Bible Verses for Spring!

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This little guy – every Spring – he builds a little nest inside the edge of our house where it opens somewhat to the attic with his mate.  And then he sits in this tree, always in the same spot for years now, and chirps and chirps and chirps to his little hearts’ content!

I saw him again for the first time in months and ran back inside to grab my camera and take this shot.  I adore him, and I talk to him (and probably look like a crazy lady LOL) and he stops his incessant chirping to look down and cock his head at me (likely wondering why this crazy woman tries to talk to him) and we have a moment 😀 .

He’s just so handsome!  Look at his perfectly designed, defiant and proud little bird-face!  He may be small and fluffy, but he is stout at heart I assure you!

Anyway… we always seem to have the same birds each year, at least, I think they may be the same ones.  There’s the sparrow family who produce babies under the edge of our roof, always in the same spot, there’s the red bird (cardinal) and his mate, who two years ago I caught a shot of them “kissing” as they fed each other from our makeshift feeders.

However this year I discovered a new little one when I was out early gardening.  It’s a male mocking bird – and oh what a songbird he is!

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Springtime. ❤  Here are some verses I found that stood out to me recently when savoring this season:

“The heavens declare the GLORY of God, and the skies above proclaim the work of His hands!”

Psalm 19:1

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For behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
12 The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
13 The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.”

Song of Solomon 2:11-13

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“Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.”

James 5:7

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It always fascinates me how the cycle of the new life occurs and grows so suddenly from what seems like deadness or barrenness around it.  Each year I remember the music from The Secret Garden (1993), when everything is coming alive again, and baby animals are being born.  It’s just so beautiful.

I grew up in the country, on land that was wild and breathtakingly beautiful to my childlike eyes.  I used to pretend I was inside my own secret garden 🙂 it was heavenly.

This is the song I hear in my head every Spring, though.  I’d love for you readers to listen to it.

It still gets me every year… the intricate beauty and joy of those notes!

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Stephanie

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Raising Masculine Sons

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We just had possibly the best first day of Spring Break we’ve ever had as a family yesterday!  😀

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The beauty of spring is in full swing now here in Texas, and having our oldest home this week is exciting to me as I think of all the things we’ll be able to go and do!  But… staying in our own backyard is truly such a wonderful feeling of peaceful satisfaction.

And yesterday, that’s just what we did 😀

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In the early morning, I was able to do some gardening before it got to 90 degrees (yes!  In MARCH!!! :D).  And while I was digging and planting, my husband was teaching the boys some woodwork skills.

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Yes, that’s a 3 year old using a handsaw!!!!  My husband loves using opportunities like that to teach them, and I’m so grateful… because you know I’d NEVER use a handsaw unless my life depended on it LOL!  Much less be able to actually teach our sons those skills 🙂

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The reason why I don’t do any posts on “Things I Want My Sons to Know” is because although I have a lot of influence over them in understanding femininity, I can’t teach them how to be men.  I could never “raise masculine boys” without the constant help and wisdom of my husband.

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It’s been beautiful to watch his relationship with our older son, the way he’s diligently taught him throughout the years and given him a sense of confidence in his little masculine self ❤ !!

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Reflecting on these pictures this morning, I realized how far we’ve come from that first year with our dal.  Back in 2015 when we first got him and our oldest was only 5, he had a very hard time being confident and dominant enough in his personality that the dog refused to submit to him at all!  I wrote in detail back then here, how my husband’s guidance and fatherly instructions is what was raising our son to be far more masculine than I could ever manage on my own.  

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Here’s an excerpt from 3 years ago:

My husband takes control

My husband then came into the kitchen, I explained our walk and situation… he immediately took over control and began explaining to our son frame control, and having firm authority in establishing respect with the dog.

He took over and disciplined our son for acting fearful by making him stay with puppy, even forcing him to go outside with it. My husband stayed outside with our son, explaining to him what he needed to do in order to control his fear with the dog and show dominance.

It was so incredibly reassuring and relieving to feel the weight of control and discipline shift from my mommy-role shoulders, onto my capable husband’s.  A father’s unique masculinity and fortitude are so desperately needed as parenting is a million times easier with his strength and presence taking over to instruct or demonstrate.  I watched as he stayed outside a little longer with our son and the dog, teaching how to demonstrate dominant assertiveness, so thankful for his aptitude as a father and husband.  He then came inside saying that he wanted him to play with the dog outside alone for awhile.

Our son played for a good 15 minutes with the puppy, and then ran excitedly to the door and told us that he and his dog were having lots of fun together playing.  This was a dramatic difference from when he’d be outside alone with the dog before my husband had time to teach him confidence and authority.  Before, when he’d be outside letting the dog go potty, he would immediately run to the nearest chair or higher surface in order to escape any potential play-biting or jumping of the puppy.  Him being confident with the puppy and playing with him outside for a steady 15 minutes was a breakthrough!

When it was time to eat lunch, he came back inside and my husband had our son watch a few short videos of the Dog Whisperer explaining masculine dominance and calm authority in different scenarios with difficult dogs.  It led into an interesting discussion the two of them had where my husband explained leadership, and asked our son who is in charge of our family.  Our son undoubtedly answered that it was him.  And my husband asked him why he thought that was?  “Because you’re in charge.”  My husband then explained what it meant to “be in charge,” what that looked like in different situations or even environments with different kinds of people.  He explained why our son could sense that his father was in charge of our family….

My husband explained how even without violence or force you can establish yourself as a leader in any given situation.  He described how he is assertive in our family – he simply employs a feeling of authority in his manner, body language, and voice.  He used the example of how he has managed to show our extremely stubborn and at times rebellious cats, who’s in charge.  They obey him simply by his commanding voice – and its no small feat to get a cat to listen to you and obey you.  He doesn’t use violence or brute force, however, his voice alone has the strength and authority that makes them feel like they have to obey.  (From here)

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Now it’s so different!  They can go outside and run and play soccer (our dalmatian is WICKED GOOD at playing soccer, which is funny, because he looks like a soccer ball himself!).  They are becoming admirable little men because of my husband’s leadership in guiding them in that way.

Enjoy your Spring fellow bloggers and readers!  I am SO EXCITED about the sunlight, gardening, and playing in the sand and with our athletic dal!

I hope y’all have a wonderful Spring Break as well 🙂

Stephanie

 

Feed The Birds – Kid Friendly Bird Feeders

This past week has been very interesting, with literally one strange catastrophe after another for our family.  But we’ve made it through (!!!!)… and have persevered to Easter weekend (somewhat) unscathed.  I’m so glad we’ll be able to celebrate Purim tonight and Easter.  I love Purim… and how wonderful is it that Queen Esther’s faithfulness in spite of her fear and intimidation will be celebrated the same weekend as the Hope of Easter!

Holy Holidays are so special to our family.  I wish you the best this weekend as well, whether you celebrate them or not.

 

If you’re looking for a fun and sweet project to do with your kids to celebrate Spring, making bird feeders is a fun option – and there are a variety of ways depending on what you have around your house to use or what you save.

We listened to this Mary Poppins song, and sang along with it, replayed it.  Corny, yes, but really touching at the same time.  Apparently this song was Walt Disney’s favorite song, he’d have the man who composed it, play it for him on Friday evenings when no one was there in the office.  The man kept playing it even after Disney passed away.

My older son LOVED it, and the baby liked it too 😉

 

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The were easy to place over thin branches or on the fence posts with a simple rubber band.  In hindsight, pinecones would have been perfect for this because you can easily tie a string around their stem or even the end part of their body, and hang them so that they dangle down!

But these worked just as well, and the birds were happy, so all was well!

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One of our beautiful resident doves.  My grandfather loves hearing doves whenever I go to see him and we take him outside.  His health and alzheimer’s is continuing to decline, but even on his “bad” days, taking him outside and letting him feel the warm from the sun and hear the birds cooing, changes his entire mood.

Birds and nature are just beautiful.

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So it took a day or so for our birds to find the feeders, but eventually, even our resident red bird couple found it together.  They are so sweet to watch, always with each other, wherever he is, she is not too far.  And the male sings so beautifully, you can actually sing back to them, and they just might answer you back!

We were ELATED to see them eating off of the feeders…

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Where she feeds him some of the birdseed.  Seriously… they are so romantic!

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And these pictures below were taken probably around 20-25 years ago, by my father… who also was a bird lover, and an amateur photographer 😉

I miss him taking pictures.  He was so good.

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Getting Ready to GARDEN!

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I’m insanely excited about starting our garden this year.  Since the winter wasn’t especially cold, a couple of our herbs from last year stayed fairly well.  But this Spring and Summer I’m looking forward to creating an even better garden than last!  There’s nothing so wonderful to me than creating and nurturing a vegetable and herb garden – it’s so much fun to run out barefoot to go get the things you need for a meal you’re creating, and to know that YOU grew them is just so fulfilling.  And I swear the stuff tastes better, but maybe I’m deliciously biased 😉

My mom gave me this book, Rodale is supposed to be amazing, and so far, his book has been so practical and useful.  It’s also organic, so everything that he suggests is healthy, natural, inexpensive, and easy to do for the most part.  Here is a site I found connected with his family name, called Rodale’s Organic Life.  He was a fascinating man, born in 1898 to Jewish family who immigrated to New York City.  He was a playright, editor, and author who basically was the first person to even use the term “organic” to mean grown without pesticides.  He founded an institute to study the link between “healthy soil, to healthy food, to healthy people.”  It’s great that his legacy is still going so strong today through his *son and that we can still learn from his books!

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The one really big tree we have in our yard was the home to 6 bird nests last year… yes, six!!  I’m looking forward to more birds, their singing, their babies chirping 😀 and just being in the gorgeous sunlight every day working outside.  Just this morning my boys and I spotted two red birds (a male and a female) both in the tree lol… possibly looking at what the nests have to offer!  One thing is for sure, the cats can’t ever get that high, and the birds are always happy there each year.

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Here’s out garden plot, yes, it’s empty and nothing like last year when I had to clear the entire thing from overgrown and very thickly packed weeds.  This year’s clearing will be very easy, and my older son has already started helping me using the shovel himself (tear! he’s getting so big).

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Working in dirt is SO much fun… seriously, gardening is amazing.

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Our handsome male cat looking outside, I thought it was an intriguing picture with the reflection!

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Like… OMG it feels like Spring already! lol 😀

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This was when I was working in the garden and saw he had such a peaceful look on his face.  Babies love being outside.  Our kids have been sick this week, the oldest with an ear infection and the youngest with a cold that turned into a double ear infection.  But this morning was much warmer than it has been, so we bundled up (even though it didn’t really need it) and went outside to get some fresh air after being cooped up the whole week inside.

My gorgeous boy loved it ❤

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The beautiful day did me good as well, felt all flushed and filled with happiness.

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So if you’re interested in some great gardening tips and getting outside, order your seedlings NOW before the spring rush and so that you can get a head start in your garden work and play.  That’s what we’ve been doing 😉

Blessings!

 

*Robert Rodale is the author of the book pictured, Garden Answers, and J.I. Rodale (his father) was the founder of the Rodale Institute.

Rainy Day Boots

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We love the rain!  A few weeks ago, it was raining for a couple of days… being stuck inside the house is never fun… so we went out when it stopped for awhile.  Water was still running off the roof so my son grabbed his old rain boots that don’t really fit anymore, and tried to catch water in them. 

It made for an adorable photo opp!

Sunny Day Adventures

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I’m still in a kind of funk since the miscarriage… just totally not myself.  I was told it’s one of those things where you go through all the stages of grief.  It’s hard to feel like you’re grieving for something that is misunderstood, I confess, I really don’t even understand how to deal with it.  But enough about that… life is still so beautiful.  These are some pictures of a recent adventure we went on.

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The water was so peaceful.

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Awakening of Spring

 

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I grew up in the country, literally between two city limits, and in the middle of nowhere.  It was still close enough to a town to call that our city, but it was in between.  We had some land, 6 acres that I would explore and play in.  I had a Secret Garden… I loved that movie… so there was a hidden place that was magical to me on our property.  It was majestic.

So now, every Spring I think about the music from the Secret Garden, called the Awakening of Spring, when in the movie, everything starts to burst open, life recreates itself, the earth is reborn.

Rainy Days, Spring, & Blueberry Muffins!

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I’m so happy that Spring is here, more flowers, more color, more sun!  We’ve been enjoying the weather and a little gardening recently… along with playing in the rain.  I’m eating  delicious, warm, sweet & tart blueberry muffin right now as I write this… it makes me think of Spring.  Spring is here in Texas.

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Blueberry Muffins are ridiculously easy to make, however, this recipe was doubled so it made over 24 muffins – if you want less just halve it.  Also, if you’re using fresh berries, that’s fine, but if you’re using frozen, don’t de-thaw them before adding them in.  See?  Super ridiculously easy.

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Ingredients:  Set Oven to 350’F

  • 2 cups blueberries frozen or fresh
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar + 1 tsp for each muffin top
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 4 tsps. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsps. vanilla extract

Mix all dry ingredients together first.  Whisk eggs in a cup or bowl then pour into flour mixture along with the oil, vanilla extract, and milk.  Only mix enough so that it’s all incorporated!  If you over mix, the muffins will be hard and distasteful.  Once just blended, add the blueberries and gently fold in to the mixture.

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Use cupcake/muffin liners (paper is fine) and fill each cup 3/4 full.  Add about 1 tsp (or less) sugar to each top to create a wonderful first bite impression.

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Bake for 20 minutes or until a fork inserted comes out clean.  Recipe should make about 26 muffins.

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So Spring!  So delicious!