necessities. Have you ever been naked, without a stitch to wear? Have you ever starved? Let those worries go.

"For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. "

I think Jesus spoke tenderly when He said, "Your Father knows that you need these things." He knows. He cares. He loves you.

"But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you." (Luke

Seek God. Let Him take care of the details.

He knows that you need these things.

by Lori Seaborg

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Heard in Our House

Brenden (10) and Stone (5) had a little fight yesterday that ended in Stone crying desperately loudly until I scolded Brenden.

"Stone, I noticed that you stopped crying immediately when Brenden got into trouble. If you can stop that easily, you shouldn't have been crying." ~ me, to a perfectly fine Stone a little after the incident

"Well, I just felt better after he got in trouble!" ~ Stone

by Lori Seaborg

Write It Down Where They Can See It

In a blog I just read, written by Amanda Bennett, she wrote this tip:

" Put the ideas, scripture, or passages that you would like [your children] to learn right where they can see it. For years, I’ve been printing off these items and posting them on the doors of the kitchen cupboard, over the kitchen telephone, and in other conspicuous places that the children face several times a day. Exposure is key -- curiosity takes care of the rest!"

It should have occured to me to post these things for my children....

When I was 10-years-old, our family moved to Papua New Guinea to be missionaries. Our first house in the jungle was a temporary house, with dirt floors (until the natives wove some bamboo for it) and open windows (the natives would stare in the window screens at us all day long, as if we were in a museum). We didn't have running water or electricity. In the mornings, someone would build a fire to heat up water for the day. We used an outhouse as our bathroom.

On the interior of the outhouse door, my mother stapled different snippets of Scriptures and poems that she had torn out of magazines like Our Daily Bread. As I would sit on the plywood toilet seat, I'd read those papers she had posted. Reading the words helped keep my mind off the snakes and spiders that I imagined lived in the outhouse.

Eventually, it was time for us four kids to go off to missionary boarding school, far away from our parents and their bush house. They didn't have a phone or a two-way radio, so while at school, we didn't have communication with them. It was hard for me to adjust, after having spent my first ten years with my adoring parents.

There were many teary nights at school, when I missed my parents. We had many fun times at the boarding school, but the tears still came at unexpected moments. Sometimes the dorm parents, too overloaded with 20 kids to raise, were uncaring. When I became sick and wanted my mama to be there, the tears would come. Over the years, there were sad times when I wanted to just be with my family.

But every time I cried, God would bring comfort to me, in the words of a poem that I had accidentally memorized in that jungle outhouse:

"Regardless of the circumstance,
Regardless of the fears.
Regardless of the pain we bear,
Regardless of the tears.

Our God is always in control
Performing as He would
And He has promised in His Word
To work things for our good.

But as a loving Father should
He sometimes lets us cry,
To cleanse the hurt out of our hearts,
To wash it from our eyes.

Yet gently gathers He the tears
Within His hands to stay
Until He turns them into pearls
And gives them back some day. "

Those words were balm to my hurting ten-year-old soul.

How many times have you had a Scripture pop into your head just when you needed it most? Or a poem, or a famous saying? Only what you have memorized can come to mind! We need to give our children the gift that these memorized words bring. When they are in a tough time, it will be comforting to them to have those words.

Now, excuse me while I write down a few Scripture verses to place around the house. Maybe by the toilet is not such a bad spot.

by Lori Seaborg

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Today, August 2, 2005

In the Oven:
Peanut Butter Cookies

Sounds I'm Hearing:
Toby, the five-month-old Cocker Spaniel yelping at the vacuum cleaner, and the four kids yelping with him. Now, that's loud!

Sights I'm Enjoying:
Seeing my 12 teenage hens come home. They went missing for a couple of days, off on a woodland adventure, no doubt.

Smells I'm Smelling:
Thyme, picked from the terra cotta container it shares with aloe vera

Treasures I'm Finding:
13 eggs under the Holly Fern, after I chased "Hillary" (named after Mrs. Clinton because the hen is horribly annoying) off the nest

On the Nightstand:
"The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers" by Amy Hollingsworth

In the Craft Basket:
Handmade Journals and Photo Albums I learned how to make recently from this program: Book Making

What Made Me Laugh Sunday:
Our kids performed Sunday night at church for their VBS program. As we were getting ready, I yelled to them that they were supposed to wear jeans and a red, white, or blue t-shirt as their "costume" for the program. On the drive to church, I suddenly noticed that Tim (dh) was also dressed in jeans and a red, white and blue t-shirt. He thought I was yelling to him to dress that way! Every time I looked at him that night, I got the giggles.

by Lori Seaborg