Monday, June 30, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 7

This morning began much like the others. I got up and started the day around six o'clock. Planning on being at the house all day, I put on some comfortable clothes. I think my light pink shirt came from Burke's Outlet and the white slightly gored skirt came from Walmart.

After eating a little breakfast I didn't do too much for a little while. Caleb was playing piano for a church in town and Mother took him. Caleb and I have been blessed to have the opportunity to play for a church. It's a wonderful experience. Daddy had to go meet someone and he took Andrew with him. Soon, Esther and I were left by ourselves. Around 10:30 am, my brother Seth and his wife Ginger brought their children over for us to watch. They had some storage they needed to clean up and the kids would have been in the way. So began the adventure that always accompanies Riley and Weston, my niece and nephew. =) They are such precious children. I'm probably very partial and a little prejudiced. But that's allowed in aunts, right?

We ate lunch around 12:30 pm and played with the kids until the rest of the family got home. By then, both of the little ones were in need of naps. I sat down with Weston and let him drink some juice before I took him to my room and I lay down with him. Soon after, Mother put Riley in her bed. If that child doesn't have her nap, everyone will know. :)
I was pretty tired and after making sure Weston was asleep I dozed off for a bit. Almost 40 minutes later, I got up and left Weston asleep. Daddy (who is always tired, poor man!) was taking a nap on the sofa and the house was pretty quiet (rather unusual, but nice). Mother laid down in the living room and also took a nap and Daddy got up to start making supper. Mother's best friend from high school was in town and was coming by to visit before going home. For supper we had hamburger meat and beans with cheese dip. A favorite meal with the whole family, but not one we fix often. Mother's friend arrived soon after supper and we visited for awhile. I hadn't seen her about 4 or 6 years and it was good to see her. The skies opened and presented us with a windy downpour which Esther and I took Riley out to enjoy. My siblings and myself have inherited my mother's love of storms. There is something about the untamed wildness that is so beautiful, but still controlled by the hand of God.

Mrs. Cline (Mom's friend) left soon after the storm ended. Seth and Ginger had come back while she was still here and they stayed and we chatted for a little while longer. Then they left as well.
We had some ice cream and watched the second volume of Great Expectations. It was after 10 pm when we got to bed. Esther wanted to read her book, so I left the light on for a little bit, but eventually I begged her to let me sleep and she gave in. =)

I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about my interesting week. It seemed to pass so fast. Mother was laughing and joking about how I've probably posted more in the past week than all my other posts together. ;) I look forward to doing this again in the future.

The Daily Disciplines: Devotions

The first daily discipline we want to discuss is that of devotions. Only by seeking God and growing in Him can we hope to be disciplined in other areas of life, for it is only in His strength that we can do things that are worthwhile.

Often, if I neglect or forget to have devotions, I find the whole day going wrong. I feel stressed, things don't work out right, and I don't have a restful or peaceful outlook on life. When I realize what I left out of my day, and sit down to spend time with God and in His Word, my soul is calmed; I continue the day, maybe not completely stress-free, but with a better outlook on life, as I've turned my heart and mind to Christ. This isn't to say that devotions are somehow a magic cure-all, but that by including them in your routine, you will be amazed at what a wonderful difference they make.

I am blessed to have parents who instilled in me the discipline of daily devotions. Even before we could read, Mom would read us Bible stories and sing songs with us, and we'd always sit in on family devotions. As soon as we could read, we were taught to spend at least a little time reading the Bible in the morning. In fact, we were told not to read any other books until after we'd read the Bible - a big motivation for this voracious reader! In addition to personal devotions, we were taught to contribute to family devotions by reading the assigned chapter and answering whatever question format we were following at the time. When very young, we only had to answer maybe one or two of the questions, but as soon we were expected to grow capable of more.

The practice of reading the Bible and the love for God's Word that my family instilled in me is something I am so grateful for. With God's help, I have continued this practice nearly every day of my life. However, one trap that I can fall into is to "do devotions" simply for the sake of doing them. I have to constantly remind myself to do them with the purpose of meeting with God and learning more about Him, instead of doing them every day just to say that I've done them. ("Devoted to Devotions" is a good post to check out on this topic.)

We all know that having daily devotions is a good thing. So, how and where do we start? At New Attitude, they told everyone a great way to be consistent in devotions every day: Find a time, a place and a plan. It may be different for every person, but by finding something that works for you and disciplining yourself to do it every day, you will build a habit that's hard to break.

To help in discussion, I'd like each of you to share your time, place, and plan. Everyone is different, so one person's plan won't always work for the next person. However, by sharing your plans, someone may get ideas that will hep them develop their own.

I'll go first:

My time for devotions is right after I get up, which I aim to be 6 a.m. Like everything else, it doesn't always happen, but I try to be consistent with it. I find that by starting my day in God's Word, I am much better prepared to face the challenges and opportunities of the day ahead. By beginning with God, my focus is placed on Him. It's not to say that having devotions in the afternoon or evening is bad (everyone's schedules are different!) but, for me, I find that mornings are best. And, by doing devotions first thing, I am more likely to do them. If I put them off, it's a lot easier to forget them or let the busyness of the day crowd it out.

As far as the length of my devotions, it really depends on what I read that day, if I need to be somewhere at a certain time, or just however long I feel like I need. It's on average 30 minutes to an hour.

Early mornings, however, can sometimes be hard. sometimes I am so tired or drowsy that it's hard to stay awake, much less focus on learning something from God's Word! Sometimes getting dressed first helps. But usually, a lot of it depends on the place. During the colder months, I would often have a hard time keeping my eyes open and applying my mind to what I was reading. A lot of it was a result of where I was having devotions: in my bed, propped up with pillows, under a pile of blankets. I did it because I was cold! We heat with wood, and it was very chilly in the house before the fires were started. But, if I made myself get out of my soft warm bed and sit in a chair (still wrapped in a blanket so that I wouldn't freeze to death!) I was able to have a much more focused quiet time.

It's easier now that it's wam, but I still find that if I stay in my nice cozy bed, I get quite drowsy. So, I try to make the place of my devotions a chair in my room or the swing outside.

My plan changes from time to time. When I was 8, I started following a read-through-the-Bible-in-one-year plan, and I've read through the Bible once a year since then, though not always following the same plan. This year, I've kind of made up my own plan: I read 1-3 chapters in the Old Testament, starting in Genesis and going straight through, and 1-2 chapters in the New Testament, starting in Matthew and going straight through. Currently I'm in Ezra and Galatians. I also alternate between Psalms and Proverbs each month. One month I'll read a chapter of Proverbs each day, corresponding to the date, and another month I'll read 5 Psalms corresponding to the date. (For example, on the 1st I'll read Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, and 121, on the 2nd, Psalm 2, 32, 62, 92, and 122, etc. You just keep adding 30 to the original Psalm corresponding to the date.)

This year, in all my reading, I'm trying to write down each verse I find about purity, waiting, and trust, organized in a special notebook. I also have a prayer journal, and try to find a verse or two from my reading to really meditate on and pray through. I've found that writing prayers helps keep my mind more focused, though I try to spend some time in concentrated silent or out-loud praying. I also find that writing down Scripture helps me remember and learn more.

Then there's preparing for family devotions, which we try to have each week day. Currently we're reading through Isaiah, each of us writing down then sharing what we learn about God from that chapter.

Most of my reading is from the Bible, as I like to learn things straight from the source. However, devotional books can be good as well, and I currently read a page in His Princess at the beginning of my devotions, and pray through a prayer in The Valley of Vision at the end.

So, what is your time, place, and plan? Please share it with us! It may be elaborate or simple, depending on which season of life you're in. It's just important that you make sure you spend some time having personal devotions each day. It will greatly help your outlook on life and give you tools and the strength you need to do other daily disciplines with the Lord's help.

Also, if you'd like, share what you're currently reading in God's Word right now, and what you are learning from it!

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 7

Sunday morning found me sleepily trying to make myself wake up as the clock read 8:15 a.m. Finally, I dragged myself out of bed, and quickly started getting ready for church. I ironed and dressed, fixed my hair, had quick devotions, ate, then had Jubilee take pictures. She and Dad have been so kind to take pictures this past week, though I know they'll be glad it's over and they don't have to every day anymore! =)

I wore a dress I'd made in August 2006 using the Simplicity pattern #9597, which I believe is out of print, though you may be able to find it online. I added the sash and ruffle to it, which makes it fun.

I really like the long length - it feels so elegant! And, the material is light, so it's really not that hot, even in summer. Especially when the air conditioning in church buildings is usually rather cold!

We left around 9:15 a.m. and went to Fountain of Grace, a Christian and Missionary Alliance church about 20 minutes from us. We went to it for four years when I was 8-12, and have recently started going again, after a few years of home church and other fellowships. I really enjoy the people there, the teaching and the worship. I go to the adult Sunday School class with my parents, and have really learned a lot! The service generally lasts until after noon, and I enjoy the whole of it. I truly feel at home among this body of believers.

We didn't arrive back home until 2:30 p.m., as we fellowshiped with friends, then waited while mom and Miriam decided on Wedding and Groom cakes with the lady from church who is going to make them. Then, since it was so late, we stopped by Taco Bell for a quick lunch. At home, I posted about Saturday's day, then edited pictures and did things online until it was time to leave again at 3:45 p.m.!

We actually currently go to two different churches as a family. We've gone to Holy Spirit Anglican Church for 2 years, and it now meets at 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon. It is a smaller body of believers, but I have enjoyed getting to know the people there. Jubilee and I often accompany the worship leader on our flute and violin, but this Sunday there was a guest worship leader.

We arrived home around 6:30 p.m. and I enjoyed talking on the phone to Elijah for a few minutes. I miss him while he's away, working at JAARS this summer. Then I wrote the Daily Disciplines post for Monday (I'll post it later on today!). While eating our Sunday night traditional fare of popcorn, peanuts, and raisins (and a few chocolate chips!) we once again enjoyed playing Chicken Feet as a family. Time flew away from us, and, finishing the game at 10 p.m. (!) I quickly did dishes and got ready for bed.

I hope you enjoyed getting this glimpse into my week! I hope I haven't bored you too much with all the details. =) If any of you want to do a "Through the Week in Feminine Dress" on your blog, be sure to let us know - I'd enjoy reading it!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 6

I got up at the usual time this morning. Getting some coffee, I sat down to drink it and fully wake myself up. Today I wore a khaki skirt we got at Walmart last year and a button-up shirt that was given to me years ago. It's been on of my favorite shirts and I'm saddened that it has been relegated to a work shirt.
Daddy and the boys were working on clearing out some of our woods and I decided I wanted to go help. I went down and started raking, but realized if I was going to work then I needed something I didn't mind getting dirty. So I ran up to the house and changed into my denim skirt then ran back down to start working again.

Needless to say, they thought I was crazy to be hauling brush and push-mowing with a skirt on, but it's not impossible. I found it quite easy to work with. Daddy ran out of diesel for the tractor we were using, so he and I drove to Tallassee (the nearest town) to get some fuel. We came back and worked some more. Around 11 am, I walked up to the house for a little break from the heat. I was about to eat some lunch but I noticed that they were about to light the fire, so I went back down to help drag more brush out and throw it on the fire.

Finally, we came up for lunch and air conditioning. After lunch, the guys went back to work but I stayed up in the house.

I sort of lazed around for awhile (hey, it's Saturday) then Esther and I started messing around. If you don't watch us we get into trouble sometimes. =) Then I read for a little bit.

In the late afternoon, Mother started getting supper ready while I finished something I needed to do on the computer. For supper we had fish sandwiches. Quite good. Mother had made a pound cake earlier in the afternoon and that was dessert. Mom makes the best pound cakes.

After supper, I cleared the kitchen while some of the kids got cleaned up. I felt really dirty after working outside (and sweating buckets), so I took a quick shower as well.

I had brought home from the library, the movie Great Expectations and we watched the first volume of that (there are three). After that it was time for bed. I sat in bed reading for a while before lights out.

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 6

Intending to sleep in late and rest up well, I was a bit chagrined to wake up soon after 7 a.m. on Saturday. After tossing and turning, my body still tired but my mind wide awake, I decided to get up and start on the day. After all, starting earlier helps more things get done!

Usually I try to do devotions first thing, before I get distracted by other events of the day. However, since I got up early enough, I decided to make muffins for breakfast before Miriam left for the car wash I thought she was helping with. So, I showered, picked some fresh blueberries, then started quietly making Malt-o-meal Blueberry Muffins since half of the household was still sleeping. While mixing up the dry ingredients, I noticed a note on Miriam's door telling us that she wasn't going to the car wash and wanted to sleep late. Oops! However, I decided to finish the muffins since I'd already began... I did devotions as they cooked, then enjoyed eating with the family, who had all awakened to the sound of the oven or the smell of the delectable breakfast!

This Saturday I wore clothes that, incidentally, both turned out to have been my sister Miriam's at one time! I always enjoy wearing hand-me-downs from sisters - they always seem to fit better then clothes I buy at stores! The skirt I've had for a long time, and is comfortable and practical. The shirt Miriam recently gave me, since she didn't really like how pink it was, while I really enjoy clothes in my favorite color!

The first part of the morning was spent rather lazily, on the computer for quite a while. Then I got things done I'd been unable to do the day before because of being out all afternoon. I practiced piano, swept the kitchen, and straightened my room. Then I began to sew the sleeves for Miriam's wedding dress while Jubilee kindly made BLTs for lunch.

After lunch Miriam modeled her wedding dress to try the sleeves and help us figure out how much we needed to take it in. Alterations can be rather hard, but I'm glad that I can do it for her. I soon began the long process of undoing the side seam lining, removing the tiny beads along the top and waist in the area that I needed to take it in, while making sure I reinforced those beads that we didn't want to come off - I could just see them all began to pop off - something that thankfully didn't happen! I took in one side seam, but soon ran into a little trouble, deciding to wait to finish until I asked her a few things first.

I've been rather negligent in practicing flute lately. Part of it is not having motivation because I'm not taking lessons or in a band this summer, part of it is my own laziness! I purposed to do it on Saturday, however, and enjoyed it. The flute is truly a beautiful instrument.

While waiting for the family to prepare to leave, I read for a few minutes, then we headed off for a fish fry at church to help raise money for the short-term trip to Peru that Miriam and many others are going on. I have to admit, I don't really like fish, but I at least ate a little! I enjoyed reading in the car on the way there - you have to fit it in every spare moment! ;-)

Miriam then treated us to go see the movie Wall-e in the theater. After hearing many recommendations, we'd decided to go. It was cute, but there didn't seem to be much point to the story. It was entertaining, (it's amazing what they can do with digital animation these days!) but it wasn't a movie that left you wanting to see it again.

We were all rather tired by the time we got home, so we played Chicken Feet (a dominoes game) as a family for about an hour. After a little reading, I clicked my lamp off at 10:15 p.m. - exhausted.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 5

Friday 27, June '08
This day began much like the others, around 6 o'clock. Soon after Daddy left for work, I took a shower and got ready for a busy day. I had a flute lesson at 10 a.m. about 45 minutes away which meant we left the house pretty early. I wore a shirt we got on sale (always nice!) at Walmart and a skirt I had just gotten on Wednesday. Mother got it really cheap at Sam's.

After my lesson, we went to Burke's Outlet to see if we could find some good deals. As is turns out, we got quite a few. We found two skirts that were alike but different colors, and two different tops. One of them was a neat find, because it's hard to find certain styles that aren't too low in front, but I found this one that was perfect. Next stop, Walmart. As I and two of my siblings are leaving for camp in one week, I needed to get a few things. Except for one thing, I'm all ready to go.
Once our shopping was done, we headed home. After a late night and early rise, I had a slight headache, so I lazed around for awhile. Then I made myself do my blog post. When I finished that, I went to hide in my room and read a book I had brought home from the library. As I've been trying to find books that my younger siblings can read, I have been checking out different books in the juvenile section. It didn't take me too long to finish and I took a catnap before we had to leave. I dragged myself from the wanted sleep and got ready. I had gotten something on my shirt, so I changed into my sleeveless blue top. I knew it was going to be warm, so I wanted to be comfortable.

My cousins, who are in choir with us, wanted to get the choir together for some pizza and music.

My cousin and I.
It ended up only about one-third of the choir came, but it was still fun. We had about five guitarists and lots of voices singing praise and worship music. I really enjoyed it.

My crazy uncle (Mother's baby brother), Esther and I.

Gradually, everyone left but my family and another family of good friends. Esther, our cousin, and I went back to her room and chatted for a little bit, until it was time for us to leave as well. We arrived home around 11:45 pm. Yikes, another late night!

There was going to be no reading this night. Almost as soon as we got home, I brushed my teeth and crawled into bed. I remember nothing after that. =)

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 5

Friday was also a day spent out, though I didn't think I'd be out as long as I did! I didn't get much done, but we did get some good shopping in!

I wore a casual summer outfit - a pleated jean skirt I found at a thrift store for $3 and a floral shirt I found at Walmart. It's so hard to find nice ones, I often buy one if I do!

I woke up to my alarm at the regular time of 6 a.m. and once again went outside to do devotions. It's so lovely out there in the early morning - so refreshing in the coolness! The morning seem to fly by too quickly, as I did the regular stuff. I cleaned my room and did a bunch of random essentials.

Too soon, it was time to leave. Mom, Jubilee and I went to Miriam's work to a bridal shower the ladies there gave her. It was fun to meet her friends, the food was great, and the gifts were very generous! I recorded who gave her what so that she has a nice list when she sends out thank-yous.

After the shower, we spent the whole afternoon shopping! We don't often go into that part of Montgomery, so while we were there we went to a lot of stores: Walmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Hobby Lobby, and Hancock's. I looked for fabric for costumes, finally finding some green camo-type stuff that the army will have tunics made out of for "Fat Fat Jehoshaphat". Jubilee found fabric for 3 dresses, as I will be teaching her to sew before I leave for college. At the other two stores, Jubi and I thankfully had books and found places to sit - lawn chairs or porch swings on display for sale at stores are very comfortable places to sit! =) I was a bit sleepy and sluggish; shopping often does that to me, and the summer heat doesn't help! ;-)

Arriving home at 5:30 p.m. all three of us set to work making hamburgers for supper. We ate, then Jubilee and I left for church, where the "Women of Grace" were having a movie night, showing End of the Spear. I was quite familiar with the story, having read books and seen Through Gates of Splendor, but this movie again brought the story to life. It was touching and heart-rending to see the sacrifice and service of the missionaries.

I was expecting to have dishes awaiting me at home, so when I walked through the door I was pleasantly surprised to see that mom had washed them for me! (Thanks again, Mom!) So I soon head for bed, reading and journaling, then turning out the light rather late, happy that I didn't have to set an alarm for the next day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 4

Thursday 26, June '08

At 6 a.m., I dragged myself from the depths of slumber to the sound of Daddy calling my name. "Girls, it's time to get up!". I will admit that I was very tired and that I rather wasted my morning instead of pushing myself to get a move on the day. As it takes me awhile to write something, a lot of time went into writing yesterday's post. I'm wearing a dress that Anna made me for my fifteenth birthday, as well as a matching one for herself. It's one of my favorite dresses!

I also got my piano practice done, but didn't get to my flute. Definitely one of those sluggish days.

I decided that I was at least going to get some schoolwork done, so I pulled my history books out and sat down to read. I really enjoy reading about history, in textbooks, nonfiction and historical novels (if it's accurate).
Mother asked me to cut some chicken for supper, so I began to do that. I mixed Cream of Chicken with rosemary seasoning and poured it over the chicken. We baked it in the oven and ate it over brown rice. It was quite good!
After supper, I went upstairs and finished the waist on my culottes and came downstairs to finish getting Esther's ready.
Yes, we made more coffee ice cream. It was so good the first time that Daddy begged for more. =) And yes, I was up late again because of the caffeine effect. But Esther and I chatted until we finally fell asleep, so it wasn't so bad. Except for waking up the next morning... :)

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 4

Thursday day dawned like all the others. I was very sleepy when I got up, and knew that doing devotions in my room or on my bed would most likely result in me falling back asleep, so I headed outside to the porch swing, armed with my Bible, devotional books and notebooks, and a jacket so I wouldn't freeze. The morning was absolutely beautiful, and being outside in God's creation helped me focus more on Him. It's nice to enjoy that cool part of the day before the sun makes everything scorching hot!

My morning routine was much the same: shower, blueberries, breakfast, computer, family devotions, etc. I filled my little basket with blueberries - they're popping out all over the bushes now! I also practiced and did some piano theory in preparation for my lesson, and gathered together everything I'd need for the long day ahead. Thursdays are definitely my busiest days!

On this day I wore a light and very comfortable dress that mom found on sale at either Goody's or Belk. I like how "fluttery" it is. =) The one downside is that clothes these days don't seem to be made as high quality - I had to re-hem the skirt and sleeves because the tiny thread that had hemmed it just came right out!

I left the house at 10:50 a.m., eating lunch on the go, and stopping to get gas and deposit checks at the bank on my way to piano lesson, which I have every-other week. Finishing at noon, I dropped by the post office and Walmart, then went to the church building where I teach.

I teach 3 classes this summer, from 1:15 - 4 p.m. The classes have been smaller, with many people quite busy this summer, and most days quite a few girls are missing. However, I have fun with those that can make it, and we enjoy dancing together and learning new steps and techniques to praise God with dance!

Aren't they cute? =) These are two of my 4-year-olds - the other girl in that class didn't make it that day. We had an activity of making crowns, talking about how we are princesses - daughters of the King of Kings.

As my dance students left, Jubilee was dropped off at the church while mom and dad went shopping. She practiced and read, and I prepared for the evening's musical rehearsal, planning what we'd do, and looking through costumes. I ate my packed supper and read, and enjoyed playing "Fur Elise" on the beautiful piano. As Jubi and I cleared the stage, people began arriving for the rehearsal of "Fat Fat Jehoshaphat" from 6:30 - 8 p.m.

The rehearsal went really well - everyone is doing great for it only being out second time to go through the musical! There are, of course, challanges, but I really enjoy working with everyone. Though I was quite tired after dance, once I started directing, I was energized and had a great time, all the while trying to keep track of what all 25 people were doing on stage. We have 2 dads playing parts, and it's been a great blessing to have them there to help give suggestions (they're both great actors and have done many dramatic productions).

After cleaning up, we headed home, as the exhaustion began to hit me! Here I am one tired Anna! After checking my email, I headed for bed, feeling like I was going to drop. Daddy was very kind to massage the soreness out of my back, though as I finally lay in bed, I still felt pretty achy! After finishing World Magazine (these thicker issues take a lot longer to read all the way through!) I turned off the light at 10:17 p.m.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 3

Wednesday 25, June '08

Daddy came to wake Esther up at 5:30 am because she was going to work with him and I woke up as well. I decided to go ahead and get up. It's always easier than going back to sleep (at least, for me it is). The morning is my usual time for getting on the computer and getting all my main stuff checked, so I got something to drink and sat down to check my email and the blogs I read the most. After eating breakfast, I took a shower and put on a brown flared skirt that I got at Walmart last year. I also slipped a blue t-shirt, intending to change it before I left for work.
One of Mother's stipulations for being able to work at the library is that I get music practice done before I leave, so next I practiced piano. There's something about motivation. ;)

After piano, I practiced flute. Sometimes running all the scales can be fun, sometimes it is tedious, always depending on the mood I'm in. It wasn't so bad this time, though I was slightly hurrying to be done.

I changed into a light blue sleeveless top I found a Goody's last year. It's always hard to find modest sleeveless tops, so I was delighted with my find. Then I headed for the library. Once arriving, I again shelved books before we opened. Once we opened, I really didn't a whole to do until 2 o'clock when the program would start. So, I checked my email and blog, then ate lunch. I walked around the library for a little bit and went down to the basement (always an interesting place), which resulted in a neat find. I found a movie called LadyHawke which my parents had told me about but I had never seen it, so I got the movie to take home. I was sitting at the main desk when the children began to pour through the doors and for the next hour, I was busy checking books in, checking books out and highlighting the kids book logs.

Our bug jars on the library wall. There are four other walls covered in jars.

When the program ended and the storm (I mean, kids) left, we all sat and took deep breaths. Then Mrs. Sharon (our librarian) , Matt (another volunteer), and I walked into the our children's section of the library to look at the "damage". When 100+ kids romp and play in a room at the same time, it's bound to look pretty bad afterwards. Books falling off of shelves and toys all over the place, as well as a desk mounted high with books needing to be put up. It took us about the next two hours to put everything up. It's so nice to see it once it's clean.

Mother picked me up around 5:15 pm and we headed home. Mom and Dad had fixed chicken and sweet potatoes for supper and I was quite hungry. Esther had a late violin lesson, so she and Mother left for that and I cleaned up the kitchen while listening to Casting Crowns. Once done with that, I sat down at the computer for awhile to get some things done.

When Esther and Mother got home, we watched the movie I brought home from the library. It was pretty interesting. Then we all turned in for the night. I stayed up a little while reading, then my eyes began to close, so I too turned out my light.

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 3

I quite sleepily got out of bed when my alarm announced it was 6 a.m. I need to go to bed earlier! A lot of you are asking how I get up so early. Well, reminding myself of how I ultimately feel better and get more accomplished helps me stay awake, and often just taking the first step of getting out of bed helps a ton! I don't always succeed - in fact last week, for various reasons and late-nights, I got up later on a lot of the days. And, posting about my day this week helps give me motivation to get up and get going. =)

It took me a little longer to do my morning routine, devotions, getting dressed, picking blueberries, and enjoying blueberries and peaches on my cereal. Yum!

On Wednesday I wore one of my favorite pink floral shirts, and I don't really remember where I got it. I think it may have been Walmart or Burke's - not sure! =) I wore a skirt I made for a girl in the Ruth musical who then didn't end up being in it. She was a younger and shorter girl (I'd made it ankle-length for her) but it ended up fitting me just fine and being a nice cool skirt for summer. I like how full and light it is! I also Frenchbraided my hair, keeping it off my neck and out of my face for the day.

In the morning, I spent quite a bit of time online, catching up on others' blogs and posting on this one. Reading the Rebelution, I saw that they'd posted a link to their father's sermon at Bethlehem Bible Church. Knowing that if I tried to listen and browse the web at the same time I wouldn't be listening fully, I instead got my cross stitch project and enjoyed embroidering while I listened. The message was really good! But that's no surprise - I enjoy pretty much anything that one of the Harrises put out. =) It was beautiful how Mr. Gregg Harris praised his wife, his Proverbs 31 Woamn. I thought it very true when he said that the work of young people in the home is our training ground for our future. We should work hard and labor diligently! I have been blessed to be able to walk with my wise parents - I'm so thankful for them including me in their life. Though the message was mostly aimed at parents, I enjoyed getting ideas and tips for the day when I may be a parent.

Then there were other little things and reading in my various books as well as doing Memlock.

After lunch I set to work cleaning the living room and entry way. I was having a fun and energetic time until I went outside to shake the rugs. While shaking one, I accidentally stepped on a yellow jacket that I didn't see, which hurt really bad! You should have seen the look on Jubilee's face when she saw me bounce in the door, down the stairs, and to the freezer for ice, all on one leg! =) I quickly explained what had happened, which made her loose her bewilderment and start laughing, saying, "It's a strange sight to see Anna bouncing through the kitchen!" When my foot was numb from the ice, I went back outside to finish shaking rugs then swept inside. My foot continued to hurt through the afternoon, but the pain gradually went away.

I did various little to-dos, then sewed for a while, completing the bodice of the third bridesmaid's dress. I took time to plan the music and moves for teaching the next day, then set to work on the sleeves of the dress. As I was ironing them (we have the ironing board in the living room) my sister Miriam walked in - at 4:20 p.m. My face showed shock when she told me she had quit work - her joke worked! Rather, she had come home early because the power went out at her office. She had some costumes to sew for the drama team she's on, so she started those while I attempted to change the thread on my serger to the wooly nylon thread to make rolled hems. It's hard to fit that kind of thread through the little holes in the needles! I only got one through after quite a lot of trying, and went to complete supper.

I'd already put the potatoes on to boil, so I set about making the rest of Shepherd's Pie. As soon as I slid it into the oven, piled with the fluffy mashed potatoes, I quickly washed the mixing bowl, dried it, and made Corn Bread Muffins. As they cooked, I made salad, then again, unsuccessfully tried to thread my serger. Everything turned out well for supper (trust me, it doesn't always!) which was good, for Mom and Dad were bringing half of it with them to Bible study.

After enjoying the yummy food, Miriam, Jubilee, Rachael (Jubi's friend who was over for the day) and I played two games of Dutch Blitz. It was so much fun! I won the first game, then Miriam won the second, though Jubilee was close behind!

After Dutch Blitz, I succesfully threaded my serger (yes!) after Miriam reminded me to tie are regular piece of thread to the wooly nylon thread, then thread with the regular thread, pulling the wooly thread through. It worked wonderfully the first time - why didn't I think of it earlier? ;-) It took a while to figure out the right settings for the rolled hem, but eventually I found the right balance of thread tension and cutting width, and serged the neck of a costume Miriam had made and the sheer overlay of the two flower girl's dresses. The rolled hems look great!

As Miriam ironed velcro onto her costumes, I checked some things online, and researched how we would add sleeves to Miriam's wedding dress. Miriam told me about the website she'd found,, and their Modest Prom Makeovers had exactly what we were looking for, with a free printable pattern to add cap sleeves to her strapless dress (she'd gotten it for a really good deal!). We made some test sleeves out of some costume satin I had, figuring out what fabric we would need, etc. It's going to be beautiful. =)

It's was around 9:15 p.m. but I hadn't had time to practice piano during the day, so I did that, talked some with the family, then got ready for bed, reading some in World Magazine, and turning out the light at 10:13 p.m.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 2

I want to apologize for getting this out so late. I wanted to do it this morning, but I had to leave for work and didn't have time.

I woke up at about 6:45 am this morning. Dragging myself to the kitchen, I got a cup of coffee (yes, I love the stuff!) and sitting down, I finished my book. Then I put on my denim tiered skirt and button-up blue blouse. I bought the skirt at Walmart a couple of years ago and the blouse I received from someone many years ago. Yet another all-blue outfit. =) Note the sleepiness of my face. I'm still really tired. After staying up late the night before, I was a little sleepy the next morning.
After getting dressed for the day, I practiced a little piano and flute. Then I got on the computer for about 25 minutes before our piano teacher arrived for lessons. I took my lesson first so that I could go to work. After my lesson, I got together my things and left for the library (where I work and one my favorite places!). I wanted to get pictures at work, but didn't get a chance. Before we opened, I shelved books to make space for the books that would inevitably arrive throughout the day. At about 12 o'clock, the other volunteer showed up and we got to work on the Summer Reading Program. As the name of the program is "Catch the Reading Bug!", the children get little bugs glued onto paper jugs for each book they read or class they attend. So, we get to glue the bugs on the jars...and believe me, by the end of the day you wouldn't want to see another bug for the rest of your life. =) I wanted to get pictures of working at the library, but I was too busy. Oh well.

About six o'clock, Mother picked me up and we headed to Prattville for band practice. Mother had made me a grilled cheese for supper to eat on the way. By this time, I was wishing I could go home and fall in the bed, but I pulled myself together for practice. Mother was able to snatch a picture at the end of practice, but please excuse my looks. I look the way I feel at that moment in the picture.

Thankfully, band practice ended about 20 minutes early, so we got home about 9:45 pm. I got ready for bed and turned out the lights but I couldn't go to sleep for the longest, so I read a little bit, then tried to sleep again. It was still about 11 pm when I actually fell to sleep.

Yay! I finally got Tuesday posted. Now I have to put Wednesday's post together.

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 2

On Tuesday the alarm again sounded at 6 a.m. and I sleepily got up. Staying up late the night before doesn't make you want to wake up, but I knew that I'd feel better if I did. And, sure enough, just getting out of bed made me start to feel awake and ready to go. I did devotions and showered, then headed outside to pick some blueberries.

I couldn't get a full-length shot since I was the only one up, but I thought it neat that I could get my shadow in the picture. =) The blueberries were delicious (I'm finding more each day!) and the stillness of the morning is beautiful. The sun felt great in helping to dry my hair!

For my outfit of the day, I wore a blouse that I'd gotten at K-Mart 4 years ago - it still fits and has lasted well. My skirt was one Mrs. Hart found on sale for $7 at Walmart a year ago, and was kind enough to pick one up for me as well as for Miriam.

The morning passed quickly. It's always amazing to see how fast time flies! I prepared for the musical rehearsal in the evenign, read quite a bit, did things online, practiced piano, and participated in family devotions, plus a lot of little things, straightening my room, etc. I then quickly straightened my room-of-the day and helped get out sandwich fixings for lunch.

The afternoon too passed quickly. I enjoyed writing three letters - to my sister Lydia, my penpal Anna, and the girl I recently learned would be my roommate at college in the fall. Lots of little things and a little more reading filled up the time.

Around 3:20 p.m. I began to make supper. We were all going to be out and about, so I made something that would be easy to eat on the go: Pizza Pockets! I use my favorite pizza dough recipe and put the toppings on small rolled-out portions of dough, folding in the ends. I wrapped them in foil while they were piping hot, and packed some for Jubilee and I to take as we drove to her lesson then on to musical rehearsal, some for Mom to take for her and Miriam as they met with some people to plan decorations for the wedding reception, and some to leave home for Daddy to eat before he came to the rehearsal in the evening.

See, they're easy to eat on the go, and quite delicious!

The first rehearsal of the musical I'm directing called "Fat Fat Jehoshaphat" was from 6:30 - 8 p.m., and it went really well! Everyone did great on the first run through. Daddy was kind to run the sound, Miriam helped us find the right mikes to use, and Jubilee is in the musical as one of the Levites.

We ran a little over-time, then Jubilee and I put things back on the stage and eventually arrived back home, getting in around 8:45 p.m. It was fun to find a letter from my penpal Ella waiting for me, then there were dishes to tackle and things to discuss with my sister Miriam. I read a few chapters in an interesting book before bed, so the light didn't go off until 10:30 p.m. Late, I know!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Miriam's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 1

My day began rather late, actually. Daddy left for work early and I forgot to set my alarm clock. I think it was around 7:45 am when I got up. By the way, that's late for me. The rest of the house didn't wake up for a while, so I got some coffee and read a book until the others got up.
I wore a matching outfit I got on sale at Goody's last summer. A light summer skirt and matching top, and of course in my favorite color.
After having a late breakfast, Mother started cutting out fabric for culottes. She showed me how to sew them together (quite easy!) and I got to work. It didn't take me long to mess it up and so I pulled out the seam ripper and fixed my mistake. I got my culottes done all except for hemming the legs and sewing the elastic in the waist. I started to work my sister's pair. I was doing pretty good until, yes, I messed up again. This time it took a little longer to fix. By this time, it was late afternoon and I decided to leave the sewing for awhile.

My wonderful Mother made some green salad and we had that and leftover spinach quiche for supper. My brother Joel and his girlfriend Racheal came over to eat with us. After supper, Joel, Racheal and some of the kids went down to our pathetic excuse for a creek. =) Joel decided he wanted to chop down a unwanted pine tree, so he got busy. There's something about showing off for girls (one in particular). Daddy wanted to make some homemade ice cream, so Mother and I mixed up the "cream" part while Joel went to get some "ice". Anna, we made coffee ice cream and it was soooo good! =) Mmmm... I won't comment on how late it kept me up, though. ;)

I didn't get many pictures, but I'm hoping to get more on the rest of the days. I mostly sewed today, though. I'm excited about doing this for the rest of the week.

Anna's Week of Feminine Dress - Day 1

Yesterday started bright and early with my alarm going off at 6 a.m. My body wouldn't have minded sleeping later, but it was nice to get up and get an early start on the day! I had devotions and dressed, then headed outside to enjoy some blueberries right off the tree. They're a great early-morning snack! Though not too many were ripe, I brought what I found inside in a little basket for others to enjoy as well.

While Daddy made oatmeal, I quickly straightened up my room, then ate breakfast with him. He's so kind to make oatmeal on many mornings - it's very satisfying and sticks with you all morning!

Today I wore a dress my sister brought back from West Africa for me. The mother of the family she helped homeschool had had it made for her there, but no longer wanted it. It's very comfortable and light! I like the simple style of the dress, and the pretty blue color.

After breakfast I set to work making bread. After making it usually at least once a week for so long, I memorized the recipe long ago, and have fun working with it. It's always amazing how it seems to turn out a little different each time, even if you follow the same steps! (Yes, I do stand on my tippy-toes while I knead it - it gives me the few extra inches to be at a comfortable height to punch the bread.) This time I cooked it a little too long because I either forgot to set the timer or was engrossed in what I was doing and didn't hear it. =) Though a little more brown then usual, it tasted fine! We enjoyed it for lunch - fresh, warm bread spread with a little honey is delicious!

The morning passed pleasantly, filled with a lot of little things. I did things online, we had family devotions, and I read in a few different books and reviewed Memlock verses. Currently I'm working on the category called "Hope" and the verses are very encouraging! I also finished up the collage I began on Sunday, using the pictures we took for Proverbs 31 Maidens. I'll be using it in a display soon, and also plan to take it to college to decorate my room. It's a pretty "poster" and will be a good reminder and encouragement to see it!

After lunch I was on the computer a bit more, read some more, then spent quite a few hours sewing. I redid the sleeves in one bridesmaid's dress, as the ones the pattern used were too "poofy" for Miriam's taste. =) I like how the new sleeves look though; they're very elegant! I also worked on another bridesmaid's dress, finishing all but the hem by the time the day was done. Now there's only one more dress, then I'm done with wedding sewing! But then, we will be altering my sister's wedding dress, perhaps making a ringbearer pillow, maybe making the groomsment ties of the same color... ;-)

To help keep the house neat, I try to follow my own weekly cleaning schedule, though it doesn't always happen! Mondays are bathroom day, so I quickly cleaned them in the late afternoon, pracitced piano, then made supper. Supper was pretty easy, yet delicious. I made an omlette and zuccini muffins. We enjoy eating "breakfast" foods for supper sometimes, and these muffins are delicous! I used some zuccini friends had given us last year, which I'd shredded and frozen. You can click the link for the recipe. We don't follow a recipe for the omlette - I just follow what mom taught me many years ago: Use two eggs per person, and beat together with a small shredded potato, salt and pepper, and imitation bacon bits. Saute some onion for a few minutes, then add the egg mixture. When it's almost done, sprinkle in some chesse. It's yummy! It's not a real omlette, one that's flipped in half, but it's easy and quick to make for a lot of people.

As Jubi did dishes, I finished up a few things on the second bridesmaid dress. Because of last-minute things, we started watching a movie rather late! I welcomed the opportunity to have something to do as I sewed the braid on the dress. We watched "The Great Debators", which was inspiring (and based on a true story) but had some things that weren't that good - I probably wouldn't watch it again.

By the time I'd gotten ready for bed and talked some with the family, it was rather late! I read a few pages in World Magazine before turning out the light as the clock neared 11 p.m. It was later then I would have liked, but I enjoyed an evening with family!

I'm also enjoying the slightly less busy days this summer. I enjoy being home more, and having more time to do "homey" activities.