Friday, March 26, 2010

God Keeps Score, By Adrian Rogers...

Okay, so I have been having a massive pity party over these last few days... or is it weeks? I won't go into details, but, good grief, I just came across a blog post by my bloggy friend over at The Old Geezer Blog that just made me leave this comment, "Ow-Ouch! Now that just hit home. With humble gratitude and aching heart... Thank you." Or something like that.

Please stop on by this post that made me flinch... in a good way. And feel free to browse around as he has some great thought provoking, funny, etc... stuff over there.

Today I need to dwell on having "An Attitude Of Gratitude", and by doing so, perhaps I can get back into my "groove".

Big Sigh...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nature Study Inspiration...

Okay, so I am trying not to leave many posts about blog giveaways, but I just had to leave this one. I am in a homeschool slump. I mean, I am missing the excitement and inspiration that makes the days memorable and pleasing. When I came across this site (which I found in a HomeschoolFree Stuff newsletter), I just had to mention it... It is a site that challenges you and I to learn by what we have on hand... nature. It is worth looking around to see what interests you or your kids to learn more about. I am drawn to many things, now I just need to decide what I would like us to focus on. It is great idea to utilize for the rest of this school year, but I figure it will also come in handy for over the summertime. Take a look when you have a chance. The link is just below.

You could win one of six different resources. Just leave a comment by Friday, March 26th at Noon PST and you will be entered for the giveaway.

Also, check out her new Spring Nature Study with Art and Music Appreciation ebook. The study is based on Anna Comstock's Handbook of Nature Study. A 1918 version is available for free download on Google Books. You can download the Handbook of Nature Study for free at Internet Archive. The Spring Nature Study ebook contains fifty pages of Outdoor Hour challenges, art appreciation, and music appreciation. That just might keep your kids/students busy for nearly three months!

Friday, March 19, 2010

If I Would've...

Have you ever had an "If I would've..." moment? I have plenty. Probably more than I should as many of mine involve my kids. I mean...

Today, as I left the living room downstairs to come upstairs, why wouldn't I have thought to tell my kids, "By the way, none of you had better even consider peeing in your sister's shoe"? Well, maybe, if I had considered it, it would not have happened. (And if you are wondering why it happened... He got mad at his sister and it was the only way he could think of to get back at her. Siblings!)

This same child that did this also made a very vibrant memory for me last summer... I see him chomping away at something as he is playing and ask. "What are you eating?" to which he replies, "An ant." Horrified, I exclaim, "A what? Why?" And, he says, "Because he made me mad."

Do you see what I mean?

If I would've... :-)

"Jesus, come..." Or "Let me go..."?

"God doesn't give us overcoming life, He gives us life as we overcome." by Oswald Chambers


A friend of mine shared the following quote with me yesterday. She is currently in the hospital with her daughter who is just a little younger than Miranda. Her daughter was sick with a virus for the last 2 ½ weeks, lost too much weight, and so now they are doing testing to see what is up.

Anyhow, she text messaged this to me yesterday, and I think it is quite a wonderful thought to chew on… and to grow in...

“I want to get to the point of being in a storm and not praying ‘Jesus, come on the boat and stop the storm’…but rather, ‘Jesus, let me walk on the waters with you’!!!”

May we do JUST that…

Thank you, Nicky... Thinking of you and praying...


Let us rejoice together for HIS marvellous blessings. Let us count them and stand in awe of His goodness!!! And, while we are at it, I have attached the words to a hymn that was on my heart yesterday.

Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His word,
Just to rest upon His promise;
Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

How I love to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood.
Just in simple faith to plunge me
'Neath the healing cleansing flood!

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Yes, I've learned to trust in Jesus,
And from sin and self to cease,
Now from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest and joy and peace.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

I'm so glad I learned to trust Him,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend,
And I know that He is with me,
He'll be with me to the end...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More Belated September Pictures And An Update...

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... I LOVE how this outfit came together. She loves having her hair in pigtails. She loves these sneakers. :-) So fun!!

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... Very happy!

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... Luca and Miranda waiting for the bus and enjoying some time with PapĂ  before they leave.

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... Luca and Miranda with the school in the background...

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... Luca and Miranda returning after the first day...

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... Miranda all smiles

Belated September 2009 , First few days of school... Miranda from the back, curly headed and with her Flintstones backpack on.

Belated September 2009, First few days of school... Antonio entering the 4th Grade, Giosaia entering 2nd grade...

So, we are nearing the end of this virus that has been making its rounds over here. My oldest is at the tail end of it, and should be going back to school tomorrow. Hopefully my hubby and I and the baby will not get it, that it will just pass us by. I hope so, but if not, it will pass completely, eventually.

That all said, I had a very traumatic prayer time with kids this morning. Now, many of you may not agree with sometimes being bluntly honest with kids. I mean, there are lots of conversations that complete honesty is NOT appropriate. I will not list examples, as I am sure you can come up with some on your own. But, there are times when it IS necessary to give them a good dose of honesty so that they can see that the world does NOT revolve around them. That was not my purpose this morning, but it ended up being that way.

I explained to them, in very gentle, childlike, but blunt, terms what happened (see below), and how we need to reach out with love and care to the Body Of Christ, to our brothers and sisters in the faith. I wept as I implored Jesus to touch our hearts with love, compassion, and concern, and that He would help us to be "truly thankful". I wept as I told my kids how my greatest desire for them is that they would Choose to follow Jesus with all of their hearts, souls, mind, and strength. I wept as I told them of so many people, even children, being hurt and killed because of their faith. That they stood firm because they KNEW the truth. That Jesus IS Lord.

We need to stand firmly, faithfully, with courage and strength. We need to encourage those who are being persecuted, torchured, and abused for just standing up for what they believe in, for not conforming to terrorists, dictators, and unholy holy men. Our kids DO sometimes need to see the horrors of earthquakes and tragedy, so they can also excercise the wonderful and most powerful tool of prayer. They are children, but... that does not mean that they are useless little people. Rather, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me..." Why? Because when they believe, they believe with their whole heart, with complete faith and trust, to their God. That is how we must all be.

Are we reaching out to others with the love of Christ "to the least of these"? Are we excercising our God-given right of prayer? Others are suffering to maintain their right. Are we appreciative of that or do we just burrow ourselves into our lives, pretending that everything is okay? It isn't. And I would rather that my kids grow to be great men and women for Jesus by exercising their souls to pray, reach out, care, love, grow, than to have them become the inconsistent, comatose, weak believer that I have sometimes been. I want them to know the POWER of Jesus, to be used as Samuels, Hannahs, Deborahs, Daniels... I want them to someday reach the gates of heavens, to fall into the arms of Jesus, and to hear "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." I cannot force them to decide or to choose for themselves, but I CAN and I WILL try to convince them, try to live my life in such a way, that they will want to.

(By the way, I don't let my kids see everything. No. I need to use wisdom and discernment in teaching and training my kids. Not all of my kids are ready to hear or see the horrors that occur in this world. But, I can share some tidbits with them without harming or traumatizing them. I try to watch for and take advantage of teachable moments. And I pray, all that time, that God will help me to do what is right.)

So, with that in mind, please consider praying for organizations helping those in need in various ways. Praying about how you can be proactive in reaching out to others.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Virus Upon Us, Pictures, And Hope...

(Belated September 2009) My dog,Toby... My brother-in-law found him. He had been mistreated and was super timid. Still is. But look how cute. He is name after a childhood favorite movie, Toby Tyler.

(Belated September 2009: Miranda and Dario chilling on the glider...Yes, that is a detergent container cap that she is playing with. It makes a great cup. Hah!)

(Belated September 2009)Giosaia Lost His First Tooth!

(Belated September 2009) Dario Sleeping After Eating

(Belated September 2009)

(Belated September 2009: I caught Dario eating rice from the stove. He is quick. He figured out how to climb onto the counter, was hungry, and decided he wanted what was in the pot. Good thing it was cooled off. (P.S. To keep a kid calm enough to take a picture of him while in a potentially dangerous spot... DON'T rush at him! Go calmly or he will panic as you are. Just something I had to learn the hard way.):-)

So, now we have a virus going around our kids... not so much vomitting, but really strong stomach cramps and the runs. Interesting virus. Not so comfortable. Has lasted about 4-6 days for the first two recipients. Who is next, I wonder???

Well, as much as I always seem to be sharing a new adventure in family drama or illness with you, I will tell you honestly... this winter has been quite a good one. We have had a pretty healthy fall and winter, in spite of our month long bout of the chicken pox, various colds, and some scattered viruses along the way.

There has been no bronchitis, not RSV, no pneumonia, etc... Things are not perfect, but... I will count my blessings!!!

With that, I will leave you with a few very belated pictures from September 2009!

Oh, and Spring is almost here!! Tell me that is not great news!! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ahoy There, Me Hardies!!

My pirate name is:

Calico Charity Rackham

Often indecisive, you can't even choose a favorite color. You're apt to follow wherever the wind blows you, just like Calico Jack Rackham, your namesake. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Day To Remember For Two Reasons...

March 5 is already a day of memories for me. It is the day, in 2005, when I lost the baby I was carrying. Though we are not 100% sure about baby's gender, I always felt she was a girl. So... I refer to her as Bethany Hope (aka Baby Hope). She would have been 5 this coming August, but God chose to take her Home to be with Him before I could officially meet her. I was about four months along... She was as long as my pinky...


I have mentioned before how I feel like a part of our family is missing. That has not changed. I think about my sweet child often. I have to continue living, but... I remember.

Every year I think of this particular day MONTHS in advance, knowing it is coming. It reminds me of VERY hard times. Times I am not at liberty to divulge in detail, but I assure you... It was difficult to an extreme.

I am grateful for my dear unknown child. She reminds me every day about what really matters in this life. To live a life pleasing and dependent on God, to trust in and surrender to Him, to grow in Him, to live for Him... so that, someday, I can see Jesus, AND I can see my sweet Hope. I have found comfort in knowing that she is in good company. My grandmother, my hubby's grandparents, and so many others are just basking in the presence of our loving Father. There are so many thoughts on that, but I would rather direct you to a verse that made my eyes twinkle with delight and my heart swell with anticipation...

John 8:56, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see MY day, and he saw it and was glad."

It brought hope to my heart to know that Abraham was blessed as he entered Heaven. Makes me want to go to.


On a very different note... I have a Luca Update...

Let me start with a BIG SIGH...

Friday night (today is Sunday) everyone went to church except me and the kids. For a few moments I slipped upstairs to do something before reading to the kids and then sending them off to bed. Suddenly I heard the obvious and dreaded "freaking out" scream, the kind that lets you know that, indeed, something is terribly wrong, and something is definitely not right.

I reached the top of the stairs and approached just as Luca was hobbling to the last step, with a very shocked and distressed look in his face and "It hurts! It hurts!" streaming from his mouth. WHAT!!!???

Then I saw it... A pencel bobbing up and down pierced INTO HIS KNEE!!!

I bounded frantically down the stairs, set him on the bottom stair, rushed in to where the other kids were and just grasped for understanding to what happened. All the while, Luca was screaming in pain, and I was very conscious that bedtime had approached and if I did not get the others to bed immediately, my attention to Luca would be very frustrated and full of sporadic orders to too many other little people.

Apparently, he had jumped onto the sofa knees first, and landed on a pencil that someone had left there after a time of drawing... (I kept telling them to make sure they were all picked up!! Now they know why!)

My mind was racing to so many things... bedtime, meds that had to be given out, bottles, diapers that needed to be changed, and a myriad of other details that make up the evening routine. I felt rushed, bizzarly unable to focus, and a little nauseated at the idea of having to take out the protruding pencil. I attempted several times only to have my stomach turn over. Impalement is very different to broken bones, vomitting, sprained ankles, shots, arms being crushed in bread makers, concusions, etc...

Having seen enough Maury Povich episodes to know that impaled objects should be dealt with by medical personel, I panicked knowing that I had noone to call. I do not drive yet here in Italy (my license did not transfer over from the States, and I was always pregnant or nursing so could not put my efforts into the schooling and studying needed to attain it... that is soon to change by the way...), and noone had their cell phones on or with them during the church service. (I am glad it is that way, but in that moment it was VERY inconvenient.)

I came up with a plan of sorts. I called a neighbor whose father was a doctor before he died many years ago. They rushed over just hearing that "Luca is hurt, and I need help." I was shaking and stunned that it was all real. Five minutes later they arrived.

Renato and Benedetta are their names. And they are very faithful friends. What a relief to have had someone there to help me. I really felt overwhelmed.

So, things proceeded this way more or less: Luca was still sitting on the step, crying. They went over to see him. Renato leaned down and observed his thick sweatpants wedged between the pencil and the skin. He looked, acted like he was ready to say something, and before I realized what he is doing, He pulled out the pencil. Oh, the courage I did not have. sigh...

Luca was still crying, but relieved to have the pencil out and relieved to see friendly faces. I can normally keep my composure well enough to do what I need to do. That is why I was so surprised at myself during this dramatic crisis. I did not handle the bobbing pencil image well. I rarely feel nauseated by wounds, but this time... Ugh.

Renato, sweet man that he is, helped me to evaluate Luca's knee. We determined that the pencil did not hit anything critical. Bleeding was minimal, and after cleaning it up and letting him calm down, he could bend it then walk just fine.

The offending pencil was a blunt one, which only added to my son's pain, but if it has been sharp, there would have been a GREATER chance of a piece breaking off and remaining inside, which would have caused more pain in an effort to remove it. So, everything worked out.

What relief!!

So, over these days, I have been scrounging the kitchen and living room of every possible trace of pencil or pen, and trying to make sure that the kids helped to keep them in the designated coloring area, the kitchen table. It has been quite a challenge, as Dario is very quick.

I am so glad it went as well as it did. It certainly crossed my mind how this situation could have been so much worse, but, Thank God, it wasn't. I am a little more nervous about things since that day, but... I know that God is also a faithful Lord. He kept my son safe, and He helped me to think clearly enough to do what I needed to do. I am gratful...

P.S. If you are interested in reading other posts concerning the baby we lost, click on my label called "Bethany Hope moment".

God bless you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

(Formerly "The Spices Of Life") A Rather Busy Kids' Update!!!

We are doing okay. We have the addition going up nicely. (Hope to post pictures really soon.) Looks so different from any pictures you last saw of our home.

My kids are sick right now. Well, Antonio and Giosaia. Giosaia had stomach cramping for three days now. Antonio got the croup with the “seal-like” cough and over the last two days he's had on and off fever. Luca is having issues with Asthma, for which we will soon take him to a specialist.

Miranda is home because she saw her brothers stay home and insisted she wanted to stay home, too… I am homeschooling Luca, but during these days that the other’s have been home, it has been more difficult to do so.

Dario is a full blown crazy toddler. Keeps me on my toes EVERY DAY. It is quite exhausting. He gets into EVERYTHING, and I am not exaggerating. He, Luca, and Miranda had a full blown water fight in my kitchen and living room last month. I was stunned. I had NO words, and that is very rare. At least 6/8’s of the floor was covered with water. Even above the sink on the windowsill. And, I, for a moment thought, okay it is only on the floor. Breathe. But I glanced up at the light fixture and saw some drops coming from even that!! AHHHH that was a day. So, then Dario has also poured out a whole bag of cereal (brand new) on the floor, squashed a container of milk and made it explode to the very last drop in a very large puddle, and he is quick as lightning in taking out all pans, silverware, or napkins and baggies and dragging them as quickly away from ME.

Oh, I forgot… the other night, after attempting all day to get into the refrigerator, he succeeded and grabbed…an egg. Yup, then he raced behind my treadmill. The kids all tried to rush and get it from him, but I told them no or he might panic and throw it. I crept very slowly towards him, but HE STILL PANICKED because we were all watching him. Sure enough, he threw it. PLOP!! Good thing he has strong arm so it landed about 3 feet away from my treadmill, otherwise… So… That is all for now. :-)

So, tell me, do you have any interesting stories that you would be willing to share about your kids? Please do. Laughing about those challenging moments is one of the best ways to get from day to day. :-) As frustrating as those moments were for me... I love that God has helped laughter to form healing for the stress in my heart. After all, "A happy heart is like a good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing." Proverbs 17:22)


Friday, March 5, 2010

Formerly "The Spices Of Life"!!!

I still have a lot of spice in my life, but... I have officially wracked my brain, even in sleep, to find the perfect (for now) title for this blog.

"The Altar And The Crowing Chickadees"...

First, my real name (Celita is just a nickname...) means "Altar Of Heaven", and on top of that, I am daily having to bring a sacrifice of praise to my Jesus. I want this place to be a haven for me and for you, the reader. Lay down your burden and find rest in Him.

I hope that we will grow in faith, and continue with joy on this journey of trust and surrender to God. It is not always easy, but... It is WORTH IT!!!

Lord, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, my Strength and my Redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

"The Crowing Chickadees" are my small charges who crow all day long with the force of a rooster, but when it comes down to it, are still my sweet little chicks needing nurturing, training, and much loving care and affection. Oh, how I love them!

So, with that said, I look forward to posting many more things soon.

I AM BACK!! Yay!

New Blog Name Ideas...

Okay, so as much as the title of this blog is fitting for my family, I am on the look-out for a new name. Maybe even a new look. What do you think? Any ideas out there? I think I am quitting Facebook to come back here. So much more creative space to be more expressive over here. I feel more "at home" here. So, though I know there are only a few of you who actually read this blog, please feel free to share your ideas.

I need a new revamping project. This is a great place to start, don't you think?

Well, hope you are well. And, I look forward to hearing some ideas soon...