Musings from the Threshold

Category Archives: Misc.

Spring Greens

Here are a couple of shots I took the other day during a break in the rain. I love the greens of spring!

And here’s Grace in the lovely green grass, carrying our rooster who formerly was the bully. He’s been knocked out of his “top spot” by a younger rooster and has become quite docile.

An Afternoon at Shaw

Last Wednesday, we met Dad and Mom Smith at nearby Shaw Nature Reserve. Shaw is one of my favorite places to visit in the St. Louis area, as is evidenced by the myriad of pictures on my computer and on my blog. I love the emphasis on plants are local to the area, and the fact that they give it as natural a feel as possible.

I love to hike at Shaw, but knew that just wasn’t an option this spring. In fact, I hadn’t been able to figure out how I was going to get to enjoy it at before summer, because this pregnancy has had me a lot less mobile than usual.

Well, we figured out that we could drive into the reserve and park near the Bascom House, which we had never visited, despite the fact that it’s rightnextdoor to the wildflower garden, which we have frequented. So Dad & Mom S. walked out with the Blessings while Jonathan and I drove. We investigated the Bascom House, then went down to the wildflower garden where I found a bench in a lovely spot while the rest of the gang went walking.

The Bascom House is definitely a worthwhile excursion. It was built in the late 1800s and the Missouri Botanical Gardens (which runs Shaw) and the MO Dept. of Conservation teamed up to restore it. I like the architecture, the woodwork is gorgeous, and the displays are interesting.

Here are some pictures from outside the house:

From inside the house:

And a couple of other outside shots from the wildflower garden (there are more in my Spring Flowers post from yesterday):

Spring Flowers

I have thoroughly been enjoying the flowers of spring, in their various forms and locations.

From these purple beauties hand-picked by Stephen …

To Dad & Mom Smith’s beautiful daffodils …

To the lovely flowers at Shaw Nature Reserve …

To the bunches of wild sweet william Kate, Siah, and Ellie brought in yesterday …

… God’s creation is so lovely!

Cloth Diapers

Recently, I wrote a bit about my experience with cloth diapers for someone asking on my Bible college alumni website. And today, a friend from KBC asked on Facebook about cloth diaper options. I figured that was a sign that I should turn my alumni site response into a blog post! Here it is, with some updates and additions:

I have used cloth for two of our Blessings, and am planning to use them with our little one who is due to arrive in about a month.

Here is a article covering the 4 basic types of cloth diapering systems. It does a great job of describing and covering the advantages/disadvantages of each system.

This is an article talking about the “why” of cloth diapering. Some good information in there.

And here’s one on making/using cloth wipes. You can use disposable wipes with cloth diapers, but cloth are easier in many ways, b/c their destination is the same as the diapers!

And here is a link to Jillian’s Drawers, where you can try a bunch of different kinds of diapers for $10 for 21 days (from when you receive them). I believe you pay for the package upfront ($150), then receive the refund (-$10) when you send them back. Seems like it might be a good way to try a variety of types of diapers with almost no risk.

As far as my personal experience, I have used:

~~ Pre-folds with wraps (I use the Prorap, which I like b/c it is inexpensive and you don’t need to pin or snappy the pre-fold; the wrap holds it all together very well). I like this system; it is inexpensive and works well with rare leakage.

~~ Fitted diapers with wraps, on loan from a friend. Loved them. More expensive (though would still be a savings over disposables in the long run), easier to use for those unfamiliar with cloth diapering, even fewer leaks.

~~ Pocket diapers. Getting ready to try these. I got a great deal on a bunch of Bum Genius 3.0 (one-size fits from 8-35# pocket diapers) at a recent sale and am excited about using them with our coming little one. They sell special inserts for the pocket diapers; I will be using my stash of prefolds as inserts. You can “pre-load” the inserts and have your stack of diapers ready to go, which makes these as easy to use as a fitted or all in one, I think.

I will admit that I have quit on the cloth diapers in the past once the poops started getting extra stinky (table food). I just don’t like swishing my hands in the toilet. 🙂 However, my goal is to make it through potty training in cloth this time!

A couple of ideas on this:
~ I’ve asked my hubby to install a diaper sprayer on our toilet once Baby gets to table food. He’s not excited about it because of the “play” possibilities, so that might not happen.
~ I think the flushable liners would help this a TON and still be very economical.
~ A dear friend who has recently started cloth diapering her two year old (to help him along with potty training by feeling the wet) shared with me that she doesn’t rinse the dipes in the toilet. She gets off what she can (using TP if needed) and uses a wet pail (water and lavender essential oil). She just dumps it all in the washing machine, rinses twice, washes once (correct me if I’m wrong on that, Shawna). No stains, no hands in toilet. Sounds pretty good!

So that’s where we’ve been with cloth diapers, where we’re headed, and some links to great resources. Hope it’s helpful!

Resurrection Sunday

We had a lovely day on Sunday celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord. We enjoyed breaking bread with the believers at Bible Truth Fellowship, then had a yummy brunch with Dad and Mom Smith at their place. I didn’t think to get any pictures of all the Blessings together, but I did get some cute shots:

In the late afternoon, we headed over to the home of our dear friends the Teeters. We don’t usually do an egg hunt, so this was a first for many of our children. They really enjoyed it! (Click on the collages to get a better look at the pictures)
The “littles” had a hunt in the front yard:

And the bigger kids had a much more challenging hunt in the backyard:

It was a joy to spend time with such dear friends whom we don’t get to see as often as we’d like.


I seem to be a bit emotionally unstable this week. I mean, I probably shouldn’t be moved to tears by the fact that my husband wants plain grits instead of my creative twist, or by the fact that I accidentally dropped a pound of sausage on the floor. Right?

I’m guessing that my hormones are going a bit wonky right now. Spring has sprung; we’ve had one gorgeous sunny day after another this week; the garden is coming along; there’s a lovely green haze showing up in the trees, etc. All great reasons to be cheerful and springy myself! And mostly, I am. Just seem to be extra emotional and set off far too easily.

Now, for me, realizing that it’s likely my hormones is NOT an excuse. It is an alert, a wake up call. It tells me that I need to get grounded in Truth and focused on Him. To paraphrase Amy Carmichael, a cup of sweet water won’t spill out bitter water, no matter how you jostle it. And my water needs some sweetening.

So, here’s to getting refocused and grounded. And what a great day for it… Good Friday, when we turn our eyes to Calvary (where they should be every day).

I’ve been thinking on Isaiah 53 this morning:
(1) Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
(2) For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
(3) He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
(4) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
(5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
(6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
(8) By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?
(9) And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
(10) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
(11) Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
(12) Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

And 1 Peter 2:19-25:
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. (20) For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. (21) For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (22) He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. (23) When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (24) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (25) For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

I was also thinking of this hymn this morning:

Oh, my Saviour crucified,
Near Thy cross would I abide,
Gazing with adoring eye
On Thy dying agony.

Jesus bruised and put to shame,
Tells me all Jehovah’s name;
God is love I surely know,
In the Saviour’s depth of woe.

In His spotless soul’s distress,
I have learnt my guiltiness;
Oh, how vile my low estate,
Since my ransom was so great.

Rent the veil that closed the way
To my home of heavenly day,
In the flesh of Christ the Lord,
Ever be His name adored.

Yet in sight of Calvary,
Contrite should my spirit be,
Rest and holiness there find,
Fashioned like my Saviour’s mind.
~Robert C. Chapman~

Speak, Lord in the Stillness

Speak, Lord, in the stillness,
While I wait on Thee;
Hushed my heart to listen
In expectancy.

Speak, O blessed Master,
In this quiet hour;
Let me see Thy face, Lord,
Feel Thy touch of power.

For the words Thou speakest,
‘They are life,’ indeed;
Living bread from Heaven,
Now my spirit feed!

Speak, Thy servant heareth!
Be not silent, Lord;
Waits my soul upon Thee
For the quickening word!

All to Thee is yielded,
I am not my own;
Blissful, glad surrender,
I am Thine alone.

Fill me with the knowledge
Of Thy glorious will;
All Thine own good pleasure
In my life fulfill.

Emily May Grimes (1868-1927)

I read this this week for the first time. Many thanks to Shawna for posting the first four verses of it and getting me hunting for the author, during which search I found the last two verses. I found it referenced as a hymn in several places, but none of the sites referenced a hymn tune or had music. If anyone is familiar with this hymn or has a lead on its tune, I’d be glad to hear about it.

A Communion Hymn

A link to this hymn was posted by Ann Voskamp today. I’m not familiar with the hymn, but love the thoughts expressed on the beauty of the love feast that is the Lord’s Supper. The weekly remembrance is precious, and never grows old or stale to me. What love He has for us! And what love to Him we owe!

Here, O My Lord, I See You Face to Face
By: Horatius Bonar

Here, O my Lord, I see you face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen,
Here grasp with firmer hand eternal grace,
And all my weariness upon you lean.

Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with you the royal wine of heaven;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

This is the hour of banquet and of song;
Here is the heavenly table spread anew;
Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong
The brief bright hour of fellowship with you.

I have no help but yours; nor do I need
Another arm but yours to lean upon;
It is enough, O Lord, enough indeed;
My strength is in your might, your might alone.

Mine is the sin but yours the righteousness;
Mine is the guilt but yours the cleansing blood;
Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace;
Your blood, your righteousness, O Lord, my God.

Too soon we rise; the vessels disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone.
The bread and wine remove, but you are here,
Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.

Feast after feast thus comes and passes by.
Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,
Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,
The Lamb’s great marriage feast of bliss and love.

Hymn # 243 from Lutheran Worship
Author: attr. Henry Lawes
Tune: Farley Castle
1st Published in: 1855

Clean Up Project and Thoughts

I started getting sick the day after Cookie Day (so, last Thursday) and seemed to take a long time to kick it. Wednesday was the first day I managed to make and execute a to-do list, mostly of things that involved me sitting at my computer. Yesterday I at last was able to tackle a more physical project and felt driven to do a major clean/purge in the Blessings’ rooms.

If you want some encouragement that your house isn’t that bad, take a closer look at this Picasa album (complete with notes)! We’re not done yet, but we’ve made a great deal of progress.

One thing that is a constant struggle with having 7 Blessings in two bedrooms is how to manage the “stuff.”

I had packed up a lot of the girls’ toys a while back in an effort to minimize what they need to deal with on a daily basis. I’d gotten rid of a lot, also. Over the last few months, things that had been packed away have been sneakily making their way out of tubs and back into the bedroom. I didn’t realize how bad the situation was until we buckled down for cleanup yesterday. I will need to keep a closer on on things to help them establish some room responsibility.

The boys have the toy shelf in their room that Dad and Mom Smith built for us years ago when we had a designated play area in our basement. The Blessings had just cleaned and rearranged it recently, but I was again amazed to find that, despite our efforts to be sure they “clean their room” each morning, a huge amount of toys and stuff were all over the place in there.

I’ve seen where moms have made lists for their children that they are responsible to follow for room cleanup, clearly defining what it means to “clean your room.” This is something I think I’m going to incorporate, and would welcome any ideas.

I’m also contemplating further reducing the number of toys available at a time. Some thoughts/ideas include:
~ Using only one shelf on the toy shelf in the boys’ room at a time.
~ Putting the girls’ “out of circulation” toys in the boys’ closet and using their closet more for storage. Is removing temptation in this way a cop-out? Or is it giving them an opportunity to earn the privilege of having the tubs back in their room?

I’ve also petitioned for Barak’s guinea pig breeding endeavor to be halted, and to give away/sell either the male or female guinea pigs. It has not been a successful money-making venture, and I would dearly love to gain back the space in the boys’ room taken up by the extra guinea pig “pen” (which is a kiddie swimming pool).

The simple fact is, I know very well that the less clutter there is, the easier it is for children to play, use their imaginations, take care of their space, behave themselves happily, etc. When you have seven children in two rooms, the need for less clutter becomes much more critical, and to date I have not found an effective way to accomplish this. But I am determined to find a way.

I appreciate and welcome your input!

One Step Thou Seest

A friend posted the following poem yesterday. It fits in so many ways where our family is right now. “One step is far enough for faith to see.” May it bless you also.

Child of My love, fear not the unknown morrow.
Dread not the new demand life makes of thee;
Thine ignorance doth hold no cause for sorrow,
For what thou knowest not is known to Me.

Thou canst not see today the hidden meaning
Of My command, but thou the light shall gain.
Walk on in faith, upon My promise leaning,
And as thou goest, all shall be made plain.

One step thou seest: Then go forward boldly;
One step is far enough for faith to see.
Take that, and thy next duty shall be told thee,
For step by step thy God is leading thee.

Stand not in fear, thine adversaries counting;
Dare every peril, save to disobey.
Thou shalt march on, each obstacle surmounting,
For I, the Strong, shall open up the way.

Therefore go gladly to the task assigned thee,
Having My promise; needing nothing more
Than just to know where’er the future find thee,
In all thy journeying – I GO BEFORE

(Author Unknown)