The Notecard Series. Stains and All.

My own home made devotional cards.
My own home-made devotional cards.

This summer we moved desks around. In the process, I found three spiral bound notecard units.  I knew what they were.  When I was a young wife and mother, I made my own devotional by purchasing blank notecards on a spiral tab.  On these blank note cards, I wrote things I daily needed to be reminded of.   There are Bible verses, quotes from books I read, messages from the radio, principles from Bible Study Fellowship, or challenges God convicted me of.

Many of these principles have stuck with me for a lifetime, defining  my life in various ways.  Some that stick out:

While the list could go on, I’ve decided to share these water/sun/who-knows-what-else stained notecards with you in original form. I used to keep them on the window sill above my kitchen sink.  I figured it’s as authentic as it gets.  These words convicted me, gave me hope, challenged me as a young mother struggling to be God’s woman.  As I’ve photographed each one of them, tears fill my eyes as I know either the heartache or the victory over each one.  As I post this first picture, I realize my efforts to be the “picket-fence-woman” has resulted in a fence/life/testimony full of cracks.  Looking back on that young mother hearing Chuck’s words for the first time, I now know God does minister through cracks, scars, and brokenness.

So look for the Notecard Series of pictures both here and on my parenting posts at Not Alone Mom, or on Twitter or the Facebook page of Life Beyond the Picket Fence.  I know they are Pinteresty, but I haven’t figured out that venue yet.   One of these days Picket Fence will find Pinterest, but until then, be challenged, encouraged, and enjoy my humble, authentically stained devotional cards.

Complete with typos.  On the first one.

Welcome to my kitchen-sink world, cracks and all.

Woman washing up

Write them on the  door frames of your houses and gates.”  Deuteronomy 6:9

Parenting Series: In My Spare Time, I Raise Boys

Scene 1: A call from Teen Now Driving

 “Mom, I’m filling the van up with gas, but the gas just goes for a little bit and then stops.”  Young Man Filling Petrol Into a Car Petrol Tank

Mother asks questions, questions, and more questions, but doesn’t have the right solution.

“You need to go inside and ask” she says.  

No, I’m not going to do that, “ he says

Did my son just tell me he won’t go in and ask for directions, instructions, or help?

 Note to self: I’m raising a boy.

Scene 2: Tween Boy in Front of Mirror Getting Ready for Church. 

“I can’t get my hair to stay down” after spraying it with water for the millionth time.

My shirt collar won’t stay down.”  He changes his shirt three times.

 Young Man Trying on a T-ShirtI don’t have anything to wear that fits me.”

Translation: My brother is bigger than me and none of his hand-me-downs fit anymore

Question: Since when does he care about what he wears? 

Answer: Since we are visiting a different church where there are girls his age.

Note to Self: I’m raising a boy.

 Scene 3: Stepping over Star Wars figures to open a window in Preteen’s room.

Mom, why do we have to sweep?  Can’t we wait a couple more weeks?


This child’s room reeks of Must, Dust, Turtles, and unswept corners. I’ve dusted the room (attempt #1), washed the bedding (attempt #2)washed the windows, screens, and baseboards with Pine-sol (attempt # 3) to no avail in eliminating the odor.  I resort to good old-fashioned sweeping under everything in the room, which, of course, causes stress on behalf of the child.

Mom, this battle has been going on for two weeks now.  Do I have to move it?”

I scan the “battle.”  There is an intricate battlefield of action figures spawning a bookcase, marble tower, and three other pieces of furniture. This took some hard work, creativity, and time.

Not to self: I’m raising a boy.

I tell him we’ll sweep under and around everything except the “battle.”  Two days later the room still smells musty, dusty, and turtlish.  

I buy an Airwick, close the door, and remind myself,

        I’m raising boys. 

and i wouldn’t have it any other way

Lord, help us to see our children with the humor and wonder that they are.

I’d love to hear the scenes at your house in raising girls and boys!

And today is the last day to sign up for “Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break” giveaway.  Read here for details.

A giveaway with encouragment!
A giveaway with encouragment!

 Have a great Wednesday!

Effective Parenting & the Art Of Making Jello

When I make Jello, I feel like Betty Crocker.  That’s an oxymoron, but let me (16)

Making Jello is probably the simplest food to make.  But it requires patience and forethought.  When making Jello, it takes time to “set up.”   Even the “quick method” doesn’t yield immediate results.   You can’t rush making Jello.  You can’t speed up the process by cranking up the oven, nuking it in the microwave, or putting it in the freezer.  It takes a while for the final product to evolve.  If you expect it to be done prematurely, it’s a mess.   Thoughtful, intentional planning makes the Jello a success to serve at just the “right time.”    So, I feel like a kitchen diva when I make Jello.  Intentional planning, good forethought = stellar cook.  Just call me Betty.

Kind of like parenting, really.

I’ve made enough “messes” in parenting to know there’s no “quick set’ formula.   The best decisions we’ve made as parents took intentional forethought and planning.  You can’t rush the development of children.  It’s not good to rush them to the next phase too quickly.  They need to “set” at each stage, becoming sturdy and strong in the process.  The development of children requires time.  If you expect things of them prematurely, it’s messy for them and you.  Changing the prescribed environment for healthy development won’t yield the same results.   Children take time to evolve.  Thoughtful, intentional planning makes the development of children a success at just the “right time.”

photo (15)Just like Jello.

It’s tempting to think parenting is easy, a piece of cake, a quick and simple recipe, like our jiggly-food-friend.  But there’s simply no easy formula.  It requires large amounts of patience.  Understanding the delicate nature of child development and the long-suffering it takes in shaping a child is an essential skill.   Children are fragile.  They can be messy, and can dissolve when too much heat is applied.

At the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9, (NIV)

 God’s gracious to teach me big lessons in simple ways, otherwise, I may miss a lot of important things.

Thank you, God, for the simple things in life. 

How has God spoken to you in the simple things lately?  We’d love to hear?



Humor… Beyond the Picket Fence

There is nothing inspirational in this post. You can read yesterday’s post for that.  Pure embarrassment today, a day in the Life Beyond the Picket Fence.


Yep, that’s our dog.  We don’t need to buy doggie toys here on the boy farm because she finds things like a baseball player’s “cup” for a toy. We haven’t had a baseball player in our house for at least two years, so I’m thinking Doggie Woggie found this item in a pile of outgrown clothes in the basement. I thought the sight was funny, but Baby Girl didn’t.  She rolled in last night from Virginia with a girl-friend who brought her home, who spent the night at our house.  “Welcome to our beautiful home, and meet our doggie who plays with a baseball cup” was not the greeting college co-ed expected to give her friend.  She thinks it’s bad enough she has to tell her friend there’s goat’s milk on her cereal.

But that’s typical here on the Back Forty.

We’re used to Amish guys asking for kitchen knives to gut road-kill deer.

We’re used to burying furry friends.

We’re used to duct-taping animals for various reasons (that’s another story).

We’re used to dead rats near the deck and carcasses drug through the yard from very proud dogs.

Possum skeletons hang from the fence in the woods behind my house.  I guess they are “trophies” by hunters.  Who knew?

As a townie-wife of a farmer, I’m never shocked anymore.

As a woman from a family of all girls raising boys, I’ve learned to laugh at a lot of things.

Like “cups” drug across the floor, smelly shoes, and moldy practice clothes.

I’m still learning rules of engagement when it comes to manhood.

But for today, I’m glad my dog and a cup gave me a laugh.

Maybe a smile for you, too.

Have a great weekend.