Saturday, December 05, 2009

We have been busy!

So life has just been happening too quickly for me to keep up on here lately.
Molly had her second surgery and all went well.
Thanksgiving was spent with family and good friends
and was a wonderful day.
We've been taking family photos and editing for friends.

we've been trying to keep on schedule with school.

Speaking of school,
meet "Lucy".

We've been studying crustaceans in science and I had the brilliant idea to dissect a crawfish.
So, we got some dissection kits from a friend,
and I found a GREAT lab on-line with step by step instructions and questions.

So, Wednesday, we walked over to the Asian market behind our house to get
our crawfish - I was hoping for dead ones so we wouldn't have the dilemma of how to "kill" them without cooking them.
But, they didn't have any.
Just blue crabs.
All thrown together in a big "self-service" tub.
So . . . we tried to pick out just one crab.

Have you ever tried to pick out just one crab?
They all cling to each other (no they weren't dead!!), and flail their appendages.
I look over at Annie at one point and she's losing it emotionally,
and Jonathan is screaming,
"Not that one, Mommy! I don't want that one! He's too moovey!"
I finally got one and am silently praying that Emily doesn't drop the bag while I'm trying to get him all in.
So, we get him in, and twist the bag, thinking that will kill him.
Then we pay for him and head back home.

We put him in the refrigerator, tightly twisted and Thursday morning, we got ready to dissect him.
But he wasn't dead.
No - he was still moving.
Annie started to lose it emotionally again.
I assured her that we wouldn't do anything to the crab until it was dead.

So we decided to just draw it.
We studied the drawings, made our own and labeled the parts.
That's when we discovered that he was actually a she.

So we named her "Lucy".

We read on-line that if you keep a crab in below 36 degrees, it will kill it,
so when we were done drawing her,
we stuck her in the freezer.

But, lo and behold, though I took her out in the morning,
it is hard to dissect a frozen crab (duh!),
and she wasn't ready to cut open until mid afternoon.
We finally got the shell off
but didn't recognize anything inside.
It was pretty cool though.
So, we're off to find us some crawfish next!

(Notice the cool lab coats we bought for chemistry a few years back.)
(Notice also how much smaller Molly's nevus is! It's almost gone.Only one more surgery next year -
hopefully not until around September.
We need to give the church a chance to recover financially
and fall is a good time for not missing much.)

We've also been busy getting ready for a boutique.
David made some handmade journals.
I sold some of my photo cards as well as advertised for our photography services. (Gained two more probable bookings for the new year.)
Annie made these neat decorative candles.

Molly made some handy "sticky note booklets".

And Emily sold about $20 worth of her jewelry.

The boutique was today and I took Molly and Emily with me to represent our family.
It was a real fun time of festivity and fellowship!

(Thanks, Linda, for helping Emily's display to look so "professional". She got a lot of very positive feedback on her work as well as the display.)

And so, the Christmas season has officially begun for us.
Therefore, I am going to sign off from the blogging world
until after the first of the year.
I have 4 major photo editing projects to complete,
Christmas gifts to buy and make,
children to read to,
Christmas bread to bake,
and toffee to make,
a newsletter to hopefully get out,
a house to decorate,
parties to prepare for,
children to play with,
a husband to snuggle with,
friends to get together with,
notes to write,
school lessons to teach,
and plans to make,
and the list goes on.

So, I am releasing myself from this "task",
and taking the rest of the year off.

In the meantime,
and enjoy the days,
as you rejoice that Hope Has Come.
Those of us in Christ
truly have great cause to rejoice!

Joy to the World!

~From our family to yours~

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Reformation Day!

"Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times."
~ Martin Luther

"I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen".
~ Martin Luther

"To whom, save thee, who canst alone for sin atone, Lord, shall I flee?
~ Horatius Bonar, 1857

Alive in Christ
I once was rebellious, corrupted by sin, pursuing the devil's dark path, -
Oblivious, dead to the state I was in, an object of God's dreadful wrath.

But God who is rich in compassion and love, not leaving my soul to the grave,
Has given me life; born again from above, by God's sov'reign grace I've been saved.

God lifted me up to the heavenly realms where seated with Christ I am free;
In ages to come he will show me more grace -- so great is his kindness to me.

Since grace is the source of the life that is mine - and faith is a gift from on high --
I'll boast in my Savior, all merit decline, and glorify God 'til I die.

Yet now I am living with work to be done for I am God's workmanship too, -
Created in Christ with a race to be run, which God has ordained me to do.

~ James Montgomery Boice, 2000

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God . . . " Ephesians 2:4-8

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This week's challenge at I Heart Faces is "Excited".
I was "excited" because I thought I had the perfect photo.
Then I realized this morning that it was more of a "surprised" look and didn't really fit the "excited" theme.
But then!
In His mercy . . .
God made it rain here this morning!
And the Miles family LOVES rain . . .
because that means we get to stop what we are doing
and fix hot chocolate or "cozy cappacino".

I also stopped what I was doing
and grabbed the camera
and sent David out back
to see what we could get if we played a little.
It was really fun!
He is a natural goof,
but he also gets really excited about rain.
It doesn't rain often here in Southern CA.
It's not necessarily a truly "excited" look,
but we had fun,
and that's what it's all about.

Click on the button above to check out all the awesome photographers!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Boy Turned 10 - EDITED!

Did I say "turned 10"?
Ahemm . . .
he actually turned 11.
Our boy is now 11.

I usually don't post about birthdays,
but I wanted to show off the wonderful work a friend of mine does.

She has a site called "Precepts and Promises" where she creates beautiful overlays to use in PS - all with a Scripture basis.

She helped me create this for David's birthday last week:

Isn't that cool?
You have to go visit her site and see her other works!
And then share with me how YOU used them.
She's doing a theme right now on Martin Luther in light of
Reformation Day this month.

I am so new to PSE and really know nothing yet,
but am loving learning little by little.
This was sooo fun to do as she walked me through it on
speaker phone one night.

My friend is mainly in the "digiscrappering" mode,
but I would LOVE to use PSE to make beautiful framed wall art with my photos.
Or greeting cards.

I sent it to Sam's to be printed
and then finished it off with a cool frame
that a friend just happened to be giving away.

I'm very limited in my creative talents,
but David LOVED it,
and that's what counts, right?

Thanks again, Barbara!

And Happy Birthday, David.
May you grow to be a godly man just like your daddy!
w e . l o v e . y o u

A Soul's Meditation

Today I am home from gathering with the Church
because our little Jonathan just can't shake this cold he has been fighting and woke today really coughing as well as contending with nasal congestion.
So we're resting and watching Steve Green's "Hide 'Em in Your Heart" videos, blogging, reading and snuggling.

I have been listening lately to some great teaching . . . Carolyn Mahaney, Martha Peace, and some speakers from the Women Discipling Women conference at John MacArthur's church.
My heart has been challenged, rebuked, encouraged, and refreshed.
It has been good.

This morning, for my devotional time,
I read through Psalm 119
and verse 165 struck me:

"Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble."

Lately, there has been much to rob me of peace and joy,
and the temptation to give in and not fight back with the Truth has been great.
But God's word remains my comfort and my security and my vision.

From my journal:
"My 'peace' will not ultimately be found in an ordered environment, or in living with sinless people, or in participating in fun recreational activities, or in whatever else my heart may long for at the moment apart from God Himself. My peace will be found as I devote myself to the Word of God . . . meditating on it day and night . . . and the fruit of that peace will be a straight, well-lit path leading to many victories."

I heard a quote this week that wasn't new, but I liked the wording of it.
"If you want to be like the Son of God, then you need to give attention to the Word of God."

The Word of God tells me that my season right now, as a biblical woman, is to be devoted to my husband as his helpmate,
to work diligently in training and discipling my children in the few remaining years I have left with them,
to keep my home in such a way as to bless those who dwell here and who may visit,
and to love the body of Christ through my good works.

It is a season of sacrifice and giving.
And honestly . . . does that season ever truly end as I grow in my pursuit of biblical womanhood?

My peace is lost when I try and fight for "my time" or time to pursue "my interests", and try and convince myself that my children are becoming more independent and don't need me to train and disciple them as much anymore. (Is that a lie straight from the pit, or what?! If anything, their need for discipleship and guidance is growing greater, and the time needed to invest in them is increasing . . . and it should be looked at as a joy and privilege!)
The Word of God reminds me that it IS in my best interest to serve those around me,
relying on the strength and the grace He provides (and abundantly, I may add!).

So, as I meditate on those truths,
and as I rise in the morning and look forward toward the day ahead of me,
I can say with the psalmist,

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing (instead of grumbling and complaining). Know that the Lord Himself is God (and submit yourself to His will); It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (not with downcast eyes and dejected spirits). Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the LORD is good (He is not withholding any good thing from me, or preventing my happiness or fulfillment.); His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations."
Psalm 100

(Italics added from my own thoughts.)

Blessings on you as you meditate on His Word and apply the gospel to your own path He has set you on.
Great joy and victories
await those whose hope is in the Lord
and who are resting
in His righteousness alone!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Annual School Photo Shoot

Ok, so today we headed off to the park
to take our annual school photos.

Some shoots go off without a hitch,
and others . . . well . . .

Hey . . . hello? Everyone look at the camera . . . hello???

Ok, good, now scoot in close and look here . . .

Where are you going???

Come back here! Right now!

(Guess I can't compete with a bullfrog.
Can you see him?)

(Neither can I compete with a VERY interesting ORANGE spider with one leg almost squished completely off . . . )

Hey, boys . . .look over here . . . PLEASE?????

Ok, good. Now everyone get in position. Now look over here.

Ok, good. Now everyone get in position. Now look over here.

Now, we're just going to find one more perfect spot,
then we'll be done.
(Hear sinister, but godly, laughter?!)

Hello? Emily?
Over here, DEAR!

(Oh great. Now I have to compete with a HORSE??!)

In all my years of walking in this beautiful park, I've never seen a horse on this side.

Say hello to Bronzie, sweet children . . . .sigh.

Hey! Where are you going now?

Mutiny, huh?
Fine. Take off without me.
Just remember your mom has got the . . . SNACKS!!!

Oh, Jonathan dear, this is not a video.
So I can't capture that "cool dance" move.
Can you just stand still please??

Ok, now look at the camera, boys.

Oh, look! I think I see our car up ahead.
Everyone hop in.
We'll see what we got later.

I guess I will have to go back through all my photos and see what I can salvage with Picasa. I've heard I can work miracles with PSE.
We'll have to see about that.

Sigh. {giggle}

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What Have I Done??

Pig Latin is a game of alterations played on the English language game. To form the Pig Latin form of an English word the initial consonant sound is transposed to the end of the word and an ay is affixed (for example, trash yields ash-tray and plunder yields under-play). The purpose of the alteration is to both obfuscate the encoding and to indicate for the intended recipient the encoding as 'Pig Latin'. The reference to Latin is a deliberate misnomer, as it is simply a form of jargon, used only for its English connotations as a 'strange and foreign-sounding language'; it could also be because the transformed words sound similar to Latin.

Sometimes unexpected results occur in our homeschooling classroom.
Like this one.
I have taught each of our children to read.
And they LOVE to read.
I have to really keep on top of things.
But I let something slip by me.
A friend bombarded our home with lots of "Kids Discover" magazines,
and our oldest kids have been reading them,
and apparently learning from one of them on "languages".
Go figure.
I didn't even ASSIGN it!
Out of all the various languages they read about,
my 10 and 12 year old naturally gravitated toward one particular one.
Today they are speaking in Pig-Latin.
I can't even barely speak English straight these days,
without having to translate their Pig Latin.
What have I done??
They are loving it, however,
and teaching their younger brother and sisters.

Ordlay elphay emay! :)

(Inside I am thrilled and smiling to myself that my "students" find learning fun and tackle most things with great enthusiasm. You go, guys. The Lord will take care of your wimpy mom!)

Hmmm . . . maybe they will end up working for Wycliffe Bible Translators??

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Soul's Meditation

Psalm 3
My adversaries have increased.
Many around me are saying there is no hope in God for me.

I find myself saying,
"Yes, God can help, but . . . "

"Yes, He is strong, but . . . "
"I know He is sovereign, but . . . "

My enemies have robbed me of joy.

Yet the Psalmist does not go on and on with his complaint.
(And he easily could!)

He focuses his mind on and comforts his heart with the truth:

But You, O Lord . . .
are a shield . . .

the One who lifts my head . . .
(You) answered me . . .
sustain me . . .
have smitten all my enemies . . .
have shattered their teeth . . .
Your blessing is upon Your people!

Who will I listen to today?
My adversaries or my Lord?
I may have to fight to hear His voice amidst the voices without and within.
But fight I will.

Fight I must.

I have no other option.

Abba, Father!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I found this great photography site today through another photographer I admire and the weekly contest sounded interesting.
I knew exactly which photo I wanted to enter.

(This is my Molly. She wanted to try on my glasses one morning during school and immediately the funny faces began happening. She is my "Molly of Many Faces" and she makes me laugh so often!)

Nostalgia . . . remembering something of long ago.

This photo seems to contrast youth and old age to me.
The pursed lips, squinty eyes, reading glasses . . .
a perfect "old lady imitation".

Yet the small, freckled face and wispy hair, belie the fact that this is "youth" and not "age".

Though the glasses are mine,
the photo causes me to long for my own grandma . . .
to watch her sew me something that I've asked her to make for my doll,
to watch her cook something that she was famous for in our family . . . peach cobbler,
to watch her read a story that I'd written and shower me with compliments,
to watch her read the paper on the couch with my grandpa,
to watch her as she drove that huge orange Monte Carlo and giggle as we told her "Grandma, your dragger is draggin'" . . . remember that stick that would stick out and scrape the curb if you got too close while parking???

Nostalgia . . . a precious use of precious memories.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Approaching the Throne

Taken from "The Valley of Vision"

Act of Approach

"Benign Lord,
I praise thee continually
for permission to approach thy throne of grace,
and to spread my wants and desires before thee.
I am not worthy of thy blessings and mercies
for i am far gone from original righteousness;
My depraved nature reveals itself in disobedience and rebellion;
My early days discovered in me discontent, pride, envy, revenge.
Remember not the sins of my youth,
nor the multiplied transgressions of later years,
my failure to improve time and talents,
my abuse of mercies and means,
my wasted sabbaths,
my perverted seasons of grace,
my long neglect of thy great salvation,
my disregard of the friend of sinners.
While I confess my guilt, help me to feel it deeply,
with self-abhorrence and self-despair, yet
to remember there is hope in thee,
and to see the Lamb that takes away sin.
Through him may I return to thee,
listen to thee,
trust in thee,
delight in thy law,
obey thee,
be upheld by thee.
Preserve my understanding from error,
my affections from love of idols,
my lips from speaking guile,
my conduct from stain of vice,
my character from appearance of evil,
that I may be harmless, blameless, rebukeless,
exemplary, useful, light-giving, prudent, zealous for
thy glory and the good of my fellow-men."

This was the prayer of my heart this morning as I headed off to join with the congregation before the throne of grace . . . both for myself and for our Body at Coast.

Can you join with me?
Would you amen this?

If so, do you notice that there is a response required . . . not just a "mental consent"?
Do you hear the balance between the work of the Spirit of grace in our hearts
and our responsibility to "walk in a manner worthy of the gospel"?
What steps will you take this week to
fan the flame of your affections?
What affections will you fan the flame of?

These are the questions to my own heart this afternoon.
Blessings on your journey . . .

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Edited: While the parents are away . . .

. . . the actors will play!

We had a babysitter come over and stay with the kids on Monday
while we went out.
She is one of the young ladies from our church,
Bekka Wakabayashi,
and she has a lot of fun making movies.
The kids and her put together this cute video.

Thank you, Bekka, for all of your hard work Monday
and for helping to make it such a fun day!
(You deserve much more than the pair of socks we brought you! JK. No, I didn't mean you DIDN'T deserve more than the socks. Well, actually none of us deserve better than an old pair of stinky socks. And if truth be told, we deserve stinky socks that have been drug through the mire - a hundred times over - and then . . . oh, never mind.)
How did I get off on stinky socks???

Enjoy the video . . . (and forget about the socks. Just never mind.)
(Sorry about the poor quality. Something got lost in the transfer. But the original is AWESOME!!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Life of Answered Prayer

May 2, 1995
was the day that I was told that Earl Miles, Jr. was interested in getting to know me.

My journal entry for that day:
" . . . Mom just informed me that her and I have a meeting at the church with Norm tonight in an hour. Yes, I am nervous. Father, please calm my heart. Help me to trust You and to remember that You hold all things in Your hand ~ even my emotions. Please grant Norm and Mom wisdom and discernment and keep all of us from rushing Your spirit or working self-will . . .(later) on the outside, I am maintaining a calmness, no emotion. I have purposed to not share anything with anyone else until the next step occurs ~ he comes out here? Right now, may I maintain the mind of Christ and not be carried away by emotions that could be misleading. But deep down - I'm excited! However, there is fear when I think of myself as a wife. I can see myself as a mother, but I feel as if I fall so short when it comes to being a wife. What keeps coming to mind though, is that my focus needs to be on "my husband" and his needs, not my own. Oh, Father - grow within me the heart of a servant!"

I remember standing in my room alone,
at the foot of my bed,
and praying . . .
feeling as if my whole life was about to change,
and confessing my fear.

Yet, His sweet Spirit calmed my heart
with the truth that He never changes . . .
though my world often does and will.
He had been my God for the last 16 years
and was intimately acquainted with all my ways,
and He would walk with me through the coming years
just as He had the past.
I could count on His faithfulness.
How great is His faithfulness!

15 months later we were married.
And my life changed.
It became more wonderful than I had ever imagined!

In a world where divorce is rampant
and women are plagued with thinking they "made a mistake" when they got married,
our testimony is and has been and will continue to be,
it's our Redeemer who is faithful and true!
We fail often.
Yet, His work of grace in our lives keeps us waking up each morning
looking to Him (not each other)
for all we need.
And boy does He supply!

We spent a wonderful day together yesterday
just talking and talking,
in ways we hadn't for a long time.

Oh . . . do I love that man!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Smooching Day!

Today we are celebrating
our 13th wedding anniversary!

"A loving relationship
is a wanting to celebrate,
and know another's heart and soul."

Leo Buscaglia

"Love and a cough can not be hid."
George Herbert

"Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together
that they can't see anything wrong with the other."

G. Yasenak

"Love . . . will have the whole and not the part."
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow

"For thy sweet love rememb'red
such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change
my state with kings."


Ta Ta!
We're off to spend the day away . . . alone together!

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Feel a Blog Comin' On . . .

I love that my children are all so different.
Getting to teach them at home, just gives me more opportunities to see that.
I have serious ones.
I have helpful ones.
I have very imaginative ones.
I have ones who like to sing.
I have ones who like to talk.
I have ones who like time to themselves.
I have ones who like to be gone doing things.
I have ones who like to stay home.

And I also have ones like this . . .

Molly makes me laugh.
All the time.

The story:
We started school last week, and I have become more and more dependent on my reading glasses to get through the day. So when Earl was out last week picking up another pair of reading glasses for himself, I asked him to pick me up a chain for mine, hoping that it might relieve some of the stress of constantly needing them and not remembering where I had laid them down. Keeping them on top of my head was messing up my "doo". Sigh.

So today, during school, Molly asked if she could try on my glasses. And immediately the "old granny" imitations began. Sigh. "I don't look like that, do I, Molly??" She sweetly said that I didn't, but that they reminded her of a granny's glasses. Sigh . . . again.

Poor Earl.
He is not immune to this aging process either.
Last week while trying to pay for a haircut, the poor hair-cutter-guy was trying to be helpful and polite. After seeing all of the gray hair on the floor, he shyly asked, "You're not a senior are you?"

I am not at all disappointed at getting to this stage.
I'm rejoicing.
I feel blessed to have five children that I still have the strength and energy to mother.
I feel blessed to have a wonderful husband to grow "old" with.
I'm grateful to know that this life won't last forever, but that eternity is getting closer with each passing day. An eternity filled with the glorious presence of a loving and holy God who has covenanted with me to never stop conforming me to the image of His Son.
Seeing the limitations that my "aging process" has bestowed,
has made me all the more aware of my dependence -
my dependence on the Lord Jesus to be the strength in my weaknesses.

I just want to "age" in such a way as to not dishonor the Lord,
and to properly "adorn the gospel".

So, onward we go . . .striving for the prize . . . The Prize!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Louisiana - Misc. Activities

All too soon it was time to take down the laundry, say goodbye, and leave Louisiana
to continue on our journey.
But we had some wonderful times.

We spent a LOT of time trying to deal with the mildew problem in the back of our van.
An ice chest had leaked and we hadn't thought much about it, until it began to smell with the heat and humidity . . . causing us all to feel a little queasy.
So we spent our days in LA letting it dry, vacuuming it out, spraying and sprinkling all kinds of remedies back there, and using all kinds of air

One of the highlights . . . so funny . . . was our family trip to the Bass Pro shop there down the road.
Jan completely out shot everyone else at the shooting gallery (she boasted, but it was just beginner's luck!), and all the kids except Emily, bought a new cap rifle.

David had a great time trying all on of the different camouflage outfits!
Can you see him?

We spent a lot of time out back chasing and running and throwing and kicking and sitting and talking.

The day before we left,
we celebrated Emily's 12th birthday over at Sonya's house.
It was nice to have a houseful of family!

I have SOOOO many more pictures to post from our time in Louisiana, but alas, my goal was to be finished posting our whole vacation "memoirs" before school started and we've just completed 3 weeks of school. So, I need to scoot on posting the rest real fast and close out this grand adventure.

Louisiana family and friends . . . we love you and will be counting the days until our next visit!

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